How not to save money

The problem

There is a winter break in our motorcycle season, so i have a little time to write about one of my most enlightening motorcycle diagnostics experience.

In early March i got a phone call from Slovakia. An owner of a Suzuki GSX-R 1000 asked: if there is a battery in stock? Because every season begins with a new battery. I asked him some questions because i don’t think it’s a normal behaviour of a battery.

After a short discussion I managed to convince him about battery life is longer than one year regardless of who manufactured it.

I was interested in what caused the previous batteries to fail so I asked the owner to visit us with his motorcycle. I wanted to check the starter system, the starter motor mechanism and the alternator regulator charging function.
As he told me, he bought his motorcycle 5 years ago. Immediately in the first season, the starter motor’s starter clutch had to be replaced. Then he was later notified front brake recall campaign. No other problem occured.

The inspection

We’ve done a motorcycle diagnostic. The following results were obtained:

  • The battery terminal voltage was only 4.3 Volts. The owner did not charge the battery in winter.Using an external starter battery, the startup speed seemed to be unreasonably slow. This indicated that something was wrong with the starter motor’s mechanics.
  • Therefore, we have decided to examine the current consumption of the starter.
  • Surprisingly extreme high power consumption values were obtained.
CT-01 motorcycle diagnostic - first diagram
  • We removed the starter itself and another CT-01 test followed.
    Current consumption reduced to a minimum (35 Ampers) ’cause there was no load on the starter.
  • Then we suspected the crankshaft was stuck, but it was easily rotatable by hand.
  • There was only one thing left to check, the gear transmission of the starter motor. Here was the problem: the drive gear could not be manually operated. For some reason the gear in the crankcase was stuck.
  • We removed the side cover and couldn’t find anything „strange”. All parts we were able to identify are featured in the official parts catalog. But our experienced mechanic pointed that the gasket what was used is looks unusually thin, thinner than an original Suzuki part.
  • It turned out that when the starter clutch was replaced, his mechanic did not order an original gasket. Instead, he made one from a sheet of paper, helping the customer to give bike back sooner.
    He also helped the customer to buy some new batteries…

I don’t believe: $ 10 caused a lot of unnecessary battery replacement and a lot of annoyance for the owner.

We ordered a factory gasket for him. After the new gasket installation was done, the starter cluthch became rotatable by hand. Engine starting speed increased. Startup power consumption dropped from 190 Ampers to 135 Ampers.

CT-01 motorcycle diagnostic - second diagram

Conclusion, why use a modern motorcycle diagnostics

Lesson from the story:

  • Always use factory parts for repairs!
  • Use modern diagnostic tools to save time and money! In addition, your workshop’s service quality will be elevated to the next level.