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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
WARNING - Sub frame bolt lodged in lower tripleclamp = loss of left hand steering

Hello, has this happened to anyone else before?

The short story........

The lower bolt attatching the front metal sub frame (pic 1, temporary zinc bolt until I get to a dealership) worked loose and fell onto my lower triple clamp between the lug on the triple clamp that stops the forks at full lock (pic 2) and the bike frame head stem.

RESULT

Loss of steering just past left of centre

TELLTAIL SIGN THIS MAY HAPPEN IS....

The front screen started to have a slight "flex" (5mm maximum) not noticable at cruising speed due to air pressure pushing larger size screen back, but noticable on low speed bumps as a slight wobble.

I recommend anyone who is going to go offroad/touring to remove these two bolts and re-apply loctight before retensioning. You can use the size 12 spanner that comes in the stock Strom toolkit under the seat.

I am not sure if checking the tension on these 2 bolts is in the 6000km interval services but it will now be part of mine !

HOW I FOUND OUT

When coming upto a T intersection entering the Princess Hwy to turn left and not being able to turn my forks just past left of centre, rather than riding stait into 4 lanes of friday afternoon traffic I laid over my Strom, this was at low speed so no damage to us or the bike. After A CLOSER inspection than the one we did at Mt Gambier I found the lower bolt missing and scratches on the Triple clamp as evidence as to what hapened, unable to find the bolt I was not going to play chicken dance on the Hwy so we headed to the nearest hardware store.
Unlucky that it happened but VERY lucky we found out at slow speed, in the shade, 3 minutes from a hardware store.

The long story..........

I think this is how it occured...

When we rode over some bone shattering corrigations in the Coorong near Salt Creek SA this "cracked" the tension off the bolts,
The vibrations at cruising speed 110kmh for the 2&1/2 hour ride to Mt Gambier slightly loosened the tension.
At Mt Gambier blue lake lookout we noticed a slight flex/movement in my large screen and we compared the movement with another riders Strom, there was a difference so we checked over the bike (slap own forehead here, we did not notice any movement at the frame bolts) at the time I suspected that a plastic fairing lug or even the rubber gromets that hold the speedo and tacho console had cracked or popped out behing the top of my fairing (slap forehead again). We rode the 30 minutes onto the Pricess Margaret Rose Caves near Mumbanner VIC and there was no issue with the steering at full lock as I positioned the bike to leave the carpark. There is also a short twisty section of road when leaving Mumbanner, but to get back to the Hwy I took a dirt shortcut, this is where I think the bolt finally worked loose and somewhere in the hour ride between there and the T intersection at Portland VIC where I lost steering when it fell into the lower T triple.

Before our 2 week tour I had checked the tension with a torque wrench of all my chassis bolts, brakes, disks, axles etc but not these two bolts (slap my own forehead AGAIN !! )

I would like to thank the staff at Portland Mitre 10 Hardwhare store for allowing us to work on my bike in the shade of their loading dock and there friendly helpfulness to find a spanner from theri own tool box to fit the replacement bolt head. Country Victorian hospitality is alive and well :)
 

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I have lost a couple of these bolts over the years .The way to stop this is Locktite and a locking nut, last time I used stainless steel bolts cause thats what I had .
 

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Hello, has this happened to anyone else before?

The short story........

The lower bolt attatching the front metal sub frame (pic 1, temporary zinc bolt until I get to a dealership) worked loose and fell onto my lower triple clamp between the lug on the triple clamp that stops the forks at full lock (pic 2) and the bike frame head stem.

RESULT

Loss of steering just past left of centre

TELLTAIL SIGN THIS MAY HAPPEN IS....

The front screen started to have a slight "flex" (5mm maximum) not noticable at cruising speed due to air pressure pushing larger size screen back, but noticable on low speed bumps as a slight wobble.

I recommend anyone who is going to go offroad/touring to remove these two bolts and re-apply loctight before retensioning. You can use the size 12 spanner that comes in the stock Strom toolkit under the seat.

I am not sure if checking the tension on these 2 bolts is in the 6000km interval services but it will now be part of mine !

HOW I FOUND OUT

The bolt was loosened was by coming to a T intersection entering the Princess Hwy to turn left and not being able to turn my forks just past left of centre, rather than riding stait into 4 lanes of friday afternoon traffic I laid over my Strom, this was a low speed so no damage to us or the bike. After A CLOSER inspection than the one we did at Mt Gambier I found the lower bolt missing and scratches on the Triple clamp as evidence as to what hapened, unable to find the bolt I was not going to play chicken dance on the Hwy so we headed to the nearest hardware store.
Unlucky that it happened but VERY lucky we found out at slow speed, in the shade, 3 minutes from a hardware store.

The long story..........

I think this is how it occured...

When we rode over some bone shattering corrigations in the Coorong near Salt Creek SA this "cracked" the tension off the bolts,
The vibrations at cruising speed 110kmh for the 2&1/2 hour ride to Mt Gambier slightly loosened the tension.
At Mt Gambier blue lake lookout we noticed a slight flex/movement in my large screen and we compared the movement with another riders Strom, there was a difference so we checked over the bike (slap own forehead here, we did not notice any movement at the frame bolts) at the time I suspected that a plastic fairing lug or even the rubber gromets that hold the speedo and tacho console had cracked or popped out behing the top of my fairing (slap forehead again). We rode the 30 minutes onto the Pricess Margaret Rose Caves near Mumbanner VIC and there was no issue with the steering at full lock as I positioned the bike to leave the carpark. There is also a short twisty section of road when leaving Mumbanner, but to get back to the Hwy I took a dirt shortcut, this is where I think the bolt finally worked loose and somewhere in the hour ride between there and the T intersection at Portland VIC where I lost steering when it fell into the lower T triple.

Before our 2 week tour I had checked the tension with a torque wrench of all my chassis bolts, brakes, disks, axles etc but not these two bolts (slap my own forehead AGAIN !! )

I would like to thank the staff at Portland Mitre 10 Hardwhare store for allowing us to work on my bike in the shade of their loading dock and there friendly helpfulness to find a spanner from theri own tool box to fit the replacement bolt head. Country Victorian hospitality is alive and well :)
What you describe has happened to people on here before. Not a common issue, but I have read about it before. And often check my bolts because of these posts. Thanks for the heads up.
 

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Well. That certainly made me jump off the lounge & run too the garage. I'll certainly be talking too the mechanics next time I'm there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
How many other bolts should I tell the mechanic too loctite ?? Just these two for now ??
Dont panic yet Wes, most mechanics know what to check, you can easily access these two bolts for a tightness check with your stock size 12 spanner in your under seat toolkit.
There is a list in the service manual of exhaust and chassi bolts to check initailly at 1000km then every 6000km I think these two bolts are not on that list as they only support the front lights, gauges and fairings etc, I cant check manual as I'm 1500km from home atm.
The bolts may have been at correct tension at the start ! it took some very severe corrigations for extended time "at speed" to loosen them.
When I get home I will check if a longer bolt will not foul anything, if so I will get some correct high tensile bolts (@ Boltmaster Penrith NSW) with a spring washer under a nylon lock nut on the left side....with lots of loctite of course.... easy fix.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thanks for those extra tips, now that I have a small bottle of Loctite in my tankbag I will loctite my bar end weight screws before we ride the next leg.

With regards to your other points yep I have my iPhone charging in my tankbag so it can run a track logging app. If you are with Telstra all data used on the FREE Whereis GPS navigator app does not come off your data allowance, I use the iPhone this way when in my car.
 

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Thanks for those extra tips, now that I have a small bottle of Loctite in my tankbag I will loctite my bar end weight screws before we ride the next leg.
No. That's one screw that should never be Loctited. The expander sleeve nut will just turn inside the handlebar and you'll never get it out. Loosen the screw no more than 1/2" and wiggle out the assembly to make sure it is properly assembled. It should not cause any problems.

It will look like #2 if you don't have handguards. If you do, there is one more piece.

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Today I got some front sub frame bolts that are 20mm longer than the Suzuki originals, plus nylon lock nuts and spring washers from Napean Boltmaster.
The original bolts do not even use all of the thread available on the frame mounting point! The new bolts are well covered in loctite.
It’s a long shot that a vibration loosened bolt will land in your lower triple clamp but hopefully this 3 dollar modification will stop it re-occurring, loss of left hand steering was not fun!
Hope these pics are of use to someone looking to do the same.
 

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Way to go!
Even better are dome-nuts in that application, as there are plenty of cables and other "moving" items around. Eliminates the risk of chafing/snagging entirely...

Now to the rest of the typical DLK bits....like the rear bolt of the chain guard (and/ or the chainguard itself as well as the bracket on the swingarm)....or the little 8mm bolt on the rear mudguard, left hand side (it's well covered by the left muffler), the 32mm nut of the countersprocket which can be anything from "needing an 8ft extension bar to crack the bastard" to "barely finger-tight, about to fall off":yikes:...the rear sprocket spacer, the sloppy clamps on the intake-throats, the crappy OEM wheel and headstem bearings, loose rear subframe bolts.... and all the other bits.

Then add all the fugg-ups the dealer-workshops add to that :jawdrop:

Just about seen it all in ~10 years of Vee's+Wee's wrenching.
The reason any DL in this place has been torn down to frame and engine level... and re-assembled.
Paying off handsomely...a dead battery being the only "ride-buster" ever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Way to go!
Even better are dome-nuts in that application, as there are plenty of cables and other "moving" items around. Eliminates the risk of chafing/snagging entirely...

Now to the rest of the typical DLK bits....like the rear bolt of the chain guard (and/ or the chainguard itself as well as the bracket on the swingarm)....or the little 8mm bolt on the rear mudguard, left hand side (it's well covered by the left muffler), the 32mm nut of the countersprocket which can be anything from "needing an 8ft extension bar to crack the bastard" to "barely finger-tight, about to fall off":yikes:...the rear sprocket spacer, the sloppy clamps on the intake-throats, the crappy OEM wheel and headstem bearings, loose rear subframe bolts.... and all the other bits.

Then add all the fugg-ups the dealer-workshops add to that :jawdrop:

Just about seen it all in ~10 years of Vee's+Wee's wrenching.
The reason any DL in this place has been torn down to frame and engine level... and re-assembled.
Paying off handsomely...a dead battery being the only "ride-buster" ever.
Thanks, I found few bolts on the exhaust clamps moved (cold) when I did my pre-xmas ride check with the torque wrench.
On the new subframe bolts I will cut off the extra 5mm and round the edge with a file, the throttle cables "just" touch on full lock so a few wraps of tape (rescue tape) around the cables at that spot will help stop any chaffing.
I should have bought 15mm longer than stock instead of 20mm longer.
Dome nuts sound good too (if they have nylon lock pieces inside their thread)
 

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You can be lucky

Well I must have been lucky. Over 5 years of ownership from new and 70000 kms, apart from normal replacement items, so far I have to replace......the 2 rubber bungs covering the swing arm pivot. Thats it ! Nuttin else. Recently I replaced the headstem bearings on a whim. They were well greased and no pit or damage detected. Could have put them back in.
Must have scored a good one. But then again most are.
 
G

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Today I got some front sub frame bolts that are 20mm longer than the Suzuki originals, plus nylon lock nuts and spring washers from Napean Boltmaster.
The original bolts do not even use all of the thread available on the frame mounting point! The new bolts are well covered in loctite.
It’s a long shot that a vibration loosened bolt will land in your lower triple clamp but hopefully this 3 dollar modification will stop it re-occurring, loss of left hand steering was not fun!
Hope these pics are of use to someone looking to do the same.
I have a question concerning the use of split lock washers.
I've heard through various sources that you need a hardened flat washer to keep a bolt tight in certain applications (frames or engines for example).
Apparently the stretch in the neck of the bolt is what keeps it snug. The split washers aren't recommended for this usage.
Does anybody have any solid information on this?
 

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When the lock washer is fully tightened it acts like a flat washer. Overtightening spreads it out--it's then junk. If the bolt begins to come loose the sharp edges of the split dig into the bolt head and the base metal and reduce further loosening unless the bolt head is too hard. Locktite is often better. When torquing a bolt the tightness is affected by friction from the surface treatment of the bolt metal and by lubricant or dirt or rust. In many cases either tensioning specs or stretch specs are used instead of torque. We really don't care how hard we twist a fastener as long as we don't stretch it beyond its yield point or break it--we really want a specified clamping force between two parts or specified stretch in the bolt to engage the friction that'll hold it in place.

(ASME B18.21.1):
"The word lock appearing in the names of products in this standard is a generic term historically assoicated with their identification and is not intended to imply an indefinite permanency of fixity in attachments where the fastners are used."
 
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So the torque is critical if you want to use a split lock washer....
Too much torque and it spits out the washer.
Makes sense when you put it that way.
I notice a lack of split washers on my Wee.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
All true about high torque on split washers, you will crush them out from under the nut if you apply the high torques that are used on the high tensile bolts.

On my mod (see pics) I installed the longer replacemant bolts with loctite (no spring washer) and suitable torque with the flanged bolt head against the subframe as originally designed, then on the the remaining thread on the other side I have a washer + spring washer + nyloc nut + loctite on the thread with only enough torque for the nyloc nut and spring washer to work. (I probably should have included this info in my post)
The extra nyloc nut install was intended to hopefully "catch" the bolt if it ever worked loose again before it could falll into my triple clamp. Hope this clarifies the details of my mod.

p.s. I now have a small bottle of loctite added to the bits under my seat, the shed bottle was just to big to fit :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well I must have been lucky. Over 5 years of ownership from new and 70000 kms, apart from normal replacement items, so far I have to replace......the 2 rubber bungs covering the swing arm pivot. Thats it ! Nuttin else. Recently I replaced the headstem bearings on a whim. They were well greased and no pit or damage detected. Could have put them back in.
Must have scored a good one. But then again most are.
So far very happy with my Strom too, still kicking myself that I did not check these two bolts in my pre ride inspection of my bike, I checked torque on just about every bolt & nut I could find (except these two!!!) and even nipped up the fairing screws. Well a rare thing happened that only delayed my journey for about half an hour, but I have to take some of the blame as these two bolts are easy to see and tighten !!!! now I've spent $3 and 15mins to (fingers crossed) make sure it wont happen again.
 
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