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Discussion Starter #1
A rattle in somewhere around the front cylinder when cold, it moves up the rev range as the engine warms before disappearing completely.

I'm on a long trip and currently in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, heading for the Pamir highway so my resources are pretty limited but I'm trying to figure out if it's going to be a serious problem, or just a new noise that's developed. (facebook.com/travellingent)

It started about 7 "riding" days ago, about 2000 miles, and I don't think it's gotten worse. It started the day after a very long, hot and bumpy day through Kazakhstan which certainly could have affected it, but I've done the same kind of day before and since that. One morning, no noise, the next morning, cold rattle.

I bought the bike at 7,500 and this noise kicked in at about 20,000 miles, almost all of that done on this trip.

I've checked all bolts in the area I can find easily for tightness, I've adjusted the Clutch Push-rod(?) very tight to ensure it's not that (then put it back again) the chain and sprockets, both tyres and oil have been replaced 800 miles ago with no change in the noise. It happens when still, in gear or not.

There is one bike mechanic in this town and though I couldn't replicate the noise with him perfectly (getting the bike cold during the 30 degree daytime is hard) he was very sure it wasn't a loose valve flapping around.

It is a little worrying since it came on suddenly and if it explodes I'm pretty stranded somewhere. Though all I've read about noises on DL650 is that they're pretty normal. The next 3 weeks is my best chance to fix or replace anything broken since I head through China and Pakistan for 2 months after here where parts and fixes are near impossible. India in 3 months time is the next place I could get things shipped in.

Any ideas of what it could be, with a solution or not, no need to argue on how likely they are, just ideas would be great, even anecdotal. At least I might be able to rule out what it isn't.

Thanks all!
 

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You have crash bars? Could it be that they have moved or have been bumped a little and have some harmonic rattle now?

Try to post a sound video link if you can. Somebody may have an idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You have crash bars? Could it be that they have moved or have been bumped a little and have some harmonic rattle now?

Try to post a sound video link if you can. Somebody may have an idea.
There are crash bars but it really doesn't sound like those. The bash plate took a BIG hit back in georgia and is bent out of shape underneath now, but that was about 3000 miles before the sound started so I don't think its related.

Here's a video youtube.com/watch?v=kDQDoY48vm0

You can hear it normal at idle then, as the revs build, it kicks in. Its hard to hear the direction in the video but it sounds very much like the front cylinder, not the head though.
 

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I could not get your link to work. Could it possibly be a clutch rattle? Does it stop when you pull the clutch in? My other thought was fuel octane - could it be the pinking rattle of poor fuel until the engine gets warm enough to ignite it correctly?
 

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I could not get your link to work. Could it possibly be a clutch rattle? Does it stop when you pull the clutch in? My other thought was fuel octane - could it be the pinking rattle of poor fuel until the engine gets warm enough to ignite it correctly?
No change with clutch unfortunately, even when I tried adjusting to the extremes both ways.

Fuel octane is a good idea, I thought about it, but I don't know enough about it or the effects of it. I used 95 for all that part of Kazakhstan, it certainly could have been less, listed at 95, that wouldn't surprise me, but I was filling up with it for 4 days before the noise started, at very similar licensed, chain petrol stations. Could it have been delayed that long? I certainly went through many tanks full.

I also rules it out because I wasn't aware it would go away with heat, is that how it works? easier to burn when it's warmed up? If so, that's certainly a good contender, because Russia would have had decent quality, while Kazakhstan certainly could have been worse. It explains the sudden change at least, even if it's a few days delayed.

I've dropped to 92 octane because I didn't notice much difference and it got quite a bit cheaper in south Kazakhstan. I'm heading to Tajikistan next so if anything the knocking should get worse because the fuel will be worse. But then I'll also be at altitude, getting fuel from bottles sometimes with dirt, so that ruins any conclusions. This isn't exactly great scientific work...
 

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With the clutch I meant does the noise disappear if you hold the clutch lever in while the engine is running?

And pinking or pre-ignition will be made worse with lower octane ratings, but should ease off as the revs rise. But I'm still thinking that fuel must be an obvious culprit.

Another thought was an exhaust leak between head and pipe which can make a noise quite unlike what you would expect. Do you get popping or backfiring when slowing on a closed throttle?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sorry, yes, I meant no change with anything I did with the clutch, lever in or out. I've read the manual recommends 87 octane? I think I only ever used 95 or 98 in the UK, now I'm using 95 or 92, so it shouldn't really matter? But yes, fuel does some the a likely cause if not the engine itself.

No popping or backfiring at all, all the bolts on the front cylinder exhaust are tight, as are any shields and other brackets. I haven't checked the rear yet though.
 

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Sorry I am out of ideas but still suspect fuel. As long as the bike is performing O.K. I would just be very light on the throttle until the bike warms and the rattle goes away, and turn up the radio. 0:)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Sorry I am out of ideas but still suspect fuel. As long as the bike is performing O.K. I would just be very light on the throttle until the bike warms and the rattle goes away, and turn up the radio. 0:)
Haha! That's been my approach thus far. It seems the Stroms often get rattles and noises. If I was just commuting back an forth in London like usual, I wouldn't care at all, the performance feels about the same and it's not unexpected starting from cold. It's just my remoteness that make me more concerned! Any serious problem in the next couple of months has some bad consequences. Once I reach India, a bad problem becomes an annoyance, rather than a disaster.

Thanks so much for your help!
 

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Here is the sound link

I have no idea what it is and if its serious or not.

Are you burning oil?

Did you check the plugs to see if one is fouled? Could it be carbon buildup on the piston?

I think you Dl650 does not need high octane fuel. Pinging occurs when the engine is hot under hard load, basically the engine becomes a diesel, self igniting before the spark. The detonation hits the piston as it still travels up and causes the ping. Not good for the components hit by that pressure wave. Not your scenario.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Are you burning oil?

Did you check the plugs to see if one is fouled? Could it be carbon buildup on the piston?

I think you Dl650 does not need high octane fuel. Pinging occurs when the engine is hot under hard load, basically the engine becomes a diesel, self igniting before the spark. The detonation hits the piston as it still travels up and causes the ping. Not good for the components hit by that pressure wave. Not your scenario.
No oil being burned since it started at all, and it's been changed to boot.

I changed the spark plugs too 800 miles ago, I forgot to mention, no change in sound from old to new. They looked very used but no problems at all comparing with the chart for Iridium NGK plugs. No deposits or blackness, just brown marks evenly on all of them around the white tip.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The mystery continues. I just got back to Osh after 7 days on the Pamir, gruelling roads, very high altitude (4500m max, 3000m average) and temperatures from 5c to 45c. The rattle is still present on cold starts. If it was over 35c when starting in the morning though I couldn't hear it. That seems like the point at which it goes away.

I'll keep an eye on it but it doesn't seem any worse so far.
 

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Try listening for the source of the noise using a large screwdriver as a stethoscope - handle end in your ear, move the blade to different points on the motor and listen. You'd be surprised what you can hear.
If its not getting worse its probably not a big issue.
 

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Going through something similar myself. I've been told the cam chain tensioner may be to blame. Looking into manual adjusters but I don't see how to adjust them! Something about high rpm and closing the throttle can mess with OEM adjusters.

And cam to journal clearance may be an issue also.
 
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