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Discussion Starter #1
So I have a crack in my crankcase right at the drain plug. Sounds pretty much exactly like Moriver's post from last year: can't post a URL linking it because I'm a new member, but search "oil leak at crack in drain plug"

like his, mine runs from the flat shiny surface where the washer seats, right up the front of the cylindrical housing that protrudes down. Overall its not a big crack, but its involvement with the threads has me worried. I'm opting towards JB weld just because that way I can do the work myself and take all the time and care that is needed. Ive heard several success stories with JB in the past.

My plan is this: drain the oil and let it drip for a few days. Lay the bike on its side, maybe at a slight decline, so all the remaining oil will not be at the drain plug leaking through. clean well, take out some material and score the surrounding area with a dremel, and then apply 2-3 coats of JB over a few days.

my question is whether i should focus on patching only the crack on the front of the housing (the part of the crack that is visible when the plug is in, and the part that leaks). Or should i focus on fixing the crack on the shiny washer seated area as well and up into the threads. Or I could also do the front housing crack first, then drill and tap a smaller hole in the original plug. then JB weld the original plug into the hole and just drain oil from the smaller hole from now on.

also what should I do before laying the bike on its side (90 degrees) or a little more like 100-110 degrees on a small decline. drain the carb? anything else?

ANy thoughts or insights are GREATLY appreciated. local shop estimated $1000 to fix it, but I'd rather not do that If i can get away with it. I do local rides mostly so I wont be stranded too far. Love this bike, it's got so much life left in it.

Thanks everyone
Kaseman
2003 KLR, 14,000 miles:
 

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Pictures would be helpful. Do you have a photobucket or flickr account? If you can provide a link to a good picture I'll help you get it into your post.

Without seeing it, though, I think the following is what I'd do if it were mine:

1) Stop the crack from propagating with a small hole at the end of the crack, plugged with JB Weld.

2) Use a rubber washer under the drain bolt to reduce the torque used on the drain bolt. I might, under the right circumstances, consider bonding a plug in place with a smaller drain bolt in the center of the bonded plug. That would reduce the wear and tear on the case and the repeated flexing of the crack. Under the really, really right circumstances I might consider installing an oversize plug, bonded with a drain in the center. The reason for that is that a larger bolt can induce less stress on the threaded hole than a smaller bolt will.

3) Park it over a diaper.

Rationale:

Often the only real fix is a new case. JB Weld as a patch can work in some cases, but the crack goes through the gasket sealing surface. A JB Weld patch job may turn out to be a lot of work for little results and may foul the case preventing a later weld repair.

Welding can work, and can be done with the engine in the bike, but the crack goes through the sealing surface. Depending on where the crack is, welding can warp the cases resulting in as bad an oil leak as the crack caused.

The oil leak from cracks like this are usually minor and can be lived with. They don't come anywhere near approaching British car standards ;^). I'd be leery of riding this bike to Tierra del Fuego, but for local riding it should be fine.

A good picture would really help people come up with a workable solution.

Oh, and welcome to the forum - sorry it has to be under such circumstances.

Tom
 
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I agree with Tom on this one as well. JB weld will work but it's not a mricle worker so to speak. Yes I have repair may issues with it permanantly but the conditions must be absolutely perfect! Just because you lay the bike over you still need to flush all oil from that cracked area with acetone etc or the JBweld will not do the best job for you. I would buy some carb cleaner in a spray and use the small hose that comes with the can and concentrate the spray into the crack and wash all remaining oil out as best you can, then use compressed air to get the acetone out as well. The repeat a few times for good measure. Then dremel the area like you say and also slightly into the crack, maybe 1/3 of the depth of the crack s to give the JBweld something to adhere to. After dremeling I would scratch the surface with a strong pick to make deeper scores for the JBweld to adhere to. I can't stress how important it is to get 110% of the oil out of that crack before you start dremeling it.
As for what to do with the bike, take the tank off, battery out, and drain the carb and oil.
Hope this helps.
By the way where do you live??

Oh and welcome......
 

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Can't tell a whole lot without a hands-on examination, or at least an image, but . . . even if the crack is filled with JB Weld, or maybe even electrically-welded, an OVERSIZE OIL DRAIN PLUG may help seal the fissure.

An oversize oil drain plug cuts new tapered threads, slightly larger in diameter than the original ones. This gentle "re-tapping," and a new crush washer, may help. For less than $ 10, worth a look, IMHO.

(Contrary posts predicting dire, calamatious circumstances from oversize oil dran plug usage welcomed! Keep in mind, the oversize oil drain plug factories continue operating, day and night, manufacturing these devices; SOME customers may be satisfied with these products! :)


http://www.cgenterprises.com/drain_plugs_oversize_repair.htm

CAVEAT: Merely a suggestion for consideration.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
hey guys, thanks for all the replies! I have some pics, but no way to upload them (new member). no flickr account or anything either. but if any of you want to PM me with your email feel free and i'll send them your way. it'd be awesome if someone could upload them for me maybe? for posterity of course...

I'm not sure I completely understand the theory of an oversized drain plug, does someone mind explaining? also, would i need to tap it before hand or is it essentially self tapping? also i'm curious how this compares to simply tapping a smaller hole into the original drain plug and bonding the original drain plug in place?

lastly, about cleaning... should i flush the case from inside somehow or just tip the bike and clean it very well from the exterior?

also any ideas where to get a good rubber washer? would that be in addition or instead of the crush washer?

sorry for all the questions, and thanks again for the advice guys. i appreciate it.

and Willys, I'm in Vermont
 

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I would clean it as best you can from the outside so the oil and dirt work their way back from where they came from. I would leave the bike on it's side for a while to let gravity help when cleaning the area. If the crack is into the threads I bet using a larger drain plug if you can't get to the end of the crack or split it would be a waste of time, imho. You still have a crack in the threads just a larger hole. I would clean up the area like stated before and use JBweld but stay clear of the threads at the moment., work right up to them but leave them alone. Once you have a solid repair and a good flat surface for the head of the drain plug and crush washer to seal against I would use a smeer of silicon on the threads of the drain plug to help seal the crack that is in the threads to start with.
If you do choose to install and lock the drain plug and bore a new hole in the middle of it, that too is a way to fix this issue, but the new plug will stick down even further unless you use an allen head bolts or plug that sits level with the old plug hieght.
Check your pms
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, Willys

I see what you mean about the larger drain plug. Just curious, if I were to permanently fix the original bolt to the case, (and then tap a smaller hole in the center) would silicone be preferable to smearing JB on the threads?
 

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I'm not sure I completely understand the theory of an oversized drain plug, does someone mind explaining? also, would i need to tap it before hand or is it essentially self tapping? also i'm curious how this compares to simply tapping a smaller hole into the original drain plug and bonding the original drain plug in place?
An oversize oil drain plug is self-tapping. Installing the plug the first time cuts and taps a tapered hole of slightly larger diameter than the original.

If you look at the examples shown on the link I posted above http://www.cgenterprises.com/drain_plugs_oversize_repair.htm , you'll see some examples of "piggy-back" plugs; larger primary plugs with smaller auxiliary plugs fitted. However, from your description, I don't think you will need a piggy-back plug.

You may stop the leak with your original plug and a rubber washer or new crush washer, or an oversize plug (you'll need a M12 X 1.5, ideally) may be of some use. JB Weld may be necessary to seal the crack you mention; or . . . I know of successful genuine metal welds to KLR crankcases. I've heard tales of successful use of motorboat transom expandable rubber drain plugs used, and there are always the toggle-type "flapper" plugs shown through the link.

Drilling and tapping for a 1/2"-diameter (or larger) drain plug MIGHT be in the cards; depends upon the propagation of the crack.

I think many paths may exist to "git 'er done," may you find a successful one for your situration.
 

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...

I would buy some carb cleaner in a spray and use the small hose that comes with the can and concentrate the spray...

Carb cleaner? I'm shocked! :biglaugh:
 

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...

My plan is this: drain the oil and let it drip for a few days. Lay the bike on its side, maybe at a slight decline, so all the remaining oil will not be at the drain plug leaking through. clean well, take out some material and score the surrounding area with a dremel, and then apply 2-3 coats of JB over a few days

my question is whether i should focus on patching only the crack on the front of the housing (the part of the crack that is visible when the plug is in, and the part that leaks). Or should i focus on fixing the crack on the shiny washer seated area as well and up into the threads. Or I could also do the front housing crack first, then drill and tap a smaller hole in the original plug. then JB weld the original plug into the hole and just drain oil from the smaller hole from now on.

also what should I do before laying the bike on its side (90 degrees) or a little more like 100-110 degrees on a small decline. drain the carb? anything else?

...

I consider myself something of a JB Weld artist (hah). You've read through the last thread so you have a pretty good idea of what or not to do.

Prep is the key for sure. Couple of things I would say: Use a wire wheel and rough up the surface. Use one layer of JB vs. multiple. JB tends not to adhere to itself very well unless you prep it again like a bare surface which kinda destroys the first layer!

When you screw in the drain plug does the crack expand? If so I would put some wax on the plug, insert it and work some JB into the crack. Give it a bit to set up then remove the plug and let it cure.
 

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Here are the pictures.





Kaseman sez "Here are the pics. Just one crack going straight up the housing (12 o'clock in the bottom view pic). The picture may make it look like the crack extends up the bolt housing and then veers off to the right, but it's actually just a straight line crack that ends once it gets to the main body of the case. The squiggly line on the right that could be perceived as a crack is in fact just texturing on the metal."

T
 

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If it were mine....I would dremel the entire area around the wall where the crack splits the case, rough it up well. I'd travel a fair way past the damaged area as well to get the most bite for your buck. I would do this after the cleaning process so you do not contaminate the new dremeled surface where the JBweld is going to adhere to. I would dig into the crack maybe a 1/4 of the depth of the crack just to give the JBweld more strength. Not too deep though. I personally do not think it's going to be a complete fix seeing as the damage goes through the entire thread area. I wouldn't do anything to expand that crack just in case it doesn't go back to at least where it is now. I would run a tap into the plug hole to clan the threads that originally are there, in case they are not perfectly lined up. I would use the fast drying JBweld in a thin coat for the first layer as in whatever it flows into so to speak. Then redremely the new surface to start the process again.....until you have a decent thickness for it to offer some strngth for when you wind in a plug. I would then buy the thicker two part epoxy that is like plastercine and apply it to build up the wall of the broken area......this will be the last layer and it should cover a larger area that has been dremeled as all the others to get a good hold of. It may not look nice but it should be strong enough to hold if you do not crank too much pressure onto the plug.
I would when installing the plug use the stock one with a crush washer as normal but apply some RTV silicon to the stud then install the crush washer and add a bit more to the threads so it squeezes arond the crush washer which will help seal and also keep the plug from backing out. You will need to do this everytime you change your oil from now on. It's something I do to my bike just for peace of mind. I clean the surface of the bottom of the engine for any oil or grease then wind in the plug with the silicon on it. Then I spread the silicon around the plug after I have torqued my plug in. You won't be able to use as much torque as it will reopen that crack if too much is applied. You also won't be able to ride your bike until the silicon has set up or gone hard to may 100% sure it is helping to hold the plug in place.

A pain in the arse, but it is the only way I would do it seeing as anything you wind into that cracked case will do nothing but open that crack further.....the JBweld should be semi permanant but I wouldn't trust it on it's own hense the silicon to aid in sealing the crack and helping to hold the plug in place.

It is your bike and your decission as what to do....this is what I would do until I got the case welded or replaced.
 

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I had the same thing on my first KLR. The PO had not used a crush washer and also put too much torque on the bolt. The first time I changed the oil I had a drip . If you have access to someone that can TIG weld it's not hard to fix. As listed earlier, there several ways to repair the damage including JB weld,here is how I fixed mine.
Drained the oil and removed the battery from the bike and laid it on it's side.
As suggested earlier,I drilled a small hole(about 1/8" dia.) at the end of the crack to keep it from "growing".
Clean the surface and area well with acetone.
Flush the crankcase with an air hose several times to remove the acetone vapors.
Since the case is a casting there will still be a small amount of oil residue in the crack regardless of how well you clean it from the outside.
When the arc is struck with the torch,there will be smoke and splatter for a short time but it's not an issue. This is caused by the burning away of the residual oil. After the smoke and splatter cleared up I welded about 1/4" and stopped to let the weld area cool. After the weld was cool to the touch I welded another 1/4" and stopped. By welding in short lengths and letting it cool,heat distortion was not an issue and caused no damage.
After the welding was finished I took a file and carefully filed the weld area down flat at the sealing surface where the crush washer goes. If you mark the flat area with a marker(Sharpie) you can tell when you are filing away the weld and can see if you touch the flat area with the file.
I don't have that KLR any longer but the repair held for over three years(when I sold it) and through some fairly rough places with no issues from the repair. To my knowledge it's still going strong.
In the end the repair wasn't too difficult and held up well. Hopefully yours won't be too bad. :thumb:.
 

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Excellent point about the small hole at the end of the crack I forgot to add that .....it does exactly what he is saying, it stops the crack from growing past where it is now.:goodpost:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for all the advice, boys. I'll keep you posted on how it goes, wish me luck. Thanks again Tom for posting pics.
 

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Kaseman,
Not to step on anyones toes, but after Dremeling a groove into the crack, and (drilling a STOP hole at the end of the crack). (Personally, I WOULD NOT .)
And ROUGHING the paint to BARE aluminum on both sides of the crack 3/4" and FLUSHING the OIL back out of the crack, with CARB clean and compressed air, 4 times and building up the area with STANDARD Slow Cure JB WELD and FLATTENING the sealing surface with a file.
And allowing to cure 24 hours.
I would COAT the INTERNAL and EXTERNAL Threads with Liquid BLUE LOC-TITE, INSTEAD of RTV silicone. Allow to CURE at least 2 hours.

BLUE LOC-TITE was the PERMANENT CURE for oil weepage thru a PORIS casting around the rear bolt threads of the OIL FILTER COVER a few years ago. It hydraulics into a CLEAN fissure.

Also, auto parts stores have a STEEL SEALING washer, RUBBER coated on both sides. You may need to FLATTEN a larger DIAMETER area, or grind down the OUTSIDE diameter of the sealing washer. DO NOT TORQUE TOO TIGHT. Drill a hole, crosswise thru the head of the drain plug and SAFETY WIRE the drain plug to the skid plate.
pdwestman
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hey all,

So i have gone the JB Weld route. Took the bike on about a 20 mile test drive today and it's all good! fingers are crossed that the fix will remain well into the future. here's what i did:

-drained the oil completely
-layed the bike on its side for a few days (removed gas tank, battery, drained carb. layed strategic parts of frame on blocks of wood so the bike wasn't supporting itself on something delicate.) so all the oil would flow away from where i was working
-remove paint and scuff up the cast aluminum surrounding the drain plug hole with dremel
-grind away some aluminum along the outside crack with dremel, essentially making the crack into a small canyon. but i was careful not to go all the way through obviously.
-i then dusted and cleaned well with 100% acetone.
-applied JB weld to all prepared outside surfaces.

Next day:
-i modified my drain plug, making it into a piggyback: drilled and tapped for a M5x.8 allen head bolt. removed lip and flattened top of original bolt so the small allen bolt would seat better
-put another coat of JB on all outside surfaces of crankcase
-remove some aluminum from along crack on the flat area where the washer seats, basically creating another small canyon.
-fill canyon with JB, coat both sides of drain plug washer with liberal amounts of JB, coat threads of drain plug with JB, insert drain plug and coat entire washer/flange area with JB.
-let it cure

Day 3. insert my new M5x.8 mini allen head drain plug into the hole in the original drain plug, which is now locked in place. I used a small lock washer to keep the M5 in place. filled it up with oil, reassembled bike and took it for a spin.

I will try to get some picks up here soon. thanks everyone for all your help!!!
 

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Hey all,

So i have gone the JB Weld route. Took the bike on about a 20 mile test drive today and it's all good! fingers are crossed that the fix will remain well into the future. here's what i did:

-drained the oil completely
-layed the bike on its side for a few days (removed gas tank, battery, drained carb. layed strategic parts of frame on blocks of wood so the bike wasn't supporting itself on something delicate.) so all the oil would flow away from where i was working
-remove paint and scuff up the cast aluminum surrounding the drain plug hole with dremel
-grind away some aluminum along the outside crack with dremel, essentially making the crack into a small canyon. but i was careful not to go all the way through obviously.
-i then dusted and cleaned well with 100% acetone.
-applied JB weld to all prepared outside surfaces.

Next day:
-i modified my drain plug, making it into a piggyback: drilled and tapped for a M5x.8 allen head bolt. removed lip and flattened top of original bolt so the small allen bolt would seat better
-put another coat of JB on all outside surfaces of crankcase
-remove some aluminum from along crack on the flat area where the washer seats, basically creating another small canyon.
-fill canyon with JB, coat both sides of drain plug washer with liberal amounts of JB, coat threads of drain plug with JB, insert drain plug and coat entire washer/flange area with JB.
-let it cure

Day 3. insert my new M5x.8 mini allen head drain plug into the hole in the original drain plug, which is now locked in place. I used a small lock washer to keep the M5 in place. filled it up with oil, reassembled bike and took it for a spin.

I will try to get some picks up here soon. thanks everyone for all your help!!!
Sounds like you did a great job!

One thing be sure that the drain plug isn't hanging below the skidplate where it can get wacked. That's a common cause of cracks like yours.
 

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Nice! You may want to lose the lock washer as the split will be a leak path!
Regards....justjeff
 

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Good deal. Glad to hear you got it fixed, Kaseman. Sounds like you did a nice job and hope it holds up for you.

Don't know why yours cracked, but why, oh why, did Kawasaki decide to put the protruding oil drain plug on the bottom of the engine? It should be on the side. It's a true Achilles' Heel. I hate to hear these stories. Good to hear your repair turned out okay.
 
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