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So I decided to check the timing on my KLR. I know the timing is non-adjustable. The manual says by checking the timing you can verify proper operation of the CDI unit, plus I'm still a little paranoid maybe I didn't get the timing chain just perfect when I checked the valves recently. Besides, I go a timing light and I got a motorcycle. I'm gonna' check the timing.

So, I dig out the 20 year old HF timing light, bookmark the appropriate page in the service manual, go out to the carport and fire the beast up. When it's sufficiently warm I unscrew the little cover that lets you see the timing marks and oil starts spraying out at me. Not a little bit of oil either. It was really spraying. I quickly put the cap back on and cancelled the project.

How does a certified Kawasaki mechanic check the timing on a KLR? I assume they do from time to time. It's in the manual. Why didn't the manual mention it would spew oil out the hole? Is this something I should just never look at or think about? What's going on here?
 

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Could you have over-filled your engine with oil?

FULL DISCLOSURE: Never checked ignition timing because, to some extent, I knew no adjustment possible, as-built.

NEW DIRECTION: Why have no KLR650 super-tuners experimented with ADVANCING ignition timing? ALTERING the spark advance curve? Given the tons of free additional horsepower available from advancing the exhaust cam, surely ignition timing offers a lucrative field yielding significant power increase.

TRUE ANECDOTE: Early Kawasaki V-Twin ADVs were, "de-tuned" by the factory; ignition timing retarded in hope of reducing accidents from 180-degree wheelies performed by overly-enthusiastic riders. Enterprising entrepreneurs manufactured and marketed "modules" capable of advancing spark to full power available. According to dynamometer runs on my own Prairie 650 (KVF 650) ATV, the gadget really, really WORKED! Up to 10 % additional power at points along the rpm curve; mostly at lower rpm.

CAVEAT: For those bold enough to experiment with advancing timing (by altering pickup coil-flywheel timing lump geometry, or electronically), you MAY have to use high-octane fuel after the modification. Increased fuel mileage might compensate you for the additional cost of the higher-octane fuel.
 

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Its a good thing that I was out of beer or the key board would have drowned!

I tried that, Once!

I read that the Honda Gold Wings had a 'screw-in plexiglass service window' available. But I don't know if it is the same size & thread pitch.

I doubt if leaning the KLR to the RH side, nearly on the footpegs would even help avoid the mess that we have both encountered!
 

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I doubt if leaning the KLR to the RH side, nearly on the footpegs would even help avoid the mess that we have both encountered!
That's what Kimwipes and shop floor oil absorbent media were made for, right?

I found use for those products when experimenting in search of the force behind the oil filter cover. I found the magnitude: Too great to hand-hold! :)

(Yet, contained by a single machine screw; a contribution to KLR knowledge!)
 

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.I unscrew the little cover that lets you see the timing marks and oil starts spraying out at me. Not a little bit of oil either. It was really spraying...
All of that is entirely normal. As it is a single cylinder there is a lot of pumping going on inside the crankcase. I can tell you from my own experience that a lot of oil will come out of the KLR's engine if any plug, cap, or cover is not in place when the engine is running. This I have proven both by accident and intentionally.

Even a small hole in the crankcase just above the transmission, put there by an errant counterbalance, will let an impressive amount of oil come out and ruin a perfectly good pair of riding pants (not to mention a perfectly good engine)...

Even when doing a compression check where the KACR is disabled and the valve cover is off will make a fair amount of oil come out and cover the radiator if a towel is not in place to catch the oil.

Though I have not tried it, I think that you might be able to do a static timing check to see that the timing is correct for low-RPM operation. I do know that you can use an oscilloscope to check the amount of advance that occurs, as that I have done. By doing a static and an advance check with a scope I suppose you could verify that timing, in total, is correct. I suspect that the instructions written in the manual are purely theoretical. At least for the faint of heart and inadventurous soul.

As Damocles notes, the timing could be changed by moving the bar on the rotor, though I am too timid to weld on something that has magnets in it and too timid to alter the careful balance that Denso put into the rotor. It has been done, though.
 
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Its a good thing that I was out of beer...
No, Paul. In my experience this is never a good thing. Corrective action is required.
 

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CAUTION: Conjecture for, method of minimizing oil tsunami when checking ignition timing, follows.

Why not, remove spark plug (may need to ground intentionally plug, if timing light is one of the new-fangled models embracing the plug wire).

Remove viewing plug; point timing light into the abyss.

Activate starter; observe timing mark position when timing light strobe fires.

Low rpm from starter; one hopes oil deluge minimal.

Useful? Not much. Essentially STATIC timing observable from this technique (if it works). Spark advance? Not so much; procedure needs oil-slinging rpm.
 

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So I decided to check the timing on my KLR. When it's sufficiently warm I unscrew the little cover that lets you see the timing marks and oil starts spraying out at me. Not a little bit of oil either. It was really spraying. I quickly put the cap back on and cancelled the project.

How does a certified Kawasaki mechanic check the timing on a KLR?
You need one of these: a threaded plexiglass plug that can be screwed into the timing port.

Jason
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, I'm glad this phenomena is normal. Jason, does that plexiglass plug really work? I would think that so much oil would be getting thrown against the glass that it wouldn't let the light beam reach the flywheel and you couldn't see the marks if it did. If it works I would consider getting one if it was inexpensive.

I've been sort of obsessed with creating a comprehensive maintenance routine for my bike, but I'm thinking about leaving the timing check off.

Tom, thanks for warning me about the oil spray when you do a compression check with the KACR disabled. I was going to do that check today. I checked the compression with the valve cover on and I got 60 psi. The Clymer manual (p. 62) specifies compression should be 77-124 psi with the KACR enabled. My compression gauge is a very old Harbor Freight beast, so I'm not sure how accurate it is. I guess I need to take the valve cover off and do the job right. The bike sounds like it's running great. How worried should I be about that 60 psi?

Oh yeah, I did try to check the timing with the bike level. The first time it was leaning over on the kickstand. There was no change. Oil came spewing out. I couldn't get the plug in fast enough. I doubt if leaning the bike over on the right side would make a difference except maybe getting some more distance with the oil spray.
 

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While a controversial concept, I think the BROAD range of "acceptable" KACR-enabled compression ranges (77-124 psi) appears virtually meaningless, without prior history readings for comparison.

A compression check with the KACR disabled should render an appropriate pressure for an engine of the KLR650's compression ratio.

A superior (to a compression test) diagnostic test (in my opinion) is a leak-down test.

If your bike's running good, my advice: "Don't worry, be happy!" Obsession over minutia approaches the, "Measure it with a micrometer, then cut it with a meat axe," phenomenon IMHO; YMMV!
 

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Jason, does that plexiglass plug really work? I would think that so much oil would be getting thrown against the glass that it wouldn't let the light beam reach the flywheel and you couldn't see the marks if it did. If it works I would consider getting one if it was inexpensive.
Yes, it does work.

It helps to insert the plug as close as possible to the rotor without touching it. The plug shown in the photo is for a Harley-Davidson and, unfortunately, I don't know if one is available for the KLR.

Jason
 

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Tom, thanks for warning me about the oil spray when you do a compression check with the KACR disabled. I was going to do that check today. I checked the compression with the valve cover on and I got 60 psi. The Clymer manual (p. 62) specifies compression should be 77-124 psi with the KACR enabled. My compression gauge is a very old Harbor Freight beast, so I'm not sure how accurate it is. I guess I need to take the valve cover off and do the job right. The bike sounds like it's running great. How worried should I be about that 60 psi?
Does you HF compression gauge adapter have the proper 12mm x 3/4inch screw in fitting?
If it is short or a simple push in model that could partially account for lower reading.
Did you hold the throttle wide open?

If valve tappet clearances are at the low end of specs this can also reduce the cold cranking compression reading, especially minimal or below tolerance on the RH Exhaust tappet which the KACR engages.
The smaller the clearance on the RH exhaust tappet the later the closing of the de-compressed valve during the piston up-stroke.

There are No Specifications for CCC with a dis-abled KACR that I am aware of.
But my best SWAG suggestion is 135 - 185 psi. A 50 - 60 psi range is pretty common IME.
 

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@Skook,

If you are going to do a compression test you might watch this video.

To @pdwestman's point, the KLR does require an adapter. If you have the older Horrid Fright tester it may have come in a set with adapters.
 
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I once THOUGHT I figured out how a KLR650 spark advance works (no centrifugal spinning weights, or manifold vacuum-actuated point plate shifting, to exploit, as in prehistoric points/coil/condenser ignitions).

Goes like this: Pickup coil voltage varies with rpm; at higher rpm, pickup coil voltage increases. Increased voltage reaches thyristor (silicon controlled rectifier (SCR)) firing threshold earlier in flywheel rotation degrees, thus advancing spark at higher rpm.

Can anyone confirm, or deny and postulate an alternate operational mechanism for KLR650 spark advance?

Don't think KLRs have the sophisticated ECU computers and inputs used by more advanced engines for controlling ignition spark timing.

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

Otherwise, discussing automobile engines in general, Google seemed somewhat emphatic, maybe even dogmatic, saying essentially: "If you ain't got no distributor, you ain't gonna adjust spark timing."
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Does you HF compression gauge adapter have the proper 12mm x 3/4inch screw in fitting?
If it is short or a simple push in model that could partially account for lower reading.
Did you hold the throttle wide open?

If valve tappet clearances are at the low end of specs this can also reduce the cold cranking compression reading, especially minimal or below tolerance on the RH Exhaust tappet which the KACR engages.
The smaller the clearance on the RH exhaust tappet the later the closing of the de-compressed valve during the piston up-stroke.

There are No Specifications for CCC with a dis-abled KACR that I am aware of.
But my best SWAG suggestion is 135 - 185 psi. A 50 - 60 psi range is pretty common IME.
My exhaust valves are at the minimum clearance. The motorcycle shop where I ordered my shims got the wrong ones, so I ended up adjusting the intakes but not the exhausts. They were right on the edge but still technically not out of spec. I got the right shims now, but I'm waiting to put them in. I'll do the compression with KACR disabled at that time. I guess I'll do the compression check with the engine warm and then let it sit overnight to cool in order to check the valves. I'm glad the 60 psi isn't anything to panic about. Thanks for the input.

I do have the proper adapter for the compression gauge. I don't know if it's short or not, but it's not the push-in type. Yep, throttle wide open.

What does "SWAG" mean?
 

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I thought this was a sad story about....will you marry me and the effects of the answer! Glad to read it was an oil tasting thread!
 
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