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Discussion Starter #1
Well its a bad news day for me. :25: It looks like I won't be riding for a while. A week ago my bike had been running beautifully (if a bit rich). But I went to start it and it wouldn't fire. I came home after work and started it. It took a few extra kicks but fired up and ran like normal. It was just warm enough to idle normally when it simply and quickly died. When I went to kick it over again there was no compression.

I checked it a few days later and magically there was compression again and it fired up, ran for a few seconds and stalled again. There was a little rattling in the top end but I thought it was just dry from sitting so long. Next kick = no compression.

Today I took the valve cover off (for my first time), suspecting a stuck KACR. Nope, most of the compression release mechanism seems to be missing!



No weights, no spring, and a sheared pin. There's also some timing chain rub marks on the valve cover. I verified with the previous owner that the KACR WAS intact when he last adjusted the valves (just before I bought it ~500 miles ago). I couldn't find any pieces anywhere in the head and I figure they must have fallen down the timing chain passage. Of course you can't see much of anything under the camshafts, so there's no telling.

It turns over fine by hand, the valves all seem to open and close like they should and feels like it has compression again. The black stuff next to the cam lobe on the camshaft retainer is just some engine assembly lube. But I'm definitely afraid to try and start it.

I'll be taking the side cover(s) off tomorrow to see if I can find the pieces but unfortunately I don't know how many pieces I'm looking for. I've never really seen an intact KACR and the parts diagram is not that detailed.

I'm thinking that even if I find what I think are all the pieces, I should still probably take the camshafts out. And at that point, I might as well do a top end rebuild... at 11000 miles.

I don't know any different but I think its possible that the KACR hasn't worked since the first day I owned it and flipped it in a creek crossing. I remember it being easier to turn over when I was test riding it. I don't know.

Anyway, I'd love your input and ideas. Do I need any special tools to rebuild the valves or rings?

- Ian
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Maybe nobody even read this post, but for anyone who's interested... I believe I was mistaken. I.E. the KACR didn't break, it was previously removed.
:mad0235:
I have taken the bike apart and the engine is in pieces on my bench. I have found no broken pieces anywhere and absolutely no signs of damage or impact of any sort from pieces (which are larger than the spaces they would have had to traverse to end up in the bottom end).

I did, however, find a badly-honed cylinder and shot rings. It looked (and felt) like someone had honed the cylinder wall with 80 grit sandpaper! No wonder it burned a ton of oil! So I took the cylinder to a machine shop to be done right and ordered new rings. They are in the mail now along with a ton of other maintenance parts.

And I'm painting:

I'm borrowing my idea from the ninja:

So I guess someone had cut off the compression release, and sure enough, I took a closer look at the exhaust cam, at the pin I thought was sheared; it looks like it was cut, not broken or sheared. Uneven pattern with parallel curved ridges and burnt/blued spots; sharp edges.:18:

So now to reassemble with new rings, gaskets and seals, adjust valves. Then jet and tuning. Then custom vapor speedo aluminum dash and build a luggage rack.

All before a 1000 mile OBX ride in 12 days!:wacko:
 

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A suggestion; take a good look at the camshaft journals, machined in the head, as well as the cam caps, before you button up the top end.

Here's an image of a friend's KLR650 (I realize you're talking KLR250) innards, whose KACR grenaded on him; first the exploded KACR:



Now, maybe a view of the exhaust cam journal carnage:



Cam cap, nearest KACR:



The disintegrating KACR took out the valve cover and one of its bolts; the owner's looking at replacing the cylinder head (complete), new exhaust cam, and valve cover, minimum. All the KACR parts are not evident; likely descended the cam chain well into the sump . . .

So, I guess we don't know what happened to your KLR250 KACR or when; if the scenario's anything like my friend's, you don't want to put it back together without a thorough inspection of the exhaust camshaft, its journals and cam cap bearing halves.

Sounds like your cylinder was whole enough you do not have to bore for oversize piston and rings; if that's the case, consider yourself fortunate!

Regardless, best of luck with the repair.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your reply and heads up!

But yep I've gone over everything up there. Journals, camshafts, caps, valves bolts, valve cover; all look perfect and are well within spec (both manuals and digital caliper measured). Initially I searched the web and related forums extensively for broken kacr info and found very few cases. But they all resulted in a top end catastrophe at the least; like your friend. The only thing out of place is the cam chain rub marks, but I also just found out there was a manual cam chain tensioner installed, which I had never checked. So it could have been loose causing enough slap to account for the rub marks on the valve cover. I did measure the chain and its also in spec.

Still I set out to crack open the bottom end. Got stuck at the flywheel; ordered the wrong puller the first time, can't find an M20 x 1.5 bolt anywhere locally (including machine and motorcycle shops), and totally out of time. Plus everybody with motorcycle mechanics knowledge that I have spoken to (cycle works racing, krieger cam tensioners, local shop, machine shop) have all agreed that if the ACR broke it would have left serious visible signs on its journey into the sump. I've shaken the bottom end upside down and put the crankshaft and trans through countless rotations forward and back. Smooth, quiet and everything works as it should.

So, let's just say I'm ready to just trust that its going to work out.

Its late summer beach time!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh, also yes, the cylinder was bored 1mm over with a 75mm wossner piston. The honing only took off another 0.0005" so I'm good with a new set of rings!
 

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Great news, ilmontgo!

Sounds like you're on your way to "golden" status!

Will you install an exhaust cam with KACR, or . . . do without? Kick-starting may require more force, with a new piston and rings and no compression release . . .

Keeping manual chain tension adjuster?

Regardless, congratulations on your productive, constructive rebuild; you talked to the right people, and did the right things.

As to a rotor puller bolt, I think the KLR250 Service Manual mentions this part as a "special tool," (oh, heck; now I must look it up!). Yes, "Flywheel Puller," part # 57001-1196.

A cryptic remark appears,
The rotor puller (57001-1216) can be used instead of the flywheel puller (57001-1196).
If you're on sufficiently good terms with a Kawasaki dealership shop, maybe a loan of a Kawasaki "special tool" is possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
No, I'm not going to get a new camshaft. The ones that are in there look great except for the KACR. And since now I know I've never had a compression release, I understand why I always had to stand on the left peg to kick it over! But you're right, it might be even harder now with the new rings! My shin is going to get pissed when I knock the $%[email protected] out of it a couple times but it'll be fine. I also consider high compression and no KACR to be a bit of "drunk-proofing!"

I've ordered a Krieger manual cam chain tensioner. The one that was on there was the blue ebay one and it looked shotty and didn't have much adjustment left despite a cam chain on the short end of spec. I saw his posts on the ADV forum and totally respected his knowledge. I do wish the previous owner had told me it was manual!

There seem to be several "special tools" such as the kick start seal assister, the water pump seal driver, the magneto holder, and of course the flywheel puller!

So I got the rings and gaskets/seals today and put the bottom end all back together. Tomorrow is the top end, and more painting (FYI; acetone melts bandaid adhesive, which, when touched to a surface and subsequently painted, repels enamel paint...).

Thanks for the well wishes and support Damocles. What part of the world do you call home?
 

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Hey ilmontgo,

I don't think you will have an issue kicking over the 250 w/o the KACR. I got rid of mine on a 650 and never had an issue with it turning over, cant even tell a difference except it seems to fire off faster. Just a useless piece of weight hanging off the end of your exhaust cam, IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Just a useless piece of weight hanging off the end of your exhaust cam, IMHO.
Probably precisely why it was removed in the first place... At least I believe and sure hope so. I hope to find out Friday. Paint is drying, engine is reassembled, engine goes in tomorrow and button it up Friday.

Incidentally, I got the Krieger manual cam tensioner today and it seems much higher in build and design quality than the ebay one. It also has a significantly longer adjustment bolt, an o-ring, and a gasket that fits right! I had to make my last gasket because ebay one sucked so much.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I also consider high compression and no KACR to be a bit of "drunk-proofing!"
Clarification: I am actually speaking not of myself, but of other drunk people who tend to want to ride it OFF-ROAD and fail to start it. On or off-road, bad idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It's a great bike again!

Went back together just fine! As you can see, I did go with black on the seat.


Man it was tough to start the first time though! It had been so long I forgot that I shouldn't use any throttle when starting it, so I flooded it immediately. This combined with tons of compression from new rings, lucas oil stabilizer (for break-in), and a non-existant compression release had me kicking it for about a half hour before she finally fired up. I bruised the top of my foot and my shin... but a small price to pay! By the way, now it starts on the 1st or 2nd kick every time, no problem!

That was on a Saturday night. The following day I tuned it and rode it for 5 hours. I accidentally left a little of the old gasket on the left side of the engine so it leaked some oil but I wanted to change the oil anyway, so a quick removal of the side cover was all that was really needed. Then I rode it to work on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and changed the oil again.

I built a rack/platform from scrap steel (those hose clamps have since been flipped upside down, also there is a portion of it which goes under the seat and mounts to the fender bolts):

And built a dash from scrap aluminum for my Vapor speedo/tach and added a USB charger port:


Then on Thursday, I set out with two buddies on our 6-day, 870 mile trip across NC to the Outer Banks and back!

The valve cover gasket seemed to have a little blowout at one point but the leak is very minimal so I'll leave it until I go back in to adjust the valves - soon. The vinyl dye worked well but has exposed the blue underneath just slightly where the creases from my legs are. The paint does not tolerate gasoline well. When I have time, I will re-paint and add a clear satin polyurethane coat to the tank.

Other than those few cosmetic issues, the Bike rode like a dream! We stuck to back roads where my Grasshopper Jr was fantastic but on a short jaunt on I-95, it did just fine. I remember passing a tractor-trailer at 75 mph and feeling the bike's 285lbs get tossed all over the road, but not for a moment did I doubt the bike's capacity to handle it with grace!

My riding partners both had bikes that were better suited for the journey; Joe, a 1995 Honda Shadow 600, and Richard, a 2004 KLR 650.

However it was Grasshopper Jr that got the most attention! Most people couldn't believe that I was riding it (especially a kick-start) on such a long journey, but everyone admired its looks! In Ocracoke, one guy took off out of his workplace and ran across the street to find out what it was. Another guy asked me if it was a BMW... really?

A few small lessons...
1. I should have changed the rear sprocket. It had a 40 tooth sprocket (compared to factory 44 tooth) and I had bought a 42 tooth, but decided to stick with the 40 for more top end. It seemed to be fine riding around Charlotte, but as it turns out, the RPM in 6th gear was a bit low around 60-70 mph. I kept having to downshift and that was our speed for pretty much the whole trip.
2. I should have changed the chain. I had bought a new one but the old one had plenty of adjustment left so I stuck with it. Well, despite constant oilings, I ended up having to adjust it every couple of fill-ups because it just kept stretching... faster and faster. So by the time we got home, it was pretty much at the end of the adjustment range. But hey, it made it anyway!

In all, it was a fantastic trip! If anyone would like to read more about it, I have started a chronicle on my blog.
 

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Glad to hear, a job well done, led to a great ride and many fond memories, Cheers to you.
pdwestman
 

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Sounds like you are really enjoying your KLR250. I bought a new 2001 KLR250 years ago. I don't have it any more, but sure wish I still had it. Mine was a great starting bike. It could sit for a month in the dead of winter and, if I used my sure fire starting procedure, it would fire off with one kick every time. Mine blew up under warranty on a long weekend riding with a friend of mine. A small piece of silicone gasket sealer broke off and plugged the oil supply to the top end. You can imagine what happened next. All fixed under warranty. As a large truck mechanic, I learned early to go very easy on sealers, as this can happen. Though it was a bit of work to get down to the screw type valve adjusters, it was no big deal.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I've been looking for a good used BMW K75, and for some reason, they Keep showing up in Hawaii... Also, I bet a KLR 250 would be fantastic for Hawaii!

I'm going to open the top end, check/adjust valves and cam chain tension, and put a new valve cover gasket in today. Hopefully that will take care of my little oil leak. Normally, the oil leak is so small I don't worry about it but I just took the Riders Skill Test at the DMV and it was idling a whole lot and would occasionally drip a drop of oil on the header and smoke. Kindof embarrassing for a recently rebuilt motor...
 
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