hey guys, I just got back from a 6500 mile trip to AK and back on the Vstrom. I wish I could say the Vstrom did great, but unfortunately, I got plagged with an electrical short from the first day.
My trip involved leaving Kalispell, MT and riding through Canada to AK, up the Dalton highway to Prudhoe Bay and back. Overall, I'm still pleased with the strom, it was just terrible timing to be running into an electrical problem, and even more annoying was that I have not heard of it being a common problem.
I did add some electrical assessories before the trip using the horn plug and heated grip accessory wire. I wired in an aux fuse box switched by a relay.
The first time it happened, we were about 150 miles across the Canadian Border on the first day of the trip, and we had been in a downpoor of rain for the last hour. I was listening to my XM which was sitting in a water proof case, but the cigeratte lighter plug wasn't. For the most part it was staying dry, but of course the rain was working it's way around the windshield and up from the bottom. All of sudden I lost power to my XM. I first figured water had shorted out the power plug (no big deal as it was fused) and I switched over to my MP3 player which was waiting on standby. After getting that done, the other rider came by me tapping the back of his bike. My initial thought was that he just wanted the lead, but then I noticed I had no guages what so ever. Then it dawned on me that he was telling me I had no tailights. We stopped down the road a bit and sure enough, I had blown the 15 amp signal fuse which controls the guages, tail light, brake light, turn signal and the heated grip accessory all of which are on the same circuit.
I replaced the fuse with the spare one, turned on the key and everything was working again. I decided to put the XM away and not push my luck with the rain. We took off from the parking lot and 100 yds later, it blows again. We stop at a gas station and go buy a pack of five 15amp fuses. (Canadian's really like their fuses at about $5-6 for a box of five). We put in a new fuse and it blows instantly when the key is turned on.
The first thing we suspect is all my electrical accessories, so I disconnect everything from the relay back. Nope, still blowing.
After going through a couple of the fuses, we decide just to press on and deal with it later in the day when we stop for the night.
We tear into the bike removing both front fairings, dropping the radiator, and getting access to all the plugs behind it. We check out all the wiring, even, pulling the guage cluster to check it. My next suspect is the speedo healer I had installed, so we pull it. Nope, we blow another fuse and are down to our last one. We can't find any more fuses at that point, so we call it a night and sleep on it. The next day, I'm trying to think of anything else that I added before the trip and the E52 with aux brake lights comes to mind. It was kind of a rush job and I just used those cheap crimp type connectors to hook it up to my tail lights. We pull apart the back of the bike in the parking lot and remove that. (nope, I blow my last spare fuse).
At this point, I have removed everything I ever added to the strom electrical wise and it is back to factory wiring and the only place I spliced into the wiring was the rear tail lights. We find an auto parts store and I buy 10 more fuses for about $5/box. ($15 in fuses so far).
We messed with the bike some more, but it was still blowing fuses everytime we turn the key on now and we went through the 10 fuses we had just bought, so we decide to just press and we'll work on it again the next night. We went as far to pull out the taillight bulbs and unplug the blinkers, but it was still blowing. I basically have a running bike with headlights, and that's it.
We end up hitting more rain and it get's to the point the other guy is not comfortable following me in the pooring down rain with no tail lights or brake lights. We found a Wal-Mart and bought 10 more fuses and a few other things. (Keep track now as that's over $25 in fuses so far). It was still raining and we needed a dry place to work on the bike. We asked if we could use Wal-Marts lube garage, but they said no. Gas station near by said no, but we had luck with a drive through Lumber place. They let us go back into a corner of their workshop and work on the bike.
We tore into the bike for the 4th time taking the entire front end of the bike apart and pulling the tank to get access to all the wiring. We traced down everything on that circuit and decided to try the one plug I never even touched on this bike. (The left hand control pod switch). Bingo! When we disconnected it, we stopped blowing fuses. However, when we hooked it back up, we still weren't blowing fuses, so that wasn't a very good thing. We took our chances with it and hooked everything back up and put the bike back together. (The plug I'm referring to is the big yellow plug behind the radiator and half of it is attached to that plastic shrowd behind the radiator)
About an hour or two into that leg, I blew the fuse again after some more rain. We knew at this point what plug it was and it must just be getting moisture, so we found a NAPA store to get some Dilectric grease.
That night at camp, we tore into my bike for a 5th time and added the dilectric grease to it. That finally did the trick and I stopped blowing fuses.
From that point I managed to log about 4k miles on the bike before the problem would rear it's ugly head again. Coming back down the Dalton Highway from Dead Horse, that same fuse blew again. (This was on top of a flat tire, but that's another whole story
) There was no rain this time, just a bumpy, dusty road. In Cold Foot, I decided that I was tired of not having guages and a brake light, so I tore apart the bike and unplugged the left control pod switch. I figured I could do with out blinkers. Nothing blew when I turned the key, so I figured I was good to go. I put the bike back together. (C'mon, guess what happened next) Yep, when I unplugged that plug, you also disconnect the clutch switch that allows you to start the bike. Oops. We are still fighting my leaking tire, so we just want to get on the road and decide to just skip the start button and I'll just use a pliers to get the relay to start the bike. Kind of a PITA, but it works. With the bike running, I notice my next issue. (No freaking headlights now) Yep, that also broke the circuit to the headlights since that switch is all part of that. We push on down Dalton Highway back towards Fairbanks. So, now I've got guages again and a tail light and brake light, but no starter switch and no headlights. The entire way down the highway, the fuse for the guages and taillights doesn't blow, but I decide I'd much rather have my headlights back and my electric start button. I was getting tired of push starting my bike or taking the seat of to short out the starter relay.
Once back to Fairbanks, I put the yellow plug back together, dilectric grease the hell out of everything, even the left control pod switch. I continue to mess with the bike and I could get it to not blow fuses when I just turned the key, but as soon as I started riding a few feet, then it blows.
We eventually tried pulling the 2 pins out of the yellow plug for the turn signals thinking that was it, but it still blew.
Long story short, I never had my guages back the rest of the trip and logged somewhere aronud 2500 miles going back to Montana. I ran out of gas one time because I didn't have a gas guage and I'm pretty sure it's because Suzuki used the GPS sensor to know what gear it's in and since none of that was working, my bike was probably just running some generic fuel map which led to some very crappy gas mileage.
I'm back home now and I'm outta ideas. My guess is I have a bare wire somewhere as everytime I move the radiator and the wires, it works for a bit till I start riding, and then blows again. I can't get it to blow just wiggling wires though.
Looking for any help and what direction to go. Oh yeah, I think I spent somewhere around $40-50 just on fuses trying to diagnose the problem on the road.