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1994 DR350SE starting issues

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Hi All,

After searching and digging up info on this site for a while now, it's finally time to ask a question. First, I want to thank everyone for all the information I've found on here. It's been a huge help in bringing the DR back to life.

As the title says, I have 1994 Suzuki DR350SE (electric start) that is having some starting troubles. It's actually my roommate's bike and it's been sitting for at least a year. He agreed to pay for all the parts and to let me ride it if I got it working (he's gone every summer and fall), so I read through the FSM and started with the basics. First thing I did was replace the battery and luckily it fired right up. After that, I put fresh fuel in the tank, swapped out the old cracked fuel lines for new ones, Adjusted the chain tension, changed the spark plug, changed the oil / oil filter, cleaned the bike up, and went out for a ride. It ran great accept for a lot of popping on deceleration when in gear, but after I got the bike good and hot and shut it off, it wouldn't start again (just kept cranking). I let it sit overnight and it fired up first try the next day. I took it for another long ride, turned it off and then tried to start it again. It fired up a second time, so I went out for another rip around town, came home, turned it off, and no dice. Since that day, I've taken the carb apart (which was way cleaner than expected), checked the jets, checked the float needle, etc, and gave it a quick clean. 

I put the carb back in and went to start it and it cranked but didn't turn over, so I pulled the plug and checked for spark. Nothing.. Broke out the multimeter and checked resistance on the ignition coil, pickup coil, and source coil. All were within the specs in the FSM. I cleaned the electric connectors which all looked a little dirty, but okay.

I also checked the kill switches for the clutch and kick stand, thinking that one would be the culprit, but it appears that both have been removed and bypassed by the previous owner.

At the end of a day of troubleshooting, I put everything back together and found a hill to try a bumpstart. It bumped on the second try and I went around for a quick ride. Came home, turned it off, and it wouldn't start. As it did the last few times, it would crank and crank and crank and not fire up. Battery still reads high 12v, plug doesn't appear to be wet, and the float bowl has plenty of fuel in it.  

I'm sure i'm missing something, but the only other thing I can think of that's left is the CDI unit... 

I've read that the ignition coil can be bad even though it's within spec, but it was replaced about a year ago. 

Thanks in advance for any suggestions. 

Looking forward to getting this thing back on the road!

 

Edited by Highlander01

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4 hours ago, Highlander01 said:

Hi All,

After searching and digging up info on this site for a while now, it's finally time to ask a question. First, I want to thank everyone for all the information I've found on here. It's been a huge help in bringing the DR back to life.

As the title says, I have 1994 Suzuki DR350S that is having some starting troubles. It's actually my roommate's bike and it's been sitting for at least a year. He agreed to pay for all the parts and to let me ride it if I got it working (he's gone every summer and fall), so I read through the FSM and started with the basics. First thing I did was replace the battery and luckily it fired right up. After that, I put fresh fuel in the tank, swapped out the old cracked fuel lines for new ones, Adjusted the chain tension, changed the spark plug, changed the oil / oil filter, cleaned the bike up, and went out for a ride. It ran great accept for a lot of popping on deceleration when in gear, but after I got the bike good and hot and shut it off, it wouldn't start again (just kept cranking). I let it sit overnight and it fired up first try the next day. I took it for another long ride, turned it off and then tried to start it again. It fired up a second time, so I went out for another rip around town, came home, turned it off, and no dice. Since that day, I've taken the carb apart (which was way cleaner than expected), checked the jets, checked the float needle, etc, and gave it a quick clean. 

I put the carb back in and went to start it and it cranked but didn't turn over, so I pulled the plug and checked for spark. Nothing.. Broke out the multimeter and checked resistance on the ignition coil, pickup coil, and source coil. All were within the specs in the FSM. I cleaned the electric connectors which all looked a little dirty, but okay.

I also checked the kill switches for the clutch and kick stand, thinking that one would be the culprit, but it appears that both have been removed and bypassed by the previous owner.

At the end of a day of troubleshooting, I put everything back together and found a hill to try a bumpstart. It bumped on the second try and I went around for a quick ride. Came home, turned it off, and it wouldn't start. As it did the last few times, it would crank and crank and crank and not fire up. Battery still reads high 12v, plug doesn't appear to be wet, and the float bowl has plenty of fuel in it.  

I'm sure i'm missing something, but the only other thing I can think of that's left is the CDI unit... 

I've read that the ignition coil can be bad even though it's within spec, but it was replaced about a year ago. 

Thanks in advance for any suggestions. 

Looking forward to getting this thing back on the road!

 

Is it the kickstart S model or the electric start SE model?  I am guessing the latter, but it is important to know.  You can bump start the bike with out problem?  When cranking on the battery does it seem to be turning over fast enough?  Are you using the enriching circuit (choke) when you are trying to start the bike when hot?  I believe the manual says to use it no matter what the temperature is.

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Thanks for the suggestion, I'll try to get a hold of Plugeye.

Would incorrect valve clearance cause popping on deceleration? I'm guessing they probably need to be adjusted anyway since the bike has sat for so long...

I've never adjusted valves before, but the service manual makes it seem fairly straightforward. 

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Sorry for not clarifying, the bike is the SE model (electric start).

It sounds like it's cranking fast enough. Maybe the battery is underpowered when trying to start the bike? I bought the battery from walmart but reviews seemed okay. Maybe I should swap it out? 

I used the choke when the bike is cold and have tried it both with and without when it's hot. I got it to start once when the bike was hot by using the choke but it instantly began to rev fairly high, so I pushed the choke in and it went back to around 1400rpm. 

Bike bumpstarts fairly easily.

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12 minutes ago, Highlander01 said:

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll try to get a hold of Plugeye.

Would incorrect valve clearance cause popping on deceleration? I'm guessing they probably need to be adjusted anyway since the bike has sat for so long...

I've never adjusted valves before, but the service manual makes it seem fairly straightforward. 

Yes it does cause the popping as I had the same issues with mine and it fixed it straight away.

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2 hours ago, Trav Man said:

Yes it does cause the popping as I had the same issues with mine and it fixed it straight away.

Gotcha, good to know. 

Edited by Highlander01

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How does the compression release system tie into all of this?  The bike can be started fairly easily by bump starting, but it doesn't want to kick off using the E leg.  What does this tell us?

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You will get some popping on decel on a perfectly tuned 4T.  It can't be avoided.

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as stated, the battery could very well be the issue. and the valve clearances are important & easy to set.

have you inspected/ cleaned/ oiled the air filter?

if its hard-starting on a hot-start, open the throttle wide when cranking.

how does it perform when running & riding, do you have to stay in the throttle to keep it alive after warmed up?

 

Edited by plugeye

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On 8/28/2017 at 5:40 AM, plugeye said:

as stated, the battery could very well be the issue. and the valve clearances are important & easy to set.

have you inspected/ cleaned/ oiled the air filter?

if its hard-starting on a hot-start, open the throttle wide when cranking.

how does it perform when running & riding, do you have to stay in the throttle to keep it alive after warmed up?

 

I looked at the air filter and it appears to be clean but I'll take it out and clean and oil it just in case. 

I tried starting with the throttle closed, cracked, and wide open after it was hot, and it didn't seem to make a difference.

Besides the popping on deceleration, it seems to run and ride great. Every once in a while I'll fully open the throttle in second and it bogs a tad but it seems to be because the rpm's are a little low for the gear I'm in. Otherwise, it runs and idles just fine. No need to give it gas to keep it from dying.

One thing that's weird is that it's super hard to get it into neutral while riding and the bike is hot. Goes in just fine when it's off but once it gets hot, it's almost impossible to get back to neutral, even while standing still. I read somewhere on here though that other people have experienced the same thing with this bike.. 

The battery can be returned no questions asked (within 30 days), so I think i'll just return it and get something that I know will be dependable. At least i'll be able to cross that off the list if it doesn't solve the issue.

On 8/27/2017 at 8:27 PM, GlennRay said:

How does the compression release system tie into all of this?  The bike can be started fairly easily by bump starting, but it doesn't want to kick off using the E leg.  What does this tell us?

Not sure, but I'm just learning so I might be missing something basic. 

Thanks for the help!

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54 minutes ago, Highlander01 said:

I looked at the air filter and it appears to be clean but I'll take it out and clean and oil it just in case. 

I tried starting with the throttle closed, cracked, and wide open after it was hot, and it didn't seem to make a difference.

Besides the popping on deceleration, it seems to run and ride great. Every once in a while I'll fully open the throttle in second and it bogs a tad but it seems to be because the rpm's are a little low for the gear I'm in. Otherwise, it runs and idles just fine. No need to give it gas to keep it from dying.

One thing that's weird is that it's super hard to get it into neutral while riding and the bike is hot. Goes in just fine when it's off but once it gets hot, it's almost impossible to get back to neutral, even while standing still. I read somewhere on here though that other people have experienced the same thing with this bike.. 

The battery can be returned no questions asked (within 30 days), so I think i'll just return it and get something that I know will be dependable. At least i'll be able to cross that off the list if it doesn't solve the issue.

Not sure, but I'm just learning so I might be missing something basic. 

Thanks for the help!

What I was getting at is that when you try to start the bike in the conventional manner with the battery the system is going to engage the automatic compression release.  If this system is not working correctly for some reason it will bleed off enough compression that will prevent your engine from starting.  When you bump start the engine on the other hand, the system doesn't know that it should be engaging the automatic compression release, so it doesn't and the engine starts up, or so it seems.

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20 hours ago, GlennRay said:

What I was getting at is that when you try to start the bike in the conventional manner with the battery the system is going to engage the automatic compression release.  If this system is not working correctly for some reason it will bleed off enough compression that will prevent your engine from starting.  When you bump start the engine on the other hand, the system doesn't know that it should be engaging the automatic compression release, so it doesn't and the engine starts up, or so it seems.

Gotcha. I'll go ahead and set the valves and see if the manual shows how to check the auto decompressor release. Most of the trouble shooting I've found on here has been for the manual decompression release but I'll keep looking. Anyone advice on checking the auto release? 

 

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On 8/31/2017 at 4:25 AM, plugeye said:

https://thumpertalk.com/forums/topic/1195456-94-dr350-top-end-in-texas/#comment-13234704

a bit of info here about auto CR comparing electric-start with kick-start cams

Awesome, thanks for that.

I'm still a little lost though on why I'm not getting any spark... Or why it's not sparking on startup but will run after a bump start. Might need to go back to engine basics here and relearn a few things. 

I'll be taking the battery back tomorrow and replacing it with a different one in hopes that there just isn't enough juice to get things going. 

Thanks again for all the suggestions!

 

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Put a new battery on but still no spark. However... I'm not sure how I missed this, but I noticed that the neutral light is not illuminated when the key is turned to the on position. I checked resistance on the wire running from the neutral switch to the CDI box and get somewhere around 1k ohms when the bike is in neutral and OL when it's in gear, though the multimeter lead has to be in a perfect spot for it to get a reading. Any other spots to troubleshoot for the neutral switch? 

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Tried to wiggle the positive lead around to get a better reading on neutral switch resistance and I got it to zero out briefly a couple times, but otherwise the numbers are all over the place. Guessing it would be best to just start looking for a replacement switch? Or is it worth bypassing it?

Edited by Highlander01

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17 hours ago, GlennRay said:

Bypass it. 

I read that you can bypass the neutral switch by simply grounding the wire. The only write up I found was for a different bike though and it was saying that you need to ground a wire coming out of the CDI box. Does anyone know which wire this is on the DR? Or is it the wire coming directly from the switch itself? 

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