KLR650 Unnerving Engine Rattle - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 05-22-2018, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 9
KLR650 Unnerving Engine Rattle

Hey folks,

My daily rider is a 2014 KLR650. I've put a little over 66,000 miles on her over the past few years, and although I've kept up the maintenance as best I can ... she's getting a little noisier in her middle age.

Recently, a rattle has been becoming more and more apparent, to the point now where it's quite noticeable most of the time. It seems to sound in time with the engine, maybe like a chain rubbing against something, but doesn't appear until you begin to rev up it's completely absent while idling. The most mysterious thing about it is that you can't really hear it at all while the engine isn't under load. Putting the bike in neutral and revving, and it's barely there while at moderate speed in second gear and higher, it becomes quite apparent.

This makes it hard to record audio of the noise, because you have to be riding to hear it, and the wind noise overwhelms my camera microphone, even in a jacket pocket.

My guess is that the cam chain needs replacing, or maybe clutch knock? But before I start down that path, I'd like a second opinion.

More relevant details:

* I've just checked and re-done the valves, they're in spec.

* The cam chain is timed correctly with the arrows parallel at TDC.

* The automatic cam chain tensioner has only about half of its distance used up.

* Did the balancer doohickey when I first bought the bike, Eagle mike replacement + torsion spring.

* The rattle isn't coming from the exhaust pipe cover (Already sorted out that one.)

I've already paid $100 to the local shop to check it out disappointingly, the mechanic said he couldn't hear the noise, but he also didn't try to ride it, so that's not at all surprising.

If this description of the noise makes you think I should try adjusting or investigating something else, I'm all ears.

Here's an audio recording of first revving in neutral, then riding down the block. It's hard to hear over the wind noise, but you can hear the tapping/rattle faintly from about 0:19 to 0:27.


jashkenas is offline  
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post #2 of 23 Old 05-22-2018, 05:09 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
Posts: 2,455
I'll check out the audio when I get a moment. In the meantime, given your post, I'll assume that you regularly adjust the "doohickey" lever.......another thought makes me wonder about the condition of your drive chain and sprockets?......KACR maybe?

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post #3 of 23 Old 05-22-2018, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 9
Drive chain and sprockets replaced recently, lubed, adjusted.

I'm fairly reluctant to believe that it's drive chain noise because it stops completely while riding at speed, when I pull the clutch in and coast. It's only when letting the clutch back out, as the engine comes back under load, that it gets loud again.
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post #4 of 23 Old 05-22-2018, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Also, if the KACR was rattling somehow, I'd imagine you'd hear it equally while revving in neutral, and not only while the engine is actually engaged to the drive chain...
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post #5 of 23 Old 05-22-2018, 05:27 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
Posts: 2,455
Just trying to think of possibilities.....and you've done your homework which is good. ......I sure hope it's not the upper balancer bearing. Is the oil clean with no metal? do you have a magnetic drain plug?

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post #6 of 23 Old 05-22-2018, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 9

I do have a magnetic drain plug, and at the last (recent) oil change, there was only the usual, very minimal, amount of metallic crud on it. But most of the noise has appeared since that oil change, so I don't really know the answer.

I could do another oil change but hopefully there's something more audio-oriented I could do to diagnose first...
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post #7 of 23 Old 05-22-2018, 06:55 PM
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,261
Shooting in the dark, I wonder if the rubber shoulders on the balancer chain sprockets have worn down/compressed enough to create enough slack for the adjuster sprocket to push the chain down low enough to cause it to drag on the bottom of the case. Before mine hit 100,000 miles I had to grind a little off a bolt boss under that chain to stop the rubbing.

If this is happening, you can move the chain one tooth over on all the sprockets so the inner and outer link plates hit on non compressed rubber to take up some slack.

Last edited by GoMotor; 05-22-2018 at 07:00 PM.
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post #8 of 23 Old 05-23-2018, 11:14 AM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lander, Wyoming
Posts: 5,688
I'll ask if you installed the Doo-Hickey with Torsion spring or had someone else doo it?

Next I'll ask if you have regularly adjusted the doo-hickey? Or never re-adjusted?

Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #9 of 23 Old 05-23-2018, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2018
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* I installed the doo-hickey with the torsion spring at 300 miles, and have adjusted it periodically since (loosening and tightening the bolt). Allowing it to readjust itself hasn't made any change in this new noise.

* As to the balancer chain dragging on the case hypothesis what would be the best way to try and see if that's happening? Open up the left hand side and poke around in there? Would you have to pull the rotor to be able to see?
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post #10 of 23 Old 05-23-2018, 11:58 AM
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Location: South of Charlotte, NC
Posts: 338
I'm voting on cam chain tensioner and you can make a manual one for ZERO dollars to test.
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