Thoughts on the Doo-hickey - Page 2 - 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 #11 of 24 Old 05-14-2019, 06:58 AM Thread Starter
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So yes I agree with all of you that it is a good preventative thing to do the Doo. There was never a suggestion that I wouldn't do the mod or at least address the Doo. One of the first things I do when I buy a bike is go to the internet and forums and pour over the data to find things like the Doo and others. Believe me I'm already looking at when I'll do the mod on mine. The tone that I'm gathering is "just do the mod, you'll be glad you did". And I agree. And yes, Sportinh2o, my '13 had 398 miles on it just 3 weeks ago when I bought it.

What I'm looking for is the data. How many have failed and what kind of data is there. It's all for personal interest and nothing else. We can say if it failed it could do (insert damage type here) all day but does anyone have data showing the numbers of failures and damage caused. Any Kwak techs out there that have worked on KLRs where the tensioner has failed that can provide some numbers. Thank you again for all the responses and info so far.

Last edited by twiin640; 05-14-2019 at 07:33 AM.
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post #12 of 24 Old 05-14-2019, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by twiin640 View Post
...What I'm looking for is the data. How many have failed and what kind of data is there. It's all for personal interest and nothing else. We can say if it failed it could do (insert damage type here) all day but does anyone have data showing the numbers of failures and damage caused. Any Kwak techs out there that have worked on KLRs where the tensioner has failed that can provide some numbers. Thank you again for all the responses and info so far.
There is no hard data.

Kawasaki probably has no data because they don't have to provide warranty service for the issue. If they did they wouldn't share it.

Kawasaki techs? The answer most often found at a dealer when aking about 'the doohickey' is "We never heard of it."

The average owner has a database of experience with a sample population of one. I'm not aware of any convention where they've gotten together to collate their data.

There are a handful of people who have done more than 10 balancer lever jobs. For the most part, they are dealing with people who have, or intend to, ride the bike far more than the average. Their anecdotal reports indicate a high percentage of the bikes have an issue and the range in mileage is 5K to 20K for the Gen 2's spring going slack. Gen 1s are more variable because they would blow up.

If you're really interested in understanding the issue you should have visited the link I provided.

Tom [email protected]

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Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 05-14-2019 at 09:14 AM.
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post #13 of 24 Old 05-14-2019, 09:44 AM
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Late to the party; my Doohickey post; I have spent significant time reading and researching this issue over the years as have others......my opinion is thus:

- Gen1: failure of the stock lever and/or spring is highly likely.......the people "in the know" guesstimate around 33% though I'd suggest the figure is somewhat mileage dependent with the 33% being around 20,000 miles.....higher mileage = higher percentage of failure.

- Gen2: doohickey lever failure is almost non-existant.......the issues of loose fit on the shaft and loss of spring tension are real. Loss of tension is said to occur around 6,000 miles though some have zero tension from new and some still have tension at 20,000 miles.



So is this all an internet myth? No, it's real enough IMO. There are several reasons that I believe contribute to the lack of even more documented failures:

- A great many people never adjust their counterbalance system. If the adjustment is never attempted, the system doesn't get the huge slack that an attempt with a broken spring would introduce. I always tell new owners NOT to adjust the system without physically checking to see it's intact first.

- Most grenaded doo and spring bits float around harmlessly in the bottom end without causing catastrophic failure. My 2001 was opened up at 15,000 miles to find the typical broken doo (three pces) and spring (two pces). I found all the pces in the bottom end and oil screen and the bike was likely ridden for some time in that condition.

- the "upgrade" in 2008 significantly reduced the likelihood of a broken doo lever.

- a large percentage of bikes die of old age, crashes and neglect long before they can be considered high mileage units.

- many failures are never diagnosed......i.e. bike is "broken" and parted out or otherwise discarded.

- Sometimes other failures (i.e. 2008/2009 low oil level/oil burning) takes out the engine before the counterbalance system has the opportunity to.


At the end of the day, I believe that the stock counterbalance adjustment system is problematic but the vast majority of KLR owners are ignorant of the issue and it doesn't come up on their radar for the aforementioned reasons.

On a Gen1, I believe replacement is critical to longevity. On a Gen2 you could get along fine by just periodically checking the spring to ensure it is intact and has tension. Due to the loose fit on the shaft, the springs are put under significantly increased duty cycles, EM's superior lever with better fitment and the torsion spring design completely eliminate this concern.


A KLR, especially a Gen2 can live for quite awhile without even acknowledging the counterbalance adjuster.....but it's still a weak link that is worth replacing if you want some piece of mind.


2 cents,
Dave
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post #14 of 24 Old 05-14-2019, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Schmitz View Post
There is no hard data.

Kawasaki probably has no data because they don't have to provide warranty service for the issue. If they did they wouldn't share it.

Kawasaki techs? The answer most often found at a dealer when aking about 'the doohickey' is "We never heard of it."

The average owner has a database of experience with a sample population of one. I'm not aware of any convention where they've gotten together to collate their data.

There are a handful of people who have done more than 10 balancer lever jobs. For the most part, they are dealing with people who have, or intend to, ride the bike far more than the average. Their anecdotal reports indicate a high percentage of the bikes have an issue and the range in mileage is 5K to 20K for the Gen 2's spring going slack. Gen 1s are more variable because they would blow up.

If you're really interested in understanding the issue you should have visited the link I provided.
Excellent post as always.

1) To the OP; as Tom says, you will never get hard data on Doo failures; closest you'll get is from the gurus in the KLR world holding tech days and working on enthusiasts bikes.....which is where the bulk of the data in my previous posts come from.


2) along the same lines Damocles will never get the hard data correlating oil burning vs. thermobob use.....but logic suggests it exists. ;-)



Cheers,
Dave
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post #15 of 24 Old 05-14-2019, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by twiin640 View Post
What I'm looking for is the data. How many have failed and what kind of data is there.
As posted above, no compilation of doohickey failure data known.

Then, you ask, "What kind of data is there?"

Again, as mentioned above, anecdotal data; often extracted from a sample size of ONE (1), or even smaller!

I think I failed to communicate the significance of the statement in my previous post, ". . . the OEM KLR owner dances upon a scaffold of PROBABILITY."

'Most everything has a probability of failure (even the SPACE SHUTTLE failed). A probability exists your doohickey and/or spring may fail. The magnitude of this probability remains unknown; a complementary probability exists the components will NOT fail. Thus, only you can decide whether to attempt managing the probabilities by upgrading components, or . . . rolling the dice Kawasaki has handed you.

In my view, the consequences of Generation 1 idler shaft lever failure remain significantly more severe than the relatively "fail-safe" consequences of Generation 2 loss of spring tension.

Basically, your call, whether to aftermarket anything on your bike or not. I would not proclaim failure to upgrade the doohickey (or even, absence of a Thermo-Bob) results in inevitable catastrophic engine damage, as some do. As men say, "YMMV!"
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Last edited by Damocles; 05-14-2019 at 10:02 AM.
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post #16 of 24 Old 05-14-2019, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Schmitz View Post
There is no hard data.

Kawasaki probably has no data because they don't have to provide warranty service for the issue. If they did they wouldn't share it.

Kawasaki techs? The answer most often found at a dealer when aking about 'the doohickey' is "We never heard of it."

The average owner has a database of experience with a sample population of one. I'm not aware of any convention where they've gotten together to collate their data.

There are a handful of people who have done more than 10 balancer lever jobs. For the most part, they are dealing with people who have, or intend to, ride the bike far more than the average. Their anecdotal reports indicate a high percentage of the bikes have an issue and the range in mileage is 5K to 20K for the Gen 2's spring going slack. Gen 1s are more variable because they would blow up.

If you're really interested in understanding the issue you should have visited the link I provided.
Thanks for the response. I visited the Souperdoo link 2 weeks ago along with many others and I do understand the tensioner function very well. I just watched a video on youtube that I thought was pretty interesting pertaining to the who doohickey subject. (!BEWARE ! Kawasaki KLR 650 , another doohickey video . Part 1.) This one talks about the reason for the spring being loose which was caused by a worn chain which in turn wore out the chain guides. After replacing parts he was able to put the original spring back on showing that it had plenty of
tension.
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Last edited by twiin640; 05-14-2019 at 10:25 AM.
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post #17 of 24 Old 05-14-2019, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Damocles View Post
As posted above, no compilation of doohickey failure data known.

Then, you ask, "What kind of data is there?"

Again, as mentioned above, anecdotal data; often extracted from a sample size of ONE (1), or even smaller!

I think I failed to communicate the significance of the statement in my previous post, ". . . the OEM KLR owner dances upon a scaffold of PROBABILITY."

'Most everything has a probability of failure (even the SPACE SHUTTLE failed). A probability exists your doohickey and/or spring may fail. The magnitude of this probability remains unknown; a complementary probability exists the components will NOT fail. Thus, only you can decide whether to attempt managing the probabilities by upgrading components, or . . . rolling the dice Kawasaki has handed you.

In my view, the consequences of Generation 1 idler shaft lever failure remain significantly more severe than the relatively "fail-safe" consequences of Generation 2 loss of spring tension.

Basically, your call, whether to aftermarket anything on your bike or not. I would not proclaim failure to upgrade the doohickey (or even, absence of a Thermo-Bob) results in inevitable catastrophic engine damage, as some do. As men say, "YMMV!"
I agree with the probability of it failing, that can be said for any part of the bike as a whole. I think some here are missing the point and Tom Schmitz came closest to at least part of an answer. I'm beginning to think I'm not communicating the question correctly. I completely understand why it should be done and I'm currently in the ordering process of getting my upgrade. In the course of basic curiosity I'm wondering if there's data out there somewhere on actual failures. If there is no data then no lost sleep here, I'll have mine done and the peace of mind like everyone else.
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post #18 of 24 Old 05-14-2019, 10:48 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
Late to the party; my Doohickey post; I have spent significant time reading and researching this issue over the years as have others......my opinion is thus:

- Gen1: failure of the stock lever and/or spring is highly likely.......the people "in the know" guesstimate around 33% though I'd suggest the figure is somewhat mileage dependent with the 33% being around 20,000 miles.....higher mileage = higher percentage of failure.

- Gen2: doohickey lever failure is almost non-existant.......the issues of loose fit on the shaft and loss of spring tension are real. Loss of tension is said to occur around 6,000 miles though some have zero tension from new and some still have tension at 20,000 miles.



So is this all an internet myth? No, it's real enough IMO. There are several reasons that I believe contribute to the lack of even more documented failures:

- A great many people never adjust their counterbalance system. If the adjustment is never attempted, the system doesn't get the huge slack that an attempt with a broken spring would introduce. I always tell new owners NOT to adjust the system without physically checking to see it's intact first.

- Most grenaded doo and spring bits float around harmlessly in the bottom end without causing catastrophic failure. My 2001 was opened up at 15,000 miles to find the typical broken doo (three pces) and spring (two pces). I found all the pces in the bottom end and oil screen and the bike was likely ridden for some time in that condition.

- the "upgrade" in 2008 significantly reduced the likelihood of a broken doo lever.

- a large percentage of bikes die of old age, crashes and neglect long before they can be considered high mileage units.

- many failures are never diagnosed......i.e. bike is "broken" and parted out or otherwise discarded.

- Sometimes other failures (i.e. 2008/2009 low oil level/oil burning) takes out the engine before the counterbalance system has the opportunity to.


At the end of the day, I believe that the stock counterbalance adjustment system is problematic but the vast majority of KLR owners are ignorant of the issue and it doesn't come up on their radar for the aforementioned reasons.

On a Gen1, I believe replacement is critical to longevity. On a Gen2 you could get along fine by just periodically checking the spring to ensure it is intact and has tension. Due to the loose fit on the shaft, the springs are put under significantly increased duty cycles, EM's superior lever with better fitment and the torsion spring design completely eliminate this concern.


A KLR, especially a Gen2 can live for quite awhile without even acknowledging the counterbalance adjuster.....but it's still a weak link that is worth replacing if you want some piece of mind.


2 cents,
Dave
Thank you, yes, finally some actual numbers.
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post #19 of 24 Old 05-14-2019, 11:49 AM
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My gen 1 bike is one data point. I bought it with 16k mi. The PO said he was told by the dealer that the Doo is an internet myth. I opened it up and found the coil spring in two pieces with the coil hanging from the Doo and the hook end gone somewhere. Replaced doo and installed torsion spring. It's now 10k miles later and I have adjusted the Doo but have not checked it, however, the engine sounds great.
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post #20 of 24 Old 05-14-2019, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twiin640 View Post
Thanks for the response. I visited the Souperdoo link 2 weeks ago along with many others and I do understand the tensioner function very well. I just watched a video on youtube that I thought was pretty interesting pertaining to the who doohickey subject. (!BEWARE ! Kawasaki KLR 650 , another doohickey video . Part 1.) This one talks about the reason for the spring being loose which was caused by a worn chain which in turn wore out the chain guides. After replacing parts he was able to put the original spring back on showing that it had plenty of
tension.
On the FB pages where I saw the (BEWARE) videos by the Murrays from either UK or AU the older mechanic was blaming the U shaped balancer chain guide. I suggested otherwise.

IIRC, the oem doo only showed the original oem contact mark from the locking bolt, zero signs of ever even any attempt to allow adjustment. A floppy, sloppy chain will eventually destroy itself (by getting even sloppier) and other parts with it, in this unevenly loaded system. Its amazing that it hadn't damaged the non-replaceable crankshaft sprocket worse.

I think they caught that slack chain just barely in the 'nick of time'.

The 2008+ Gen 2 spring which they ordered with other parts was too long to use at all on that bike with a brand new chain & chain guides.
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