How to fix my motorcycle
How I did it:
You know that this-person-is-totally-trying-to-screw-me feeling? That's what happened when I took my 2002 Suzuki DRZ 400E to the dealer with the cracked crankcase. It's funny because the parts and sales department has always been so good to me: honest, fair pricing, helpful. I must have bumped into a rat in the service department - they nicely identified the issue and correctly pointed out that the crankcase couldn't be welded in this case. Agreed.
But then the tech proceeded to tell me the part would be $500 and the labor would be $1,200 to $1,500 ... if I were lucky. but probably closer to $1,800 in labor (12 to 16 hours of labor). He then told me the bike was basically a junker because of the crack and that he'd offer me $50 for the bike on the spot. Smarmy for a mechanic to try and buy a bike from a customer for $50 when they bring it in for repairs. No thanks.
In the end I paid $500 for a new crankcase part and $300 in labor to have an independent mechanic do all the necessary labor. He spent an additional $114 in parts (seals, bearings, etc.). An expensive fix at $900-ish but a far cry from the junker pitch I received from the Suzuki mechanic.
The good news is it runs like a dream and I'm back on the road.
Lessons & tips:
Check out independent shops for a quote. I really did think I was out of luck, but got hold of one more mechanic who quoted me $300 in labor and stuck to his bid.