Pretty in Pink, dunno why
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Redondo Beach
You live in Maryland, and I'm going to assume that it's not warm and balmy there right now.
Tell us if this is a recent occurrence and what your recent riding habits have been. If you have taken only short rides you may have simply gotten a bit of condensation in the engine and the short rides do not allow the engine to come up to temperature long enough to boil off the condensation.
A bit of condensation on the sight glass,or a white sight glass, indicates the presence of a bit of condensation in the motor.
If you suspect the above is the case then a good long ride may cure it. If a good long ride is not in the cards, simply change the oil and filter.
Or are you seeing what looks like a milkshake in the sight glass? If so, that indicates a fair amount of coolant in the oil. As Lonerider says, that could indicate a blown head gasket.
Are you seeing a fair amount of white smoke coming from the exhaust? That's an indicator of a blown head gasket, as coolant gets into the combustion chamber and gets expelled as steam. If it's not there it doesn't eliminate a blown head gasket (as the head gasket failure can be between the water jacket and an oil gallery) but if it is there it's a pretty sure sign.
I think a well running bike with but 12,000 miles on it should not have a blown head gasket, so let's look at other alternatives. They may waste some time, but they may eliminate a needless tear-down to inspect the head gasket.
One likely place I can think of is the impeller shaft seal. The water pump impeller is driven off of the front counter balance shaft. That shaft has a seal on it. If it goes bad it will allow coolant to enter the engine. It's a fairly simple job to remove and replace that seal. It will cost you about $20 and an hour to replace the parts. There's the oil seal proper, a mechanical seal, an o-ring, and a nylock nut to replace.
Have you ridden the thing through excessively wet conditions? I'm not talking about stream crossing, as I'm sure you'd have gone to that as a likely cause. Rather, long periods in heavy rainfall? If so, there is a possibility that water got in from the top of the case. Unlikely, but possible. If water can get past the seal on the starter motor, for example, it will show up in the oil.
Start with simple and inexpensive things and work your way up. As I say, I would find it surprising that a well running KLR that hasn't been thrashed would have a blown head gasket at 12,000 miles.
Let us know what you find; we'll do our best to keep you supplied with ideas.
Tom [email protected]
On the way downtown I stopped at a bar and had a couple of double Scotches. They didn't do me any good. All they did was make me think of Silver-Wig, and I never saw her again.
'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.
Sting like a butterfly.
Noli Timere Messorem
Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 02-01-2012 at 10:04 AM.