KLR650 Starting Issues and Blowing Smoke - 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 43 Old 12-28-2019, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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KLR650 Starting Issues and Blowing Smoke

I have a 2003 KLR650 that I have been working on trying to start that ended up sitting for about a year without being ran. To start with I drained all of the gas out of the tank, replaced the battery, rebuilt the carburetor, and changed the sparkplug. After going through that entire process it won't start without coaxing from the throttle (about 1/4 turn is needed). In addition after about 20 seconds of running it starts blowing black smoke out of the tail pipe and will die as soon as I release the throttle whether I have the choke on or not. The oil is at about the upper mark on the sight glass, so could I have potentially overfilled it? There is a little bit of spray coming out from the case. What adjustments should I be making in order to get the bike back on the road?
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post #2 of 43 Old 12-28-2019, 10:57 AM
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I'm not much help for you. I will say thought that black smoke means you are running rich. When you rebuilt your carb, did you change any of the jetting?
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post #3 of 43 Old 12-28-2019, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Rickysnickers View Post
I'm not much help for you. I will say thought that black smoke means you are running rich. When you rebuilt your carb, did you change any of the jetting?
It's a stock carburetor with stock jetting. Are there any adjustments I might have overlooked?
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post #4 of 43 Old 12-28-2019, 01:24 PM
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choke cable seated properly in the carb?

vacuum tap or manual?
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post #5 of 43 Old 12-29-2019, 08:12 AM Thread Starter
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choke cable seated properly in the carb?

vacuum tap or manual?
I should probably double check that it's seated properly. I know it gave me a lot of trouble when installing since it's a little awkward to get to.

It has the stock vacuum petcock that came with the bike.
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post #6 of 43 Old 12-29-2019, 08:40 AM
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Often the little rubber seal on the plastic nut holds up the cable, make sure its seated and check the free play on the choke cable

People often miss checking the air jets are clear when cleaning the carb. THey are at the back of the venturi (air box side) and flow into the pilot and main jets which both feed into the venturi. Also check the little holes on the side of the needle jet (main jet screws into the needle jet)

The little by pass holes at the bottom edge of the throttle plate can be chased with a stripped twist tie if you haven't already.

A bad plug or plug with a squashed gap will make a machine run as described. sb 0.035" (plugs will last the life of the machine for MOST people, although the KLR will go long enough to need a plug change eventually. re gaping occasionally is required) you may want to put the old, known good, plug back in.

Float Stuck? if the bike sat with fuel in it maybe the needle n seat aren't sealing?

No mouse nest in the air box or exhaust ?

you can either buy a block off kit for the vacuum tap to convert it to manual, or PM me and i'll show you how to do it with NO parts.

Just a few thoughts .... May seem like i'm being obvious, but just making sure nothing is missed, no offense intended.
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Last edited by KLR Jo; 12-29-2019 at 09:07 AM.
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post #7 of 43 Old 12-29-2019, 03:58 PM
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Z-08, I will ask if you are checking oil level with the bike standing Straight UP on level ground? Not leaning on the side stand.

I'll also suggest that your engine is running too rich on fuel to be needing 1/4 throttle to start and blowing black smoke so quickly after start up.

May I suggest that you turn the fuel valve OFF & test start the engine. If the engine starts to run better as it burns off some of the fuel level in the carb it was because the fuel level was TOO High & may be flooding even worse with the fuel valve turned ON.

Normally a KLR can run on full cold start enrichener for up to 2 - 3 minutes even for a 65-70F cold start before the exhaust gets even a touch sputter y. And they can idle for maybe 3-5 minutes on only a float bowl full of fuel.

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Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #8 of 43 Old 12-29-2019, 06:05 PM
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I'd suspect float valve is not sealing completely. I only use OEM as a replacement. You can check your float level using a clear hose from the bowl drain and route it up along the right side of the carb. WIth the bowl drain screw open fuel will enter the clear tube. If you vacuum petcock is operational you'll need to apply vacuum to the petcock so fuel will flow to the carb and fill the bowl. When full the level in the clear tube should be +/- 1mm from where the bowl meets the carb body.

Edit: I see pdwestman was going down the same road as myself...
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post #9 of 43 Old 12-29-2019, 10:00 PM
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I've also seen some side stand safety switches cause some pretty funky problems, temporarily by pass it but dont ride away with the side stand down.

OHHH NOOOO i just read back its a gen 1. i smell a bad cdi. Lots to verify before replacing that( all connections and switches in the ignition circuit and the coils , there's 3 to test), but you're describing classic symptoms of a shorting ignition/bad CDI (sometimes you can even see on the back of the cdi box that its melted..... makes troubleshooting easy though

Because of the high voltages that a/c cdi's run they are somewhat prone to shorting internally. (300v out of the CDI stepped to 30,000 by the ignition coil) if memory serves. If you have a peak volt meter you can check CDI output while the machine is running (only truly accurate test) as well as the two coils in the bottom end of the engine. Cdi systems of this type are usually a "Normally OPen" system which basically means, the kill switch and the key and side stand switch short the ignition to ground to turn off the bike) this means any short to ground anywhere in the ignition system will affect how it runs and cause the symptoms you describe) gen 2's are normally closed systems basically meaning the ignition power runs in series through all the switches and the machine is turned off by opening or breaking that circuit not grounding it. But this is gen 1 so ... (i haven't looked at the gen 1 wiring to verify but normally cdi's operate this way.)

easy checks first

CDI box melted or burned visually? anywhere on it
cracked plug cap or plug porcelain?
switches not shorted to ground in the RUN position (no continuity in run)
wire connections (check all plugs for corrosion)
wiring itself
exciter and trigger coils

Everything in the ignition that can be tested with a multi meter should be done so at the Plug END that plugs into the CDI first. All the wiring and coils can mostly be tested at the one plug. Then you start zero'n in on the individual items when something is found out of spec on the meter at the main plug.

I put my money on CDI now that i've thought on it a while. lol but really just a guess

Last edited by KLR Jo; 12-29-2019 at 10:29 PM.
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post #10 of 43 Old 12-30-2019, 07:57 AM Thread Starter
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Lots of things I'm going to need to check then. So the black smoke could be caused by the fuel mix being too rich?

I'll take a look at the CDI after checking the carburetor and choke cable and then move to the vacuum tap.

I'm doing all of the work on the KLR with it sitting on a centerstand I installed a few years ago, so it's about as level as it can be.
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