Need peace of mind - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 04-19-2018, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Need peace of mind

I should first apologize for any idiot mistakes on this site! What can I say, I'm new to doing this. Got question about KLR 650. Been doing lots of research on this bike and wondering if this particular bike has any oil burning issues? I'm considering buying one and it'll be a fairly new one. Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this. Been riding a gs adventure for a few years now and to be honest, I'm a little tired of all the high cost of ownership. Looking to make a change and want to make sure it's a good one!
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post #2 of 14 Old 04-19-2018, 05:40 PM
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don't quote me, but I believe it was the 2008's and mid 2009's that had the burning oil issue, and mainly if they ran about 5,000 RPM for extended time.
I have a 2016 and run it hard with no burning

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post #3 of 14 Old 04-19-2018, 08:07 PM
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Do not buy a 2008 or 2009*. While they all weren't bad, enough of them were that it's just not worth it. The problem with them was the ring set. They burned oil all of the time, and in copious quantities. In the worst of cases one could go through a quart of oil per tank of gas. Many '08 and '09 have suffered oil starvation to the head, ruining it, when the bikes were run out of oil. The only fix is an overbore. Figure $1000 for a good, complete job that includes a head refurbish, and decrement the price accordingly if you run across a smokin' hot '08 or '09 that you just have to have.

Virtually all KLRs will burn oil when spun up over 5000rpm for extended periods of time, but the amount of oil consumed is not dangerous. That situation is fixable for very little time and money and references are available should you care to inquire.








*My first KLR was a 2008. Burned oil like a bombed Kuwaiti oil well. Second bike was a 2009. Kawasaki fixed it for oil burning, and then it burned oil worse than the 2008 did. Yeah, I was the slow learner that sat in the back of the class making motorboat noises....

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post #4 of 14 Old 04-20-2018, 06:50 AM
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I'll double down on Tom's post - I have a 2014 1/2, and it doesn't burn any oil unless you keep it over 5000 rpm for some bit. In fact, I think it "blows" oil, more than burning it...

I used to have an 1150 GS, and as much as I loved it and the power it made, it was a lot more than I needed (or wanted to pay for) and I have not looked back since getting the KLR.
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post #5 of 14 Old 04-20-2018, 07:17 AM
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Like others have said, 2008 and early 2009s are very likely to burn oil. I think Kawasaki worded it best on their website when the 2008 came out "New ring design for improved oil consumption". You can take that 2 ways.

All will use some at high RPMs... the nature of a big thumper.

My 2008 burned oil early, but didn't meet the 1L in 1000miles that Kawasaki required to do something about it. Mine only burned 850mL in 1000miles at in the first 10,000miles

I recently did an Eagle Mike 685 kit. Budgeting $1000 is about right to do it right. I spent more, but did other things while I had it apart and necessary at 26000miles (some unnecessary). I always kept my oil level good, and my head was in good shape. I did get EM to refrub the head though.

Some observations from my original head/piston. The goop on top of my piston wiped clean. it was burning so much oil, it was as if the oil was steam cleaning the piston. The piston rings were not at a 12, 6, 3, 9 O'Clock as they should have been, but more like 1, 3, 2:30, 2 o'clock. All the gaps were in the same vicinity. I sent my head and cylinder to EM and he sent off my cylinder to get bored out. His guy that does that for him said that my cylinder was already too large to bore the 2.5mm for the 685 kit and they were wondering if I had already done an overbore, but my engine had never been opened up.

I don;t think the 685cc kit gave mine more power... just freshened it up, returned it to it's normal power it should have had, stopped the oil burning and made it a bit more smooth.

If you can get a really good deal on a 2008 or 2009 that will cover the $1000 and your time to do the top end and are OK with doing the top end (it's not too difficult and only took me 2 Saturdays in between the wait for parts and machine work), I'd bo OK with one of those years... otherwise Avoid it.

"It sure beats working all week, boozing it up in some smoky bar or sitting around watching the world go to Hell in living color and still ending up, just before payday, flat broke as usual. That's only existing, not really living." - Don Marshall, Cycles South, 1971
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'08 KLR650 & '14 Super Tenere
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post #6 of 14 Old 04-20-2018, 09:56 AM
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What they said. I'll add; all KLR's have a propensity for bore distortion due to the design. This is exacerbated by the stock cooling system which has a very high delta T between the incoming and outgoing coolant - made worse in 2008+ due to the more efficient radiator. Usually the KLR's rings can accomodate a bit of bore distortion but the ring redesign in 2008 made the problem much worse as these "new and improved" rings couldn't deal - the ring change in mid 2010 helped a bunch.

A Thermobob helps lessen the temperature swings and therefore the bore distortion - the earlier in the bikes' life one is added the more likely it is to keep the cylinder round as it tends to "set" after many heat cycles.

As Tom mentioned, the 5000+ rpm sustained use oil consumption is a different thing entirely, relatively normal and common to most large thumpers - there are ways to address this if it's an issue.

If you're looking at bikes only a couple years old, you should be fine, though a T bob would be a plus on a used bike or I'd add one.....lower miles the better.

Finally, though the ring problem was the biggest "teething" issue with the first Gen2's there were other problems as well, notably; wiring harness rub though, deep hole syndrome and deteriorating rubber bits. 2008 was actually a 1.5 year production cycle and was the largest selling year ever, 2009 wasn't far behind and the production of these two years is more than the 4 years following so it's no surprise that you see more of these for sale than any other years of KLR. None of the issues mentioned are insurmountable but you should be aware and personally, I'd budget for a 685 kit if I was looking at an early Gen2


2 cents,

Dave
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post #7 of 14 Old 04-20-2018, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
all KLR's have a propensity for bore distortion due to the design

wiring harness rub though, deep hole syndrome and deteriorating rubber bits
The bore distortion is also lessened by doing an overbore, from what I understand, because of the many heat cycles that it's already gone through. None the less, I still put on a T-Bob 2 on my new top end build.

Yep, wiring harness rub through.. there was a recall for that, but if you pop the tank off, you can see the rub points, fix it up yourself with a liberal application of tape and tucking in wires. and know it was done right.

Deep Hole syndrome is not a big deal if you take care of it. I think I put a little allen head set screw with a dab of grease to hold in in place for assembly in the side case when I did the Doo.

Deteriorating rubber... ya, I think they were packed in a shipping container to the US that was filled with rubber eating gas. well nuts on the wind screen and the rubber on the wire to the starter rotted on mine. The turn signal stalks seem to be another issue, but mine are still original.

"It sure beats working all week, boozing it up in some smoky bar or sitting around watching the world go to Hell in living color and still ending up, just before payday, flat broke as usual. That's only existing, not really living." - Don Marshall, Cycles South, 1971
----------
'08 KLR650 & '14 Super Tenere
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post #8 of 14 Old 04-20-2018, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryce View Post
The bore distortion is also lessened by doing an overbore, from what I understand, because of the many heat cycles that it's already gone through. None the less, I still put on a T-Bob 2 on my new top end build.

Yep, wiring harness rub through.. there was a recall for that, but if you pop the tank off, you can see the rub points, fix it up yourself with a liberal application of tape and tucking in wires. and know it was done right.

Deep Hole syndrome is not a big deal if you take care of it. I think I put a little allen head set screw with a dab of grease to hold in in place for assembly in the side case when I did the Doo.

Deteriorating rubber... ya, I think they were packed in a shipping container to the US that was filled with rubber eating gas. well nuts on the wind screen and the rubber on the wire to the starter rotted on mine. The turn signal stalks seem to be another issue, but mine are still original.
Yes both Cary Aspy and Eagle Mike have said that the bore tends to "stabilize" over time/heat cycles.....which is why the 685 works as a "fix" despite using the same sleeve. As you say, despite this, I'd still use a T bob to protect your investment. ....and yes, the other issues are relatively minor but probably still good for a new potential owner to be aware of.

Cheers,
Dave
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post #9 of 14 Old 04-20-2018, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by KLR Kool-Aid! View Post
I'll double down on Tom's post - I have a 2014 1/2, and it doesn't burn any oil unless you keep it over 5000 rpm for some bit. In fact, I think it "blows" oil, more than burning it...

I used to have an 1150 GS, and as much as I loved it and the power it made, it was a lot more than I needed (or wanted to pay for) and I have not looked back since getting the KLR.
Just got a 2014 with 4k miles and have put about 300 miles on it and I do think I may have to put a smidge in this weekend. I'll post if I do. By a smidge I mean it looks in between the lines but a little lower.
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post #10 of 14 Old 04-20-2018, 03:15 PM
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A friend who is also a mechanic had a 2008 with about 15000 or so on it, we were on a ride when I noticed smoke billowing out of the pipe. He had to nurse it home buying every quart of oil he could get his hands on. He immediately did the Eagle 685 kit and Thermobob upgrade and it cleared up the major oil burning issue. At his suggestion, I did the identical upgrade to my 2005 which had about 35,000 on it-burned oil in the typical fashion on extended rides with higher RPM.

These were done last year. Fast forward to now, I bought the 2008 from him and had the 2005 at the same time, the 2005 didn't burn a lick of oil regardless of RPMs but the 2008 still uses oil. I sold the 2005 and this will be my first full season on the 08 so I can really see just how much oil I go through.

Just thought this comparison between years might be noteworthy.
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