2018 KLR650 Blown Top End (1300 miles) - 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 34 Old 05-13-2020, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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2018 KLR650 Blown Top End (1300 miles)

Hello gang. Has anyone ever seen this problem? I just recently installed the Eagle Mike kit in the subject bike for a friend and did the typical mods to open the airbox top. It already had a free flow DG exhaust on it. The last thing I did was remove, clean and re-oil the air filter.

When I went to reinstall the air filter and was wiping clean the inside of the airbox I noticed the wire mesh permanently mounted between the carb and the filter. Huh? I have never seen this on a motorcycle and it looked nasty so I called a KLR guru and asked what the heck it was for. He said he wasn't sure but it was probably to prevent some random small rock or anything else from getting the the carb. I found that strange since that is what the filter itself does but on a super fine level. He said all KLR's have that screen, they always look sort of nasty but it's not really hurting anything. So, I buttoned up the machine, took it for a test ride and that Eagle Mike kit was impressive. Everything worked GREAT!!

Fast forward no more than 50 miles later and a new owner reports white smoke billowing out of the exhaust. The Kawasaki shop found that that wire mess mentioned above actually rusted, broke into pieces and got sucked into the cylinder. It was obviously made out of some sort of corrosive material instead of stainless or brass. The photo I have seen shows that the screen is brittle and breaking apart in pieces. The quote to repair it is $1,600.00. This bike is hardly even broken in with only 1300 miles. I am shocked that Kawasaki would install anything in the path of the air intake that could rust or come loose. Super disappointed.

Last edited by Rick Hall; 05-13-2020 at 08:34 PM.
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post #2 of 34 Old 05-13-2020, 08:48 PM
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I dunno what that mesh is made out of but I've had 3 KLRs over the last 16 years and a close to 100K miles (wow never thought of it that way) and on none of them did that mesh screen give me any trouble nor has it looked 'nasty.' It is strange that it would happen on such a newly minted bike.

sre
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post #3 of 34 Old 05-14-2020, 03:54 AM
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What did you use to clean the airbox? I dont think this is Kawasaki's fault. I've put many miles on a few KLRs and never had an issue with what I call the back fire screen.
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post #4 of 34 Old 05-14-2020, 06:45 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenE View Post
I dunno what that mesh is made out of but I've had 3 KLRs over the last 16 years and a close to 100K miles (wow never thought of it that way) and on none of them did that mesh screen give me any trouble nor has it looked 'nasty.' It is strange that it would happen on such a newly minted bike.

sre
Thanks Steven. That's good to know. If this were an old 1989 KLR with 100K miles it would be a different story for sure.
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post #5 of 34 Old 05-14-2020, 06:50 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klrian View Post
What did you use to clean the airbox? I dont think this is Kawasaki's fault. I've put many miles on a few KLRs and never had an issue with what I call the back fire screen.
Thank you. I always use a dry rag to remove any old filter oil from where the filter mates up with the airbox. What on earth would cause this mesh to become brittle and crumble? Truly bazaar.
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post #6 of 34 Old 05-14-2020, 09:59 AM
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Yep, mystifying......the backfire screen is present on all KLR's. I took a close look at one on my 2001 as I tried to remove it for more airflow.....I'd guess it's stainless but can't say for sure. It ended up being such a PITA to remove, I ended up trashing the airbox and having to order another. the mesh was strong and I could barely poke through it with a sharp screwdriver and it took alot of effort with snips and a dremel to cut it.....even when I cut or punctured it, it stayed intact.

I've never seen or heard of any corrosion on that screen and, if anything, it should be oily from filter oil residue and shouldn't be prone to any corrosion. At this point, my best guess would be that it was cleaned with something extremely corrosive... like acid. I think the clue here is "looking nasty".....in your verbal conversation, your guru probably was referring to it being a bit covered with oily residue which is somewhat normal......but if it looked corroded or not, I'd suggest that is not normal at all.

I suppose it's also possible that they changed the screen material at some point but I've not heard of any problems prior to this despite frequenting a half dozen various KLR forums and groups on a daily basis.


Dave

Last edited by DPelletier; 05-14-2020 at 10:02 AM.
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post #7 of 34 Old 05-14-2020, 10:04 AM
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...I wonder if driving through something extremely nasty would pull enough corrosive liquid (suspended in the air) through that screen to cause a problem? ....is there any other odd corrosion on the bike? spokes, fasteners? Ridden on the beach, in a salt water spray?


Dave
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post #8 of 34 Old 05-14-2020, 07:27 PM
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In 36 years of dealing with KLRs I've only seen Stainless Steel flame arrester screens, or maybe they are "stain less" screens like the Gen 1 exhaust header is apparently stain Less steel.

Either way, I've never seen a rusty flame arrester, much less a corroded one on any KLR250, 600 or 650.

The slightly oily flame arrester screens can be useful to see the talcum powder fine dust allowed thru by an under-oiled or Un-Oiled air filter. Is that what he means by "nasty"??

All 4 stroke dirt bikes, atvs & even street bikes with an Oiled Foam air filter that I have ever been around have had a back-fire flame arrester screen of some manner.
So I question how much of a Guru your acquaintance truly is.

https://www.kawasakipartshouse.com/o...e1/air-cleaner
https://www.kawasakipartshouse.com/o...d1/air-cleaner

I've no idea what could have happened to a 2018 with such low mileage, but I'd like to see all the evidence.

A moderator will probably offer to finish linking or embedding pics into this thread if you sort of try to link them before your 15th posting.
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Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

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post #9 of 34 Old 05-15-2020, 08:24 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you Westman. The guy I called a guru really is just that when it comes to the jetting and other KLR mods. I think the question about the purpose of the screen is something most folks haven't really thought about. Simple man theory is that it's there prevent something from going into the throat of the carb? Although I now know that that isn't the reason, it sounded believable.

I have owned lots of bikes over the years and have never seen a screen on anything other than an ATV. However, most of my bikes were either MX or woods racing machines. I'm used to the area between the carb and filter being fully open and so darn clean you can eat off of it other than filter oil and filter rim grease. I originally asked about this screen because it looked rusty and also because it kept me from inspecting and wiping clean the airbox between the carb and filter which is something I always do.

At the end of the day I'm kicking myself for not digging deeper into the matter of this crappy looking screen before I buttoned the machine up. But my thought was this - The screen is not removable and can't really be cleaned without somehow getting to the front side of it which means you literally have to take the entire bike apart to remove the carb . Then I thought - Well, this is obviously not an intended routine maintenance item and it's not a race bike. The engineers must know what they are doing because this is a legendary tractor of a machine that has proven itself for decades with few changes. So I installed the freshly oiled filter not knowing that something catastrophic was about to happen. I attached the photo here showing this disintegrated screen with pieces missing. By the way, the parts that are still there look twice as bad now as the did when I inspected it in November. Obviously some sort of runaway corrosion problem.

Lastly, the filter had never been removed since the bike was purchased new in November 2019 and had only been off the pavement once during that time. I was the first person to ever remove and clean the filter.
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Last edited by klr4evr; 05-22-2020 at 12:59 PM.
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post #10 of 34 Old 05-15-2020, 08:44 AM
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Maybe it was caused by fuel containing ethanol?

Ethanol is corrosive.
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