Top New Owner Mistakes - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
KLR & Other Motorcycle Related Discussion Grab a seat and discuss whatever you like about the KLR or other related topics. Within reason.

 13Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 30 Old 10-11-2016, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
4th Gear
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
Posts: 2,307
Arrow Top New Owner Mistakes

Here is my list of "common new KLR owner mistakes to avoid"


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.

If you are wondering about 'which KLR to buy' you may find the following useful:

Here's some info on Gen1's.....basically all very similar up until 2008 with some notable changes on the '96 and up bikes compared to earlier ones. KLR650 FAQ

Short version is that the most desirable Gen1's are the '96 - 2007 bikes with colors being the only major difference. Colors are a bit nicer 2000 - 2007. 2007's got a revised shift lever. production shifted from Japan to Thailand in 2002 so there is some thought that the earlier Japanese bikes were put together a bit better (all parts came from Japan regardless) but I personally don't think it's a big concern. Pre-96 bikes can be upgraded with the balancer sprockets, thinner cylinder and the countershaft sprocket retention system being the main changes.

Basically, the Gen2 was modified to change the marketing focus towards "adventure riding" from "Dual Purpose".

Gen2 changes;
- better brakes
- better headlights
- more wind protection
- slightly larger forks
- increased wattage for aux. gear
- and a number of minor items like larger spokes, better chain adjusters, etc.

Early Gen2's unfortunately had a host of issues; bad rings, cylinder bores, deep hole issue, deteriorating rubber bits, wiring harness rub through. Mostly resolved by 2010.

- the weight also increased (17 - 24 lbs) and suspension travel decreased (from 9.1 front and rear to 7.9 front and 7.3 rear)

- in 2014.5 the suspension received a welcome increase in both spring rates and dampening....though it is still the 1980 tech budget stuff that Kawi used on these bikes since 1987.

Other than the suspension stiffness upgrade, it's basically been BNG's for the past 5 years thought there's been a clutch change (possibly not for the better) and they've changed the forged alum brake lever to a stamped steel one along the way.....cheaper I guess.

With regards to Gen2's; again some early issues as mentioned in the previous posts. 2008's were the worst offenders with 2009's following close behind......starting to get better in mid 2010. If you buy an early Gen2 I'd budget for an Eaglemike 685 kit.....should run you about $500 - $600 if you do the work yourself and around $1,000 - 1,200 if you have a shop do it. 2014.5+ bikes have a welcome increase in spring and dampening rates though if you don't mind used, a Cogent suspension upgrade is head and shoulders better than the "updated" Gen2 stock stuff and should be around $800.00 - $1,000.00.

Best? well that depends..... best stock KLR? I'd give the nod to the 2014.5+ bike. Basically if your use is pavement biased and/or you intend to keep the mods to a minimum then the Gen2 will appeal to you. ....If you ride more offroad and plan on changes, then the Gen1 starts to look better for the longer travel suspension, lighter weight, more robust bodywork and the ability to run with a completely dead battery.

Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 02-07-2019 at 05:57 PM.
DPelletier is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 30 Old 10-11-2016, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
4th Gear
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
Posts: 2,307
....I posted this on one of the KLR facebook pages and thought it might be useful to have it here too. I didn't want a comprehensive "FAQ" or list of mods/farkles but just a list of things that get new owners into trouble......I compiled it after responding to threads/posts many, many times with the same issues. Let me know if this is useful or not as well as any other feedback.

Cheers,
Dave
DPelletier is offline  
post #3 of 30 Old 10-11-2016, 03:55 PM
Pretty in Pink, dunno why
 
Tom Schmitz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Redondo Beach
Posts: 7,528
Garage
Spot on, Dave!

I would add:

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.


BTW, the 33 foot-lb torque value for the foot peg bolts in the first Gen 2 manual is one of Mother Kawi's boo-boos and, as Paul pointed out, will strip the bolts right quick.

Tom
Paul Gardner likes this.

Tom [email protected]

“Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in, although only one of them was dead.” -Philip Marlowe

“'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.” -Napoleon Bonaparte


Sting like a butterfly.

Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 10-11-2016 at 03:57 PM.
Tom Schmitz is online now  
 
post #4 of 30 Old 10-11-2016, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
4th Gear
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
Posts: 2,307
Good one; thanks Tom. I'll add it to my list. I'll also modify the wording to make a stronger case for the 18 ft lbs on the footpeg mounting bolts.

I've just heard another case of someone stripping their oil drain plug at the 21 ft lb torque setting that (IIRC) some manuals specify....that might be another clarification that could be more strongly emphasised.....thoughts?

Cheers,
Dave
DPelletier is offline  
post #5 of 30 Old 10-11-2016, 04:51 PM
Pretty in Pink, dunno why
 
Tom Schmitz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Redondo Beach
Posts: 7,528
Garage
Absolutely! There was no change to the drain plug area going from Gen 1 to Gen 2 that I am aware of, nor any widely reported incidents of drain plugs falling out. Yet Kawasaki increased the value from 17 to 21 (IIRC).

Truth be told, not much torque is required at all if a proper aluminum washer is in place.

I'm an odd duck, I know, but I use a neoprene washer that is tightened to just a few foot pounds. I have no idea what the torque is, as it is too low to measure. Just a quarter turn or so past making contact with the washer. It has never come loose. I did add a lock wire just for peace of mind.

That's a bit extreme for most people, but let's just say that there is no reason to use more than 17 ft-lbs of torque; half a flat past snug would probably be enough!

I also think that inexpensive torque wrenches that have not had their calibration checked should either be calibrated or chucked into a big field of tall grass.

Tom

Tom [email protected]

“Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in, although only one of them was dead.” -Philip Marlowe

“'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.” -Napoleon Bonaparte


Sting like a butterfly.
Tom Schmitz is online now  
post #6 of 30 Old 10-11-2016, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
4th Gear
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
Posts: 2,307
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Schmitz View Post
I'm an odd duck, I know
Tom
We know too!


J/K; good points, I'm going to make some additions/changes

Dave
DPelletier is offline  
post #7 of 30 Old 10-11-2016, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
4th Gear
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
Posts: 2,307
UPDATED

1) Oil drain plug overtightening: it is relatively common for people to overtighten the oil drain plug.....usually to stop a leak after the washer has inadvertently fallen into the used oil! 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 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.
klr4evr, justjeff and Sherman like this.

Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 02-07-2019 at 05:58 PM. Reason: redundant
DPelletier is offline  
post #8 of 30 Old 10-11-2016, 07:24 PM
2nd Gear
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 215
Stripped one of the foot peg bolts installing the centerstand. I really need the lowering pegs!
Hvymax is offline  
post #9 of 30 Old 10-11-2016, 08:41 PM
1st Gear
 
beltdrive's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 32
I'm new to KLR's and this is a really good stuff to know..
I found some out the hard way..

I put some blue threadlocker on the foot peg bolts after I noticed that they were loose just before a 20 mile dirt ride, most of which was standing on the pegs. Could have ended real bad if I hadn't noticed. I certainly will be checking these often.

Also, when I bought my bike the oil drain plug leaked. Replacing the plug and crush washer didn't fix it. Well, you guessed it, its got a really fine crack in the case, probably from over torque. ?? Not a bad leak, hope it doesn't get worse.
round_i likes this.
beltdrive is offline  
post #10 of 30 Old 10-12-2016, 02:30 PM
Moderator
 
CheapBassTurd's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Indiana/ Michigan line at the Lake
Posts: 1,585
Waiting too long on initial oil change. The first change is most important!

This is my son, with whom I am well pleased." ----God
CheapBassTurd is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Top case Renimus Bike and Rider Gear 0 01-15-2014 09:52 AM
Top End Parts moriver 2008+ KLR650 Wrenching & Mod Questions 5 10-11-2012 04:41 PM
Top Gun Springs efigalaxie Bike and Rider Gear 8 08-03-2011 07:24 PM
Need a top box? DonD Bike and Rider Gear 1 07-10-2010 09:50 PM
Picture at top of page RedKLR Forum News, Suggestions & Help 27 10-19-2006 04:36 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome