When to check valves on used bike - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-12-2017, 08:17 AM Thread Starter
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When to check valves on used bike

Hello, Its nice to have a place to ask questions and possibly get answers.I purchased a 2012 klr with 8000 miles on it.looks and feels like new.When sould I check valve clearances?How does the engine react when its time to adjust? Loss of power,tapping?
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-12-2017, 10:28 AM
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Here's my "doohickey post";

I have spent significant time reading and researching this issue over the years as have others......my opinion is thus:

- Gen1: failure of the stock lever and/or spring is highly likely.......the people "in the know" guesstimate around 33% though I'd suggest the figure is somewhat mileage dependent with the 33% being around 20,000 miles.....higher mileage = higher percentage of failure.

- Gen2: doohickey lever failure is almost non-existant.......the issues of loose fit on the shaft and loss of spring tension are real and are said to occur around 6,000 miles though some have zero tension from new and some still have tension at 20,000 miles.



So is this all an internet myth? No, it's real enough IMO. There are several reasons that I believe contribute to the lack of even more documented failures:

- A great many people never adjust there counterbalance system. If the adjustment is never attempted, the system doesn't get the huge slack that an attempt with a broken spring or lever would introduce. I always tell new owners NOT to adjust the system without physically checking to see it's intact first.

- Most grenaded doo and spring bits float around harmlessly in the bottom end without causing catastrophic failure. My 2001 was opened up at 15,000 miles to find the typical broken doo (three pces) and spring (two pces). I found all the pces in the bottom end and oil screen and the bike was likely ridden for some time in that condition.

- the "upgrade" in 2008 significantly reduced the likelihood of a broken doo lever.

- a large percentage of bikes die of old age, crashes and neglect long before they can be considered high mileage units.

- many failures are never diagnosed......i.e. bike is "broken" and parted out or otherwise discarded.

- Sometimes other failures (i.e. 2008/2009 low oil level/oil burning) takes out the engine before the counterbalance system has the opportunity to.


At the end of the day, I believe that the stock counterbalance adjustment system is problematic but the vast majority of KLR owners are ignorant of the issue and it doesn't come up on their radar for the aforementioned reasons.

On a Gen1, I believe replacement is critical to longevity. On a Gen2 you could get along fine by just periodically checking the spring to ensure it is intact and has tension. Due to the loose fit on the shaft, the springs are put under significantly increased duty cycles, EM's superior lever with better fitment and the torsion spring design completely eliminate this concern.


A KLR, especially a Gen2 can live for quite awhile without even acknowledging the counterbalance adjuster.....but it's still a weak link that is worth replacing if you want some piece of mind.


2 cents,
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-12-2017, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willfisch View Post
Hello, Its nice to have a place to ask questions and possibly get answers.I purchased a 2012 klr with 8000 miles on it.looks and feels like new.When sould I check valve clearances?How does the engine react when its time to adjust? Loss of power,tapping?
You got me, I responded without noticing that this thread is almost 4 years old.....

Since you're question doesn't related to the "doohickey", you'd have been better off starting a new thread. Anyhow, you should check clearances now IMO. Gen2 intervals were changed but the system was not; ergo I'd suggest the Gen1 intervals are more appropriate. IME, it's the first 2-3 intervals that matter; after 15,000 miles or so, the valves tend not to move much and I'd feel comfortable going back to the Gen2 schedule.

As far as symptoms; hard starting, esp. when hot and you can experience a power loss......worst case is you've burned a valve and your compression goes to crap.

Dave
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-12-2017, 12:03 PM
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I read latest post date of Today at 7:17 AM.
Unless a moderator separated it from elsewhere, willfisch question is fresh.
Doo-hickey info is still a good thing to know about.

I generally find that cool/cold weather start-up is more effected by overly snug valve tappet clearances than hot engine re-starting. A warm/hot engine spins faster with the starter motor, therefore retains more start-up compression. A cold engine spins slower, bleeds off more start-up compression.

willfisch, Now is a good time. Purchase a service manual, 1st. Do you already own a 40-200 Inch Pound 1/4" drive torque wrench?

Always adjust tappet clearances to at / or near maximum specs. Shims are only available in .002 inch increments. Lightly snug on thickest gauge.
So intakes at .007-.008 inch, minimum spec is .004".
And exhausts at .009-.010 inch, minimum spec is .006".

pdwestman
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Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-12-2017, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdwestman View Post
I read latest post date of Today at 7:17 AM.
Unless a moderator separated it from elsewhere, willfisch question is fresh.
Doo-hickey info is still a good thing to know about.

I generally find that cool/cold weather start-up is more effected by overly snug valve tappet clearances than hot engine re-starting. A warm/hot engine spins faster with the starter motor, therefore retains more start-up compression. A cold engine spins slower, bleeds off more start-up compression.

willfisch, Now is a good time. Purchase a service manual, 1st. Do you already own a 40-200 Inch Pound 1/4" drive torque wrench?

Always adjust tappet clearances to at / or near maximum specs. Shims are only available in .002 inch increments. Lightly snug on thickest gauge.
So intakes at .007-.008 inch, minimum spec is .004".
And exhausts at .009-.010 inch, minimum spec is .006".
Just for clarity; wilfisch's post is recent, the original thread is not so my doohickey info isn't timely.

As far as the clearances go, I was under the impression that the clearances tighten up when the engine temperature increases making the issue worse.....but you have more experience in this regard so I'll defer to your comments. :-)

Cheers,
Dave
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-12-2017, 04:48 PM
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Just as a follow up to today's post, I recently purchased a used 2009 with 20000km (12400miles). I checked the valves and they are all within spec, but just.
The intakes .004 and .005 and the exhaust where at .006 and .007 (just within limit). It's peace of mind, but I now know that I can finish the season and then have to do proper valve adjustment for next year's riding season.

I also decided to replace the doo with an Eagle Mike doohickey and torsion spring. My doo was fine and luckily my OEM spring was fine and not damaged. I had problems with the torsion spring as it would not sit properly in the grove of the new doo. I contact Mike, sent some photos and after review it was determined that I should have a new spring. I credit Mike with great availability and customer support. He sent me a new spring, but as I live in Canada and he in California it would take some time to get here.

In the end I had a ride to do with some friends and could not wait for the new spring. I installed the new doo with the old OEM spring was it still had some tension in it and again, would get me to the end of the riding season without the need for an other adjustment.

All this to say, that when you buy a used bike, it's in your own best interest to get to know it. Check the doo and spring, do a valve check and then you will know the state of your new bike.

Hope this helps,
Moe
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-12-2017, 05:34 PM
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Moe, If you had exposed the valve shims and written the numbers down you could have pre-ordered your replacement valve shims for winter adjustment.
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pdwestman
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-12-2017, 05:46 PM
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Sure enough pdwestman, I should have gone the extra step and pulled the cams to check the shim size. Oh well it gives me something to do during the long, boring Canadian winter riding slumber.
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