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post #1 of 15 Old 10-16-2018, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 2
Looking for 2008 KLR advice

Thanks for welcoming me to the forum! I have the opportunity to purchase a 2008 KLR 650. This bike is currently in storage at a hangar and is in like new condition with less than 5k miles. This bike is owned by a widowed coworker so I will be able to get it for a more than reasonable price. My question is should I avoid this year? After researching I’ve found negativity towards this particular year more than any other. I’m not concerned about adding oil here and there as I’ll consistently check it on any bike I purchase. I am worried about coking and any other problems that come with burning of oil. Sorry if I’m beating a dead horse here. It’s just that this will be my first street legal motorcycle that I will own and don’t want to start with a bad taste in my mouth. I’d really like to purchase it based on the friend aspect and that I know it’s been maintained extremely well. She really wants me to be the new owner. But can easily avoid with my local Craigslist! I’m relying on you all here 🙂. I really appreciate any of your opinions!
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post #2 of 15 Old 10-17-2018, 02:58 AM
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Some 2008 (and even 2009) models used excessive oil; a condition addressed by installing re-designed piston/ring sets, or aftermarket pistons (685 cc or greater displacement big-bore kits).

Then again, some DIDN'T use excessive oil.

No way to tell which population your prospective bike belongs to without prior maintenance history, or . . . riding it and finding out for yourself.

I'd say, you might GO FOR IT. Even if it uses a bit of oil, you can add lubricant until you are in a position to fix the situation.

BUT . . . KEEP AN EYE ON THE OIL LEVEL! Give the oil time to settle in the sump after operation, and inspect the sight glass with the bike held level (at least, at every fueling at first, to get to know the bike's nominal oil thirst). OIL STARVATION RUINS cylinder head cam journals; no convenient nor inexpensive fix for this situation (replacement cylinder head most likely repair).

Depending upon preparation of the bike before storage, you might check out the, "Carb Overhaul" thread on this website; drain and replace all fluids; check tires for condition (dry rot likely); and . . . inmates probably will suggest other maintenance/age indicators worth examining. Surely, you'll be admonished to replace the "doohickey" (idler shaft lever) with aftermarket item and "torsion" spring; sound maintenance for a KLR650 (not so especially urgent and critical for one of the vintage under consideration), but . . . not so urgent as some suggest, in my humble opinion. Some KLR650s spend their entire service life with stock doohickeys, some suffer catastrophic failures (not so much for 2008 and later editions).

Just for your consideration, KLR650 production has ended with 2018 models; sounds like you have a chance to acquire a COLLECTIBLE motorcycle!

DISCLAIMER: My opinions ONLY above; no infallibility claimed!
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Last edited by Damocles; 10-17-2018 at 03:11 AM.
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post #3 of 15 Old 10-17-2018, 12:35 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lander, Wyoming
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+1 on everything Damocles said.

Purchase the bike & a Service Manual.

Clean the bike. Remove the required bodywork to remove the Fuel Tank. Clean the frame, wires, valve cover & around the spark plug pocket. Remove spark plug & give a squirt of oil or WD40. Reinstall plug.
Remove the center bolt on the CAM Chain Tensioner & then remove the valve cover. Measure & Record valve tappet clearances. Physically Inspect the RH Exhaust camshaft bearing. This is Vitally Important on 2008-2009 with un-know history, could have been why it was parked.
Re-shim any valve tappets which are near or Under Minimum specs.

Replace doo-hickey with Eagle Mike brand & Torsion spring & install EM spacer in to starter gear bushing 'Deep-Hole'.

Replace air filter with a New properly oiled foam air filter. Clean carb & fuel tank. Ride the wheels off of it.
Welcome to the forum & the KLR.
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Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #4 of 15 Old 10-17-2018, 01:02 PM
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Location: Kelowna, B.C.
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My Gen1 vs. Gen2 post which touches on the year issue;

Yes, this has been hashed out dozens of times;

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 some issues; bad rings, 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 supension 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.

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.

For me and what I do, I prefer a well modified Gen1. I purchased a 577 mile 2000 model last year and would not trade this bike for a brand new 2016 KLR.

YMMV (and probably will)
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post #5 of 15 Old 10-17-2018, 01:05 PM
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a bit on the 2008 oil burning;

Honestly I think the bore has a propensity to go out of round on the bottom end regardless......but the T bob may lessen the distortion to the extent that the rings can compensate. Cary theorized that after a number of heat cycles the bore tends to become relatively static - which is why it stays fairly stable after a 685 rebore job. The '08's and '09's have a well deserved reputation for oil burning due to the ring (re)design, not because the bores are way worse than earlier or later bikes.....this is based on my review of some of KLRCary's material as well as my discussions with Eaglemike. Cary described the bore distortion as a design issue. Mike's belief is that if you put an earlier or later piston/ring set into a virgin 2008 or 2009 bore that it would have no greater chance of being an oil burner than other years.

To recap my thoughts;

- early Gen2's ring design was poor leading to a much higher incidence of oil consumption; as the bores distorted the rings couldn't control the oil.
- KLR650's have a propensity for some degree of bore distortion due to the design (lack of support on the bottom end of the sleeve and the thickness of the sleeve)
- the bore shape tends to stay relatively static after a certain number of heat cycles which is why the 685 kits usually solve oil consumption issues (and Mike's rings seal better)
- Aftermarket sleeves such as the 705 sleeve are beefier and don't distort much, if at all.
- the Thermobob helps lessen bore distortion by greatly reducing the delta T of entering and leaving water (cold shocking the cylinder). It's logical, given Cary's thoughts on the heat cycle issue, that the benefit of the thermobob is much greater if it's installed when new or very early in the engine's life. That said, it can only help regardless of when it's installed (do no harm! :-) )

....at least that's the synopsis I've come up with after some research and discussions with the guys that have the first hand knowledge and experience on the subject.
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post #6 of 15 Old 10-17-2018, 01:08 PM
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My synopsis; you've found negativity towards the 2008 because it has more problems than any other year of KLR. That said, they are not insurmountable by any means and you can ride a low mileage example for some time before considering a "fix"......personally there are lots of KLR's out there so I'd only buy a 2008 if it was cheap enough that I could pick up the 685 kit as well.

2 cents,
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post #7 of 15 Old 10-17-2018, 03:03 PM
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Buy it! Can't go wrong!
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post #8 of 15 Old 10-18-2018, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2018
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Wow thanks for the great insight. I think I’m going to pull the trigger! I’ll be sure to post pics!
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post #9 of 15 Old 10-20-2018, 12:04 AM
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My 08 never used oil unless you were bagging it out on the highway, and even then it did't use a lot. Perhaps I just got lucky with mine. It also never smoked. I got it at 2500 kms and sold it just under 40K. Great bike, I miss the old girl!

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post #10 of 15 Old 10-21-2018, 12:25 AM
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I've got an 08.
Bought it with 6,000klm on the clock, it now has about 70,000 on it. It burned oil from the get go but at an entirely predictable and not excessive rate.
Burns about 500ml per 1000klm, maybe a bit more if I go hard (4500+rpm) for hours at a time.
Oil is cheap so I haven't done anything about it so far other than, as others have pointed out, checking the oil level regularly.
The bike still runs pretty much the same now with 70k on it as it did with 6k.

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