Okanagan BC Canada - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-20-2019, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jun 2019
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Hey all,

Just got my first KLR. '08 low miles and clean. I'm a long time rider with lots of miles under my belt on and off road. I daily 8 months of the year and do at least 4 weeks a year adventure camping trips, usually solo. I also have a small personal bike shop/metal fab shop where I tinker on old bikes and 4x4's. Looking forward to many adventures with my klr and getting into the community here.

Johnny
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-20-2019, 03:45 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
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Welcome Johnny. Where you at? - I'm in Kelowna.

Here's my "Top New KLR Owner Mistakes to Avoid" list to start you off;

1) Oil drain plug overtightening: it is relatively common for people to overtighten the oil drain plug.....usually to stop a leak after the gasket/washer has inadvertently fallen into the used oil or left stuck to the bottom of the engine! best case is stripped threads, worst is a cracked case. Make sure the washer is in place and use a torque wrench Note; my manual says 17 ft lbs, Eaglemike recommends 15 ft lbs with his low profile drain plug which is what I use. Some Gen2 manuals specify 21 ft lbs but there has been no change in the plug or case which would affect the drain plug torque and people have stripped their drain plugs at this setting: beware!

- 2) Chain tension: many owners and some shops overtighten the KLR's drive chain; due to the long travel suspension and geometry the KLR needs more slack than other bikes people may be used to. If the chain is too tight you risk damaging the countershaft seal and bearing as well as possibly the wheel bearings along with premature wear of the drive chain and sprockets. Quick check; with the bike on the sidestand, you should be able to touch the chain to the bottom rearmost portion of the chain slipper but not the metal swingarm itself.

- 3) Speedo drive: it is common for people to post problems with their speedo after they've had the front wheel off. If you don't make sure the drive slots in the hub are aligned with the speedo drive tangs you risk bending the drive tangs and worse, breaking the hub. Time consuming to repair, expensive to replace, easy to avoid!

- 4) Oil Level: the factory KLR oil level sight glass is arguably too low....additionally some KLR's burn oil at various rates so it is imperative that the oil level is constantly checked. Luckily the sight glass makes this very easy to do. My suggestion is to keep the oil level at the very top of the sight glass with the bike level and to check it before every ride and at every fuel stop. The first failure from low oil levels is likely to be the cam bores in the head......and used KLR heads are getting difficult to find and are expensive. Keep an eye on that oil level!

- 5) Overtightening of other fasteners; similar to the oil drain plug there are a few other fasteners that cause significant problems if overtightened; the valve cover bolts are one such fastener - the manual calls up 69 inch lbs (NOT ft. lbs!) but Eaglemike suggests 55 in lbs which is a safer value. Another problem fastener is the footpeg mounting bolts; the factory nuts welded in the frame box are very thin with only 3 or 4 threads catching......these often strip out necessitating a repair. To avoid the problem, consider not using accessories that bolt to the bike using these bolts (i.e. centerstands) and torque them properly. I've heard that some manuals show 45NM (33 ft lbs) and some versions show 25 Nm (18 ft lbs)......I will suggest that the 33 ft lbs is a mistake and too much; I go with the 18 to avoid stripping the nuts and because this value falls in line with the recommended torque for generic 8mm fasteners in the manual. Safety wiring the bolt heads is also a wise precaution as loose bolts take the threads out quickly.

- 6) Throwing away the tube when changing the oil filter. People often mistakenly toss the metal tube that is inserted in the oil filter when they throw the old filter in the trash....make sure it's there and put it back in the right way.

- 7) attempting a counterbalance lever (doohickey) adjusting bolt adjustment without first ensuring the lever and spring are both intact and the spring has tension. Failure to do so can introduce a catastrophic amount of play into the counterbalance chain system.

-8) Not checking fasteners for proper torque at least at every oil change. Especially foot pegs and sub-frame bolts. The fasteners that Kawasaki put in place are adequate, but once torque falls below spec vibration can loosen the fastener. A loose fastener will quickly fail if it is under load.

-9) Not properly oiling your air filter. I prefer foam filter oil but regardless of what you choose to use, ensure your foam filter is thoroughly oiled and seated or dust will destroy your engine.

- 10) Not checking to make sure your clean side airbox drain tube and plug are present and accounted for; This tube often gets pulled off (some people shorten it to help with this) and if it does your engine will ingest non-filtered air which can dust out and destroy your engine. ….while you’re in the area, also check to make sure your header to mid pipe junction is tight otherwise you can melt your airbox causing much the same problem.

cheers,
Dave
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-20-2019, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
Welcome Johnny. Where you at? - I'm in Kelowna.

Here's my "Top New KLR Owner Mistakes to Avoid" list to start you off;

1) Oil drain plug overtightening: it is relatively common for people to overtighten the oil drain plug.....usually to stop a leak after the gasket/washer has inadvertently fallen into the used oil or left stuck to the bottom of the engine! best case is stripped threads, worst is a cracked case. Make sure the washer is in place and use a torque wrench Note; my manual says 17 ft lbs, Eaglemike recommends 15 ft lbs with his low profile drain plug which is what I use. Some Gen2 manuals specify 21 ft lbs but there has been no change in the plug or case which would affect the drain plug torque and people have stripped their drain plugs at this setting: beware!

- 2) Chain tension: many owners and some shops overtighten the KLR's drive chain; due to the long travel suspension and geometry the KLR needs more slack than other bikes people may be used to. If the chain is too tight you risk damaging the countershaft seal and bearing as well as possibly the wheel bearings along with premature wear of the drive chain and sprockets. Quick check; with the bike on the sidestand, you should be able to touch the chain to the bottom rearmost portion of the chain slipper but not the metal swingarm itself.

- 3) Speedo drive: it is common for people to post problems with their speedo after they've had the front wheel off. If you don't make sure the drive slots in the hub are aligned with the speedo drive tangs you risk bending the drive tangs and worse, breaking the hub. Time consuming to repair, expensive to replace, easy to avoid!

- 4) Oil Level: the factory KLR oil level sight glass is arguably too low....additionally some KLR's burn oil at various rates so it is imperative that the oil level is constantly checked. Luckily the sight glass makes this very easy to do. My suggestion is to keep the oil level at the very top of the sight glass with the bike level and to check it before every ride and at every fuel stop. The first failure from low oil levels is likely to be the cam bores in the head......and used KLR heads are getting difficult to find and are expensive. Keep an eye on that oil level!

- 5) Overtightening of other fasteners; similar to the oil drain plug there are a few other fasteners that cause significant problems if overtightened; the valve cover bolts are one such fastener - the manual calls up 69 inch lbs (NOT ft. lbs!) but Eaglemike suggests 55 in lbs which is a safer value. Another problem fastener is the footpeg mounting bolts; the factory nuts welded in the frame box are very thin with only 3 or 4 threads catching......these often strip out necessitating a repair. To avoid the problem, consider not using accessories that bolt to the bike using these bolts (i.e. centerstands) and torque them properly. I've heard that some manuals show 45NM (33 ft lbs) and some versions show 25 Nm (18 ft lbs)......I will suggest that the 33 ft lbs is a mistake and too much; I go with the 18 to avoid stripping the nuts and because this value falls in line with the recommended torque for generic 8mm fasteners in the manual. Safety wiring the bolt heads is also a wise precaution as loose bolts take the threads out quickly.

- 6) Throwing away the tube when changing the oil filter. People often mistakenly toss the metal tube that is inserted in the oil filter when they throw the old filter in the trash....make sure it's there and put it back in the right way.

- 7) attempting a counterbalance lever (doohickey) adjusting bolt adjustment without first ensuring the lever and spring are both intact and the spring has tension. Failure to do so can introduce a catastrophic amount of play into the counterbalance chain system.

-8) Not checking fasteners for proper torque at least at every oil change. Especially foot pegs and sub-frame bolts. The fasteners that Kawasaki put in place are adequate, but once torque falls below spec vibration can loosen the fastener. A loose fastener will quickly fail if it is under load.

-9) Not properly oiling your air filter. I prefer foam filter oil but regardless of what you choose to use, ensure your foam filter is thoroughly oiled and seated or dust will destroy your engine.

- 10) Not checking to make sure your clean side airbox drain tube and plug are present and accounted for; This tube often gets pulled off (some people shorten it to help with this) and if it does your engine will ingest non-filtered air which can dust out and destroy your engine. ….while you’re in the area, also check to make sure your header to mid pipe junction is tight otherwise you can melt your airbox causing much the same problem.

cheers,
Dave
Hi Dave,
I am in Vernon just up the road from you.
Thank you for taking the time to reply with all the information. I do all my own work and service so the tips you have given me are valuable to say the least. I have already purchased a bunch of accessories and upgrades for the bike, some of which pertain to items you mentioned., and i am looking forward to wrenching and traveling on this machine.
Again thank you for the welcome and advice. If you ever find your way to Vernon I can be found at the local paint and autobody supply joint/ motorcycle shop and hangout (NBR Distributors). Feel free to pop in and say Hi.

johnny
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-20-2019, 05:08 PM
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I've considered moving to BC! Awesome place!
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“Take the risk of thinking for yourself , much more happiness , truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” Hitchens
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post #5 of 7 Old 06-20-2019, 05:21 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
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Originally Posted by johnnyintheshop View Post
Hi Dave,
I am in Vernon just up the road from you.
Thank you for taking the time to reply with all the information. I do all my own work and service so the tips you have given me are valuable to say the least. I have already purchased a bunch of accessories and upgrades for the bike, some of which pertain to items you mentioned., and i am looking forward to wrenching and traveling on this machine.
Again thank you for the welcome and advice. If you ever find your way to Vernon I can be found at the local paint and autobody supply joint/ motorcycle shop and hangout (NBR Distributors). Feel free to pop in and say Hi.

johnny
Sounds good. Let me know if you need anything KLR related locally or are in a bind; I keep some stuff in stock.

Cheers,
Dave
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-20-2019, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Toney View Post
I've considered moving to BC! Awesome place!
it's a nice place to be a motorcycle guy for 8 months of the year unless you are on the south coast where you ride most of the year. Ideally here in the summer south in the winter. Lots of forest service roads here though.
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-21-2019, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
Sounds good. Let me know if you need anything KLR related locally or are in a bind; I keep some stuff in stock.

Cheers,
Dave
Oh excellent, thanks Dave I will keep that in Mind.

Cheers
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