DR350 Workdays, Part II

Wednesday after work I figured I’d work on it a bit. I can’t do any real heavy lifting though since I was watching the kids by myself. I sneak out and bump start the bike then rush back home to make sure the kids are still alive, they lived so I’m not the worst father ever.

I let it idle a bit and grab a can of starter fluid to look for vacuum leaks. I figure there are two reasons I can’t start it. 1: I suck at kick starting. 2: There are air/fuel mixture issues. Since I can’t easily fix how much I suck I go in after number two. Sure enough with a quick spray of starting fluid I find that my intake tube between the carburetor and head is leaking so that will be changing soon. I also notice that the header is glowing ever so lightly red, this indicates a lean air/fuel mixture which is understandable given the vacuum leak. I shut down the bike, let it cool off, then park it for the night.

Now it’s tonight.

Time to take a look into my shifting problem.

I pull the bike into the garage and drain the oil. Then I remove the RH engine cover and, yet again, remove the clutch. A common issue with the DR350 is the shift drum bolt working loose. This happens a lot and causing shifting issues. Since I was aware of this I replaced this bolt on my last go-around and used red locktite to hold it in place.

Red locktite works. It works well. Sometimes frustratingly well. Luckily it’s only good up to about 500 degrees. Hello Mr. Propane.

An interesting thing to note is that the shifter gears are not properly aligned. I was pretty careful when I was working on it but something must have slipped on assembly. This was likely most of my problem.

So I messed around with the bike for awhile. I removed the external shift parts then rotated the shift drum by hand and was able to easily hit every gear. I didn’t feel any grittiness or a difference in resistance from one gear to another so I think I’m okay on shift forks. I decided to put it back together and test running it through the gears.

Then the shift drum bolt broke about 5 lbs shy of spec torque.

This is the second bolt to break on the DR. This little bike is punishing me. However like the first one this proved remarkably easy to remove. I simply cut a slot in and ran it out with a screwdriver.

So for now it sits apart. I need a new shift drum bolt. While I’m at it I’m going to get new shift drum prawls and springs as well as new detent arm. I’m thinking that will help me get the bike shifting better. I really hope I can find the parts locally tomorrow as I’m sick of waiting for parts, I’d like to commute with the bike next week so I can break it in some before the event.

Category: DR350, Projects

2 comments on “DR350 Workdays, Part II

  1. Hey there, How did all of this work out in the end? My shift drum bolt fell out. Got a new one slapped everything back together and was able to shift through the gears up the scale but down the scale was really bad. I getting into 2 1 or N is really hard from 3 and beyond. I just bought a bunch of OEM parts but I’m curious as to what happened wit your bike

    • Yes, it shifts perfectly. The entire job was a new shift drum, re-aligning the two spur gears (the shift drum and the shifter, at rest they need to be dead center against each other), and replacing both the springs and pawls for the shift drum ratchet. After that I get all six with ease.

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