Buzzes and Rattles from Cowlings - 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 01-28-2019, 01:29 AM Thread Starter
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Buzzes and Rattles from Cowlings

Has anybody got any experience with chasing down buzzes and rattles in the upper side fairings? I have a headling protector and last week I took it off because I'm in the process of addressing a crack that has appeared in the front middle fairing. Before putting it back on I did what the dealer's installer should have done but didn't: I coaxed it into proper shape so it would (a) impart as little stress as possible on the bolts where it connects, and (b) avoid incidental contact on the body work (taking it off I discovered that I had some nice scratches on the body panels where these jokers intalled it originally… I know, I know. But that's how I am.). Anyway, something I did in the taking-off-and-reinstalling procedure left me with a nasty buzz around 2200 rpm, but only while moving, haha. I was able to ascertain that by putting my hand on the left top fairing the buzzing would stop. Looking more closely I found that the joint where this piece connects to the center fairing (aka the piece around the headlamp) was showing slight powdering on the surface, so I stuck two strips of electrical tape back-to-back and jammed 'em in there and buzz was gone. So now I'm gonna disassemble this stuff and neatly insert (it's halfway hanging out that seam right now) more zero-sided electrical tape strips where they meet.

But I'm curious if anyone else has tackled this issue. Are there other areas where I should gasket it up? I'm also curious if there's a better material. I would normally use bicycle inner tube for something like this, but that's too thick. The electrical tape is almost too thick…
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post #2 of 10 Old 01-28-2019, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samuel View Post
Has anybody got any experience with chasing down buzzes and rattles in the upper side fairings? I have a headling protector and last week I took it off because I'm in the process of addressing a crack that has appeared in the front middle fairing. Before putting it back on I did what the dealer's installer should have done but didn't: I coaxed it into proper shape so it would (a) impart as little stress as possible on the bolts where it connects, and (b) avoid incidental contact on the body work (taking it off I discovered that I had some nice scratches on the body panels where these jokers intalled it originally… I know, I know. But that's how I am.). Anyway, something I did in the taking-off-and-reinstalling procedure left me with a nasty buzz around 2200 rpm, but only while moving, haha. I was able to ascertain that by putting my hand on the left top fairing the buzzing would stop. Looking more closely I found that the joint where this piece connects to the center fairing (aka the piece around the headlamp) was showing slight powdering on the surface, so I stuck two strips of electrical tape back-to-back and jammed 'em in there and buzz was gone. So now I'm gonna disassemble this stuff and neatly insert (it's halfway hanging out that seam right now) more zero-sided electrical tape strips where they meet.



But I'm curious if anyone else has tackled this issue. Are there other areas where I should gasket it up? I'm also curious if there's a better material. I would normally use bicycle inner tube for something like this, but that's too thick. The electrical tape is almost too thick…
Yes Im experiencing the same noise on my klr at around 3000 rpms but haven't been able to locate the source. Would you be able to take a picture of the spot where you are placing the electrical tape?

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post #3 of 10 Old 01-28-2019, 08:30 AM
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My new 2017 had an annoying plastic buzzing sound that I was sure was coming from the instrument area.
I removed the windshield so I could get my hand in the fairing area and try to determine where it was coming from.
I took it to the dealer and their mechanic took it for a test drive. When he came back he said take it for a drive and when
it starts making the noise put your finger on the lock tumbler on the gas cap. Sure enough it was what was making the noise.
They replaced all the locks under warranty and the buzz is gone now. It sure sounded like it was coming from the instrument area.
I guess the noise was reflecting off the windshield.

Terry
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post #4 of 10 Old 01-28-2019, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by terry_g View Post
Sure enough [the gas lock] was what was making the noise.
Wow, good to know!
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post #5 of 10 Old 01-28-2019, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Trautfel View Post
Would you be able to take a picture of the spot where you are placing the electrical tape?
I don't have the bike in front of me at the moment, but scrounging pics off the interwebs should work. Here is shot of the front end, with arrows pointing to, and red highlights on, the joints I'm talking about:



When I worked on this during the past weekend, I started with stick-it notes: I was able to slide the non-sticky edge into the gap, which left a good bit of the paper (including the sticky edge of course) poking up. I pressed this down on the fairing as I rode around to test for buzz (damn sound only happens when the bike is actually moving). Having the paper in there cut the noise considerably.

So I started thinking about what I should put in there permanently. I tend to use electrical tape for a lot of these types of things, so I made a non-sticky strip as described above. It was too flimsy/thick to slide into the gap, so I used a piece of cardstock to help coax it in there halfway. This left one edge of the tape sticking up past the gap (imagine the above pic with a black strip sticking up out of the gap), but it cut the noise out compeltely (even better than the sticky notes). Note: I could only get the tape into the very upper part, like the top 3-4" of the seam shown in red above. Also note that the bike, of course, still shakes "like a dog poopin peach pits" (to coin one of my new favorite turns of speech), so there's still lots of thumpety-bumpety, clickety-clackety sort of sounds down in the fairings, lower in the head… actually pretty much everywhere. That's just part of the deal.

But interloping buzzes aren't, so my plan going forward is to disassemble and put a "gasket" in there, like the below. While I'm in there, I was wondering if anyone else has done any of this work as well, especially if they know of other seams prone to rattling, or materials to use, so I can fix future issues before they start.

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post #6 of 10 Old 04-26-2019, 02:27 AM Thread Starter
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I finally got around to making the gaskets I mentioned above. I started with paper, laying it down on the parts and marking out a pattern. This took several tries of scanning the hand-formed pieces, tracing them, printing, cutting out, adjusting, etc. Then I bought some 1/64" thick rubber sheeting from eBay ($10), traced around the final pattern in pencil on the rubber, and cut the shape with scissors. The holes I cut by hand with an exacto knife in situ (i.e., be warned, the holes on the below links are not super well positioned, also the pattern is missing the round bolt hole at the bottom). Also, probably worth clarifying that there's just one pattern — the two sides are symemtrical.

Overall, these fit fairly well. To get them in position I first lay them down, averaging the "offness" of the pattern until I have it positioned right. The pattern isn't perfect, but it's close enough to satisfy me, with a fairly obsessive and neatness-oriented personality, for a part that is well out of sight.

Here's the deal with the surface between the plastics: It's a rather large, flat surface area, with a thin vertical "lip" along the edge where the middle and side plastics meet (see diagram above). The rubber should creep up that edge ever so slightly. This way it's barely visible when assembled, but it creates just enough of a gap to keep these pieces from touching. I use scotch double-sided tape underneath it to tack it down. That stuff is super thin, basically a strip of adhesive with a little film in between.

Here's the pattern as a .PNG picture file. You'll notice that the pattern is cut in two, that there's a 1" square for size reference and also targets to show you where the two halves of the pattern line up when you cut them out. This is so you can print it on a letter-size paper, cut these out, line em up (use a light, or the "quick flip" method where you lay one page over the other and pull up the corner of the top layer repeatedly to compare the position with the one underneath). And need I mention… Cut the pattern out of paper and fit it up before cutting your material. Once you've bent this first paper pattern all up doing this check, make a new one and use that to trace onto the rubber.



And for the more involved crowd, here's the same pattern as an .EPS file (created in Illustrator, can open in a range of graphics programs). Let me know if you laser cut this, I'd be interested to hear about that.

The end result (for me at least) is a very rattle-resistant set of front plastics. If you're getting some buzzing and you're wondering whether this approach is the one for you, I would suggest figuring out a way to ascertain whether this is the issue before messing with the work. You can identify a condition that reliably elicits the buzz (e.g., a certain speed, RPM, etc.), then jam some paper down in the seam without any disassembly, invoke the same condition and see if the sound has disappeared.

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Last edited by samuel; 04-26-2019 at 02:31 AM.
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post #7 of 10 Old 04-26-2019, 06:39 AM
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My 2018 has a buzz/vib that sounds like it is from the dash, For the life of me I cannot isolate the source and have just started wearing earplugs. As previously mentioned, I will try to put some pressure on the gas cap lock.

Never pick a fight with an old man.. If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you..
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post #8 of 10 Old 04-26-2019, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by PaddyD View Post
My 2018 has a buzz/vib that sounds like it is from the dash, For the life of me I cannot isolate the source and have just started wearing earplugs. As previously mentioned, I will try to put some pressure on the gas cap lock.
My 2017 has the same problem. I found that if I put my hand on the gauge cluster that seems to stop the buzz. I suspect it is the same locations that Samuel addressed. After I found the instrument cluster to stop the buzz, I tried to reach around and press on the fairing joints. It was hard to reach them while riding, but that seemed to quite the noise also so I am guessing it is these two joints in the cowling that are causing the racket, but hard to be sure. I will test the gas cap lock next time I ride.
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post #9 of 10 Old 04-26-2019, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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My 2017 has the same problem. I found that if I put my hand on the gauge cluster that seems to stop the buzz. I suspect it is the same locations that Samuel addressed. After I found the instrument cluster to stop the buzz, I tried to reach around and press on the fairing joints. It was hard to reach them while riding, but that seemed to quite the noise also so I am guessing it is these two joints in the cowling that are causing the racket, but hard to be sure. I will test the gas cap lock next time I ride.
With mine, I found that if I put my hand on the flat part of the side fairing (so, the part under the handlebar), that would cut the noise. That's why I started messing with this area. The "slipping paper into the joint" method was how I really checked it. So you might try jamming a piece of paper in there (it will barely slide in) and go for a ride. I'm also curious about the gas cap.

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post #10 of 10 Old 05-07-2019, 11:31 AM
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My 2017 has the same problem. I found that if I put my hand on the gauge cluster that seems to stop the buzz. I suspect it is the same locations that Samuel addressed. After I found the instrument cluster to stop the buzz, I tried to reach around and press on the fairing joints. It was hard to reach them while riding, but that seemed to quite the noise also so I am guessing it is these two joints in the cowling that are causing the racket, but hard to be sure. I will test the gas cap lock next time I ride.
X2,my 016 does it too,3000 rpm,tried a few things,no luck.
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