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Desert Prepped 2003 DRZ 400 e

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Ok Guys,

My first post, hope you can all help a little...

I have done quite a lot of trail and off road riding over the last few years and have finally got around to buying a DRZ400e 2003, UK spec. I've just looked around here and have to say that I'm really impressed with the depth of knowledge, it seems like I came to the right place!!!

My DRZ has a few mods includind renthal bars, a crd bash plate and a crd power pipe. Its also road legal for the UK with dipping lights, rear brake light conversion and full rear lights and horn. The wheels have rimlocks on them.

Now, what I want to do with the bike.....the tricky bit!

I've just read all the stickies etc and am now pretty swamped with ideas and info. This woulod normally be great and I'd spend my evenings sifting through stuff and prepping the bike up bit by bit, unfortunately I have only 3 weks and 6 days to sort the bike before it gets shipped to spain for three 'trips'

The first is a two weeks desert riding trip in Morocco with some friends, the seond is a race accross the pyrenees for two weeks in July, the last is an overland trip down western africa to Dakar and out into the Mauritanian deserts in September, followed potentially with a rerun at Christmas.....

During all this time the bike wil remain in Spain or Morocco meaning that I get little or no access to it.

What I guess I'm looking for is a condensed version of all the info available to come up with a definative list of mods that you guys think the DRZ would need to cope with the three/four trips above........

I know its a tall order but I'd be really grateful for any help you could give. I have put my current list below, feel free to laugh, shout, abuse me as you need to !!!!!!!

Many Thanks in advance for reading this and commenting,

Dave

Road Legal Kit (Done)

Renthal Bars (Done)

Handguards (done)

Bash Plate (Done)

H/D slimed tubes with MT21's

Rebuild wheels with heavy duty spokes and new non alloy nipples

Rim Locks Fitted

Light weight rear subframe/rear rack added to carry minimal luggage

Side stand switch disabled, Clutch switch disabled

Extra power socket for phone charging

Power take off for Garmin Etrex GPS (will the electrics stand the last two?)

Fit lightweight rear subframe and rack

Fix case savers to both sides of engine

modify gear lever sharp edges

Case saver for front sprocket

Change sprockets for 14 tooth front (to fit with case saver)

Fit inline fuel filters

Fit Acerbis 16l Tank

The final point is regarding engine overheating without the 's' model fan. Should I fit a manually switched computer fan?

And also I'm guessing from comments made by other people that with the CRD pipe the already lean 'e' set up will be leaner and hotter. Not good without a fan in slow soft sand. A rejet?

Althought my main concern is fuel economy, its no good if I get stuck in the middle of nowhere but have loads of fuel left because my head has cooked!!!

Finally, is there anything that I should consider putting in the spares/tool kit that is specific to the DRZ that I am unlikely to have in a standard kit?

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I didn't see radiator guards on your list,but if your future tank wraps around them you might not need them.

charging system puts out 200 watts,so you should be fine there.

Spare tubes-air filter/s

sounds like quite an adventure ,ride smart /safe

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How about loctiting the primary nut? Have you seen that thread?

What Cam Chain Tensioner are you running?

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This is not bike related...But you should also have...

1. WATER Carrier... Camelbak makes several...I use the 100oz "Unbottle" which fastens to the back of your back plate of your chest protector...You can fill it up for long trips which is heavy but weight is reduced as you drink. For shorter trips you can half-fill, etc. Bring iodine tablets or small eye-drop bottles with bleach (clorox) for water purification. I did a bicycle trip through Senegal drinking local water only purified with a couple of drops of clorox in each water bottle (shake and wait 20 minutes). Don't drink the local water without either iodine tablets or bleach. If you do you'll have worse problems in the desert than you ever imagined.

2. Silver space blanket. If you break down there is NO shade (when in the desert). I did two years in Mauritania right below Morocco...If you break down the space blank will be shade/insulation you can hide under while waiting or working on your machine.

3. Cell phones which you are bringing are nice. Unfortunately they'll only be good for in the city...Once in the desert and behind dunes a couple of Km outside they're useless. Bring some high-powered GMRS radios (couple of watt) for you guys to have some sort of communication should you get seperated/lost. If they don't sell them in the UK they can be ordered from the States for cheap but you'll need a 110v transformer most likely for them (Small one) as the chargers would most likely be 110v only if U.S. models.

Really recommended is to rent a SATELLITE PHONE for the trip. This is a great emergency device that will let you have communications no matter how far out you are. Iridium and Inmarsat type would give you Africa Wide coverage. Thuraya would give you some coverage and probably all of Morocco (check). Plenty of Satellite dealers in the U.K or U.S. that rent them and sell time as well. Cell phones are only good for in and around the City in Africa (Well anywhere other than South Africa that is).

4. A decent toolkit and repair manual. Out of the city nobody will have any kind of tools. If you need to do repairs the ability to do it will be totally upto you and your tools. (Bring a buddy (tow) rope. They sell compact ones that will let you guys tow each other should you break down. I've used mine several times.

5. At least one person should be carrying a spare chain and master links and a chain splitter. One 520 chain long enough for everyone's machine should be sufficient. You can cut it down with the splitter if necessary.

6. Bring a high quality COMPASS. GPS is nice but electronics/batteries fail. I navigated through the Sahara using only a compass and dead-reckoning before GPS was widely available and cheap. This will save you if the GPS fails and is also a nice double-check. (You can get an Africa or Morocco map (Shell) from book stores in London).

7. CIGARETTES. I don't smoke and maybe you don't either. However...These are really nice to have when crossing borders or encountering soldiers/police. You'd be surprised at how these international forms of currency will smooth things out and actually save you money when they are trying to extort money instead.

8. Lastly, get all of your shots that are recommended for your countrys you plan to travel in. Check with your health ministry on this and also remember to check-in with your Embassy in the countrys you are in and tell them of your plans of travel. This way if you come up missing they will have a rough idea where you will have been. If the UK does not have a Embassy/Consulate in the country you are in then check-in with the U.S. Embassy (We have mutual agreements).

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE VISAS FOR ANY COUNTRIES THAT DO NOT HONOR YOUR EU PASSPORT.

Enjoy your trip!

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i just switched to a plastic "e" tank and my factory fan interfered so i tested it against a computer fan and they pushed exactly the same amount of air and the computer fan was much slimmer. but i decided that it wasn't near water proof enough for the riding i do so i didn't go that route. but since you are doing almost entirely desert riding i would say do it.

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I'd reconsider the pirelli mt21's. I had a pair and they didn't wear well for me (others have had the same problem might want to search the archives)... I ride a lot of gnarly desert here too. I'm still researching what dirt tire to get myself for the Spring leaning towards a terraflex rear and undecided on front.

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If you want the best desert tyres with no tarmac the ONLY tyre is the Michelin Desert......for mixed stuff the MT21 has always served me really well...although I agree that the wear rates arnt perfect....

Dave

cheers for the tips guys, especially the primary nut business, that could have been painful!!!!!

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The "additional power" mod from the sticky so you don't have to worry about the electronics load.

spare plug and air filter and tubes and fork oil etc

take me along.:applause:

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I would defenatly rejet since you are taking an already lean bike and making it leaner. I am sure many here can advise you better than I on the proper settings.

Get radiator guards if possable. I know time is short, but I don't have them on mine and killed a radiator in a very slow fall. It hit just right and I have dropped it a much faster speed in the past. :applause:

There is now a 7.4 gallon tank (28L) available for the DR-Z called a safari tank. Expensive however, not to mention heavy when full but an idea.

I would probably fit a fan myself since you will be in the desert a long way from everything, but that is up to you. Many take them off their S models and never miss them I hear.

Sounds like you are well prepared and I know an adventure ride is not something new for you. :applause:

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