Bike won't start, low compression, 83% leakage - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 06-12-2016, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Bike won't start, low compression, 83% leakage

I was hopping on the freeway the other day, getting up to speed when my 08 KLR (16K+ miles) started to balk and sputter like it was outta gas... Plenty of gas in there, but I am sitting on the side of the road unable to start it... Once I got it home I made sure it was getting spark and fuel, which it was. Still no starting... Then the compression got checked and came in at a whopping 10psi, and the leak down test showed 83% leakage... The mechanic who was helping me out thought exhaust system could be an issue. I have had issues with the exhaust due to a lose manifold, but already checked that too. Still not starting... Probably going to be digging in the top end soon to check for messed up exhaust valves or whatever else I can find... Any suggestions or leads?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 12 Old 06-12-2016, 05:39 PM
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When you guys did the leakdown test, where was the air escaping? Exhaust? Just curious, David Nichols (admin of KLR Owners Facebook page) had a very similar thing happen on his gen 1 when he was out riding in Texas. After many suggestions and head scratching he ended up tearing it down to find that a part of the exhaust valve had broken off, hence almost no compression. Maybe something similar in your case? Especially if all the air was coming out of the exhaust when you guys did the leakdown test.
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post #3 of 12 Old 06-13-2016, 08:41 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 650Stew View Post
When you guys did the leakdown test, where was the air escaping? Exhaust? Just curious, David Nichols (admin of KLR Owners Facebook page) had a very similar thing happen on his gen 1 when he was out riding in Texas. After many suggestions and head scratching he ended up tearing it down to find that a part of the exhaust valve had broken off, hence almost no compression. Maybe something similar in your case? Especially if all the air was coming out of the exhaust when you guys did the leakdown test.
Yes there was leakage out of the exhaust. Busted exhaust valve was one possibility we thought of. Looks like its time to dive in a bit... Thanks for the info, 650Stew
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post #4 of 12 Old 06-13-2016, 06:53 PM
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Hi, did you disable the decompressor when doing the compression test.
Thanks

Ian
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post #5 of 12 Old 06-13-2016, 07:16 PM
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Hi, did you disable the decompressor when doing the compression test.
Thanks

Ian
Yeah, the KACR could be messing up the compression readings. But I'm thinking something is amiss when it does so poorly on the leakdown test. Unless somehow the KACR packed up and is holding the exhaust valve open? I have no idea, just throwing it out there...
Hopefully it's not too big of a fix, I remember on David's bike he did the 685 while he was fixing it as it was oil burning anyway. Can't remember where he got his rebuilt head from though... Wymann maybe? Bah, my memory sucks!

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post #6 of 12 Old 06-13-2016, 07:50 PM
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It could be as simple as a valve clearance not been too tight. Have you had the rocker cover off and checked anything yet?
I'm guessing the spark plugs good and still tight! lol.
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post #7 of 12 Old 06-13-2016, 08:24 PM
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Hi, did you disable the decompressor when doing the compression test.
Thanks

Ian
Ian,
The spec. of 77-124 PSI in the manuals is with an Active KACR.
These bikes must start from cold, be that +20F. or +125F. with an active KACR or something else is wrong.
Disabling the KACR actually gives a 'False' reading because there is no specification for a dis-abled KACR. Tom Schmitz has measured about 175-185 psi with a disabled KACR, but that is just his engine. What could be the maximum standard sea-level compression?
What might be the minimum start-able compression with a dis-abled KACR? I'd like to suggest 90-100 psi, but I don't know!

Anyways, leakdown test tells us all that something is a-miss!
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post #8 of 12 Old 06-14-2016, 07:17 PM
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The thing that kind of made me think of David's bike was that his broke down in the same fashion. He was just riding along and everything was fine, then all of a sudden it ran crappy and died... To lose compression suddenly and not over a long period of time usually points to parts breakage.

I wish I could find a thread on it so you could check it out, but I think it was mostly on the KLR Owners forum on Facebook. I know he did start a thread here when it initially broke down looking for ideas, but he wasn't too impressed with the 15 post's to put up a pic so I think he just kind of let the thread die out.

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post #9 of 12 Old 07-14-2016, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks all! Cover and head removed and a chipped exhaust valve was discovered. Time to get to work. Looks like I have been running too lean for a while... I will have to adjust carb as well then.
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post #10 of 12 Old 07-14-2016, 08:58 PM
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Thanks all! Cover and head removed and a chipped exhaust valve was discovered. Time to get to work. Looks like I have been running too lean for a while... I will have to adjust carb as well then.
Good to hear that you got it figured out, I suspected a broken exhaust valve since it died in the same manner as Daves. If I recall, his broken valve did no damage to the bore. He just did the overbore because he was using lots of oil anyway. If there's no other damage it should be a relatively easy fix for you!

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