Thoughts on the Doo-hickey - 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 22 Old 05-13-2019, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thoughts on the Doo-hickey

Hello all, haven't owned the KLR long but have been doing a ton of research to learn about this bike. I've followed the KLR for years and finally got one last month.
I've been reading tons on the doohickey and now know how to fix it if need be and it all leads me to a question.

After almost 30 years of making the KLR, doesn't it seem like if the doohickey was in fact a problem that Kawa would have addressed and possibly redesigned the tensioner system? I could see it being overlooked or maybe even ignored if the bike had only been out a couple years but I have a hard time believing that team Kawa hasn't
heard or know of the tensioner issue especially considering how long the bike has been built and sold.

I'm a preventative maintenance kind of guy so I completely understand the peace of mind aspect in doing the mod. I'm just wondering what people's thoughts are
and if anyone else has a similar thought that if it's not a big deal to Kawa maybe it shouldn't be a big deal to KLR owners.
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post #2 of 22 Old 05-13-2019, 05:39 PM
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Gen 1 big deal, gen 2 medium deal.

Easy cheap insurance.

Do a search and read till your heart is content.
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post #3 of 22 Old 05-13-2019, 05:39 PM
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A forum search will answer all your questions. There is more info about the doohickey here than anything else.


https://www.klrforum.com/search.php?searchid=5412953
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post #4 of 22 Old 05-13-2019, 06:07 PM
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It seems like the consensus is that on a first-generation bike, the doo and accompanying spring are both likely to fail, while on a second-generation bike (since Kawa did recognize the issue and address it, partly), only the spring is likely to fail. On both generations, if the spring and doo survive, the tension adjustment required after XX,000 miles will outpace the spring's ability to continue pulling — in other words, the spring becomes useless because so much adjustment will have already been required at that point, that the spring is dun' unsprung.

The other wrinkle here is that most motorcycles don't rack up the monster mileage that the KLR can. Guys and gals driving these things past 100K isn't super common, but it's also not unheard-of. To me, the fact that Kawasaki changed the design of the part indicates that they acknowledge the issue of physical failure, while the fact that they chose not to address the spring issue indicates that they figure the vast majority of KLRs won't reach the 50K mark (and they're probably right). Either that or Eagle Mike has a friend at big green

I'd say change it. It's fun to work on it if you're mechanically inclined. If you're not, it's worth paying a tech the (I'm guessing) $250 for the peace of mind.

2017 KLR in black

Last edited by samuel; 05-13-2019 at 06:11 PM.
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post #5 of 22 Old 05-13-2019, 06:10 PM
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The average balancer lever problem, if it occurs, happens at 5K-20K miles.

The warranty is a couple of thousand miles.

The average bike gets ridden about 5K-7K miles before it gets leaned up against the shed for 10 years and the Queen fo the Castle says "Get that thing outta here!"

There's nothing wrong with the balancer lever. It takes the bike through warranty and even though the life expectancy of the average bike.

https://www.souperdoo.com/stuff%20th...bout/doohickey

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post #6 of 22 Old 05-13-2019, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twiin640 View Post
Hello all, haven't owned the KLR long but have been doing a ton of research to learn about this bike. I've followed the KLR for years and finally got one last month.
I've been reading tons on the doohickey and now know how to fix it if need be and it all leads me to a question.

After almost 30 years of making the KLR, doesn't it seem like if the doohickey was in fact a problem that Kawa would have addressed and possibly redesigned the tensioner system? I could see it being overlooked or maybe even ignored if the bike had only been out a couple years but I have a hard time believing that team Kawa hasn't
heard or know of the tensioner issue especially considering how long the bike has been built and sold.

I'm a preventative maintenance kind of guy so I completely understand the peace of mind aspect in doing the mod. I'm just wondering what people's thoughts are
and if anyone else has a similar thought that if it's not a big deal to Kawa maybe it shouldn't be a big deal to KLR owners.
I have a Gen 2 (2017) and here is what I have decided. I only got a few hundred miles on my KLR after I bought it in July of last year. I had a lot of business travel and then spent September riding around Ireland, Wales and England. And then winter set in early and that was that.

I decided I didn’t want to tear apart an engine that was still not broke in and still under warranty so I did not do the doohickey over the winter. I did do the ThermoBob as that seemed more pressing to me. The stock system runs too cool all the time from day 1 so I wanted to get that fixed before the bike had too many miles on it. I figured the stock doohickey is good for 5K miles at least so I am going to wait and do that next winter most likely. And I probably won’t ride more than 2,000 miles a year anyway so I could probably even wait another winter if need be.
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post #7 of 22 Old 05-13-2019, 08:24 PM
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Time for a bit of doohickey musing!

Consider, a) cam chain tensioner, and b) balancer chain tensioner system ("doohickey").

For, a), the automatic cam chain tensioner tensions the chain (countermeasure to chain stretch and sprocket wear) by spring pressure, slack removed in increments, tension held by ratchet notches.

For, b), the doohickey (idler shaft lever) tensions the balancer chain by torquing the eccentrically-mounted idler shaft, ONLY while the doohickey hold-down bolt is eased; thereafter, tension is held by torquing down the hold-down bolt (NOT by spring tension). The doohickey spring only operates during adjustment; in operation, balancer chain tension is held by a snugged hold-down bolt (NOT by spring tension).

Now, consider a-1), a MANUAL cam chain tensioner. Chain slack is removed only when the shaft hold-down bolt is loosened, and the shaft pressed manually toward the roller (NOT automatically by spring pressure, as in a)); tension is then held by tightening the hold-down bolt.

Kawasaki COULD have designed a manual balancer chain tension adjustment mechanism, seems to me, without any stinkin' spring. Even with spring tension to remove balancer chain slack, a RATCHETING system could have been developed to hold the tension, as with the automatic cam chain tensioner discussed in a) above. But, no obvious effort is known regarding any Kawasaki effort toward developing alternative balancer chain tension adjustment schemes mentioned.

So, grenaded doohickey (idler shaft lever) on Generation 1s could result in catastrophic damage. Spring breakage in either generation could result in serious engine damage, as the engine ingests spring fragments. For Generation 2s, loss of spring tension could result in excessive chain slack and consequent vibration, to the point of malfunction; balancer lever failure unlikely from the part upgrade discussed in posts above.

So, what's a poor KLR owner to do? Doohickey replacement (with upgraded part) remains sound maintenance for Generation 1s, IMHO. Hardens Generation 2 durability, as well. An aftermarket "torsion spring" replacing the coil OEM spring comprises a superior design across the generations.

All this said, the OEM KLR owner dances upon a scaffold of PROBABILITY. Some untouched, stock doohickeys never fail over the life cycle of a KLR; some fail early on, with drastic consequences. With a functional doohickey on a high-mileage KLR, Bayesian Probability suggests subsequent failure unlikely. The, "ticking time bomb," certain doohickey failure expectation, appears an over-reach, to me. A rhetorical question: How many, or what percentage, of KLR650s over 30 years of production and worldwide distribution have aftermarket doohickeys installed? (No complete data available, rhetorical question only.)

So, yer pays yer money and yer takes yer choice!

Full disclosure: Eagle Mike doohickey and torsion spring installed on my Generation 1.

(My perceptions only; corrections and clarifications, as always, welcomed! )
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post #8 of 22 Old 05-13-2019, 10:48 PM
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Is yours the '13 with super low mileage? I looked at a previous posting. If so I would do the Doo and Thermo-bob.

I bought a '13 with 18k on it and the Doo spring was in good shape, but tension was pretty much zero when I got into it. Just too long of a spring design from factory. It noticed a big difference in sound - less clacky.

If you intend to keep it for years and put gobs of miles on her, the T-bob will help keep it from becoming an oil user. I did the Bob and it works as advertised. Assuming yours is the low mileage cream puff... perfect candidate.

I'm a preventative / good excuse to wrench kinda guy. My perspective is that every bike/truck has it's Achilles heel. With soo many of these things on the road, long term problems become known and solutions offered aftermarket. The manufacturer has way bigger fish to catch and need to constantly catch to stay healthy. The problems we need to correct with this bike are pretty simple and cheap to me, which is why I bought. I liked having a simple and cheap bike to own. Honestly, just knowing faults and having seriously capable people (those guys&#x261d;&#xfe0f who know the bike well...it's really a nice change.

The tire budget on my Honda Blackbird...is expensive. And the owner group, small.
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Sounds like a lawnmower, Rides like a paint shaker!

I got 99 problems but fuel injection, 6th gear or a 2nd cylinder ain't 1!

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Last edited by Sportinh2o; 05-13-2019 at 11:14 PM.
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post #9 of 22 Old 05-13-2019, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Sportinh2o View Post
If you intend to keep it for years and put gobs of miles on her, the T-bob will help keep it from becoming an oil user. I did the Bob and it works as advertised.
Just for the record . . . is the Thermo-Bob ADVERTISED as preventative maintenance regarding OIL BURNING? If so, any data?

The Thermo-Bob stabilizes coolant temperature more fully and operates at a higher nominal temperature than stock cooling system, but . . . know of no verifiable correlation regarding oil burning prevention. Please share convincing info, if available.

“You better put down that gun. You got two ways to go, put it down or use it. Even if you tie me, you’re gonna be dead.” "John Russell" (Paul Newman), Hombre
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post #10 of 22 Old 05-13-2019, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Damocles View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sportinh2o View Post
If you intend to keep it for years and put gobs of miles on her, the T-bob will help keep it from becoming an oil user. I did the Bob and it works as advertised.
Just for the record . . . is the Thermo-Bob ADVERTISED as preventative maintenance regarding OIL BURNING? If so, any data?


The Thermo-Bob stabilizes coolant temperature more fully and operates at a higher nominal temperature than stock cooling system, but . . . know of no verifiable correlation regarding oil burning prevention. Please share convincing info, if available.


Let me say it this way. It is totally working as Watt-man advertises. The rest of my words are simply my opinion. Thanks!

Sounds like a lawnmower, Rides like a paint shaker!

I got 99 problems but fuel injection, 6th gear or a 2nd cylinder ain't 1!

My wife: "I didn't know if that was you coming home, or a neighbor mowing"
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