November 2014, more repairs on the DR800

The work on the Suzuki DR800 continues. Now that the ignition and electrical issues are fully resolved, a range of little things require attention. Being an old bike and also following my philosophy of using parts that are readily available from a range of sources sometimes means being creative. Here are a few examples:

First, the exhaust pipe. It has rattled around a bit since putting on the Laser Produro exhaust and whilst degreasing the swingarm, it became evident that the occassional clunk that I just ignored previously was the exhaust hitting the rear spring. That's no good! I hunted around for a suitable bracket but none could easily be found. Evenutally I bought a bracket for a 40 mm PVC pipe and used some scrap steel from a filing cabinet. Total cost was about $5.00 and that includes two brackets. This is the result at the moment:

It works very well. The second bracket I have round the edges on using the bench grinder and painted. Once the painting is finished I will replace the brackets and the job will look neat. Probably paint the washers, nuts and bolts as well.

The next issue is the various rubber grommets that hold side covers and plastic bash plate on. I did not want grommets that were specific to the bike, nor the associated cost. Nothing 100% suitable was in my grommet kit and so a drive out to Masters Home Improvements was in order. I had previously checked Bunnings but their selection did not have anything quite right. Masters has these grommets and washers and they did the job nicely. To put the grommets in I used a smear of rubber grease which I wiped off when finished. The rubber is quite dense and I hope that they will work quite well. I also replaced the standard bolts with 6 mm bolts with wingnut tips. This will make removing the bash plate easier for cleaning, especially when travelling off-road.

To finish off this blog, a few workshop tips.

Use a punch to place a mark on the top of the magnetic parts tray. When I pull bolts out of a side cover for example, I can then place them in order, the first one starting at the mark and moving around the tray in sequence. Makes putting things back in order much easier.

Take the time to thoroughly clean the holes and the bolt threads. To clean the holes you can either use a tap and die set or make a specific tap. As the Suzuki only uses a handful of different sized bolts, I make custom taps using stainless steel bolts. Using a rotary tool such as a Dremel or a hacksaw cut an oblique gash along the threads. This creates a sharp edge to cut into any built up grease, much or threadlocker as well as a path for it to come out of the hole. Here is a Youtube video that explains it better. Whilst I have a tap and die set in the workshop, I can take the three DIY taps on the bike for trail use.

Clean the bolts. You can use some degreaser, a die and/or move a nut up an down. I found that a suitable wire wheel mounted in my drill press an excellent method. Of course you should pay attention to the usual safety things such as glasses, gloves etc.

One final tip is to put all the bolts back in and just tighten a few threads. If you have everything right, the bolt heads should all be an equal distance from the cover.

I really only started doing the above tips in the last month and found them to really make life much easier. Tightening by hand is much easier and torquing to the correct specification much more exacting as well. The cleaned bolts look nicer too.