Adventurizing a Suzuki DRZ400S

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by XC Rider, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. gastone

    gastone Long timer

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    Dennis, any thoughts about doing carbon fiber/Kevlar vis a vis fiberglass?
    #21
  2. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

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    Hmmmm.......:hmmmmm.....carbon fiber hadn't come into the equation when thinking about this primarily due to: cost and color (my bike is white and I'd like my fairing to end up white, while Clarence's bike is blue and hence he'd like his fairing to be blue). However now that you've mentioned it, I had to look up what working with CF entailed. From my quick 5 minutes of research, it appears to not be much different from working with fiberglass. With all the practice that I'm getting working with fiberglass, I may attempt working with CF in the near future when the need for other parts and pieces come up! :D:deal
    #22
  3. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

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    Update:



    So after making the modifications to the mold, I was excited to glass up a second fairing and seeing if the modifications to the mold would accomplish what we wanted. I glassed up the mold on Sunday, and then came back last night after work to pop it out of the mold. I decided that I wanted to play around with sanding this one smooth as if it were a finished pieced, and decided that it would be best to sand while the piece was still on the mold.

    Here is the piece, rough sanded with 60 grit. Fairly smooth, but with some obvious pits here and there.

    [​IMG]

    Being that this is my first time working with fiberglass, I don't know if this is the correct stuff to use, but a buddy of mine has used this with great results and so this is what I'll be using to fill in the major pits the first go around.

    [​IMG]

    And here is the piece after being coated with the Bondo Glass.

    [​IMG]

    Then some more sanding, this time with 80 grit. After a good bit of work I've got to say I'm pretty pleased with the results; not perfect, but fairly smooth. A little more filling and sanding and this thing ought to be ready for paint! With the sanding complete for the time being, I then popped the piece out of the mold. With the modifications to the mold, the only place that the fairing sticks and does not want to pop off the mold easily, is the headlight opening return. However, with some gentle persuasion, I was able to free it up with moderate ease. Once the piece was removed from the mold, I broke out the Dremel out and set to trimming the piece to its final size. Here are a few pictures of the fairing and the mold side by side after the initial fill & sand.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now the real test! Put it on the bike and see how well it fits!?!?!?!?!?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Well first problem, the headlight opening is still too small. :cry Bummer, got to hog out the headlight opening some more. However, aside from this, it appears to fit on the bike very nicely. I'm also very happy with how the top flows with the sides now. I also like that there's a little lip at the top. While it may not be perfect yet, I think that it's moving in the right direction and getting better with every attempt. As for now, I guess I'll be opening up that headlight hole a little more before making the next fairing. In the mean time I'll be researching what to use to paint this thing, and we'll also be taking some steps on the mounting brackets.

    Stay tuned!
    #23
  4. larryboy

    larryboy Just obey!

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    Any plans to get into the engine? Cams, one piece valves, 440cc kit? Seems like you'd want one piece valves at a minimum for an adventurization project, which says longevity to me. FCR carb would seem like a natural thing to install...maybe do 400E engine specs?

    Sorry for rambling, but I've thought of buying one of these brand new and doing all the mods with zero miles; valves, cams, big bore, FCR, manual cam chain tensioner, kick starter from the E, some kind of little rally fairing, big fuel tank..the usual. The one thing that holds me back is the transmission...I've ridden a ton of single track with me on a TE610 and a buddy on a DRZ400E and he'd ask me to pick up the pace on the hill climbs because his first gear was about equal to my second gear.
    #24
  5. Starchamp

    Starchamp Rebel Scum

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    Great job on the mold and your latest fairing!

    To help release the fairing from the mold, it might help to attach a piece of plywood, thick plastic or something to the back of the headlight opening to close it off and prevent the fiber from doubling back on itself.
    #25
  6. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

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    Big bore kit- Thought about it, but like several things it's a matter of $$$, so it's on the back burner for the time being.
    One piece valves- Hmmm.....that had not crossed my mind. Thank you for bringing it up as something to investigate.
    FCR carb- Once again, it's a matter of $$$ for the time being. I had thought about this but figured this would be something I'd investigate more seriously if/when I do a big bore kit on the bike.

    I hear what you're saying about the transmission; not necessarily perfect, but I've gotten used to it and it works for me. Many people play around with the sprockets, but the down side to this is that while it helps in one regard it will then hurt you in the opposite. Me, I'm just sticking with stock gearing. Part of the reason why I love the DRZ is that I find this bike to be rather plucky! :D


    Good idea there; that is a major part of what makes the mold hard to pop off. Something to think about for the next one.




    On a side note, I've received a few more bits. Will be working on installing those hopefully sometime this week while I find time to modify the fairing mold.
    #26
  7. larryboy

    larryboy Just obey!

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    It happened to my riding buddy's 400E, valve head separated from the stem, we're kind of full throttle guys and it scattered really good before he could shut it down...threw the rod out the front of the cases.
    #27
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  8. Laconic

    Laconic .

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    Hey Dennis, nice little project! If that's the DRz I think it is, I lusted after it when it came up for sale.

    From what I remember from my boat building experiences, the wooden part you made is called a "plug" and should be the same size as your desired final product. The fiberglass part you have on the bike should be the "mold" The mold should have gelcoat on the inside (for production use, at least) and be heavily reinforced with plywood ribs glassed to it prior to removing from the plug. That will ensure it keeps its shape when you lay up your finished parts inside the mold.

    Maybe this accounts for your fitment woes around the headlight?

    :lurk

    Also, one layer of 10 ounce fabric will give your finished product a lot more strength than just using mat.
    #28
  9. Roadracer_Al

    Roadracer_Al louder, louder, louder!

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    I built a DRz SuMo as you describe, and more -- after a stock engine seizure. They consume oil on the highway, and I didn't catch it. Cost about $2600 to build, did all the work myself, including the carb tuning.

    Ran like a scalded cat -- dyno'd at 52hp!

    And, you're 100% right about the lousy trans ratios. First is not short enough for off-road bliss without a monster rear sprocket, then it won't go highway speed. Gear it for the highway, and first gear is waaaay sluggish, even for street riding. If any bike needed a 6-speed, it's the DRz. That was pretty much why I sold it and bought a KTM 690.

    Fast forward a couple of years, and now someone is manufacturing a wide-ratio trans for it. Spendy, though. I probably would have kept it with a better trans.
    #29
  10. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

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    Been sick with flu like stuff for the last week, just started feeling better a few days ago. Will get back to work now that I have the energy to do so.


    Thanks for the tip on the fiberglassing. Yep, this is Hppyfnguy's old DRZ; it will become the other bike that I use in my RTW adventures.


    Damn, I'll have to watch and make sure I don't get the same oil issue that you did! I've been meaning to write suzuki a letter to let them know just what a killer bike this would be if they would simply make it a 6 speed and give it fuel injection (and maybe bump it up to a 450cc :evil).
    #30
  11. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

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    UPDATE!

    I did do some work on the lights before I got sick, guess I can post that up. The stock headlight leaves a little to be desired, so in order to help it out and in order to also help draw less power from a unit that already does not put out a lot off excess wattage, I decided to replace the stock headlight with an LED version as well as the tail light. For the headlight I went with a Cyclops, 3600 Lumen LED unit, and this 360 degree led bulb for the tail light that I got thru ProCycle. There's also a voltmeter which will end up on the dash to monitor the electrical situation.

    [​IMG]

    Install was a breeze; everything is plug-N-play. Both the headlight and tail light look a bit brighter, but then again my main concern is with wattage pulled. Here are a few comparison pictures, before & after.

    Headlight before & after:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Tail light before & after:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Will be glassing up another fairing here this week/weekend, and then start to look at paint options. Mounting brackets that my buddy is working on are also coming along nicely.
    #31
  12. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

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    UPDATE!


    So, last we left off, I was doing some electrical upgrades to the lighting and minimizing power usage to allow more power to be available for heated grips and the eventual aux. lights. Also, the headlight opening on the 2nd version of the mold was still too small; time to trim out more material on the mold and keep opening that headlight hole. A little bit of work with skill saws and a lot of sanding later, I was ready to recoat the mold with wax and glass up another fairing. In the meantime however, I went over to my buddy Clarence's shop to work on the mounting bracket and dash. He'd put in a little bit of time coming up with a prototype bracket, now we needed to tweak it a little bit and see about how to mount the dash and fairing using this bracket. The big thing that we wanted to accomplish was to make the fairing and dash independently removable; i.e. when you remove the fairing, the dash remains in place so that you can access and work on all the electrics. So here is what we came up with...

    [​IMG]

    Basically it's a hoop that comes off the upper fork clamps; I know that some people have mentioned that it would be better to come off the frame than the forks, and while I don't disagree, this is much easier so this is the way we're going for this attempt. If we experience major head shake at speeds or any other major issues, we'll come back to the drawing board. From this hoop we bring up two uprights, and at the top of these two uprights are two small pieces of angle on which the dash will lay. The dash will look something like this...

    [​IMG]


    The fairing will then mount to this same bracket via two screw/bolts on either side that screw into the bracket that's been drilled and tapped; we'll be adding a rubber washer or something similar between the fairing and the bracket to minimize vibrations.

    [​IMG]

    Then there's a small bracket that will be molded into the bottom lip of the fairing and used to secure the fairing at the bottom in place using the existing bottom mounting hole...

    [​IMG]

    So we played with the bracket to get the angles as best as we could. We also played around with the size and shape of the dash. Once we were satisfied, I left Clarence to make the final modifications to the bracket and the jig to make repeats. Brackets at this point will be made out of steel and plated. With having recently aquired access to a TIG, we may make replacement brackets in the future out of aluminum to save on weight but first I need to practice my TIG skills as it's been years!


    Next, fairing version 3.0! :D
    #32
  13. Starchamp

    Starchamp Rebel Scum

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    Good progress! Besides the Montana, what else are you going to do with all that new real estate?
    #33
  14. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

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    Thanks.

    Here's the plan for the dash as of now; I haven't layed it all out yet either, but that will be coming soon:

    1) Powered mount for the Montana
    2) 12v power outlet
    3) dual USB power outlet
    4) volt meter
    5) switch for heated grips
    6) switch for auxiliary lights
    #34
  15. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

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    UPDATE:

    Had some free time last weekend so I decided to glass up fairing #3; I'd opened up the headlight hole quite a bit and was pretty confident that it was now the right size. After all, as the expression goes, third time's a charm! This being fairing #3, I'm now starting to get good at this thing; all went well, and the fairing popped off the mold without too much difficulty. I then sanded the fairing like before with 60 grit, then skim coated it with BondoGlass and sanded with 80 grit. Next up I then skim coated the fairing with yet a finer body filler material....

    [​IMG]

    And it looked like this....

    [​IMG]

    Then sanded again with 220 grit this time and now the fairing felt and looked pretty damn smooth!

    [​IMG]

    Before going thru the whole painting process I decided to take the fairing out to the bike and test to make sure that I'd gotten the headlight opening correct at last....

    Eureka! It fits!

    [​IMG]

    So now we move on to the paint department. When I started researching this a couple weeks ago, I was thinking of going top quality with a spray gun and some proper paint. I floated the idea of gel coat for a bit, but then decided that was simply too involved (and this is not a boat!). However for reasons of time, money, and ease of application, I decided against this and have gone the simplistic direction of rattle can paint. I was able to find a "sandable primer" in a rattle can; I used this first and applied two coats on the fairing, sanding first with 300 after the first coat and then 400 after the 2nd coat. Here is the piece hanging up for paint...

    [​IMG]

    Next up was top coat; once it was dry, I couldn't wait to put in up on the bike to see how it looked...

    [​IMG]

    I've got to say I'm super pleased with the results so far, but I still had one step to take to finish this piece; I wanted to paint the inside a flat black instead of leaving it raw fiberglass. I figured this would help the piece hold up better over time, not to mention look better. So I mask off the white side of the fairing, and coat the inside black...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    So there you go. My buddy's let me know that the mounting brackets are done, so whenever we're able to get back together, we'll do a final setup of a finished fairing on finished brackets, and cut out a dash piece. I've got all my electrical bits standing by and I can't wait to start mounting things to the dash on the bike! Stay tuned....:deal
    #35
  16. sraber

    sraber Been here awhile

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    Nice work! :clap
    #36
  17. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

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    Time to wrap up this puppy! Finally found some more free time to finish work on the fairing and dash, and then wire up all the goodies using my newly bought Denali Powerhub2 fuse block. So last we left off, I'd completed a properly fitting fairing. Now to go back to my buddy Clarence's house to do a final test fit with the brackets he's been fabricating. He'd also acquired some weather stripping with which to wrap the edge of the fairing....

    [​IMG]

    ...it really finishes the fairing. We did encounter one problem with the fairing and the bottom mounting bracket. After making a new bracket with a longer tab and relocated mounting spot, the fairing came on and off like a charm. Despite the cold temps outside, we couldn't resist the temptation to take it for a spin and see how it affected the handling of the bike and if it created weird wind buffeting.

    Here Clarence is about to take the bike with the new fairing out for it's maiden voyage!

    [​IMG]

    Despite some folks warning against fork mounting the assembly, it worked beautifully! :clap No weird head shake, even at speed, and no weird wind buffeting going on. Clarence and I were both pleased as punch with the results. With this done we cut out some dash pieces out of this material that Clarence had lying around his shop; not sure what it's called, but it's two thin layers of aluminum sandwiching a plastic core. Super lightweight and quite strong; perfect! Now it was time for me to get back home and to my bike so I can start wiring up all my goodies.

    Here is what I plan on putting on the dash:

    1- GPS
    2- 12v power outlet
    3- Dual USB power outlet
    4- Volt meter
    5- Heated grips switch
    6- Switch for auxiliary lights

    I am also wiring all of this stuff back to a fuseblock and making all the circuits switched via the use of a relay; this way the circuits are powered ONLY when the ignition is turned on. This way I don't have to worry about draining the battery when the bike is off. In the end I stuck to my plan, except for the switch for the auxiliary lights; I ended up mounting that switch on a small plate that I mounted to the handle bars right near the stock OEM light switches so that I can quickly and easily switch them off when I encounter oncoming traffic. I also ended up mounting the auxiliary lights off either side of the fairing; this way they're nicely tucked in and protected for when I dump the bike. :lol3

    Here is the underside of the dash, showing a look at the wiring. I'm no electrician, but using this fuseblock sure made things easy.

    [​IMG]

    And the top side of the dash, showing all the goodies.

    [​IMG]

    And now the piece de resistance......Tad Dah!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Only thing to do now is to take this bike out on a trip! If all goes well, I'll be heading out for a week or so of riding in March and we'll see how well this set-up works.

    Thanks for following along, and a great big thanks to Clarence for all his help and being the impetus for this little project.
    #37
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  18. Paebr332

    Paebr332 Good news everyone!

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    That came out AWESOME!
    #38
  19. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

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    something to consider.... the shifter has a tendency to punch a hole in the side cover when the bike is dropped on the left side. seems to me like somebody makes a thing for that, but I welded a piece of flat stock on mine.

    nice job on the fairing. I've built a couple out of hard cell foam... like what they use in surfboards. hot glue pieces together, cut & file with hand tools & when you have your shape, glass it over
    #39
  20. Te Hopo

    Te Hopo Nomad

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    That came out looking really good.
    If it were mine I might look at adding a clear plastic lip to the top just to see if it helps anymore.

    Here's the screen I came up with, first of all I trialled a piece of flat plastic for a screen but found the buffeting horrid.

    When I bent up this new screen I added a lip and it's made a huge difference, now I can sit comfortably at 100kmh (60mph) with my visor open and no buffeting:
    [​IMG]
    #40