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The motorcycle was free ( almost ) but...

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Hey all. I was given ( sic ) a 1991 DR350S. It has some mods to the engine, emissions and suspension. It had been sitting awhile so I had our local cycle shop go through the carburetor. I flushed out the gas tank and installed a fresh battery. I have all the manuals and have tried to kick it over according to the guide but it won't fire. Also, I'd like to confirm I have the fuel lines routed correctly. The vacuum port on the petcock has been plugged and the nipple on the tank for the emissions canister has been plugged as well. What is the easiest way to check for spark? Should I get my grandson to hold the spark plug away from the cylinder head while I kick it over to see what happens? Just kidding but not really. I'd really like to ride it before I give up and put in on Craig's List. Any direction is appreciated. Thanks.

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Howdy,

1) Yes, I'd have your grandson hold the plug next to the head (with the body, not ceramic insulator) resting on a metal surface to see if it fires.

2) The vacuum petcocks are a notorious problem for most bikes that run them (E.g. KLR's and DR's), but I'd simply ensure that float bowl has fuel before kicking. Drain a little from the bowl screw and see if that's a contributing factor to the no-fire issue.

3) I have a 94' DR350SER (Street Legal E-Start), so I might not be the best source for emissions info... but I did pull / cap my charcoal canister, carb vac. port, and vac. petcock immediately when I was sorting my bike after taking ownership. The bike ran fine with the stock jetting it was running despite these mods, and the fuel routing was simply tank to fuel inlet on the stock CV BST33 carburetor. It sounds like your system is working / should work, but a diagram or a photo could help diagnosis.

3) Don't give up! Bike's gotta be able to be solved! ...and, as someone wiser than I once told me; "It's already broken, so you can't break it MORE... it's just STILL broken." ...use that to keep going until it runs! 

4) If you don't have one, get/download a Factory Service Manual (FSM). This is the single best 'tool' to have when dealing with complex problems like no-start or no-spark. While not as detailed as a Honda FSM, since they usually include step-by-step troubleshooting, the Suzuki manual is invaluable for testing of the specifics of the engine and electrical systems. 

 

Good luck, and welcome to TT.

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  • Thanks for the advice and encouragement! 
  • I have a FSM and have been using it to try and help me figure this out. There doesn't seem to be a fuel line routing diagram in it but I have it as you described. 
  • From everything I've read, there is a particular technique required to kick start it. I just need to figure that out after my grandson gives me a thumbs up.
  • Stay tuned!

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Hello,

I was in your same place a year ago. My brother gave me his ‘91 DR350S that had been sitting in his garage for 18 years.  
 

In your post, you say that the vacuum port on the petcock has been plugged. From this I would guess that you still have the original petcock, which is most likely bad, which means that gas is not getting to the carb.  Turn the petcock to reserve and see if the gas will flow. If the gas does not flow you will need to rebuild or replace the petcock. I replace my petcock with a non-vaccum one because they are cheep and I could not find a rebuild kit.  Next up,  if there is not a vacuum line between the carb and the petcock, you have to plug the vacuum port on the carb or you will have an air leak. Some kind of rubber cap or epoxy will work. Use google search for photos which port is which on the carb. The routing of the fuel line does not matter as long as as the line goes from the carb’s fuel port to the petcock and it does not rub or melt.

 

There definitely a proper way to start a DR350S.  On mine, I have to pull the choke all the way out and hold the decompression lever down and kick the bike about 10 times. Then I take my hand of the decompression lever and slowly kick the bike until the lever pops back up. Now with the throttle closed , I give the the bike a firm kick. Usually it will start or I will repeat the steps again.

 

As far as using your grandson to help test for spark, that depends on what you think of your grandson and if you want his parents to let him visit you again. Jokes aside, I think it is a good idea.  Just make sure he is holding the plug cap the correct way.  He will learn something about ignition systems and you get to spend time with him.

 

Do not give up on your DR. They are great bikes.

Jim

 

 

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no need to take chances traumatizing a kid, take a piece of bare wire, say 1/16, wrap securely around the threads of the plug, make a hook at the other end and hang it safely on any bolt on the motor.

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