2005 Oil burner mystery - 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 39 Old 09-23-2018, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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2005 Oil burner mystery

Bought an '05 3 years ago w/ over 19K mi on it. Bike was running good and used very little oil between changes. It was getting 50 mpg. I use the bike for commuting and weekend camping.
On one of those camp trips I was unsuccessful at keeping the rubber down but other than a broken mirror and speedo cable no apparent harm done. However, on a subsequent trip a few weeks later the engine seized. After probing the bottom of the crankcase with a magnet I found 4 of 5 pieces of a washer. The mechanic (I am not one) found the 5th piece lodged between the crankshaft and crankcase. Having a complete washer at this point the mechanic checked the ID, OD, and thickness against the parts list and found that the washer did not belong on (or in) the bike! Apparently it was inadvertently dropped in there on a prior wrenching episode and never retrieved... <heartbreak>
Damage from said errant alien washer included broken piston skirting and ring damage, but surprisingly the cylinder was in great shape save a small ridge at the top of the bore (which he showed me) from standard wear. The mechanic honed the cylinder, replaced piston and rings with stock sizes, confirmed valves were still within spec, replaced head gasket and reassembled.
The Clymer manual suggests 500mi break in below 4K rpm and another 500mi below 6K rpm. I followed this by commuting on country roads at speeds between 30-50 mph and varying rpms but not exceeding the suggestions.

Enough back story, I have put 1400mi on it now and the bike consistently gets 45 mpg (a loss of 5mpg) since the rebuild and is slowly increasing its appetite for oil. What started as a small amount is now about a quart in the last 200-300 miles riding at 4000-4500rpms! I can see a bit of smoke when I start it and the hard case next the the end of the muffler is black. It gets a bit moist around the oil filler cap but there is never a drop on the ground anywhere under the bike.
Why the increase in oil consumption and a slight loss of fuel economy after a top end rebuild? Help! I feel like I've been through the wringer! Deciding to do the rebuild was a hard enough pill to swallow and nearly broke the bank.
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post #2 of 39 Old 09-24-2018, 07:37 AM
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Have you asked the guy that rebuilt it? He should stand behind his work.

2016 KLR 650
2017 BMW S1000RR (traded in for
2018 Ducati V4S
1983 GL1100 Goldwing
2017 Yamaha R1
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post #3 of 39 Old 09-24-2018, 09:01 AM Thread Starter
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I spoke with him about the fuel economy and the oil usage a while back before it was as bad as it is now. He kind of shrugged it off saying it wasn't much at all and not offering a possible cause. My concern after reading some other threads was that honing can cause heat distortion of the cylinder and also that there seemed to be conflicting opinions on whether higher rpms for break in are actually better for seating rings. I'm kind of fishing for ideas/thoughts before I approach the mechanic again...
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post #4 of 39 Old 09-24-2018, 10:17 AM
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Hmmm; I've noticed that people trying to rebuild the stock engine by honing and re-installing a stock piston are seldom successful. Obviously there are a ton of things that could have been done wrong to mess up a rebuild but I'm thinking the bore was probably not as good as he thought, probably out of round (KLR's have a predeliction for bore distortion) and the oil control ring can't properly seal. You could also have a broken ring land - it's not unheard of.

I doubt your break in had much to do with anything. .....unfortunately now it needs to be opened up again to find out what's wrong. I'd suggest an overbore by a machine shop that knows what they're doing and an Eaglemike 685 kit will be a permanent fix....but you have to open her up to see what you are up against.

Good luck,

Dave
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post #5 of 39 Old 09-24-2018, 11:19 AM
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A quart in 200-300 miles is nuts. He should refund your money. I bet burning that much is what has dropped your fuel economy, or since he obviously did something(s) wrong, your compression is down.

2016 KLR 650
2017 BMW S1000RR (traded in for
2018 Ducati V4S
1983 GL1100 Goldwing
2017 Yamaha R1

Last edited by dan filipi; 09-24-2018 at 08:48 PM.
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post #6 of 39 Old 09-28-2018, 10:18 AM Thread Starter
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After tracking consumption I found I'm getting 137 miles per quart of black gold! Unreal. It seems to be getting worse rather rapidly. Spoke to the mechanic and he can get to it in a few weeks. I am in a rural area and don't have the luxury of a lot of options when it comes to mechanics OR precision machine shops. Depending on the diagnosis, I like the EM 685 idea. If that's the route I go I may take the bike to a different shop for install if it's a task better suited for KLR specialists...?
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post #7 of 39 Old 09-28-2018, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by MtnSurfer View Post
After tracking consumption I found I'm getting 137 miles per quart of black gold! Unreal. It seems to be getting worse rather rapidly. Spoke to the mechanic and he can get to it in a few weeks. I am in a rural area and don't have the luxury of a lot of options when it comes to mechanics OR precision machine shops. Depending on the diagnosis, I like the EM 685 idea. If that's the route I go I may take the bike to a different shop for install if it's a task better suited for KLR specialists...?
yeah, stop riding it before it goes boom permanently. Any decent mechanic should be able to do the 685 but you'll need a competent shop to do the overbore. Eaglemike sometimes does cylinder exchanges so talk to him first. You can also send your cylinder to Engine Dynamics ENGINE DYNAMICS

Good luck,

Dave
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post #8 of 39 Old 09-28-2018, 11:00 AM
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“Can get to it in a few weeks” How’s that for customer service...sheesh.

I suppose he says he’ll “fix” it rather than refund your money, for a botched job.
Guess you could let him have at it so he can hopefully learn from his mistakes and get it right the next go-round.

As a compromise, How about have him supply all labor and related gaskets etc gratis, while you pay for a 685 kit from Eagle Mike? This way he gets rid of a problem job (assuming he installs properly) and you get a (non oil burning) runner that you asked for in the first place.

2016 KLR 650
2017 BMW S1000RR (traded in for
2018 Ducati V4S
1983 GL1100 Goldwing
2017 Yamaha R1

Last edited by dan filipi; 09-28-2018 at 11:04 AM.
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post #9 of 39 Old 09-28-2018, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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A plan is hatched.......
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post #10 of 39 Old 10-24-2018, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Bike's finally in the shop. Mechanic says the spark plug is clean, no fouling. Valve cover was leaking enough to get oil down the front of the engine and blowing down on the underside of the bike, however as I mentioned before there is never any oil on the ground under the bike when parked. There is not near enough leakage to account for all the "disappearing" oil. It's gotta be burning it, but why would the spark plug not be black??

I asked the mechanic if he checked the cylinder for out-of-round before installing new piston and rings and he said he had. I asked if this was in hundredths or thousands of an inch and he replied that he measures to half a hundredth. So, he proceeded with the honing job and called it good. Was his check adequate to determine if the cylinder was ok?
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