OK I will try chronologically to tell this tale.
First I am Sergio, 41, father of two, Cuban/Canadian, living in Vancouver, BC. Canada.
I purchased this 1998 VS800GLP Suzuki Intruder,
some where in Hallandale Beach, Florida. The seller had nothing bad to say about the bike and even now when I have ask for the truth he denies any issue what so ever, claiming the indicators were burn... never said clearly if they ever worked for him, I believe he is full of it but he doesn't agree with my believes.
When purchasing it I did ride it for a couple blocks to try out and there were no signs of any issue, only that the rear turning signals wouldn't work, but the front ones did (weird) and a couple more details like the rubber gasket in the fuel tank cap missing so the cap is sort of dangling there... that should have warned me, but as my nickname claims, I am a newbie to this.
I paid 1500 USD the bike has under 14k miles so I figured the price was right.
As I paid and took the bike home with the title in hand etc, in 20 min riding the Florida Turnpike south the engine sputters and dies.
I get to the side not without some difficulties since there is no indicators and every one is doing 120kmph.
Try to sort out what could it be, the previous owner did state he put gas in it but not clear how long ago or what happen, so I turned the petcock to reserve, after a few tries it ran again, and went to a gas station near by and put some new gas into it and had to wait for a guide since the cousin driving along to show me the way home was a goner (long story not worth it now)
The point is I had to wait, as I put some fresh gas I tried starting the bike and it did start like nothing happened.
Waited for like 30 minute and started, then went as usual.
The bike was running quite smooth other than when it bogged down and stalled, lets make this clear. I would put first gear and let go of the clutch and it would pull with the idling engine like no problem at all.
Then later that day I rode it again and got "home" with no problem, this is all express way driving, so the bike rides cool due to Jan temps and the speed and the fact that I do mainly 100kmph so no harsh pushing. I did see the electric fan kicked in now and then mainly when stopping at a light. There was no warning light at all about anything out of the normal.
That night I tried to solve the indicators at least checking the bulbs etc, just to realize that the supposedly burnt bulb was actually a completely rusted socket with an almost welded by rust bulb inside, when dealing with this some how there was a short some where and a fuse went, so that was it for the night, some brain food for next day.
Next day it was hands on, I love fixing things so I would make this part of my vacation an opportunity to bond with my bro over some mechanics and electric fixes etc (sorry I haven't explained this all happened while o our family holidays in Miami Florida, so my wife and parents were not amused), me and my bro got a service manual and got to diagnose the bad turning signal, believing this might all be due to an electric issue since the fuse went etc... We found both wires to the rear turning lights cut and left there to touch ground like no one cares. We followed the wiring diagram and went here and there testing with a voltmeter and finding continuity, seeing if there was something else touching ground, but after a while we thought the cut wires were to blame. There was also a black and brown cable loose that we couldn't find where to put it and pretended it was one of the loose ones in the diagram. (there was a description match for it in the manual going no where.)After this the bike started fine (as usual) and we called the day to do some other holiday stuff.
Then the day after I tried to do the usual ride to visit some family, and the same scenario occurred: into 20 min of ridding it bogged down and died. This time I let it rest for 5 minutes and it started but it wouldn't take me more than 5 blocks to die again. So I left it in a mall parking lot (still with no license and the locking steering broken, so any one could take it, but luckily it was still there when we came back that night)Then we got a taste of what was really coming, it would idle a little ad go for a few blocks, then die, i even pushed a little just to let it cool down and still advance on my way home. After midnight we arrived, meaning me and my cousin and bro with the van that was giving me assistance, like jumping start so the battery didn't die and moral support so I didn't depress too much.
Next day I send the family to their daily fun and got my self to dissemble both carburetors and take a look at the fuel system overall. Didn't like my finds.
The fuel tank was clearly rusted inside but by clear view there was nothing mayor, just small rust spots. But by pouring the gas out I did find there was quite a bit in there, and when empty y rattling the tank you could hear there was some things in there. So I got to the copious labour of fishing things from inside the tank: a few screws and a piece of a previous tank cap were in there. I went removing these as I could and al the rust I found too, but at the end of this part you could still hear particles rattling in there, small ones that would take me all day to fish out, so I went for the carbs expecting the worst and hopping the mesh of the petcock to deal with the rest in the tank.
Both carbs has quite a bit of rust residues in their containers and the jets were partially plugged, I tried blowing air into every hole possible (with my mouth... I know: Cubans)also took care of checking the diaphragms, which were both spotless and the needle looked like new, seriously this carbs looked like new, except for the rust inside. Well there was some rust in the throttle levers and so but nothing too bad. My main mistake here was that I took the carbs out by disconnecting the carb end of the cable with the adjusting turning nuts that. by counting the threads and coming back to what it was before, but this being not the accurate method I believe it was guess what the carbs are now out of synchrony and balance. when the bike started again I could feel it was running high in the rpms, but hey it was not stalling or bogging and sputtering, although when ridinng you could tell there was a sputter in the back ground of the cruising, very stressing riding a bike like that in a foreign town but hey some one has to do it so I did ride it for a day with no problem.
Next day I took it to my moms and it rested there cuz it was too cold to ride back. So I went to get it a couple days later, this time it started with problem, as soon as you gave it the slightest touch of throttle it would die... I braced my self for bad shit coming and once it started I got on my way; then it died again in the Turnpike south (not a fan of this road is she?), luckily in the extreme right lane so I could easily get it parked but now in pure rush hour and in the top of the ramp so not really a parking lane there... Went to the side and waited for 5 minutes, tried, and it started and took me home. Pheeewh... but then all went back to the wrong end, from cold it would start but as 10 minutes or so pass it dies, I mean I started it left it warming up the day I was coming back home, since I was committed to leave it at my moms. And I thought maybe if warmed up properly it would go better. Just idling there it died and if it would start again it was super sensitive to the throttle so by the smallest pull it would die. So I had to leave it there, at my aunts (bringing some family distress I will spare you guys and girls) and came back to Canada to the daily life... to think about things from the distance and research in all fields in order to go back there and make things right. So its time to gather tools/parts to get back there some time this spring and ride it up here if possible or cut it loose, I would much prefer the first option since I am selling my Suzuki V-Strom here and will be motorbike-less for a while till this one comes up.
A lot of questions, but mainly, does it still sound like the fuel system could be still involved with the bits left behind? Or should I be focussing some where else?
To my sense it seams logically by the pattern it follows that some where the system is clogged and it leaks enough for a next ride but why would it die in 20 minutes and then ride for 45 minutes like nothing happened, and its always the same dies at those first 10-20 minutes for sure.
At no point were there any warning lights showing high temperatures at all, and yes the light comes on when the switch is on. Could the computer be giving me some problems?
Another thing I noticed it's the Voltage regulator and rectifier is not the original one, the stock one was there but cut off the system, so I took it out and put the other one where this stock one seats for better cooling, even when its just over the exhaust pipes, not the coolest I think but I believe Suzuki designed properly, this "aftermarket" was before under the seat with the rest of the wiring. I also found the proper black with brown stripes wire to connect the one we didn't know where to, it was by the right side of the rear carb.
Also the rear carb air box was not very tight where it meets the booty that goes to the admission side of the carb, there was a zip-tie to it, but I went to Home Depot and put a plumbers metal tie, not the right (too tall) size but I believe good enough to make the air-box connection tighter than it was. We went to Suzuki shop for this and they did not have it, neither did NAPA auto-part store. I am not sure how sensitive these bikes are to air leaks out of the air filter.
Other tan that I found the battery to be in good health, sustain charge with ease the startor is giving between 13,5 and 14 volts at 2k rpms (by ear) meaning the voltage rect/regulator is working also fine, also the battery would always be right charged. There was enough oil in the window, dark oil but it was there, I did noticed the level was higher than the max mark if the bike was standing straight up and not in the side stand, is this OK?
Didn't have time to check the spark plugs to see what the mix could be looking like. But I am sure bad spark plugs by them self would not follow this pattern. Tested the coil for resistance and they were both within parameters in the service manual. Did not check ECU for voltages etc, how likely is this to be an ECU issue in your experience??
Well thats all for now, sorry about the length. Here is the pic of the CraigsList ad and the bike, I like it a lot!