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Old 12-10-2014, 09:47 AM   #1
THRASHED OP
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2011 DRZ400S White Smoke

My nephew reports that while riding on the freeway the bike "cut out" with white smoke coming out of the exhaust. He says he's 99% sure the idiot light did not come on. I've experienced no indication when the coolant level was too low to flow over the sensor.

While riding a few weeks ago he dumped the bike and smashed the water pump housing. We bought a new housing/gasket and he installed it. He admits that once he filled the radiator, he did not run the bike and re-check the coolant level. We also did not check to see if a piece of the housing made it into the cooling system. The pump vanes looked perfect (no nicks or dings indicating that a piece of the housing hit them) so we assumed all of the missing pieces are lying in the dirt somewhere.

From past experience, I'm going with blown head gasket. I am looking for advice on what else we should do (aside from flushing the cooling system) when we are replacing the gasket (what is the recommended replacement gasket?). As mentioned above, this is a 2011 with fairly low miles.

One more question on torquing the head. I did a search on this and stumbled across a thread (ATV) about this engine and torque specs. Without mentioning the exact forum, the thread turned into a juvenile flame-fest about how many ft/lbs of torque for a stock head. There was someone who said the manual was wrong and Eddie (can't remember his name) had mentioned somewhere on TT (yeah, this is basically third-hand) said that 42ft/lbs was correct instead of what the manual said. Any thoughts on this?

Thanks in advance.

Thrashed

THRASHED screwed with this post 12-10-2014 at 09:59 AM
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:25 AM   #2
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Eddie's last name is Cisneros- the folks on Thumpertalk think he's a god. Never had any correspondence with him personally, but I think his advice is solid and I've done some of his mods on my bike.

I've never had white smoke on my DRZ but I did overheat it once and the light and fan were obvious. A blown head gasket or excessive moisture in the fuel would be my first thought too. Is the bike currently running or able to run?
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:40 AM   #3
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There are tests to check for coolant in the oil and vice versa one way to check for a blown head gasket.

Or just pull it and replace with the gasket from the E model to increase your compression a little (it is thinner).
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:45 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by DSM8 View Post
There are tests to check for coolant in the oil and vice versa one way to check for a blown head gasket.

Or just pull it and replace with the gasket from the E model to increase your compression a little (it is thinner).
Hmmm, interesting on the E idea.

groop-thanks for that. I also hang out over there, just couldn't think of his name. Not sure about the god-like status, but he seems to know his stuff. I may shoot him a note.
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:47 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by THRASHED View Post
Hmmm, interesting on the E idea.

groop-thanks for that. I also hang out over there, just couldn't think of his name. Not sure about the god-like status, but he seems to know his stuff. I may shoot him a note.
I should clarify I think it is the base gasket that is different in thickness, have not had a DRZ for many years now dont remember exactly but there is one gasket that is used to increase your compression for a little more power.
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Old 12-11-2014, 07:14 AM   #6
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Eddie knows his stuff. He is always willing to help as well. He has been building these engines for a long time, with excellent results.
That said, white smoke is indicative of water. If the water got into the oil, it will look milky. The "E" base gasket is thinner, making for more compression, thus more power. You might need to do some jetting to take advantage of the added compression, and the higher compression will cause higher combustion temps, causing faster burn of the fuel. If it burns to fast, that's detonation, and detonation can be harmful. So to avoid that you will probably need higher octane fuel, or at a minimum a richer mixture. So your "S" model may not like to run on marginal gas like it use too.
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Old 12-11-2014, 07:51 AM   #7
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oldman, thanks for that. I will stick with the stock gasket. I like the reliability. We'll be pulling the head tomorrow and see what we can find. I'll check the oil and what's left of the coolant.
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Old 12-13-2014, 02:18 PM   #8
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Take the radiator cap off and start it up. If it is a blown head gasket compression will burp coolant out the top of the radiator, just like the coolant sucked into the cylinder with vacuum when it pulled in a fuel charge, burnt and smoked white. More compression than pressure in the radiator so it should burp or bubble out the top of the rad. A blown head gasket or a crack is not an "automatic" to get coolant in the oil.
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Old 12-14-2014, 08:38 AM   #9
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oldman, thanks for that. I will stick with the stock gasket. I like the reliability. We'll be pulling the head tomorrow and see what we can find. I'll check the oil and what's left of the coolant.

Well?????
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Old 12-14-2014, 10:00 AM   #10
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OK, here's the results. First off, thanks everyone for the suggestions.

Pulled the head and found the following:

Absolutely no coolant. (My nephew admits the rookie mistake of not finding out how to properly fill the system)

About 1/4 cup of oil inside the exhaust manifold.

Both exhaust valves stuck wide open

Left exhaust valve broken off at the top.

Missing material on dome between the exhaust valves

Discoloration of the head assembly near the exhaust port

No issues at all with the piston (other than a little dusty material that came from the exhaust dome)

No issues at all with the cylinder walls. Actually have no wear and still show the factory swirl markings.

I found a mechanic locally who looked at it and verified all of this. Long and short is my nephew is screwed right now. I already spent a bunch of money on him for Christmas, including a great Rugged Rider skid plate and am pretty much tapped out. He has been starting a trucking company with his dad and money is super tight at their house.

Plan forward: start looking for a replacement. Because we don't need cams, we may end up finding a used blank head and buying parts. The mechanic said he will assemble everything, including setting clearances, for $80. Sounds pretty good to me unless we can find something complete for a good price.

Thanks again everyone,

Thrashed.
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Old 12-14-2014, 10:06 AM   #11
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Make sure to look at the piston from the bottom, easier to see cracks from the clean side.
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Old 12-14-2014, 10:10 AM   #12
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Thanks Larry, we did that. I wanted to be sure so we pulled the barrel and piston and took everything with us when we talked to the mechanic.
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Old 12-14-2014, 10:27 AM   #13
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Thanks Larry, we did that. I wanted to be sure so we pulled the barrel and piston and took everything with us when we talked to the mechanic.

Good job.

Look into getting some one piece valves for the new head, the stock valves are two piece and prone to breaking off the stem.
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Old 12-14-2014, 02:41 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by THRASHED View Post
OK, here's the results. First off, thanks everyone for the suggestions.

Pulled the head and found the following:

Absolutely no coolant. (My nephew admits the rookie mistake of not finding out how to properly fill the system)
Did he forget about the bleed screw on the left radiator?
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Old 12-14-2014, 10:23 PM   #15
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Fixnfly, the problem was he didn't have a repair manual and didn't bother looking online to check for proper filling. He simply put fluid in on the right and rode it. Like he told me, "rookie mistake". Too bad it's probably going to be another few weeks before we can afford to fix it. He already waited two weeks to tell me in the first place.
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