A new noise every day: engine ticking only when hot - 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 8 Old 05-08-2017, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: New Zealand
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A new noise every day: engine ticking only when hot

Hi,

After what looks like a successful fix of the balancer (it's not cutting through the case anymore \o/ ), my 2008 with about 89k km and dubious service history developed a new worrying noise.

Just as a precaution before I give it to someone who actually knows stuff (end of the week at the earliest ), I'd like to have a try at locating and fixing the problem, and would appreciate any pointer if there are obvious things to check/do first.
I know, it's considered a black art to troubleshoot stuff from noise (even worse when you only have a description of the noise!), but juste maybe someone will have had the very same problem around here.

History:
About 50km of urban driving after the balancer fix, I noticed a faint rustling sound (like a piece of paper on a desk, continuous when the engine is running, low correlation with RPM, no correlation with anything past the clutch), from the general area of the engine. Oil level was slightly low (i.e. only 60-70% of the looking glass, instead of the 95% I used to run at) due to my forgetting to top up the oil after the balancer fix.
At that point I changed the clutch cable (probably unrelated to the problem) and went on a ~200km trip with a friend. Most of it around 80-100km/h, plus some dirt roads @ 50km/h and wet sand (that was a first, pretty fun). Along the first 100km I noticed a gradual increase in noise, from the gentle rustling to a more rythmic sound that evolved to a fast ticking, pretty loud at 4-5k rpm. No overheating, no other symptoms.
Next day when I start, for the first minute, no noise at all. And as the engine warms up it returns to full force (all the more when stuck in traffic). Same the next day.

Tonight I took the oil out, it's gotten very dark in only 300km, though I read somewhere it was not uncommon with Castrol GTX. Small bits of rubber are present, but that's expected (rubber of one of the balancer sprockets had a pretty rough finish in some places, I removed only the worst of it before assembly). A little bit of magnetic metal particles (enough to cover my magnetic oil plug with a ~0.5mm layer of stuff) and some non-magnetic metal too, but very little.
No metal chips this time, at least
The oil filter took a much darker shade, from its original yellow-ish to a dark brown. Not much in terms of metal here either.
I put the oil back, topped up, and got the same behavior.

Basically, as long as the exhaust can be touched, there is no strange noise at all. Then it gets worth (louder for a given RPM) with general engine temperature.

I tried poking stuff all around, found a couple of things loose that I fixed/changed without impacting that particular noise.

I might just record a thermal video with sound, see if I can correlate the sound with anything more specific than "general engine temp".
More likely to help, I should also receive a stethoscope soon, to try to locate the origin more precisely. I feel like it might be closer to the top end, but can't even be sure of that.

Might be relevant or not : I forget sometimes to disengage the choke when riding around (urban, <10km).

So here, any idea is appreciated. I always like a good puzzle but right now I would prefer to ride when the weather is still fine :/
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-08-2017, 10:31 AM
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Check the Engine Valve clearances. If significantly loose, particularly on the Right Exhaust Valve, pull the Camshaft Bearing Caps. If yours is like mine was, the previous owner had run the oil low at some point and this damaged the Camshaft Bearing Journals. Not a low cost repair, compared to the value of the entire bike, so here's hoping this isn't what is causing the noise you are hearing!
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post #3 of 8 Old 05-08-2017, 07:48 PM
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Totally agree with valve clearance being your first place to look

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post #4 of 8 Old 05-08-2017, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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Hi!

So I just received the stethoscope, and it's the best tool ever to troubleshoot such a problem!

I could isolate various sounds, fix a few that were completely unrelated to the engine: broken plastic part in one of the front blinker, and a shitty metal plate that the previous owner added to the crash bars (damaging them in the process by just making holes here and there, flecking the protective paint all around, then "securing" the aluminum plate with wood screws that quickly rusted and broke).

The ticking indeed seems like it originates where the valves are. So that's the next thing I'll do.

Most of the rustling however seems to come from around the water pump. I might have a look around later.
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post #5 of 8 Old 05-10-2017, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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I opened the top end today, and measured valve clearances.

They are more or less within specs : 0.23mm for one of the exhaust, and 0.20mm for the rest.
This means that the intake valves are right at the top of their range. I read many places that they would tighten with wear, so should I bring the clearance closer to the center of the range, or just let things like that?

I also took the occasion to replace the spark plug. The old one shows both a little layer of black soot all over the exposed parts, and some discoloration/white stuff close to the gap itself. I'll post pics if someone thinks it can be relevant.


A few more mistakes of the previous guy that had me lose a shitload of time:
- the timing chain tensioner was mounted backward, and grossly overtightened
- two of the top cover screws are cross-threaded... And were overtightened of course (I'll stop saying it since it's been nearly the same for all fasteners)
- one of the screws holding the metal vacuum tube in place was missing, I'll have to find a new one
- random screw replacement here and there... I found a bolt with 13mm hex head on the radiator, and an imperial cap screw...

I haven't put everything (fairings, tank) back together though, as I need to replace the throttle cable assembly. I bought the wrong ones (gen1...), and when I inspected the ones I have, I discovered they were on the verge of completely breaking (4 strands still present on the opening cable, and only two on the closing one, out of 7 or 8). The damage occured inside the cable, just above the threaded metal part on the carb end: the cable was rusty, kinked, and had not seen a drop of lube for ages, and that led to very efficient degradation.


Tomorrow I'll check that the engin still runs, fix the throttle and put everything back together, and the day after I'll leave it to a professional for once.
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post #6 of 8 Old 05-16-2017, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so it seems that the timing chain is the problem.
It's slightly elongated, and though I stupidly did not measure it, when the engine is in Top Dead Center, the two arrows on the sprockets of the cam shafts are not perfectly aligned (if I align one, the other one will be off by a little bit less than half a tooth.

So nothing too bad, I'll just change it at some point.
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post #7 of 8 Old 05-16-2017, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xevel View Post
Ok, so it seems that the timing chain is the problem.
It's slightly elongated, and though I stupidly did not measure it, when the engine is in Top Dead Center, the two arrows on the sprockets of the cam shafts are not perfectly aligned (if I align one, the other one will be off by a little bit less than half a tooth.

So nothing too bad, I'll just change it at some point.
Your Cam Chain is perfectly fine!
The Arrows Never Are!
They don't need to be.

They usually point about a 1/2 tooth above Horizontal.
With the engine at TDC, always pull the chain UP and install the Exhaust cam sprocket into the chain 1st.

The steel cam chain bridge of the 1996 & up or the slipper in the valve cover of the 1995 and OLDER will rotate the intake Arrow clockwise about a half tooth.

pdwestman
Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #8 of 8 Old 05-17-2017, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, OK. Thank you for the info.
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