Stump's DR350 - Morocco Prep Questions

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Stump, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. Stump

    Stump Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    East London, UK.
    Hello.

    New member, although very long time lurker (always seemed to find the info I needed without asking questions). I'm starting this thread to hopefully tap into some collective DR350 wisdom, and because I find the format of the DR350 Thread hard to follow.

    I've had my '92 DR350SN for around 18 months, bought as a non-runner for £100 (that's not a typo). Fresh petrol, carb clean, (plus a lot of kicking) and it burst into life. Been riding the snot out of it since. Absolutely love it.

    Mods I have carried out include, Acerbis tank (with homemade mounting kit), Maier rear fender, LED rear light, replaced stock headlight, UFO front fender, re-covered seat, new tyres (does this count?). Had a BMW pannier rack modified to fit. Found a stock exhaust to replace the loud DEP one. Bar risers and bark busters, heated grips. Also managed to find a bargain pair of 17" wheels.

    Mods carried out before I owned the bike. 385cc Wiesco piston, airbox mod. Wider pegs. Fork conversion of unknown origin, which is where the questions begin.

    Here are a couple of pictures of before, during and after the work.


    The day I bought it home.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50727920@N05/5514741904/" title="DR_01 by Rich_Stump, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5093/5514741904_77d761c259.jpg" width="500" height="334" alt="DR_01" /></a>


    Trip to Wales.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50727920@N05/4663562614/" title="Claerwen Reservoir by Rich_Stump, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4041/4663562614_e7fd244b92.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="Claerwen Reservoir" /></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50727920@N05/4662944269/" title="Mountain Goat by Rich_Stump, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4004/4662944269_5b5a222abc.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="Mountain Goat" /></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50727920@N05/4663566324/" title="DR Taking a Break by Rich_Stump, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4009/4663566324_dfb0c5cbdd.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="DR Taking a Break" /></a>


    Woods setup.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50727920@N05/5514164451/" title="IMG_4062-Edit by Rich_Stump, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5251/5514164451_1e1ed6988e.jpg" width="500" height="313" alt="IMG_4062-Edit" /></a>


    Supermoto setup.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50727920@N05/5514169253/" title="supermoto_02 by Rich_Stump, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5059/5514169253_3b2aac69ea.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="supermoto_02" /></a>

    Also, a link to a video I recently made with my GoPro if anyone's interested. This is typical of the sort of riding the DR and I, try and do as much as possible of.

    <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/20508602?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=8bdb00" width="450" height="253" frameborder="0"></iframe>


    Anyway, in 5 weeks, I'm leaving the UK to travel to Morocco for the best part of a month. I'm pretty much prepared, with paperwork, tickets etc. all sorted. But I've not really done much in the way of preparing the DR for the big trip. And it's on this subject that I'd like to pick your brains….

    Which maintenance tasks would you definitely do before a potential 3000 mile trip? The bike runs so well at the moment I am hesitant to tear into it too far, and potentially (probably) balls something up. So far I was just planning on; checking the valve clearances, new plug, replacing the wheel bearings with new ones, lube/replace cables, greasing the rear linkages, replacing the fork seals and oil, new brake pads, and of course fresh oil and filter.

    I considered taking off the head and checking out the condition of the cam journals, rockers etc. I then realised that as it's a 385cc it would require a new gasket specific to this bore. Is this correct? Or can a standard head gasket be modified to work?

    The bike uses a little bit of oil, but only when cruising at motorway speeds for a long time, and even then, it isn't a great deal. I'm guessing that this is most likely to be valve seals and/or piston rings? It still pulls strong though, so doesn't seem to be down on compression. In your opinions, should this be something I get seen to, before my trip?

    On the subject of fork seals, I only want to order one correct set. Can anybody help identify for sure what the donor bike for the forks is/was? Looking at the micro-fiche's of several bikes, I'm leaning towards …..

    I'm lucky to have, with the DR, a notebook belonging to the first owner, documenting every single bit of maintenance ever carried out on it for the first 6 years of its life. I mean everything. Tyre pressures on the day it rolled out of the showroom, diagrams of the correct way to reassemble things, valve clearances, literally everything. Interestingly though, it mentions things I had been worried about tackling myself, such as back-spacing the clutch, the infamous shift-drum bolt etc. What I'm trying to say is I know that the bike has been very well looked after.

    Sorry if this is a lot of information/questions to be asking in a first post, but I'm just really trying to find out:

    a) whether I am foolish to trust a 19 year old bike to stay in one piece from here to Morocco and back? (Don't answer this one)

    b) is there anything I haven't considered that could potentially shaft me further down the line.

    c) what would you definitely do maintenance-wise before setting off?

    d) what are the forks from, as there seems to be loads of similar ones!

    Anything that I don't think I'll be able to achieve by myself, I will be able to take to my bike mechanic friend, so know worries there.


    Thanks in advance for your thoughts/advice.

    Phew!


    p.s. I'm also entering my first Hare & Hounds race in 2 weeks. Is this a silly idea on a bike that is supposed to take me to Africa three weeks later? Who cares! :-)
    #1
  2. Kawidad

    Kawidad Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,680
    Location:
    Central Coast, Cal
    In light of the recent problems in that area of the world, good luck. And, I really do mean that.:thumbup

    As to the bike. Has the swingarm been braced? The DR swingarms with the glue and rivets have been known to fail under hard applications. It was a common wisdom years ago to have the joint welded together and then braced. It takes a good and skilled welder who is familiar with aluminum, but it's not very difficult to do. Also, I'd consider running fork skins on the forks to protect the seals whilst on your adventure.
    #2
  3. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,962
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    You've pretty much covered the things I would be concerned about. Do not need to remove the head to check the cam, rockers and journals but you will need to reseal the cam cover with an appropriate product (I used permatex Ultra blue.) Also replace brake fluid - I'm assuming you would probably be doing it but had not added it to the list.

    Give the oil lines and breather hose a good inspection for chafing, splits or other signs of imminent demise. Add a fuel filter if you can.

    Good luck! Post a ride report and link to it in the DR350 thread
    #3
  4. SeaBass

    SeaBass Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,063
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    You yank the kickstand safety switch yet? Those have been known to strand a few. A spare clutch cable wouldn't hurt to have. Bring some JB Weld for in the event you happen to crack a cover.
    #4
  5. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2005
    Oddometer:
    11,260
    Location:
    Tampa
    I think its actually quite a sensible bike for the trip - they will rarely leave you stranded.

    I'd second the idea about the kick stand switch. The only issues I've had with DRs over the years really have been switches and wiring. I'd go ahead and bypass the kick stand and clutch switches. Also if it has a keyed ignition be aware that the key switch itself isn't the most roubst thing and can fail. Otherwise not much goes wrong.

    I'd also put on new cables for sure and bring spare clutch and throttle cables (you can go ahead and route them now so all you have to do is hook them up later).

    The plastic fork guards look a lot like the ones Kawasaki used in the early 1990s, but I can't be sure other mfg's didn't use similar ons.

    For seals you don't need to know exactly what bike they came off of though. What you need to do is measure the diamater of the chrome slider. Its probably 43mm. Then look around and see if they say Showa or KYB/Kayaba on them somewhere. I'm pretty sure all 43mm inverted showas take the same seal, dito for 43mm kybs and I think you can even put showa 43mm seals in kybs and vice versa but haven't tried that one myself.

    I've had the best luck with oem honda seals and have used those in various brand bikes with 43mm showa forks.

    I'd probably leave the head and all that alone.


    good luck and have fun!
    #5
  6. jessepitt

    jessepitt Ride More

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    993
    Location:
    Redmond Oregon
    Might want want to try to find a manual cam chain tesioner, or at least ckeck how much adjustment you auto tensioner has left, and make sure it is working properly.
    #6
  7. Stump

    Stump Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    East London, UK.
    Thanks for the prompt replies! I really appreciate it.

    Kawidad, thanks for your concern regarding my/our safety. Despite the current political situation in the rest of North Africa, from what I can gather, Morocco is still business as usual. Plus, after living in East London for 4 years now, I'm pretty sure I'm going to feel safer if anything!

    Regarding bracing the swingarm, I'm sure I saw a thread where someone (Pablo?) was trying to do this but was having difficulties with the weld getting contaminated by the adhesive? To be honest, I don't think I ride hard enough to justify the risk of possibly wrecking the swingarm by having it welded. Thanks for the idea though, on my return I might get a spare and see if I can have that one braced.

    Fork skins. Good idea, they've gone on the shopping list.:thumbup

    Slartibartfast, good to know that I don't need to remove the head to check the cam etc. Cheers for the reminder about brake fluid too. Changed it fairly recently, but pretty sure it'll take a battering in the desert etc!

    Forgot about the screen in the oil line, need to give that a check. Which breather hose is it that you are referring to? Fuel filter, check.:thumbup

    Don't worry about the ride report, I definitely plan on doing one. That's where the GoPro comes in!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50727920@N05/5515255817/" title="surreySomewhere by Rich_Stump, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5135/5515255817_4639224852.jpg" width="500" height="321" alt="surreySomewhere" /></a>


    SeaBass, JB Weld is a very good idea now that you mention it. Especially when I think of how rocky those Moroccan pistes are going to be! Thanks man.

    Kickstand and clutch safety switches have already been taken care of.

    BikePilot, thanks for the vote of confidence regarding the choice of bike. I know you've done a lot of miles on DRs, and value your opinion. I honestly don't find it too uncomfortable to ride for long distances, I don't even mind the seat, if my ass starts hurting, I just stand up for a bit! (Not sure I'll be saying this after 3000 miles!)

    I've read in my bike's notebook about the ignition switch failing before, I think I'll leave it as it is for now, but as you said, be aware to not overlook it as a cause of the bike not running, if the situation arises. Thanks for the head-up.

    Clutch cable has been ordered. Learnt that lesson the hard way last summer, whilst boarding the Channel tunnel train to France at 5am! Good tip on routing the spare along the one currently being used.

    Also, that's brilliant news regarding the fork seals. That single bit of information has saved me, probably hours, of stressing and trying to decipher which bike they came from. Now I just need to see if I can find whether they are Showa or KYBs. I definitely remember seeing a Suzuki sticker on them somewhere, if that makes a difference? I have a closer photo here…

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50727920@N05/5515850438/" title="forks_03 by Rich_Stump, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5013/5515850438_929a37ce51.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="forks_03" /></a>


    Without knowing exactly what they are, I'm assuming that I'll have to guess the quantity of oil to replace. Should I just measure how much comes out and use that figure as a starting point, or is there a rule of thumb that'll get me close enough?

    Re the cam chain tensioner, does the head need to be remove to gain access to it?

    Thanks again for taking the time to help me out.
    #7
  8. Stump

    Stump Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    East London, UK.
    Here in the UK, DRs aren't particularly common. So finding certain aftermarket parts is pretty difficult. Side pannier racks are one such product. Thought I'd just show what I had fabricated at a locate metalworker's.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50727920@N05/5515260443/" title="rack_02 by Rich_Stump, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5138/5515260443_c3a098cc31.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="rack_02" /></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50727920@N05/5515850156/" title="rack by Rich_Stump, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5173/5515850156_c167fb7546.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="rack" /></a>

    Started life as a rack for an old BMW airhead. The guys who did the work for me usually make railings and gates etc. Believe me, this sucker is strong! I had a bit of a wipe-out on the road on Sunday (don't ask), absolutely smacked the rack into the tarmac, and it didn't bend one little bit. Reckon the bike frame will bend before this does!

    Trial fitted the panniers I plan on using, Ortlieb Back Roller Classics. They fit perfectly. I'll be using these in combination with an Ortlieb Rack Pack, and a Wolfman Enduro Tankbag.
    #8
  9. jessepitt

    jessepitt Ride More

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    993
    Location:
    Redmond Oregon
    No need to open her up to get to the cam chain tensioner. It is the little wossname located on the lower right rear of the jug under the oil line. You should probably look up the proper procedure on here but as far as I know to remove it you set the piston to TDC on the compression stroke then remove the two bolts holding the tensioner in place. You have to remove the oil line first and some recommend removing the header but it can be done without. If you do decide to remove it you will need a new gasket for it. The bolt head on the center of the tensioner is just a cover so don't try to tighten that. If you just want to make sure that it is tight you can remove that cap and manually turn the screw release inside the tensioner. Like I said, look up the full procedure cause I'm no expert.
    #9
  10. andyhol

    andyhol volcano rider

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    153
    Location:
    the Seven Seas
    Get a bigger back light mate, I know you probably dont plan on riding at night, but you will be caught out. The driving standards in marocco can be interesting to say the least and you want to know people have seen you. maybe some bigger indicators too.
    It's a fanstastic place and so accessable even for us from the uk. Maybe consider the ferry to bilbao or santandaer to save doing you and the dr the shitty trip through france if you've not got the ticket already.
    Take spare cables, chainlinks and brake pads. We had a big issue with pads after a rainstorm turned the piste roads into grinding paste and ate our pads. Consider taking a spare coil and cdi.
    Fuel filter a very good idea, also take some things to trade... oldish cheapy phones (like k800 ericson) were in demand and dont take much room up.

    Have fun and be careful, there's no air ambulance out there mate
    #10
  11. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,936
    Location:
    Rotoiti, North Is, New Zealand
    If the shock on the DR is serviceable maybe give that a birthday.

    If you are worried about the cam etc, just look back at the valve clearance check records you have, any wear in these parts will likely show up as variations in the clearances, if everything is pretty constant from 1 check to the next then chances are all the valve mechanism is happy.

    Have fun. :D

    Cheers
    Clint
    #11
  12. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Oddometer:
    7,761
    Location:
    Southern New Jersey
    I am sure if you tend to the basics, the bike will do fine and you will have a great time.
    #12
  13. Stump

    Stump Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    East London, UK.
    Absolutely quality advice guys. Thanks so much! Currently swapping out the leaking fork seals... Easier typed than done! Kind of wishing I'd bought a seal driver now.

    clintnz - didn't consider the history of the clearances, makes sense, good shout. Will also tackle the shock next weekend, if I can find somewhere to refill it with nitrogen...

    jessepitt - will definitely be checking the CCT

    elnota - Will be taking pads, cables etc. My friends that I am going with were reluctant to take spare pads. Your story has convinced them otherwise.. Cheers!
    #13
  14. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2005
    Oddometer:
    11,260
    Location:
    Tampa
    For the forks, suzuki mostly uses showa.

    The diamater of the chromed tube will help narrow things down. When you take them apart see if they are of a dual chamber or open bath design. If dual chamber you'll be able to figure out what bike they came from based on that and the diamater of the tubes.

    If its open bath its either 1992 or older or not from an RM.

    Once things are narrowed down a bit more on the forks it shouldn't be too hard to figure out how much oil to put back in. You can measure what came out, but there's no way of telling that it had the right amount in there. Also, when you re-fill if its an open bath fork you'll have to fill the fork all the way up with oil, bleed the cartridge and suck the level down to the specified amount (oil is measured in mm from the top of the fork tube rather than by volume on open bath forks).
    #14
  15. Dakar Dan

    Dakar Dan Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,061
    Location:
    Bendigonia
    G'day Stump. Great choice of bike and destination. Sounds like you're pretty well prepared. I travelled through Morocco on a shoestring budget (no bike, unfortunately) soon after the first Gulf War. Plenty of tut-tutting and advice to reconsider was given to me prior but I found the people remarkably hospitable in general and never felt that my personal safety was ever at threat. The mountains and desert are spectacular. Have you formed a loose plan of where to visit?

    As for bike prep: maybe a slightly higher viscosity oil would help the consumption issue at speed, as the daytime temperatures will be getting reasonably high. I would recommend an alloy bashplate to protect your sump also, as some of the hammada pre-desert sections will be very rocky. Riding in sand is an acquired and practised skill, ease yourself into it.

    Looking forward to a RR!
    #15
  16. MrPulldown

    MrPulldown Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Oddometer:
    4,835
    Location:
    Truckee
    Did a ride report ever happen. Linky?
    #16
  17. _CJ

    _CJ Retrogrouch

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,882
    Location:
    The 719, Yo.
    Hopefully this isn't a big invasion of his privacy....but I clicked on his photo of the bike, which led to his Flickr page, which has an album of his trip to Moroco.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/50727920@N05/sets/72157626545091005/show/

    Great pictures. Very inspirational. Looks like there were some mechanicals, but nothing too bad as they kept going. Looks a lot like the American southwest.

    :freaky
    #17
  18. Stump

    Stump Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    East London, UK.
    Hi guys, sorry about the massive delay. I have indeed now written a ride report. It would have been up here on ADVrider a long time ago, but there was interest from a magazine who wanted to run a travel feature on our trip.

    I've written a short edited version for the magazine, and once that is published, I'll put the full version in the Ride Reports section. Just didn't want to step on anyone's toes at the magazine, which is Adventure Bike Rider magazine by the way. They're doing a Morocco special for the next issue, so should definitely be worth checking out!

    Thanks for the interest Mr Pulldown. Glad you like the photos CJ. Not an invasion of my privacy at all, and thanks for your kind words!

    Look forward to the Ride Report and video soon... :D
    #18
  19. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,009
    Location:
    Garden City, Michigan
    I look forward to reading the report.
    Maybe you can give us a heads up on this thread when you post it in RR,or I may miss it.
    #19
  20. MrPulldown

    MrPulldown Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Oddometer:
    4,835
    Location:
    Truckee
    Just read thsi thread again and noticed that you were running the stock skid. I guess that worked out. I find that the stock skid does not provide adiquite engine protection in very rocky (large rock) areas. In fact the bottom side of the undercarriage is completly unprotected.
    #20