Stock 2009 KLR - Help with KLX needle, jet, screw, exhaust, and L-mod - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
2008+ KLR650 Wrenching & Mod Questions For repair, maintaining or modifying discussions related to the newly updated 2008 and beyond, Generation 2 KLR650 Motorcycle.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 33 Old 02-14-2011, 12:25 AM Thread Starter
1st Gear
Adventure-Moto's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Washinigton State - Pacific NW
Posts: 70
Stock 2009 KLR - Help with KLX needle, jet, screw, exhaust, and L-mod

I'm a new guy whose been reading up a lot, but finally decided to post and ask for some help. I bought a new 2009 KLR-650 last spring when they were discounting them at the dealership. Man, has it been a fun machine! Before the KLR I had a 650 V-Strom, and although the Strom is one great bike, the KLR is so much better off road. So I've been very happy with the change to the KLR.

Being winter I've decided to do some basic mods to the bike, and because I started down this path, here's where I'm at, and what I'm hoping to hear back from you folks on for help trying to get the right general setup on my fuel and air and the rest of the mods too.

I took the plastics and tank off to paint it satin black a few days ago. I' just finished the paint tonight! While I have the plastics and tank off I'm hoping to learn about what may be the best try for the combination of mods I might be needing for what I have.

Everything I have right now is stock – I'm hoping to improve the bike for some better engine and throttle performance, cold weather gear (high watts) power use, and better stability at speed.

1) KLR Needle Mod Help – I have the needle and several jets on either side of the stock on order and coming in the next few days. I assume I need advice on which jet to pick if the stock needs changed, and which position to place the KLX needle in for the first trial. I also assume I need to change the air mixture screw by drilling the cap off it, and rotating it out from bottom, anywhere from 1 and ĺ turns, to 2 and ľ turns, but don’t know which position is recommended. The forum members recommend drilling the slide vent hole out too with a 7/64 drill bit.

2) L-Mod Advice – I can and will do the L-Mod if it's advised?

3) Frugal Exhaust Mod or wait to buy a SuperTrapp? - I'd love to buy a new exhaust but I have a inexpensive insert coming, that has a spark arrestor in it, which if used, will allow me to hole saw the back of the stock exhaust and remove the existing baffles and install it, but only if it's advised by you guys? Or – I could wait and buy a decent after market exhaust, like the SuperTrapp-ISD2-Quiet that Tom Schmitz is running. As a note, I have not been able to see any kind of smog control wires or vacuum hoses – at least not anything on the bike right now! I live in Washington State.

Some other things I'm doing over this next month, are progressive springs, and a fork brace to help stabilize her a bit at speed I hope! A 16 tooth front gear for some long pavement based trips this summer. I have ordered and will be replacing all of bikes traditional light bulbs (except the 2 headlight bulbs), with LEDs from Superbright. I'm doing that to save watts as I need to get setup to run a Gerbing jacket (75 watts) and gloves (23 watts) to help me extend the riding season up here in the frozen freekin' north.

The biggest challenges I think I have is what to do with the KLX needle height, mixture screw, jet size, exhaust options and L-mod choices. I'm a total newb on this stuff, and any help will be AWESOME!

Anyhow, thanks to everyone for the existing help that's already findable in the forums on google, and any advice anyone has on these mods that I'm doing now.

Thanks again!

UPDATE: I did not end up using my KLX needle. I did the standard 22 cent mod instead. I did not do any exhaust mods either. Here are a couple of pics from the complete numbered image sequence of the 22 cent mod. The whole numbered image sequence procedure set can be found in the link below these next couple of pics. Thanks much to everyone for the great help on this mod.


The entire 2009 KLR-650 22 cent carburetor mod - numbered image sequence can be found here:

Last edited by Adventure-Moto; 03-19-2011 at 01:57 PM.
Adventure-Moto is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 33 Old 02-14-2011, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
1st Gear
Adventure-Moto's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Washinigton State - Pacific NW
Posts: 70
pics of the stripped down bike

Here's a few pics of the original bike, the stripped down bike, and the before and after - painted plastics and tank (see them drying in my bathroom slash vented paint-drying-booth) Ready now for carburetor, air box and exhaust mods.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_7210.jpg (339.0 KB, 61 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_7213.jpg (202.4 KB, 59 views)
File Type: jpg 2010-05-13 16.18.19.jpg (479.4 KB, 63 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_7124.jpg (397.2 KB, 65 views)

Last edited by Adventure-Moto; 02-14-2011 at 01:05 AM.
Adventure-Moto is offline  
post #3 of 33 Old 02-14-2011, 01:00 AM
Pretty in Pink, dunno why
Tom Schmitz's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Redondo Beach
Posts: 7,611
Adventure-Moto -
First, welcome to the forum. I hope you enjoy it here.

It sounds like, if you want to do the carb mods, you're on the right track. If you haven't already, you might want to check out our Common Mods thread and read up some more on the KLX needle and the L-Mod.

The KLX needle, with it's more aggressive taper, is going to need a one-size-smaller-than-stock jet. The usual starting place, I believe, is with the clip in the second groove from the top. Fine tune from there based upon an evaluation of the Air/Fuel ratio.

As to the L-Mod, it isn't required unless you mod the exhaust. You may want to yank the snorkel out of the aft end of the air box and stay with that.

I don't run the SuperTrapp any more. It was embarrassingly loud. I've moved on to something that is at least within normally accepted limits for noise.

Candidly, doing the 22 cent mod or the KLX needle is going to get you most of the performance gains that are to be had without spending large sums of money. Everything after that is beyond the knee of the curve. And, yeah, my bike is down right now because I've sent the jug and head off for the 685 mod and a ported, big-valve head. Doh!

The only reason to go for an after market exhaust, in my opinion, is to lose weight. Once you've gone to an after market exhaust you will need to tune for it and that will involve doing the L-Mod.

Now, the mod for the stock exhaust... no comment, as I have no experience. There are a couple of guys here who have and I'm sure they'll ring in with their experience.


Tom [email protected]

ďThe kid poured him another straight rye and I think he doctored it with water down behind the bar because when he came up with it he looked as guilty as if he'd kicked his grandmother.Ē -Philip Marlowe

ď'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.Ē -Napoleon Bonaparte

Sting like a butterfly.
Noli Timere Messorem

Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 02-14-2011 at 01:12 AM.
Tom Schmitz is online now  
post #4 of 33 Old 02-14-2011, 03:35 AM
5th Gear
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 4,390
Your bike, but . . .

What are your EXPECTATIONS with the KLX needle and re-jetting?

In comparison with, say, adjusting your fuel screw (ca. 1.75 turns out), drilling your slide (7/64" diameter vacuum port), and shimming your stock needle (1-# 4 washer)?

As you're aware, going to the KLX needle and a handful of jets opens Pandora's box to a host of possible combinations, none offering more than marginal, at best, gains over a neo-stock carburetor tuned to provide a near-optimum air/fuel ratio.

Without an exhaust gas analyzer, or a calibrated throttle-chop plug-reading eyeball (not sure even those work, with Ethanol fuel), how will you know you're "there," with the KLX needle and jet assortment?

As to the exhaust mods . . . just want to make some more noise? Again, your call, but . . . I don't think there's much to gain, performance-wise, by fooling around with th stock exhaust. (I'd extend that opinion to aftermarket exhausts on neo-stock bikes as well, but . . . those who've spent several hundred dollars on their plumbing might strongly disagree.)

How's your bike running, in stock condition? I'm not saying, entirely, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," but--I'd suggest you take a serious look at your EXPECTATIONS, before attacking your carburetor's configuration on what is essentially a stock bike.

And, where are my manners? Welcome, certainly!
Damocles is online now  
post #5 of 33 Old 02-14-2011, 08:13 AM
4th Gear
vatrader's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,263
Hi there A-M. Welcome aboard. You have a pretty respectable list of upgrades on your to-do list. You've had some good view points shared with you so far.....all I can offer is an echo. Personally, I have more experience bringing these bikes back closer to stock after someone else tried to soup them up. They just aren't a bike that is enhanced with "loud". We have some ways of killing "Tweety". I'm not convinced that the horse power gains claimed by adding after market intake and exhaust upgrades are consistently verifiable. The ".22 mod" does wake up throttle response, improve starting, and I believe, gives me a cooler running engine by doing away from the lean setting from the factory. The average KLR rider isn't going to truly appreciate the $450.00 it costs to lose 8 pounds of extra fat off of a 400 hundred pound, too tall, too top heavy bike by going to an after market exhaust.

I would urge you you to consider doing the ".22 Mod", ride it like that for a thousand miles. If you "need" more bottom end torque, try an $8.00 14 tooth counter sprocket. If you "need" better road performance, buy an $8.00 16 tooth counter sprocket. For under 20 bucks in sprockets, you can achieve most of what $1000.00 in intake / exhaust upgrades will gain you. But don't feel bad. There are other, more beneficial places to spend that the suspension.

Whatever you do, welcome to the mayhem, ride your own ride, keep the pictures and reports coming.

ďmany a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceasedĒ- Steinbeck, [I]"Travels with Charlie"

[FONT="Century Gothic"][I]Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith[/I] [/FONT]
vatrader is offline  
post #6 of 33 Old 02-14-2011, 08:52 AM Thread Starter
1st Gear
Adventure-Moto's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Washinigton State - Pacific NW
Posts: 70
Thanks much Tom, for the great advice. I will do some more reading on those mods, and listen to some more feedback from the group.
Adventure-Moto is offline  
post #7 of 33 Old 02-14-2011, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
1st Gear
Adventure-Moto's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Washinigton State - Pacific NW
Posts: 70
Thanks for the feedback - I hear your advice Damocles. My expectations are to learn from the group before I proceed. I'm on the bottom end of the learning curve right now, and appreciate all of the feedback.
Adventure-Moto is offline  
post #8 of 33 Old 02-14-2011, 08:56 AM Thread Starter
1st Gear
Adventure-Moto's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Washinigton State - Pacific NW
Posts: 70
Thanks Vatrader, I may not have to do much, from what the group is saying at this time. It would be nice to save money and or work on the exhaust mods for sure by leaving it stock if possible.
Adventure-Moto is offline  
post #9 of 33 Old 02-14-2011, 10:54 AM
2nd Gear
KLR-zin's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 338
seems like you are on the exact path that I was on when I bought my 2009. As everyone above mentioned, the carb work is worthwhile. I went with a jet/needle kit from JD Jetting and opened up the airbox. I am extremely pleased with the results and thought that it was absolutely worth the time/effort. I tried to create a post to help out a bit- hope it helps you with your mods. Lots of opinions on this, but if I had to do it again, I would buy the jet kit all over again without hesitation- contains everything you need with several jet/needle combinations. Instructions were perfect.

As for stability, many will recommend, and rightly so, a new front fender and a fork brace. The bike drifted on the freeway- especially in the wind. Installed a fork brace and an Acerbis supermoto fender and it feels great now. Wind doesn't seem to be a big problem and the bike doesn't steer itself.

KLR-zin is offline  
post #10 of 33 Old 02-14-2011, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
1st Gear
Adventure-Moto's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Washinigton State - Pacific NW
Posts: 70
Thanks much KLR-zin - that link was one of the best ones I've found on the mods. That's a huge help.
Adventure-Moto is offline  
Sponsored Links

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome