I'm new on here and I'm sort of befuddled by this cam chain tensioner issue on KLRs. With all these problems wouldn't you think a company like Kawasaki would have resolved this issue long ago? Why haven't they fixed the problem?
First, it ain't the cam chain tensioner, apexal! It's the balancer chain tensioner.
Kawasaki PARTIALLY fixed the problem with the 2008 models; more robust doohickey (idler shaft lever). Don't know of any component failures with this latter-day part.
Yet, spring tension issues surface. Loss of spring tension is rarely catastrophic, compared to doohickey grenading. Bad deal if spring breaks, falls into innards, but these instances are rare. Typical effect would be . . . spring fails to tension balancer chain when adjustment attempted; slack chain leads to excessive vibration. Yeah, yeah; vibration could conceivably shake the bike to pieces, but . . . would take a while.
Dat's da name o' dat tune. Don't know why Kawasaki hasn't fully dealt with the problem, except . . . I imagine a surprising number of KLRs are on the road, over a quarter-century plus of production, with absolutely stock and functional doohickeys.
Upgrading doohickeys remains sound maintenance, IMHO (especially on Generation 1s; torsion springs a good idea on all models).