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Discussion Starter #1
There's no real mystery here, the engine was low on oil and the topmost parts were the first to go. Post mortem shows that the rear cylinder intake camshaft journal seized up. The bearing surface of the aluminum head is galled and unusable, so I am shopping for a used cylinder head.

But I would like to understand better why my valve timing is so far off. The '04 Vee has a chain driven idler gear that drives the 2 camshafts. I can rotate the crankshaft until the gear timing marks align with the top edge of the cylinder head exactly as described in the Haynes manual. But when I do that I see 2 things:

1) looking through the inspection port to the surface of the rotor I am nowhere remotely close to the F|T mark (or the R|T mark for that matter.) I am about 1-1/3 crankshaft turns away from the mark. So I am pretty sure the chain slipped on its sprockets. Maybe that is normal for a seized camshaft.

2) the lobes of the intake camshaft are nowhere near the position described in the manual (p. 2.22) The exhaust lobes are right where they should be, "nine o'clock," but my intake lobes are not at "11:30" as show in the diagram but rather at "6:30" actuating the valves. So I have to conclude that the camshaft has spun relative to the gear. Again maybe this is normal behavior and part of the Suzuki engineering to prevent worse damage.

So I know I need a head with valves and camshaft because the bearing in the head is shot and at least my intake camshaft has rotated relative to it gear. Question is will I want to replace cam chain, guides, tensioner and lower sprocket? I ordered the 20mm bolt to take the rotor off this weekend and complete the inspection.

Funny that the one camshaft to get out of alignment happens to be the one that actuates the position sensor. Since the bike un-seized immediately and turns over effortlessly I was wondering why the bike wouldn't start on one cylinder. Now I know.

Thanks in advance for any insights and yes I will be better at checking my oil level from now on!
 

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That sounds awful Andy. You obviously have way more skills than me, or than most on this forum I suspect, but if this happened to me I would swap out the motor. There are several for sale on ebay, some around $400 - $600.

You never know what other damage is done in a case like this and you may end up swapping out a bunch of parts only to damage them again when you fire it up if you missed anything.
 

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You would probably be better off finding a used engine off a crashed bike. Oil starvation will do lower end damage too anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That is certainly food for thought. I almost purchased an engine on ebay for $900 and was happy to think all I needed was $150 for a head and another $50 in gaskets and miscellaneous stuff. I will start to look at used entire motors. Thanks!
 

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Can you get a crate motor from Suzuki? I know HD has that option, not sure about imports.
 

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Can you get a crate motor from Suzuki? I know HD has that option, not sure about imports.
Have you bought any genuine Suzuki parts lately?
They are unbelievably expensive. You would be better off buying a new bike than an original equipment Suzuki engine.

Get one on E-bay. That's what I did and the mechanic took ONE day to replace it. Apparently an engine swap in our bikes is pretty easy.
 
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Have you bought any genuine Suzuki parts lately?
They are unbelievably expensive. You would be better off buying a new bike than an original equipment Suzuki engine.

Get one on E-bay. That's what I did and the mechanic took ONE day to replace it. Apparently an engine swap in our bikes is pretty easy.
Actually, I have not. This bike keeps me out of the parts shop unlike the HD's I have owned. I didn't know if it was even an option. I know you can get a new 80 inch evo for around 2 grand at some dealers but most likely there is no market for these motors since failures are rare..
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well when I got the bike home and put it on the center stand the oil was at the bottom of the sight glass just barely visible. I should have measured what I was able to drain but I did not. I don't think it was close to 3 quarts though.
 

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Well when I got the bike home and put it on the center stand the oil was at the bottom of the sight glass just barely visible. I should have measured what I was able to drain but I did not. I don't think it was close to 3 quarts though.
Interesting....I wonder if a quart low is enough to fry an engine?

Sooo, Janice....what fried yours?
 

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I read that prolonged high speed / high revs could lead to oil usage. Not saying this was the case, but food for thought to those that enjoy high speed. While it should be habit to check the oil level before riding, perhaps it is wise to check the oil level after high speed riding as well.
 

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If the oil was really at the bottom of the window I very much doubt it would have fried the engine as there would have been plenty to circulate and maintain oil pressure. Not good for the motor in the long term as less oil will tend to get hotter and work harder, but I don't think a quart low would fry an engine unless you were really thrashing it.
Could be when you saw oil in the bottom of the window it was just a little sitting on the glass and the real level was much lower??
+1 to the guys who suggest buying second hand motor, there could be much more damage that will cause issues later, ie scored/damaged crank, bearings, barrels, pistons.
By the time you tear it down and check everything it could cost more than a used motor.
 

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Interesting....I wonder if a quart low is enough to fry an engine?

Sooo, Janice....what fried yours?
Too many sustained wheelies. Shifting from 1st to 2nd while the bike was up on one wheel.

Transmission did no like that. No, not one little bit. Cheaper to get a used engine than repair the transmission. Faster too.
 

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Ohhh, that makes much more sense then the strain on the engine from going back and forth through the time space continuum which I know you do most frequently.
 
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