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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys... looking for a little help troubleshooting the problem. I was out riding my 03 DRZ400S today and ran into some trouble. The bike would run fine when it did run. I could be riding along and it would just shut off. The first time it did it I was in about 4th gear and was able to start it right up after I came to a stop and made sure my gas was turned on, which it was. I rode for another 30 minutes or so and it did it again. I bought the bike used and found out the hard way that it does not have a cooling fan on it on a different ride. When it cut off that time, the bike was really hot... about 260-270. Since it was that hot I just let it sit for a while and cool off. After it was cool, It started right up and off I went. It cut off again about 10 minutes after that and I then decided to start heading home. Well now the bike was cutting off every time I pull the clutch... but still started up after. It finally dies for the final time and I could not get it to start up again.

Here's a few things that may help you troubleshoot

The battery needs recharging after every ride because it become weak very fast... I'm guessing it has a dead cell or two.
By the time the bike was cutting off every few seconds... the battery would barely turn the bike over.
After it died the last time... I could try to start the bike for 10 seconds or so and the battery had no problem turning the starter.
I checked the spark plug and it has a yellow spark so I am going to change that out.

I am wondering if it is as simple as a bad spark plug or if there are other hidden problems looming.
Any help with other things to try first would be greatly appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
After I posted earlier, I realized that I never checked to see if there was fuel in it. After I checked, unfortunately, there was plenty and since the tank is yellow I was able to see a significant amount of debris in the bottom.

If I were to spray a little starter fluid in there with the old spark plug and if it fired up... could that mean that I am not getting fuel to the cylinder, like a clogged carburetor?
 

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After I posted earlier, I realized that I never checked to see if there was fuel in it. After I checked, unfortunately, there was plenty and since the tank is yellow I was able to see a significant amount of debris in the bottom.

If I were to spray a little starter fluid in there with the old spark plug and if it fired up... could that mean that I am not getting fuel to the cylinder, like a clogged carburetor?
Quick test, pull fuel line off and see if gas flows freely in 'on' or 'reserve' pos. Also replace that battery before it leaves you stranded. Some bikes have a DC ignition system and won't start if the battery is weak, even if it's turning over.
 

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Sounds like you have a couple things to address. First clean out that gas tank and carb. Debris in the gas does nothing good.

Check the stator. If it passes, next check the regulator/rectifier. If the RR passes, then check the harness (see free power mod) I had a similar issue and it was my RR dying which then drained the battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well guys... I started with the easiest/quick test... new spark plug... getting spark on both plugs... spark is yellow or orange on old plug and blue on new one... sprayed started fluid in spark plug hole and still the same... starter turns but sounds like its not even trying to turn over. Cleaned out gas tank and made sure fuel flows freely in "on" and "res"... it does. I had the battery checked and it was good. So then I popped the magnesium cover off to check the valve clearances and found a major problem. The cam cover (I guess is what it's called) over the exhaust valves was cracked in half... well cracked in 3 pieces. I took some pictures of it but don't know how to post on here... I'm not sure how to post from URL. Needless to say, the valve clearances on the exhaust side were way off and the valve feeler gauges I bought at the auto parts store did not have a size small enough to check the low end of the intake side so I don't know if those are within tolerance.

Anyways, obviously, I need to address the cam cover issue. I called the Suzuki shop to price a replacement and apparently they don't make one... you have to get a whole top head assy. So now I am wondering what could have happened to cause this to happen. I know I was running it hot and had planned on getting a fan on it to keep it cool. I am not very savvy with chasing wires or using volt meters so I haven't tried to check the stator. If I am getting spark... does that mean that I don't have an electrical problem? Also, like I said before, the battery had a hard time turning the engine until it died the last time and now the battery turns the starter great. Again, not real familiar with how engines operate, but if the valve clearances were too tight, could that have been the reason why the battery was having a hard time turning the engine over and once the cam cover cracked, that allowed the battery to turn the starter easily? And if that is the case... by fixing the cracked cam cover and correcting the valve clearances... will that fix the problem or is the cracked cam covers a result of something deeper?

I have the pictures saved on my phone and computer so if someone can tell me how to post them... it might help clear up my very amateur mechanical nomenclature.
 

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I have the pictures saved on my phone and computer so if someone can tell me how to post them... it might help clear up my very amateur mechanical nomenclature.
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Here's the pics:




Your local shop was correct about the cam caps not being sold separately, they are bored while bolted to the head to ensure that they are perfectly matched to the head's cam journals, no 2 are exactly alike. You can get a used head on eBay for $450ish.

As far as your electrical goes a spark indicates that you have a functioning ignition system but your charging system includes several other components that can fail without causing a no-spark condition.
 

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Seen this problem over on thumpertalk a few times. Issue with cracking the cam cap like that is due to lack of or little oil. See how black and burnt looking the exhaust cam lobe and lifter look? Lack of lube, got very hot, then boom. Once you install a new head, you need to check the oil pump to see if its still workin and the oil feed to the head for blockage. Did you check the oil when you got the bike? Has it ever been run low?
 

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That engine is likely toast. OP didn't mention checking the oil once, ran it hot, cracked the cam covers, and likely spread debris throughout the engine, after oil starving it. If the crank bearings aren't burned too, id be very surprised.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That engine is likely toast. OP didn't mention checking the oil once, ran it hot, cracked the cam covers, and likely spread debris throughout the engine, after oil starving it. If the crank bearings aren't burned too, id be very surprised.
I don't know if the bike has ever been run low on oil but when I changed the oil in it right before the last ride, the oil was very black but had plenty of oil in it. After I changed the oil I took it for a quick spin and checked the oil like the manual says and it was full. So the fact that the oil was registering on the dip stick leads me to believe the oil pump was working, right?

Not sure if I'm going to be able to save this bike or not. I would like to... If I were to part it out, how much of a pain in the neck is it and how much money does that tend to bring?
 

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don't dump it yet... even if that motor is toast, it mightbe worth just buying a used motor off somthing like E-bay. there will be plenty of motors out there for your bike. set up a search in your account and let it do the looking for you. it is winter now in my hemisphere, so i would be selective and wait. one will come up. if not, part the bike out in the spring when all other avenues are exausted. wait for a low milage pull out, or watch your local police/bank auctions, never know, might get a compleet bike, maybe a wreck, but it will have the parts you need.

Also, before you start/run the new or replacement engine, look at the cooling system. if the bike over heated, it is possible it started there, and not with an oil isue, then graduated to really screwing up the pooch by thining out the oil...

Old Dog...
 

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Or just put it back togeather and coat everyone behind you for miles with a cloud of oil. Right Lealand :rolleyes: Sorry, just had too..........
 

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Or just put it back togeather and coat everyone behind you for miles with a cloud of oil. Right Lealand :rolleyes: Sorry, just had too..........
Be nice you... You once said you had a quart of my oil in your lungs from following me... Caugh it up! That crap is expencive! I want it back!:rofl:

No problem, while embarasing, I can finaly laugh about it... I guess I found the far end of an XR... Not many do!

Old Dog...
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for all of your input. I think I am going to just replace the head or possibly the engine if the right deal come around. I'll let y'all know when I'm done and what I did.
 

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If the motor is getting up to 260-270, you've got cooling issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
If the motor is getting up to 260-270, you've got cooling issues.
I don't have a radiator fan on the left radiator. I'm looking for one right now but can wait for a bit because of the engine issues. Do you think there could be more wrong than just the fan?
 
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