Kawasaki KLR Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I just bought a 2012 KLR650 with 14K on it. This is my first bike after a 15+ year hiatus. Everything I've owned/ridden previously was mostly older Honda twins/fours with a couple of Suzukis. This is my very first Kawasaki as well as first single cylinder bike, have never owned or ridden dirt bikes, so this is very different for me...

Can someone please tell me what the hell the "KLR noise" is? Before any forum vigilantes pounce on me (lol), I have tried reading through other threads about this. Not all, some.

I guess I could describe my noise as:

Lower end mechanical chattering?
Thunking?
Light Knocking?

It happens to be VERY present on my KLR, and it bothers me to the point where I want to ditch it, and quick. I'm very mechanically inclined, and random engine noises on a car or twin/4cyl bike drive me NUTS. So, my question is, and if anyone would like to help me lol, : Should I be worried about it? Is there a particular issue aside from valve clearances, oil level and doohickey that cause this, or is it something that I should just live with? Is there a blend of oil that could at least reduce the noise a little bit? It just feels to me like I'm running an engine with a sloppy wrist pin :(

With that aside, I love the KLR. I'm excited for mods and such when time and money allow, and its kinda fun to cruise around town with. Hope to hear back, and as well as meet some more people here!

Cheers!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Some M'cycle mag scribe wrote that the KLR was the "cockroach" of motorcycles, sure to survive a nuclear war. And...the new generation he was testing, was sure to be the same as it sounded like a cement mixer.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,015 Posts
You may be hearing the engine balancer chain 'whip' against its chain guides.
I've found more than a few engine balancer chain adjuster Locking Bolts Loose from the factory.
This causes excessive stress on the adjuster Tensioner SPRING, which can lead to total system Failure.

Read more and VIEW more about it here, The Doohickey got fixed on the Gen2 bikes, right? Ah...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
I just bought a 2016 with 11k on it ...... sounds the same, knocking below 2,000 rpm and just generally sounds like someone tossed some marbles into the bottom end of the engine. Honestly expected some single cylinder vibrations and thumps but this is kinda next level. The bike has the eagle mike upgrade installed, still likely to be engine balancer chain ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
It happens to be VERY present on my KLR, and it bothers me to the point where I want to ditch it, and quick. I'm very mechanically inclined, and random engine noises on a car or twin/4cyl bike drive me NUTS.
Given the above, I'm going to suggest you do some investigation. Pull the left side engine cover and flywheel and verify you have an EM doo upgrade and everything in the balancer assembly is good.

Then, pull the valve cover and verify the bike has not suffered a low oil condition with the previous owner. Also inspect the cam chain and tensioner. And check the valve clearances.

If you don't want to invest the time, then sell it. You will always have that feeling in the pit of your stomach that something is wrong.

If you do decide to go in and inspect, get a Clymer Service Manual.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ THIS.

Can you elaborate on the low oil condition? I just changed the oil the other day, and I got a little bit over one quart of dirty oil out of it, including the oil filter with a date stamp from 2014 (!). I bought it from a 60 YO guy who seemed to take pretty good care of it otherwise. In my experience with engines, oil runs low and has a potential of damaging things if kept low, but usually topping off makes it all better. Does the KLR suffer differently when ran with low oil?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,015 Posts
I just bought a 2016 with 11k on it ...... sounds the same, knocking below 2,000 rpm and just generally sounds like someone tossed some marbles into the bottom end of the engine. Honestly expected some single cylinder vibrations and thumps but this is kinda next level. The bike has the eagle mike upgrade installed, still likely to be engine balancer chain ?
I can't hear or feel your engines vibrations from afar. The previous owner/mechanic may have left the locking bolt Loose? Or they may have damaged the torsion spring during its installation, causing it to fracture.

I recommend that one remove the 2 plastic plugs on the LH engine cover and rotate the crankshaft CCW to the TDC mark. Then loosen & re-snug the doo-hickey adjuster bolt under the rubber cap at the 6:00 position of the LH engine cover. Be gentle with that locking bolt, only 70 INCH pounds!

If the noise & vibrations gets Worse, your balancer tensioning spring is probably broken and the attempted adjustment may have introduced even more slack into the system. DO NOT continue to operate in this condition.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all of the suggestions guys, it's actually helping my anxiety over this thing. I will also add to the above, after giving it almost 3 fresh quarts of 10w40 and a new filter, the engine noise subsided a bit, but definitely not as much as I hoped. It still does sound like a cement mixer I guess :)

I already have a Clymer book, plenty of tools and alcohol. Also, few months of snow coming so I guess I'll have my little side project for the winter. It's a single with one carb so, easy, but I didn't plan on buying this with having to rip it apart after putting 70 miles on it. Oh well...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,015 Posts
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ THIS.

Can you elaborate on the low oil condition? I just changed the oil the other day, and I got a little bit over one quart of dirty oil out of it, including the oil filter with a date stamp from 2014 (!). I bought it from a 60 YO guy who seemed to take pretty good care of it otherwise. In my experience with engines, oil runs low and has a potential of damaging things if kept low, but usually topping off makes it all better. Does the KLR suffer differently when ran with low oil?
The first 2 bearings to be damaged by Too Low of engine oil are the RH exhaust camshaft bearing, followed very shortly by the LH exhaust camshaft bearing. Usually the engine comes to a halt soon after due to either a shattered decompressor assembly on the RH end of the exhaust camshaft or seized camshaft shears the locator dowel pin on the cam chain sprocket allowing the exhaust valves to collide with the top of piston.

The crankshaft, connecting rod, transmission & lower bearings usually survive because they were still receiving oil, barely.

I'll suggest that you inspect the foam air filter to Confirm that it has been oiled, a dry filter passes all the fine dust straight thru it. Also inspect the under side of the air filter box, which could be melted open by a failed mid-pipe gasket or simply too much exhaust heat from being left idling. Either failure will cause piston ring/cylinder scratching which causes oil consumption.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
216 Posts
As a point of comparison, my 2013 with 28Kmi on it is pretty mechanically quiet at idle. It thumps, of course, but doesn’t rattle. No mechanically “hard” noises. It sucks a LOT of oil though.

I’d take Paul’s advice and pull off the left cover and see if the doohickey is updated and working correctly. It’s not hard and you can probably reuse the gasket with some sealer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
As a point of comparison, my 2013 with 28Kmi on it is pretty mechanically quiet at idle. It thumps, of course, but doesn’t rattle. No mechanically “hard” noises. It sucks a LOT of oil though.

I’d take Paul’s advice and pull off the left cover and see if the doohickey is updated and working correctly. It’s not hard and you can probably reuse the gasket with some sealer.
I guess I could say the same, it’s like a mechanical thump. Definitely not a wiped bearing, cam or crank knocking noise. I had a ‘75 CB400F Super Sport that kinda made the same noise, but only when taking off in 1st gear and when the idle dropped below 1000 RPM. So it’s kind of expected in a way but on my KLR it happens at low load and when you give it heavy gas below 3000 RPM. I should also mention the previous owner put a smaller sprocket on the rear wheel? He gave me the original rear sprocket which is absolutely fine. I forgot the reason why he said he changed the sprocket, but I always thought people do the front. But I’m a guy who repairs what’s there, I don’t change sprockets and tweak things. All of my bikes were stock.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
216 Posts
You may be lugging the engine. I can make mine do that too by letting the RPM get too low with lots of throttle. Slip the clutch more when getting started, especially if you have a smaller rear sprocket.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
You may be lugging the engine. I can make mine do that too by letting the RPM get too low with lots of throttle. Slip the clutch more when getting started, especially if you have a smaller rear sprocket.
This may be a contributing factor come to think of it... This bike seems like it’s “geared” a bit different compared to the last ones. First gear seems like it lugs and perhaps more gas would help despite me going easy on it to avoid wiping a clutch out faster. (I drive like an old lady) Oddly, I almost caused an accident starting out in second gear by accident one day, wow. This bike does NOT like it whatsoever, even tho most of my previous bikes would do it? Again it’s probably me, it’s a totally different animal to me after such a long gap in driving a bike period. Definitely WAY more “torque-y” than others.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ THIS.

Can you elaborate on the low oil condition? I just changed the oil the other day, and I got a little bit over one quart of dirty oil out of it, including the oil filter with a date stamp from 2014 (!). I bought it from a 60 YO guy who seemed to take pretty good care of it otherwise. In my experience with engines, oil runs low and has a potential of damaging things if kept low, but usually topping off makes it all better. Does the KLR suffer differently when ran with low oil?
The oil capacity of a KLR is about 2.5 liters or 2.6 quarts. If you only drained little more than a quart, I'd be concerned this engine was run low on oil with the potential affects outlined by PDW.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I'll suggest that you inspect the foam air filter to Confirm that it has been oiled, a dry filter passes all the fine dust straight thru it. Also inspect the under side of the air filter box, which could be melted open by a failed mid-pipe gasket or simply too much exhaust heat from being left idling. Either failure will cause piston ring/cylinder scratching which causes oil consumption.
I finally got around to checking into this... I found the filter was dirty AF but, it was also well oiled. It cleaned up nicely, used some 10W30 to saturate since I really have nothing else. The air cleaner box is in great shape, no melting going on and cleaned all of the grit out.

The last problem I'm stuck with now is stumbling at 25% throttle and backfiring upon deceleration, but idle and mid to WOT are fine. I saw something about using seaFoam, maybe try that or I'll tend to it over the winter and just break the carb down/rebuild.

Lastly, anyone have recommendations on an aftermarket Muffler? I've found some of the suspect noise is the factory muffler itself, and yes, I cleaned it out. (All I had to do is drive it with no helmet (NH)) and just turn an ear towards the muffler. UGH. I'm nowhere near hitting trails with my KLR, so I don't think I need a US forestry rated muffler. Something a little noisier with a nice tone, less restriction?

EDIT- I lied. Doohickey and a LH engine well-being check is the final!

Anyways... Thanks to everyone for the input!

-R
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,167 Posts
I don't typically comment on any noise posts; can't hear from here! LOL.........the best advice I can give is to go ride another KLR or two and then you have a baseline.

My silencer post:
A subjective topic but to recap recent discussions;



I don't like loud but I've replaced the stock silencers on both KLR's for several reasons, namely; lighter weight (5 - 7 lbs), better tone, better looks. .....I wouldn't recommend it thinking there will be a noticeable increase in power, nor would I put much faith in manufacturer's that claim much in the way of HP increases (with no other changes).



After much research and some testing, I like the LeoVince X3 which is relatively quiet at 94db, doesn't require repacking (the only one that doesn't AFAIK, except for the ridiculously expensive Staintune out of Australia), looks decent and has a spark arrestor and USFS compliance. Runner up would be the Lexx with the optional trail insert; also around 94db but it does require periodic repacking. I also like the FMF Q4 but it is a bit louder (though still trail compliant) at 96db (keep in mind that the increase in decibels isn't linear).



There are a great many aftermarket silencers on the market that are far too loud IMO and you'd do best to avoid them.



Good luck,



Dave
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
455 Posts
I've noticed that the KLR is quite noisy at idle as well, but I've compared it with a couple others and they all sound like that. Basically, as it first warms up it starts to sound clackety, and this noise goes away as you raise the RPMs. It used to bug me a lot, but 9K miles later she's still running like a champ so I've actively put it out of my mind.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,167 Posts
The oil capacity of a KLR is about 2.5 liters or 2.6 quarts. If you only drained little more than a quart, I'd be concerned this engine was run low on oil with the potential affects outlined by PDW.
Ditto; these engines do not last long run that low on oil. Start with the cams/cam bores as Paul said.

Dave
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top