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Discussion Starter #1
Hi. I just bought a 2001 SV650 (my first big bike) 3 days ago and am really hoping you can help. I know very little about bikes sorry.

When the bike arrived it wouldn't start for at least 20 seconds, but then started. (The bike was started the night before, but not started/run before that for 2 or 3 months apparently.) I didn't take it for a test drive, because I'm an idiot! When I took it out, after a mile or so it stalled and wouldn't start again. It would turn over and over, but not kick in. I charged the battery (which was full in half an hour) but still no luck, so I walked it home.

On investigation, the earth wire to the neutral switch has been burnt (either side of the connector) but still has continuity and does not appear to have damaged the other wires. (While fiddling, I've accidentally detached the earth from the orange plug bit of the sensor.) Also one of the HT leads is broken [it comes apart into 2 parts when pulled] but current is still getting through and I can still get a nice spark [i.e. in the right place and seemingly white/blue] on the plug using it. Plugs are also clean and fine with no signs of issue.

Having faffed but done very little, the little beauty started! I rode it 150 metres up the road, and then it made a rather nasty mechanical knock/bang-almost sound and lost power. She hasn't started (or even turned over) since.

I have replaced the earth between the neutral switch connection block and where it is spurred off the earth circuit (only about 20cm of wire) and removed the earth wire from the switch altogether. I've traced the earth wires that the damaged one was attached to to check for damage but no sign. There is a vacuum at the fuel vacuum hose. While working I've also accidentally detached the earth wire from the fuel sensor under the fuel tank.

I am so desperate to try out my little beauty for more than 3 minutes - please can anyone help?

Thanks
Davin
 

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I was going to suggest completely draining the fuel and refilling as a solution, until I got to the part about the knock/bang noise.

Start by confirming the oil level is correct. When you get it running again, change the oil and filter. Generally speaking, Shell Rotella T6 is a good choice.

Does the engine spin over when you hit the starter?

Get a volt meter and check the battery voltage. It should be over 12.7V before starting and over 10V when cranking. A bad battery wouldn't cause the knocking noise, but it can make it run poorly. Old gas will make it start and run poorly as well.
 

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^^^ What Jay said.

Knocking is a bad sign but at least get the bike to crank over so you can investigate.

Given this is a used bike, and may have been sitting a while, there is a fair chance the battery is toast.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I was going to suggest completely draining the fuel and refilling as a solution, until I got to the part about the knock/bang noise.

Start by confirming the oil level is correct. When you get it running again, change the oil and filter. Generally speaking, Shell Rotella T6 is a good choice.

Does the engine spin over when you hit the starter?

Get a volt meter and check the battery voltage. It should be over 12.7V before starting and over 10V when cranking. A bad battery wouldn't cause the knocking noise, but it can make it run poorly. Old gas will make it start and run poorly as well.
Great insight thank you as I drastically overfilled it with oil! I wasn't thinking and was checking the oil level window while it was on its side stand! hangs head in shame I emptied over a litre!

Before the knock it was turning over yes, but not now. Now it just makes a mechanical click and a buzz if I tu m hold it (which I avoid!) The starter works fine [used a jump lead to earth direct to the battery] and I put my finger in (the engine?) and the cog moves freely (in one direction). The battery's on about 12.7V - I'll have to check when it's cranked!

New (old) HT leads have arrived. Will the lack of earth to the fuel sensor and neutral switch be a problem?

Thanks so much for everyone's help. Would you believe... getting the sparkplugs out yesterday the front one was really tight (even though I'm sure I'd taken it out before, and would have done it barely tighter than nipped) and THE BLOODY THING SNAPPED IN HALF!! Absolutely gutted! It's below the nut so nothing to grab hold of/turn. Apparently I need someone with a special tool and a very special set of skills?! But that'll have to wait 'til payday; double gutted!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
^^^ What Jay said.

Knocking is a bad sign but at least get the bike to crank over so you can investigate.

Given this is a used bike, and may have been sitting a while, there is a fair chance the battery is toast.
Thank you, yes my uncle said we needed to turn it over, hence taking out the plugs to "lose compression" or something?

Any chance you could tell me how to test the battery further, using a multimeter? Batteries aren't cheap eh!
 

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It does sound like your battery may be the issue.

Even if it holds 12.7V before cranking it can still be bad. Check the voltage when you hit the button. It should be over 10V.

Chances are it will drop way off under load (cranking) from the symptoms you described.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Gutted: I had a mobile bike mechanic come to remove the sparkplug, and he's discovered something's broken in the engine [something to do with the "under bucket shim"?!) and he advises, financially, changing the whole engine! Gutted. Any advice welcome please. I have a whole lot of spare time right now so would kind of like to have a go at fixing it myself?!
 

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I would want to try and confirm the diagnosis of the mobile mechanic. Not a really hard thing to do if you have the will, a manual, and a basic set of tools. My opinion about the diagnosis is that it seems unlikely that a shim under bucket system would suddenly fail, but who knows who worked on it. As far as the rest goes, definitely could be battery problems, but also on a bike that old (I have an 02) it could be in the fuel system as well. Stuff migrating from the fuel tank to the carb, old fuel lines, vacuum leaks. .
 

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Gutted: I had a mobile bike mechanic come to remove the sparkplug, and he's discovered something's broken in the engine [something to do with the "under bucket shim"?!) and he advises, financially, changing the whole engine! Gutted. Any advice welcome please. I have a whole lot of spare time right now so would kind of like to have a go at fixing it myself?!
Did he show you how he determined that? I would have expected he would have to remove the valve cover. Did he do that?

I'm not sure I'd go with that diagnosis quite yet. A compression test may give you more info, and it's not a completely invasive process. Pulling the valve covers would be the next step if it hasn't been done yet. That would give you a look at the cams and valvetrain.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you Trundlebike7 and Jay V. Yes the mechanic took the 'valve cover' off (assuming that's the top cover?!) and yes he founds shards of metal that used to be the shim? (Photo attached.)

Yes I definitely have the will (and hopefully the patience!), the basic tools and plenty of time. However, I've spent hours this morning finding a decent service manual (on SVRider and Google) but the best I've found... I printed all the engine bit but can't make out anything from the pictures! So thinking I might buy one. (£35!) Do you guys recommend only the Suzuki one? (I.e. specifically not Haynes, or others. I've always hated Haynes manuals, although their electronic ones now have colour photos which helps.)

Thanks, Davin
 

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I've used an eBook or similar manual on a top-end rebuild before, but find the printed manual much handier.

Probably best to go with the factory manual and skip the Hanes/Clymer manual IMO.

Can't say I've seen a shim disintegrate before. What does the top-end look like? Any obvious other damage?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Factory manual purchased thank you.

No obvious damage to me, although some residue/bits? (Pictures attached.) And now looking at the photos I'm wondering if there's some damage to the top of the ____ [piston?!] so I've drawn an arrow!

Thank you for all this help!
 

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I might pull the plugs and spin it over by hand to see how it feels and see if it operates smoothly. You may want to take a small magnet and fish around to get any pieces of the shim out first.

Next step would be removing the cam covers for a better look.

Maybe someone with more SV top-end experience will chime in with better ideas. I've done some, but not on a SV specifically.
 

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It does look like a broken bucket in one of your pictures. Shouldn't be able to see any valve spring if all is well. You'll need to remove the cam covers and cams to investigate further. Not at all sure I'd write the engine off yet. I'd want to see how much of the bucket can be recovered. You'll be able to check out the cams and bearing surfaces when you get it apart. I have a motor that threw a rod but has two old (40+k miles) but serviceable heads that you can have if you need.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That's such a kind offer thank you! And you're right the bucket is shattered. I went to get the cam shaft out to inspect it, and the valve, and I gather I need to rotate the generator so that it's correctly aligned... but do I need to remove the (broken) spark plug first? I gave it a good go and it wouldn't turn, and didn't want to force it any more without checking!
 

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Probably best to take Trundlebike's kind offer and just replace the head. That way no mucking with the broken spark plug or other damage possibly caused by the broken shim bucket. Those are odd failures on the SV so more could be wrong.
 

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I've lost track of which head we're talking about but both are available. It is an odd failure. If you still want to try to save your existing head the idea with the engine rotation is to get the piston at Top Dead Center for the head your working on. It's not necessary to remove the plug but of course it'll have to come out eventually. Then you'll need to relieve tension at the cam chain tensioner. Six bolts each come out to get the cam covers off. Be sure to tie the cam chain to the frame so you don't drop it into the case. Did you get a manual?
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Yes my manual has arrived hooray! I've managed to turn the engine but only about 200 degrees and back. The manual says line up the "|F" line for the back cylinder when removing but "|R" line when inspecting tappet clearance? I could not turn it to find "|R" so was using "|F".

The readings: the inlet valve with the broken tappet has not fully sprung back out so all feeler gauges simultaneously fit! It's partner I can't even fit the 0.05mm gauge between. Same as it's adjacent valve on the exhaust, then 0.73mm on the other exhaust valve!
 
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