Kawasaki KLR Forum banner

1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey, y'all, I bought a 2013 KLR w/ 600 miles in 2017 (so practically new). I have put 15k miles on FAST—so fast, in fact, that I never made a deep dive into routine maintenance. Before my KLR, I spent years on a Beemer that didn't need adjustment in the frame that I owned it, so I'd never thought to do the procedure. Pushing through that embarrassing confession, I'm getting everything together to check and adjust the valves A.S.A.Yesterday, but I had a question in the meantime.

Given that I've FAR surpassed the maintenance interval for the valve check, is there anything else that I should be looking for? Any damage I may have already done to the head? Everything sounds very much the same as when I first started riding it (part of the reason I never thought to check), but might there be other problems to look for after riding 15,000 miles without a valve clearance adjustment?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,289 Posts
I would venture to say "nothing".

The first symptom of valves that are badly in need of adjustment is that the engine becomes hard to start. If your bike starts right up then there's very likely no problem with the valves. Not to say that they won't need adjustment, just that they are fully closing when they are supposed to.

The usual way that the head gets hurt is that the bike gets run out of oil and the cams get starved for lubrication. That takes out the exhaust cam's journals rather quickly. Anything after 2010 is usually not a defective oil burner, but all KLRs will burn oil (should say all 100mm bore thumpers, but...) when they are spun up. In the case of the KLR that translates to continuous operation over about 5k rpm. that's why we check the oil when before we get on and after we get off, regardless of how long we were on the bike. Make it a habit.

At 15k miles I can guarantee that your balancer chain adjustment lever (doohickey) quite being effective about 10k miles ago, so if you have not done that it should be high on your list.

What you find for valve clearance would be very interesting to know, as it is quite the unmolested specimen.
 
  • Like
Reactions: insan3guy

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Tom. I will remember to post my numbers, but might take a little while, as I also need to secure shop space somewhere. In the meantime, I'll follow my paranoia and grab my truck keys for the next couple weeks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
I may very well be wrong, but my owner's manual (2018 model) doesn't even list any valve train maint UNTIL 15K miles and then I think it only requires a clearance check so you really haven't been neglectful.
If tight it may not be hard to start cold, but after running and hot the exhaust valve will grow longer and then you will really notice it being hard to restart. I had an old ironhead Sportster that the valves had been adjusted a little too tight and it cranked right up when stone cold, but once hot you had to crank the hell out of it to get it restarted.

If you haven't ever adjusted the balancer chain I am sure it needs it though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
623 Posts
We’re suppose to check the valves on these things??!


Jk, my ‘16 owner manual says “check” at 15k also.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,289 Posts
The factory KLR600 manual interval for valve checks was every 5000 kilometers.

The Gen 1 factory manual was every 10000 kilometers.

The Gen 2 factory manual is every 24000 kilometers unless you don't live in North America, because then it is every 42000 kilometers. That may be due to the introduction of AIS. Dunno.

So yes, the current interval for a Gen 2 is every 15000 miles. By the by, do you know what changes were made to the valve train to accommodate the increase in the interval from the original 5000km 24000km? The answer is at the bottom of this post, hidden.

Bryce's numbers will be interesting because his bike will be the second I have heard of where no valve lash inspection was performed until 15000 miles. On the other one the clearance was zero.

The Gen 2 manual also increased the torque spec on the drain plug bolt by almost 25%. I believe that has contributed to the number of stripped drain plug problems that have occurred. When the manual contradicts common sense I tend to wonder about the change.

Absolutely nothing. So why change it?
 
  • Like
Reactions: pdwestman

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,684 Posts
Thanks, Tom. I will remember to post my numbers, but might take a little while, as I also need to secure shop space somewhere. In the meantime, I'll follow my paranoia and grab my truck keys for the next couple weeks.
bryce, please use & post 'thousands' of an inch, because I have not been able to find a Metric feeler gauge with increments of .025mm (.001inch)

.004 - .008 inches Intakes / .006 - .010 inches for Exhausts.
Always adjust to the Wide end of specs, (snug on the thickest feeler which will readily fit), because this type of valve train always Tightens, not Loosens.

I will also suggest that it is time to install the Eagle Mike Doo-Hickey & Torsion Spring Set on your Gen 2 unit.

Read & watch here, https://www.klrforum.com/2008-klr650-wrenching-mod-questions/14793-doohickey-got-fixed-gen2-bikes-right-ah-but-spring-spring.html
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,289 Posts
Minor thread jack.

This is one of those cases where the metric system doesn't work as well as the inch system, at least in shop practice. The metric system provides thickness gages that are really no more than "Go/No-Go" gages while the inch system provides for the almost-finite measurement of the existing lash.

The only exception that I have found is from Hawk and theirs is completely nuts in the other direction. They have feeler gage sets in .01mm graduations. You need six sets to cover from .11 to 1mm. Each set is $185.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lake Abilene

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
I did my valves at about 5000miles, only because I had everything apart for doohickey replacement. 2 valves were pretty tight, don't remember which two. Finding the right replacement shims was a PiTA. I refused to pay big $ for the complete set that I only needed 2 shims out of. And I couldnt find just the two that I needed online. My bike was apart for weeks while I worked the phones and talked to dozens of local shops. Eventually found a guy that let me sort through his spare parts bins measuring every shim I found with calipers. The scary part of this excercise was learning most motorcycle shops had no idea what a valve shim even is..... I'm at 12k now, don't think I'll look at the valves again till 20K. Make sure you put the marked side of the shim DOWN so that some poor schmuck doesnt need calipers to find the right one in a junk drawer later :^)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
623 Posts
Tight at 5000 eh?

I should check mine, now close to 10,000 miles. Reminds me, I’ve been slackin on service. Needs oil and filter too.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,684 Posts
I did my valves at about 5000miles, only because I had everything apart for doohickey replacement. 2 valves were pretty tight, don't remember which two. Finding the right replacement shims was a PiTA. I refused to pay big $ for the complete set that I only needed 2 shims out of. And I couldnt find just the two that I needed online. My bike was apart for weeks while I worked the phones and talked to dozens of local shops. Eventually found a guy that let me sort through his spare parts bins measuring every shim I found with calipers. The scary part of this excercise was learning most motorcycle shops had no idea what a valve shim even is..... I'm at 12k now, don't think I'll look at the valves again till 20K. Make sure you put the marked side of the shim DOWN so that some poor schmuck doesnt need calipers to find the right one in a junk drawer later :^)
I find your experience totally sad. But stocking parts can be a major investment for Quality Dealerships.
This little shop in the least populated state in the nation has tried to stock at least 2 each the Full selection of the Z1 / KZ / KLR sized shims since 1974. And sorry, I don't do mail orders!

Any Kawasaki dealership in the nation could have ordered the individual 2 sizes which you needed. Nowadays the aftermarket K&L shims are sold to dealers & service shops in 5 packs, that is a larger quantity than I prefer. But I may have to go that way.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,289 Posts
maxbmw has always been a good source for BMW stuff and KLR shims. They'll have them to you in four days as long as you are in the continental US.

They are a bit spendy on the shims, but you won't be down for weeks.

A very good outfit.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,289 Posts
Partzilla is another outfit I use for OEM parts. I like to support brick and mortar, but the Kawasaki dealers around here are für Scheiße. They are basically big box outfits that ran all of the real dealers out of business years ago and they are useless as boobs on a boar.

They can be hit or miss I currently have a brake lever spring that is on back order since mid-July and is expected to ship in mid-August. The balance of the order was held up for a day or so as they gathered the parts (it was an eclectic mix of seldom-ordered parts) but they got it out in an acceptable time frame.

I should think that, with shims, they'd get them out straight away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Thanks, all. I'm breathing a little easier, especially considering that I haven't noticed problems with starting, performance, noise, etc. I remember reading that the Clymer said first check at 15k, but this was not believable to me, as my BMW was something like 8,000 miles, and the KLR is, shall we say, not German-engineered. This was confirmed by pretty much all the forum-dwellers, some saying they had to adjust at the first oil change (not *check* at the first oil change, but actually adjust). Maybe I haven't been riding my bike hard enough.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
120 Posts
I just bought my ‘14 in June. After reading some posts I got all panicky and checked my valves. It had 11,400 ish miles at the time and judging by the bolt heads and sealer pattern the valve cover had never been off. My clearances were pretty much dead center of the range.

Nobody will mistake it as never off anymore as all I had was blue rtv to re-seal so on it went. Lol Lots of things can affect your wear like riding patterns, climate, oil type and viscosity, leaking or un-oiled air filter etc. if you didn’t whomp on it and took decent care otherwise it’s probably ok.

Incidentally I now have over 13k and seem to be noticing slightly more vibration. I’m guessing my balancer spring is out of its adjustment range. It can probably wait until winter unless the vibration becomes obvious. In the middle of a building project and just don’t have the time.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,684 Posts
EricZ, the KLR650 valve cover gasket will usually seal 100% oil tight with zero rtv useage even at the 'eye-balls' on the LH camchain tunnel.

But a Suzasaki KLX400/DRZ400 valve cover gasket will leak every time unless rtv is used on the 'eyeballs'!

Go figure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
120 Posts
Good to know thanks. I followed the manual and sealer was recommended. At least I was careful and wiped off as much as I could so there isn’t a big globby mess oozing out.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,684 Posts
Good to know thanks. I followed the manual and sealer was recommended. At least I was careful and wiped off as much as I could so there isn’t a big globby mess oozing out.
The problem with RTV is not how much is hanging around Outside, but how much is hanging INSIDE.

If there is as much inside as we see outside, the overhanging RTV can dis-lodge and fall into the oil sump. Then eventually the RTV streamers get sucked into the oil pump screen and we refer to them a gummy worms. Repeated applications over the years on areas like the valve cover or alternator covers can make quite a pile which could restrict the oil intake screen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
bryce, please use & post 'thousands' of an inch, because I have not been able to find a Metric feeler gauge with increments of .025mm (.001inch)

.004 - .008 inches Intakes / .006 - .010 inches for Exhausts.
Always adjust to the Wide end of specs, (snug on the thickest feeler which will readily fit), because this type of valve train always Tightens, not Loosens.

I will also suggest that it is time to install the Eagle Mike Doo-Hickey & Torsion Spring Set on your Gen 2 unit.

Read & watch here, https://www.klrforum.com/2008-klr650-wrenching-mod-questions/14793-doohickey-got-fixed-gen2-bikes-right-ah-but-spring-spring.html
This may be a dumb question, but since this type of valve train sort of works opposite of a pushrod / rocker system in that as things wear the valves get tighter instead of looser, it is because the seatsand valve faces wear and the valves sit deeper? If it is indeed the seats, weren't they sufficiently hardened to compensate for the lack of lead in the fuel? Are the seats that much softer than the tips of the stems and the shims? This subject has always perplexed me as to why the engineers wouldn't engineer a wear part, such as the shims that would wear letting the valves loosen vs tighten. Shims are much easier to change than valves, which are easier to change than seats. Why can't the valve faces and seats be hardened to the point that the easily replaceable shims would wear instead of valves and seats? Again, sorry for the stupid question.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,684 Posts
This may be a dumb question, but since this type of valve train sort of works opposite of a pushrod / rocker system in that as things wear the valves get tighter instead of looser, it is because the seatsand valve faces wear and the valves sit deeper? If it is indeed the seats, weren't they sufficiently hardened to compensate for the lack of lead in the fuel? Are the seats that much softer than the tips of the stems and the shims? This subject has always perplexed me as to why the engineers wouldn't engineer a wear part, such as the shims that would wear letting the valves loosen vs tighten. Shims are much easier to change than valves, which are easier to change than seats. Why can't the valve faces and seats be hardened to the point that the easily replaceable shims would wear instead of valves and seats? Again, sorry for the stupid question.
PaddyD,
Yes, the lack of lead to cushion the valve faces is part of the issue. But proper air filter maintenance is a bigger part, IMHO.

Then there is the valve seat width and the fact that every factory loves to cut corners to maximize the profit margin.

I've never seen a 3 angled and therefore properly narrowed valve seat width on a low performance atv or motorcycle engine. A 2 angled cut will easily get thru even most extended warranty periods. But a properly narrowed, 3 angled valve seat has Higher psi of seat contact pressure and therefore better sealing and better heat transfer, therefore less wear and erosion of the seat and the valve faces.

A rocker arm system would probably mean an even taller engine, a lower Redline and more frequent adjustments.

If one mis-maintains the air filter or has an accidental problem with the air filter, the wear of the softer intake valves and seats, which causes tightening of the clearance will allow a reasonably competent mechanic to catch the error because of hard starting. But a "once Dusted engine" will continue to consume engine oil and continue to tighten all of its valves, even the harder Exhaust valves.

Most motorcycles of this type are totally thrashed & trashed, abused & neglected, ignored & abandoned by probably the 30-40 thousand mile mark, anyway.

I think that my engine, which I rebuilt the top-end at 33,590 miles because of melted air box by the exhaust pipe mid-pipe gasket, has had each valve shim changed down ONE size in nearly 50,000 miles. I attribute this lack of wear to properly narrowed valve seats. The specs of which are, 0.8mm-1.2mm of width! That is 0.036"-0.048". I wish that I had a 'jewellers Lupe'.
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top