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Discussion Starter #1
This bike is great in many respects, but the super-thin ABS plastic used for the incredibly expensive fairings (about $225 per side for the main cowling piece) is junk. My dealer has replaced the fairings -- which have cracked around the outer rear screw hole point -- the one attached to the rear of the gas tank on either side -- FOUR TIMES. That is, BOTH SIDES have cracked four times, just from riding the bike. The same fairings have also cracked on the underside attachment points and at the frontmost attachment points, where the screw is reached with a screwdriver poked into the "vent". The front wraparound fairing piece cracked when a mechanic slightly overtightened a side screw --the dealer also agreed to replace that. And my understanding is that Suzuki claims there is no problem -- the dealer is simply hoping Suzuki will make good on their warranty, but it looks like they aren't going to.

This should be an embarrassment to Suzuki, but it apparently isn't. ABS plastic, and especially plastic this thin, should never have been used on a touring bike, perhaps on ANY bike, ever. Should have used the same plastic that dirt bikes use, which I believe is polypropylene or nylon.
 

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Of the tens of thousands of posts relating to V-Stroms that I have read you are lucky in that you are the first person I recall coming up with an original unknown before problem.
For a piece of plastic to crack four times on one bike when it's never cracked once on hundreds of thousands of other examples of that bike world wide leads me to believe that it's not a manufacturing fault. My suggestion is to carefully assess how tight you are somebody else is doing up the retaining screws.
 

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There must be some kind of stress going on at those points... Maybe your front "stay" or something else is bent? I have had two 650's over the last few years and although the fit and finish are not the best, the plastics are very durable and fit very well....

Good luck...
Richard
 

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Suzuki is right. In general there is no problem. There might be a problem with your bike, but as K1W1 said, out of all the hundreds of thousands of posts I've seen here in 4+ years this is the first time I ever heard of that.

The problem you have isn't with the plastic it's with whatever is overstressing the fastening points. Something is flexing that shouldn't be or something is out of alignment that shouldn't be. I don't know what but something is wrong.
 

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This should be an embarrassment to Suzuki, but it apparently isn't. ABS plastic, and especially plastic this thin, should never have been used on a touring bike, perhaps on ANY bike, ever. Should have used the same plastic that dirt bikes use, which I believe is polypropylene or nylon.
There's some merit to the idea of using poly or nylon plastics; certainly they're tougher. And you can roto-mold them, which is quite cheap. But the parts don't look very nice, sort of like a kid's toybox. Painting them is a real problem, usually the color has to be in the plastic itself rather than applied.

It would be really interesting to find out what you (or the dealer or whoever) is doing thats breaking plastic. I'm not saying you're doing something wrong, but hell I've dropped my bike a couple of times, banged into it with the lawn mower, etc., and the plastic hasn't done anything.

Are you divorced? Maybe your ex is sneaking around behind you, whacking your bike with a ball-peen hammer.
 

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Suzuki is right. In general there is no problem. There might be a problem with your bike, but as K1W1 said, out of all the hundreds of thousands of posts I've seen here in 4+ years this is the first time I ever heard of that.

The problem you have isn't with the plastic it's with whatever is overstressing the fastening points. Something is flexing that shouldn't be or something is out of alignment that shouldn't be. I don't know what but something is wrong.
+1
There has to be some underlying issue causing stress on the plastic.
 

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This is the sort of thing I'd expect to result from installing a Scotts stabilizer using their out-of-the-box bracket (which distorts the fairing fit markedly), possibly in conjunction with overtightening screws.
 

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This is the sort of thing I'd expect to result from installing a Scotts stabilizer using their out-of-the-box bracket (which distorts the fairing fit markedly), possibly in conjunction with overtightening screws.
I have a Scotts and have had the plastic off over a dozen times in 3-1/2 years. The plastic is in fine shape. Over tightening is not involved in plastic breaking. The bolts are shouldered. Tightening without getting the shoulder into the hole first can cause problems. Using harsh detergents, especially cleaners with ammonia, can make ABS brittle. I use Plexus or Pledge to clean the ABS parts. Make sure the two bolts holding the fairing frame to the main frame are tight. Blue Loctite is good there.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
thanks for the input

I agree that there is some unusual stress on the plastic, but it's not overtightening in the place where it's cracking. After the first two sets of cowlings cracked, I tried "floating" the screw head -- that is, not tightening it down completely. There IS an unusual amount of forward pull on this screw, as if the front part of the cowling frame is too far forward, or the tank is too far back. Fooling with the setup, I managed to gain about 1/8 of an inch of forward positioning of the rear tank mounting stud, which centered the screw a bit better in the molded-in screw inset space. Yet the next set of cowlings also cracked. What was most disturbing is that (1) the cowlings couldn't take a bit of stress without cracking, and (2) when the plastic cracked, it shattered like glass, with radiating and branching crack lines. It should be able to take some flexing without cracking, and the cracking shouldn't look like that. I had some suspicion that maybe Suzuki farmed out the molding to a Chinese company that is using substandard plastic (plastic is NOT plastic, as one poster put it). Another point -- the Suzuki warranty rep for this region can't figure it out either -- he came personally to the dealership to look over the bike and install the next to last set of cowlings, but it didn't help -- they still cracked. It's a mystery and a big disappointment concerning the bike, whether just cosmetic or not. I will indeed check out the position and attachment of the front cowling frame. In the meantime I'm reinforcing that area with a stainless steel washer glued in place with JB Weld, which seems to be working.
 

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You are not alone, but you're a member of a tiny group.
 
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