Broke Down in B.C./Alaska Bush - 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 9 Old 08-03-2014, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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Broke Down in B.C./Alaska Bush

Help! I'm in Stewart, BC/Hyder, AK and have a bad oil leak that developed suddenly in my 98 KLR. Thought it might be the crankcase ventilation, but not sure. Can't see any leak when sitting still, even when revving. But on-the-go, it blows oil out of somewhere. A lot. Seems to be somewhere from the rear of the lower half of the motor (crank case). Not the primary shaft seal. Any ideas?

Stewart is really small. Has a sort of gas station so I can buy oil but can't carry enough to make it 3 hours over the mountains to the next town of any size. Hotel has very iffy wifi. Replies would be welcome to my email which might load easier than a forum. Will check later today (Sunday). And tomorrow's a civic holiday in Canada. :-(
John
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-03-2014, 01:53 PM
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Excluding the obvious points that are easy to see, there are drain plug, countershaft seal and neutral light switch (both behind the front sprocket) and the shifter shaft. Things higher up would be dripping oil on top of the engine - starter, oil lines, cam cover.

That leaves the center case seal line and the side cover gaskets or a cracked case.

A leak that big should stick out like a sore thumb. Clean it up, make it leak some and lay it over to see where the oil is.

My money is on the countershaft seal. Depending on what front sprocket you have, it can slide all the way out behind the sprocket.
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post #3 of 9 Old 08-04-2014, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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High Crankcase Pressure?

Spent the day on it...in a camp ground. Not the countershaft or anything obvious.

The oil is coming from the air box drain tubes. Seems to be pressurized crankcase issue. No blue smoke, no apparent change in start up manners or acceleration. Local guy thought it could be ineffective cooling due to crap in between the radiator fins. Will try to comb the fins in the morning and wash out the spaces in between. Have pulled he clutch cover and cleaned the screen and changed the oil filter...not sure why. Found out I can rent a pick up to Terrace, BC...but then I'd be in Terrace, BC and I need to make Calgary by the 6th...which is soon.

What would cause crankcase high pressure?

Figured maybe a broken ring, but it blows no blue smoke and performance is about as normal as I can tell.

Ideas or comments to my email at [email protected]. Thanks, guys.
John
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post #4 of 9 Old 08-04-2014, 01:20 AM
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Assuming you are talking about the drain on the clean air side of the air box, the first thought that comes to mind is an over fill of oil in the crankcase.

You can pull the crankcase vent tube loose from the air box and see what blows out when you rev the engine. Of course running under load would cause higher pressure in the cylinder and more bypass.

If your concern is not being able to carry enough oil to get to a larger town, you can plug the air box drain line and ride a while and then drain the air box into an old oil jug and put it back in the engine.

Last edited by GoMotor; 08-04-2014 at 01:28 AM.
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post #5 of 9 Old 08-07-2014, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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So, here's what has transpired so far. Some things are better and some are worse. But, everything works out in the end, and if it's not working out, it just means it's not the end yet.

I had no real way of getting out of Hyder, AK/Stewart, BC although a guy offered to take me and the bike to Edmonton, 18-20 hours east...but next week. That wouldn't work. I then sold him the bike for $650, and the guy who owned the bar and hotel said he would mail my gear home for me and I could hitch out. A few beers later, I bought the bike back and the next morning, in the dirt in the camp ground, attached a gallon gas jug as a big catch can, bought a gallon of oil, and headed out of the estuary canyon that I was trapped in. Moving at 35-45 mph, I didn't lose a whole lot of oil and made it to Smithers, BC that night. The next day, I made Prince George, BC (45 MPH is a real traffic hazard!) but the bike started to run really hot. The gauge would peg "H" within a few minutes of just toodling around in town looking for a gas pump....and I had the fan switched on. Oil level was right in the middle of the glass (but maybe it was oil and gasoline?) and water level was ok in the tank and in the top of the radiator (what a pain in the ass that is to check!).

There happened to be a Kawasaki, et al. dealer in Prince George, which turned out to be as useful as tits on a man. I called some rental places and no one would rent me a pick-up to go out of the province. Finally, a little U-Haul franchise suggested I call U-Haul's Canadian 800 number, which would list all inventory in the area. I found the ONLY truck in P.G. 15 minutes before the place closed, rented it, put one good and one oily, leaky, unhappy KLR in the back, and headed east toward Jasper. When I got there, I was told I could not take a U-Haul down Highway 93 to Banf because of some sort of thing about trucks without special permits, although the official admitted if it were a motorhome, it would have made no difference. Headed for Edmonton at 9 mpg and then a south-running turn-off to Cochrane, where I have just had a few beers and burger in a house and will soon be taking a shower.

Still don't know what causes the pressure in the crankcase. Oil definitely coming from the breather tube and going up to the air box where it pours out the "tight-lipped" drain hose under the airbox. If it were a bad ring, it would also pull oil into the combustion chamber and produce smoke and loss of compression, I believe.

Could there be something clogging some oil passage? Is the oil pump a two-stage affair (like my old Triumph was) that could pressurize if one side stopped working? Could my eventual overheating be toasted bearings?

Where would you start in trying to figure this out?? Heading for Michigan in a day or so with the bike on a trailer this time.

Thanks in advance,
JohnD<<<
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post #6 of 9 Old 08-07-2014, 01:59 AM
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The only obvious place to start is to pull the cylinder.
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-07-2014, 09:23 AM
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Similar symptoms in my motor: overheating, a lot of oil from the air box, zero compression when I tested it, but it would start (eventually) and seemed to run pretty well. No billowing smoke from the exhaust, but when I took it apart I found that a piece of the band below the top ring had cracked loose. There's a picture on my post "may be of interest".
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-07-2014, 11:39 AM
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I've seen this before and it was from an unintentional overfill. The excess oil was puked out of the airbox.

Did you overfill the oil at some point?

What does your oil level show?

I do like the story about selling it for $650 and then buying it back...
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-15-2014, 07:50 AM Thread Starter
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Back in Michigan with the bike cleaned up of all that Prudhoe Bay mud. Will have to wait for winter for more getting into the engine to see what the problem is. It is definitely NOT an over-fill issue. Thank you for all the input while I was a bit stranded. Sorta glad I didn't sell the bike.
JohnD
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