C50 Longevity - Suzuki Volusia Forums : Intruder Volusia and Boulevard Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 07:51 AM Thread Starter
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C50 Longevity

Hi @all, I recently bought my first big bike, a new Suzuki C50. Before I bought it I did some research and found that the bike is supposed to have following issues: 1.) Low End of the engine is not up to the task of high speed high rpm riding - is that true? Is there anything I can do to prevent that damage from happening like using better oil or change it more often? 2.) Cam chain tensioner failing - is there anything I can do to prevent that? I know from an german Audi S3 forum that some model year S3's had issues with their timing chain tensioners or stretched timing chains as well - and in this forum I found a 200 page long pdf file explaining why this is happening and how to prevent it. According to that pdf file the main cause was using long life engine oils and change intervals up to 30.000km. Now could I "save" my chain tensioner by simply using high quality oil and changing that often - or is the tensioner itself the problem and it will fail one day no matter what I do? 3.) Final drive splines need greasing. I will do that in winter. Are there any other flaws or possible issues I should know about? Thank's in advance! Alex
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 07:52 AM Thread Starter
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ooops, somehow my formatting got messed up completely....
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 08:02 AM Thread Starter
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Hi @all, I recently bought my first big bike, a new Suzuki C50. Before I bought it I did some research and found that the bike is supposed to have following issues:

1.) Low End of the engine is not up to the task of high speed high rpm riding - is that true? Is there anything I can do to prevent that damage from happening like using better oil or change it more often?

2.) Cam chain tensioner failing - is there anything I can do to prevent that? I know from an german Audi S3 forum that some model year S3's had issues with their timing chain tensioners or stretched timing chains as well - and in this forum I found a 200 page long pdf file explaining why this is happening and how to prevent it. According to that pdf file the main cause was using long life engine oils and change intervals up to 30.000km. Now could I "save" my chain tensioner by simply using high quality oil and changing that often - or is the tensioner itself the problem and it will fail one day no matter what I do?

3.) Final drive splines need greasing. I will do that in winter. Are there any other flaws or possible issues I should know about?


Thank's in advance!

Alex
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 08:41 AM
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1.) Low End of the engine is not up to the task of high speed high rpm riding - is that true? Is there anything I can do to prevent that damage from happening like using better oil or change it more often?

These are budget bikes built to meet a certain price point. Cost cutting measures like using a 2 ring piston, along with other engineering decisions add up. When I owned mine, I was convinced the secret was using top-shelf oil and strict adherence to the maintenance intervals. My engine died at 38,000 miles. How long an engine will last is matter of luck of the draw more than anything else.

2.) Cam chain tensioner failing - is there anything I can do to prevent that? I know from an german Audi S3 forum that some model year S3's had issues with their timing chain tensioners or stretched timing chains as well - and in this forum I found a 200 page long pdf file explaining why this is happening and how to prevent it. According to that pdf file the main cause was using long life engine oils and change intervals up to 30.000km. Now could I "save" my chain tensioner by simply using high quality oil and changing that often - or is the tensioner itself the problem and it will fail one day no matter what I do?

There is nothing you can do about the cam chain stretch or the tensioners failing in the bike. As mentioned before, it is a budget bike, built to meet a price point. When it happens, all you can do is replace the chain, guides and tensioners.

3.) Final drive splines need greasing. I will do that in winter. Are there any other flaws or possible issues I should know about?

The final drive has a history of failing at the input shaft, inside the differential. When disassembled, failure always includes massive amounts of rust and almost zero lubricant. It is ASSUMED that greasing the splines will prevent this from happening, but I have also seen the splines rounded off even with grease. The final drive is also prone to leak from both the pinion seal in the front as well as the main seal against the wheel.

The C50/Volusia is a good entry level bike. Properly taken care of, it will give you years of enjoyment.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 09:26 AM
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What Skrap said................mine used oil from day one (bought new in 05'). By the time I had 25,000 miles on it I said "enough". It was using a quart every 500 miles. Suzuki dealer said that was "normal". Mine must have been built on a Friday or Monday.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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@Skrapiron: What happened at 38.000 miles? What was broken? Did you fix the engine?

So as far as I understood: You either have good or bad luck with these engines, either they will die early at 38.000 for example or they will run more than 50.000 miles without any issues....

I will treat mine as I always did with my bikes: Take care until the engine is warm, don't squeeze it out like a lemon and change my oil earlier than the interval asks for. Basically that's all I can do, we'll see how long mine will last.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 12:09 PM
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Change out the drive unit to one of the upgrade drives available, which changes rear drive ratio from 3:63-1 to 3:02-01.
Fifth is then like having a sixth gear, and btw, even first gear and the other gears, two thru four are superior after the drive conversion.
You'll never regret upgrading the drive on a VL800 machine, which lowers motor RPM at all speeds.
Read all about VL800 drive conversions in the Motors, Transmissions, Drives forum.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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that's definetly an idea. Till now I haven't had any issues with the stock gearing since for me it get's uncomfortable over 55 mph, that's the fastest speed I still feel comfortable, even tough I have a windshield.

Since I'm relatively easy on the engine I'm keen to know how long mine will last. This youtube-video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75iW4hDSVqU is interesting, 100.000 miles on a VL800 with a complete stock engine. Seems impossible but somehow he managed to do it. According to this thread: 05 c50 vl800 motor the C50/VL800 engine has/had? upper cylinder lubrication issues - never heard of that before .... what exactly is the issue there? Can some explain this to me?

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by alex_at View Post
@Skrapiron: What happened at 38.000 miles? What was broken? Did you fix the engine?

So as far as I understood: You either have good or bad luck with these engines, either they will die early at 38.000 for example or they will run more than 50.000 miles without any issues....

I will treat mine as I always did with my bikes: Take care until the engine is warm, don't squeeze it out like a lemon and change my oil earlier than the interval asks for. Basically that's all I can do, we'll see how long mine will last.
At around 20,000 miles it started using oil in between service intervals (about 1/2 a quart every 3k miles) I changed my oil every 3500 miles, always used a new oil filter, always used top shelf fully synthetic oil and cleaned the oil sump gallery every other oil change. By 25,000 miles, it was using about 3/4 quart in 3000 miles. Switched to heavier viscosity 15w50 full synthetic and oil consumption stabilized. Ran a compression test at 30k miles and front cylinder was low, but still within tolerance. At 35,000 miles oil consumption accelerated to a quart every 1000 miles (started carrying extra oil in my saddle bag). By 38,000 miles I was using a quart every 500 miles and my front compression was below minimum spec. Nobody could have been more militant about maintenace than I was, as I was convinced the engine longevity issue was due to lax maintenance. It didn't matter what I did, the engine was on its way out and there nothing I could do. The cost of a proper rebuild went over $1600 without touching the worn components on the bottome end. When I factored that into the rebuild cost, it exceeded $2300 for parts and labour. I scrapped the bike and bought something different. Over the years, I have watched other members here suffer the same string of failure thatnI experienced. Some rebuilt their motors. Others bought used engines and put them in. Others still did what I did and just got a different bike. It seems that MOST of these bikes begin to burn oil between 20 and 30k and die anywhere between 40 and 75k. It is very rare to find one with more than 100k on the clock that is still running the original motor. They're fine bikes, but really intended to be disposible....

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-2012 Vulcan 900 05-2012-05-2015


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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-14-2016, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alex_at View Post

Since I'm relatively easy on the engine I'm keen to know how long mine will last. This youtube-video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75iW4hDSVqU is interesting, 100.000 miles on a VL800 with a complete stock engine. Seems impossible but somehow he managed to do it.
From the research I've done on this forum, the high mileage bikes are usually Volusias, carbureted models. The one linked above in your post is an 03 carbureted Volusia. The C50 is fuel injected and runs leaner than the carbureted models. Again, this is just from reading on this forum. I have no hard data to back up my theory, so take it for what it is, just my theory.

I have 32k on my 03 Vol and it uses no oil.

Jody


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