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Hey guys. I have been traveling around Africa for the past 11 months and 33 000 km on a KLR650 2007 along with 2 2009 KLR's.

My bike has been running perfectly until recently I noticed a substantial oil leak from the right side crank case cover. I checked the oil level and it did not seem damagingly low. However, since I repaired the leak my motorcycle has been eating through oil at an alarming rate-1 liter for 250km. With a slight ping in the engine when I open up at low revs.

I am currently in Khartoum in Sudan. I have a mechanic coming to assist with opening up the engine and assessing damage. I figured it could be piston rings (which I will edit from Toyota piston). Is there anything else I should look out for damage wise from possible oil deprivation or any suggestions that could assist in this endeavor?

Much obliged
 

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Where, exactly, was the oil leak and how did you repair it?

How low was the oil when you repaired it?

Have you been diligent about cleaning the air filter, re-oiling it, and properly fitting it back in place? Assuming that you are riding many unpaved roads, this would need to be done almost weekly. Paved roads, every oil change/5000KM.

Answers will help with diagnosis.

The mechanic should pull the right side exhaust cam cap and inspect for damage. If no damage, the head is good.

A possible cause is a dusted piston, the noise being piston slap. If so, a new piston, rings, and cylinder hone are required. If the piston ring lands are not broken, less rigorous fixes could get you going until proper repairs can be done.
 

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Hey Tom we are generally diligent with the cleaning of the air filter but on that occasion it had been about 2-3 weeks without a good clean with some desert sand etc. but the filter did not look overly bad when cleaned. Fitted properly. Oil looked black with a low viscosity. Serviced every 5000-5500 km and needs the 40 000 km service now.

I believe the oil leak occurred when I over filled the oil on the first service of the trip. But only about 4000 km ago she started sweating oil from the gasket around the crank case cover (front). Due to not having the correct seals to remove the crank case cover I used gasket maker to seal the area, with 100% success so far. No leak.

The small ping on acceleration has been happening for +\-1000 km but I thought it could be a carbon build up.
 

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Khartoum is a fairly modern city; I hope you have access to a head and base gasket and engine refurbishing services. That amount of oil consumption is alarming if it is not an external leak.

These air filters rely on oil in the filter to catch dust. Without sufficient oil worked into them they can not filter properly. It doesn't take much sand to dust a piston, and that destroys the rings' ability to control the oil on the cylinder wall. Pistons in engines that burn oil are usually very clean on the top of the piston. The burning oil tends to clean carbon off, so there would not be a carbon build up to cause pre-ignition and pinging or knocking. A pinging or knocking sound on a dusted piston is likely to be piston slap, as the piston is not running up and down smoothly, but rather rocking back and forth in the cylinder. The skirt is hitting the cylinder every time it reverses direction.

Unfortunately, the only way to check is to remove the head and cylinder to get a look at the piston.

Here is what a dusted piston looks like.


This one was pretty bad, burning a liter in several hundred kilometers. It had a loud piston slap, too.

The only fix, obviously, is a new piston, rings, and cylinder bore.

The other problem is the head. If it was run low on oil, to the point where there was no oil for the pick-up tube to stay submerged, and the head was starved of oil the first thing to go is the right-hand exhaust cam journal. Checking that will tell you if the head is ruined.

How much further do you have to go on your trip, what resources do you have for repairs and how good is your mechanic?
 
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Piston is broken. Bike in bits. Had a pretty big carbon build up ontop of the piston... What will I see if I see the right exhaust cam journal to diagnose complete ruin.

I have no gaskets available the mechanic stripped the whole engine while I was out. He Is going to search for another 50 piston tomorrow. This is a real African bush job going on 🙈🙈🙈 but mechanic comes highly recommended.
 

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I had a comment 90% written, got interrupted and lost it all. :(

I dislike reading simply that one cleaned or cleans their KLR air filter on a regular basis or an irregular basis.
I'm more concerned about how one Re-Oils the freshly cleaned air filter, with exactly what oil on what brand & style of air filter and how much oil is used.
If the air filter has been properly maintained, one ought to check the underside of the clean air box, ahead of the air filter for heat damage/melting (burnt hole from exhaust leak). As seen here,

Melted Reservoir, Dogs! (Airbox, too)



If the upper or middle ring land of the piston is what is broken it may have been caused by detonation caused by old/low octane fuel.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I used the oil that I used for the bike to oil the air filter generally 15w-40 then squeeze it. But it looks like this is oil depravation, 8000 km from home in a country with no Kawasaki's.
 

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I had a question, not to hijack....what are the telltale signs a PROPERLY OILED air filter is trapping all the dust? I ask because it can be a bit tricky for me sometimes to know for certain the filter medium is in good contact with the air box all the way around it, especially since the center screw has a stop lip on it to prevent over-tightening. My filter seems loose against the air box. I should grease that edge.
The clean air side of the plenum and carb throat look clean as best I can tell by shining flashlight in thru the screen, but is that a good enough judge?
 

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I had a question, not to hijack....what are the telltale signs a PROPERLY OILED air filter is trapping all the dust? I ask because it can be a bit tricky for me sometimes to know for certain the filter medium is in good contact with the air box all the way around it, especially since the center screw has a stop lip on it to prevent over-tightening. My filter seems loose against the air box. I should grease that edge.
The clean air side of the plenum and carb throat look clean as best I can tell by shining flashlight in thru the screen, but is that a good enough judge?
I use white grease on the filter lip; it helps with the seal and it's easy to check and see if any dirt was getting past.
As far as making sure it's seated, I wiggle the filter and cage assy several times during the tightening of the bolt to make sure it's seated in place.


2 cents,
Dave
 

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Sorry to hear about your misfortune.

If the piston was in one piece it might have been possible to clean it up and carry on for a bit.

Let's trust that your mechanic can get you going again, some way, somehow!
 

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I had a question, not to hijack....what are the telltale signs a PROPERLY OILED air filter is trapping all the dust? I ask because it can be a bit tricky for me sometimes to know for certain the filter medium is in good contact with the air box all the way around it, especially since the center screw has a stop lip on it to prevent over-tightening. My filter seems loose against the air box. I should grease that edge.
The clean air side of the plenum and carb throat look clean as best I can tell by shining flashlight in thru the screen, but is that a good enough judge?
Dan,

I'm going to do an article on filter maintenance with some Wierd Science collection of what gets trapped in a filter.

I'll copy the article into a thread on this forum. When I do I will move your post as the introduction to that thread.
 
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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the help so far so in this case of oil deprivation/ broken piston. What is the worst case scenario in regards to repairs.
I will need:
1x over sized piston
1x pin
1x gasket set
Etc.
What else can I expect to replace?
 

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You want the cam journals to look like this, nicely machined, clean, with no scoring:


If it looks anything like this the head is pretty much dead:

Photo courtesy of Geof at blog.geofcrowl.com

As to the parts you'll need for a rebuild (provided the head is in good shape), I'd say an oversize piston/rings, head gasket, base gasket, clutch cover gasket, water pump gasket, oil filter, cam tensioner gasket.

I've probably forgotten something. I hope @pdwestman will comment.

The reason for the clutch cover/water pump gasket is that it might be a good idea to open that side up and see what is in the oil strainer.

Can't help but wonder if filling the engine with a gallon of Varsol/mineral spirits/pant thinner to flush it would be a good idea...
 

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One should also replace the exhaust header pipe gasket. And either replace or anneal the 2 copper gaskets on the oil pipe banjo bolt.
 

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You want the cam journals to look like this, nicely machined, clean, with no scoring:


If it looks anything like this the head is pretty much dead:

Photo courtesy of Geof at blog.geofcrowl.com

As to the parts you'll need for a rebuild (provided the head is in good shape), I'd say an oversize piston/rings, head gasket, base gasket, clutch cover gasket, water pump gasket, oil filter, cam tensioner gasket.

I've probably forgotten something. I hope @pdwestman will comment.

The reason for the clutch cover/water pump gasket is that it might be a good idea to open that side up and see what is in the oil strainer.

Can't help but wonder if filling the engine with a gallon of Varsol/mineral spirits/pant thinner to flush it would be a good idea...
That journal is ugly!

What’s the story of the motor it was on?
 

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Hey guys. I have been traveling around Africa for the past 11 months and 33 000 km on a KLR650 2007 along with 2 2009 KLR's.

My bike has been running perfectly until recently I noticed a substantial oil leak from the right side crank case cover. I checked the oil level and it did not seem damagingly low. However, since I repaired the leak my motorcycle has been eating through oil at an alarming rate-1 liter for 250km. With a slight ping in the engine when I open up at low revs.

I am currently in Khartoum in Sudan. I have a mechanic coming to assist with opening up the engine and assessing damage. I figured it could be piston rings (which I will edit from Toyota piston). Is there anything else I should look out for damage wise from possible oil deprivation or any suggestions that could assist in this endeavor?

Much obliged
If your piston skirts look like Toms supplied pics and air box/air filter is not part of the cause, you need to further diagnose the cause.


Being as this issue may have began after clutch cover removal and reinstallation I'm wondering if by any chance that the Brown Oil Seal inside of the clutch Cover could have been disturbed or damaged when the clutch cover was recently off.

The brown seal seals the oil passage to the crankshaft bottom rod bearing and therefore to the cylinder wall, piston & rings.
Too little volume of oil flow thru the bearing and onto cylinder wall could have initiated this failure.

If a piece of shop rag was inadvertently left stuck in the RH tip of the crankshaft or in the oil passage at 6:00 in the oil filter cavity which leads to the brown seal, it could be pushed/flushed by oil pressure into the hollow crankshaft oil passage.
 

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That journal is ugly!

What’s the story of the motor it was on?
The story is at the link under the picture. Long story short, the guy bought the bike in that condition and rebuilt it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thank you so much! You guys are epic. The head is in perfect condition 🎉🎉🍻🍻🍻😁. So will do the rebore an oversized piston move, including assorted gaskets.
 
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