Strange intermittent starting issue

2005 DRZ400 SM





17,xxx miles

6000 feet elevation

87 octane few days old

I recently bought this bike and found it had a bad stator so, 3 days ago i replaced the stator, did the free power mod, and changed the oil and filter. Bike started right up after, with 14.4v instead of the previous 12.2v.

Took it for a ride and all was well then parked at my folks house to wait for them to return so i could take them to dinner. While waiting i decided to give my new magic eraser a try on the plastics since they were slightly scuffed, ran the garden hose over the rear and clutch plastics to rid them of residue. As my parents got home , i stopped to greet them. This having been the first time he had seen the bike, he wanted to hear it. Cranked for about 30 seconds with no firing whatsoever. Figuring water may have gone somewhere i left it and we drove to dinner.

Upon returning 1.5 hours later, tried again to start. Set it to prime. After about 20-30, 5-10 second starts (let the starter cool) It started right up, ran for 5-15 seconds and died immediately (no sputter, like it hit a kill switch) tried to bump start to no avail. Traced all essential lines looking for sighns of water and shorting, finding none, i Called it a night after that.

Returned the next day, it was already hot so i figured it should be dried out if i had missed any water, Drained about 3 bowls of gas, started once after much cranking then died again after 10-15 seconds. Tried starter fluid, wouldnt even try. Pulled the tank, checked the petcock flow on prime, it was fine. Pulled the plug spark was there but weak, cleaned it and it was much stronger, eventually though i did just buy an new one, since the old one had some wear anyhow. Still no start. Compression feels fine as it cranks, both on the Muffler and the spark well. Didnt start at all during all this (3 hours or so and 50 5-10 second cranks). Checked the coolant sensor to verify it wasnt coroded or low sending a bad signal to the ignition box, felt fine. :confused:

Finally me and a friend turned the idle way up and tried to bump start. VRRROOOOOMMMM! :worthy: It starts but the idle is ridiculously high like 4-5k after idling for 30 seconds or so, longer than it had any time previous, i started to turn the idle down, died immediately again around 2500 rpm. :busted: Bump started it again and left the idle high, drove it around the block and since the filter cover was off it was very strong but very lean as it broke up in the midrange. Returned home to put the filter cover on and noticed the Header glowing red. Shut it down. Put filter cover back on but would not restart (probably due to high temp).

I worked all day today, and saw so many motorcyclist taunting me with their running bikes. Fuel, air, spark, i feel like ive checked it all, could the ignition box have died? Please help me! Thanks in advance! :thumbsup:

I'm sure this isn't your issue but have you checked vacuum

vacuum line connected to the petcock?

Yes gentlemen, it was connected. Had it to prime as well to see if it could be a bad petcock.

coolant sensor doesn't stop it from running, it only turns on the light.

Are you positive you don't have a plugged pilot jet?

I was thinking it could be that, but why would the starter fluid have no effect? I need to find out the jetting anyhow so a cleaning of the jets couldn't hurt.

Uh oh, new stator acting up? Here is a thread where most of the starting issues is covered (ad naseum)

and another one (also stator)

Oh, and answer to your question in the first post, your "ignition box" aka CDI is unlikely to have failed on a DRZ. They seem pretty bullet proof. Of course anything is possible, but yours would be the first one I know of.

Edited by slowriding

how long has the petcock been on prime ?

check your oil and see if it smells like gas this can cause starting and running issues

if its a new to you bike I would start w this and clean the carb no matter what

if nothing else appears wrong then check your valve clearance. my 400e only had about 5000 miles when the valves went out of spec on it. it would only start if i choked it with full throttle open, even when it was hot. and it eventually got to the point where it wouldn't start at all.i put a new plug in it but at the time it still did nothing. i never played with the idle and if your compression feels good then it could be something else. but if you take the tank and other stuff off then you might as well take a look.

Pull your stator cover back said you installed a new stator.double check the peice that holds the wires coming from the stator onto the stator cover.I had this happen and my flywheel was rubbing into my stator wires.sounds just like my bike

Big thanks to everyone, especially slowriding and thatdrzguy. You two were right on the money.


I mistakenly routed the source coil wiring so that it did make contact with the flywheel.

Now, i have some knowledge i can share with other newbies.

Thanks again!

Btw: is there a way i can change the title to be more descriptive and resolved for archival purposes?

No problem man glad I could help.I ordered a ricky stator and it was fast shipping and good service if you want to go with them also

Yup that new stator is a ricky stator, i just repaired the wire and it runs great now!

For accuracy sake, that is the TRIGGER COIL wiring.

And dagnabbit, the other coil is called the signal coil. Why everyone insists on calling it the source coil must mean they owned a race bike without a 12V system.


Trigger coil, noted. I was inclined to call it a cas since that's what they are in the car world.

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