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Hi, I just picked up a 1986 KLR 600 as a project for cheap. I'm starting to realize a may have made a mistake. Looks like parts are nonexistent. Anyway, the problem I'm having right now is the starter motor is turning but it's not turning the motor over. Any idea what this problem might be? Thanks in advance.
 

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There are more parts available than you may realize; a lot are common with the 650. At the very least, stuff can be adapted.

Case in point, the electric starter system. It's all quite common with the 650. It is a simple system, too. There is the starter motor, a pair of reduction gears, and a big-ass ring gear with a sprag clutch.

The reduction gears are also an anti-kickback device to protect the start motor. They are designed to slip under a heavy load.

Going through the starter motor driveline, here are the things that could be wrong.

The starter motor is making some kind of noise, but is really not spinning.
The spur gear that is on the starter motor shaft is completely stripped.
The reduction gears' anti-kickback feature is slipping.
The sprag clutch is shot.
There are stripped gears somewhere in the drivetrain.

You don't mention any horrible and depressing noises while engaging the starter, so stripped gears would seem unlikely.

The reduction gears are pretty robust and it would seem like there would have to be something wrong with the engine in order for those things to screw up, but it's worth checking. @pdwestman may have some experience with high-mileage reduction gears. In fact, I hope he'll give his opinion on what the issue could be.

The sprag clutch is easy to check. It should easily spin in a clockwise direction but should lock up solid in the counter-clockwise direction.

Unfortunately, you have to take it apart to find out what is and isn't working right. The parts are not terribly expensive.

Have you started it with the kick-starter or by bump starting it and does it run normally?
 

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I would like to read Daniels replies before adding any diagnostic input.
 

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Thank you for your response. The bike is at my twin brother's house. We are working on this project together. I will be able to give you a better response when I go over later. I cant bump start the bike at the moment because the clutch cable seems to be bad. I'm guessing I need to replace this cable before i do anything else.
 

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There is something quite wrong with that thing.

It should take this much effort just to turn the engine over with the kickstart:

Do you have an air compressor with an air nozzle? Dou you have a compression tester with a 12mm adapter?

I'd suggest that you blow out or vacuum out the area around the spark plug, remove the spark plug, and see if you have any compression at all.

Also, remove the valve cover and check for the valve lash. If it is huge, your valves may be bent.

These are but a couple of suggestions; you're going to need to dig a bit deeper into that thing to figure out what the issue(s) may be.

If you have any photos you'd like to share you will need to have 15 posts before you can put them up. In the meantime, you may e-mail them to me at the address in my signature and I'll post them up for your.
 

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Thank you, Tom. I pulled the valve cover off and everything inside looks clean and nothing appears to be broken. When I kick it over the chain, the rocker arms and the valves all seem to turn over just fine. However, when I use the electric start nothing happens. What do you mean by valve lash? I'm going to remove the crankcase cover next and see what it looks like inside. I really appreciate your help.
 

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It would seem you have at least two problems. One, the e-start doesn't do what it should. Two, you have no compression.

I say that you have no compression because you can easily stroke the kickstart from what appears to be a relaxed position with tennis shoes on. If you had compression you'd have to jump on that thing pretty good and you would not want to do it with tennies on unless you needed to have broken metatarsals. No, you may not inquire as to how I would happen to know that...

It's not going to start with no compression, so you should focus on that issue first. What I see in your case is not evidence of low compression, but evidence of no compression. It's just going "whoosh". I think that one likely cause of low compression would be bent valves. When valves bend they get stuck slightly open because the stem is bent and they cannot retract to the fully closed position. That leaves a large gap between the cam and the shim that sits on top of the bucket. Normally this gap, known as valve lash, is on the order of .005" - .010" and is measured with thin feeler gauges. If the valves are bent this gap could be .05" to .1". In other words, comparatively huge.

This issue can be determined easily without any further disassembly. Simply place the cams in the closed position. Looking at the engine from the right side (easiest in your case, as you will operate the kick lever) move the lever until the front valve's (exhaust) lobe points at 2ish-o'clock and the aft cam's (intake) lobe points at 10ish-o'clock.

Use a feeler gauge set to measure the gap between the heel of the cam and the shim. If it is much over .010" you likely have bent valves.

If they are not bent then you'll wind up doing further tear down to find the issue.

When you remove the left side cover you may find the problem with the starter by referring to some of the things mentioned in post #2.
 

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This, courtesy of Grassroots Motorsports, should help you envision what's in there and what you need to check.

 

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Thank you for your response. The bike is at my twin brother's house. We are working on this project together. I will be able to give you a better response when I go over later. I cant bump start the bike at the moment because the clutch cable seems to be bad. I'm guessing I need to replace this cable before i do anything else.
Hi, this is Don, Dan's brother. Okay so not only does the electric starter not engage the motor, but when I kick start the motor it has plenty of resistance and is rather hard to kick over, but it doesn't feel like the motor is turning over. I made a couple of quick videos so you can see what it's doing. Please help! youtube.com/watch?v=OXZC1g6IObg

youtube.com/watch?v=WhqgmeWYmro
Guys, I'm afraid that that poor bike has got more problems than you have got money & skill to deal with.

Tom is correct, it sounds and appears to have ZERO engine compression. The KLR600 does not have rocker arms in the valve train. The valves are operated directly by the cam lobes.

In the 1st video, that yurrr rrrekkk, yurr rrrekkk, yur rrrekkk sound is actually the starter motor being dragged thru its rotation by a LOCKED UP starter ring Gear And Sprag Clutch assembly. We can make the same sound by using a 19mm socket on the LH crankshaft flywheel bolt & turning our engines Backwards or CW.
 

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I watched both videos and I'm not an expert by any means, but the starter motor turns with the engine when kicked over, and freewheels when using the electric starter. Is it possible to install the sprag clutch backwards? For example reverse the position of the springs and rollers in the one way clutch so that it only allows rotation opposite to what is was originally designed to do? It's been a long time since I've seen one of those up close, so I'm not even sure it is possible to mess that up, but who knows?

Wayne
 

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Remove the starter and put it on the bench and try to kick it over. If it makes the same noise the engine is locked up. Otherwise the starter is engaged and hasn’t released.
 

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Thanks for all your help guys. Looks like its not worth fixing. We will be parting this thing out to get our money back. Thanks again!
I am sorry it is not working out for you. On the bright side, let me know how much you want for the kick start assembly. If the price is right, I will buy it to do a kick start conversion on my 650.
 

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I expect Dan and Don have given up on this BUT the starter is not turning the engine over,when my spragg went on two bikes it would grab then not-- grab then not and made a hell of a noise, all this is doing is spinning,take off the big slotted plastic bung on the rotor side press the stater and see if the 19mm nut you can see is spinning,I say it wont be.
Take out the oil filler plug on the clutch side and kick it over the basket will be turning BUT some of the clutch plates wont be becuase I say the engine is not moveing and when you are kicking it over all you are doing is feeling clutch slip/drag.
You dont need a compression tester to check compression just take plug out and put your thumb over the plug hole tight,if you have good compression you will fell the force and it will try to pop you thumb up (if you want to know how much compression you will need a tester) a bit of tissue shoved in the hole not too tight will pop up into the air,yes I have done that.
I say the engine is locked up may be top end or the balance chain has snapped and jammed (what you lot call the Doohicky never done one yet had many still got two 600 and four ish 650 take the roter covers both of them off and adjust the tentioner manualy only ever adjusted once per bike).
If you want to check for bent valves top dead center the engine and check the gaps if bent two of them at least will have huge gaps where the valves havent shut.
I am not an expert this may be complete bolloks I have said just trying to help.
And hello everyone.
 
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