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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm looking at purchasing this bike, but the idle surges. It goes up a few hundred RPM for a few seconds, then back down, and seemed to keep doing this as long as the choke was ON, then when choke was turned off it seemed a little sluggish, like it just wasn't warmed up fully yet (after running for two or three minutes) and I stalled it a couple times. I think that might have just been me not giving it enough gas with the engine being still somewhat cold... Anyway after riding it around for two or three minutes after that drama, it seemed to warm up and then run fine, and for the rest of my ~20 minute test ride, everything seemed to work great (choke was off when I started out on the test ride); it had good power, throttle response, and a smooth idle with no apparent issues. So anyway I'm considering getting this bike tomorrow but I don't know if this is going to become a headache for me if I do... Just wondering if anyone knows the DRZ and could tell me if this sort of erratic cold idle while the choke is on is normal or not. I know that the DRZ400 is cold blooded/sluggish when cold, and that not wanting to idle WITHOUT the choke is a common problem, but AFTER being warmed up, this bike idled just fine with the choke OFF... Sigh, I just don't want to buy a POS that needs a whole new carb or has valve problems or something stupid like that. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

After further contemplating the issue, I came to a 99% certainty that it was, in fact, a problem...didn't buy the bike and glad that was my decision. Thanks.
 

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Personally I wouldn't put me off? An engine especially of this type will run it's roughest on first start.
My tw will run slightly rough for the first 2 mins untill warm.
I wouldn't worry as long as it's ok when warm which it will be most of the time when using it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Personally I wouldn't put me off? An engine especially of this type will run it's roughest on first start.
My tw will run slightly rough for the first 2 mins untill warm.
I wouldn't worry as long as it's ok when warm which it will be most of the time when using it.
Thanks for the response. I've been stupidly stressing out over this. I'm leaning heavily toward not getting it. I just don't need a bike with problems. Whatever I get will also be my primary source of transportation and must be immaculate, absolutely zero problems of any kind whatsoever. I'm 90 % sure this idle problem isn't right - I know the DRZ is cold blooded but that just means it a bit sluggish until it reaches operating temperature, it shouldn't have a fluctuating idle speed like that. I pretty much put my whole day into it, plus most of the previous day looking at it and researching online. Maybe I'm passing up a great deal but I don't need some POS with expensive, time consuming problems right off the bat. I've had enough of that crap with my truck that I bought (spent a few hundred dollars and several hours of work fixing major issues that popped up very soon after purchase), and I really don't want to make the same mistake twice.
 

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For what it's worth, it sounds like it may be a minor carb issue. How long has the bike been sitting? Do you have ethanol fuel there?
 

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I had an 04 drz400s from new. My biggest issue was with the gas quality. We have ethanol mixed in our fuel and if the bike sat for any long period of time it would exhibit those same issues. I wouldn't sweat it. Give the carb a good once over and dump fresh fuel in it and i am sure you will be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
For what it's worth, it sounds like it may be a minor carb issue. How long has the bike been sitting? Do you have ethanol fuel there?
I was actually thinking it probably WAS something minor and easy to fix, like bad gas, as Saabbug said, or the carb boot torn a bit, or something. But it could also be something more serious/time consuming/expensive. I have a budget for something with zero problems, so I decided against it and I'm glad I did. It's not that I couldn't have gotten that one and fixed the issue(s); I just want to START with a clean slate, something that doesn't have ANY issues that need to be addressed on day one after purchase. I'll get it soon :) Thanks guys. Oh and if you guys run across any pristine DRZ 400's or DR650's for sale in my area, point them my way, lol. I check craigslist and cycletrader every day.
 

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I've never rode the DRZ400 but I do know that an engine taking 5-10 minutes to warm up enough to run smoothly without the choke (especially in the winter) would be considered a good thing - it means the engine probably runs pretty cool in general which will greatly extend its life. If you have an engine that warms very quickly it likely runs really hot, which isn't good for the long term. Crappy HD V-twins come to mind - I see them overheated on the side of the road quite often in the summer. Explains why I see so many HD's for sale that claim the engine was rebuilt at 30k miles.

Bikes I've owned like the Nighthawk/CB250 took a downright ridiculous amount of time to warm up - I'd have to ride for about 10 minutes with the choke on a 70 degree day before it would run without being erratic no-choke- but it was probably the most reliable 250 class / 233cc engine ever designed - despite running hard on the highway will easily last 100-200k miles. The oil temperature probably stayed between 170-180 degrees which is incredibly good for an air cooled engine. Compare that to bikes like the XR650L (And probably the DR650) that generally run temps between 220-250.

Even my CB900 which has EFI is twitchy without the choke for the first few minutes with winter time temperatures in the 40s-50s, - but again, it's a very well designed smooth engine that runs much lower temperatures than a not-so-well designed engine. At 48k miles it still runs like new. Once it has 5 minutes of easy riding to warm up it runs beautifully.

I'd say the erratic idle is carb related, though no engine will idle perfectly. I just got the injectors on my CB900 cleaned ultrasonically about 200 miles ago, and the idle still has a slight jump. It probably varies by about 100 - bouncing back and forth between 1100-1200. It's always ran like this with no engine related problems at all.
 

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KJ,

A couple of years ago, a friend bought a new DRZ 400 with similar symptoms. After checking the on line forums, he found that it was a common (carb) problem, and there is a fix...don't recall what it was, but am sure you can do a search.

jb

Oh...and those DRZs are really tall! With my 30" inseam, it felt like I needed a ladder to climb aboard, and my legs were dangling, with my feet nowhere near the ground. :)
 

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1) Ethanol--get real gas
2) Pilot circuit restriction--clean or adjust
3) Vacuum leak--find and repair

I bought a DR650 that had been parked for the same issue. Turned out to be sitting with ethanol contaminated fuel and a loose carb mount after the carb was "fixed".
 
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