Expected engine life
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  1. #1
    Newbie
    My Bike(s)
    '07 M50
    Location
    Hamilton, New Zealand
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    17

    Expected engine life

    I've been away from bikes for a few years, and don't exactly have my finger on the pulse of the bike world anymore. I'm curious as to what sort of engine life (miles or km's) one could expect from a modern metric engine like ours. I appreciate this would depend on a multitude of factors such as how the bike was used, its service history, etc; but assuming it was serviced like clockwork by a good dealer and ridden with 'mechanical sympathy' what sort of longevity are we talking?

    At the end of it's life, are we 'simply' talking about a bottom end rebuild to replace the crank bearings and a bit of a freshening up of the top end with some new rings and a deglaze etc...

    Serious K's on a Harley doesn't seem to be of any real consequence, are we as fortunate? I'm trying to work out if I'm going to get some enduring value from dropping some serious cash into my new bike, or if I might as well just enjoy the bike in a less modded state and save the money to buy a replacement at some point...

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
    In The Zone
    My Bike(s)
    2009 Yamaha Vstar 950
    Location
    ohio
    Posts
    2,464
    What kinda cash you looking to drop into it? If its for few mods to make it more pleasurable to ride or to look at it then go for it. I had 20K on my M50 before it met its match, but had to question that the engine wouldn't last for a much longer time. This bike is like any other, as long as you take care of it, it will last for a long long time.

    M50 Manual

    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
    Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"
    -Benjamin Franklin-

  4. #3
    Newbie
    My Bike(s)
    '07 M50
    Location
    Hamilton, New Zealand
    Posts
    17
    Quote Originally Posted by ranger04 View Post
    I had 20K on my M50 before it met its match,
    20K!! I just bought my late 07 with 33K on it, but full dealer service history religiously performed at the required intervals, I'm really hoping you mean met its match as in it collided with something unexpected and passed away that way as opposed to the engine clapped out....

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  6. #4
    Y2K
    Y2K is offline
    In The Zone
    My Bike(s)
    Electraglide Classic
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    Mt.St.Helens
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    2,620
    Quote Originally Posted by META View Post
    20K!! I'm really hoping you mean met its match as in it collided with something unexpected and passed away that way as opposed to the engine clapped out....
    Boy I would hope so too,I put 20K on my 2000 Electraglide in the first 12 months.
    Any modern full sized cruiser/tour bike should be able to make the 100K miles mark without a rebuild.

  7. #5
    Just Won't Go Away !
    My Bike(s)
    several
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    Buford, GA
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    5,197
    20K? Damn, I hate to see how you treated that thing!

    The M50 motor is almost identical to the one int he C50, and I have seen them go 85,000-100,000 miles. My first Intruder 800 went 135,000 miles, the second is still running at 100,000, but I have retired it. I saw a guy a couple weeks ago with 200,000+ on his Kawasaki Nomad, and see guys with 150-200K miles on their Kawasaki Concours all the time. My Electra Glide has 65,000 miles and is not even broken in yet, my Sportster has 3300 miles on it in the last 4 weeks. My lady friend's VTX has 75,000 on it, and my best friend's Royal Star just turned 90K.

    So your metric cruiser, IF you take care of it and do not abuse it, should last a good long time, in the 75-100,000 mile range. Of course if you abuse it, neglect it, or ignore it, it could blow real early: there was a guy on this site a couple years ago who managed to blow up his brand new C50 before it got to 2000 miles, because he skipped the 600 mile service.

    The bad news it that a smaller displacement metric motor is generally not worth fixing when it does die. Because they use unit construction with the engine and transmission in the same cases, and because the internal clearances are so tight, and because of the extensive use of aluminum, if you toss a rod or something you usually trash the cases, crank, and a lot of other internal parts. And the Japanese do not offer complete engine rebuilt kits like Harley or Victory, so I have seen the parts for a rebuilt plus dealer labor be in the $3600 range, more than the bike is worth at that point. IN fact, many shops will not even attempt major engine repairs on an older or high mileage metric, because they know the bill will rapidly exceed the value of the bike, so the chances of a customer actually paying the bill and picking up the bike instead of just buying a new one are slim.

    The Suzuki 800s are great bikes, but they are throw aways: drive them till they die, get another one.
    You MUST obey the pug dog!


  8. #6
    Newbie
    My Bike(s)
    2008 Suzuki M50
    Location
    West Bend, WI
    Posts
    11
    That had to be a mis-print? These bikes will last forever with routine oil changes

  9. #7
    TurtleWax Taster
    My Bike(s)
    2002 ZX12R
    Location
    Windsor , ontario, canada.
    Posts
    572
    30-40 thousand and don't be surprised to see the cam chain/tensioners give in.
    Currnently in love with my ZX9 but will never forget the 05 M50 that filled the garage.

  10. #8
    Newbie
    My Bike(s)
    2009 Suzuki M50 Boulevard
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    16
    It really depends upon what you class as "engine life".. IF there is regular servicing, then really a modern engine should see itself easily into the 100 thousand K mark. By regular servicing, I also mean, if the mechanic says "Hey about time to change the cam tensioners, /Oil/ check the valves", then the job gets done.
    You keep doing that until you either decide that it just ain't worth spending on an old machine anymore, or something completely %%%%s itself...
    Most vehicle failures I have had can be traced directly back to my own failings in regular servicing..
    Aside from some sort of catastrophic failure, I expect to get at least 80 thousand K's from my bike before thinking of trading in.. Unless I get dazzled by a new model that I just gotta have...
    Last edited by dilligaf; 06-04-2010 at 02:23 AM. Reason: My fingers need spell check..

  11. #9
    U.B's LoveChild
    My Bike(s)
    07 C90
    Location
    Innisfil,ON
    Posts
    1,026
    71,000 km on mine now, still goin' ! Although she as been up on a lift since Monday trying to find an overheating problem !
    Who gave me these damn directions?

  12. #10
    Newbie
    My Bike(s)
    '07 M50
    Location
    Hamilton, New Zealand
    Posts
    17
    Cool, some interesting feedback, much appreciated! To be honest I think I'd be chuffed if I got another 60 - 70k out of her. I bought the bike (aside from the fact it's one of the *BEST* looking stock bikes I've probably ever seen) primarily as a practical tool for getting around in a physically engaging but cheap way, costs are everything when you are a mature student on a small student allowance when you're used to earning big bucks!

    Aside from transport to uni, I'm only looking to poodle around the countryside at a relatively sedate pace. I'm not so much interested in when I get there, but how much I enjoyed getting there, and what sort of feeling I get when I get off and turn around and see the thing of beauty I just got there on

    If I'm going to get anywhere near the numbers you guys are suggesting, I think I can really justify to myself being indulgent and allowing the bike to develop in small incremental changes, perhaps even over time nudging towards something akin to some of the wonderful interpretations that some of you guys are riding. They are not always my thing, not something I'd have done personally, but I get what you're up to, and appreciate how you are pushing the envelope in your own way.

    Big up to you guys for creating a path for us more initially timid types to walk on!!

  13. #11
    Newbie
    My Bike(s)
    2009 Suzuki M50 Boulevard
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    16
    Meta, I just realised that you are in NZ as well. One of the downsides to living in the last gas stop before the Antarctic is that to do any sort of customising is more expensive that the numbers quoted by our American friends here, however, some stuff can be done cheaply. I'd be glad to look at pooling resources or helping out if you are looking at sourcing anything in NZ.

  14. #12
    Where Am I ?
    My Bike(s)
    2007 Suzuki M50
    Location
    Newfoundland, Canada
    Posts
    25
    My dad has a 82 Goldwing with 180k on it, and it runs like it was bought yesterday.
    It really matters how it was ran and how it was stored. We live in probably the worst climate for anything mechanical, right on the coast of the north atlantic, roads are heavily salted and during fall winter and spring it goes from above to below freezing a couple of times a week. However I keep my bike in a dry clean barn from late fall to early spring. Pro-tip: If you heat your shed or garage, always heat it, if you're not going to heat your garage, never heat it. The wide changes in temperature will cause condensation that will kill your machine faster than anything.

    When I buy anything used, I always check out how the owner stores it.

  15. #13
    Newbie
    My Bike(s)
    '07 M50
    Location
    Hamilton, New Zealand
    Posts
    17
    Kia ora bro!

    Quote Originally Posted by dilligaf View Post
    I'd be glad to look at pooling resources...
    What, you mean like wife swapping, 'cos that's not how I roll bro
    No but seriously, I don't quite grasp what you mean by pooling resources...

    I've looked at a fair few US metric cruiser suppliers, and do the conversion across to kiwi $ and expect to pay a chunk more for postage, and that is what it costs me to upgrade. It's all but irrelevant if I'm paying twice as much as another country; I'm not in that other country, I prefer it here, and this is what it costs me to do what I want here. NZ is worth it!!

    I understand what you're saying about costs of imported goods here, but I'm only fresh off the boat from the UK (although I was born here) so I'm in love with the place, warts and all LOL

  16. #14
    In Training
    My Bike(s)
    '07 Suzuki Boulevarde M50
    Location
    York, PA
    Posts
    115
    Quote Originally Posted by META View Post
    If I'm going to get anywhere near the numbers you guys are suggesting, I think I can really justify to myself being indulgent and allowing the bike to develop in small incremental changes, perhaps even over time nudging towards something akin to some of the wonderful interpretations that some of you guys are riding. They are not always my thing, not something I'd have done personally, but I get what you're up to, and appreciate how you are pushing the envelope in your own way.

    Big up to you guys for creating a path for us more initially timid types to walk on!!
    WOW!! That's some philasophical shiznit right there.

  17. #15
    Kickstand Operator
    My Bike(s)
    2008 Suzuki M50 Bumblebee
    Location
    Rogers City, Michigan
    Posts
    250
    This question with it's variety of answers on M50 engine life brings up another engine story I want to share. Ford made the 351M engine that many said were junk and had unacceptable longevity. My Dad owned one for years, pulled camper trailer across the country with it, etc. He was a machinist by trade and decided to go thru it (just for his curiousity) when it was just shy of 100,000 miles. Bearings had nearly non-existent wear, ditto for the cylinders. The timing chain was getting sloppy and replaced - nothing unusual about that though. He did oil changes religiously and kept it in tune but certainly used it. Proper maintenance and common sense driving are the best approach to acheiving the most possible miles out of any motor. True, some engines may have substandard parts that can cause premature failure but any normal wear item will have a shorter lifespan if subjected to constant hard driving - full throttle take offs, etc.
    Factory tall backrest, MC Enterprises crash bar, Slipstreamer Falcon windshield, John's Kit 2 1/2" lowering kit. Ride Safe!____________________________________________


 
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