Sub-frame broke at 75 mph!!! - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
1987 to 2007 Wrenching & Mods For maintaining, repair or modifications of Generation 1 KLR's. 2007 and earlier.

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post #1 of 11 Old 02-09-2007, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
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Sub-frame broke at 75 mph!!!

I lent my 04 to my son so he can get to work while he is working on getting a bike of his own.
Tuesday he was southbound on the 101 in Scottsdale keeping up with traffic when the upper sub-frame bolts sheared & the tank & seat shot back from the front end & his butt squatted down toward the rear wheel.
He pulled over & called me. I could not figure out what happened over the phone so after work I hopped in the truck & went down to his house in Mesa. We drove up to Shea Blvd to pick up the bike. When we got it back to his house we took the tank, seat and plastic off & found this:

The other problems included: Airbox seperated from the carb, battery ground wire broke at the right side of the engine somewhere, the muffler came away from the header pipe & a few other minor things.
Wed morning I got some new grade 12.9 bolts & went to work trying to get the old ones (10.9) out. I drilled the left side & tried to use an extractor but it broke off in the hole. So I went to the right side & drilled a larger hole & used a bigger extractor. This time it worked fine. RED locktite was in there. Went back to the left & tried again but went thru a bunch of bits before giving up. I had to come home to do my 3 hour job so packed up & headed out. When I got home I had just enough time to go to the Arrowhead site & order the Eaglemike sub-frame drill through upgrade kit and a doohicky kit.
Yesterday, after following most of the advise of my new best friend, Eaglemike, I was able to drill through from the right side and then I used a shaft to hammer the extractor part out. I then drilled the hole larger and tried another extractor (no torch handy). It did not work so I just drilled out the rest of the bolt & cleaned everything up with thread cutter.

I was then able to put it all back together with the new bolts & they torqued down fine. I still don't know where the ground wire is attached to the right side of the engine. I will find out this morning.
Here is what it looks like now:

See my screwing device? I figure it takes one to fix one.
Just looking at it gives me the willies. That looks like a very weak setup. I can't wait to get the kit in.
EAGLEMIKE: I owe you a six pack or lunch whenever we meet. Thanks a whole bunch.
I will update later.

Old Fahrt
Too young for medicare
Too old for women to care
I aint paranoid. The whole world IS out to get me.
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post #2 of 11 Old 02-09-2007, 09:16 AM
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Wow, that had potential to be really bad. Glad it wasn't.

Sounds like you are well on your way to getting it squared away. Good luck.

I updated mine with the 12.9 bolts but was still kind of leary, so I had a weld shop just weld the damn subframe to the frame (and footpeg brackets, too, while they were at it). Good peace of mind. I'm sure the drill-through bolt is just as good, maybe better!
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post #3 of 11 Old 02-09-2007, 11:51 AM
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Josbek, I bought my used KLR up in Flagstaff. I think when you ride out west in AZ the bikes take a rougher pounding than back east in the sand. That caliche is some hard stuff. Just a thought. I inspected my KLR and found that one of the two bolts had already sheared off and I was a candidate for what you're son went through. I drilled mine out as well. Much better feeling when I hit those very hard potholes and bone jarring ruts. Glad he didn't lose control... that could have been very nasty at 75!
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-09-2007, 04:41 PM
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Thank God he didn't go down, that would have been terrible. :sc0008 Good post I'm gonna do mine now after reading that. :co003

"Gopher Everett"
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post #5 of 11 Old 02-09-2007, 06:12 PM
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Jo, your son is one lucky dude. Especially on the 101 here on the east side of town. Those people run over each other just for something to do. My wife travels it from Broadway in Mesa to Frank Lloyd Wright and back each day. They have some horrendous wrecks on that thing, just unbelievable. Did you ask him what the pucker factor was when the frame broke. Sounds like the new Gold Wing frame problems.

Jo, I live in Mesa. You'd mentioned wanting a choke part. Is it for this bike that your son is riding? Do you still have the O.E.M. set up? Not sure exactly what you need/want. I looked at your pics. but the controls are not shown. I went with the European style head light switch etc. on my 2007, so have all that stuff left over. P.M. me with what it is you want, and I'll give you my ph. #. I might have the part, if so I can hook up with your son this week end.

I will be busy part of Sat. morning, I have take mine Harley style back t North Valley Motor Sports. Some pissed off parts in the valve train. Left exhaust valve shim and bucket grenaded. Lots of crumbs in the top end. I was able to dig some pieces out with my magnet, it is not pretty. I hope their Service and Maw Kaw's warranty is what they claim it is.

Bill Stanley
email [email protected]
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post #6 of 11 Old 02-10-2007, 12:18 AM
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WOW that sounded scarry, I bet your son was scared, I know I would have had to changed my drawers.

Eagle Mike is ONE DEDICATED GUY when it comes to the KLR, he is ALWAYS willing to help. I have his number on speed dial, and I order directly from him.

Was the stock bolts the ones that broke?

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
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post #7 of 11 Old 02-10-2007, 07:03 AM Thread Starter
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Daddyjoe, Yes, they were the OEM bolts. By the way, do you still have the chain guard? My PO took mine off.

I got it back together now & it starts fine. Musta done something right. Will bring it down to Mesa & test it there as that is where I left my helmet. Next weekend I will install the upgrade kit if I have it by then. I do not want to go with welding because, with my luck, I will have a need to take it apart again soon after.

The ground wire is attached to the rear starter motor mounting bolt. Hell of a setup. You have to get the exhaust header pipe out of the way to get to it. I just got a new longer wire & attached it to the other one which is easier to get to.

I must confess that I did not know what the sub-frame was until I got into this. I thought it was something down around the dog bones but never researched it even after reading various posts on the subject. I did not think it was a serious safety issue. I think I would like to see a sticky describing safety issues such as this and the remedies for them. Then another sticky that could discribe possible catastrophic maintenance issues such as the doohicky. This would be very helpful to alot of us but especially the newer owners.

Old Fahrt
Too young for medicare
Too old for women to care
I aint paranoid. The whole world IS out to get me.
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post #8 of 11 Old 02-11-2007, 03:15 PM
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josbek, Your kid must watch too much PIMP MY RIDE, trying to make a streatch limocycle out of your KLR. Glad to hear he didn't lose it. I'm gonna try to have all my upgrade parts on hand before I even pick up the new skoot. That way I wont even get me hands dirty rebuilding all the little crap KAWI won't do. (rotor, footpeg bolts, doo-schicky, etc. etc. )
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post #9 of 11 Old 02-15-2007, 07:18 PM
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We did two sub-frame bolt upgrades at the last Tech Day. Well wrth the time and money. I would recommend a non-cordless drill to expedite things. The original upper sub-frame bolts are good replacements for the exhaust bolts that will eventually vibrate loose on the freeway.


2005 KLR 685
2015 Yamaha Super Tenere ES, 5/23/2015
2012 Yamaha Super Tenere; Purchased 7/30/2011; Sold 5/23/2015
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post #10 of 11 Old 02-28-2007, 10:57 PM
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Have you replaced that drill's cam chain tensioner lever yet?
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