Crankcase crack at drain plug. HELP! - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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Old 05-30-2013, 10:40 AM
Kaseman Kaseman is offline
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Unhappy Crankcase crack at drain plug. HELP!

So I have a crack in my crankcase right at the drain plug. Sounds pretty much exactly like Moriver's post from last year: can't post a URL linking it because I'm a new member, but search "oil leak at crack in drain plug"

like his, mine runs from the flat shiny surface where the washer seats, right up the front of the cylindrical housing that protrudes down. Overall its not a big crack, but its involvement with the threads has me worried. I'm opting towards JB weld just because that way I can do the work myself and take all the time and care that is needed. Ive heard several success stories with JB in the past.

My plan is this: drain the oil and let it drip for a few days. Lay the bike on its side, maybe at a slight decline, so all the remaining oil will not be at the drain plug leaking through. clean well, take out some material and score the surrounding area with a dremel, and then apply 2-3 coats of JB over a few days.

my question is whether i should focus on patching only the crack on the front of the housing (the part of the crack that is visible when the plug is in, and the part that leaks). Or should i focus on fixing the crack on the shiny washer seated area as well and up into the threads. Or I could also do the front housing crack first, then drill and tap a smaller hole in the original plug. then JB weld the original plug into the hole and just drain oil from the smaller hole from now on.

also what should I do before laying the bike on its side (90 degrees) or a little more like 100-110 degrees on a small decline. drain the carb? anything else?

ANy thoughts or insights are GREATLY appreciated. local shop estimated $1000 to fix it, but I'd rather not do that If i can get away with it. I do local rides mostly so I wont be stranded too far. Love this bike, it's got so much life left in it.

Thanks everyone
Kaseman
2003 KLR, 14,000 miles:
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  #2  
Old 05-30-2013, 11:01 AM
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Tom Schmitz Tom Schmitz is offline
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Pictures would be helpful. Do you have a photobucket or flickr account? If you can provide a link to a good picture I'll help you get it into your post.

Without seeing it, though, I think the following is what I'd do if it were mine:

1) Stop the crack from propagating with a small hole at the end of the crack, plugged with JB Weld.

2) Use a rubber washer under the drain bolt to reduce the torque used on the drain bolt. I might, under the right circumstances, consider bonding a plug in place with a smaller drain bolt in the center of the bonded plug. That would reduce the wear and tear on the case and the repeated flexing of the crack. Under the really, really right circumstances I might consider installing an oversize plug, bonded with a drain in the center. The reason for that is that a larger bolt can induce less stress on the threaded hole than a smaller bolt will.

3) Park it over a diaper.

Rationale:

Often the only real fix is a new case. JB Weld as a patch can work in some cases, but the crack goes through the gasket sealing surface. A JB Weld patch job may turn out to be a lot of work for little results and may foul the case preventing a later weld repair.

Welding can work, and can be done with the engine in the bike, but the crack goes through the sealing surface. Depending on where the crack is, welding can warp the cases resulting in as bad an oil leak as the crack caused.

The oil leak from cracks like this are usually minor and can be lived with. They don't come anywhere near approaching British car standards ;^). I'd be leery of riding this bike to Tierra del Fuego, but for local riding it should be fine.

A good picture would really help people come up with a workable solution.

Oh, and welcome to the forum - sorry it has to be under such circumstances.

Tom
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Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 05-30-2013 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 05-30-2013, 12:14 PM
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willys willys is offline
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I agree with Tom on this one as well. JB weld will work but it's not a mricle worker so to speak. Yes I have repair may issues with it permanantly but the conditions must be absolutely perfect! Just because you lay the bike over you still need to flush all oil from that cracked area with acetone etc or the JBweld will not do the best job for you. I would buy some carb cleaner in a spray and use the small hose that comes with the can and concentrate the spray into the crack and wash all remaining oil out as best you can, then use compressed air to get the acetone out as well. The repeat a few times for good measure. Then dremel the area like you say and also slightly into the crack, maybe 1/3 of the depth of the crack s to give the JBweld something to adhere to. After dremeling I would scratch the surface with a strong pick to make deeper scores for the JBweld to adhere to. I can't stress how important it is to get 110% of the oil out of that crack before you start dremeling it.
As for what to do with the bike, take the tank off, battery out, and drain the carb and oil.
Hope this helps.
By the way where do you live??

Oh and welcome......
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Old 05-30-2013, 12:30 PM
Damocles Damocles is offline
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Can't tell a whole lot without a hands-on examination, or at least an image, but . . . even if the crack is filled with JB Weld, or maybe even electrically-welded, an OVERSIZE OIL DRAIN PLUG may help seal the fissure.

An oversize oil drain plug cuts new tapered threads, slightly larger in diameter than the original ones. This gentle "re-tapping," and a new crush washer, may help. For less than $ 10, worth a look, IMHO.

(Contrary posts predicting dire, calamatious circumstances from oversize oil dran plug usage welcomed! Keep in mind, the oversize oil drain plug factories continue operating, day and night, manufacturing these devices; SOME customers may be satisfied with these products!


http://www.cgenterprises.com/drain_p...ize_repair.htm

CAVEAT: Merely a suggestion for consideration.
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Old 05-30-2013, 02:29 PM
Kaseman Kaseman is offline
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hey guys, thanks for all the replies! I have some pics, but no way to upload them (new member). no flickr account or anything either. but if any of you want to PM me with your email feel free and i'll send them your way. it'd be awesome if someone could upload them for me maybe? for posterity of course...

I'm not sure I completely understand the theory of an oversized drain plug, does someone mind explaining? also, would i need to tap it before hand or is it essentially self tapping? also i'm curious how this compares to simply tapping a smaller hole into the original drain plug and bonding the original drain plug in place?

lastly, about cleaning... should i flush the case from inside somehow or just tip the bike and clean it very well from the exterior?

also any ideas where to get a good rubber washer? would that be in addition or instead of the crush washer?

sorry for all the questions, and thanks again for the advice guys. i appreciate it.

and Willys, I'm in Vermont
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Old 05-30-2013, 02:40 PM
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I would clean it as best you can from the outside so the oil and dirt work their way back from where they came from. I would leave the bike on it's side for a while to let gravity help when cleaning the area. If the crack is into the threads I bet using a larger drain plug if you can't get to the end of the crack or split it would be a waste of time, imho. You still have a crack in the threads just a larger hole. I would clean up the area like stated before and use JBweld but stay clear of the threads at the moment., work right up to them but leave them alone. Once you have a solid repair and a good flat surface for the head of the drain plug and crush washer to seal against I would use a smeer of silicon on the threads of the drain plug to help seal the crack that is in the threads to start with.
If you do choose to install and lock the drain plug and bore a new hole in the middle of it, that too is a way to fix this issue, but the new plug will stick down even further unless you use an allen head bolts or plug that sits level with the old plug hieght.
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Old 05-30-2013, 02:57 PM
Kaseman Kaseman is offline
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Thanks, Willys

I see what you mean about the larger drain plug. Just curious, if I were to permanently fix the original bolt to the case, (and then tap a smaller hole in the center) would silicone be preferable to smearing JB on the threads?
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Old 05-30-2013, 03:47 PM
Damocles Damocles is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaseman View Post
I'm not sure I completely understand the theory of an oversized drain plug, does someone mind explaining? also, would i need to tap it before hand or is it essentially self tapping? also i'm curious how this compares to simply tapping a smaller hole into the original drain plug and bonding the original drain plug in place?
An oversize oil drain plug is self-tapping. Installing the plug the first time cuts and taps a tapered hole of slightly larger diameter than the original.

If you look at the examples shown on the link I posted above http://www.cgenterprises.com/drain_p...ize_repair.htm , you'll see some examples of "piggy-back" plugs; larger primary plugs with smaller auxiliary plugs fitted. However, from your description, I don't think you will need a piggy-back plug.

You may stop the leak with your original plug and a rubber washer or new crush washer, or an oversize plug (you'll need a M12 X 1.5, ideally) may be of some use. JB Weld may be necessary to seal the crack you mention; or . . . I know of successful genuine metal welds to KLR crankcases. I've heard tales of successful use of motorboat transom expandable rubber drain plugs used, and there are always the toggle-type "flapper" plugs shown through the link.

Drilling and tapping for a 1/2"-diameter (or larger) drain plug MIGHT be in the cards; depends upon the propagation of the crack.

I think many paths may exist to "git 'er done," may you find a successful one for your situration.
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Old 05-30-2013, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willys View Post

...

I would buy some carb cleaner in a spray and use the small hose that comes with the can and concentrate the spray...


Carb cleaner? I'm shocked!
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Old 05-30-2013, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaseman View Post

...

My plan is this: drain the oil and let it drip for a few days. Lay the bike on its side, maybe at a slight decline, so all the remaining oil will not be at the drain plug leaking through. clean well, take out some material and score the surrounding area with a dremel, and then apply 2-3 coats of JB over a few days

my question is whether i should focus on patching only the crack on the front of the housing (the part of the crack that is visible when the plug is in, and the part that leaks). Or should i focus on fixing the crack on the shiny washer seated area as well and up into the threads. Or I could also do the front housing crack first, then drill and tap a smaller hole in the original plug. then JB weld the original plug into the hole and just drain oil from the smaller hole from now on.

also what should I do before laying the bike on its side (90 degrees) or a little more like 100-110 degrees on a small decline. drain the carb? anything else?

...

I consider myself something of a JB Weld artist (hah). You've read through the last thread so you have a pretty good idea of what or not to do.

Prep is the key for sure. Couple of things I would say: Use a wire wheel and rough up the surface. Use one layer of JB vs. multiple. JB tends not to adhere to itself very well unless you prep it again like a bare surface which kinda destroys the first layer!

When you screw in the drain plug does the crack expand? If so I would put some wax on the plug, insert it and work some JB into the crack. Give it a bit to set up then remove the plug and let it cure.
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