04 DRZ Just shipped overseas and running rough

Hey DRZ owners. I just moved from California to Sweden and having an unusual problem. I shipped my bike overseas with my furniture and it hasn't been started in almost 6 months. Now I am having an extremely difficult time starting the bike and it will die after about a minute of running.


Even before I left, I noticed that when I would trailer the bike somewhere, or when I haven't run in it a couple of weeks, it would have a difficult time starting, sometimes the starter would act like it was jamming (giving the engine a half turn then freezing, no additional clicks). However after a few tries the engine would start no problem.

Now that Im here in Sweden, it's much colder (near freezing) and the bike won't start on its own. I assume the battery is pretty much dead. Hooking the starter directly up to a car battery, it will struggle (behaving like before) then start turning over and eventually start, but after the bike warms up, it slowly lowers RPMs till it stops running. This happens with the choke on. With the choke off, it will rev up fine but slowly die otherwise.

I know that I need a new battery, but I think there is something more serious happening. Last time I checked the valve clearance (about 8 months ago before a baja trip) the clearances were within spec, but all hovering around the minimum allowable spacing. I pulled the carb and the jets are all clear. I put 95 unleaded in the tank. I've had minor starting struggles in the past but never this bad, and never had the bike just die after a few minutes consistently.

Any ideas?

On another note, this is a plated bike, and I plan to register it in Sweden. It requires a parking light in the front, among other things. I'll post another thread about that.


Your battery is probably dead, fuel bad, gummed up carb, and needs jets adjusted

I would start there

Maybe just an FYI - but I had something similar once before. The starter was spinning and sticking, and eating battery power. Having ruled out charging and fuel, I pulled the starter, and this is what I found:


All that carbon fell out, indicating the brushes were shot. Ordered a new brush set (not o/e there are plenty on the market) and here's a comparo of old and new:



Problem solved. 

Does yours sound like this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t99Fu9DgX_8


Cheers :rolleyes:

Check the oil to see if fuel has leaked into the crankcase? 

Thanks Blam it does sound like that but worse. I'll pull the starter and have a look! Extremely helpful info. 

Use a rubber pencil eraser to clean the commutator.  Be careful of aggressive solvents when cleaning the armature.  It will strip the varnish insulation from the pole windings.

Any ideas on the bike slowly dying after it warms up?

1 hour ago, kiprock said:

Any ideas on the bike slowly dying after it warms up?


18 hours ago, npm said:

Check the oil to see if fuel has leaked into the crankcase? 

You can drop the oil and check for fuel contamination or you can smell the oil to see if it has fuel in it?  If you have fuel in the oil it will start and run but as it warms up the fuel will evaporate and get back into the motor via the crankcase breather.  The hotter it gets the more evaporated fuel goes into the motor and makes it run like you have the choke on even though you don't.  

I seem to have the opposite problem, i can get the bike started, but slowly dies and stops after about 2 min with choke on and about 30 sec with choke off. Bike responds to throttle just fine. Jets confirmed to be clear. Bad gas? Tight valves? 

Blocked tank breather.

Tight valves usually makes it hard to start cold.  Another possibility is have you checked to make sure the tank vent is working?  Although I would think it would take longer than two minutes to build up enough vacuum to starve the carb of gas.  Is there an inline gas filter on your bike? Do you have good fuel flow from the petcock?  Have you checked the filters on the petcock inside the gas tank?  

After it dies does it start back up easily or do you have to wait until it cools?  If you can get it restarted right after it dies how does it run when you are riding it, going through the gears?  

Sometimes the pickup on the stator coil gets flakey and acts up when it gets warm.

I see you are from CA, was the bike originally purchased in CA?  CA has the gas vapor canister thingy to keep fumes from escaping the tank.  If the carbon storage tank gets saturated with gas it can also cause running problems.

Edited by npm

Did you drain the tank for shipping?

Thanks everyone for your help.

I have a desert tank with a tube vent. Good fuel flow, no fuel filter at the moment. Petcock is straight thru type.

It is difficult to start warm or cold. I wonder if water somehow got into the tank.

I will check my valves tomorrow and try to find a battery. Not too many options here in Malmö for that kind of thing.

How does it go when you do get it running?  Does it run poorly all the time or just when starting hot or cold?

Start with the cheap stuff.   Fresh fuel,  clean the carb,  then clean it again.      If you still have the CA emissions shit on it then pull it off and jet for your current altitude.   Don't make it any more complicated than you need to.


Since I'm sure you had to drain the tank and carb for shipping, check your carburetor. A couple years ago I decided to drain my tank and carb for the winter. It did the same thing in the spring, would start but run rough and die. I tried everything then pulled the carb and disassembled it. It turns out there were 2 things that dried out and cracked or shrunk, a small o-ring (not the one on the idle air screw), and another o-ring or gasket, I can't remember which. After I replaced both, it ran fine. Lesson, don't drain your carb for the winter. Leave the gas in until spring, then replace it with fresh gas. 

Thanks everyone again for your input. So I did check my valves and both intakes are out of spec and the exhaust are right on the edge (.20). I also discovered that my crankcase is full of gas! It may have happened when my son and I pushed the bike up a set of steep stairs with the petcock on. I will pull the carb and check my float height and seals to ensure it doesn’t happen again. That it probably the main cause for it dying after warm up.

I’ve never switched out shims, but I think I will before I run this bike again. I knew they were close to min spec and I’ve been riding it pretty hard down in Baja over the last year, so it figures. Bike is an 04 but only 4k miles. Now I have to order shims to Sweden. Ordering anything here over the internet is like back in the stone age. They don’t even have Amazon!

Thanks everyone for your help. TT Addict you were right about gas in the crank case. Was completely full of gas. Also reshimmed my valves and the bike starts much easier than ever before. It feels like it's running better too. Now to find some trails in northern Europe! Attaching a pic of my first ride in Sweden!


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