Fork Oil Drain? - 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 10 Old 03-17-2017, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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Question Fork Oil Drain?

So, '08 with 9.5K miles on it. Doing the routine maintenance the other day, and got to thinking about changing the fork oil. IIRC, I'd have to pull the forks and invert them to drain the old oil out; seems like there should be a better way. Has anyone (and I'll bet someone has, in this crowd) drilled and added drain plugs to the bottoms of the forks? This is the first Japanese bike I've had that doesn't have fork drains; seems like a cheesey cost cutting measure.
I'm thinking measure down to the bottom of the interior, mill a small flat on the exterior at the rear, and drill and tap for a small bolt with an O ring or copper washer. Any thoughts or previous experiences? Thanks in advance.

Conrad Long
'08 KLR 650
'96 R1100RT
'94 R1100RS
'75 XS650B
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post #2 of 10 Old 03-17-2017, 12:24 PM
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Hi there Liftrat, you've been away for a while.

It sounds like you have got a pretty good plan of attack, only problem is 1st you will have to disassemble the forks to measure the location for the drain screw.

Unless a fellow member already has a set of GEN2 forks disassembled and can measure for you? Sorry it is not I.

pdwestman
Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #3 of 10 Old 03-17-2017, 12:47 PM
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If you just drained the oil with a drain plug like a sump how would you get the old oil out of the damping rod and then get all the air out when new oil is put in? I have only done a few fork seals in my life and every video I have watched and the ones I have done you have to cycle the rod. Just throwing that out there.
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post #4 of 10 Old 03-17-2017, 12:48 PM
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Hmmm; another Gen2 "improvement" that I didn't know about. ....anyhow even with the drain plugs I take my forks out and drain them through the top cap; waste of time and effort to add a drain screw IMO.

Cheers,
Dave
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post #5 of 10 Old 03-17-2017, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usdualsports View Post
If you just drained the oil with a drain plug like a sump how would you get the old oil out of the damping rod and then get all the air out when new oil is put in? I have only done a few fork seals in my life and every video I have watched and the ones I have done you have to cycle the rod. Just throwing that out there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
Hmmm; another Gen2 "improvement" that I didn't know about. ....anyhow even with the drain plugs I take my forks out and drain them through the top cap; waste of time and effort to add a drain screw IMO.

Cheers,
Dave
usdualsports,
You have been working on 1990 and UP cartridge forks, KLR is too simple.

Dave,
All the sediment is at the bottom, I think 'Liftrat' would prefer to not run it back up the tube. Flush it out the bottom.

pdwestman
Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #6 of 10 Old 03-17-2017, 01:38 PM
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I see what you're saying Paul, though mine have never had much in the way of sediment/particulates in them and I flush them anyhow. I've never been worried about draining them through the top cap nor have I experienced any performance issues doing it that way; I still think adding a bottom drain is a waste of time. You'd be able to change the fork oil many times in less time than it would take to modify the forks to add a drain IMO.

2 cents,
Dave
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post #7 of 10 Old 03-17-2017, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdwestman View Post
usdualsports,
You have been working on 1990 and UP cartridge forks, KLR is too simple.
That's what I figured but call me lucky since I haven't had to tear into the KLR's forks just wanted to make sure.
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post #8 of 10 Old 03-17-2017, 04:01 PM
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Liftrat,
Bump, Bump. Hoping to stir up interest.

I can't remember if the oil drain hole on the GEN1 is right level at the bottom of the bore or not, but Gen1 drain measures 28mm up from the bottom of lower slider.
The parts screens don't say how long the allen bolts are in the damper rod, of either GEN. But I would suggest, possibly 35 or 40mm.
10mm tall bolt head, thru possibly 10 or 15mm thick fork casting. Probably best not to be guessing as to position at which to drill.

Best to disassemble or hope for others assistance.

pdwestman
Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #9 of 10 Old 03-17-2017, 11:05 PM
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Two issues that I'd be concerned about:

1.) What is the thickness of the tube where you decide to drill and tap? Any hole will become the focal point of strain that a large portion of the tube experiences in normal operation. Not sure I'd want to create the potential of a failure point. On my Gen1 the location of the Drain Plug is a significantly thicker part of the casting . . . . specifically for the Drain Plug.

2.) As you drill and then tap the hole . . . what if a few bits of metal wind up in the tube and don't flush out, or remain like a hang nail just waiting for one of Murphy's Law moments to come loose? Then What?
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post #10 of 10 Old 03-18-2017, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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I realize that I'd have to disassemble the forks to measure, drill and flush, but that'd be a one time thing. I don't think there'd be much risk of stressing the tube; I'm only talking about a 6mm hole, max, and possibly only 4mm. IIRC, the drain plugs in my old Hondas were only 4mm Phillips head screws.
As far as flushing the old oil, and getting the air out, I've always just pumped the forks til they stop draining, and gently pump them again after refill, though that's not really necessary if you just use a measured amount of oil.
pdwestman, yes, the plan is to have the hole right at the bottom of the bore, and on the rear side of the slider. If I do this (a good snowy day project), I'll relay the measurement; not sure if they changed the forks that much from the Gen 1s or not.
Thanks for everyone's input and ideas; it's just a thought at this point, but I do love to tinker :-).
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Conrad Long
'08 KLR 650
'96 R1100RT
'94 R1100RS
'75 XS650B
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