Kawasaki KLR Forum banner

1 - 20 of 37 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,256 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I left Houston a few weeks ago and rode my 2011 KLR650 out to Dell City, TX to start on the New Mexico Backcountry Route NMBDR.

I rode the first 250 miles to Cloudcroft, NM and then learned it would get down to 7 degrees in 24 hours. So, I bailed and headed for Las Vegas to spend Thanksgiving with my son and daughter.

Along the way I kept hearing noises like a loose balancer chain. So, at my sons house I pulled the left outside engine cover to check the balancer operation. The Eagle Mike torsion spring was working fine and returned the doohicky to the left when I pushed it to the right. But there was only 1/4 inch of travel room remaining on the right side of the slot that the adjusting bolt goes through. I buttoned it up and had some turkey and fixings (yum).

After the leftovers were gone, I rode down into Mexico, but the chain noise kept getting louder, so I left Mexico at Nogales and head home to Houston. About 40 miles south of Van Horn, TX on hwy 90 I heard a loud pop and the front tire blew out and the bike started vibrating heavily. I checked the tire and it was good as was the rear. I restarted the engine and found the vibration was from the engine and the temperature gauge climbed from mid range to max quickly.

My theory is the loud pop was the balancer chain breaking. The vibration is from the balancer shafts not turning. The rapid heating is because the front balancer shaft is not turning the water pump. I think I am right and when I get it home, I will report back with my findings.

Things always seem to go well for me. There was a road maintenance crew 100 feet from where I pulled off the road and it was quitting time for them. They had an empty trailer and took me and the bike 40 miles to a motel. I had left my truck keys with my neighbor and he is heading out in the morning to come get me and the bike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
320 Posts
I left Houston a few weeks ago and rode my 2011 KLR650 out to Dell City, TX to start on the New Mexico Backcountry Route NMBDR.

I rode the first 250 miles to Cloudcroft, NM and then learned it would get down to 7 degrees in 24 hours. So, I bailed and headed for Las Vegas to spend Thanksgiving with my son and daughter.

Along the way I kept hearing noises like a loose balancer chain. So, at my sons house I pulled the left outside engine cover to check the balancer operation. The Eagle Mike torsion spring was working fine and returned the doohicky to the left when I pushed it to the right. But there was only 1/4 inch of travel room remaining on the right side of the slot that the adjusting bolt goes through. I buttoned it up and had some turkey and fixings (yum).

After the leftovers were gone, I rode down into Mexico, but the chain noise kept getting louder, so I left Mexico at Nogales and head home to Houston. About 40 miles south of Van Horn, TX on hwy 90 I heard a loud pop and the front tire blew out and the bike started vibrating heavily. I checked the tire and it was good as was the rear. I restarted the engine and found the vibration was from the engine and the temperature gauge climbed from mid range to max quickly.

My theory is the loud pop was the balancer chain breaking. The vibration is from the balancer shafts not turning. The rapid heating is because the front balancer shaft is not turning the water pump. I think I am right and when I get it home, I will report back with my findings.

Things always seem to go well for me. There was a road maintenance crew 100 feet from where I pulled off the road and it was quitting time for them. They had an empty trailer and took me and the bike 40 miles to a motel. I had left my truck keys with my neighbor and he is heading out in the morning to come get me and the bike.
How many miles on your KLR?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,495 Posts
Sorry to hear of that, GoMotor.

Only in Texas could you break down and still be 650 miles from home.

Best of luck with the repairs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,256 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I have replaced the speedometer and would have to look through several fuel log books to get the exact mileage, but it has around 60,000 miles on it. KLRs seem to me to live good long lives. My 2008 has about 95,000 miles and was still running when I started robbing parts (brakes, cables, levers etc.) for the 2011.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,256 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Sorry to hear of that, GoMotor.

Only in Texas could you break down and still be 650 miles from home.

Best of luck with the repairs.
Thanks Tom. I try to make my own luck. I was smart enough to leave my truck keys with my neighbor.

Since the motor will still start and run, I am hoping to find just a broken balancer chain. Also, since the chain runs in oil and doesn't really wear/stretch I expect to find the rubber shoulders on the balancer sprockets worn down and creating more slack than the adjuster can take up. I have had luck in the past by moving the chain one tooth on all the sprockets so the outside links fall on fresh rubber next to where the inside links had compressed the rubber and so on for the inside links. But, I think I may need some new sprockets this time.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,495 Posts
Sure seems odd that the chain broke. Especially just riding along minding your own damn bidness.

Also odd that the engine runs with a stuffed up chain in it. My luck would be that the chain would wrap itself around everything in sight and tear stuff up, then lock up the engine. At 70 mph...

Here's to hoping that a chain and sprockets will get it right again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,654 Posts
Wow, GoMotor!

Glad you had such convenient dead-bike-evacuation resources nearby! I recall the highway extending from Van Horn, TX; there's an awful lot of NOTHING out that way!

I respect your initiative, launching such an ambitious ride amidst such potential heavy weather.

Glad you're safe, confident you can repair/replace your bike as appropriate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,256 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Sure seems odd that the chain broke. Especially just riding along minding your own damn bidness.

Also odd that the engine runs with a stuffed up chain in it. My luck would be that the chain would wrap itself around everything in sight and tear stuff up, then lock up the engine. At 70 mph...

Here's to hoping that a chain and sprockets will get it right again.
I agree that it is odd and I am just guessing what I will find when I open it. The evidence is

A very loud pop at 60 mph.
Engine still runs with severe shaking even after stopping.
Head temperature rises rapidly, but the fan does not come on with a full radiator. Hot at the top and cold at the bottom.

To add insult to injury, this morning I found a very large nail in the rear tire. Not the cause of the engine shaking. I didn't like that 140/80-17 tire when I got it as the only choice in El Paso. I think I will replace it and the tube.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,256 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Wow, GoMotor!

Glad you had such convenient dead-bike-evacuation resources nearby! I recall the highway extending from Van Horn, TX; there's an awful lot of NOTHING out that way!

I respect your initiative, launching such an ambitious ride amidst such potential heavy weather.

Glad you're safe, confident you can repair/replace your bike as appropriate.
When I left Cloudcroft it was 17 degrees! I had on 4 knit shirts, 2 down jackets, my ridding jacket and a home made electric vest. I also had on two pairs of insulated gloves and electric grip heaters and was comfortable. There was some light snow across the road at higher elevations, but I stayed in the tire tracks of the trucks.

The really scary part was the next day on I-40 for 250 miles. Huge chunks of ice the size of large watermelons were falling from the frame rails of 18 wheeler trailers. It was fun dodging the blocks I could see far in front of me, but when one fell of a trailer right in front of me, it got scary. Some times a truck in the lane next to me would hit a block and sent it scooting over right in front of me.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,177 Posts
Wow, quite the adventure; I'm keeping my fingers crossed that your diagnosis is correct....certainly sounds plausible though a broken balancer chain would certainly be rare.

Cheers,
Dave
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,037 Posts
Glad that you weren't on one of the deserted dirt road stretches of your route with no traffic or road crew for up to a day or three. It would have really sucked to have had to ride a paint shaker a mile or two at a time due to the overheating issue.

Didn't we recently see a pic of worn-out sprocket teeth on only 1 sprocket over on 650.net? Wasn't it the lower forward shaft? The other 3 sprockets, especially the crank teeth appeared to be fine.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,037 Posts
Wow, that is nasty. Have you seen this before in your experience with KLRs?
That is the only pics I've seen with only 1 bad sprocket. Never have seen any in-person, thankfully.

We are all going to have to patiently wait for GoMotor to perform the autopsy.

Brokendown'08 was on a 2008 & GoMotor's is a 2011. One can only speculate that it might be similar failure.
Improper heat treatment / hardening of the steel? Kinda' nuts!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,495 Posts
I hope you are safely home and getting well rested, fed, and watered.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,256 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
I hope you are safely home and getting well rested, fed, and watered.
Got home an hour ago. Long drive from Van Horn to Houston. The bike is still in the truck. Going to bed now. Tomorrow after paying some bills I'll unload it and pull the left side covers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,654 Posts
GoMotor, I have a riding partner in Sugar Land who is quite accomplished, KLR-wise (I think he has 90,000 miles + on his 2009)!

I forwarded your initial post on this thread to him; here's his response:

------------------------------------------

Interesting. GoMotor is in Houston? If he needs any help, I have the time. If he calls me, leave a message as if I don't recognize the number I don't answer. I will answer the VM.

One needs an inside look to be definitive.

A possibility could also be one of the rear balancer bearings gone that could have started all of that? I had that bearing begin go in 09 coming back from MX too, the 1st if I recall, reporting that back then. Heard a ticking I did not like. Got it out in time before any damage. That is the time I went 685 ( the last of Cary Aspy's done bores) on the original motor since I had it so far apart. It requires a complete split of the central crankcase halves as it is inside there. I have heard of several others go since.

If the chain goes it can make quite a mess in there. A friend who rode back then had chain go. Totaled the motor. I know of someone who has a spare motor if needed too.

---------------------------------------------

If interested in collaborating with my friend, please send me a PM, and I will forward his telephone number.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,256 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
GoMotor, I have a riding partner in Sugar Land who is quite accomplished, KLR-wise (I think he has 90,000 miles + on his 2009)!

I forwarded your initial post on this thread to him; here's his response:

------------------------------------------

Interesting. GoMotor is in Houston? If he needs any help, I have the time. If he calls me, leave a message as if I don't recognize the number I don't answer. I will answer the VM.

One needs an inside look to be definitive.

A possibility could also be one of the rear balancer bearings gone that could have started all of that? I had that bearing begin go in 09 coming back from MX too, the 1st if I recall, reporting that back then. Heard a ticking I did not like. Got it out in time before any damage. That is the time I went 685 ( the last of Cary Aspy's done bores) on the original motor since I had it so far apart. It requires a complete split of the central crankcase halves as it is inside there. I have heard of several others go since.

If the chain goes it can make quite a mess in there. A friend who rode back then had chain go. Totaled the motor. I know of someone who has a spare motor if needed too.

---------------------------------------------

If interested in collaborating with my friend, please send me a PM, and I will forward his telephone number.
Thanks Damocles.

I can hit Sugar Land with a rock from my back yard. I got home late last night and just got the bike unloaded from the truck. I have the tools and experience to remove the two left side covers and the cylinder if necessary, but have not been inside the cases. I'll let you know if case splitting is necessary. I can also seek advice from my friend Paul Westman (pdwestman) if necessary. This 2011 KLR has about 60 thousand miles and I have a 2008 parts bike with about 95 thousand miles and a 685 piston and cylinder that are good.

I'll start on it this evening and report what I find.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,256 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Well, the root of the problem is easy to diagnose. When I removed the magnetic drain plug there was a ball bearing stuck to it.

I doubt that it is related but, in Caborca, Sonora, Mexico I did an oil change. The only JASO oil they had was 20w40, so I used it. 620 miles later the bearing went, but I think it was on the way out before that.

I'll pull the right side engine covers just to see what it looks like, but I suspect I,ll just swap in my 2008 685 engine. 95K on the engine and 55K on the cylinder and piston.

More to come when I know more.
 
1 - 20 of 37 Posts
Top