Head gasket replacement questions - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 16 Old 03-23-2016, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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Head gasket replacement questions

Hey guys,

My K3 Vee has sprung a leak in the rear cylinder head gasket at a scant 48k miles (at least, this is my best guess, with coolant in the oil and a spark plug covered in liquid to the point where it won't start). I have the gasket itself on order. Are there any other gaskets or bits that I need to order to get this job done? Also, is this something I can do with the engine in the bike, or do I have to drop the motor from the frame?

Thanks in advance!

[edit] Surprisingly, I could find VERY few topics addressing this in my pre-posting searches, which is why I'm posting here. It's almost like the Strom is a super reliable bike that doesn't break down very often... [/edit]

"Definitely do not sit on a DL1000. Big mistake. You'll end up buying one. Happened to me. True story."
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Last edited by aTuWitty; 03-23-2016 at 02:58 PM.
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post #2 of 16 Old 03-23-2016, 03:10 PM
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I think this is the first time I've heard of a head gasket not doing its job on a Strom.

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
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post #3 of 16 Old 03-23-2016, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greywolf View Post
I think this is the first time I've heard of a head gasket not doing its job on a Strom.
That was my thought as well, given the complete lack of similar threads on the internet. Plenty of "I think my head gasket is broken", followed by "check your water pump seal".

Is there ANYTHING else that could cause coolant in my oil and my spark plug to be all wet?

I have a theory- when I opened the bike up to do a valve adjustment last summer, the cam journal bolts were all cheesemetal cheapies, not the hardened stockers, which resulted in one of them breaking. I think something catastrophic may have happened to this bike in the past, someone got in there and "fixed" it, did a poor job, and now I'm paying the price.

"Definitely do not sit on a DL1000. Big mistake. You'll end up buying one. Happened to me. True story."
-busarider54

"Purchasing a V-Strom from a Harley dealer does have poetic justice. Almost like removing a talented child from a meth house."
-ShortOnSkill

"I'm for moves that will help people get over the idea that it is ever okay to drink and drive."
-greywolf
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post #4 of 16 Old 03-23-2016, 03:20 PM
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I think, but am not positive, that you have to can rotate the engine forward enough to get the rear head off. You remove all mounts except for the rear main mount. Not an easy job by any measure. Considering you have to take about everything off anyway, I am not so sure I would not just remove the engine.

'12 DL 650 '14 BMW R 1200 RT

WERKS modified clutch baskets for DL and SV 1000's.
The BEST in chudder control, noise control, and lasting durability! AVAILABLE HERE: www.werksparts.com

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post #5 of 16 Old 03-23-2016, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by realshelby View Post
I think, but am not positive, that you have to can rotate the engine forward enough to get the rear head off. You remove all mounts except for the rear main mount. Not an easy job by any measure. Considering you have to take about everything off anyway, I am not so sure I would not just remove the engine.
Geez, how fun for me! If this were one of my XR's, I'd be boring it at the same time and throwing a higher CR piston in under the "might as well while I'm in here, honey" excuse... alas. Is there anything else that might cause coolant in my oil and a wet spark plug? I can't think of anything, saving perhaps a cracked head (the bike never overheated, though, and the coolant reservoir only dropped slightly).

"Definitely do not sit on a DL1000. Big mistake. You'll end up buying one. Happened to me. True story."
-busarider54

"Purchasing a V-Strom from a Harley dealer does have poetic justice. Almost like removing a talented child from a meth house."
-ShortOnSkill

"I'm for moves that will help people get over the idea that it is ever okay to drink and drive."
-greywolf
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post #6 of 16 Old 03-24-2016, 07:49 AM
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You won't know for sure till you get in there. The probability went sky high when you mentioned someone had already been in there. No telling what they did. Even cleaning the head with a metal scraper can leave marks that promote gasket failure. While there could be a crack, I would be surprised at that. If there is enough coolant getting into the cylinder to wet the spark plug, I wouldn't wait too long to take it apart. Could leak enough into the cylinder to hydraulic lock the piston. Which means the head gasket is no longer the biggest problem.
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'12 DL 650 '14 BMW R 1200 RT

WERKS modified clutch baskets for DL and SV 1000's.
The BEST in chudder control, noise control, and lasting durability! AVAILABLE HERE: www.werksparts.com

Have questions about the clutch in your DL or SV 1000? E-mail Terry [email protected]
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post #7 of 16 Old 04-23-2016, 12:49 PM
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Has anyone seen an aftermarket piston kit for the dl1000. I have an 05.
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post #8 of 16 Old 05-25-2016, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
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Welp, I finally got around to this project (building my XR600R has been my primary project over the last few months). Rear cylinder tested at 95 PSI, well below the minimum spec, so I'm basically certain that the head gasket is the culprit. That motor is coming out. However, what should I look for in regards to the potential CAUSE of the blown head gasket? The bike still has coolant and never got really hot, and I read in another thread that the bigger issue is not the head gasket itself but whatever caused it, since it's such a rare failure on these bikes.

What could cause it? What should I look for when I'm in there?

"Definitely do not sit on a DL1000. Big mistake. You'll end up buying one. Happened to me. True story."
-busarider54

"Purchasing a V-Strom from a Harley dealer does have poetic justice. Almost like removing a talented child from a meth house."
-ShortOnSkill

"I'm for moves that will help people get over the idea that it is ever okay to drink and drive."
-greywolf
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post #9 of 16 Old 08-10-2016, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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Well, gentlemen, I am updating this post just in case anyone comes across it on a Google search and are led to believe they also have a blown head gasket.

I took the bike to a mechanic to pull the motor and change the head gasket, since I have too much other stuff on my plate right now. He called me the next day and said that my front and rear cylinders both tested at 150 PSI, that he could find no trace of steam/white smoke from the exhaust, and that the bike felt great- no evidence of a loss of compression.

Greywolf, it would seem that your original observation still stands- you have yet to hear of a head gasket not doing its job on a Strom

My theories:

The wet plug was from an over-rich condition from my power commander.

The low PSI test was because I didn't hold the throttle at WOT when I compression tested it (oops >.< live and learn).

The white smoke out of the left exhaust was because the bike had sat in heavy rain for several days on its sidestand, thus causing the water to pool in the left pipe/collector.

I still have no answer as to why the bike suddenly died on me back in February and would not restart until I pulled the plug and cranked the motor over a few times sans-plug, nor for why I found coolant (or water? I'm colorblind, so that's a toughie) in the oil when I drained it..


Anyway, here's the TL;DR:

I suspected a head gasket failure, took the bike out of commission for several months, took it to a mechanic and he found absolutely nothing with it. User error. The reputation of the Strom's head gasket has been restored. Rejoice, and be glad.


"Definitely do not sit on a DL1000. Big mistake. You'll end up buying one. Happened to me. True story."
-busarider54

"Purchasing a V-Strom from a Harley dealer does have poetic justice. Almost like removing a talented child from a meth house."
-ShortOnSkill

"I'm for moves that will help people get over the idea that it is ever okay to drink and drive."
-greywolf
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post #10 of 16 Old 08-10-2016, 02:12 PM
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Well, that is a lot better ending than what this story sort of looked like it would have!

We can learn from it.
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'12 DL 650 '14 BMW R 1200 RT

WERKS modified clutch baskets for DL and SV 1000's.
The BEST in chudder control, noise control, and lasting durability! AVAILABLE HERE: www.werksparts.com

Have questions about the clutch in your DL or SV 1000? E-mail Terry [email protected]
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