Engine bearing failure, your 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 13 Old 05-07-2020, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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Engine bearing failure, your story?

I want to know if i'm just unlucky or i bought a friday late shift build KLR.

26K miles: Connecting rod bearing failure. Had to rebuild the crankshaft, 685 kit and doohickey.

36K miles: Upper balancer bearing failure. Cracked case. 2009 bottom end bought on ebay fixed it.

My KLR is a 2008. Keep in mind it never run low on oil. I check oil everytime before riding. Burned a little bit of oil stock, not too bad.

I want to hear your story. Who experienced these kind of failure?

Was the 2008 a very bad year?
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post #2 of 13 Old 05-07-2020, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeExotic View Post
I want to know if i'm just unlucky or i bought a friday late shift build KLR.

26K miles: Connecting rod bearing failure. Had to rebuild the crankshaft, 685 kit and doohickey.

36K miles: Upper balancer bearing failure. Cracked case. 2009 bottom end bought on ebay fixed it.

My KLR is a 2008. Keep in mind it never run low on oil. I check oil everytime before riding. Burned a little bit of oil stock, not too bad.

I want to hear your story. Who experienced these kind of failure?

Was the 2008 a very bad year?
I think your story is unique.

Jason
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post #3 of 13 Old 05-07-2020, 06:40 PM
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I'll suggest that the failed connecting rod bearing was caused by a steel sliver or crumb being allowed to flow down the 6:00 Clean Oil port in the Mouth of the oil filter cavity during an oil filter change. That goes straight to the bottom rod bearing.
I use a rubber nipple to temporarily plug that hole & allow the oil & crumbs to flow around it, not into it.

The failed balancer bearings I believe are caused by the Thailand plant sourcing a cheaper bearing for the LH side of the upper rear balancer shaft.
More oil volume to the transmission bearings may or may not help with bearing longevity. @campfire just did the mods in this thread,
https://www.klrforum.com/706145-post44.html

pdwestman
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-08-2020, 08:11 AM
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My 2008 upper balancer bearing failed at 64K. It burned some oil and was run with the oil in the middle (and below) of the sight glass, which I later learned was a big problem.

53K on my 2013 and I keep the oil at or above the top of the sight glass. I'll see what happens in the next 10K.

Was 2008 a bad year? My 401k sure thought so
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post #5 of 13 Old 05-08-2020, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by pdwestman View Post
I'll suggest that the failed connecting rod bearing was caused by a steel sliver or crumb being allowed to flow down the 6:00 Clean Oil port in the Mouth of the oil filter cavity during an oil filter change. That goes straight to the bottom rod bearing.
I use a rubber nipple to temporarily plug that hole & allow the oil & crumbs to flow around it, not into it.
Paul, isn't there an opportunity when the engine is running for unfiltered oil to find its way to the 6 o'clock port, which leads to the crankshaft?

When you remove the oil filter the bike is typically on its side-stand, which results and a small pool of oil located at the rear of the oil filter cavity. The 6 o'clock port is pretty much high and dry at this point. So, is the concern that swarf/slivers/crumbs may be dragged to the 6 o'clock port if you attempt to sop-up the small pool of oil at the back of the filter cavity; hence your recommendation to install a temporary plug in the port?

Jason
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-08-2020, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeExotic View Post
I want to know if i'm just unlucky or i bought a friday late shift build KLR.

26K miles: Connecting rod bearing failure. Had to rebuild the crankshaft, 685 kit and doohickey.

36K miles: Upper balancer bearing failure. Cracked case. 2009 bottom end bought on ebay fixed it.

My KLR is a 2008. Keep in mind it never run low on oil. I check oil everytime before riding. Burned a little bit of oil stock, not too bad.

I want to hear your story. Who experienced these kind of failure?

Was the 2008 a very bad year?
2008 was a moderately bad year; worst for the KLR of all years but not typically as bad as yours. The con rod bearing failure is very rare (consider yourself unlucky there), the Upper balancer bearing failure is moderately rare but happens on occasion - there are conflicting opinions as to whether its a bad batch of bearings, failure due to low oil levels or a combination of both.

From ChuckB; I've seen that upper bearing go at least a 1/2 doz times in my own shop. All were tied back to sustained highway speeds with oil a bit low on the site glass. That upper bearing is splashed lubed. EagleMike believes Kawi did have some bad bearings in some of the early Gen2 production. Kawasaki was making good on repairs even on bikes out of the warranty period on those early models.

depending on what "never run low on oil" means to you, it sounds like poor bearing quality may have been your problem, especially given that it's a 2008....though I'd suggest that half way on the sight glass should be considered low.

Tom and GoMotor have both had a upper balancer bearing failure IIRC and may have more to add and Paul knows more about what the oil is doing inside the KLR than anybody.

Overall, you've been dealt a crap hand but the good news is that you should be good to go for a long time now......at least in theory! :-)

2 cents,
Dave
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post #7 of 13 Old 05-08-2020, 01:50 PM
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Norton850,
You are correct that with the Stock KLR oil filtration cap & cavity there is always some un-filtered oil squeezing between the cap & cavity and going into the 'clean-side holes' at 6:00 & 11:00.
The minimal clearance between the cap & cavity mostly reduces the chance of anything large enough to lock-up the bottom rod bearing to near impossible. The potential issue with crumbs, slivers & chips is mostly during oil filter changing time.

Kawasaki moved the 'clean-side' crankshaft oil port to safer locations on Newer Designed Engines like the KLX / KX F series.


Brent Kelsey & Others,
Operating the KLR engine at Half a Window of oil is akin to operating an automobile engine at the "L" on a dipstick, about 20% LOW on volume. The Low mark on the KLR window is about 35% LOW on volume. This means that 65-80% volume of oil has to do 100% of the work, which makes it degrade even faster in a motorcycle engine with all of the those transmission gear teeth literally chewing up the oil additives & oil base stock molecules verses an automobile engine with only 2 timing gears.

Chains & Sprockets in the KLR and other engines are NOT harsh on engine oils, but unfiltered dust particulates & excess steel polishings ARE Harsh on Chains & Sprockets.

With high quality engine oils, kept FULL, a KLR can easily run 5000 miles between oil changes. There is an "OIL Analysis Thread" on this forum.

pdwestman
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Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #8 of 13 Old 05-08-2020, 02:44 PM
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The potential issue with crumbs, slivers & chips is mostly during oil filter changing time.
Ok, so where does this "debris" come from at oil change time?

Jason
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post #9 of 13 Old 05-08-2020, 03:14 PM
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Ok, so where does this "debris" come from at oil change time?

Jason
Do you mean that last couple tablespoon fulls of oil at the back side of the filter cavity, because of parking on the side stand?
It usually settles there.

With my 100% oil filtration mod the oil continuously swirls around the filter from the re-drilled dirty oil inlet at 5:00 / mid-filter cavity and I no longer find any crumbs laying in the pocket. The crumbs, slivers & chips are properly embedded into the filter media.


Or the original source?
It is off of gear teeth, gear engagement dogs, clutch basket, clutch drive plates normally.

Abnormally it is from the engine balancer chain rubbing on parts that are not normally in contact or contacting repetitively with-in the KLR engine.

pdwestman
Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

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post #10 of 13 Old 05-08-2020, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdwestman View Post
Do you mean that last couple tablespoon fulls of oil at the back side of the filter cavity, because of parking on the side stand?
It usually settles there.
Yes, I get that there could be debris in the small pool of oil at the back of the oil filter cavity when changing the oil. So I'm guessing you are concerned about dragging the oily debris up to the 6 o'clock port with a rag or paper towel? And that's why you've recommended the rubber plug inserted into that port when changing the oil?

Jason
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