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Discussion Starter #1
No doohickey denier, I; have aftermarket doohickey and "torsion spring" installed on my '07.

Yet, I wonder . . . anyone know of a valid report of a catastrophic doohickey-related balancer drive failure on any '08 or later KLR650?

Limited-tension spring reports abound, but--any incidents of late-model doohickey failures grenading any engines?
 

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Damocles -

I haven't, and don't expect to. Once we see some high-mileage Gen2's there may be reports of balancer chains eating into cases and springs disappearing into the bowels of the motor, but I don't think the lever will break. The stock lever is a solid unit, but it's geometry is such that, compared to the EM product, it will run out of adjustment even with a sound and tensioned spring.

If there are catastrophes, they will porbably be caused by spring bits getting into places they oughtn't to be.

T
 

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I've heard of loose/broken springs on the 08 and ups, but not of the lever itself breaking. Though, if the spring has no tension, wont the chain and sprockets wear prematurely from being loose? Eaglemike would be the one with a definitive answer, hopefully he see's this thread. I haven't done the doo on my 08 yet, I plan on doing it, just haven't ordered the kit and tools yet. I don't hear any excess noise in that area so I think mine is still tensioning (hope?)

Cheers,
Stew
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I've heard of loose/broken springs on the 08 and ups, but not of the lever itself breaking. Though, if the spring has no tension, wont the chain and sprockets wear prematurely from being loose? Eaglemike would be the one with a definitive answer, hopefully he see's this thread. I haven't done the doo on my 08 yet, I plan on doing it, just haven't ordered the kit and tools yet. I don't hear any excess noise in that area so I think mine is still tensioning (hope?)

Cheers,
Stew
The "tensioning" only occurs when you loosen the hold-down bolt; after that, the tight hold-down bolt itself is responsible for maintaining tension, not the spring.

With chain stretch and sprocket wear, it comes time for another "bite;" one hopes the spring tension takes up the slack the next time you loosen the hold-down bolt. If not, you'll have a loose balancer drive chain, even after you tighten the hold-down bolt.

Will this looseness escalate until the balancer drive grenades? Or are you destined to experience, at most, more intense vibration from the engine?

Don't know the answer; keeping an eye on the counterbalancer chain tension adjusting spring appears sound maintenance, to me. The aftermarket "torsion spring" offers a valued measure of peace-of-mind.

If the tension spring is incapable of tightening the chain, one would hope to get some signal the counterbalancer chain is excessively loose before it flies apart all over the place. Maybe with all the shakin' goin' on with a NORMAL Kawasaki KLR650, one doesn't NOTICE 'til it's too late.
 

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Yup, I knew it only tensions when you loosen the bolt. I just meant that mine hasn't developed any additional noise or vibration so I assume my spring is still tensioning (when the bolt is loosend). I do plan on replacing it anyway though, just some extra insurance in my opinion. I'm just not in as much of a hurry to do it as I would be if it was a pre 08 :). Love my KLR and want it to be around for a loooong time!

Cheers,
Stew
 

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This outfit probably has the longest history of "doohickey involvement" that reports it's findings to us. They have written some articles based on their experiences with these doohickey's.

http://www.topgunmotorcycles.com/ti_archive/tiapr09.html

This one has an interesting note on the torsion spring that has gained some popularity:

http://www.topgunmotorcycles.com/ti_archive/tiaug07.html

Top Gun also sells an inspection port that allows you to take a peek at your doohickey without removing your left engine cover, to see if the spring is in tact, loose, or whatever else doohickey springs do, I guess.



Balancer Spring Inspection Port Kit
Applications: Kawasaki KLR650 '87 - Present
Manufacture: MMP Exclusive
MMP P/N: 10018..............................................$32.25

This kit is used to modify the left engine inner cover to create an
inspection port which will allow the ability to actually see the condition
of the balancer chain tension adjustment spring.

Kit includes Otoscope, specially modified pilot bolt and sealing
washer, rotor bolt.
Components are also available separately.
I haven't installed one of these yet, but it is on my "to do list". The idea of being able to "see" that spring instead of "wonder" about that spring sits better with me. I can act on what I see. It's a little harder to convince myself to pull that engine cover off every time I "wonder" whats going on down there. The second "doohickey" I ever installed is running without a tensioner spring at all. About every third oil change, we pull the cover off and hand-tension the doohickey, secure the tightener, and ride. The spring is a non-issue. He only puts a few thousand miles a year on that bike, so we're not pulling the cover every six weeks like I would have to do with mine. The inspection port seems attractive to me for that reason.
 

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So far no one has replied that they have seen an actual doo hickey failure. So is it just mass hysteria?
 

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So far no one has replied that they have seen an actual doo hickey failure. So is it just mass hysteria?
I haven't seen a Gen 2 failure, but I've seen a BUNCH of Gen 1 failures.. Broken Doo's, broken springs, both...

As mentioned, with the Gen 2 Doos, the issue seems to be the fact that the spring has little or no tension on it.. If there's no tension, the Doo isn't taking up the slack of the chain.
With wear, the chain starts grinding away at the inside of the case, making noise, putting bits of aluminum in your oil, and sooner or later something's going to fail.

The Gen 2 Doos were redesigned in 2008, when the changed the bike around, but the spring they're using is too long, not allowing the Doo to tighten the chain..

If I had a Gen 2 bike, I'd replace the spring, minimum..

If I had another Gen 1 bike, I'd replace the spring and the Doo.. (again)
 

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I've seen several reports of broken springs on the 2nd generation KLR's but no lever failures. I have seen zero reports of any of Eagle Manufacturing's parts breaking. EM will tell you straight up that there were a few spring failures early on in the development of his parts but none from the current supplier whom he has used for many years now.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
So far no one has replied that they have seen an actual doo hickey failure. So is it just mass hysteria?
Bliz, Generation I doohickey failures, even catastrophic ones with massive collateral damage, are not unknown. Thus, I wouldn't categorize doohickey concern, overall, as "mass hysteria," myself.

Since the '08 model year introduced a more robust, redesigned doohickey, I tried to limit the scope of my query to Generation II KLR650's; note emphasized words quoted:
. . . anyone know of a valid report of a catastrophic doohickey-related balancer drive failure on any '08 or later KLR650?

Limited-tension spring reports abound, but--any incidents of late-model doohickey failures grenading any engines?
A slack spring comprises a deficiency, leading in time to excessive vibration, undue wear, and possibly even serious component failure if not corrected (or, as mentioned above, compensated for by manual drive chain tension adjustment on a timely basis).

While a BROKEN spring can wreak havoc with fragments disrupting engine innards, a slack or broken tension spring doesn't pose the imminent hazard of a broken doohickey. Even without a tension spring, some drive chain tension is maintained by a properly-torqued intact doohickey, with hope for a "fail-safe" condition. With a non-functional doohickey, nothing contains balancer drive chain tension, free to vary over the complete adjustment excursion, resulting in the vibration and wear mentioned.

I wondered if the more robust Generation 2 doohickey appeared effective in reducing the catastrophic disasters previously experienced in Doohickey-Land on the Generation II KLR650's.

Now, should YOU upgrade your doohickey and/or spring on YOUR Generation II KLR 650?

As Clint Eastwood once said, as "Dirty Harry," "Do you feel LUCKY, . . . ?" :)
 

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The balancer lever spring issue seems to be legitimate on the Gen II bikes. However. I haven't ran across anyone who had to park their Gen II bike or tear a Gen II bike down because they run out of adjustment with their factory OEM balancer lever, or discovered the concentric shaft the doohickey is installed on was being devoured by the OEM balancer lever, due to loose tolerances. Nor have I viewed with my own eyes, nor have I been presented with an image of, a broken GEN II KLR 650 engine balancer system idler shaft lever. Balancer Chain Adjuster Lever. Doohickey. I did look inside the left engine cover of an '08 model bike with 38,000 miles on it. Factory OEM balancer lever and spring. The spring had little tension on it. No noticeable wear on the concentric shaft. Case had some rub marks from the chain. Spring replaced, engine cover buttoned up and the bike rolls on.

What I have been more in tune to, and listened diligently for, have been reports of bikes winding up at the dealer or at machine shops to have cases replaced / repaired, concentric shafts rebuilt / replaced, due to an improperly machined OEM balancer lever, or from an under tensioned balancer system chain eating any components located under the left engine cover.......................... ................. .................

Crickets. I ain't hearin' nothin'. We have the fourth production year of the Gen II bikes traversing the planet. Pounded on by some of the most hard riding, multi-surface long distance riders ever to throw a leg over a motorcycle. Tales abound of running out of oil. Eating up heads from running low on oil. I haven't noticed any Craigslist or EBAY offerings for Gen II bikes that begin with "My doohickey grenade'd, which in turn wiped out my engine, so I am parting out this Gen II bike...".

I wonder if the KLR community hasn't shot itself in the foot with it's tendency to buy into the "solution" for the spring issue on the Gen II bikes.

Picture the exec's at Kawasaki Motors Corp sitting down Monday for their weekly update meeting.

"Tom, how's things out there with our product?"

"One Red Flag Crisis, sir. We have reports of doohickey tensioner springs not providing tension, sir."

"Really. Bill, you have the numbers for replacement spring components and warranty replacement costs from last quarter. Present them."

"Uh, well sir, it appears we replaced one tensioner spring sir."

"World wide, we replaced one spring last quarter?"

"Uh, well, actually sir, we've replaced one spring since 2008."

"And what were the circumstances of that replacement, Bill?"

" Uh, well sir, it seems one of our factory trained Techs in Dubuque lost the spring when it fell into the urinal in the employee restroom. He was unwilling to fish it back out and picked up a new one at the parts department."

"Bill, you have no reports of thousands and thousands of springs needing immediate replacement, we have not needed to step up production of replacement balancer components and engine covers, our warranty costs have not skyrocketed due to catastrophic failures?"

Uh, no sir".

"Tom, where are you getting your information from these days?"

"Uhm, mostly the internet sir."

"I see. Tom, what exactly are you learning from the internet?"

"Well, sir, it seems the riders are getting replacement springs elsewhere."

"You mean to tell me that an industry is developing and thriving off our spring deficiency?"

"Well, no sir, not exactly an industry."

"Well Tom, please tell me exactly what it is that is growing off of our tensioning spring oversight?"

"Well sir, it appears to be, uh, just one guy in California."

"I see. I think we'll table this issue. I'm sure the rest of you will understand. Tom, I will take this opportunity to inform you of a new development in your career path. This very afternoon? You will be en-route to Haiti to participate in the un-crating of our humanitarian aid shipment of ATV's to the Haitian refugees. When you have finished, hang tight there until you receive further word from the home office, 'K?
*****
There may be two separate yet related issues here.

One with Kawasaki and their doohickey tensioner spring.

The other, bigger problem, may be with the KLR community, and its methods of resolving problems. We buy into marketing hype that there is only one solution. On occasion, the lone wolf defiant KLR owner does boldly march into the service department of the Kawasaki dealership and demand's his spring be replaced. The service guy asks why this spring needs to be replaced on a new bike. The owner replies that they are weak. The service writer asks "as evidenced by what?"

"Well, by all the information on the KLR internet forums. It's all over the place. It's all they talk about!! I mean, Dude, seriously, where have you been that you haven't heard this??!?"

"I been unpacking ATV's in Haiti."

*****
 

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Awesome. :63a:
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Picture the exec's at Kawasaki Motors Corp sitting down Monday for their weekly update meeting.
That I did, vatrader, with your help!

Thanks for your lucid, and entertaining, image!

I LOOOOOOOVE irony!

And satire. And send-up. And parody.

Thus, I thoroughly enjoyed your vignette of the executive suite at Kawasaki.

Still, I must declare: These literary devices, irony, satire, send-up, parody, etc., all play to MIXED REVIEWS on a motorcycle website! (Do not ask me how I know this.)

Sometimes, literal-minded readers at first don't get it. Then, when they DO, they may become ANGRY, because they think the author is "funnin'" them.

Unfortunate, that someone would take offense from something intended only as innocent merriment.

Yet, in the Army, they had a saying about those who can't take a joke (I forget how it goes).
 

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Ah, everybody here knows who's sitting in the back of history class shooting spitballs. ;)
 
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