I bring this up because for an hour or so this morning I sat in a parking lot here in Peru rebuilding my starter motor and without a 7mm socket, it would never have happened, I would have had to go searching around this small villages with my fingers crossed and most likely come up short and be bump starting the bike until I found one.

This is the second time I’ve had to do this, its a little more than the familiar squark noise the DR650 starter motor is known for.

Last week I had the positive lead break itself off the connector to the regulator/ rectifier (because of the very tight bend it takes, an extra inch of wire would have stopped this…Suzuki) and in the process because of riding and using only the battery with its reserve power it was taken down to a point that it wouldn’t hold a full charge.

The resolution, fixed the broken wire with a new connector and bought a new Yuasa YTX9-BS battery

Fast forward a week, high in the mountains yesterday hit the starter button and ‘click’.

As this has happened before so  I knew the starter needed a rebuild. This is something you might want to familiarize yourself with if you are planning to head out on a long ride. This issue can happen at any time.

It will take an hour or two of your time to do,

  • take off your seat and disconnect the battery
  • you need to take off your tank, makes it easier
  • make sure your bike is at TDC (do the valves while you’re there it adds 5 minutes)
  • remove the oil line, three connections, take them all off and take the line out of your way, makes it easier
  • know how your cam chain tensioner works…watch this

  • then remove the CCT
  • take off the clutch cable arm, mark it for easy refitment with a sharpie, you most likely will need to take tension off at the bars/ clutch lever first
  • you DO NOT need to take off the exhaust
  • undo the positive lead on the top of the starter motor, if it doesn’t want to come loose, the follow the lead back and undo it at the starter relay and feed the wire thru (mine was corroded, I had to do this)
  • with an 8mm socket on a 1/4 inch drive using a 6-inch extension undo the two bolts holding the starter in place, there is a clutch cable bracket over the face of the starter…thats coming off as well.
  • Now your starter is free, if its snug gently tap it with a piece of wood and then from the right side of the bike pull towards you and lift at the same time very gradually and it will be free.
  • here’s a link that has a very good description of the process and more photos than I can fit in a short post like this – good explanation here in great detail

to take the starter apart this is where 7mm comes into play to undo these two long bolts that hold the starter together


In my case, there was a carbon build up inside, and the brushes were a little worn but still very usable, they just need a little filing with some fine sandpaper as they were slightly hanging up reducing the power of the starter.

Then I pulled it all apart, laid it out in order to make reassembly easy and cleaned everything with some electrical cleaner, and some fine sandpaper.

Reversed the process to put it all together again, refit everything, made sure I had nothing left over. The end cap where the brushes fit in is like a Chinese puzzle, I used 4 small washers to hold the springs back to make it easy. You’ll understand when you reach this point.

Hit the start button and no squark and it sounded like a new starter and turned over quicker than ever.

I do have a Warp9 end cap on mine with the internal bearing but if you have a stock cap a little dab of grease on reassembly is the way to go.

This isn’t a full on tech how to post just a reminder to check you have that 7mm and a refresher. The job is easy but a shop will most likely charge you 2-3 hours labor for something you can do yourself and you might have to do in the field.

Tools required –

  • Beverage of choice
  • 7/8/10mm sockets
  • 8/10/12/14/17 wrench
  • electrical cleaning fluid/ spray
  • a rag or two
  • a clean area to work
  • feeler gauge (if you are doing the valves)


More detailed information about making a DR650 RTW ready on my website – HERE




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