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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have spent the past couple days going through a tiny fraction of the various threads here, involving any mechanical maladies, maintenence tips 'n tricks, known issues, etc. (wow, there is a ton of great info and awesome contributions from owners who delve deep into the subject!)

As a prospective 'Strom convert, could someone distill down a brief synopsis of day to day life, as far as maintenence and repairs to these things, for a DIY approach?

I have no garage, no fancy tools to speak of, and would be getting this bike (either 650 or 1000, tending to lean towards the 650 at the moment) with the sincere hopes of as little hassle as possible regarding me "trusting it" for touring trips, and faith that I could tackle regular routines of valve adjustments etc., using stone knives and bearskins. Cost, availability of parts and frequency of consumables being eaten, is an issue.

-The Stator thing. (is it both 650 and 1000 btw?)

Has anyone had a failure after doing the MOSFET R/R dealio swap? How difficult is a stator replacement, anyway? Is a Wee/Vee alternator outrageously spendy?

If I traded for a 2009 /2010 or even low mileage 2008, low and behold got the dirty end of the stick and the thing crapped out, could I pretty much be guaranteed to never have to worry about it again, if I replaced the stator and did an R/R kit that one time? I would even consider doing the R/R swap right away as a pre-emptive strike, if that was a conservative option.

-The Fuel Pump/Strainer thing.

Along with the Stator, initially I was dismayed reading about how many suffered this, but gained confidence that a pretty good resolution was available via the removal and cleaning of the high pressure side bits, and subsequent exterior filter bypass trick.

...but kinda lost the place again when mention was made of later years not being able to do this because of the pump's design change. I didn't quite follow why this was, and whether or not you could simply retrofit an earlier model fuel pump and do it anyway, or...?

Regarding the Fuel Pump itself, are there many failures of the actual pump, or is it 99% of the time the clogged strainer that is the only trouble?

Couldn't you abandon the in-tank pump altogether and just use an external pump tucked somewhere out of the way? I didn't see anything like this in my searching.

-"Other" bits.

Does the ECM have any history of going kaput? Instrument cluster-is it a complicated thing, packed with electronics, that requires specific Suzuki only parts to effect repairs? Are various components available seperately, or do you have to buy an entire "kit" or multi-piece affair, with individual things not being sold?

Any problems with cam chain stretch, tensioners wearing out, or gearboxes shedding teeth etc.? Any big ticket items that have I blithely overlooked?


I know this is a rather eye-numbing long list of stuff I'm asking, many thanks in advance for perservering long enough to get to the end! :mrgreen:


Some background info:

At the present time, I have a 2009 BMW F800ST. This is my first non-Japanese bike out of aproximately 20 owned, over 40 years riding.

[After due consideration, I deleted a long, drawn out, bitter and dissillusioned rant, out of concern for people thinking I am a loon:green_lol: Suffice to say, I will never darken a BMW's doorway again as long as I live.]

I sincerely hope that a Suzuki Vee is in my future. I just need to be more realistic in my hopes, this time around.

Thanks, guys!
 

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We only see posts from people who have had problems. We never see posts from the hundreds of people who do NOT have any problems. I have yet to see a post from anyone on this site that stated, "I was riding my bike today and my [_______] (fill in blank with your choice of parts) did NOT crap out."
 

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We only see posts from people who have had problems. We never see posts from the hundreds of people who do NOT have any problems. I have yet to see a post from anyone on this site that stated, "I was riding my bike today and my [_______] (fill in blank with your choice of parts) did NOT crap out."
True dat!!!!!!:beatnik:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
We only see posts from people who have had problems. We never see posts from the hundreds of people who do NOT have any problems. I have yet to see a post from anyone on this site that stated, "I was riding my bike today and my [_______] (fill in blank with your choice of parts) did NOT crap out."


This is exactly what I *want* to hear, though.

There are guys with nearly 100,000 trouble free miles on their F800's, and many, many more who are pleased as punch with their bikes. I, on the other hand, would be SOL with my BMW if the rear wheel bearing/axle goes kablooie, because it is so prohibitively expensive, and a non-user serviceable repair part.

If I hear Strom wheel bearings turn to crap after 5,000 miles, but they are dirt cheap and easily serviceable like "normal" bikes I've always had, then awesome! I have no complaints. But I simply want to confirm things like this.

I want to hear all the potential "bad" and make up my mind as to whether it's something I can realistically deal with, or "No, it's pretty surprising how difficult/expensive this part is, we've found."

Are the bikes bristling with violently expensive one time use gaskets and fasteners, or simple, cheaper multi-use ones, etc.


I was unprepared for the $$$ realities of owning my present bike, as good as it is not withstanding. Unfortunately, this has affected me and my outlook, more than any of my other bikes.
 

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Just keep reading and searching the site.........maybe read non-biased reviews elsewhere........and BMW's are not as stone-reliable compared to the majority of Japanese bikes. You will spend allot of money on your Strom, too many aftermarket goodies available "and still cheaper than a Beemer".
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just keep reading and searching the site.........maybe read non-biased reviews elsewhere........and BMW's are not as stone-reliable compared to the majority of Japanese bikes. You will spend allot of money on your Strom, too many aftermarket goodies available "and still cheaper than a Beemer".
Possibly my long-winded questions or how I phrased them, are being misunderstood?


In no way am I saying: "Gee, I'm reading that there are lots of things wrong with 'Stroms, are they all bad?" Just the opposite! I am really liking what I have read so far, they sound like what I am looking for in a bike at this point in time.:yesnod:

I just want to know more of the basics of things, that's all.

-Are they pretty user friendly for maintenence?

-Are any specific parts really expensive?

-Do they have any particular known issues, and if they do, are they reasonable to a DIY repair approach?



I would dearly love to go broke spending on Stromfarkles, instead of being confronted by unexpected outrageous costs at the BMW stealership.
 

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possibly my long-winded questions or how i phrased them, are being misunderstood?


In no way am i saying: "gee, i'm reading that there are lots of things wrong with 'stroms, are they all bad?" just the opposite! I am really liking what i have read so far, they sound like what i am looking for in a bike at this point in time.:yesnod:

I just want to know more of the basics of things, that's all.

-are they pretty user friendly for maintenence?

-are any specific parts really expensive?

-do they have any particular known issues, and if they do, are they reasonable to a diy repair approach?



I would dearly love to go broke spending on stromfarkles, instead of being confronted by unexpected outrageous costs at the bmw stealership.
All the answers you seek have been asked/answered so many times it has become tiresome!!! Make your own judgment on the Stroms, why would they be so popular and why would Suzuki have done a refresh if they werent all they are cracked up to be? Make sense??? There are so many ex BMW riders that own Stroms now, it would blow your mind. Hell I dont even own one anymore and I still love them.
 

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Let me put it this way...you won't find a modern motorcycle in this displacement that is cheaper to own or more reliable. If you can't afford a strom of some sort, you've got bigger things to worry about than buying a motorcycle.
 

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I just want to know more of the basics of things, that's all.

-Are they pretty user friendly for maintenence?

-Are any specific parts really expensive?

-Do they have any particular known issues, and if they do, are they reasonable to a DIY repair approach?
Yes, they are reliable and they are friendly for maintenance.

Yes, there are some specific parts that are expensive. Fuel pumps, engine cases, frame components, plastics, etc. are quite expensive.

Yes, some of them have some issues. Check around the DL1000 area for examples.

Average mileage is probably well over 75,000 miles with normal maintenance. YMMV. There are many bikes that have well over 100,000 miles on them.
 

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Problems are mostly rare. There are cases of stators going out and fuel filters get clogged if a lot of dirty fuel goes through them. Bad stators are a low percentage problem and fuel filters last a very long time if one doesn't run into bad fuel. Fuel pumps themselves are rarely a problem outside of filter clogging. Maybe the best place to learn about the bikes is to check the FAQ threads at V-Strom Riders International - Index
I think VSRI is the best technical site around.

The only special tool needed for regular maintenance is a front axle hex(Allen) wrench, a 12mm for the 650 or a 19mm for the 1000. The next special tool isn't needed unless servicing the steering head bearings or swingarm pivot bearings and it is available after market for under $50.

The only part cost that surprised me was the high pressure fuel filter. All DL1000s and pre 2007 DL650s can have a filter bypass done using an automotive filter. External Fuel Filter modification
The stock filter is over $250 on bikes that can have a bypass.
The 2007 and later 650 HP filter is in the regulator which costs a little over $100.

It takes a special tool to do a dealer level quality throttle body sync on a 2007 or later DL650 but, unlike other models, a TBS isn't important. It's only an air screw adjustment that can help at very low revs and may affect idle smoothness. I had one done at 50,000 miles and it was 2" of Hg off. The TBS let me run down to 2500rpm instead of 3000rpm but I still prefer to use 3000rpm as my lower limit. I have done all other work myself and am at 63,000 miles now.

A valve clearance inspection is a lengthy job but only is needed at 14,500 mile intervals. I reset all my clearances to between the middle and the wide end of the spec and don't plan on doing another inspection. The clearances change very little and only get narrower after the engine is broken in.

One problem that's nearly universal after long use is the headlight wiring. The thing to do is install a headlight relay kit early on. Lightening the load on the switches and connections heads off the problem.
Suzuki VStrom Electrics
Electrical Connection - High Output Headlight Harness, H4, Dual: Adventure MotoStuff LLC
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
All the answers you seek have been asked/answered so many times it has become tiresome!!! Make your own judgment on the Stroms, why would they be so popular and why would Suzuki have done a refresh if they werent all they are cracked up to be? Make sense??? There are so many ex BMW riders that own Stroms now, it would blow your mind. Hell I dont even own one anymore and I still love them.


Humble apologies, I thought that is exactly what the "V-Curious" area was for, to weed out the people who don't like answering noob questions, and allow those who care to, pass along helpful info, if so inclined.

The whole gist of "making my own judgement" is predicated upon finding out what I don't know, and taking it from there. Clarification of the more salient points I brought up, is, in fact, extremely helpful. Just reading thousands upon thousands of posts until my eyes bleed is a bit distracting, especially given the sheer volume of excellent sidetrack-ish ness I've found here. :mrgreen:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes, they are reliable and they are friendly for maintenance.

Yes, there are some specific parts that are expensive. Fuel pumps, engine cases, frame components, plastics, etc. are quite expensive.

Yes, some of them have some issues. Check around the DL1000 area for examples.

Average mileage is probably well over 75,000 miles with normal maintenance. YMMV. There are many bikes that have well over 100,000 miles on them.

Thank you kindly.

Also, it's a lot of the little things that caught me off guard with the F800, that are what I am hoping to get away from in a Strom. I can deal with normal day to day stuff, but having to buy an entire $100.00+ gasket "kit" just to be able to check my valves, floored me. (not to mention the special tool required to remove the sparkplug caps)

I didn't need to ever take any bikes in to have the "ENGINE SERVICE" flashing notice on the screen removed. Honestly, it's stuff like this that drives me batty, and I am hoping Suzuki doesn't have this kinda thing going on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Problems are mostly rare. There are cases of stators going out and fuel filters get clogged if a lot of dirty fuel goes through them. Bad stators are a low percentage problem and fuel filters last a very long time if one doesn't run into bad fuel. Fuel pumps themselves are rarely a problem outside of filter clogging. Maybe the best place to learn about the bikes is to check the FAQ threads at V-Strom Riders International - Index
I think VSRI is the best technical site around.

The only special tool needed for regular maintenance is a front axle hex(Allen) wrench, a 12mm for the 650 or a 19mm for the 1000. The next special tool isn't needed unless servicing the steering head bearings or swingarm pivot bearings and it is available after market for under $50.

The only part cost that surprised me was the high pressure fuel filter. All DL1000s and pre 2007 DL650s can have a filter bypass done using an automotive filter. External Fuel Filter modification
The stock filter is over $250 on bikes that can have a bypass.
The 2007 and later 650 HP filter is in the regulator which costs a little over $100.

It takes a special tool to do a dealer level quality throttle body sync on a 2007 or later DL650 but, unlike other models, a TBS isn't important. It's only an air screw adjustment that can help at very low revs and may affect idle smoothness. I had one done at 50,000 miles and it was 2" of Hg off. The TBS let me run down to 2500rpm instead of 3000rpm but I still prefer to use 3000rpm as my lower limit. I have done all other work myself and am at 63,000 miles now.

A valve clearance inspection is a lengthy job but only is needed at 14,500 mile intervals. I reset all my clearances to between the middle and the wide end of the spec and don't plan on doing another inspection. The clearances change very little and only get narrower after the engine is broken in.

One problem that's nearly universal after long use is the headlight wiring. The thing to do is install a headlight relay kit early on. Lightening the load on the switches and connections heads off the problem.
Suzuki VStrom Electrics
Electrical Connection - High Output Headlight Harness, H4, Dual: Adventure MotoStuff LLC

Brilliant, thank you so much for this reply- I read with great closeness many of your posts on some (if not most) of the above issues, during my initial spark of interest regarding the Strom, and followed such matters on VSRI.

Knowing how to deal with a problem if it occurs, is more than half the battle with me. I don't mind if there *are* problems, but I need to be able to attack them myself, and not simply hand my bike over to a dealer.


Cheers! :yesnod:
 

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fun + reliability

L.B.S., you are doing what I did 2 years ago. I wanted a bike that handles well, is comfortable, can go off-pavement and reliable. I got a used 2008 650 with 5,000 miles and have since put 10,000 on it with zero problems....and it is alot of fun. The main things I did were to modify the windshield (madstad + givi), get the fork brace, and a better saddle. This forum is awesome also. Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
L.B.S., you are doing what I did 2 years ago. I wanted a bike that handles well, is comfortable, can go off-pavement and reliable. I got a used 2008 650 with 5,000 miles and have since put 10,000 on it with zero problems....and it is alot of fun. The main things I did were to modify the windshield (madstad + givi), get the fork brace, and a better saddle. This forum is awesome also. Good Luck!
:thumbup:

Thanks for the encouragement, Rambouillet!

For the most part, I have finally decided I really do want (relative) simplicity and more user friendliness in a motorcycle, something I got seduced into forgetting when lust and the stats of the ST overpowered me.

Honestly, I do love the 800, but I don't trust it. I feel too helpless in regards to all my money and plans for the next 4 years being on a knife edge of gambling that it will be awesome and nothing will ever go wrong with it.

With absolutely no "backhanded compliment" intended, it's kinda like my BMW is the high maintenance supermodel girlfriend fling, but what I really need and want to live with, is the cute girl next door.
 

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If I hear Strom wheel bearings turn to crap after 5,000 miles, but they are dirt cheap and easily serviceable like "normal" bikes I've always had, then awesome! I have no complaints. But I simply want to confirm things like this.
Maybe 50,000 miles. Yes, replacements are very common industrial ball bearings available in local bearing supply houses, many auto parts stores, as well as All Balls brand kits and of course the dealership. There are five...two front wheel, two rear wheel, one in the sprocket carrier. Also about that mileage is the somewhat tedious job of disassembling and manually greasing the rear suspension bearings...maybe once in the bike's life (but one rider has posted his experience with his odometer failing to record mileage over 199,999 miles!).
 

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We only see posts from people who have had problems. We never see posts from the hundreds of people who do NOT have any problems. I have yet to see a post from anyone on this site that stated, "I was riding my bike today and my [_______] (fill in blank with your choice of parts) did NOT crap out."
(SCraig.... this is for you)

I commuted to work today and I am happy to report that the following parts all held true along with the aftermarket parts I added:
BATTERY AIR CLEANER, BATTERY, CAM HOLDER, CAMSHAFT CHAIN, CARRIER/VALVE, CLUTCH, COWL, COWLING BODY INSTALLATION PARTS, CRANKCASE, BODY, CRANKCASE, CRANKSHAFT COVER, CYLINDER, ELECTRICAL, EVAPO, FOOTREST SYSTEM, FRAME, FRONT COVER, FRONT BRACKET, FRONT BRAKE HOSE, FRONT CALIPER, FRONT CYLINDER HEAD, FRONT DAMPER, FRONT FENDER, FRONT MASTER CYLINDER, FUEL WHEEL, FUEL PUMP, GASKET TANK, GEAR SET, HANDLE SHIFTING, HANDLE LEVER, HANDLEBAR SWITCH, HEADLAMP, HYDRAULIC, LABEL UNIT, MAGNETO, MUFFLER, OIL, OIL COOLER, RADIATOR, RADIATOR, REAR HOSE, REAR CALIPER, REAR CUSHION LEVER, REAR CYLINDER HEAD, REAR FENDER, REAR MASTER CYLINDER, REAR SWINGING ARM, SEAT WHEEL, SEAT, SIDE TAIL COVER, SIDE COWLING, SPEEDOMETER, COWLING INSTALLATION PARTS, SIDE STAND, STARTER, STARTING CLUTCH, STEERING MOTOR, TAIL STEM, THROTTLE LAMP, THROTTLE BODY, TRANSMISSION BODY FITTING, TURNSIGNAL, WATER LAMP,WIRING PUMP,HARNESS

I would like to give a special shout out to the Stebel air horn which got a confused driver a little help remembering she was in the driver’s seat at the intersection in which the light charged from red to green. AND maybe talking on the cell phone was not a high priority at that time.

NOTE: KNOWN ISSUES TO BE AWARE OF (Which Suzuki will not state):
A BIG GRIN ON RIDES FACE EVERTIME HE/SHE GETS OFF BIKE, LOW BANK ACCOUNT BALANCE DUE TO THE UNCONTROLABLE NEED FOR AFTERMARKET PARTS (The health community has done countless studies on groups of people with this illness and the infected call this parts farkles), NEEDING TO RIDE JUST ONE MORE TIME AND THE NEED FOR THE RIDER TO CLEAR THEIR INTERNET SEARCH HISTORY SO OTHERS DON'T KNOW HOW MANY MOTORCYCLE SITES THEY HAVE BEEN ON.
 

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i've got nearly 50k miles on mine with no broken parts at all, minus a turn signal and hand guard, both of which were actually my fault.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
i've got nearly 50k miles on mine with no broken parts at all, minus a turn signal and hand guard, both of which were actually my fault.
:mrgreen:
Great to hear, I have always heard good things about the V-Stroms, with the only "negatives" being people claiming they were either boring or ugly-neither of which appellations I subscribe to, personally. I am pretty sure I wouldn't count the bike as boring, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I want reliability and low cost of ownership 1st and foremost.

As it stands, my BMW is costing me somewhere near $700.00 per month all told, with loan/insurance/maintenence (not counting the outrageous warranty required service work, of course!)

With all that's going wrong with it, plus me being so afraid of what is going to go wrong next, and how screwed I'd be once the warranty is up, I just want it to go away...

I have always imagined that the V-Stroms were very reliable and not insane as far as price of replacement parts go. I just wanted to get a few more comments from well travelled owners about things that I should keep my eyes peeled for, regarding "Oh that? Ya they do have that little problem, but it's not usually mentioned for some reason" etc., etc.

The German bike experience, after 40 years of Japanese bikes only, has been quite enough of a shock to my system. I do not need any more *SURPRI-IIIZE* in my life. I want to ride and de-stress, not be all twitchy and nervous. (not to mention poorer than a church mouse...)
 
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