Won't start, at my wits end. - 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.

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post #1 of 25 Old 05-23-2012, 09:04 AM Thread Starter
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Won't start, at my wits end.

Alright, Sunday I rode the KLR.
Monday, I was planning on riding her to work. She started up and while I was suiting up, she just died. Sounded like somebody turned the key off. Figured I was out of fuel (later found out I'm not), so switch to reserve and thumb the starter again. Lots of spinning not much actual running. It will catch a time or two, turn over on it's own power for a revolution or two, then die.

I've checked the spark plug, it looked good, but I replaced it with a new one anyway. Checked spark while I had it out, looked like a nice clean blue spark. Tried starting with new plug, fired up, ran for maybe 5 seconds, then died.

Sprayed carb cleaner down the throat of the carb while trying to start, got nothing.

Checked valve clearances, one intake is towards the tight end, but still well within spec, all other valves are dead square in the middle of spec. Checked cam timing while I was in there, looked to be spot on, Cam chain still plenty tight.

Pulled carb apart, went over everything, pulled main and pilot jets, both sparkling clean, as was everything else on the top and the bottom of the carb. Float bowl is filling as it should.

Bypassed all safety switches, nothing.

Charged battery fully.

Turns over like a champ, just doesn't fire. Might get a cough or two and it try to fire for a revolution or two, but never an idle.

I have only two ideas left for what it could be... KACR failed engaged, keeping it from getting full compression. Or bad coil. Anybody have any other ideas before I order a $100 coil? So tired, just want my bike to run!

Oh, other notes incase they may be relevant...
Just started using oil in the last couple weeks.
While on the trail slowly crawling my way out of a rock hole the weekend before last, it was doing some dying. Idle steady, then died, but restarted like it was nothing. Did that a few times.
While it was running immediately prior to not running, it was making NO unusual noises, sounds, or vibrations. It was running just perfectly, no hints at all that I would have the strong urge to take her out back and put her down like a lame horse.
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post #2 of 25 Old 05-23-2012, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thetable View Post
Alright, Sunday I rode the KLR.
Monday, I was planning on riding her to work. She started up and while I was suiting up, she just died. Sounded like somebody turned the key off. Figured I was out of fuel (later found out I'm not), so switch to reserve and thumb the starter again. Lots of spinning not much actual running. It will catch a time or two, turn over on it's own power for a revolution or two, then die.

I've checked the spark plug, it looked good, but I replaced it with a new one anyway. Checked spark while I had it out, looked like a nice clean blue spark. Tried starting with new plug, fired up, ran for maybe 5 seconds, then died.

Sprayed carb cleaner down the throat of the carb while trying to start, got nothing.

Checked valve clearances, one intake is towards the tight end, but still well within spec, all other valves are dead square in the middle of spec. Checked cam timing while I was in there, looked to be spot on, Cam chain still plenty tight.

Pulled carb apart, went over everything, pulled main and pilot jets, both sparkling clean, as was everything else on the top and the bottom of the carb. Float bowl is filling as it should.

Bypassed all safety switches, nothing.

Charged battery fully.

Turns over like a champ, just doesn't fire. Might get a cough or two and it try to fire for a revolution or two, but never an idle.

I have only two ideas left for what it could be... KACR failed engaged, keeping it from getting full compression. Or bad coil. Anybody have any other ideas before I order a $100 coil? So tired, just want my bike to run!

Oh, other notes incase they may be relevant...
Just started using oil in the last couple weeks.
While on the trail slowly crawling my way out of a rock hole the weekend before last, it was doing some dying. Idle steady, then died, but restarted like it was nothing. Did that a few times.
While it was running immediately prior to not running, it was making NO unusual noises, sounds, or vibrations. It was running just perfectly, no hints at all that I would have the strong urge to take her out back and put her down like a lame horse.


Fuel, spark, compression...


You''ve got spark so it's not the coil.

Not likely the KACR failed. Could have broken a ring or valve failure again not likely.

You say the float is filling how did you check it? Did you open the drain while cranking the motor? Have you checked the vacuum line on the back of the petcock?

Another thing to check before you tear into the top end is the wiring harness. There was a recall to re-route the harness on Gen 2 bikes. The most problematic area is on the right side where the harness passes over the votage regulator. It gets pinched between the tank and the sharp edge of the bracket. I had a short in that area that blew the main fuse when I applied the brakes. Never did find burned wires but re-routing and installing extra insulation solved the problem.

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Cor 2:9
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post #3 of 25 Old 05-23-2012, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spec View Post
You say the float is filling how did you check it? Did you open the drain while cranking the motor? Have you checked the vacuum line on the back of the petcock?
Clear hose from the drain routed up beside the carb, open drain, manually apply vacuum to petcock with mityvac. Regardless, in the past I've been able to get it to run for 15-30 seconds with just the fuel in the bowl. I've also manually added fuel in the form of carb cleaner through the throttle body.

All the wires have been rerouted and insulated.

I'm leaning towards a spark problem, because the closest it has come to running is the first thumbing of the starter after installing a brand new plug.

The KACR is also a thought, because I've never seen an engine lose compression to the point where it won't start without also losing power and blowing smoke. It basically went from running fine to not running.
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post #4 of 25 Old 05-23-2012, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thetable View Post
Clear hose from the drain routed up beside the carb, open drain, manually apply vacuum to petcock with mityvac. Regardless, in the past I've been able to get it to run for 15-30 seconds with just the fuel in the bowl. I've also manually added fuel in the form of carb cleaner through the throttle body.

All the wires have been rerouted and insulated.

I'm leaning towards a spark problem, because the closest it has come to running is the first thumbing of the starter after installing a brand new plug.

The KACR is also a thought, because I've never seen an engine lose compression to the point where it won't start without also losing power and blowing smoke. It basically went from running fine to not running.

Maybe there's something grounding out. This might sound weird but can you crank the bike over in a dark place? Might be able to see an arc to the frame or faulty insulation on the coil plug lead.

Have you got the shop manual and and a meter? You could do the ignition system checks. The CDI (or whatever it's called on the Gen 2) needs a good battery voltage so it's more sophisticated than the Gen 1 bikes.

I think that the bike would be hard to crank if the KACR wasn't opening the valves. If the it wasn't closing when the bike spun up I would think that it should run.

How much oil is it using? Was the plug oily?

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Cor 2:9

Last edited by Spec; 05-23-2012 at 11:06 AM.
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post #5 of 25 Old 05-23-2012, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spec View Post
Maybe there's something grounding out. This might sound weird but can you crank the bike over in a dark place? Might be able to see an arc to the frame or faulty insulation on the coil plug lead.
I was in a pretty dark place last night, but not like that. I'll give that a shot tonight, after I get a fresh tire on the other bike.

Quote:
Have you got the shop manual and and a meter? You could do the ignition system checks. The CDI (or whatever it's called on the Gen 2) needs a good battery voltage so it's more sophisticated than the Gen 1 bikes.
I was thinking the same, charged the battery fully, and tried starting again, same poor results. I haven't gone through the diagnostics in the FSM, been too tired going through what I know.

Quote:
I think that the bike would be hard to crank if the KACR wasn't opening the valves. If the it wasn't closing when the bike spun up I would think that it should run.
Looking at it, it looks like it would be possible to fail so that the right exhaust cam stayed cracked always. I'm grasping at straws here.

Quote:
How much oil is it using? Was the plug oily?
Not sure, I'm just starting to notice it, and haven't payed a whole lot of attention to it yet. Plug reads perfect, no wet fauling, no dry fouling, looks like it would make a good poster plug for good condition plug.
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post #6 of 25 Old 05-24-2012, 05:41 PM
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Get a load tester on the battery. Other thing I'd check is a vacuum leak on the fuel petcock

Good luck


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post #7 of 25 Old 05-24-2012, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dmftoy1 View Post
Get a load tester on the battery. Other thing I'd check is a vacuum leak on the fuel petcock
Battery is strong, unnaturally strong. Not sure why, but it is.

No vacuum leak as it still wouldn't run with a full bowl.


And for the "good" news:
Alright, well, finally took out service manual and read ignition troubleshooting section, walk out with service manual and VOM, set them down on the bike, figure one more thumbing of the starters won't hurt anything. "Cough...putt..cough..putterputterputterthumpityth umpthumpthump..."
SMH!

This might be MORE frustrating than the DNS situation! No I have a bike with a known problem, but it's running, and I can't troubleshoot it if she's running.

Guess I'm in for at least a few days of sticking within a 35mile radius of home. (Towing coverage radius.)
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post #8 of 25 Old 05-24-2012, 07:16 PM
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Sorry about your misfortune. I'd be looking hard for a bad ground or ground strap.


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post #9 of 25 Old 05-24-2012, 09:03 PM
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could very well be bad fuel. if it got some water in the tank, it would run on what it had in the fuel bowl and then die. had this happen to me on my riding mower last week. ended up draining out over 2 cups of water out of the tank. runs like a champ now...
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post #10 of 25 Old 05-24-2012, 10:34 PM
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And you're sure its not one of the two safety switches on the Clutch or the side stand?

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