15k w/ no valve check*— What could go wrong! - 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 30 Old 08-09-2018, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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15k w/ no valve check*— What could go wrong!

Hey, y'all, I bought a 2013 KLR w/ 600 miles in 2017 (so practically new). I have put 15k miles on FAST—so fast, in fact, that I never made a deep dive into routine maintenance. Before my KLR, I spent years on a Beemer that didn't need adjustment in the frame that I owned it, so I'd never thought to do the procedure. Pushing through that embarrassing confession, I'm getting everything together to check and adjust the valves A.S.A.Yesterday, but I had a question in the meantime.

Given that I've FAR surpassed the maintenance interval for the valve check, is there anything else that I should be looking for? Any damage I may have already done to the head? Everything sounds very much the same as when I first started riding it (part of the reason I never thought to check), but might there be other problems to look for after riding 15,000 miles without a valve clearance adjustment?
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post #2 of 30 Old 08-09-2018, 06:41 PM
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I would venture to say "nothing".

The first symptom of valves that are badly in need of adjustment is that the engine becomes hard to start. If your bike starts right up then there's very likely no problem with the valves. Not to say that they won't need adjustment, just that they are fully closing when they are supposed to.

The usual way that the head gets hurt is that the bike gets run out of oil and the cams get starved for lubrication. That takes out the exhaust cam's journals rather quickly. Anything after 2010 is usually not a defective oil burner, but all KLRs will burn oil (should say all 100mm bore thumpers, but...) when they are spun up. In the case of the KLR that translates to continuous operation over about 5k rpm. that's why we check the oil when before we get on and after we get off, regardless of how long we were on the bike. Make it a habit.

At 15k miles I can guarantee that your balancer chain adjustment lever (doohickey) quite being effective about 10k miles ago, so if you have not done that it should be high on your list.

What you find for valve clearance would be very interesting to know, as it is quite the unmolested specimen.
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post #3 of 30 Old 08-09-2018, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Tom. I will remember to post my numbers, but might take a little while, as I also need to secure shop space somewhere. In the meantime, I'll follow my paranoia and grab my truck keys for the next couple weeks.
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post #4 of 30 Old 08-09-2018, 07:07 PM
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I may very well be wrong, but my owner's manual (2018 model) doesn't even list any valve train maint UNTIL 15K miles and then I think it only requires a clearance check so you really haven't been neglectful.
If tight it may not be hard to start cold, but after running and hot the exhaust valve will grow longer and then you will really notice it being hard to restart. I had an old ironhead Sportster that the valves had been adjusted a little too tight and it cranked right up when stone cold, but once hot you had to crank the hell out of it to get it restarted.

If you haven't ever adjusted the balancer chain I am sure it needs it though.
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post #5 of 30 Old 08-09-2018, 07:38 PM
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We’re suppose to check the valves on these things??!


Jk, my ‘16 owner manual says “check” at 15k also.

2016 KLR 650
2017 BMW S1000RR (traded in for
2018 Ducati V4S
1983 GL1100 Goldwing
2017 Yamaha R1
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post #6 of 30 Old 08-09-2018, 08:52 PM
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The factory KLR600 manual interval for valve checks was every 5000 kilometers.

The Gen 1 factory manual was every 10000 kilometers.

The Gen 2 factory manual is every 24000 kilometers unless you don't live in North America, because then it is every 42000 kilometers. That may be due to the introduction of AIS. Dunno.

So yes, the current interval for a Gen 2 is every 15000 miles. By the by, do you know what changes were made to the valve train to accommodate the increase in the interval from the original 5000km 24000km? The answer is at the bottom of this post, hidden.

Bryce's numbers will be interesting because his bike will be the second I have heard of where no valve lash inspection was performed until 15000 miles. On the other one the clearance was zero.

The Gen 2 manual also increased the torque spec on the drain plug bolt by almost 25%. I believe that has contributed to the number of stripped drain plug problems that have occurred. When the manual contradicts common sense I tend to wonder about the change.

Absolutely nothing. So why change it?
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post #7 of 30 Old 08-09-2018, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by brycelyoung View Post
Thanks, Tom. I will remember to post my numbers, but might take a little while, as I also need to secure shop space somewhere. In the meantime, I'll follow my paranoia and grab my truck keys for the next couple weeks.
bryce, please use & post 'thousands' of an inch, because I have not been able to find a Metric feeler gauge with increments of .025mm (.001inch)

.004 - .008 inches Intakes / .006 - .010 inches for Exhausts.
Always adjust to the Wide end of specs, (snug on the thickest feeler which will readily fit), because this type of valve train always Tightens, not Loosens.

I will also suggest that it is time to install the Eagle Mike Doo-Hickey & Torsion Spring Set on your Gen 2 unit.

Read & watch here, https://www.klrforum.com/2008-klr650...ng-spring.html

pdwestman
Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 84,000+ miles & counting
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post #8 of 30 Old 08-09-2018, 11:04 PM
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Minor thread jack.

This is one of those cases where the metric system doesn't work as well as the inch system, at least in shop practice. The metric system provides thickness gages that are really no more than "Go/No-Go" gages while the inch system provides for the almost-finite measurement of the existing lash.

The only exception that I have found is from Hawk and theirs is completely nuts in the other direction. They have feeler gage sets in .01mm graduations. You need six sets to cover from .11 to 1mm. Each set is $185.
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“I lit a cigarette and dragged a smoking stand beside the chair. The minutes went by on tiptoe, with their fingers to their lips.” -Philip Marlowe

“'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.” -Napoleon Bonaparte


Sting like a butterfly.

Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 08-09-2018 at 11:13 PM.
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post #9 of 30 Old 08-10-2018, 07:55 AM
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I did my valves at about 5000miles, only because I had everything apart for doohickey replacement. 2 valves were pretty tight, don't remember which two. Finding the right replacement shims was a PiTA. I refused to pay big $ for the complete set that I only needed 2 shims out of. And I couldnt find just the two that I needed online. My bike was apart for weeks while I worked the phones and talked to dozens of local shops. Eventually found a guy that let me sort through his spare parts bins measuring every shim I found with calipers. The scary part of this excercise was learning most motorcycle shops had no idea what a valve shim even is..... I'm at 12k now, don't think I'll look at the valves again till 20K. Make sure you put the marked side of the shim DOWN so that some poor schmuck doesnt need calipers to find the right one in a junk drawer later :^)
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post #10 of 30 Old 08-10-2018, 08:07 AM
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Tight at 5000 eh?

I should check mine, now close to 10,000 miles. Reminds me, I’ve been slackin on service. Needs oil and filter too.

2016 KLR 650
2017 BMW S1000RR (traded in for
2018 Ducati V4S
1983 GL1100 Goldwing
2017 Yamaha R1
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