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What every DRZ Needs; Protection, Reliability fixes, Common Maint.

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What every DRZ Needs; Protection, Reliability fixes, common maint.

The following is a common list of recommendations for all DRZ400 models, all model years. In the sheer number of DRZ’s sold, the very small number that are affected by issues and common problems are small and hardly worth considering… UNLESS you’re one of the few that is affected… The problem is, you won’t know if you’re one of the few, until it’s too late.

Some will disagree with doing the reliability fixes, in the if it aint broke don’t break it trying to fix it mentality...

Some will think why, when it’s under warranty? Why should I do any of this, you even said my bike may not need it…. All true, it may not need some of these recommended fixes and true it may be covered under your warranty if / when it breaks. Of course the warranty is only as good as the servicing dealership. And then there is the down time.. A few hours on your schedule, in your garage, with tunes on and a cooler full of your favorite beverage? Or much longer and repaired (maybe) on the dealers timeline, and said repairs done to what standard?

The why’s of doing this stuff are covered hundreds of times over in the forums so I’ll not belabor the point here, just provide a menu list and links where I can.

The list here is not all inclusive, there are other things I personally recommend on the DRZ's that come in to my garage. But that are not in the "Must Do" category. The Manual Cam Chain Tensioner ( MCCT ) is a good idea for a verity of reasons, but on a 2003 and later bike that has the latest version of the ACCT, the ACCT can be used successfully on a stock or mostly stock bike, though shortening the life of the cam chain significantly. Carburetor tuning is another item, Suspension, Brakes, all "required" in my opinion, but not truly required just to be able to confidently ride it down the road or trail.

So read on, pick and choose, do what’s right for you. 😏


Case covers : Available from Thumper Talk Store, Ebay, and others in Aluminum and Carbon Fiber. Helps to protect the thin magnesium side cases.


Shifter: Back of the OEM shifter is square and sharp, like a cookie cutter. Round over the edges to keep from “cutting” the left side case in even a simple, flop in the driveway.

Radiator Guards: The radiators are vulnerable, like on any water cooled machine. On a purely street ridden bike, guards are less important. On a trail, MX, or any off road ridden bike, you will be $$$ ahead to install a set. Unabiker, makes a great set, as do other manufactures. You’re looking for side (crush) protection not just frontal protection. The guard should attach to the frame and envelop the radiator.

Skid plate: Again, mostly just an off road need.. but installing something light weight even for street use is not a bad idea. So look for something that protects the underside (like the OEM glide plate) and adds protection to the sides as well. Hyde makes a very light weight thermo plastic guard, TT sells a aluminum plate many are happy with, and there are others (Lightspeed CF 3 piece set comes to mind) which are a glide plate and two individual side guards.

Handguards: Beside protecting your hands off road from branches and roost, on road from wind and road debris, if triple clamp mounts are used like from Cycra Pro Bend. They provide some reinforcement to the bars in a fall. The DRZ is heavy, no question so any help you can provide is good.

Preventative maintenance fixes:

Countershaft sprocket

Stator fasteners

Flywheel / starter gear fasteners

Primary gear nut

Counter balancer nut

Charging System:

Free Power mod (which is really about checking, correcting a poor connection in the charge wire)

Suspension and chassis:

Steering stem: Remove triple clamps, clean, inspect and lube steering head bearings with quality water proof grease, like BelRay.

Swing arm pivot bolt: Remove, clean, inspect bearings, lube bearings and the bolt itself with quality water proof grease, like BelRay. Remember this is not JUST about the crappy grease in the bearings from the factory, it is cleaning and lubing the pivot bolt, to prevent corrosion where it passes though the steel case inserts.. Becoming frozen in place in just a few seasons.

The RULES OF LOCTITE (anaerobic thread locker)

If the fastener rotates, it gets thread locked.

If the fastener is on a machine that vibrates, it gets one type or another thread locker.

COLOR is not a type, as it varies brand to brand, and even in the same line up, “Green” can be wicking type low strength AND Ultra high strength stud and bearing mount. COLOR IS NOT A TYPE.

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