Stuck in Brazil with Carb Problems :/ - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 04-17-2017, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2017
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Unhappy Stuck in Brazil with Carb Problems :/

Hi everyone!

I am currently on a trip from Montevideo Uruguay through to the North of Brazil and I am stuck in Sao Paulo with a tricky ol carburetor.

BIKE- 2000 KLR 650 C (from what I understand there is no difference between the C and A model fuel system)

A little history...
This motorcycle I bought in Canada in September 2014 and drove down to Montevideo over the course of a year, during this time I had one carb service in Colombia (about half way down) and never had a problem with the fuel or carb system. I drove through countries with quite bad fuel (Bolivia, Peru, etc) yet from what I could tell this never posed a problem)

My bike remained in storage for 6-7 months and I drove it to Argentina and back with no issues, I then stored my bike for a further 8-9 months to begin my current trip.

Current Situation
Before leaving Montevideo, I had my carb cleaned and serviced. Around 1,200kms later, after parking my bike for around 2 weeks, I noticed fuel leaking out of the carb so I took it to be cleaned again. The mechanic told me it was a problem with the fuel in Brazil as I had just been using the cheapest fuel available. He installed an aftermarket fuel filter and told me I could keep using the cheap fuel as the filter would take care of the problem.

I drove like this (with the cheap fuel) for another 200kms or so without issue until I felt the bike surge and stop while in 4th or 5th gear as if it were running out of gas. I was able to start my bike again and drive off, yet the problem happened again around 20kms later and again another 30-40kms later. I switched to the more expensive fuel and the problem seemed to go away.

After some googling I found out that the KLR already has a fuel filter (or several) and my newly installed filter might be the source of this problem. I drove my bike a further 4-500kms (with one or two similar incidents) and parked it where I am now, in Sao Paulo with the plan of removing the fuel filter.

Now, it feels as if the carburator is dirty again. There was a slight fuel leak from the carb a few days ago (yet from what I can tell has now stopped) and I am unable to open the throttle without it cutting off. When it starts (which it currently wont) it will idle for around a minute or two before puttering and shutting off. I have removed the fuel filter and the problem is still there.

This would now be the third time in about 1500-2000kms that I would have my carb cleaned. What could be causing my carb to get so dirty? I was thinking it might be my fuel tank (which is plastic), seeing as I have been putting mostly crappy fuel in for some 40,000kms since Canada could this be causing my carb to get so filthy? Or are there other things I should be looking at? Is the fuel filter on the KLR inside the fuel tank? and what is the best way to clean it?

Hope I'm being clear enough, I appreciate any help you guys can give.

Ride safe everyone!

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post #2 of 14 Old 04-17-2017, 02:24 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
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Unfamiliar with Brazilian gasoline (understand they make ethanol from sugar cane), I doubt the quality of the fuel produces the symptoms you describe, Adventureman.

I commend to you a couple of threads on this website:

Cleaning the carburetor:

How the carburetor works:

A possibility: Your petcock fiber components have deteriorated, the debris compromising your float valve sealing, and/or clogging your aftermarket in-line filter.

Good luck!
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post #3 of 14 Old 04-17-2017, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply!

As I mentioned, I have had my carburetor serviced twice by two different mechanics in the last 1500-2000kms which leads me to believe that something is causing my cab to get dirty very quickly. I could take it to get cleaned again, but I worry this won't fix my problem and that I'll have to get it cleaned in another two weeks. If some component of my carb had deteriorated I would imagine that one of the mechanics would have told me, I specifically asked the last mechanic if I needed to replace anything and he said it just needed a clean.

Does anyone know what might cause my carb to get so dirty so quickly? Either way I need it cleaned, but I believe there is an underlying problem causing it to get dirty in the first place. Could this be a problem with my gas tank? Are there any components inside the tank (such as a fuel filter) that could be clogged or pushing dirt into my carburetor?

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post #4 of 14 Old 04-17-2017, 04:38 PM
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Try a bronze element fuel filter. Also, make sure your air filter in nice and tight.
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post #5 of 14 Old 04-17-2017, 05:31 PM
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Lastly, don't forget to check your air intake system for vacuum leaks. Any unfiltered air going through the carb will make it dirty really quick.
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post #6 of 14 Old 04-17-2017, 06:23 PM
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Many others have ridden KLRs through Central America, down through Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina without carburetor problems. So, it is hard to blame the gas there. I don't know about Brazil but I suspect that if the cars and motorcycles there can run on it, a KLR would think it was drinking champagne.

To relieve your concern about the filters (strainers) in the tank, You can easily disconnect the tubes from the petcock and remove the two bolt holding it to the bottom of the tank. Then just lower the petcock out of the tank. You will see two very fine screens on the petcock. The one on the tall stem is for the normal ON position. When the fuel level drops below the tall stem you have to switch to the RES position to get the last gallon from the tank.

Anything that can get through those screens should be able to pass through the carburetor also. If you do use an inline filter, use a sintered metal one, not a paper one. Of course, you will want to get most of the gas out of the tank and lean it over to the right before removing the petcock to keep form spilling gas.
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post #7 of 14 Old 04-17-2017, 08:37 PM
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With a plastic tank on a 'C' model, it is un-known territory to myself in the USA if your petcock/fuel valve does or does Not have the fuel screens inside the fuel tank like the OEM standard fuel valve does have.

As suggested prior, use a sintered or screen type fuel filter, not a paper type. Preferably clear or translucent plastic bodied, so one can see any contamination inside of the filter.
Did you see any in your previous fuel filter?

If you do have debris inside the fuel filter, maybe you need to drain the fuel, flush the tank with water and then dry with isopropyl alcohol.

Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #8 of 14 Old 04-18-2017, 04:08 PM
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Water in the fuel could cause similar symptoms, you can get a water "bubble" in the float bowl, draining the fuel from the carb float would help of this were the case.

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post #9 of 14 Old 04-18-2017, 06:22 PM
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Based on the repetitive nature of this problem, I'd venture a guess that something may be deteriorating in the fuel supply system. Anything from rust/corrosion in a metal fuel tank, or degrading of the plastic that a plastic tank (duh!) is made from, Was the Gas Tank ever "resealed" and could this material be failing, to the degrading of the inside of a fuel line, to some part of the petcock failing, an accumulation of water, etc., etc. To get a clue as to what the source of the problem is; at least ONE of the folks who disassembled/rebuilt your carburetor SHOULD have taken a close look at whatever debris, or the absence of any debris, they found in the float bowl. Determining the nature of the material found in the float bowl is the common sense post mortem to ensure that whatever caused the problem in the first place doesn't reoccur. Simple stuff like: What color is it? Is it magnetic? Is it soft/gooey? Is it hard? If left standing, does a separation line develop between two clear liquids? etc., etc. Just a thought; since there is a drain on the Float Bowl one might collect a sample in a glass jar and see what shows up.

Last edited by Bluehighways; 04-18-2017 at 06:28 PM.
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post #10 of 14 Old 04-18-2017, 08:08 PM
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Having had numerous carb problems lately. I might recommend a couple of things to narrow it down.

Pardon me if I missed that you already done this.

1. Verify you have fuel flow to the carb from the tank. The petcock if it is unmodified, requires vacuum to open the valve and let gas pass. disconnect the fuel line, and with a small hose connected to the vacuum port of the petcock you can activate it with your mouth. (be wary, if you have a failure of the petcock assembly, you could get a mouth full of gas). I generally put my cigar out when working with fuel!

2. If you have ample fuel flow after testing above. There is a screen that is installed at the inlet of the carburetor. It inserts into the fitting where the hose attaches to the carb. It can come off with the hose and be stuck inside it. Verify that it is clean and able to pass fuel.

3. If you have gas to this point, there is a drain on the side of the carburetor bowl. Using an allen wrench, you can loosen the drain screw. Gas should run from the carburetor. You might note what the gas looks like.. dirty, with water etc.

4. Using the same technique described in step one above, and with the screw loose on the carb bowl, see if gas will flow with the petcock open and with vacuum applied (fuel line hooked to the carb as it should be).

Since you have stated that you saw gasoline dripping from the carb at one point or the other, it sounds like the needle assembly for the float may have trash or be sticking. Sometimes doing step 4 above and allowing some fuel to flow thru it will help flush it. If a needle can stick in the open position and not shut off, it can also stick in the closed position. Tap the carb with the plastic end of a screwdriver. Sometimes it will help temporarily.

One of my retired hardcore bike racing friends leaves a clear hose on the cast nipple of his KLR located on the bottom of the carb (he ran a bolt threader over it to provide a rippled surface so it will stay in place). He can hold the line up and open the bowl drain valve and gas will equalize in the hose (bike needs to be level). He can verify float function based on that.

My current carburetor problem has been related to lack of air. My air filter is clogging and starving the bike for air, and it will die.. Be sure to make sure the obvious isn't failing.
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