First day as a Stromster, bike died... - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
DL650 and DL650A - 2004 to 2011 DL650 from 2004-2006 (K4-K6) and DL650 or DL650A from 2007-2011 (K7-L1)

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post #1 of 68 Old 05-16-2017, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
Junior Trooper
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Reno, NV
Posts: 10
First day as a Stromster, bike died...

Hi, folks. My intro thread is not as pleasant as I had imagined it would be- I`m equal parts confused, pissed off and frustrated, with a double helping of lost. A huge amount of facts and theories have crossed my path over the past 48 hours, and I don`t know what is relevant or what is just due to my mind spinning in circles, so I`m going to try to put it all down and it`s going to be long. Sorry about that, and anybody who gives up on reading what is probably going to be a very long post, I don`t blame you!

I just bought a 2008 650A with a little under 30K miles and a few battle scars. It ran fine on a short test ride, then ran fine for the first half hour of the trip home including a good bit of elevation change (probably 1500 ft overall climb) and outstanding acceleration on a particular freeway onramp that is very short and up about as steep a grade as is ever found on an interstate. I pulled into a gas station not noticing anything wrong until I stalled the bike trying to get going again. Started it right back up and stalled it again. Started one more time, idled it for a few seconds, attempted to rev it in neutral and it stalled. I did a quick check for electrical plugs that might have come undone, wiggled things around, even opened the fuel cap just in case, and kept getting the same result- it would start easily and idle just fine, but as soon as I opened the throttle it would bog and die. Called my wife to come back (she had just filled up at the same pump and left before I was ready to go), pushed the bike out of the way, and called the kid who had sold it to me to see if he had ever experienced anything similar. He told me he had not, but was on his way to my location and would take a look himself as apparently a somewhat experienced mechanic. Cool, very nice of him.

Really strange situation when he showed up. He arrived and went through mostly the same things I had done plus a couple other mysterious checks and went ahead starting it and stalling it over and over. At one point, it DID seem to clear up enough that he managed to ride it up the slope in the parking lot and back down, then it was back to stalling. He said "F*k, it jumped time!" I don`t know much about internal combustion engines, but I remember that it seems to me a rather bizarre conclusion to jump to given the situation. He told me the engine was shot and he couldn`t screw anybody over, got on his cell phone and I heard him telling somebody to bring the money. Then we went back to discussing exactly what I had done (just filled tank and reset trip OD) and he wanted to make sure I had used high octane. I had not, and I told him that. I do remember him telling me earlier that he always used premium gas and blahblah oil, but I disregarded that info because I was almost positive that all DLs were spec`d for 87. Well, maybe I was wrong about that, so I bought a bottle of octane booster and dumped in an unmeasured amount. We shook it the best we could, but it was not any better. At that point he seemed to change his mind about refunding my money (no idea what happened to the person who was supposedly on the way with it) and more or less told me I was on my own. Okay, end of that part of the story.

I left the bike there that night and drove home with my wife, went back yesterday morning with my pickup and brought it home. After taking care of my Monday chores and a good nap, I tried to start it once again. It started to turn over, then a loud clunk, and it stopped. Further attempts just gave me clicking. I did NOT like that clunk and started thinking back on the crazy kid`s mention of it having jumped time, but... maybe that had just been my imagination making too much of the regular solenoid and started noises? No way to back up and listen to it again. The battery was low for sure after all those starts and no running, so I hooked it up to a battery tender and started removing tupperware until I ran out of light. Made my lunch and got ready for work (graveyard shift), watched a few YouTube vids about tank removal and fuel filter replacement, then went to work and left the bike charging all night. This morning it is fully charged and pushing the starter just gives a minor clunk (nothing like what I think I heard yesterday) and that`s it. Congratulation, done with all the symptoms.

So now I`m at a loss, stuck between two completely different scenarios. On one hand, I had pretty much come to the conclusion that filling the tank must have stirred up some "tank crumbs" that were wreaking havoc with the fuel filter. How else would it have gone from awesome to crap instantly with the only difference being that I had filled the tank? On the other hand, it certainly has something preventing it from turning over now, and what the heck gave that kid the idea that the timing had jumped? One thing for sure, I`m not about to even invest $30 in a new fuel filter until I get the engine to crank over. I`m open to any suggestions from people in the know, but my main questions for now are about how timing works and what symptoms might occur if it is seriously off. Specifically, could it be POSSIBLE (leaving probabilities aside for now) that the bike jumped a tooth or a few teeth to cause the initial problem, then jumped some more to cause one of the cylinders to come up against the valves and stop? And although it`s kind of a moot point, could a half knowledgeable person with bad intentions somehow spot something that suggests an engine is on the verge of jumping time? Maybe knows that a cam chain tensioner isn`t working right or something? On a different note, what else could case the engine to suddenly not want to turn over? I`m going to try cranking it by hand, but pretty sure I need to remove at least one plug from each cylinder to do that, correct? And then it seems to me that turning the crank shaft CCW is actually forward, or do I have that part backwards?

Phew! I think that`s finally all for now. Congratulations and thank you to anybody who managed to read through my whole novel. Again, sorry to make it so long, I just wanted to be sure I didn`t skip anything that might be a helpful clue.
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post #2 of 68 Old 05-16-2017, 12:16 PM
Brojon's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Great State of Texas
Posts: 760
Utter BS that the fuel had anything to do with it.
Sorry to say but you were played as demonstrated by nobody showing up with cash - it was a pretend call.
I'm betting he knew something was on last legs.
You have a bill of sale take him to court if you have to - it might even qualify for small claims.

"The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it."
George Orwell

2015 DL650
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post #3 of 68 Old 05-16-2017, 01:04 PM
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 100
Suggesting a cam jumping out of time also makes me suspicious. Maybe he troubleshot it and knew something? But then again it ran for a half hour.

I would pull a spark plug from each cylinder and the plug on the left side case. Manually turn the engine to see if it turns smooth. Also look at the spark plugs you removed, what color are they (white, tan, brown or black)? If it rotates freely, do a compression check. That's where I would start.

As far as the guy that sold it, I think he knew the problem with it. But then again why did he even show up to look at it? In CA, I know the law is "as is" buyer beware, unless a warranty is promised. Not sure what NV law is.
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post #4 of 68 Old 05-16-2017, 01:07 PM
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: NC
Posts: 72
Curious what you paid for it, if you care to share?
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post #5 of 68 Old 05-16-2017, 04:05 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: north east, Buffalo NY area
Posts: 1,075
Maybe a broken cam chain? Very unusual I think but him mentioning jumping a tooth on the timing chain may indicate that he had issues with that. I think very difficult to jump a tooth unless there is no chain tensioner or its not functioning.

You need to see if it turns over by hand. If not it's probably time to search for a used engine unless you are a good mechanic to rebuild the engine.
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post #6 of 68 Old 05-16-2017, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
Junior Trooper
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Reno, NV
Posts: 10
Thanks for taking the time, guys. It sounds like you are all thinking along more or less the same lines as I am, which makes me feel at least not crazy.

Yeah, by the time I got calmed down and started thinking a little more clearly, I started doubting he actually talked to anybody on the phone. But then he did show up at the gas station. WTF would he even answer my call, let alone go and make himself look even more fishy? Don`t make any sense. And that it ran beautifully until I filled the tank and instantly went to crap also leads to it being a coincidence. To figure which path is a red herring is why I asked here if it could be possible for jumped timing to exhibit that symptom- start and idle without being able to open up. Still would like to know if that sounds possible to people more experienced with engines. Anybody on that one?

I don`t know about legalities either- fine, informed buyer I am, eh? I have never attempted or even considered taking anybody to court until the later part of this current problem when I started putting two and two together, these "twos" being that the engine stopped even turning and the weird, seemingly out of the blue comment about it having jumped time before anything seemed to support that idea. I have not called anybody yet for legal advice, but if that CA "buyer beware" policy seems to be pretty solid, doubt I have much chance. Still need to get more specific info on the bike before calling anyone for the legal side of things.

Mickeys, I`m in NV but bought the bike on your turf, Granite Bay. My route home took me up Auburn-Folsom and I got on I-80 in downtown Auburn. You might know that onramp. For as short and steep as it is, to get effortlessly me up to traffic speed by the top if it was a delight. From there I ran only as far as Foresthill Rd, where I filled up.

Yes, if I can`t get the buyer to buy it back, replacing the engine seems like my best option. I turn wrenches here and there, but have very limited experience with engines, have never torn one that far apart. Besides the lack of knowledge, it would drag on for a long time, and I have only a dirt/gravel driveway and my wife`s carport to work in and it`s a windprone area with more loose dust around than asphalt and grass. Not a good place to leave an opened engine sitting around indefinitely.

Checking to see if it will actually turn by hand I can pull off okay, that`s where I`m heading next. Sounds like I do have to get a plug out of each cylinder first. It looks to me that I have to remove the tank to do that. Is there a way to avoid tank removal that I am not seeing? And is CCW on the crankshaft forward?

Brisky, I paid $4000. If they show up every day at much lower prices in your area, please don`t tell me about it! Have been watching Reno CL for quite a while and not seeing a good buy. Better looking deals frequently in bigger markets (Sacramento or SanFrancisco), but that takes a tank of gas and a half day to a full day of time just to look and see, so until this one popped up right before we already had a trip planned to the area, I had not gone on the road.
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post #7 of 68 Old 05-17-2017, 01:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Bremerton, Washington
Posts: 847
Sounds like your initial running problem was fuel related, or lack of fuel, actually. Fuel filter issues are fairly common. You can test fuel flow without running the engine. There are threads on that in this forum. The clunk sounds like your starter solonoid. If it ran great at the on ramp, the engine is likely fine. Jumping the timing a tooth or two is something I haven't heard of on the forum yet. Doesn't seem likely. Pull the left engine cover off and check the starter. If the engine turns over smoothly and the starter is OK, you might need some very experienced Strom mechanic to have a look. Oh, and check fuel flow. Getting it to turn over won't help much if your filter is clogged. It will be very helpful for you to download or print a repair manual on the bike. You can find them for free. Just search around or ask the question on the forum here.

You've had some really bad luck. I wish there was a simple answer. Perhaps Grey Wolfe can help.
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post #8 of 68 Old 05-17-2017, 07:45 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 281
It could just be bad gas... That's the simplest thing to try and that was the last thing that changed. Drain the tank and then try again. Make sure the battery sits on a trickle charger for 24hrs. Look in the tank with a flashlight. Any rust?

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Previous rides: 2012 KLX250S, 2006 VT1100C2, 2002 KX125, 1999 SV650, 1987 GPZ305
Bikes I wish I had: Ducati 916, Harley Road King, KTM 500 EXC, BMW R1200RT, Honda CRF1000L, BMW R75

Last edited by marcham; 05-17-2017 at 07:47 AM.
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post #9 of 68 Old 05-17-2017, 07:48 AM Thread Starter
Junior Trooper
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Reno, NV
Posts: 10
Some very helpful insight there, Bobby. I had not considered that the starter could be bad. Also found good stuff following up on your fuel flow test suggestion. The unfortunate thing with that is the part about the $30 filter not usually being the problem, but more often a 100+ jobber integrated into the regulator, if I understood correctly! Still less than an engine.

I thought I was calmed down enough to get started on this when I posted originally, but I am doubting that now. Going to take a break from it, do some maint on my trusty DR650, and take a nice ride with friends this weekend, try to keep my mind on other things. Hopefully by next week I`ll be ready to deal with it in a more reasonable manner. I still plan to start by attempting to turn over with a wrench, and will add a fuel flow check while I have the bike apart.

Thanks, all.
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post #10 of 68 Old 05-17-2017, 09:17 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 3,200
If it were me the first thing I would do is take that tank off, turn it upside down and empty all the gas out of it. Then put a half gallon in, swish it around, and dump that out too. Then put three our four gallons of premium gas from a known good station and some sea foam in the tank. If it cranks and starts running fill the tank and make sure to put sea foam in the next full tank.

What it sounds like is he put fresh gas on top of crappy "sat over the winter" gas and when you ran the tank empty you sucked up trash from the tank. Then you stopped and had the unfortunate experience of buying pitiful gas.

As for suing the guy good luck with that. He gave you opportunity to inspect the bike and ride the bike. And not only did you say you rode it you said it had great acceleration until you "put gas in it" over 30 minutes later. Bikes are prone to getting trash in the tanks due to sitting over the winter. If he rarely let it get to empty but didn't keep it full I believe this is what you are experiencing. That and you probably need a new battery, which is also common upon buying a bike.

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