What to check now that you bought a DR350
Suzuki DR350 motorcycles, 1990 - 1999.
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Suzuki manufactured the DR350 from 1990 to 1999. This means that any machine you purchase is going to be between 14 and 23 years old (as of this writing in 2013). Any machine in this age range is highly likely to have been thoroughly used and/or thoroughly neglected for long periods of time. This should not deter you from purchasing a DR350. The DR350 is a very tough and capable machine: great for beginners and thoroughly enjoyable for experienced riders.
Personally, I value the DR350 because of its rugged simplicity and good natured capabilities.
Used DR350s are also inexpensive to purchase (typically less than USD $2,000.00) and parts availability - both new and used - is quite good and also inexpensive. The inexpensive nature means two things:
- Anyone selling is a DR350 is highly unlikely to
fix it upbefore selling it. There is simply no margin to do so.
- You, now that you've bought a DR350, can
fix it uprather inexpensively and have a machinie that is thoroughly enjoyable and reliable.
The following list is my take on the things you would be wise to check if you want the best experience from your DR350.
- Brakes: flush the fluid, replace worn pads as needed, replace any discs worn thinner than their minimum thickness.
- Tires: replace any really old tires and/or tubes.
- Wheels: check all spokes, check all bearings and replace as needed.
- Chain and sprockets: check and replace as needed.
- Forks: replace fork oil, replace seals if leaking, replace dust boots if torn.
- Steering stem: check bearings and replace as needed.
- Handlebars: replace if needed/desired.
- Levers and controls: replace if bent or broken, lubricate pivots.
- Cables: lubricate all cables, replace any frayed cables or cables that do not move freely.
- Fuel line: replace all fuel line from the tank to the carburetor.
- Air filter: remove, clean, re-oil, and refit. If foam is deteriorating, replace.
- Wiring: visually inspect all wiring, routing, and wear spots. Repair as needed.
- Charging system: check that the system is charging as per specifications. Repair as needed.
- Clutch: If it operates smoothly and properly, there is nothing to do. If shifting is difficult (particularly from a stand still), then you may need to
backspace the clutchand/or replace/tighten the shift drum bolt. A slipping clutch may be caused by worn plates or weak springs. Replace as needed.
- Cylinder head/valves: Re-torque the cylinder heads and set the valves as per specifications. This will give you the opportunity to evaluate the condition of the camshaft journals and reseal the cylinder head cover to the cylinder head.
- Carburetor: If it leaks, you'll want to put in a kit of new , etc. If it doesn't carburete properly, you'll need to figure out the cause. I start with a thorough cleaning and then return all jetting and needles to the original configuration. From there, I adjust one component at a time and only as needed. My 1999 DR350 carburetor settings are 100% stock and it functions very well.
- Timing chain: The timing chain, guides for the timing chain, and the sprockets that interface with the chain wear with time and use. While the Suzuki service manual provides instructions for checking the wear on the chain, that procedure requires removing the chain from the engine. An easier method to evaluate how much life you left in your timing chain components is to determine how much adjustment remains with the automatic timing chain tensioner. If there is zero adjustment left, you need to replace the timing chain components immediately. Any adjustment above zero is a good thing (the more, the better).
- Oil: learn how to drain the oil and change the filter, then change the oil and filter. Learn how to check the oil and then check it after every ride.