A trip to MHS and a blown engine

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by Franz, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. I was looking very much forward to a ride to Mae Hong Son as the weather suddenly changed for the better.
    Leaving CNX early morning on Saturday I needed to get to Pai to meet up with Nikster at the Witching Well Cafe for a good brekkie.
    As I just finished the conversion of the DR650 to Supermotard, that was a run that should show her abilities at last.
    Got on quite well and up near the junction to Huay Num Dung, first fog was engulfing me with temperatures that indicated that the cool season is in the coming. Road is not in such a bad shape but one needs to be careful as there is still some small stones and other rubbish on the road.
    Mae Malai to Pai and Pai to Phang Mapha are in Thailand my 'fear roads' as 95% of my crashes happend there, speeds were still moderate. Took me just some minutes short of 2 hours from my place in HangDong to the Witching Well Kafe in Pai where I finally met up with the ever smiling Nikster and his Versys. Had a good brekkie and then a visit to his "Villa" a real marvel of house and a astonishing view from his terrace.
    We then got up riding to Phang Mapha and up the mountain on the viewpoint took 2 pictures just to prove we were really riding, more should have been done but that later........
    Must say we met quite a lot of bikers on the way, mostly Thais.
    Switching bikes just so both of us got some taste of what the other one is riding, gave us even more pleasure.
    I must admit that keeping up with Nik on the Versys is not easy for me and I need to squeeze the DR very much and still can't get him.......as above mentioned that this is my feared road and I also don't dare to lean the DR over too much; also the new setup needs to be tested mm by mm on how much I can go.
    Versys is very powerful and nice to ride 'with the correct suspension settings' !!!! Nik you read this ?? 5555555
    Amazingly the DR now turns out to be a completely different bike, she falls into turns just on her own and is stable as a train on rails. Fitted tyres are Diablo Rosso II and I must say, these tyres will also be fitted soon onto the FJR.......for obvious reasons. Although it is still nearly impossible to get rid of 1 cm chicken strips as they are totally round and would enable you to nearly lay the bike down I tried to push as much as I dared.
    Just coming down the hills, I was not far behind Nikster but then you have these long stretches of high speed straights and that's when it got really difficult to keep up. So I squeezed the shyt. out of the engine and in my quest to catch up revved the engine into 'kindom come'. Was wandering why I was doing slightly more than 14. and wondered why she doesn't do more, but then seing the revcounter being on the other end I heard a bang and then knew that this 'ooooopppps' (forgot 5th gear) will be a costly one. Instead of 7,500 (redline) engine was at 9,000 and because of the mods on it there was nothing to make her splutter at 8k.
    Nik took it easy and waited for me to limp into town with blue smoke on my back, the sound of pistonrings between head and piston, well, hell, still: what a ride..........
    Nik then headed back to Pai after some refreshments and me tried to find a pickup for getting DR and me back to CNX on Sunday. As the blown engine wasn't enough, the pickup blew and shredded one backtyre just near Mae Rim which made the trip even more exciting...5555555, as always, spare tyre next to no air and NO key to remove the tyre.....well finally we managed & delivered and tomorrow the engine's gonna get stripped.
    Just hope it's just the piston and not a destroyed barrel or even worse cylinder head, let's wait and see......
    As for fotos, well arriving in MHS I was a little pissed about my stupidity, dumped the bike at the Hotel and went downstairs into the coffeeshop for loads of Gin & Tonic, and sorry as a consequence of that I did not have a steady hand for more pictures both yesterday and today for different reasons.......

    Needed to edit once more, I filled up the DR at the PTT in Pai, and it's around 130 kms into MHS from there, on my way from CNX to Pai I used an average of 5 lts/100 km, tank was full in Pai, it holds 17 lts, rode just 130 on it and "simsalabim" when I drained the tank at home there were a mere 3 liters left although I switched the petcoke OFF and there are no holes. So I can only guess that some Wave is running free of charge for a while.........tank cap was locked but then there were some strange 'running marks' under the point where the hose joins the petcoke.
    Now I also know why the same strange thing happened 2 months ago on the XTZ at the same establishment......
    Just watch your fuelgauge once you go there and park overnight.

    Cheers, Franz
  2. ...............................................:confused:
  3. Commiserations Franz - as ever you do nothing by halves!
    Bravo on giving it some welly tho first time out.

    Was it the Piya GH in MHS that some tealeaf is syphoning fuel out?

    Good luck with the rebuild - but good to have something to keep those idle hands
    busy after the epic Tenere restoration. 555555
  4. Ouch. Pretty surprising that a moderate overrev would torpedo that DR motor. Those things are generally indestructible. By any chance did your neutral indicator light stop working in the recent past? Probably due to the loctite guy in Japan having had a late night out, some motors have been known to have the screws back out of the internal sensor and....................kaboom.

    If not, it would be interesting to know what oil you were running. A shear stable moto oil should be able to protect a piston/cylinder gap under extreme conditions, easily handling 14K+, let alone 9K RPM. If it ends up being wiped out rings/cylinder and you were using a good moto rated oil, I would get a sample of it from the gearcase with all the metal bits and take/send it to the oil manufacturer for analysis. Could be something wrong with it (out of vis grade etc) or contaminated with fuel or something else. Would be good to know for sure nothing else is going on before the rebuild and it happens again. Just my $0.02
  5. All that said... It was a great little day ride. Thanks Franz for fixing my suspension settings although I have decided to move her back to the stock springs as soon as time allows. Those were not nearly as finicky and they handle way better up front when hitting inevitable potholes on those roads. The hyper pro are just way too hard for me, and thanks to being progressive, they don't compress as much- while they don't actually lock up it still feels like it.

    I now have a new appreciation for the stock suspension on the bike ;)

    Riding the DR was great fun, a totally different experience. Would certainly like a supermotard myself now just to go out and have fun in these turns. I always thought the Versys was pretty nimble but compared to the DR it feels like a ship.
  6. Woohoo! Sounds like a fun ride (at least until you blew up the DR) :take-that:

    Interesting comments about the hyperpro Nik. You actually find the stock suspension better?

    I'm still running stock suspension and am pretty happy with it.

    Ride On!

  7. Franz...
    Did the engine blow as it sensed you needed another project...???

    Other than the engine misfortune, I'm glad it didn't result in you getting a few skin abrasions.
    Take care...
  8. Hi Feejer, what you mentioned might be the 'kaboom' reason, took already the upper part off the engine, while draining the oil, found several small grindings there which points to something inside horribly wrong. Then while turning the head to look at the valves a small sheared piece of metal 'clonked' to the table. Piston and barrel are ok, just some wear and heatmarks but nothing unusual other than the piston already out of useable range >0.5mm in diameter measured 21mm down as in the original repair manual stated. Oil's a semisynth 10W40 from CASTROL and ok. So whenever time permits, need to take the whole engine out and strip her bare and look what Mr. "Tokyosan" forgot to do there......55555
    Rhodie & Jay, yes looks like I need something to do again, how would my hands look like without these small black marks and not smelling of oil and petrol, awful........
    Dave, this happened before that horrible crash, so now I again went down a notch on that throttle.....
    cheers, Fr
  9. Made another trip to MHS but this time on the FJR and 2 up.
    Left CNX late afternoon and hoped to get there by 18:00, took the road via Mae Sariang.
    Road is potholed in some places but the lack of traffic makes it a good ride.
    Shortly after 17:00 hit already Khun Yuam and got my back tyre punctured. Now one should assume that this doesn't pose any problem but I was proven wrong. Couldn't find an open shop that could plug my tyre but then remembered that I carry a repair set under the seat. Plugging was a quick job but the 3 Co2 cartridges just gave enough pressure to slowly ride to PTT petrol station where at least the compressor got more ummph than in other places I was trying before. Got my tyre up to 32 psi, still short of the required 42 but rideable. This cost us a lot of time so we reached MHS then in the dark.
    Seems that this week's rides are true to the saying: one problem follows the other, law of the series........first the DR, than the small glitch on the XTZ and now the tyre on the FJR.
    Shortly before MHS bike got again unstable at the back and upon closer inspection found that as always I was riding already on the metal center thread which lay shining & exposed for everyone to see even in the dark....
    Checked into the Baiyoke and was happy to dump the bike at their carpark. Next morning called the Bigbike mechanic Sin at Yamaha Square and he offered to send me one Pirelli Angel ST in 190/50 by minibus. Made the transfer via bank and in the late afternoon got the new tyre delivered up to my room already.
    So this needed a special celebration which was fully done at the Sunflower Restaurant near the lake and later on continued at Crossroads Pub which was totally crowded with locals. Could manage to deplete their Tonic & Gin stock and wobbled back to the Hotel late that night on foot.
    Next morning went to NJ Motoshop as described in another thread (Northern/others/MHS others) and they changed the tyre in no time for next to nothing.
    Was happy to get such a good service by all involved: Chareonmotors Yamaha CNX, NJ Motoshop and also the friendly helpful staff at Baiyoke.
    Decided to go back to CNX via Pai and avoided any rains although shortly before Phang Mapha roads were wet.
    New tyre handled perfectly although the front one is nearly done and hard work in the many curves on that particular road.
    Could avoid any wetness also from Pai to Mae Malai as this road is a nightmare when wet, slippery as hell. Still some patches are slippery due to gravel on it which still hasn't been pushed to the side by sliding cars...........
    Seems there were a lot of townfolks again going to Pai as skidmarks into the ditch were all over this route.
    Met loads of bikers and one can tell who is a biker and who a 'visiting biking ididot'. Bikers greet each other & wear proper gear. 'VBI' are wearing slippers, T-shirts, no gloves or helmets, sometimes not even T-shirts but bare chested on their rented D-Trackers and Waves and do not greet other bikers. One should assume that these backpackers are mainly students as no one else could spare some weeks touring LOS now and having some brains, but as so often they seemed to have brought their bodies over and dumped their brains back home for picking up upon thier return.........
    First time I visited MHS is already 23 years past and I must admit that this town didn't change at all. People are still the most friendly over there, so I'm gonna be a frequent visitor again.
    I just hope that my friend Jid who rents out Waves and a Carribean (PJ rental) makes good on his promise and gets himself 2 KLX250's for rent, then I could fly over for a weekend and get one for small trips into the woods.........if he gets them I'll post the details. Cheers, Franz
  10. Hi Ron, yes, heard of it and Mr. Murphy got me head on it seems.
    No fuel missing, would be nearly impossible to get that one out of the FJR; only with brute force me thinks......, rgds, FR
  11. Yes, I love the Pirelli's on the FJR as well but they seem to die a quick death when at the end of life. Me and the Mrs. took off for a weekender to Yosemite last year and I checked everything over before leaving including the tread and estimated at least 1500 miles or so left for a 400 mile round trip. No problem right? Wrong. After a relatively spirited ride we stopped for fuel and I noticed a glint of metal in the corner of my eye after returing from the store.

    WTF! Long strips of exposed belt staring me in the face. Decided to leave the Mrs at the station while I backtracked 15 miles limping along to the closest shop and all they had in stock that would fit was a Dunlop Sportmax Q2. Had to ride the rest of the trip in slow mode as the FJR 2-up handled like a wet noodle with that POS on there. The Stradas were and the Angels are fantastic tires but lesson learned not to push the limit with Pirelli ST compound/tread.
  12. Hi Feejer, these were Diablo Rosso I, so now I fit the Angel ST and see what I get our of them, longest to last were the Diablo Strada at around 7,000 kms but a little slippery when cold, shortest the Bridgestone Battleax, they did just 5,000 kms and were shy.e in the rain. Best have been the Rosso's so far but mileage amount to around 6,000 kms a set and that's not pleasing me. Next time will try the Rosso II, but let's see what the Angels get me on mileage.
    Another one is that I often see posts whereas the FJR does 40-45 miles per gallon, there must be something wrong with mine, I hardly get more than 32 miles per gallon......
    What can you get out of one tank of your steamer ???
    Cheers, Franz
  13. Well - you're right. Stock is pretty good, actually. It seems much easer to balance the stock suspension. Just follow the manual for your weight and boom, suspension is great.

    I now consider the stock better. The Hyperpro front springs are hard and progressive which combines to provide less actual travel. That's very bad on rough roads - the stock breezes through most bumps and potholes, the Hyperpro much less so. I also never got the setup in balance - either the rear was kicking me in the behind on straights (at one time almost throwing me off the bike), or it seemed to give out in hard turns.

    Mind you I have no idea if things would be better with the full rear shock from Hyperpro. But at this point I am done experimenting.

    Going back to stock at Kawa CM cost me all of 300 Baht! In addition, they had kept my stock springs around, just in case. In a box with my name on it. For 6 months. I <3 Kawa CM! :)
  14. Franz, I have the same problem on the Versys. People report getting 18 or 20 km / l, I never get more than 15. I think it has to do with how we ride... 5555 the more fun, the lower the mileage ;)

    The FJR sure seems to eat up tires, I got about 11k from the Battlax BT021 and was quite fond of them, too.

    @feejer: The Q2s had really good reviews everywhere to it's surprising to see they're no good. Can't get them in Thailand anyway though, whenever I ask at Cockpit all they have is Alpha 12s.
  15. Nik, you're probably right:
    Once the 'spirits in the universe or magma-chamber' call us, we need to make sure we crash their doors with our bikes and yell at them, f.ck what a ride........555555
    Another tyre I got good recommendations are the Metzelers, maybe try them next time. rgds, franz
  16. Hi Franz,

    The Angel wear rate seems to be almost equal to the old Strada (for me avg. 8000 km rear/ 12000 front) but with significant improvement in feel/turn-in. I never had much complaint about grip with the Strada (or the Angels) over here but I had some scary/slick pucker moments on those GT roads so I totally understand why you would go for a full-on supersport compound over there. I would too. Tires are cheap compared to skin/bones/fairing plastic.

    Mileage on that bike on the boring flat slab averages about 40-44 MPG depending on headwind/terrain etc. But if I ride it like my FZ1 then yes, it drops dramatically down to the low 30's. In closed-loop with the O2 sensor working the mix, that motor returns decent figures for such a big bike but it does get thirsty when pushed. Seems like you flog yours pretty good most of the time. But if you can't average near 40 MPG on a sedate cruise through the flats, then it might be worth a look for something amiss. If you have a powercommander or the like, then all bets are off of course.
  17. Hi Nikster,

    Perhaps I was a bit harsh on the Q2 as I have not personally tried them on a true sportbike in which they are intended for. But I maintain that on the rear of my FJR while 2-up, the difference in stability and holding my chosen line through turns at a good angle was a huge step down from the Pirelli's. Again we are talking about going from a Strada reinforced "E" version with double the sidewall plies to a lightweight supersport tire. Q2 might very well be fantastic on an R1 but with 1000 pounds (FJR 2-up) rolling down the road, they were wiggly/squiggly. Luckily the FJR wore them out really fast.
  18. ~ had a closer look at the pushrod yesterday and unfortunately the yellow metal grinding comes from it, just by coincidence I cought a glimpse inbetween the pushrod and crankshaft and what I saw pissed me off slightly, main roller bearring is done, means it's a major damage as the pushrod and the crankshaft are one unit. I doubt that the crank will be undamaged just by seeing the totally destroyed bearing, so this will take time as I now need many spares which I cannot get locally such as crank, pushrod, piston, head bolts,......
    ouch that hurts.......rgds, FR
  19. just took the engine out and could inspect the pushrod & crankshaft closer.

    "......where have all the rollers gone......":

    "......just touch me there.......":

    "......a little scratching.......":

    I just wonder how long the lower pushrod bearing was already in the process of disintegrating......found some time ago some metal grinding in the oil but this was contributed to a disintegrating part of the clutch.
    Anyway as I trust no one to take the crank apart & put it exactly together again, I am left with no choice but buying a new one. Well this weekend it must come out but before this my top favourite job on an engine awaits me, getting the flywheel of the crank........chrmsftklmrsprdstfck (replaces some real nasty language)
    this time no cheers, rgds, FR
  20. ...just a short update, engine was taken apart last weekend and more surprises waited for me, was lucky that the balancer chain did not snap yet, so chain & 3 sprockets will also get changed, practically all lower moving parts are damaged by the disintegrated parts of the lower pushrod bearing. Some clutchparts need replacing and all bearings, gaskets and sealrings have gone already. Luckily the hardened gear wheels are all ok. From now on will run all my old engines on 20W50 as most probably a too thin engine-oil added to the quicker disintegration of some parts.....costs, well will be horrendous, all parts ordered, repair of the crank in Germany I'm already at some THB 50k and that's not all yet.
    Seeing these costs I finally decided to restore this bike totally, so frame will get a new paint and all wearing parts will be renewed too such as steering bearings and swingarm ones......
    Bike will not be on the road therefor for another 2-3 months but then she will run like a new one......cheers, Franz
  21. Ouch! Would it not perhaps be cheaper and easier to source and import a second hand engine? Thank goodness you've got other bikes to ride while this one gets sorted. See you next week! :D

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