20,800 motorcycles affected. ALL 2008 models, plus early 2009 models as well.
That got your attention, didn't it? Nothing like starting out with a bang. The bottom line: It appears that ALL 2008 models have the issue (that's around 15,500 bikes) and even the first 5,300 2009 models seem to be affected as well. If your frame VIN is 20802 or lower, keep reading.
Kawasaki mis-machined a hole in the generator cover which allows one of the shafts in the starter idler gear system to wander into the cover too far, where it is only supported on one side, not equally supported on both sides. See the attached diagrams. They have not recalled the bikes as it supposedly hasn’t been a safety issue but we’ve seen a few bikes where a thrust washer slipped into the crankcase or the engine block bushing gets corner-loaded and messed up. If I owned an 08 or an early 09, I’d fix it.
Kawasaki restarted the frame VINS at 00001 with the release of the 2008 bike. They also changed the generator cover for the 2008. It makes sense that if a blueprint error was made, it started with bike 00001. (We haven’t seen this issue on any of the 2007 or earlier bikes). Of all the data I've received on 2008 bikes so far, only one owner said he didn't have the deep hole, everyone else did have the problem. I'm going to suggest at present that they're ALL machined wrong, but occasionally, tolerances don't seem to allow the shaft to fall into the deeply-machined hole.
Everyone else who has gone in to check finds the issue. Since I see this issue continuing into the 2009 bikes, I'm going to say at present that ALL 2008's have the issue. The highest frame VIN I have for any 2008 model is 15,461... if yours is higher, please PM me.
Kawasaki continued on with the same VIN numbering scheme as the 2009's were a continuation of 2008. The lowest 2009 VIN I have in the KLR Timeline
so far is 15,896. If your 2009 VIN is below 15,896, please PM me. We also have 100% "deep hole syndrome" quoted on all VINS up through 20749, then my next data points (starting with VIN 20,803 and higher) always report that things are good. We just need more data from the guys between 20,749 and 20,803 to see if it simply strikes at one VIN number.
You have to pull the outer cover (but not the rotor!) to place a spacer in the generator cover hole. Eagle Mike includes a spacer in his doo kits for this purpose, as you'll have the bike past this stage of disassembly to change your doo. You can also use a 3/8” set screw or a 3/8” ball bearing from your local hardware store.
Hope this helps.