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California Winter Project K7 DL650A

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Day 1:

Here is my intro post over in the general forum.
http://www.stromtrooper.com/general-v-strom-discussion/230042-back-two-wheels-w-project-bike.html

I am finally off and running on my winter project to go through my recently acquired K7 DL650A. It was maintained (wear items only) but not serviced so there is a lot of work to do to get it ready for the Spring. I bought it the day before Halloween but the project was delayed for a weekend or two since the weather was so great in early November, low 70's, that I had to ride it. First time on two wheels since college 30 years ago. What a thrill and I can't wait till Spring!

I thought I would start with something simple. However, before I could start I had to make some room so I repaired a couple of bicycles that were just taking up space in my garage and soon will be sold via craigslist. Who needs a peddle bicycle when you have a V-Strom? (rhetorical question, BTW).

Anyway, the PO dropped the bike and there was damage to the right front blinker, left rear blinker and the front brake lever and some cosmetic damage. The brake lever is a simple R&R and I don't have the part so I put that on hold. I decided to remove and inspect the left rear blinker stalk since I assumed it would need to be replaced. One of my goals was to start wading through a pile of old tools that I inherited and I figured removing the blinker stalk was a good place to start. I immediately discovered most of the tools are SAE not metric. So off to Home Depot I go to get metric hex sockets, hex T-bars and a pick and probe set all Husky brand. I don't know if they are any good but they were cheap at $35 total, all on sale for Christmas already. It took me a while but I also found a metric crescent wrench, but it wasn't on sale so that set me back a few dollars.

Using a youtube video for guidance, I was able to remove the rear fender and remove the rear left blinker stalk which was cracked. I had an old 25W soldering iron around and I used it to "weld" the crack in the stalk inside and out, and just to be sure, put some silicone sealant inside to prevent any leaks. Emboldened by this success, I decided to tackle the front right blinker stalk which was also cracked. I was able to weld the crack "in place" using my soldering iron to fix the front blinker stalk. The yellow lens was broke so I will need to track down one of those to finish that off.

The good news is that the project has officially started and I only burned my self twice with the solder iron. My plan is to work on the bike every Saturday until its done.
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Great write up. Thanks for all the details. I will reference your work when I dive into my 08 Strom.
I too miss Sky Line and Alice's restaurant. I previously lived in Pleasanton and Livermore.
Spent a lot of mornings riding my cruiser thru the treeline vistas.
Cheers, David C.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Great write up. Thanks for all the details. I will reference your work when I dive into my 08 Strom. I too miss Sky Line and Alice's restaurant. I previously lived in Pleasanton and Livermore. Spent a lot of mornings riding my cruiser thru the treeline vistas.
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. When I first joined (sans Strom) I liked reading these project posts as it gave me a good understanding of the bike before I ever owned one or wrenched on mine so just paying it back.

I'm starting to get the riding itch but my bike is still laid up for the "winter" in June. I drive my car up on Skyline sometimes and its nice but so much nicer on two wheels. The weather hasn't been great for riding but that will probably change soon. I am thinking of breaking my project into three phases.

  • Phase I = rear end, wheel and etc, cam/valves, brakes, cables
  • Phase II = steering bearing, front wheel, forks, electrical mods
  • Phase III = clutch, water pump, other
Between Phase I & II I could put it all back together and scratch my itch and run it for a few thousand miles. All those parts on my moving pad looks intimidating to reassemble so the sooner I get those back on the bike the better before I forget what goes where.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Week 30

Disaster! Project DOA. Ebay to the rescue.

My sliding-hammer bearing puller arrived late Friday and I gave a half-hearted attempt to pull a cushion-lever bearing as proof-of-concept but I couldn't do it so I gave up. Saturday morning I decided to start with the rear wheel bearings for practice and they came right out without a struggle and the bearing puller worked as advertised.

Emboldened by my success, I decided to try and pull the smaller bearings where the dog-bones attach to the swing arm. Disaster struck immediately and instead of pulling the bearing out whole it just ripped the needles and cage out and even tore the front lip off the bearing thus leaving the hardened-steel race stuck in its bore which did not budge. I didn't know it at the time but this was a fatal error. There is no lip in the back of the bearing for the collet to grip or to drive the bearing out from the other side with a chisel or drift. With the guts of the bearing gone there was nothing for the 17mm collet to grip and without the front lip nothing for it to really drive against. I went up to the 20mm collet and was able to wedge that in against the race. The general internet consensus was apply heat so I fired up my propane torch and heated the bore area of the swing arm. Heat then hammer, heat then hammer, then nothing. This went on for some time and all that would happen is the collet would pull out from the race which would not move.

More internet advice on stuck races is that sometimes you have to cut them to get them out. So I used my Dremel with a carbide cutting ball and was able to start cutting a slot in the race to release it. However, no matter how careful I was I couldn't help but score the underlying aluminum bore metal of the swing arm which was worrying. It was getting late and my carbide bit was getting worn so I thought I'd better regroup and tackle that stuck race another day. I moved on to the other dog-bone bearing and the main swing arm bearings which all came out just fine. Then I went to tackle the cushion-lever bearings and one came out just fine but as I was pulling the second bearing the palm of my hand got pinched between the hammer and the stop at the end of the rod. Yikes! did that hurt and I was even wearing leather gloves. Here is my handiwork;



That was a clear sign to call it a day. I think these bearing pullers should come with two warnings; Warning! Dangerous Blood Blister Potential and Do Not Use If Over 50 Years Old. This latter warning is because the next morning after all that hammering my hands, wrists and shoulders are really sore. I think bearing pulling is a young man's job.

After sleeping on it over night I was faced with the conclusion that I just totaled my project bike as I probably would need a new swing arm. It occurred to me, recalling my stress fracture classes back in college, that cutting into the bore (even just surface scratches) was probably dangerous as it would create crack-tip propagation failure. Even if I could get the bearing race out a new bearing would put the scratches under tension, like Mode I here [pic credit to wikipedia];


So with press-fit bearing hoop stess plus expected fluctuating suspension loads the swing arm could fracture and fail catastrophically. I checked out parts sites and got the price on a Suzuki swing arm at around $1000. But today was my lucky day as I went to Ebay and found a 2011 swing arm (including bearings) with only 800 miles for $80 shipped, project saved! In retrospect I should have just taken my swing arm and cushion-lever to a mechanic and paid someone to do that work. Live and learn.

Up Next: Seals, sprocket, chain, etc are on the way so as soon as those arrive (and my "new" swing arm) I am hoping to get the rear end put back together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 · (Edited)
Week 70

The project that wouldn't die. My last update was way back in June 2015. I got a nasty blood blister trying to remove rear suspension bearings so I took a break for a few weeks but then work obligations took precedence over my hobbies. By the time work settled down the end of the riding season was near so I didn't press to finish and am now shooting for the 2016 riding season. I did work off and on during those months but nothing worth posting about, mostly just removing and cleaning things. The weather was great in Feb so I got a lot done in the past few weeks, its rainy and cold today so I thought it would be a good time to update my saga.

Here is a short list of things repaired so far;
  1. Rebuilt starter motor.
  2. Installed new fuel pump inlet strainer.
  3. Refurbished all the switches on the handle bars, including the ignition switch. I had a locksmith rekey my ignition and Givi top case so one key works ignition, tank, seat and topcase.
  4. Cleaned up some ratty looking harness wiring and abrasions, cleaned connectors & etc. The main harness was wearing against the frame piece that crosses behind the rear cylinder so I pulled that up to inspect and retape and put down some rubber splicer's tape on the frame to protect it. I had trouble getting the wiring to lay back down and had it routed wrong. Pictures on ST didn't really help as I really need to see it in 3D and RD (real def). Shout out to fellow ST'er BluesCruizer for letting me peak under his seat and take some pictures. Got the new battery installed (no acid yet), all the relays and junction boxes and the ECU back in place.
  5. Cleaned, painted and greased (as needed) oil cooler guard, center stand, side stand, engine guards, foot peg mounts and too many parts to remember.
  6. With all the discussion of Regulator/Rectifier heat I pulled my R/R and tried to clean off the road grime but it look horrible when I was done. So I wrapped the wires in a nitrile glove and taped off the potted area in the back and took it to the man who powder coated my calipers. He took the R/R and some rusted bolts I also had with me to his work area and gave it a quick sand blast so now it looks good and he only charged me $5.
  7. R&R'd the fuel rail hose and sent my fuel injectors in for cleaning. I figured after sitting for a year they might be plugged up and I didn't want to have to go back in after all this work.
  8. Shimmed the front gas tank mount pivot with a piece of aluminum from a beer can (Heineken, for the record).

Here are some updated pictures with comments;



Here you can see in the lower left the shocks which have been cleaned up and awaiting parts. The upper chrome slides were pretty rusty when I pulled them off but some Scotchbright removed that and some 500 grit sand paper removed the burrs that might damage the seals. One shock cleaned up great, and with WD40 and nitrile gloves you can really feel even a tiny burr and then knock it down with sanding. Unfortunately, one of the shock tubes has two pits too deep to sand. I am going to try a tip I found on youtube to fill and sand these pits with some epoxy and see if I can get a smooth surface for the seals. On the lower shock piece, I damaged the threads getting one of the fender bolts off and I am going to fill it with epoxy and then drill and tap it. The R/R looks brand new. To the right of the orange cargo strap there is some flaking paint on the frame. I will touch this up before the tupperware goes back on. I had a heck of a time getting the top triple clamp off. It took days of pounding, heating and soaking with penetrating oil. Once it was off it was no surprise since the whole thing was pretty rusty. You can see my bottom triple clamp all cleaned up on my work bench in the background. The bearing races in the frame came out pretty easy and they were dimpled and a little rusty so I am glad I am replacing these parts. Installed is the muffler with ceramic coated high-temp paint. You can see the Red Baron Red rear caliper peeking out from behind the muffler. It looks orangish in the picture but "live" it is really a sharp red color. I rebuilt the caliper and rear master cylinder but haven't actually bled the system yet. I did install new steel brake lines, not so much for performance but because the originals were looking "done". The old brake line had an aluminum/fabric tube to protect it from the heat of the rear exhaust. Here is picture;



I tried to save the heat guard from the original brake line but it got damaged in the process. Its on the right in that picture and it was about twice as long before I mauled it getting it off, its pretty fragile from basking in the heat of the exhaust pipe. Since Suzuki deemed a heat guard important I decided I'd best follow their lead. Install on the new rear brake line is a thermal sleeve to protect spark plug wires. Its super high-temp and flexible fabric and has a metal ring inside that fits and hold against the fitting just fine. Here is a picture of it installed, you can see how close the rear exhaust is to that brake line;



The next picture is from the LHS of the bike;



You can see the whole rear end has been rebuilt, installed and back on the center stand. New chain, sprockets, swing arm, cushion lever, rebuilt DL1000 shock. I never did get the stuck bearing races out of the swingarm or the cushion lever and I replaced both with parts off ebay. The swingarm was $80 shipped and the cushion lever was $60 shipped and since these parts were from a low mileage part-out they looked brand new and the installed bearings were fine. I did use new "spacers" or bearing race sleeves and returned the unused bearings for refund. The swingarm was "totaled" by my efforts to extract the bearing race. I'm going to take it to a recycler and see how much I can get for scrap aluminum to further defray my costs. Here is a close up of the front sprocket area;



It looks nice and clean, no more leaks (I hope!). I replaced all the seals and that is a new clutch cable. I haven't buttoned it up yet and still need to torque the front sprocket nut and adjust the clutch and etc. One interesting thing I found was that the lower engine mount castle nut was loose so I had to splurge on the special socket to torque that down before completing this area. Here's what it looks like from the top with all the electrics back in...



Up Next: I've got front shock parts on the way, I still need to remove the steering stem bearing race from the bottom triple clamp and I am gearing up to wrestle the thermostat housing and hoses back in between the cylinders. Lots to do...

Update: Injector cleaning results posted to maintenance forum Injectors Serviced (results)
 

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Good on ya for sticking with it this long. The three bikes I own at present all came home in the back of the truck; non-runners. Each one got a winter-long, frame-up rebuild. Now I know those bikes really well and have great comfort hanging myself out there all alone in remote places. It's good to know your machine. You're almost there. So is spring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
It's good to know your machine. You're almost there. So is spring.
Yeah, I feel confident after having gone through it that it won't let me down. Its been a bit of a slog but I see light at the end of the tunnel. I enjoy wrenching but can't wait to ride it again and I am starting to feel the "go" fever. Now that daylight savings is here things should move quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Week 75: Ignition!

The last few weeks have been a complete blur. Every spare moment I've spent on wrapping up the project that would not end. Yesterday (Saturday) I finally got all the critical components installed, juiced a new battery and fired it up for the first time in 16 months. I can't tell you how great it was to see the speedo/tach needles sweep! The good news is it fired right up after purging air in the fuel lines, ran perfectly smooth and sounded great. Even better, so far no leaks and no error codes! Today (Sunday) I completed the radiator purge, slapped on the tupperware (took this rookie about two hours) and then went for a ride on Skyline Blvd and loved it. Here are some pics from Saturday without the pretty pieces.





That mark under the bike is just spilled distilled water, I flushed the radiator with two gallons of d-water then filled it with Zerex antifreeze. I'll follow up later with more details over the last few weeks and wrap up this thread with final comments and pics.
 

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The last few weeks have been a complete blur. Every spare moment I've spent on wrapping up the project that would not end. Yesterday (Saturday) I finally got all the critical components installed, juiced a new battery and fired it up for the first time in 16 months. I can't tell you how great it was to see the speedo/tach needles sweep! The good news is it fired right up after purging air in the fuel lines, ran perfectly smooth and sounded great. Even better, so far no leaks and no error codes! Today (Sunday) I completed the radiator purge, slapped on the tupperware (took this rookie about two hours) and then went for a ride on Skyline Blvd and loved it. Here are some pics from Saturday without the pretty pieces.











That mark under the bike is just spilled distilled water, I flushed the radiator with two gallons of d-water then filled it with Zerex antifreeze. I'll follow up later with more details over the last few weeks and wrap up this thread with final comments and pics.


The bike looks amazing. Great job!
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Almost Done

The bike looks amazing. Great job!
Thanks. I am very happy with the way it turned out. Here it is with the hand guards and the side panels installed, just before my ride on Skyline Blvd. The only parts left are the crash bars which I will probably install this weekend if it goes the whole week without leaks or other issues.

 

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Discussion Starter · #30 · (Edited)
The End

Some final comments on my project bike that was a lot of fun and a lot of work and more than a few $.

Recap: Week 70+

I skipped a lot of steps between Week70 and Week75/Ignition because I was too busy to post.

I cleaned the front shock tubes (upper and lower) with kerosene and made a giant Q-Tip by taping some paper towels to a yard stick. There was a lot of sludge at the bottom of both the inner and outer tubes and I don't think the tubes were ever serviced in 80K miles. The kero dissolved the sludge and the Q-Tip cleaned it out pretty quickly then I rinsed with rubbing alcohol which would remove the kero and evaporate without contaminating my fresh fork oil. Seals, guides and new springs all went in without a hitch.

I took the lower steering stem triple clamp to place called Moto Guild in San Jose. (They have a shop in SF and Chicago and are expanding). The SJ shop has four workstations with complete tool set and bike lifts. I just needed a work bench to remove the lower bearing race and bang on the new bearing and (with the right tools) everything went smoothly. I worked with Patrick and he was very helpful and guided me through the whole process. He showed my his project bike and I learned that he damaged his swing arm trying to get the bearings out just like I did. His bike is an older model and replacing the swing arm was not an option and he is braver than me when it comes to swing arm damage. I also balanced my front wheel and picked up wheel weights for my rear wheel that I balanced on the bike. All told I was there for over 2 hours and it only cost $31 including the wheel weights.

I purchased new throttle cables but when I went to install them it looked really difficult and I just didn't have the power/motivation (plus go fever). I inspected the cables and they looked fine and there was no fraying wires at either end. I lubed the throttle linkages and the ball ends and decided to leave it alone. While lubing the linkages I discovered that both the primary and secondary butterflies were pretty gummed up and didn't move smoothly at all. I had to sprits the butterfly shafts with WD40 to free them up and then they worked fine. Later, when I installed the head light structure, I discovered that one of the throttle cables was wearing against the headlight mount. It wasn't worn all the way through and I think its fine so I taped it off with some electrical tape and put a piece of rubber splicer's tape on the frame were it was rubbing with a light coat of silicon grease to minimize wear. While adjusting the throttle after I had everything back together I realized I should have done the "major" adjustment down at the throttle bodies. I was able to get the adjustment close but the screws at the throttle handle are at their limit. Its on my list the next time I have to pull the tank.

I'd say the two most difficult steps in this project (apart from pulling press-fit bearings, a skill I just don't have) was getting all the wires that run over the radiator shroud installed and installing the airbox. Lots of wires in tight spaces and I don't have small hands. I struggled with these tasks for a couple of hours and I am hopeful that I will never have to pull that airbox again!

Epilogue

Here is a list of all that I completed on this project in 16 long months: SS brake lines, rebuilt calipers with new caliper carriages, new front pads (rears were fine), rebuilt F/R master cylinders, rebuilt front shocks with upgraded spring rate, rebuilt/resprung DL1000 shock on the rear, fork brace, new wheel bearings F/R, new sprocket drum bearing and cushions, new clutch cable and lever, refurbished blinker stalks and all handlebar and ignition switches (FYI, the left handlebar switch is an engineering marvel and very difficult to rebuild), Eastern Beaver headlight relay, handle bar cig socket running off the heated grip connector, a cig socket digital volt meter (charging system is fine, I'll probably hardwire it and move this down into the recess below the ignition to free up the cig socket to charge my GPS), steering stem tapered roller bearings, new airfilter and fuel inlet strainer, new seals for the gas cap, fresh cams (from a K7 with 9000 miles), new valve cover gaskets, new cam chain tensioner gaskets and oil jet o-ring, new clutch plunger seal, new counter shaft seal and o-ring, decarboned the pair valves, new fuel rail hose and clamps, professionally cleaned fuel injectors, new breather sponge with catch-can mod, rekeyed ignition so one key operates all locks (PO had replaced the ignition switch), new radiator hoses and clamps, thermostat and radiator cap, rebuilt starter motor, new OEM chain and sprockets(16/47 F/R), new battery, Seatconcepts seat cover and foam, MPH correcting speedo face plate, new swingarm and cushion-lever bearings.

And here are the final numbers;
Necessary Parts: $1800
Optional Parts: $800
Parts I Damaged: $150
Supplies: $400
Outside Service: $570
Tools: $680

Supplies are things like oil, antifreeze, rags, alcohol, sandpaper, sealant, epoxy, paint, kerosene, gloves, greases, brake fluid, etc. Tools included some specialty items for Suzuki but also basic tools like allen sockets, torque wrench, open-end wrenches, feeler gauges, etc. I really didn't have much in the way of metric tools when I started but I have a well-stocked tool box now. Outside Service was for powder/ceramic coating, sandblasting, injector cleaning, shop time, locksmith, etc. The necessary parts were all the bearing, cams, shims, gaskets, cables, etc. that had to be replaced. The optional parts were parts I probably could have gotten away with not replacing but decided to do it while I was in there. For example I went with new OEM chains and sprockets even though the old chain and sprockets were not at end of life. I probably didn't need new brake lines or the speedbleeders, speedo face plate, front caliper carriers, etc. but I am glad I did these items. The main parts that I damaged were the swing arm and I never was able to pull the bearings out of the cushion lever so I just bought these off ebay. There was a couple of dust seals and gaskets that I had to reorder because I damaged them while trying to install them. I have a few parts that others might be able to use so I am hoping to recoup some of these costs by selling my used but still serviceable parts in a post-project sale.

Final Comments

I am very happy with the way my bike turned out.



I now know my bike inside and out and after I iron out a few post-project issues (leaky water pump seal and off-idle surging, probably needs TBS & TPS set), I'd trust it on a cross-country trip. I really love the MPH corrected speedo face plate and the taller gearing with the 16T front sprocket. The bike has plenty of grunt down low and isn't as buzzy at freeway speeds. I also highly recommend getting the speed bleeders and the master cylinder banjo bleeder if you are ever doing any brake work. The last time I bled brakes (on a car) it was a frustrating nightmare so I was dreading this task but the speed bleeders made it really easy. The SeatConcepts seat is much more comfortable than the (trashed) OEM seat but I might be looking at bar risers to get my position really dialed in. One lesson learned is to be careful with the "while I'm in there..." principle with a project like this. I spent way more than I intended and its a bit of a risk with the motor at 80K. Hopefully it will keep running for a while and I will get my money's worth. Make a budget and stick to it if you go down this path.

BTW, thanks to everyone who contributes to this site in asking or answering questions. I would never have embarked on this project (and bitten off more than I could chew) without this website as a resource. Special thanks to GW and Black Lab Adventures for their knowledgeable contributions and tutorials.

Up Next Ride it! My sig says my next ride will be a 2014 DL650A (in red, of course) but I think as long as this engine holds up I think I will stick with my 80K mile, California Winter Project bike.

Fini

 

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