Balancer chain worn out? (doohickey related?) - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
2008+ KLR650 Wrenching & Mod Questions For repair, maintaining or modifying discussions related to the newly updated 2008 and beyond, Generation 2 KLR650 Motorcycle.

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post #1 of 27 Old 03-26-2017, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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Balancer chain worn out? (doohickey related?)

Hi,

So I got a 2008 model fairly recently, and this being my first motorcycle, I'm still trying to get the feels for what is normal and what isn't. It has already seen ~90k km, and I'm the 5th owner, with the 4th only owning it for a few month so maintenance records are close to non-existent.
(Almost) everything felt fine enough for a newbie like me until recently, after riding it for ~1k km, it developed a new rattling noise in the left side engine cover. I knew the doohikey had not been replaced (said the previous guy) so I took the occasion to do it, bought Eagle Mike's and when to town.

Upon opening the left cover, it clearly became apparent one of the previous owners had a very straightforward approach to mechanics, one that did not very much care about anything but the short term end result.
The screws for the two layers of the cover and the sproket guard (different length) where happily mixed together and 3 had been replaced by whatever the guy had lying around - ones with heads too big that were a real pain to unscrew.

Inside, I found that the spring was missing, the original doo adjusted to maximum tension (completely rotated clockwise), and tension adjuster bolt (the one accessible from the outside) had been cut. The two functions of the adjuster bolt where now shared by a new, short screw to block the adjuster, and the remainder of the original bolt (the part with the o-ring) to plug the hole in the cover. The OEM doo itself looked perfectly fine though.
Also, lots of scratch marks on the inside of the case, and the inside face of the chain, I assume from the spring breaking loose and getting in the mechanism. And places where the chain started to saw the case (under the tension adjuster gear mostly), the usual >_>.

Pics here : the bolt that has been cut, the doo before intervention, damage to the inside side of the chain :










The thing I'm not sure about is the length of the balancer chain. Now that I have a clean doo installed with torsion spring, the tension adjuster gear shaft seems to be rotated so much that it pushed the chain very very close to the case. And when I try to pull the chain perpendicularly (before tensioning) it has quite a bit of lateral play.

So here's the question: how would I estimate if the chain needs to be replaced? as far as I can tell its damage seems, while visible, still marginal. Yet the way the previous guy did things (put as much tension as he could and leave it there with no means to adjust it again) seems like a recipe for premature wear to me.

Thanks!

Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 03-27-2017 at 05:49 AM. Reason: Correct the picture posting. Last two were duplicates.
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post #2 of 27 Old 03-26-2017, 03:47 PM
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BALANCER CHAIN LENGTH SPEC:
It should be replaced when the 20 link/21 pin length reaches 193.4 mm: New 20 link length is 190.5mm From 2008 KLR

The balancer chain seems to almost never wear out. Most likely because it is running in a bath of oil. On my 2008 KLR at 97,000 miles length =191mm, almost the same as new.

The loss of adjustment range comes from compression of the rubber shoulders on the sprockets. The chain links ride on those shoulders and as the rubber gets compressed over time, the effective diameter of the sprockets get smaller and the chain gets looser.

On my 2008 I rotated the chain by one tooth in the same direction on all the sprockets including the crankshaft sprocket so there was no change in the balancer timing and gained 1/2" of adjustment range on the doohickey. This is because the inside links now run on uncompressed rubber where the outside links ran before and vice versa.

You can also replace a sprocket to get new rubber and gain adjustment range. The doohickey sprocket is the cheapest and easiest.
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post #3 of 27 Old 03-26-2017, 06:58 PM
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I wonder if the doo is 1/2 turn out on the eccentric shaft. The guy may have turned it to make it line up when he abortionized the system.
JJ

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post #4 of 27 Old 03-26-2017, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justjeff View Post
I wonder if the doo is 1/2 turn out on the eccentric shaft. The guy may have turned it to make it line up when he abortionized the system.
JJ
I don't think so. Compare this with your last photo: 2008 Kawasaki KLR650 (KL650E8F) Balancer | CyclePartsNation Kawasaki Parts Nation

Can you take a look at the other sprockets to see of their rubber shoulders have been worn down badly, causing more slack? I have seen some with chunks torn out.

Also, for what it is worth, the Eagle doo is clocked for about 10 or 15 degrees more range in clockwise rotation.

Last edited by GoMotor; 03-26-2017 at 08:07 PM.
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post #5 of 27 Old 03-26-2017, 08:20 PM
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I see what is throwing me off. The EagleMike Doohicky is clocked differently. If that was a EM doohicky the retaining bolt would be 1/2 way along the adjustment slot rather than at the end of the slot as is shown in picture 2. That is an other advantage of the EM Doohicky, more adjustment range before replacing the balancer chain. As shown in pic 2 the factory doo is out of or nearly out of adjustment. If Xevel buys an Eagle mike Doohicky he won't have to replace the balancer chain.

Damn! You beat me on the clocking difference.
jj

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post #6 of 27 Old 03-26-2017, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justjeff View Post
........................ If Xevel buys an Eagle mike Doohicky he won't have to replace the balancer chain.

Damn! You beat me on the clocking difference.
jj
An Eagle doohickey would obviously help with its extra range, but as I mentioned, I doubt that the chain is actually worn beyond its service limits. More than likely, the slack is caused by wear on the rubber shoulders on the sprockets.

If you remove the sprockets and/or the chain for inspection and measurement, you need to make sure you know where the alignment marks are and can find them on the chain, sprockets and shafts (paint or scratch mark them) for re installation. A service manual is very handy for this.
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post #7 of 27 Old 03-27-2017, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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Hey guys, thanks a lot for the feedback.

Indeed, with the Eagle Mike doo now in place, there is a lot more room for adjustment, before taking any other action.
I ordered the replacement to my missing/damaged parts today (are they made of solid unobtanium to be that expensive???) and it's going to be at least 2 weeks before I receive them, so I'm going to temporarily put the shitty bolts back like the previous guy did, as much as it pains me.
This will allow for a "half-way" test, where only the doo has been changed, and when I open it up again to put the new parts, maybe I'll have a try at inspecting the rubber shoulders and measuring the chain.

@ Tom Schmitz : thanks for the images, I'll be more careful next time with the hosting.
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post #8 of 27 Old 03-27-2017, 01:12 PM
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Xevel,
In pic #3 it appears that the spring pin and the spring Lever are grooved.

This is caused by an un-Tightened Doo, which allows a 'Trench' to be worn into the inner cover under the OEM doo. As seen at the LH edge of the oem doo in pic #2.

On a unit that I found in this condition, I used a Dremel burr in a drill press to re-level the case. I was concerned that the EM doo might get 'wedged' into the trench.

On another unit years prior, I used a Dremel burr to relieve the bolt casting under the eccentric doo adjuster to allow the EM doo and torsion spring 'space' to operate. As the chain links were already touching the bolt casting. Eagle Mike does know about this potential interference point. Normally the chain won't wear the far!

pdwestman
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post #9 of 27 Old 03-27-2017, 02:08 PM
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GoMotor and jeff have you covered.......I just had to say: WOW......never underestimate the stupidity of the DPO!


Cheers,
Dave
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post #10 of 27 Old 03-27-2017, 02:10 PM
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....and for those that haven't read this before, here's an interesting read on KLR longevity including a mention of the balancer chain; http://www.watt-man.com/uploads/How_Many_Miles.pdf


Cheers,
Dave
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