Dead-On-Road The Whole Story - 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 37 Old 11-29-2018, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Dead-On-Road The Whole Story

I left Houston a few weeks ago and rode my 2011 KLR650 out to Dell City, TX to start on the New Mexico Backcountry Route NMBDR.

I rode the first 250 miles to Cloudcroft, NM and then learned it would get down to 7 degrees in 24 hours. So, I bailed and headed for Las Vegas to spend Thanksgiving with my son and daughter.

Along the way I kept hearing noises like a loose balancer chain. So, at my sons house I pulled the left outside engine cover to check the balancer operation. The Eagle Mike torsion spring was working fine and returned the doohicky to the left when I pushed it to the right. But there was only 1/4 inch of travel room remaining on the right side of the slot that the adjusting bolt goes through. I buttoned it up and had some turkey and fixings (yum).

After the leftovers were gone, I rode down into Mexico, but the chain noise kept getting louder, so I left Mexico at Nogales and head home to Houston. About 40 miles south of Van Horn, TX on hwy 90 I heard a loud pop and the front tire blew out and the bike started vibrating heavily. I checked the tire and it was good as was the rear. I restarted the engine and found the vibration was from the engine and the temperature gauge climbed from mid range to max quickly.

My theory is the loud pop was the balancer chain breaking. The vibration is from the balancer shafts not turning. The rapid heating is because the front balancer shaft is not turning the water pump. I think I am right and when I get it home, I will report back with my findings.

Things always seem to go well for me. There was a road maintenance crew 100 feet from where I pulled off the road and it was quitting time for them. They had an empty trailer and took me and the bike 40 miles to a motel. I had left my truck keys with my neighbor and he is heading out in the morning to come get me and the bike.
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post #2 of 37 Old 11-29-2018, 09:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoMotor View Post
I left Houston a few weeks ago and rode my 2011 KLR650 out to Dell City, TX to start on the New Mexico Backcountry Route NMBDR.

I rode the first 250 miles to Cloudcroft, NM and then learned it would get down to 7 degrees in 24 hours. So, I bailed and headed for Las Vegas to spend Thanksgiving with my son and daughter.

Along the way I kept hearing noises like a loose balancer chain. So, at my sons house I pulled the left outside engine cover to check the balancer operation. The Eagle Mike torsion spring was working fine and returned the doohicky to the left when I pushed it to the right. But there was only 1/4 inch of travel room remaining on the right side of the slot that the adjusting bolt goes through. I buttoned it up and had some turkey and fixings (yum).

After the leftovers were gone, I rode down into Mexico, but the chain noise kept getting louder, so I left Mexico at Nogales and head home to Houston. About 40 miles south of Van Horn, TX on hwy 90 I heard a loud pop and the front tire blew out and the bike started vibrating heavily. I checked the tire and it was good as was the rear. I restarted the engine and found the vibration was from the engine and the temperature gauge climbed from mid range to max quickly.

My theory is the loud pop was the balancer chain breaking. The vibration is from the balancer shafts not turning. The rapid heating is because the front balancer shaft is not turning the water pump. I think I am right and when I get it home, I will report back with my findings.

Things always seem to go well for me. There was a road maintenance crew 100 feet from where I pulled off the road and it was quitting time for them. They had an empty trailer and took me and the bike 40 miles to a motel. I had left my truck keys with my neighbor and he is heading out in the morning to come get me and the bike.
How many miles on your KLR?
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post #3 of 37 Old 11-29-2018, 09:39 PM
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Sorry to hear of that, GoMotor.

Only in Texas could you break down and still be 650 miles from home.

Best of luck with the repairs.

Tom [email protected]

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


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post #4 of 37 Old 11-29-2018, 10:10 PM Thread Starter
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I have replaced the speedometer and would have to look through several fuel log books to get the exact mileage, but it has around 60,000 miles on it. KLRs seem to me to live good long lives. My 2008 has about 95,000 miles and was still running when I started robbing parts (brakes, cables, levers etc.) for the 2011.
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post #5 of 37 Old 11-29-2018, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry to hear of that, GoMotor.

Only in Texas could you break down and still be 650 miles from home.

Best of luck with the repairs.
Thanks Tom. I try to make my own luck. I was smart enough to leave my truck keys with my neighbor.

Since the motor will still start and run, I am hoping to find just a broken balancer chain. Also, since the chain runs in oil and doesn't really wear/stretch I expect to find the rubber shoulders on the balancer sprockets worn down and creating more slack than the adjuster can take up. I have had luck in the past by moving the chain one tooth on all the sprockets so the outside links fall on fresh rubber next to where the inside links had compressed the rubber and so on for the inside links. But, I think I may need some new sprockets this time.
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post #6 of 37 Old 11-30-2018, 01:38 AM
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Sure seems odd that the chain broke. Especially just riding along minding your own damn bidness.

Also odd that the engine runs with a stuffed up chain in it. My luck would be that the chain would wrap itself around everything in sight and tear stuff up, then lock up the engine. At 70 mph...

Here's to hoping that a chain and sprockets will get it right again.

Tom [email protected]

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.
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post #7 of 37 Old 11-30-2018, 05:52 AM
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Wow, GoMotor!

Glad you had such convenient dead-bike-evacuation resources nearby! I recall the highway extending from Van Horn, TX; there's an awful lot of NOTHING out that way!

I respect your initiative, launching such an ambitious ride amidst such potential heavy weather.

Glad you're safe, confident you can repair/replace your bike as appropriate.
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post #8 of 37 Old 11-30-2018, 09:02 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tom Schmitz View Post
Sure seems odd that the chain broke. Especially just riding along minding your own damn bidness.

Also odd that the engine runs with a stuffed up chain in it. My luck would be that the chain would wrap itself around everything in sight and tear stuff up, then lock up the engine. At 70 mph...

Here's to hoping that a chain and sprockets will get it right again.
I agree that it is odd and I am just guessing what I will find when I open it. The evidence is

A very loud pop at 60 mph.
Engine still runs with severe shaking even after stopping.
Head temperature rises rapidly, but the fan does not come on with a full radiator. Hot at the top and cold at the bottom.

To add insult to injury, this morning I found a very large nail in the rear tire. Not the cause of the engine shaking. I didn't like that 140/80-17 tire when I got it as the only choice in El Paso. I think I will replace it and the tube.
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post #9 of 37 Old 11-30-2018, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Damocles View Post
Wow, GoMotor!

Glad you had such convenient dead-bike-evacuation resources nearby! I recall the highway extending from Van Horn, TX; there's an awful lot of NOTHING out that way!

I respect your initiative, launching such an ambitious ride amidst such potential heavy weather.

Glad you're safe, confident you can repair/replace your bike as appropriate.
When I left Cloudcroft it was 17 degrees! I had on 4 knit shirts, 2 down jackets, my ridding jacket and a home made electric vest. I also had on two pairs of insulated gloves and electric grip heaters and was comfortable. There was some light snow across the road at higher elevations, but I stayed in the tire tracks of the trucks.

The really scary part was the next day on I-40 for 250 miles. Huge chunks of ice the size of large watermelons were falling from the frame rails of 18 wheeler trailers. It was fun dodging the blocks I could see far in front of me, but when one fell of a trailer right in front of me, it got scary. Some times a truck in the lane next to me would hit a block and sent it scooting over right in front of me.
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post #10 of 37 Old 11-30-2018, 09:40 AM
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Wow, quite the adventure; I'm keeping my fingers crossed that your diagnosis is correct....certainly sounds plausible though a broken balancer chain would certainly be rare.

Cheers,
Dave
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