Kawasaki KLR Forum banner

1 - 20 of 61 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I have this 2008 KLR with about 11,000 miles that sat in the carport covered with a tarp for the last five years and now I'm trying to get it running. I am not an experienced motorcycle mechanic so I'm in the dark a lot about what I'm doing. I'm doing a lot of reading about motorcycle maintenance.

Right now if I go out and pull the "choke"/enrichener all the way forward and then try to start the bike it will turn over and run for about one second and then die. I can't start it after that unless I squirt a little starting fluid behind the air filter. Then I can goose the throttle, and warm it up and it will run great. I can drive it around, shut it off, turn it on again, etc. It sounds like it's running perfectly. After it sits overnight it won't start again.

I replaced the battery and I keep the new battery on a battery tender.

I changed the oil and filter.

I put in a new spark plug.

I tracked down an electrical problem which turned out to be a bad neutral switch and I replaced that.

I installed the Thermobob 2 kit and replaced the coolant.

I cleaned the carb. It was really bad. I used a cheap carburetor rebuild kit from Amazon. I wonder if that was a good idea.

I installed a little washer under the needle and drilled out the hole in the slide like the internet told me to.

I cleaned the carb again making sure I cleared the little holes under the butterfly valve.

I installed a pilot mixture screw with a knurled knob that can be easily adjusted on the bike. I adjusted it.

I double-checked the float bowl fuel level which was too high, but is now right on the money (at the seam of the float bowl and the carb body).

I moved on from the starting issue for the time being. I've only put about fifty miles on the bike going around the block occasionally to test it out. I don't trust the tires, but I'm not ready to change them yet.

I think what I should really do next is check the compression, take a look at that spark plug and make sure I got it gapped correctly, and check the valve clearances.

Two days ago I put on a braided brake line on the front, rebuilt the master cylinder, installed new brake pads, and put fresh brake fluid in. Seems to work great.

Yesterday I gave the rear brake the same treatment but I was completely unable to bleed the system. The master cylinder wouldn't draw fluid out of the reservoir. It seemed to be trying to push fluid to the calipers though. I can only guess I made a mistake putting the master cylinder back together, so this afternoon I'm going to take it back off and see if I screwed up. Maybe a cup is upside down or something. I got a fresh bottle of brake fluid.

I got the parts and special tools in the mail yesterday to do the doohickey replacement. That will be the high water mark in my maintenance odyssey so far. I'm a little apprehensive but nothing is ever as hard as I think it will be.

Also on the agenda before I will release the bike for full duty is lubricating the swingarm pivot bolt and replacing the tires. I will check the spoke tightness, wheel runout, and bearings while I'm at it.

I'm trying to do all the work myself, although there is a good motorcycle shop a couple of blocks away from my house.

Am I on the right track here? Is there anything else I should be focusing on? What do the starting problems suggest? Is there anything I ought to farm out to the nearby shop?

That's it. Sorry for the long rambling post. Thanks for any input you can provide. I'm like a blind pig trying to find acorns here. I just don't have the experience to confidently choose my next moves.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Oh yeah, Im going through all the fasteners on the bike and checking the torque values. One of the foot pegs was very loose.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,676 Posts
On Gen 2 bikes, 2008-up. The cold start enrichener is PULLED towards oneself for cold start-up. And leave it full on for the 1st couple of minutes. Then raise throttle just a bit, as one PUSHES the lever forwards toward the Normal Run Position.

Sounds to me like you are either using or writing Backwards!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,676 Posts
The lower suspension Rocker Arm pivot bolt is more prone to corroding in than the Swing Arm pivot bolt. So re-grease Both with marine waterproof grease. I use Bel-Ray.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I was writing backwards. I pull the enrichener towards me.

I didn't know about the Rocker Arm pivot bolt. I'll add it to the list. Thanks.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I took the rear master cylinder apart again. I think I had one of the cups in backwards. It worked fine when I put it back on. I will now go for a little test ride around the block and check out the new brakes.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
The second time I took it apart it wasn't nearly the PITA that it seemed the first time.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,676 Posts
I was writing backwards. I pull the enrichener towards me.

I didn't know about the Rocker Arm pivot bolt. I'll add it to the list. Thanks.
Too many people in-advertently or on-purpose will open the throttle while pressing the starter button.

The Keihin CVK carb does NOT have an accelerator pump and it does Not have a choke plate. The cold start enrichener opens a Separate jet & a Separate air passage, specifically for starting. Any opening of the throttle plate can Reduce or even Totally Negate the separate Cold Start enrichener system.

The fact that it fires once or twice is most likely because of the 'Accumulated Fumes' in the clean-side of the air box from over-night evaporation. Once their consumed the incoming air needs to be enrichened.

So I'll suggest that you keep your hand completely off of the RH grip & attempt to start with Full Enrichener & only your RH Index finger used on the starter button.

If this does not light its fire, it may be because of Low engine compression due to tight valve clearances.
When the RH exhaust is below spec or worse, nearing '0' clearance, the Kawasaki Automatic Compression Release hold that EX valve open too far Up the up-stroke of compression. Which remaining compression can dip below the recommended minimum of 77PSI.
With 11,000 miles on the bike this is a very strong possibility.

Always attempt to select thinner valve shims to achieve near maximum valve tappet clearance, but NOT loose on the thickest feeler gauge. Lightly snug on thickest or loose on next size or two under max is great.

Intake specs is .004 - .008 inches & Exhaust specs is .006 - .010 inches. The valve shims come in .002 inch increments. The ink marks face DOWN. The inks marks are in 0.05mm increments / .002 inch.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
So, (please bear with me), that means you would suspect the bike has only marginal compression because one of the exhaust valves is open too long on the upstroke. It turns over a couple times due to the ignition of the accumulated fumes. Once the fumes have burned off, it can't compress the mixture enough to burn the fuel/air properly. It doesn't matter if I have the carburetor set up correctly.

Maybe after it warms up a little things change and expand enough that the marginal compression becomes barely sufficient compression and it runs okay until it cools down again.

In any case, tomorrow I will do a compression check, spark plug inspection, and valve check. It will be new territory for me, but it doesn't sound that difficult. I guess if the valves are out of adjustment I then put it back together and order the specific shims I need. I don't want to buy a whole set (or do I?).

Thanks a lot for the help. I guess I'll watch a few YouTube videos tonight and read your post more carefully. So I want the valve clearance as loose as possible while still being in spec? Because valves tighten up over time? I guess it will all make more sense when I get it apart and look at it.

The braided brake lines, new pads, brake fluid and rebuilt master cylinders worked good, but perhaps not the phenomenal improvement I had expected. I could lock the rear wheel up, so I guess that's as good as it can possibly be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,567 Posts
Just a comment about a conventional compression test.

The Kawasaki Automatic Compression Release (KACR) compromises a conventional compression test, IMHO. Cracks a valve open on the compression stroke at cranking rpm.

Better, a leak-down test, unless the KACR is disabled for a conventional compression test.

Also, just a tip on checking valve clearance: Perform the test at piston Top Dead Center (TDC) when ALL valves are closed (not at the OTHER piston TDC). In other words, at TDC on the compression stroke, not on the exhaust stroke.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,676 Posts
DO Not Play with the Throttle! Yet.

The Starter Motor does the "turning over". The engine "FIRES" a couple of strokes, because of accumulated fuel fumes.

Your cold start problem could be because of snug valve tappet clearances. Suggested by 11,000 miles and unknown maintenance history.
And can be exacerbated by opening the throttle TOO Early. But could be solely because of Your Procedure.

Try full enrichener, ZERO throttle, crank the starter motor 5-6 continuous rotations, if no start, Let go of the starter button! Count to 10, slowly. This allows raw fuel to vaporize, priming the engine.
Re-engage the starter motor for 5-6 more rotations. Hopefully it "fires" and runs on full enrichener on the 2nd stroke. If not, let go of the button for another 10 count.

Ok, re-engage starter button & on the second rotation just 'twitch' the throttle slightly open! Hopefully it is now running still on full enrichener. Let it run full on for a minute or two.


If the engine can only be started by opening the throttle to Amplify the cold cranking compression, that is an indication of Low COLD CRANKING Compression.
Usually due to snug valve tappets, due to mileage, hopefully not due to dirt thru the air intake.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I just went through your starting procedure carefully.

Try full enrichener, ZERO throttle, crank the starter motor 5-6 continuous rotations, if no start, Let go of the starter button! Count to 10, slowly. This allows raw fuel to vaporize, priming the engine..
The engine fired and ran for maybe one second and then died.

Re-engage the starter motor for 5-6 more rotations. Hopefully it "fires" and runs on full enrichener on the 2nd stroke. If not, let go of the button for another 10 count.
The engine didn't fire.

Ok, re-engage starter button & on the second rotation just 'twitch' the throttle slightly open! Hopefully it is now running still on full enrichener. Let it run full on for a minute or two.
The engine didn't fire.

It seems the obvious next step is a compression check and valve check. I didn't know about the KACR. The specs in the Clymer manual must be for the KACR enabled. When I check the valves I will disable the KACR and check it again.

I tried to find the procedure for doing a compression check in the shop manual but couldn't find it. I would do a leak down test, but I have a compression gauge and I don't have a leak down tester.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,282 Posts
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,567 Posts
Tom's compression check procedure should reveal any ring/valve (including valve adjustment) issues, or . . . a valve clearance check might be a good place to start.

I suspect carburetor problems, from the symptoms described.

Sometimes, starting fluid is your friend (always practice fire safety).

Starting fluid insures a combustible mixture; if the bike runs on starting fluid, but not its own gasoline . . . could be fuel/carb-related. Assume drained tank and carb float bowl, re-filled with fresh, "dry" gasoline.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Tom, the video was very informative. Unfortunately I'm roadblocked. The compression gauge that I have was one I used to use on my old Land Cruiser, but it doesn't fit into the spark plug hole of the KLR. I naively assumed all spark plug diameters are the same. Or maybe I hoped they were. It has one attachment which also does not fit. Maybe I had more attachments at one time, but I don't remember any.

I guess I need to buy a new compression tester with the appropriate attachment. Does anybody know what the designation of the thread size, diameter, whatever, that I am looking for?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Yeah, it's got fresh gas in the tank and the float bowl. I was thinking carb also, but I can't seem to figure it out that way.

The spark plug did seem a little loose so I retightened it and tried again. The same thing happened: It ran for a second and then nothing more after that. The spark plug looked normal and it was gapped correctly.

Did I mention I was no mechanic?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,282 Posts
I think I found an adapter or somesuch at Horrid Fright. Let me go look in the Shop of Horrors and figure out what I did.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,282 Posts
You need to have an adapter that goes from 14mm down to 12mm. Here is one: https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-20540-12mm-Spark-Adapter/dp/B00CEX5BNW/ref=asc_df_B00CEX5BNW/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312158556601&hvpos=1o5&hvnetw=g&hvrand=984081478339686170&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9031025&hvtargid=pla-570776027741&psc=1

Horrid Fright doesn't seem to carry them and they don't seem to have the $10 compression test kits that had a full set of adapters in it anymore, either.

Might be you could get one at NAPA or AutoZone.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,282 Posts
I think that doing this compression test, though, ought to be your second priority. It is far more likely that the valves are too tight or the carburetor idle circuit is not clean than that there is a problem that the compression test will give insight to.

Was your idle jet this clean?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Tom, you are a scholar and a gentleman. I love this forum.

I don't know why I've gotten so hung up on the compression test. Still, I have to do one sooner or later. I went to the three auto parts stores in my smallish town and nobody could sell me an adapter. I guess I'll get that one you pointed to on Amazon.

Yes, I do think my idle jet was that clean, but...*sigh*...I will pull the carburetor off and check.

So, onto the valve clearance check. But that's for tomorrow. Thanks a lot guys for the all the help. I'd seriously be floundering around (more than I am) without you.
 
1 - 20 of 61 Posts
Top