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Hi,

So I got a 2008 model fairly recently, and this being my first motorcycle, I'm still trying to get the feels for what is normal and what isn't. It has already seen ~90k km, and I'm the 5th owner, with the 4th only owning it for a few month so maintenance records are close to non-existent.
(Almost) everything felt fine enough for a newbie like me until recently, after riding it for ~1k km, it developed a new rattling noise in the left side engine cover. I knew the doohikey had not been replaced (said the previous guy) so I took the occasion to do it, bought Eagle Mike's and when to town.

Upon opening the left cover, it clearly became apparent one of the previous owners had a very straightforward approach to mechanics, one that did not very much care about anything but the short term end result.
The screws for the two layers of the cover and the sproket guard (different length) where happily mixed together and 3 had been replaced by whatever the guy had lying around - ones with heads too big that were a real pain to unscrew.

Inside, I found that the spring was missing, the original doo adjusted to maximum tension (completely rotated clockwise), and tension adjuster bolt (the one accessible from the outside) had been cut. The two functions of the adjuster bolt where now shared by a new, short screw to block the adjuster, and the remainder of the original bolt (the part with the o-ring) to plug the hole in the cover. The OEM doo itself looked perfectly fine though.
Also, lots of scratch marks on the inside of the case, and the inside face of the chain, I assume from the spring breaking loose and getting in the mechanism. And places where the chain started to saw the case (under the tension adjuster gear mostly), the usual >_>.

Pics here : the bolt that has been cut, the doo before intervention, damage to the inside side of the chain :










The thing I'm not sure about is the length of the balancer chain. Now that I have a clean doo installed with torsion spring, the tension adjuster gear shaft seems to be rotated so much that it pushed the chain very very close to the case. And when I try to pull the chain perpendicularly (before tensioning) it has quite a bit of lateral play.

So here's the question: how would I estimate if the chain needs to be replaced? as far as I can tell its damage seems, while visible, still marginal. Yet the way the previous guy did things (put as much tension as he could and leave it there with no means to adjust it again) seems like a recipe for premature wear to me.

Thanks!
 

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BALANCER CHAIN LENGTH SPEC:
It should be replaced when the 20 link/21 pin length reaches 193.4 mm: New 20 link length is 190.5mm From 2008 KLR

The balancer chain seems to almost never wear out. Most likely because it is running in a bath of oil. On my 2008 KLR at 97,000 miles length =191mm, almost the same as new.

The loss of adjustment range comes from compression of the rubber shoulders on the sprockets. The chain links ride on those shoulders and as the rubber gets compressed over time, the effective diameter of the sprockets get smaller and the chain gets looser.

On my 2008 I rotated the chain by one tooth in the same direction on all the sprockets including the crankshaft sprocket so there was no change in the balancer timing and gained 1/2" of adjustment range on the doohickey. This is because the inside links now run on uncompressed rubber where the outside links ran before and vice versa.

You can also replace a sprocket to get new rubber and gain adjustment range. The doohickey sprocket is the cheapest and easiest.
 

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I wonder if the doo is 1/2 turn out on the eccentric shaft. The guy may have turned it to make it line up when he abortionized the system.
JJ
 

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I wonder if the doo is 1/2 turn out on the eccentric shaft. The guy may have turned it to make it line up when he abortionized the system.
JJ
I don't think so. Compare this with your last photo: 2008 Kawasaki KLR650 (KL650E8F) Balancer | CyclePartsNation Kawasaki Parts Nation

Can you take a look at the other sprockets to see of their rubber shoulders have been worn down badly, causing more slack? I have seen some with chunks torn out.

Also, for what it is worth, the Eagle doo is clocked for about 10 or 15 degrees more range in clockwise rotation.
 

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I see what is throwing me off. The EagleMike Doohicky is clocked differently. If that was a EM doohicky the retaining bolt would be 1/2 way along the adjustment slot rather than at the end of the slot as is shown in picture 2. That is an other advantage of the EM Doohicky, more adjustment range before replacing the balancer chain. As shown in pic 2 the factory doo is out of or nearly out of adjustment. If Xevel buys an Eagle mike Doohicky he won't have to replace the balancer chain.

Damn! You beat me on the clocking difference.
jj
 

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........................ If Xevel buys an Eagle mike Doohicky he won't have to replace the balancer chain.

Damn! You beat me on the clocking difference.
jj
An Eagle doohickey would obviously help with its extra range, but as I mentioned, I doubt that the chain is actually worn beyond its service limits. More than likely, the slack is caused by wear on the rubber shoulders on the sprockets.

If you remove the sprockets and/or the chain for inspection and measurement, you need to make sure you know where the alignment marks are and can find them on the chain, sprockets and shafts (paint or scratch mark them) for re installation. A service manual is very handy for this.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey guys, thanks a lot for the feedback.

Indeed, with the Eagle Mike doo now in place, there is a lot more room for adjustment, before taking any other action.
I ordered the replacement to my missing/damaged parts today (are they made of solid unobtanium to be that expensive???) and it's going to be at least 2 weeks before I receive them, so I'm going to temporarily put the shitty bolts back like the previous guy did, as much as it pains me.
This will allow for a "half-way" test, where only the doo has been changed, and when I open it up again to put the new parts, maybe I'll have a try at inspecting the rubber shoulders and measuring the chain.

@ Tom Schmitz : thanks for the images, I'll be more careful next time with the hosting.
 

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Xevel,
In pic #3 it appears that the spring pin and the spring Lever are grooved.

This is caused by an un-Tightened Doo, which allows a 'Trench' to be worn into the inner cover under the OEM doo. As seen at the LH edge of the oem doo in pic #2.

On a unit that I found in this condition, I used a Dremel burr in a drill press to re-level the case. I was concerned that the EM doo might get 'wedged' into the trench.

On another unit years prior, I used a Dremel burr to relieve the bolt casting under the eccentric doo adjuster to allow the EM doo and torsion spring 'space' to operate. As the chain links were already touching the bolt casting. Eagle Mike does know about this potential interference point. Normally the chain won't wear the far!
 

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GoMotor and jeff have you covered.......I just had to say: WOW......never underestimate the stupidity of the DPO!


Cheers,
Dave
 

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Xevel,
In pic #3 it appears that the spring pin and the spring Lever are grooved.

This is caused by an un-Tightened Doo, which allows a 'Trench' to be worn into the inner cover under the OEM doo. As seen at the LH edge of the oem doo in pic #2.

On a unit that I found in this condition, I used a Dremel burr in a drill press to re-level the case. I was concerned that the EM doo might get 'wedged' into the trench.

On another unit years prior, I used a Dremel burr to relieve the bolt casting under the eccentric doo adjuster to allow the EM doo and torsion spring 'space' to operate. As the chain links were already touching the bolt casting. Eagle Mike does know about this potential interference point. Normally the chain won't wear the far!
I noticed that notch on the spring pin and assumed it was made on purpose along with the other "innovative solutions" seen here in order to keep a loose spring from slipping off the pin. I have seen that happen once before.

I also suspect Xevel will need to do something to gain back some more adjustment range even with the enhanced clocking of the Eagle doo.
1. Rotate the chain one tooth on all sprockets for fresh rubber on the shoulders. (cheapest)
2. Replace some sprockets for new rubber. Also inspect the rubber on the sprockets.
3. Cut some relief in the bolt bosses directly below the chain.
4. Replace the chain if it is out of spec. (hopefully not)
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Hi,

As I mentioned in my previous post I put everything back together, and changed the oil filter (it was due soon anyway, so why not).
As I feared, the old oil filter has lots of metal chips in it. Anyway, I went on to start the bike.

I am now the proud owner of a cricket machine by the sound of it. The chain clings and rattles happily - and loudly. I ran it for about a minute tops.

I suppose it's either the "trench" that pdwestman talks about which prevents the new doo from doing its job (it did not feel _too_ bad when I assembled it... the chain seemed reasonably under tension. I guess I was wrong), or the problem(s) mentioned by GoMotor, leading to the outside of the chain rattling against the case.
In any case, the cover is going to get off again, and I'll have to clean some stuff up before I run it again.

Thanks for the detailed list GoMotor BTW.
Just so I'm perfectly clear on the "rubber on the sprocket" thingy: is that a separate part (that can be ordered individually), or is it an integral part of the sprocket? For example should I order a new idler sprocket (ref 39133-1060) or is that a different ref?
From the exploded views I would lean towards the "it's a part of the sproket" answer.

Thanks a lot guys.
 

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Yes the rubber is part of the sprockets. I didn't want to buy new sprockets, so I just moved the chain around to get uncompressed rubber under the chain links. Below is some repetition on this topic.

I am going to guess that the rubber is worn down enough on the sprockets to cause enough extra slack that the new Eagle doohickey can push the chain down enough while trying to tighten it that the chain can bounce on the bosses for the bolts on the bottom of the case. Remember the Eagle doo has extra adjustment range and can push the idler sprocket down farther to tighten the chain.

You might want to do one or both of the following.

You can cut away part of those bosses directly below the chain without hurting anything. I did. This will help keep the chain from rattling on the bottom of the case.

Next, the chain does not ride on the metal between the sprocket teeth. I rides on the rubber. Look at the rubber on the sprockets. You can see compressed flat spots where the inside links and outside links have been ridding on the rubber. If you rotate the chain one tooth in the same direction on all the sprockets, the links (inside and outside) will ride on the high spots of uncompressed rubber next to the low spots. This will take up a lot (1/2") of the slack. Then the doo will have to be moved back a good way counter clockwise to properly adjust the chain and will not push the chain down so low.

It is important to move the chain exactly one tooth on all the sprockets including the crankshaft to avoid messing up the timing of the balancing weights. If you do this, I would mark a tooth and the link that fits over it on all the sprockets. If you get messed up, there are instructions in the service manual for aligning the sprockets on their shafts and the chain on the sprockets. The silver colored links in the chain are for that purpose.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Awesome! GoMotor thank you very much, I see what you mean now.
The bumps and flat spots (or more accurately inner and outer flat spots) are clearly visible on the idler, in the second pic.

Might be a few weeks before I do this(these) fixe(s) as I would prefer not to remove the rotor of the alternator too many times and I still have to install the new doohickey bolt that I ordered (which it seems to me requires the starter gear to be removed).
I think I'll move the chain, and clean (deburr, flatten, and smooth out) the "trench" under the doo to let it do its job. With these two changes I might not have to grind the bosse under the idler.

If however it appears that I have to grind the bosse, how would you recommend I prevent the debris from flying around and end up in the rest of the mechanism? Altering the covers (like drilling the hole for the torsion spring or smoothing out the "trench") is comparatively simple as I can just work on and clean the part in isolation. Working with a grinder wheel or a file on parts with lots of greasy stuff in close proximity that will want to move freely afterward is a different ball game.
Would you clean the whole thing with degreaser before to prevent filings from sticking then maybe remove them with compressed air? Or maybe isolate the area worked on from the rest by building a makeshift cover? If I had to do it right now I would go with the second option (build an ad-hoc guard from cardboard & blu-tack), but "there must be a better way"...

EDIT: also:
1) if I was to turn the chain inside out (so that the inner side became the outer side), would that cause any problem? As can be seen in the 4th pic the inner side has sustained some damage (crushing parts of a broken spring?) and I would naturally try to get the least damaged side to touch the rubber.
2) when you say to rotate the chain by just 1 link, do you actually mean to rotate it by any odd number (just so that inner links and outer links are swapped, while keeping the relative position of each sprocket), or is the number "1" specific for some reason?
 

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.......If however it appears that I have to grind the bosse, how would you recommend I prevent the debris from flying around and end up in the rest of the mechanism? Altering the covers (like drilling the hole for the torsion spring or smoothing out the "trench") is comparatively simple as I can just work on and clean the part in isolation. Working with a grinder wheel or a file on parts with lots of greasy stuff in close proximity that will want to move freely afterward is a different ball game.
Would you clean the whole thing with degreaser before to prevent filings from sticking then maybe remove them with compressed air? Or maybe isolate the area worked on from the rest by building a makeshift cover? If I had to do it right now I would go with the second option (build an ad-hoc guard from cardboard & blu-tack), but "there must be a better way"...

EDIT: also:
1) if I was to turn the chain inside out (so that the inner side became the outer side), would that cause any problem? As can be seen in the 4th pic the inner side has sustained some damage (crushing parts of a broken spring?) and I would naturally try to get the least damaged side to touch the rubber.
2) when you say to rotate the chain by just 1 link, do you actually mean to rotate it by any odd number (just so that inner links and outer links are swapped, while keeping the relative position of each sprocket), or is the number "1" specific for some reason?
Before cutting with mey small Dremel on the bosses, I cleaned the area with solvent on a brush. Covered the openings into the case with foil sealed at the edges with grease. Used a shop-vac suction next to the cutting wheel on the Dremel. Then cleaned the area with solvent on a brush afterwords.

No problem with turning the chain inside out, but I doubt you can do it. No master link. If you do, make sure the color coded links are marked on both sides so you can line then up with the punch marks on the sprockets.

Nothing magical about rotating by just one link. Any odd number will swap the inner and outer links on the rubber. Going just one link helps keep the color coded links close to their original orientation to their marked teeth.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Hello,

So I received the parts I ordered to fix what was obvious: the bold that holds the doo, and a few little things here and there. Damn bolt cost me 25 NZD (17.5USD), and nearly 3 weeks to come from Japan through the official reseller channel. I'm definitly ordering from the US next time >_>.

I tried first the "move by one link" approach and filing the case a little.
Moving the chain did not help, the doo adjustment stayed nearly the same. The height difference between peaks and valleys was not very significant, maybe the previous guy already did it, who knows.
I then moved to filing the case, which definitly helped, but it only let the chain free to go grind more aggressively against the chain guards. So I went from having a little bit of aluminum and plastic flecks in the oil, to having just a lot of plastic flecks.

So I drained and opened again, and this time removed everything.
As you said in multiple threads GoMotor, the chain should be replaced if 20 links measure more than 193.4mm... Mine seems to be (when measured properly, which I did then edited this post as the first measure was completely wrong) around 191.5mm.

The rubber of the sprokets seems to be the problem then, would you agree?
 

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Hello,

So I received the parts I ordered to fix what was obvious: the bold that holds the doo, and a few little things here and there. Damn bolt cost me 25 NZD (17.5USD), and nearly 3 weeks to come from Japan through the official reseller channel. I'm definitly ordering from the US next time >_>.

I tried first the "move by one link" approach and filing the case a little.
Moving the chain did not help, the doo adjustment stayed nearly the same. The height difference between peaks and valleys was not very significant, maybe the previous guy already did it, who knows.
I then moved to filing the case, which definitly helped, but it only let the chain free to go grind more aggressively against the chain guards. So I went from having a little bit of aluminum and plastic flecks in the oil, to having just a lot of plastic flecks.

So I drained and opened again, and this time removed everything.
As you said in multiple threads GoMotor, the chain should be replaced if 20 links measure more than 193.4mm... Mine seems to be (when measured properly, which I did then edited this post as the first measure was completely wrong) around 191.5mm.

The rubber of the sprokets seems to be the problem then, would you agree?
In my case the orange wire in the photo was sitting on the spring pin to its left before I rotated the chain one link on all sprockets. You can see that I picked up about 1/2" (12mm) of adjustment.

The other photo shows a new idler sprocket and an old one.

If your sprockets/rubber are good and you had the doo set to pull the chain tight even if the chain was stretched, it should not hit the guards. I don't think there is any adjustment for the guards, but it is worth looking. Also, worth looking at the rubber on the weight sprockets.

The Doo bolt is $11.50 online here. Then you would have freight and customs charges.
 

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A whole bunch of Pics : https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157679331215094/

The front balancer sproket suffered the most in the initial event that prompted the "repair" done by the previous owner, with rubber badly damaged on both sides, in two places.
All 3 sprokets that I removed (I did not touch the one on the crankshaft) have seriously flattened rubber - from your pic GoMotor I would say that mine are much more damaged, which could explain the lack of improvement when I rotated the chain.

BTW, no adjustment possible for the guards.

The washer that has seen better days... well this one is on me >_> it's the one that goes behind the idler shaft, and it slipped when I reinstalled it at some point... made an additional grinding noise when it moved all the way to the front chain guide, scorching the case under the front balancer sprocket. oops.
I'm pretty lucky it did not do more damage.

I just pray (and will go have a look) that the crankshaft sprocket is not toast (= badly damaged, not just flattened) too, because it would make that repair seriously more expensive. The other sprockets total ~280USD, the crankshaft 500 more (and changing this one would be a much more serious job). And I'm not even looking at local prices and wait time...

I'm probably not going to change the chain guides (+75USD), nor the chain (+300USD, damaged here and there but not where it counts, I guess). I'm ambivalent about the starter gear (+320USD), which looks like sh*t but still works...
 

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Xevel,
Kind of hard to comprehend that the Flat Washer from behind the eccentric adjuster shaft (pic#030005) may have rubbed the exterior of the Balancer Chain (pic #020613) that much. wow!

But like you suggest, if the chain rolls smoothly thru the arc of all 4 sprockets and is not near specified wear limit it should be OK.

The base of all of the sprocket teeth visible look very good, no visible wear.
 

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If you want to take the least costly approach to see how things might work out, here are some suggestions.

Replace only one sprocket, the front which you say is the worst or the idler which is the least expensive. I replaced the idler at one time and gained a noticeable amount of adjustment range.

Cut out the space below the chain on the side cover bolt boss casting for more chain clearance. See photo.
Don't worry about the groves in the chain guides. Mine are like that. Also, don't worry about the crankshaft sprocket. It has no rubber shoulders. The balancer chain looks serviceable. Hit the little nicks with a file if you can. If you are comfortable that the starter gear was still working when you took it apart, let it ride. Replace that big washer and remember the easiest places to mess up are that big washer and the four tiny thin ones on the starter gears.

I assume you have a service manual that tells you how to time the balancer sprockets with the crankshaft sprocket.
 

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