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2003 KLR
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had a long hiatus from riding and recently have been making plans for long trips. To prepare, one thing I recently bought was the eagle mike drill through subframe bolt upgrade. I listened to T2Ws tutorial and in the comments noticed that there were some opinions concerning the potential drawbacks of drilling through the frame and I was wondering what everyone else's opinions on it were.

Is drilling through the subframe excessive? Would a simple replacement with better bolts do the same job? Anyone have tips on not screwing the drill portion up?

As you can see I have a lot of doubts.
 

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I did the drill through on my 2001. the kit is great like all things Eaglemike makes and it is extremely strong; there are no downsides other than the cost, mess and potential for screwing up the install. All that said, after doing it on my 2001, I decided to just upgrade the bolts with EM's upgrade bolts and some loctite on my 2000 as I realized that I do not have paniers or a top box and almost never ride 2 up.
The factory bolts are weak and my buddy broke his carrying his wife but if you are riding solo and without luggage, I think the simple bolt upgrade is sufficient; I've not had any issues.

regards,
Dave
 

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2003 KLR
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I did the drill through on my 2001. the kit is great like all things Eaglemike makes and it is extremely strong; there are no downsides other than the cost, mess and potential for screwing up the install. All that said, after doing it on my 2001, I decided to just upgrade the bolts with EM's upgrade bolts and some loctite on my 2000 as I realized that I do not have paniers or a top box and almost never ride 2 up.
The factory bolts are weak and my buddy broke his carrying his wife but if you are riding solo and without luggage, I think the simple bolt upgrade is sufficient; I've not had any issues.

regards,
Dave
Thank you Dave! Yeah, I'm not planning on riding two-up, my wife is terrified on motorcycles. However, I do pack for trips sometimes and take it off road and I'm concerned about it snapping after a large bump.

I'm still curious though how the non-through drill upgrade compares to the drill upgrade.

Any tips for drilling it straight, if I decide to go through with it?
 

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Well, the drill through is certainly much stronger, my WAG would be twice as strong. As far as drilling goes; use a pilot bit, lots of cutting oil and a proper low speed drill.....take your time and try to stay as straight as possible. I was a little off but it still works fine.

Also, if my feeble memory serves, there are some differences in frames in that area over the years - mine was solid but I think some are partially hollow.

Dave
 

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One could more simply up-grade the Gen 1 UPPER sub-frame 8mm bolts to the Gen 2 10mm Upper sub-frame bolts.
A lot less drilling.
EM even sells stronger Gen 2 upper sub-bolts, IIRC. 90% of the gain for 10% of the effort. ;)

Sort of like doing 4 of my simplest oil flow mods vs all 9 of my oil flow mods. :)
 

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2016, 500 miles but adding up quickly, lowered pegs, fancy mirrors, thermobob soon.
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Are these stronger bolts actually needed in a 2016 gen 2. I bought the klr because i heard they are bombproof and now i need thermabob, doohickie, and now subframe bolts. Hmmm
 

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Are these stronger bolts actually needed in a 2016 gen 2. I bought the klr because i heard they are bombproof and now i need thermabob, doohickie, and now subframe bolts. Hmmm
If you carry luggage or a passenger.
Take one out and go the local hardware store and buy grade 8 bolts or whatever the metric equivalent is.
That’s what I did a long time ago 100,000+ miles, no problems.
 

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One could more simply up-grade the Gen 1 UPPER sub-frame 8mm bolts to the Gen 2 10mm Upper sub-frame bolts.
A lot less drilling.
EM even sells stronger Gen 2 upper sub-bolts, IIRC. 90% of the gain for 10% of the effort. ;)

Sort of like doing 4 of my simplest oil flow mods vs all 9 of my oil flow mods. :)
He also sells stronger 8mm Gen1 bolts for the really lazy (like me!) ;)

Dave
 

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Are these stronger bolts actually needed in a 2016 gen 2. I bought the klr because i heard they are bombproof and now i need thermabob, doohickie, and now subframe bolts. Hmmm
The Gen2 uses larger bolts as Paul said; much less of an issue. There are a thousand mods you CAN do to a KLR.....NONE of them are absolutely necessary, with the possible exception of the Doohickey and even that is far more important on a Gen1


Dave
 

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'08 KLR
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Are these stronger bolts actually needed in a 2016 gen 2. I bought the klr because i heard they are bombproof and now i need thermabob, doohickie, and now subframe bolts. Hmmm
The bolts? Depends on how you're going to load it and ride it. If you have no plans for a top box or otherwise heavy rear rack loads and don't plan to add pannier racks, just ride with what ya got (caveat: some engine crash bars also utilize the upper sub-frame bolt as an attachment point, which can result additional stress). If there's any question about sub-frame loading, get the higher grade bolts or the drill through kit, neither are very expensive or difficult to install. (I've read that drilling from both sides can help keep it straight, as you've cut your misdirection distance in half - and drilling through the threaded section pretty much ensures that you're lined up when you get to the solid.)
Doohicky? On a Gen 2, the thing itself hardy ever fails, but between an iffy coil spring and the less than precise fit of the tensioner, you can simply run out of travel. If you're a 'run it for 5k miles in the next 8 years' kind of guy, probably don't worry about it. If you're a '6k miles a year for the next 10 years' kind of guy, take a good logical think on the potential benefits vs the cost and effort.
Therm-O-Bob? It'll run fine without it. It'll probably run finer and longer with it - hotter, dryer oil, less thermal shock to metal parts, in particular the cylinder liner, probably other subtle benefits I'm not recalling right now. I put one on mine and if I ever get another KLR, I'll put one on it, too. It's more of an individual equation, bit I personally feel the benefits are worth the price plus a couple extra hours of labor while flushing the system/changing coolant.
 

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I would recommend doing the through bolt upgrade for peace of mind.

What I missed before doing the install myself:

If you loosen all other subframe bolts before install, you should be able to pivot the subframe out of the way to do the actual frame drilling. This will ensure you drill as straight as possible. Cannot recommend this enough!!
 

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Are these stronger bolts actually needed in a 2016 gen 2. I bought the klr because i heard they are bombproof and now i need thermabob, doohickie, and now subframe bolts. Hmmm
IMO,
Unless one is going to Over-load a Gen 1 or Gen 2 bike for an around the world trip there is NO Need to install the EM Drill-Thru bolt kit!
The EM Gen 2 high strength 4 bolt kit (installed with Red thread locker) is plenty sufficient for a properly loaded, touring set-up, ridden at a touring pace.
The oem Gen 2 bolts are perfectly fine for lighter riders and occasional back-country touring with soft panniers & top bags.

The real 'secret' is to ensure that ALL bolts are properly torqued in the first place (full & proper Break-in Maintenance). And occasionally check ALL mounting bolts on the entire bike.
 

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@pdwestman's right, you know. I will spare the assembled multitude my usual rant on the drill-through mod.
 

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Jeff Cooper, founder of Gunsite Academy and writer of many firearms articles, expressed his opinion regarding double-action autoloading pistols:

"An elegant solution to a non-existent problem." (He carried his M1911 .45 caliber pistols cocked and loaded, with a round in the chamber, safety ON.)

In most cases, I think the drill-through subframe bolts may also be, "An elegant solution to a non-existent problem."

DISCLAIMER: My opinion only; YMMV. Full disclosure: I have a pair of Eagle Mike replacement subframe bolts in my Generation 1.
 

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Not arguing..... like most things Mike makes, he saw a need because people were breaking those bolts.....maybe they were all loose first, who knows. The drill through, once done, completely eliminates the concern of breaking those bolts forever.....but yeah, it's overkill. When the Gen2 came along, Kawi had increased the size of those bolts, presumably because they too figured out they were too weak. EM made better quality Gen2 bolts because, well better is better. I agree that a Gen2 is fine as is and as long as you keep the bolts tight you shouldn't have anything to worry about. For the minor expense upgrading the factory bolts is an easy upgrade for those of you that carry a ton of crap on the subframe.

On a Gen1, the bolts are weak enough that it's a good idea to upgrade them to the higher quality bolts and again; cheap and easy. IF I was going to go to the effort of drilling and tapping the frame to install the larger Gen2 bolts, I'd probably just go ahead with the drill through myself. .....but as I've said, given that I don't have panniers, top boxes nor carry passengers, I have no real need.

2 cents,


Dave
 

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I'd rather enlarge two 30mm deep / 8mm holes to accept 10mm threads than continue to drill another 30mm of Solid Steel bar to 10mm ID hole, if not Totally necessary.
 

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Why don’t y’all just buy the gen 3….that way you won’t need to worry about the subframe bolt topic anymore. :ROFLMAO:
 
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