Monthly Archives: February 2012

Steering Stem Bearing Replacement / Upgrade

November 25, 2009

My bike is a 2007 DL-650 with 62,500 miles on it and I have not done any maintenance on the steering stem bearings to date.

I will answer some questions right up front:

“Does replacing the steering stem bearings, in my motorcycle, get rid of the infamous ‘clunk’?”

No, the clunk is still there.  However, it is different sounding, and takes more force from a bump to initiate the clunk sound.  What I believe is, my bike had two clunks that were “layered” on top of each other.  One of those clunks was loose steering stem bearings.  That part of my “clunk” is now gone.  What is left is the “standard clunk”, found on nearly all DL-650s.  I can tell you that my clunk is, NOT coming from the forward, fuel tank, hold down, bolt as some other DL-650 riders have discovered; or feel, that is where the clunk is on their bikes.

“Does replacing the steering stem bearings get rid of the wobble?”

Yes, it does.  There is a hill near my home.  Before I changed my steering stem bearings, if I rolled down the hill with no hands on the handlebars, (this is the standard deceleration setup), in a short time, I was near a “tank-slapper” situation.  The tires that are currently on the bike are, a well worn Trailwing up front and a well worn Anakee on the rear.  After changing the bearings, and riding on the same tires, just mentioned, the bike tracked perfectly, no handed, down my same “test hill”.  There was absolutely no wobble.

One situation I did not test is, tightening up the OEM stem bearings.  It is quite possible that, if I had tightened up the OEM stem bearings, the “deceleration wobble” would have disappeared in this case as well.  But, because of the type of riding that I do, I had already decided to upgrade the OEM bearings to, tapered roller bearings.  Taking care of the “wobble” was secondary.

When I started this project, I knew that I was going to end up having to make two tools to complete the job.  Because of this, I chose to follow the sequence that I have written about below.  By doing so, I “uncovered” the items that I needed to fashion the tools for, (stem nut removal tool, and a “bearing basher”).  I have illustrated how I made the tools within the steps below.

The replacement/upgrade bearings I used were, All-Balls Steering Stem Bearing Kit 22-1003.   I bought my kit from,

A final comment;  It is important for readers, to understand that I have never done this type of work before.  What is seen here, (in the photographs), is exactly what I am seeing for the very first time.  I am no mechanic, let alone a motorcycle mechanic.  I am just a fellow, who out of necessity, needs to do as much of the work on my bike as I can. I am also an individual who enjoys learning new things.

This topic is covered in the Suzuki Service Manual starting at page 7-26.

My first goal was to expose the steering stem nuts so that I could determine what kind of a tool I needed to fabricate to remove them.  And, to also retighten them during reassembly. That meant, the first thing I needed to do was to remove the top forkclamp to be able to see the steering stem nuts.

The first thing I did was, park my bike, in gear, and on its sidestand.  Then, I removed both the left, and the right cable/wire wickets from the front of the forkclamp.

Then, I removed the handlebar clamps.  (I have SW-Motech® risers installed)

Once I removed the handlebars from the clamps, I used a bungee cord, wrapped around the front of the cowling, from one side of the handlebar to the other, to secure the handlebars forward out of my work area.

Next, I loosened both top, forkclamp bolts.  (I didn’t remove them.  I just loosened them.)

The top stem nut is 1 1/4″ in size.  I found, it takes a good amount of muscle to loosen it.  (This is why I kept the bike on its sidestand, and in gear.  I figured I might “wrench” the bike off of its centerstand, if you used it instead of the sidestand.)  However, I discovered it took too much effort, with a 1/2″ ratchet, to remove the top-nut.  I ended up having to use my inexpensive impact wrench to do the job, ($25 impact wrench, hooked up to a $150 Lowe’s/Kobalt compressor.).

Theoretically, I should have been able to remove the top forkclamp at this point.  But, I found that the left, and right, cable/front brake hose restraints prevented enough slack, in the front brake hose, and power cable, to be able to lift the forkclamp off of the stem.

I was able to work both the brake hose, and the power cable, around enough to remove the forkclamp.  I have since removed the brake hose and the power cable from their restraints.  I have wire-tied them to the outsides of the restraints instead of having them fetched up hard inside the restraints.  This provides for easier removal in the future.

With the forkclamp removed, I could study the steering stem nuts, and make a decision as to what kind of tool I needed to fabricate, to remove, and to retighten, the stem nuts.  I drove to my local Lowe’s and purchased a 6″ long x 1 1/4″dia steel nipple.  They didn’t have any plain old steel, so I had to settle for the more expensive galvanized version.  (An 8″ long nipple, would have been better to have had, when I was retightening the stem nuts.  I would have had a little more clearance over the fuel tank to swing my pipe wrench handle.).

I cut the threads off of one end of the steel nipple.  I then squared up my first cut because it stunk……

Then, I slipped the steel nipple over the stem and down on to the top stem nut.  I marked two “teeth” on the pipe, that I needed to cut, that would align with two slots in the stem nut.

Using a hacksaw, I cut where I needed to; removing metal to create my “wrench”.

The inside diameter of the steel nipple was too small to allow the “teeth” to slip into the slots of the stem nut, so I had to bevel the teeth back a bit to let that happen.

Using a pipe wrench……

…..I spun the top stem nut off of the stem.

With the top steering stem, (locking), nut and washer removed, (JUST the top, locking nut is removed.  I left the bottom nut in place.), with my homemade wrench, I knew that I could proceed with the job with a successful outcome.

EDIT:  Since I originally did this job, I have modified the above wrench to have three “teeth”.

Next, I reached up under the cowling and wrapped my forktubes with masking tape to mark their clamped height in the triple tree.  (The reason I did this is explained farther below.)

I loosened the axle pinch bolt.

Then, I loosened the front axle.

I removed the left and right allen screws, that hold the fender in place.

Next, I removed the left and right brake calipers.

I hung the brake calipers off of “hooks” from my crashbars. (I made the hooks out of sections of steel, coat hangers.).

Then, I removed the brake line junction/fender bolt. (On the right side, behind the forktube.).

The “specialized” nut fell out from inside the fender when I did this.  It can only go back in one direction, so I didn’t worry.  I also removed the brake line clamp bolt from the left side of the bike.

I removed the speedometer cable clamps behind the left forktube.

Then, I removed my “Superbrace®” forkbrace from the forktubes.

Next, I reached up inside the cowling and loosened the top bolts, of the bottom forkclamp.

Then, I raised the front wheel off of the ground.  I used a floor jack, and a block of wood underneath my SW-Motech® skidplate.

I removed the front axle bolt.  The front wheel dropped right out.

Now, I loosened the remaining two bottom forkclamp bolts.  I did this one at a time, because I knew that the forktubes were going to slide right out and hit the floor if I wasn’t careful. The front fender, also dropped clear as well.

Then, I removed the brake hose clamp that is fastened to the front of the lower forkclamp.

It was time to start disassembling the stem head area.  I could remove the bottom stem nut by hand it had gotten so loose!

I pulled off the bearing dust cover from the stem.

I supported the steering stem, underneath, with one hand, and I “wiggled/pushed” downward on the steering stem, from the top, with my other hand.  The steering stem dropped free of the bike.

This is what the replacement/upgrade bearings look like.  The outer race, that the bearing rides in, and the inner race, with the tapered, needle bearings, and their cage.  The dust seals are on the floor.  You can also see the steering stem and the top and bottom OEM bearings still on the stem.

I put the outer races, to the new bearings into my freezer.  I heard that doing this can help during installation.  The cold contracts the metal, to make the bearings a tad smaller; hence easier to install. (That’s my Danvier ice cream maker container waiting to be used…….)

This is a photo from the top looking down through the stem.  The top and bottom OEM bearing races need to be removed. The top one is fairly clear in the photo. The bottom one is, that very thin, “silvery line” at the bottom of the stem tube.

I grabbed the closest tools on my bench……….

………and slid a mill file, handle first down through the tube until it came to rest on the top edge of the bottom OEM bearing race.

I tapped the file with a hammer; working my way around the top edge of the bearing race until it dropped out of the stem tube.

I did the same for the top OEM bearing race; by reaching up through the bottom of the stem tube…….

………..and tapping the file with my hammer until the top race popped free of the stem tube.

I grabbed one of the “frozen races” from my freezer, I spread a little grease into the bearing lip of the stem, and I pounded the race into the top of the stem opening by using a hammer and a 2″ pvc coupling.

I tried the same technique with the bottom race.  I greased the race opening in the bottom of the stem…..

……..but the pvc coupling was too short.  I couldn’t get enough swing with my hammer due to the cowlings being in the way.

So, I grabbed what was closest at hand, which was the top adaptor to my Harbor Freight tire changer, and I pounded the bottom race home.

I checked for gaps between both races and the stem with a mechanic’s mirror.  There weren’t any.

Next, it was time to remove the bottom bearing race from the steering stem.  It has been pressed on.  On page 7-30 of the Suzuki Service Manual, they say to remove the race with a hammer and a chisel.  They also show a diagram of doing this.  I tried it too…..

……..and even tried to hammer/chisel/pry the race up.  I was doing more damage to the forkclamp then I wanted to!

So, I grabbed my Dremel tool, and chucked a fiber wheel up, and cut several “kerfs” around the bearing race.

A couple of taps with the hammer and chisel and the bearing race freed itself, and slid right off.

I slid one of the new bearing seals down to the bottom of the stem.  Then, I slid one of the new bearings down the stem as far as I could……….

…… was now time for me to make the second “specialty tool”.

I drove to Home Depot and purchased a 12″ long x 1 1/4″dia steel nipple and an 1 1/4″ pipe cap.

I cut the threads off of one end of the 12″ steel nipple.

I cut several kerfs down the length of the pipe with my hacksaw; as deep as the frame of the hacksaw would let me go, (about 5″).

I refer to them as “fronds” as in, “palm fronds”.

I tightened a hose clamp around the fronds and tightened it to close the gaps between the “fronds”.

I slid the “bearing basher” down over the stem, until it made contact with the bearing.  The “basher” can’t come in contact with the bearing cage, otherwise there was a risk of breaking the cage and sending the bearing needles tumbling about. So, by “trial and error”, I kept grinding the edges of the fronds to make them smaller, which resulted in a tighter fit around the stem; reducing the outside diameter of the “basher”.

This is what my “bearing basher” looks like.  It is a tight fit around the stem, and the hose clamp is in place.

But, I discovered that the outside diameter was still too big.  It touched the cage of the bearing.  So, I ground a bevel around the outer edge of the “bearing basher”.

I “tuned” the bevel with a flat file, (the same one I used to remove the bearing races with……), and I also tuned the bottom edge of the basher where it came in contact with the inner bearing race during installation.

Once the “bearing basher” was fit and tuned, I screwed the pipe cap onto the top end and I pounded downward…..

… set the bearing.

Here are the two “specialty tools” that I needed to do the job.  They cost less then $15.

Pretty cool, huh?

The horse smells the barn………it’s time to head home.

I greased up the bottom bearing.  And, I greased up the bottom bearing race.

Next, I slid the steering stem up through the stem tube; slid a forktube up into the forkclamp of the steering stem; placed the bottom end of the forktube on top of a wooden block; and snugged up one of the forkclamp bolts.  I took a rest…. The, I slid the other forktube up through the bottom forkclamp; resting the bottom of that forktube on top of the wooden block; and snugged up a forkclamp bolt on that forktube as well.

What I just described above looks like this:

I live alone.  I work alone.  I had to come up with a way to do what I needed to do.  Another pair of hands would be helpful.  But, I got creative with what I had on hand, to get the steering stem up into place, and to hold it there.

I greased up the new, top bearing, and also the race I installed previously in the top of the stem.  I slid the new bearing over the top of the stem and down into the race.

It is here that I realized, I had to get the steering stem up higher in the stem tube.  By adjusting the forktubes, in the forkclamps, along with the wooden block, I was able to achieve this.

I slid the remaining new dust seal down over the stem, and on to the top of the bearing.

Next, I slid the OEM dustcover into place.

I tightened the bottom stem nut to begin drawing the steering stem up into its final resting position and to “set” the bearings.

On page 7-30 of the Suzuki Service Manual, there is a procedure for, “Steering Tension Adjustment”.  I have ridden this bike enough to know what I like.  For me, the manual suggests a tension that is far too loose.  This looseness is what causes the infamous “deceleration wobble”.  However, if the bearings are too tight, I know that my motorcycle will “weave” at slow speeds.  “Been there, done that”; with too loose, and too tight stem bearings!

This is how I wrapped up the job.

I slid both forktubes up through the lower forkclamps, until they came to the masking tape lines.  I snugged up all four forkclamp bolts.

I slid the front fender into place and snugged up the two front fender bolts.

I mounted the front wheel and snugged the axle bolt.

I took pressure off of the floor jack and lowered the front wheel of the bike to the ground.

By doing this, it allowed me to tighten the bottom stem nut tighter and more easily.  I was intentionally over-tightening the nut, but not destructively tight.  To get the nut tight without the front wheel turning; responding to the pressure I was applying to it, I again grabbed what was closest at hand, and jammed a 2′ level between the front forks, and fetched up against my crashbars.

Next, I slid the top forkclamp over the forktubes, and removed the 2′ level from between the forks.

Using my hands, I grabbed a hold of the steering assembly and I racked it back and forth several times; “stop-to-stop”.  I did this to help seat the bearings into their races.

I jacked the front of the bike back up so the front tire was free of the ground.  I removed the top forkclamp and jammed the 2′ level back between the forktubes. I loosened the stem nut.

I experimented with loosening, and tightening, the stem nut until I had the feel that I wanted to the steering assembly.  Suzuki recommends an initial force of 200 – 500 grams to start to turn the steering assembly.  I adjusted the stem nut to where I wanted it; where it felt good to my hands.  Suzuki recommends a torque value of 32.5 lb-ft.  I don’t have a torque wrench to measure this with the tool I made.  Like I said, I tightened the nut to the point where I felt the front end responding the way I wanted it to.

I slid the washer down over the stem.

Then, I threaded the stem lock-nut on to the stem and tightened it down.  Suzuki recommends a torque value of 58.0 lb-ft for the steering stem lock-nut.  Mine is as tight as I can get it with my “nut tool” and my pipe wrench.  It’s not going to budge!

I slid the top forkclamp over the forktubes, and the steering stem, and I tightened the steering stem topnut.

I tightened, and torqued, all 6 forkclamp bolts; locking the forktubes in place.

From here, I “retraced” all of my disassembly steps, and reassembled my motorcycle, (“Pumping” the front brake calipers so that they would work properly once they were reinstalled!).

By upgrading my steering stem bearings, to tapered roller bearings, and by experimenting with different tensions on the new bearings, I have eliminated any “wobble”, at any speed, with any front tire, (New, or worn!), mounted on the rim.

Here is an example of that in the video below.  Although not of a very good quality, I am riding off of the summit ofCadillacMountain, (Located onMount Desert Island,Maine), standing up on my footpegs, with no hands on my handlebars.  I am following two automobiles, down the mountain, in a classic “deceleration wobble” situation.  There is no wobble, and I have total control over my motorcycle.

Categories: Maintenance / Upgrade Tasks | 36 Comments

Rear Shock Replacement

August 19, 2008

Note: Today, as I read, and edited this article for my blog, I smiled a healthy grin. In the first paragraph, I make the note of, 30,000 miles as how long the OEM Suzuki shock lasted me. As of today, (February 21, 2012), I have just about 100,000 miles on my motorcycle. That means 70,000, very hard miles on my Hyperpro shock! I would purchase another in a heartbeat!

At 30,000 miles, and with the type of riding I do, my Suzuki OEM rear shock has worn out.  The shock would nearly bottom out over fairly small pot holes, and the rear wheel would badly “track cracks” in the road.  There was a vertical “softness” and a lateral instability of the rear end of the bike.  I have had to significantly “dial back” my style of riding and eliminate my usual long weekend trips, until I could find a shock that fit my priority list of “wishes” and have it built and shipped to me.  That has been a six week wait!  (OUCH!!  Three weeks to gather extra, non-budgeted funds and research, and three weeks to have the shock built and shipped to me.).

I began to do online research to see what shocks were available and what riders were saying about each one.  The purchase cost of the shock was a top concern for me, along with a good warranty and future maintenance, (rebuilding), of the shock.

I settled on a Hyperpro 460 model shock.  It has no “bells or whistles” to add to the purchase cost.  It has a 5 year warranty. The sales and service shop is located on the East Coast of theUS, ( [url][/url]).

There are no questions as to “how” I ride and “where” I ride and on what surfaces, (I try to find the dirt!).  By providing this information to Hyperpro, the company was able to build a rear shock that fits me better then the OEM shock.  Also, without the, “Maybe I will ride like this”, or “maybe ride like that”, or “maybe on this”, or “maybe on that.”, I was able to save some money by not building in some of the extras that you will find on other aftermarket shocks.  I could have purchased a 461 model shock, but it would have cost a couple hundred bucks more.  It would also cost more in the future to have the shock rebuilt.  My main goal was to purchase a relatively low cost, very good quality, simple solution for my bike.  The shock was $614 delivered to my door.  I installed it myself, which was very, very easy to do.

First, here is the packaging of the Hyperpro shock.  Tough, plastic case. Shock, manual, tools and cap.  On the inside lid of the plastic case, there is an adhesive label that has all of the specifics of my custom shock.  This same label was affixed to the shipping invoice as well as the instruction manual.  Attention to detail!!!

Here is a shot of the Hyperpro lying next to the OEM Suzuki shock.  The lack of “meat” at the bottom of the Hyperpro shock is a concern to me compared to the OEM shock.  I’ll just have to trust in the engineers on this one.  The length of the shaft, (seen inside of the spring), of the shock is longer and of a larger diameter on the Hyperpro then on the OEM shock.

I placed the motorcycle on its centerstand.

I removed my luggage.  I did not want to impede side access to the rear end of the bike.

Next, I removed the rear wheel assembly to provide maximum clearance workspace.

Then, I removed the seat to provide access to the top of the shock and also to cast more light to the situation.

Not having done a “shock swap” before, out of a “stability concern”, I decided to block up the swing arm to better support the motorcycle.

Disassembly began with removing the hydraulic preload reservoir.

I found that there is a clip that holds the preload hose to the frame of the bike.  I slid the hose out of the clip.

I loosened, and removed, the bottom cushion lever rod bolt from the cushion lever.  The bolt was a little tough to pull out, so I gently tapped it out with a hammer while using an Allen wrench as a drift.

With the lower cushion lever rod bolt removed, I swung the cushion lever rods upward, and out of the way.  (I temporarily fastened the rods in the upward position.)

With the lower lever rod bolt removed, the swing arm could be blocked up even higher to give better access to the shock area.

Next, I removed the bottom shock absorber bolt.

Then, I removed the top shock absorber bolt.  When doing this, I noticed that when I tried to pull the bolt from the shock, there was not much clearance on the left side of the bike for its removal.  I decided that, during reassembly, I would insert the bolt from the right side of the bike, (nut on the left.)

Finally, I was able to slide the OEM shock out.  I said a few kind words of “Thank You” to it for literally saving my butt.  I gently placed it in the shipping box that my new shock arrived in, so that it could get some much deserved rest.

I slid the new Hyprerpro shock in place.  I Inserted the top bolt from the right side of the bike, having the nut on the left side; much easier.  I tightened the nut, but decided to torque it after I got the shock fully installed.

I inserted the bottom shock bolt into place.  To match the top bolt, I kept the nut on the left side.

Then, using my torque wrench, I torqued the top and bottom shock bolts.

I dropped down the cushion rod levers and installed their bolt; keeping the nut on the left for simplicity.

I reassembled the rear wheel.  This was a perfect opportunity for me to reverse the axle bolt; having the nut on the left side of the bike, (See? Everything is the same…….).  I did this so that, during future jobs, when installing the axle bolt, it can hold the brake caliper and bushing, while I wrestled with the wheel. It’s an “extra pair of hands” to me!

Next I adjusted the chain, and double checked all of my work before my test ride.

A fellow rider, who has anABSequipped version of the DL-650 V-Strom, (Mine is not anABSbike.), wrote to me with the following suggestion.

“I want to add my experience regarding changing the shock on anABSequipped bike. I don’t know if it applies to others but for me the biggest, by far, problem was getting the stock remote preload adjuster out.  After spending a good half hour wondering how others took it off so easily, I came to the conclusion that no route was feasible without removing stuff.  So, I unbolted the bolt holding theABSbox to the subframe, the one on the right near the original place of the adjuster.  I also unscrewed the two screws holding the rear brake pump in place. Then I wedged theABSsupport and slid the preload adjuster hose under it.  I moved the hose and remote adjuster behind the loose brake pump and it was free.  It then came off easily when dropping the shock.  Everything else went smoothly and super easy.”

Barry B.

“Black Lab”

Categories: Rear Suspension | 11 Comments

Rebuilding The Water Pump

April 03, 2011

(This article has been excerpted from my much longer, “2011 Bike Modifications” journal entry.)

Sunday morning, April 3, 2011, I began my dash for the finish line of my modifications and repairs for the upcoming riding season.  With the fuel pump completed, it was time to dig into the water pump.

Because the clutch cover has to be removed to access the “guts” of the water pump, I wanted to make sure that all of the surfaces around the “split” in the engine case were clean, and free of sand and dirt, that might fall into the motor during the process of dissembling it.

I gave the area a good shot of engine degreaser.

With much poking around with a toothbrush, and a screwdriver wrapped in a rag, I ended up with a motor that looked clean enough to be presented to the headmaster of a Catholic school.

I needed to drain all of the coolant out of the radiator and the motor.  I started with the removal of the radiator.

I disconnected the radiator fan switch….

…….the overflow tube…..

…..and the fan’s electrical connection.

I loosened and removed the hose from the left side of the radiator.

I also removed the WTIC hose from the water pump housing. (WTIC = Whatever This Is Called)

Then, I removed the thermostat housing cover underneath the airbox…….

….and the old thermostat.

While there, I installed a new thermostat and refastened the thermostat housing.

Finally, I removed the radiator from the bike.  I held it over a bucket and flushed it out with well water.

Next, I drained the motor oil from the crankcase.

When that was complete, I dumped the old oil into one of my collection containers……

….and reinstalled the oil drain plug into the bottom of the crankcase housing.

With the engine coolant and engine oil drained out of the motor, I could now move on to removing the clutch cover from the side of the motor.  After studying what needed to be done, I decided to tackle what looked like the most difficult bolt to remove first.  It is the one that is behind the right driver’s footrest.

My flexible extension would not do the trick.

However, I found that if I removed the forward footrest bracket screw, and loosened the aft one, there was enough “play” in the bracket to position it out of the way, to allow a regular 6″ ratchet extension to make it to the “hidden” bolt.

I worked my way around the clutch cover, loosening all its fasteners.

Before actually removing the clutch cover bolts, I scrounged up a scrap piece of foam I had lying around, and traced out a very rough illustration of the clutch cover with a Magic Marker.

Then, I began to remove the bolts, one by one, and as I did so, I jammed them into the block of foam; roughly in the location that corresponded to their “home” in the clutch cover.

In case I kicked the block of foam with the toe of my boot……., I decided to add more description to it.

I then removed WTIC #2 drain tube from its clamp near the oil sensor.

With all of the fastenings removed, along with any remaining WTIC items, I grabbed one of my wooden wedges and a hammer, and “rapped” on the clutch cover to jar it free from the engine case.

(Please keep in mind, that I haven’t a clue as to what I am doing, and I have never done this type of stuff before!).

Beating on the clutch cover with a hammer seemed to work.  It is always surprising to me just how many “broken” things can be fixed by beating on them with a hammer.  Screaming and swearing at them also works from time to time, but not as good as beating them with a hammer.

I discovered that I could not get the clutch cover out past the right footrest, so I ended up removing the aft bracket screw as well, and tying the bracket/footrest clear of the clutch cover.

Tadah!  There is the clutch cover sitting on my garage floor.  The “brownish” colored cog is the gear that operates the water pump.  To access the “guts” of the pump, you have to do it from the engine side.  To rebuild a water pump, this is why the clutch cover has to be removed from the engine housing.

(And, here is the clutch to my bike.  As I mentioned previously, you can see that there is NO “chudder” present as there apparently is with this bike’s larger brother; the DL-1000.)

Using a brand new, utility knife blade, I very carefully “shaved” off what few bits of gasket remained stuck to the motor housing.

Of course, there is always a bolt, or a piece of gasket that is nearly impossible to remove when you are working on motors.  This section of gasket was very difficult to get at!  I had to break off pieces of utility knife blade to sneak in there to do my “shaving”.

Getting light into that little “cave” area was also difficult.  I slid my halogen light closer for better illumination.  I slid it closer…….and closer……

Screaming and swearing at myself, over the years just hasn’t “fixed” me yet.  Next time, (And, oh there will be a next time!  I can always count on myself for being a dumb dork!), I think I will skip the screaming and swearing at myself, and just go right for the hammer……..

I will fix it later.  Probably with some more steel.

With the excess gasket shaved off of the engine, and clutch cover surfaces, (there was not much), I could now tend to removing the water pump from the clutch cover.

The first item that needs to be removed is a circlip from the end of the water pump shaft.  Removing it, allows you to remove the gear, the pin, the washer, etc.  I have long since lost my circlip pliers.  So, I made some……

I found two annular ringed, “panel nails” on one of my storage shelves.

I placed the tips of the nails into each hole of the circlip, and then “crushed” the heads of the nails together using a pair of vise grips.

I jammed a flat blade screwdriver between the two nails, and twisted the screwdriver “flat”; spreading the nails apart and forcing the circlip off of the pump shaft.

I lifted off the pump gear…..

……slid the shaft pin out……

…and removed the washer.

Next, I pried off the snap ring from the pump shaft….

….then, flipped the clutch cover over and removed the water pump from the clutch cover.

After successfully removing the water pump from the clutch cover, I decided to take a break from forward movement, to buy me some time to think about the next few steps I was going to take.

So, I picked up a piece of utility knife blade, and began to clean the area of the clutch cover where the water pump mates to it.  This task allowed me some mental “down time”.  (Or, stress relief…….).

What you are looking at here are TWO water pumps.  The one that I am holding in my hand belongs to a riding friend of mine; a GOOD Friend!  He donated an old DL-650 water pump that he had on hand, to my cause.  The water pump sitting on the bench top, in the background, belongs to me.

As I have previously stated, I have never done this type of work before.  I decided to “experiment” with my pump first……

There are two phillips head screws, that need to be removed, to enable you to split the pump housing apart.  Of course, the screws are steel and the pump housing is soft aluminum.  That often is a bad combination!  I believe the torque specification for these two screws is 3 lbs.  I will tell you right now, the screws may have been tightened with 3 lbs of torque, but they loosen with about 70 lbs of grunt!  I was SO scared of stripping out the heads of the screws.  I don’t have an impact driver, so I relied on the old fashioned way; a hammer and a phillips screwdriver.  I tapped the screwdriver with the hammer, and “twisted” the screwdriver as I did so.

I ended up putting nearly all the muscle I had into breaking these two screws free!

Here is the pump housing being separated.

Once separated, I removed the impeller to have a “look see”.

So, now it was time to split my friend’s water pump housing apart.  The first screw came out after some difficult persuading.  The second screw……..

Here is the “buggered” screw.

I chucked up a drill bit into my drill and cut my way down to approximately the base of the head of the screw.

Then, I chucked up a drill bit that was about the same diameter as the body of the screw, and drilled down some more.  The “V” of the larger bit, became the “centerpunch” guide for the smaller bit.

After guessing that I had drilled far enough, I slid a screw driver between the two halves of the pump housing, at the end that had the screw already removed.  I pried up with the screwdriver just enough so that I could spin the two halves of the pump housing past each other; clearing the o-ring gasket that seals the two halves together.

Once apart, I could unthread the offending screw with my fingertips.  The problem with the stuck screw is underneath the screw’s head and not with the threaded portion.

There is a mechanical seal that is pressed into the pump housing.  When removing an old one, you are only going to be able to “pull out” the “rubber” portion with your fingers.  I know, because I tested the removal of it on both water pumps.  In the photo below, what I am holding between my fingers is a new mechanical seal.  What is resting on top of the pump housing is the “rubber” portion that I am talking about.  The “metal” portion of the seal is still pressed into the housing.

The only way that I could figure out how to remove the metal portion, was to do it VERY carefully with a screwdriver and a hammer.  I practiced on my pump housing/mechanical seal first.

Then I made my attempt at the new pump’s mechanical seal.

I was successful.  But, the aluminum housing is VERY soft!!!  I did make some slight nicks in it, so I dressed up the area with a mill file.

I removed the old oil seal and installed a new oil seal.

Next, I needed to install the new mechanical seal on top of the oil seal.

A 7/8″ socket fits nicely over the mechanical seal.

Before removing the mechanical seals from BOTH pump housings, I studied their orientation before removal.  Both seals have a “keyhole” shape to the inside of them.  The “slot” is aimed towards the hole that my pencil is pointed to.

I placed the new mechanical seal into its opening, spun it until the “slot” lined up with the above mentioned hole, slipped the 7/8″ socket over the seal……

…and tapped the seal home.

I slipped the WTIC #2 hose onto the pump housing.

I slid the impeller through the seal and bearing.

I snapped the e-clip on to the impeller shaft.

I removed the old pump housing o-ring…..

….and installed a new one.

I coated the smaller o-rings with motor oil and installed them into the housing.

I smeared coolant over the o-ring that provides the seal to the two halves of the pump housing.

I put a little “anti-seize” underneath the heads of the two difficult to remove screws.

I placed the two halves of the water pump housing together…..

…and fastened them down tight.

I “snapped” the water pump into the clutch cover.

I filled the water pump bearing with motor oil.

I slipped the flat washer over the impeller shaft.

I slid the shaft pin through the shaft.

The underside of the pump gear has a slot that corresponds to the shaft pin.  They lock together.

Using the same method that I used to remove the circlip, I reinstalled the circlip on to the end of the impeller shaft.

I placed a new gasket over the “drift pins” of the motor housing.

I installed the clutch cover to the motor housing, and hand tightened the screws.

Once all of the screws were tight, I torqued them to the 7lb spec called for in the service manual.

From this point, I added coolant, engine oil, installed my crashbars and skidplate.

This is what the bike looks like fully back together.

And, that’s it!

Barry B.

“Black Lab”

Categories: Rebuilding The Water Pump | 5 Comments

Modifying The Quarter Panels

February 01, 2010

I know that my luggage rack is not the OEM version that most riders have.  However, to get the quarter panels off of my bike, the process is nearly the same as for “stock riders”.  The luggage rack has to be removed, to remove the quarter panels from the DL-650.

I have modified both of my quarter panels.  By doing this modification, the normal chore of removing the  panels, has become pretty darn easy now.

Here is the right quarter panel, removed and “as is” from the factory, (Okay, the factory does not supply a finish of West System epoxy with black, graphite powder mixed in, and sanded up to a “brushed look” appearance like I have here.  That was my doing!).

Using my Dremel tool, and a cut-off wheel, I cut a section of the quarter panel out.

Then, I filed a “pocket” with a coarse rasp file.

Now, when I need to remove my quarter panels, I “un-pop” all of the plastic fittings and remove the screw at the front of each panel, then loosen the luggage rack bolt, lift up, and slide the quarter panel free of the bike.

This is what my modified quarter panels look like installed.

And, this is what it looks like with the seat “down”.

Here are two more photos of me working on the left quarter panel.

Barry B.

“Black Lab”

Categories: Modifications | 5 Comments

Start Switch Maintenance

August 23, 2009

While returning from a recent trip, I experienced symptoms of a starter stuck in the “on” position, loss of the starter, and also loss of my headlights.

A Honda dealer in New Richmond, Québec provided me with a workaround to get me the rest of the way home so that I could finish my journey with the headlights working, and not having to push/jump start my bike. The technicians cleaned the terminals of the start switch, and also soldered wires together to always keep the headlights on; even when starting the bike.

The Suzuki OEM wiring configuration is set up as; when I turn the ignition key on, electricity is supplied to various components of the bike. One of those is the headlights.

The connection of power to the headlights is made through two contacts within the start switch.

In the photo below, there are two brass “nubs” on the “plunger” side of the switch and four copper contacts on the “terminal” side of the switch.

With the switch “deactivated”, power passes to the headlights across the two copper terminals on the left.

With the switch “activated”, (meaning pressed “in” to start my motorcycle), power is “cut” to the headlights and transferred to the starter motor. In essence, providing more available power to the starter, (Useful on cold mornings.).

If the switch is not periodically cleaned, dirt and “arcing” erodes the contacts and “nubs”, so that they won’t work properly. Check out the electrical erosion on my contacts below.

What happened with me is, a “burr” was created on the starter contacts. When I pushed the start switch in, the headlights cut out as they should, the starter activated, but did not deactivate upon releasing the switch. The starter stayed on while the bike was running. NOT GOOD! Plus, I didn’t have any headlights! I would frantically pound my fist on the underside of the housing to get the switch to release; which sometimes it did and sometimes it didn’t.

Here is how I did some preventative maintenance.

Using a #2 phillips screwdriver, I removed the aft screw of the start switch housing.

I did the same on the forward side of the switch housing.

I made note of the fact that, the forward housing screw is longer then the aft screw.

Using a flat blade screwdriver, I pried up the wire restraint to remove it from the housing.

There is a “nub” on one side of the wire restraint. I had to remember that the “nub” faces towards the center of the bike during reassembly.

Using a #1 phillips screwdriver, I removed the brass screw that holds the switch cover in place.

Once the cover was removed, I used the same screwdriver to remove the silver screw that holds the switch into the housing.

With the switch removed from the housing…..

……I used a flat blade screwdriver to GENTLY pry the shell that holds the “plunger” part of the switch off of the contact plate.

I could now inspect, clean, and add electrical grease to the elements of the switch. Using a product like, WD-40 will attract dirt.

I used flat file to clean the contacts, and a pencil eraser was used to clean the “nubs”.

During reassembly, I discovered that, If I tightened the “silver screw” all the way home, the plunger switch would bind up and not work smoothly. I had to back the tension of the screw off a little bit, so that the switch worked as it should.

Barry B.
“Black Lab”

Categories: Electrical | 74 Comments

2007 DL-650 Valve Check and Adjustment

March 15, 2010

I really can’t improve upon what the Suzuki Service Manual explains as, how to perform a valve check, and valve adjustment on the DL-650.  However, my situation is a little different then the average DL-650 owner.  That’s because I don’t have any fairings on my bike anymore.  If I want to check my valves, I just drop the radiator, remove the fuel tank, and I am ready to go.

But, I had to gather up quite a bit of confidence to get myself to the point of, removing the front and rear cylinder covers!  I had never done a job as technical as this before, and admittedly, I was fearful of what problems I would encounter, and also what possible damage that I might do to my motorcycle’s motor.

In contemplating doing this work, had to inventory the tools that I had on hand, and I purchased a few others to ensure that the project went smoothly.  For the brunt of the work, I used a simple set of mechanic wrenches, and a 3/8″ drive, “hobbyist”, metric socket set, (They are “Husky” brand.  I bought them at Home Depot.).

Additional tools that were beneficial to have on hand, were a metric set of Allen/socket wrenches, a 3/8″ drive torque wrench, a set of feeler gauges, a 3/8″ drive “universal joint adaptor”…..

……a micrometer, or something like this device that I purchased at Home Depot for about $36.  It worked surprisingly well!!!

First, I removed the spark plugs, the PAIR valves and the three allen bolts that hold the cylinder covers to the motor.  I was careful when I gently removed the rubber gasket that sits between the cylinder cover, and the motor.  Of course, the Service Manual is going to recommend that, “Always use new gaskets when reinstalling the cylinder covers”.  My cylinder covers have been removed three times, and I am still using the original gaskets; no leaks!  (I WILL replace the gaskets during my next valve check.).

This is what the front cylinder/cam journal area looks like, (the cam chain guide is on the right in the photo; or left side of the bike.)

Here is the rear cylinder/cam journal area exposed.

I believe the Service Manual suggests that the valves be checked at the 600 mile service and then every 15,000 miles thereafter.  My dealership recommended skipping the 600 mile valve check, but doing a check at the 15,000 mile service.  I didn’t get to the first valve check until March of 2008 at 22,000 miles………

Back in 2008, I started to do the first valve check myself.  When I determined that the valves did indeed need to be adjusted, I got scared because it was more work then I felt capable of doing.  I had never done work like a valve adjustment before, and I didn’t have anyone close by to show me how to do it.  I ended up taking the bike to my local dealer and had them finish the job for me.

BUT!!!  I knew that eventually, I was going to get up the courage to do the job myself, so I wanted to “track” what work was being done to the valves, whether I did it, or not.  When I took my bike to the dealership, I also took along the below chart I made up:

I asked the technician to please fill out the spaces for me so that I could keep a record of what work he had done.  Below is what the chart looked like after it was filled out.

At 63,000, (40,000 miles since the last valve check….), I decided to give a valve check/adjustment a go by myself.  Using the instructions in the “Periodic Maintenance” section of the Suzuki Service Manual, (Pages 2-8 thru 2-12 in my manual), I set the front cylinder to, “Top Dead Center”.  I made sure that the “F” was lined up properly on the generator rotor….

….and that the cam “lobes” were pointing according to the diagram on page 2 – 8 of the manual.

The specified valve clearances for the intake valves are:  [B]0.004 – 0.008 [/B]inches.

The specified valve clearances for the exhaust valves are: [B]0.008 – 0.012[/B] inches.

I measured the four valve clearances on the front cylinder and then I rotated the motor, (Using a 17mm socket on the generator rotor nut), to get the rear cylinder to TDC as per the diagram of the lobe positions in the Service Manual, [page 2 – 8], and measured the rear cylinder valve clearances.

This is what I found for my valve clearance measurements:

The front cylinder intake valves were too tight and the rear exhaust valves were too loose.

I would like to share some thoughts about the experience I had in using the feeler gauges to check the valve clearances.

1 – When using my feeler gauges to measure the valve clearances, I found it easiest to slide the feeler gauge, underneath the cam lobe, by working from the center of the cylinder, pushing “out” towards the edge of the motor case.

2 – It does take some “pressure” to push the feeler gauge underneath the cam lobe.

3 – Because the intake tolerances are so small, the feeler gauge for the intakes is quite thin; it can bend easily under the pressure necessary to slide it into position.  I had to go slowly and smoothly.

4 – If you look carefully at my chart, you will see that the spaces, to be filled out, for the valves are in different locations for each cylinder.  Here is why: To me, the left side of the bike is the “left side” as you face forward.  The same is true for the right side.  However, when working on the front cylinder, I was sitting on the floor, (I don’t have a lift……..), facing “aft”; looking at the front cylinder.  I decided to set up my chart with the locations of the left and right, “intake” and “exhaust” valve measurements as exactly as I am looking at the cylinder and the paper chart.  This is why the front cylinder and rear cylinder labels are in the positions that they are.  They are set up on paper exactly the same way as how I look at the actual cylinder.

I needed to loosen up, (use a thinner shim), on the front intake valves and I needed to tighten up, (use a thicker shim), on the rear exhaust valves.

I decided to start with the front cylinder because there is so much room to work around, (which eased my mind because I was scaring the crap out of myself because I have never done work like this before!).

I removed the three bolts that fasten down cam chain guide.

I also removed the cam chain tension bolt from the “top” side of the cylinder.  The assembly is actually, a bolt, washer and spring.  It looks like this:

Other then the actual journal cover, there is nothing else to remove, to get the cam shaft out.

Because I was nervous as all get out at doing what I was doing, I kept photographs to a minimum on the front cylinder while doing the work there so that I could maintain “focus”.

However, the following photographs illustrate how I released the tension on the cam chain so that I could remove the cam shaft.  These photographs areALLfrom the rear cylinder.  They are applicable to the front cylinder.

First, I would like to explain something.

The cam chain tensioner works much like a jackstand.  The only difference is, the jackstand isn’t “spring-loaded”, but the cam chain tensioner is.  There are “notches” and “pawls” involved in both.

Here is a jackstand fully extended:

If I lift up on the handle, the “pawl” disengages from the “notches” and gravity causes the stand to drop down, (and taking a chunk of skin off of a finger if you aren’t careful!!!).

To get a cam shaft out, I needed to release the “pawl” from the “notches” in the motor case.

Looking down inside, near the cam sprocket, that is closest to where I removed the cam tensioner bolt, I was just able to make out the “pawl” that I was looking for.  This is what the pawl looks like, with the cam shaft removed, and a screwdriver in the proper position, to be able to release the tension of the pawl, from the notches in the side of the motor case.

With one hand, I slid a long, slotted screwdriver down to the pawl.  With your other hand, I pulled upward on the cam chain giving it some firm tension.  Like the photo below.

With one hand applying tension to the cam chain, (pulling upward), I pressed downward with the screwdriver on the part of the pawl that is closest to the motor case.


I now had enough slack….

…to remove the journal cover…

….. and to slide the camshaft out of the journals.

Here it is!

Slick, huh?

I slid a screwdriver through the cam chain, and across the subframe, so that the cam chain wouldn’t slide back down into the case.

To remove the “bucket” from the tappet sleeve, I used a “magnetic wand” and withdrew the bucket.

Underneath the bucket, is where the shim is located.

And, here is what a shim looks like removed from the bucket.

This is why this system is called, “Shim Under Bucket”, style valve adjustment.

I am not going to bore you with how many trips I made to my local dealership to obtain, (they swapped shims with me), the proper sized shims I needed.  I can tell you that the chart in the Service Manual is to be used as a guide only!!!

An example of this is, my original front intake valve shims were labled, “175”, (or 1.75mm thick).  Using my measurements of .004 and .003, the chart suggested that I needed 165 shims.  I made the trip to my dealership to swap my 175 shims for new 165 shims and came back home and installed them……  Only to find that the 165 shims put me right at the other end of the recommended specification!  I made a trip back to the dealership to pick up 170 shims.  I installed them and they put me right at a .006″ clearance; perfect.

Here is a sidebar note about something I learned:  When selecting shims, from whatever source, MEASURE them to make sure they are the right thickness that you need.  Swapped shims often have the printed numbers worn off of their faces.  Don’t take it for granted that shims coming out of the “170” section of the shim box are actually “170” shims!

That’s where the digital calipers came in handy.  I took them with me to my dealership to ensure I was picking up the right shims.

When I installed the new shims, I gave them a light coat of oil and set them in the matching sized “divot” in the head of the tappet.

Here is a shim installed into its proper place with the Service Manual recommended, “numbers faced down”, position.

Sliding the bucket back over the shim.

I reinstalled the cam shaft, as per the alignment instructions on page 3-100 of the Suzuki Service Manual.

Here is what the markings of the cam sprockets looked like for the front cylinder.

This is the exhaust cam sprocket:

This is the intake cam sprocket:

I took plenty of time with this!  The diagram that is on page 3-100, of the Service Manual, has to be followed to a “T”.  I discovered, when installing the cam shafts and the cam chain is not aligning correctly with the cam sprocket teeth, something is wrong.  I was smart about this, and did not turn the motor!

When the cams were installed correctly, I installed the journal cover, and torqued the bolts to 7ft lbs.

Then, I rotated the motor a couple of times to set the shim and squeeze out excess oil, then set the motor back up to TDC, and I checked my measurements again.

When the measurements were good, I moved to the rear cylinder.

If by chance, someone else is attempting to do their own valve adjustments, on their own DL-650, and using this journal entry as a rough guide, I would like to offer up a few comments that I learned through my experiences:

1- Work on the front cylinder first.

2- Follow the photographs above, (even though they are from the Rear Cylinder), to make your valve adjustment.

3-  When the valve adjustment is complete, LEAVE THE CYLINDER COVER OFF.

You will need to see the front cylinder cam shaft lobes for reference in regards to the Rear Cylinder.

That is how I messed up my valve adjustment!  No damage was done, I just lost a bunch of time because of the following facts:

The front cylinder measurement is taken at TDC.  The realignment of the front cylinder cam sprockets, (using the markings on the cam sprockets in conjunction with the Service Manual diagram), is  ALSO done at TDC.

The rear cylinder isn’t done that way……  That was how I made my mistake.

I completed the front cylinder job fairly quickly.  I figured that I would blow through the rear cylinder and go for a ride.  I spun the motor so the rear cylinder was at TDC, just like the front cylinder.  I quadruple checked my measurements on the rear exhaust valves, then released the pawl on the cam tensioner, removed the journal cover, removed the cam shaft, withdrew the buckets, pulled the old shims, measured them, made a trip to my dealer to swap for new shims……..

…..installed the new shims, installed the buckets, installed the cam shafts……..


Guess what, the rear cylinder cam shafts are not installed at TDC like the front cylinder cam shafts are installed!

[At this point, I strung together a whole new set of swear words that I have never used before.]

I returned to the Service Manual, (Page 3-103), and studied the diagram on that page.  I discovered that, the lobes of the rear cam shafts are NOT installed with them set at TDC.

The rear valve clearances are measured at TDC, but I had to rotate the motor so that the cam sprocket markings were aligned for installation, (like the diagram on page 3-103 of the Service Manual), before I removed them.

So, (This is the, “Important Step”), the front cylinder valves are measured and adjusted at TDC.  The rear cylinder valves are measured at TDC but adjusted at, (I haven’t a friggin’ clue), just use the diagram on page 3-103.

I got out of my mess by studying the diagrams in the Service Manual, (Pages 3-100, 3-103, and 3-105), and by looking at the positions of the lobes of the front cylinder, (that’s why you shouldn’t install the cylinder cover.  You may need to see the cam lobe positions for reference.), and by carefully spinning the motor until I could tell that the rear cams were back in sync with each other and with the front cams.

The bike runs fine.

A couple of final notes:

I could not find a torque specification for the cam chain guide in the Service Manual.  However, there is a “torque guide” on page 9 – 43 in the manual.  I measured the diameter of one of the chain guide bolts; 5.86mm, using my digital calipers.  I rounded that size up to 6mm and, using the chart, that led me to a torque specification of 7ft lbs for the cam chain guide bolts.  That is also the same torque specification for the journal cover bolts.  I felt okay about that.

Here was my method of getting to the, “all-hard-to-get-at” the rear cylinder, cam tensioner bolt for removal.

Here is the head of the tensioner bolt as seen by sighting down the right side of my motorcycle’s swingarm.

I did not remove my exhaust.

I did not remove my rear tire.

The dealership never installed the plastic “mud flap” that some of you riders have installed on the swingarm.

I do not have anABSbike.

Because I had previously replaced my worn out OEM rear shock, with a HyperPro shock, with NO remote preload valve installed, I could……

….remove the right rear passenger footrest bracket…..

…then I reached in with my 6″ long ratchet extension, equipped with the 3/8″ universal adaptor….

….and easily removed the tensioner bolt.

Piece of cake!

It is now late Winter 2012.  I need to do this job again; to check the valve clearances before I start another season.  If I learn anything new and exciting, I will update this post with that information!

Barry B.

“Black Lab”

Categories: Valve Check and Adjustment | 29 Comments

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