Head or Exhaust Gasket ?? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 10-16-2012, 10:43 AM Thread Starter
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Head or Exhaust Gasket ??

I bought my 2011 KLR650 last Friday and by Saturday I noticed a snapping sound, like chk chk chk every beat of the engine. It gets louder on acceleration. Dealer made it very clear that the warranty has expired and I was buying the bike "as is." Bike had 5,104 miles when I took delivery.

My original question that I asked on the Newbie page was regarding intake noise, which it sounded like at 1st. It's pretty clear now that isn't the problem.

Question - is it common for these bikes to develop head gasket or exhaust gasket leaks ??

Any help or thoughts that you can give.....??

Thanks...........Lar.
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-16-2012, 11:48 AM
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Check the connection and tightness of the bolts holding the exhaust pipe onto the head. That may not be the source of your noise though. It will usually backfire when those are loose but worth a look.

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post #3 of 12 Old 10-16-2012, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by klr4evr View Post
Check the connection and tightness of the bolts holding the exhaust pipe onto the head. That may not be the source of your noise though. It will usually backfire when those are loose but worth a look.
Thanks, I appreciate the thought. That was the first thing I did, but just now I took it down to a local dealer and asked him about it. He was a little p*ssy 'cause I didn't buy it from him, but he did take it for a short ride.

He said, "no, sounds fine to me. Sounds like a KLR." OK, guess I was making a mountain out of a molehill, but still sounds funny to me. Just hafta get used to it.

Thanks.............Lar.
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-16-2012, 05:09 PM
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Just as the air-cooled VW Bug had a distinctive sound, so does the KLR. Find another in your area to compare it to.

It usually makes the noise in first gear at lower RPM. If it bothers you, rev it up a bit and slip the clutch a bit more to get it going.

T

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post #5 of 12 Old 10-16-2012, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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Just as the air-cooled VW Bug had a distinctive sound, so does the KLR. Find another in your area to compare it to.

It usually makes the noise in first gear at lower RPM. If it bothers you, rev it up a bit and slip the clutch a bit more to get it going.

T
At idle it's just a ticking sound, almost like a lifter, but as it speeds up it gets more of a "chk chk" sound like a bad exhaust header gasket. Under acceleration it's really loud and drowns out the muffler. Sounds more like a steam engine going down the street.

In the morning I'll run a compression test on it and see what it says. Shoulda done that 1st, I guess, but didn't even think of it. If that shows OK, I'll throw an exhaust header gasket at it, just for fun.

Thanks...........Lar.

I did check head to pipe nuts and they're solid.
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-17-2012, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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I'm somewhat disappointed in my local cycle shop.......I do have an answer to the problem, and I was right on my initial diagnosis.

I pulled the fairings and gas tank this morning (that plug is a bitch to get to) and ran a compression test.....50 psi. Double checked all o-rings and connections and ran it again .......50 psi.

It'll go on the trailer and I'll haul it the 90 miles to Las Cruces in the morning. What a bummer, eh ??
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post #7 of 12 Old 10-17-2012, 03:51 PM
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What you describe is not normal - the KLR is not that loud and doesn't sound like a steam engine. More like a bucket of bolts being rattled.

However, you can't rely on a compression test as there is an automatic compression release.

You need to do a leakdown test to assess what you'd normally use a compression test for.

How is the power? I would think that if the compression was seriously low that it would be way down on power.

Don't discount a blown exhaust gasket or a holed header.

T

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Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 10-17-2012 at 03:53 PM.
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post #8 of 12 Old 10-17-2012, 04:02 PM
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IMHO, if there were a blown head gasket or cracked head or water jacket creating this sound you would have other signs of the issue at hand. As Tom stated there is a decompression dowel that is in play untill the engine gets up to a certain RPM to force the wieghts outward to pull the decompressor off the shim bucket. This is why I never worry about a compression test as on normal engines that do not have such a device. The leakdown test will allow you to check the rings and valves for condition or damage/wear. Either listen in the airbox or exhaust for air escaping to see where the wear is internally. Also check the rad for bubbles and the oil filler cap for air coming from the crank case area from either damaged rings. If you have a cracked or damaged head it should show either in the oil or coolant. This is also caused from a blown head hasket too, just depends upon where it's blown through at.....hope this helps.....

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post #9 of 12 Old 10-17-2012, 05:23 PM
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When I got my KLR a few months ago, I thought the same thing. I thought I had an exhaust leak at the dead/header junction. I checked the bolts and they were tight. I now have 3,000 miles on the KLR, and realize the noise is normal for that bike. I think the fairing setup amplifies the noise right into your face, which doesn't help much.


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post #10 of 12 Old 10-17-2012, 06:11 PM
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Wait a minute, you've got a Gen 2 with stainless header. Not likely you've got a holed header.

If the exhaust gasket is bad you should be able to feel the exhaust escaping at the head. Though, as klr4evr pointed out, if it is leaking badly you'll usually get backfiring.

It only takes a few minutes and three fasteners to pull the head pipe and look at the exhaust gasket. If you really think it's that loud, perhaps you might do that.

On the off chance that it is normal, could you give us a video so we can hear it?

T

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“The 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.” -Philip Marlowe

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

Sting like a butterfly.
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