Maintenance elephant in the corner - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 29 Old 09-01-2010, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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Maintenance elephant in the corner

So as I sit here dreaming two-wheeled dreams, something has come up in many threads that has me curious / interested / intimidated - bike maintenance.

I take my car to a dealership for oil changes on up, as I've never been one to do mechanical anything with my vehicles. As I read various forums, including ride reports, I see a lot of references to people doing their own bike work from farkle installs up to roadside tire-replacements etc.

As my profile says, no Strom/cycle yet - waiting for some things to come together so I can actually buy the ride and gear.

I can learn to do just about anything, so what is a good resource to get to know my bike and how to do maintenance? I've gone looking and have only found reference to a Haynes manual for the Vee, with nothing for the Wee - i.e. the target bike.

Thanks!

PS sorry if this is posted in the wrong place - note the post count, rather bit of a newbie here!
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post #2 of 29 Old 09-02-2010, 12:03 AM
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The only legal service for the Dl650 is the paper genuine factory manual. Get it from a Suzuki dealer or online from a place like Repair Manuals Online - Workshop Manuals - Chilton Clymer Haynes Seloc Service Manuals
There are a lot of online ads for CDs, files or paper under $50 US. Anything for much less than $80 US is an illegal copy usually scanned from the original. Posting a link to an illegal copy here is against forum rules. The FAQ section at V-Strom Riders International - Index is a great source of information.

Pat- 2007 DL650A was ridden to all 48 contiguous states. I didn't quite make it to 17,000 miles on the 2012 DL650A.
Nicknames I use to lessen typing, Vee = 2002-2012 DL1000s. Vee2=2014-2016 DL1000s. Wee = 2004-2011 DL650s. Glee = 2012-2016 DL650s
See https://www.stromtrooper.com/general-...nicknames.html

Please vote in the poll on what Strom(s) you have at https://www.stromtrooper.com/informat...-you-have.html
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post #3 of 29 Old 09-02-2010, 12:19 AM
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Having a manual is one thing. Being comfortable doing maintenance is a different issue, and I think that's what you're talking about. What about looking around for a highschool or community college program on basic auto mechanical work?

Long long ago I worked in the sporting goods department at a Sears store. One spring weekend the two guys who put together bikes and other items requiring assembly were either fired or quit, and there was a line of bike boxes ready to be assembled. I was recruited. I got comfortable wrenching and took it home to my GPz.

Now I pay other people to do the work on our cars (because fixing minivans is really dull) and pick and choose what I do on my motorcycles, but I'm quite comfortable doing most work provided I have a manual handy.

'04 650, and goshdarnit it's fun - matte silver (#9 in the Silver 'Strom Club)
farewell to an '81 KZ550, '83 GPz750, '83 V45 Sabre, R-Reg GT380, '84 GPz550, early '70s DT175, and a '72 Peugeot 102
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post #4 of 29 Old 09-02-2010, 12:27 AM
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I'm of the school of "the first time I do something, I'll usually break it" method. It's sad to say, but I think I've learned more by messing things up than by doing them right the first time. Once I accepted that fact, I became less fearful of just jumping right in and giving it a go. The Shop Manual is usually manditory for even considering doing your own stuff.

And, investing in the right tools makes a huge difference in your confidence about tackling bike maintenance ventures. If you do anything, get some good sockets, allens, and a quality torque wrench.....and do some Manual studying [and beer! - beer always helps with any project].

KZDon....had an 84 gpz 750 for 2 decades...just sold it off to a fan of the marque [yah, I know, I regret it! But hey, only got room for one!]. Great bike, and I owe it a lot for learning the ropes.

"Side effects may include: Mild kidney explosions...Testicular cranberrying... And Rectal hallucinations."

Last edited by jokermtb; 09-02-2010 at 12:33 AM.
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post #5 of 29 Old 09-02-2010, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greywolf View Post
The only legal service for the Dl650 is the paper genuine factory manual. Get it from a Suzuki dealer or online from a place like Repair Manuals Online - Workshop Manuals - Chilton Clymer Haynes Seloc Service Manuals
There are a lot of online ads for CDs, files or paper under $50 US. Anything for much less than $80 US is an illegal copy usually scanned from the original. Posting a link to an illegal copy here is against forum rules. The FAQ section at V-Strom Riders International - Index is a great source of information.
Thanks for the tip - I thought I might be missing something with regards to service manuals.

As for comfort with mechanicals - I think I'm in the same boat as Jokermtb - I need to just start doing it and learn as I go. One of my motivations is reading your RR on your Alaska trip and the mechanical hijinks that ensued. I'm good with tools and things mechanical, I've just never had the inclination to do vehicle maintenance. That being said, my local technical college does have a "small engine basics" course that I can see myself taking... not cheap though - 30 hour course, $800!
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post #6 of 29 Old 09-02-2010, 01:47 AM
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That course seems kind of pricey. If you havent done vehicle maintenance before get the bike and just learn to do things like the oil changes. Dead simple. Once you've done that you'll realize that all the basic stuff is pretty simple. Go to a local tech day and observe / help - that will probably cover everything in the basic course - and you can bring ALL the beer and make everyone happy!

That VSRI FAQ and the search box here pretty much cover it step by step. And then there are guys like Greywolf who will answer your question (or in my case) correct your erroneous posts just when you think you have it figured out.
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post #7 of 29 Old 09-02-2010, 03:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpak View Post
That VSRI FAQ and the search box here pretty much cover it step by step. And then there are guys like Greywolf who will answer your question (or in my case) correct your erroneous posts just when you think you have it figured out.
+1
There are well-illustrated step by step guides for many of the most common service tasks here and on vstrom.info. If you're good with tools, using these resources and a service manual (and patience), you should be able to wade through most of what you would likely need to do to a v-strom.

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2009 DL650A - sold

2005 DL650 - dearly departed
"I am enthusiastic over humanity's extraordinary and sometimes very timely ingenuities. If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top buoyant enough to keep you afloat that comes along makes a fortuitous life preserver. But this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top.
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post #8 of 29 Old 09-02-2010, 05:51 AM
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I haven't been to Alaska. That was GrayWolf.

Pat- 2007 DL650A was ridden to all 48 contiguous states. I didn't quite make it to 17,000 miles on the 2012 DL650A.
Nicknames I use to lessen typing, Vee = 2002-2012 DL1000s. Vee2=2014-2016 DL1000s. Wee = 2004-2011 DL650s. Glee = 2012-2016 DL650s
See https://www.stromtrooper.com/general-...nicknames.html

Please vote in the poll on what Strom(s) you have at https://www.stromtrooper.com/informat...-you-have.html
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post #9 of 29 Old 09-02-2010, 11:42 AM
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You Want the Manual From Suzuki ...

You want the genuine shop manual from Suzuki ... you can order it at the dealership.

I was in the same boat with my Honda Shadow ... first-time motorcycle owner. However, I have a degree in electrical engineering and as part of that process I've had materials classes and statics and dynamics.

I do have a few words of advice for you ...

First, stay away from expensive areas of the bike until you are sure what you are doing. If you adjust the chain slack or something like that and make a mistake, the WORST you can normally do is screw up an axle or a swingarm or something like that that is not too involved to have the dealership replace.

But as you get closer to the engine, be cautious. For example, if you ever were to strip out spark plug threads, it gets very expensive.

Second, if there is a routine procedure you'd like to perform yourself (such as an oil change), seek advice from the mechanics at the dealership. Typically, they are willing to help. Just tell them flat out that you'd like to do your own oil changes and ask if you can watch them do it.

Third, stay away from safety-critical areas of the bike until you know what you are doing. Don't do your own brake pads, for example, without first watching a mechanic do it and reading everything related in the shop manual. Same for steering head bearings.

Fourth, if you spot anything suspicious, run the bike into the dealer. Suspicious items might be a fluid leak, odd handling, odd noises, discoloration of an axle, etc.

Fifth, you can take advantage of maintenance forums or general motorcycle newsgroups such as rec.motorcycles.

You might also find this set of pages interesting:

Dan's Motorcycle Repair & Engine Repair Information Guide

I would also recommend taking materials and statics classes at a local university. You want to understand stress, strain, torque, fatigue, and how forces are transferred.

Good luck.

Dave.
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post #10 of 29 Old 09-02-2010, 12:00 PM
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Appropriate to the title is a similar question. How do you eat an elephant? It seems like a tremendous task. The answer is, one bite at a time. Learning to work on a bike is a similar process. Do the tasks one at a time as they come up and start by getting a feel for starting threads and how hard to tighten things. A torque wrench and the table at How much torque should I use on the bolts? will help you get a feel for how much effort to use. If you aren't sure about something, ask first. Some areas have tech sessions where local riders meet to support each other in the process. Check local adult education programs too.

Pat- 2007 DL650A was ridden to all 48 contiguous states. I didn't quite make it to 17,000 miles on the 2012 DL650A.
Nicknames I use to lessen typing, Vee = 2002-2012 DL1000s. Vee2=2014-2016 DL1000s. Wee = 2004-2011 DL650s. Glee = 2012-2016 DL650s
See https://www.stromtrooper.com/general-...nicknames.html

Please vote in the poll on what Strom(s) you have at https://www.stromtrooper.com/informat...-you-have.html
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