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Hello everybody. First time klr owner, first time motorcycle owner, fairly experienced car mechanic. I'm located in the Santa Cruz mountains area in California, and eventually I want to take trips with my bike.

About three months ago I purchased my 2006 Gen1. The following was already done when I bought the bike:
-685 kit shnitz racing
-Laser Pro Duro mid pipe and tailpipe
-Older style crash bars (unknown manufacturer)
-Heated grips with hi/lo switch
-main fuse upgrade to ATC fuses
-airbox mod
-Klx needle kit
-Carb rejected with 142.5 main jet
-Acerbis front fender
-Corbin leather seat
-Renthal handlebars
-EM doohickey
-16T front sprocket
-braided front brake line
-Dekka AGM battery
- "K-9" front fork brace (can't find info on this but looks similar to EM)
-oil drain bolt helicoiled
-unknown horn upgrade

If you don't want to read my whole story you can skip to the end to just see what I've done myself since getting the KLR.

Being a decent mechanic, I know it's wise to push vehicles a bit if you're test driving to make sure there's no issues. When I test rode the bike, I could tell the clutch was slipping. Everything else seemed to work fine despite horrible brakes. Immediately tried negotiating with seller which didn't work.

After a month passed I contacted the seller again offering a lower price. He turned me down again, only to text me the next day with a price slightly higher than what I offered initially. I accepted the price mainly because this bike already has most of the popular upgrades I would end up doing anyway. Most used bikes in my price range had no where near this level of upgrades.

After getting the bike home via trailer, a more thorough inspection began. Somewhere between my initial test drive and this point in time, the rear brake light stopped working. When I looked at the wiring, I was disappointed to see all the rear light wiring was cobbled together with crimp connectors everywhere.

It bothered me so much, I rewired all the rear lights using a weatherproof (GM style) connector and fresh wires everywhere. I also added a 2nd brake light in because I'm worried about other drivers seeing me, and I also installed the happy trails LED brake light kit.

Keeping with the idea of being visible to other drivers, I also installed a JNS engineering DOT headlight.

Being tall (6'5) I installed EM 1.5" handlebar risers.

The horn had also stopped working, and I discovered that was caused by bad connections. Too bad for me I learned this after 'inspecting' the horn guts, and now I need to re-glue the two case halves together as they're separating. Oops! Haha

After reading about the front fenders on KLRs acting like sails, and liking the looks of a low mounted fender, I remounted the acerbis fender to the fork brace using nylon spacers. I really like the way the fender looks now.

My bike's factory heat shield was very rusty and was in a box of parts that came with the bike. Using new hardware I remounted it, but covered it with a thermotec clamp style heat shield to hide the ugliness and make the heat protection even better. At the same time I also added a SS header from GenII's since mine was fairly corroded. Supposedly they flow a bit better being mandrel but who knows.

The brakes were crap when I got the bike. For the rear I added a SS line and installed a new rotor and galfer pads. The rear rotor was below it's wear limit prior.

For the front I upgraded to a SV650 dual piston caliper and 320mm Warp9 rotor using the EM adapter bracket. I have to add that out of all the rotor bolts, front and rear combined, only 4 came out without using a bolt extractor. Drilling and removing the rotor bolts took a ridiculous number of hours as I was trying to do it very carefully. No wonder the PO didn't do the brake job already!

I have also slightly improved the electric fan shroud, and replaced the fan blade with the ninja fan for more cfm.

I completed the upper subframe through bolt kit from happy trails, and then I thought the clutch was the only major thing left to do before going riding.

Well I got to pull the extractor kit out again, as one bolt for the right footpeg was already broken. I wanted to fix this before taking the clutch cover off.

The PO idiotically used too long of bolts, and they broke the bolt head off when the bolt hit the frame instead of actually tightening the footpeg. The guy I bought the bike from wasn't very mechanically inclined so I suspect it was him. Very luckily, the fixed nuts threads were still intact, albeit a bit loose for that one. With new bolts, much loctite, and proper torque they seem good now--but I'm still debating tapping them to 10mm.

Once I had the clutch cover removed and removed the springs and plates, I took out my measuring caliper to measure the wear. The friction plates were within spec, but I replaced them anyway since I already had new ones soaked in oil ready to go. The steel plates were not warped by factory manual tests, but showed signs of heat. Not extreme, but not great either. Some scotch brite pads and elbow grease fixed them right up.

The clutch springs were technically still within spec, but not by much. I suspected the springs wore out and just didn't have enough clamp for the upgraded 685. I installed the upgraded springs from EM, which are shorter in free length than the factory springs.

I went ahead and rebuilt the water pump with all new seals/o rings after flushing the cooling system a few times. I cleaned the oil strainer as well.

And even though the drain bolt has already been helicoiled, oil had been seeping from the bolt consistently but slowly. O'reilly Auto had the perfect fix in the form of a 12mm rubber coated drain bolt washer for $4/2. On this note, while the clutch cover was off I noticed the helicoil is raised somewhat above the bottom of the engine case, which has me wondering how much oil will be stopped from draining out during changes. Probably not a big deal though.

That brings me to today, when I went for my first real ride after doing all the work. Everything I touched seems good I'm happy to say, but I still almost got stranded! I added some gas at the station but she didn't want to start after.

I immediately suspected the vacuum petcock diaphragm, having read up on them before, and for the first time I saw wetness around the petcock. Previously I wasn't sure if the tank was too low for the primary fuel straw, because the bike was actually still running good on the reserve setting. Well now I know, and the parts to convert the factory one to manual are in the mail.

My last known item on the must-do agenda, is to check the valves and replace the VC gasket as it leaks pretty bad.

On the horizon is painting new Hemisphere Off-road radiator shrouds (bike was missing one when purchased), wheat wacker upgrade, taller windscreen, some type of custom dash, longer brake and shift levers, and eventually suspension. The way it is now, the front is diving way too much for me.

Things I've done to the bike:
-fresh wires and connector for all rear lights
-JNS engineering led headlight
-happy trails LED tail light
-EM handlebar risers 1.5"
-Hemisphere Off-road radiator shrouds
-low mounted acerbis fender
-GenII header pipe
-thermotec exhaust shield
-rear SS brake line, new tusk rotor, galfer pads
-SV650 caliper, 320mm Warp9 rotor and EM adapter bracket
-Happy Trails subframe through bolt upgrade
-Ninja fan blade upgrade
-water pump rebuild
-new clutch (EM springs, Kawasaki friction plates)
-new SS footpeg bolts
 

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Welcome to the forum, Pig685. Sounds like you have got things pretty well under control.

I just wish that you had read this, before you reinstalled the clutch cover! Not that any of it is a 'have to do' modification.
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Thanks👍🏻 What a great article. And thanks Paul for all the time and effort doing all this testing and analysis and for sharing it with the KLR Community
 

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I did the preliminary work, Tom Schmitz aka Souperdoo finalized it.
And thanks to all participants along the way we all keep learning more.
 

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I did the preliminary work, Tom Schmitz aka Souperdoo finalized it.
And thanks to all participants along the way we all keep learning more.
I’m sorry Tom. Thank you too for the incredible website article you put together. Great work.
 

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Pig685 -you should know that the Laser Pro Duro is a dangerous garbage exhaust likely to cause your bike to explode for no reason, will probably turn you and half your neighbors into raging lunatics, and cause your dog to start sleeping with cats in unholy unions.

Because I'm a tremendously nice guy, I will very graciously volunteer to take that demon-possessed horror off your hands for the princely sum of $1.00 US.

Contact me directly to arrange for your salvation on this front.

Happy to help,
MarkB, aka foo
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Pig685 -you should know that the Laser Pro Duro is a dangerous garbage exhaust likely to cause your bike to explode for no reason, will probably turn you and half your neighbors into raging lunatics, and cause your dog to start sleeping with cats in unholy unions.

Because I'm a tremendously nice guy, I will very graciously volunteer to take that demon-possessed horror off your hands for the princely sum of $1.00 US.

Contact me directly to arrange for your salvation on this front.

Happy to help,
MarkB, aka foo
I'm super happy that my bike has this exhaust setup, it is the perfect volume and tone for this bike. And since I upgraded to a genII header pipe, the whole system is S.S. Keep searching maybe you'll find one someday!
 
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