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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2008 model, 30k km ~ 20k mi. Got it several days ago. My very first non-street bike. My very first Kawasaki. My very first chain-drive bike. Part-traded my 83 Yamaha XJ750 plus some cash for this 25-year-newer 08 KLR.

The KLR has recent tires. PO claims it has doo-hickey. Front tire is flat. Looks like it has an aftermarket skid plate, there is a butterfly mount near the front engine mount that has nothing bolted to it.

Battery cranks it, but barely, then dies, lights go dim, click click nothing. Boost it, and it cranks and starts nicely. Shows 14.6 volts across battery posts at a 3000rpm hi-idle. Charged battery for 24 hours with 1.25 amp charger, same. Any recommendations for replacement battery? Conventional-plate lead acid? Spill-proof gel-cell? Spiral-cell Optima? Lith-ion? Nuke reactor?

KLR has what looks like an aftermarket center stand, held on by those 4 bolts that hold the footpegs on. Those footpeg bolts were loose, and look messed up. I may toss the center stand, or maybe take it off and weld some reinforcing braces onto the center stand forward along the frame tubes under the engine so that as the center stand hits the end of its travel, the torsion of the weight of the bike is spread to the frame tubes and the 432+lbs doesn't just twist onto those 4 little peg-mount bolts.

Front tire flat. Put air in the valve stem and air comes out all over the place. Bike came with a spare tube in the tail-trunk thats the same size as front tire. I've changed lots of tubes in 18.4-38 and 11:00-15 and such ag-tires, but never anything this small. How tough can it be....? Took out valve core, pushed bead off rim with big c-clamp vise grips. Marked the side of the tire with the location of the valve stem to preserve balance. Not wanting to chew up alum rim with tire levers, put some gorilla tape on rim around bead. Lotsa rubber lube. Levered one side of tire off. Pulled tube out. About a foot of the tube was piled up in one spot, and the stem was ripped out of the tube. The band that protects the tube from the spoke nuts was all piled up. Levered the other side of the tire off. Cleaned up the inside of the rim with alcohol. No extra band. I have some heavy pipeline tape, thats like electrical tape but thicker and way stickier. Comes in rolls 6" wide. Using a bandsaw, I cut a 1" slice off that 6" roll of pipeline tape. I put one wrap of that pipeline tape over the spoke nuts in the center of the rim, overlapping it by a couple of inches opposite from the valve stem. Xacto-knife cut the hole out for the valve stem. Put tire lube on the beads of the tire, and levered one side on. Lined up the location of the mark with the valve stem. Put the tube in and put the stem nut on a couple turns. Levered on the other tire bead, and pulled off the gorilla tape bead protector, wiped the goo off with alcohol. Aired it up, let the air out several times to hopefully relax any kinks out of the tube. Put the core in, and its holding 22psi for 24 hours. Put the front wheel on, taking great care to align the drive tabs on the speedo drive with the slots on the wheel hub. Spin the front wheel as fast as I can by hand, speedo indicates 10mph, squeeze brake and it stops. Seems to be working. Holy crap I changed a tire. Way harder than a 18.4-38.

I am 5'9" tall, 190lbs, 61 years old. Sitting on the KLR, I can barely touch tip-toes. My nephew, a big strapping lad 6'2" 240, rides a KTM 900cc thing, tells me this KLR is way too much for me. too tall, too top heavy, and old people should stick to short-crotch cruiser bike. Sounds like a throwdown to me, I'm an ornery old @#%$! and I'm going to enjoy this KLR or die trying, even if I have to screw 2x4s to the bottoms of my boots.

So I don't have to ask the nephew and his buddies for help, I'm going to go to the much more morally supportive KLRforum for advice on what to check and what to do to this KLR to make it road and trail reliable.

I'm thinking the hardest part will be training myself. My past bikes are a few Honda CX500, a couple Goldwings, Honda Sabre, Honda Shadows, Suzuki GS1000L, and the recently come and gone Yamaha XJ750. Riding (and wrenching) this KLR will take some getting used to.

I'm going to drop it. I'm looking for recommendations on engine/rad (and tank and plastic) guards that will make KLR more resistant to breaking from being dropped. Does anyone have the Dirtracks guard with the bar that goes around under the headlight? Does it provide a higher degree of idiot-proof than the Givi or Moose guard bars?

I've never had a bike with a chain, other than a banana-seat pedal bike. This chain thing is new to me, further complicated by o-ring x-ring etc. I don't even have a can of chain-lube. Not going to ask the nephew. Looking for advice from KLRforum on use, care, tips, tricks and etiquette with this chain thing.

Thanks in advance for the advice.

Mathew Banack, Round Hill, Alberta, Canada
 

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2013 KLR 650/692, 2017 HD Electraglide Ultra
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Welcome, Matt. Looks like you got a “project” there!

First, go to the thread, PDWestman’s “mistakes for
New KLR Ownwrs to Avoid,” and read it carefully.

Second, post pictures!

The butterfly brackets you mentioned, yes, those are for an aftermarket skid plate. See if your skid plate has holes that line up. If not, it may have been for a different plate.

Foot pegs loose: yup, common problem, especially if they were overtorqued and stripped, also common because they are only M8 bolts going into a shallow bracket. Depending on the style of the center stand, it may impose additional loads that loosen the bolts, so reinforcing that mounting may be a good idea. Search other threads to see how to fix, in particular, Tom Schmidt’s “Souperdoo” web site for things KLR. Lots of good stuff there.

Battery: it’s dead. Lots of opinions about what to buy as replacement. I like the Lithium batteries because they lose a bunch of weight up high. I bought one for my Harley Electraglide and I’m shopping for one for my KLR now.

Congrats on changing the tire. And you didn’t even pinch-flat it? I did that the first time. And the second. Second time was the rear. That’s harder. Otherwise, working in a KLR is easier than the other bikes you have owned.

Crash bars: yes, you will drop the bike, so you need them. Some are designed to work with the same brand center stand which will reduce the stress on the footpeg mounting bolts. My SW Motech bars and center stand work this way. Again, search the forum.

So you’re only 61? That puts you in the middle of the age range here. At 5’9”, a standard KLR is a bit tall but there are ways to bring it down out of the clouds. Search for lowering links and sliding forks up in the triple clamps. Lowering 2” is reasonable and workable.

You mentioned you had a 1983 XJ750–Seca or Special? I had an XJ650 Seca for about 20 years, then sold it two years ago before I moved from Virginia to the PNW. It was a great road bike. I used to be on the XJ Owners mailing list, but dropped off after I sold it. There were a fair number of Canadian XJ owners on that list. Did you ever participate there?
 

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Congrats on the new bike! It sounds like a fun project, and you'll get lots of good advice here.
  • I'll second what PeteK said about the SW Motech bars - they're very sturdy and fairly easy to install.
  • I'm a big believer in WD-40 for both cleaning and lubricating the chain - it's cheap and not too messy, but everyone's got their preference.
 

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Welcome to the forum Matt. You are less than an hour south of me and I usually try to ride out your way a couple of times a season. Are you right in town or on the farm? Maybe we can arrange a socially distanced meet up sometime. Love to talk KLR with you and can probably answer some of your questions. Weather this weekend isn’t the warmest but maybe that will change. It is Alberta after all.
 
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As mentioned by @PeteK, @Tom Schmitz Souperdoo site is an excellent resource. Here is a link to the foot peg repair.


As to a battery. I thought that I needed to replace my battery this season and did some shopping around. I currently have a battery that I purchased from Sask Battery and it is still the Best Buy for the dollar. I’ve used Yuasa and Deka batteries and haven’t gotten anymore life out of them so why pay double. Free shipping at $60. Add a button cell for your watch and you are there. Usually gets here in less than a week.


As to the crash bars. The Dirt Racks bars are a great option especially being made here and the service is great. I have their engine bar set and my brother is running the full body set - we are both on Gen 1 bikes. For me the engine bars were enough but I do like that they have a spot to attach auxiliary lights on the full set. With a Gen 2 bike I think I would be inclined to get the full set. The plastic can be pretty expensive if you need to replace it.

Lastly. The 2008 had a reputation to be an oil consumer. CHECK YOUR OIL LEVEL after every meal. ;)
.
 
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I’ll get the attribution right one of these days...
 

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thanks guys, but it doesn't matter as long as it helps some who read it......and Paul, Tom and others contributed as well. (y)

cheers,
Dave
 

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My opinion on chains with o or x rings is the following: WD40 is excellent for cleaning them, and a light coating prevents corrosion. After cleaning I like to use gear oil but only lightly around the o rings to keep them happy. Wipe clean after.

The o or x rings are designed to hold in the grease the chain factory inserts internally. Some solvents are either hard on the o rings or seep past the o rings washing out the factory grease. WD40 and gear oil are safe, some say kerosene is safe (some don't).
Only my 2¢
 

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08 KLR stock stock stock with doo-hickey.
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks all for the great info. Battery is now fully fried out, turns the headlight on for about 5 seconds then dims out to nothing. Replacement as recommended above by klr4evr is on order. So I'm riding my Honda Shadow and Toyota Rav4 for a week until the Canada Post snail caravan brings me a battery.

When I ride, I do like to carry enough tools supplies haywire duct-tape to rescue myself should s&!t happen. I've discovered that a 6000 mAh Li-Ion battery pack jump charger is now in my kit going forward. The white paint-marker is me remembering how to turn it on. The black box part is the same length-width as my Samsung phone, and a bit thicker. Hooked those clamps up to the dead-fried battery on the KLR and it cranked and started even while I fiddled the choke in an unfamiliar manner. For such a tiny package, it does the trick to start a dead bike. I think the black box that is part of the jumper cable plug-in provides polarity and over-current protection. The clamps and cables are more bulky than the battery itself.
29374


I have run the KLR in the shop, I'm surprised at how fast the temp comes up, even at idle. The temp guage takes only a few minutes to go right up, almost to the red. The fan cuts in and out, so I think the cooling system is working normally. I just expected temp guage to stabilize at about 1/2 or so, not a couple needle widths under the red. I've never been a fan of a guage with only a red-zone and a green zone... Next time I run it, I'm going to use my laser thermometer to check the temp of the engine casting, is there any particular spot that is easy to see thats a good indicator of how hot things are? Top tank of radiator? Coolant fitting on right side of cylinder - where thermobob isn't? Once I actually measure temperature against various needle positions, I will have a better idea whats what. Next time I run it I'll snap a pic of where the temp guage stabilizes, if its higher than it should be, maybe its time for thermobob and thermostat.... and/or maybe even a Watt-Man temp guage overlay.

Front tire pressure still up at 22psi 48 hours after changing the stem-detached inner tube.

I've not run it far enough to see if / how much oil it uses, in the week until the battery gets here I can re-read and re-read about the oiling system mods on Souperdoo. I think I'll have to read that about 5 times to fully understand and comprehend. Some painstaking science there. I have read that other bikes, such as an early 80s XT/SR 250 can crank-siphon enough oil that the steel-on-aluminum cam bearings oil-starve and gall. Thanks to Paul Westman.
 

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You’ll find when riding the KLR that it will run a lot cooler than sitting idling in the shop. The fan seldom comes on. The addition of the Thermobob, will give you a steady operating temperature with the gauge just under 1/2. Without the Thermobob my indicator would hardly raise from the cold position on cooler Alberta days. Sounds like your cooling system is operating normally.
 
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I'm surprised at how fast the temp comes up, even at idle. The temp guage takes only a few minutes to go right up, almost to the red.
I'll suggest that Some Thing is amiss.

Sounds like your cooling system is operating normally.
I don't think so.

jiggseob,
I think that it may be probable that the hoses are connected to the incorrect nipples on the coolant pump.

The lower radiator hose needs to connect to the rearward nipple of the pump and the forward nipple on the pump Goes To the base of the engine Cylinder, for correct direction of coolant flow and proper operation of thermostat.
(Note CYL cast into the pump body)
 

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08 KLR stock stock stock with doo-hickey.
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Checked hoses to/from the coolant pump, the arrangement of hoses would be possible to assemble incorrectly, if one was illiterate. The hoses seem correct:
29381


Ambient temp in the back room of the shop is 45F. I started the bike, adjusted idle to about 1500~2000 rpm. Occasional blips of throttle. 12 minutes 30 seconds until fan cuts in. I was holding the phone/camera quite high so the flash didn't obscure the temp guage, a little paralax makes the needle appear lower. From the point of view of riding position, the needle is a smidgen higher.
29382


Further investigation of oddness in cooling system is in order. The cooling system is simple in layout, I can see the coolant outlet (and I presume thermostat inside) on right side of head going to top rad hose. Indeed, no place for coolant to flow if thermostat is closed. Yes, thermobob time.

Question for the thermobob hose routing, where does the bypass hose from the thermobob go? Do I cut the hose from the bottom of the radiator to the coolant pump, and tee-in the bypass?
 

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Checked hoses to/from the coolant pump, the arrangement of hoses would be possible to assemble incorrectly, if one was illiterate. The hoses seem correct: View attachment 29381

Ambient temp in the back room of the shop is 45F. I started the bike, adjusted idle to about 1500~2000 rpm. Occasional blips of throttle. 12 minutes 30 seconds until fan cuts in. I was holding the phone/camera quite high so the flash didn't obscure the temp guage, a little paralax makes the needle appear lower. From the point of view of riding position, the needle is a smidgen higher.
View attachment 29382

Further investigation of oddness in cooling system is in order. The cooling system is simple in layout, I can see the coolant outlet (and I presume thermostat inside) on right side of head going to top rad hose. Indeed, no place for coolant to flow if thermostat is closed. Yes, thermobob time.

Question for the thermobob hose routing, where does the bypass hose from the thermobob go? Do I cut the hose from the bottom of the radiator to the coolant pump, and tee-in the bypass?
I'll suggest that your cooling system is operating 100% perfectly NORMAL (for an oem system). That is not too hot, it is normal on a GEN 2 with the larger radiator which cools the coolant more, so the fan comes on LATER than the Gen 1 bikes did.
Have you seen the temperature Over-lay from Watt-man? Thermo-Bobs - Watt-Man.com

"Do I cut the hose from the bottom of the radiator to the coolant pump, and tee-in the bypass?"
YES!

And the cooling fan will still cycle at the same temps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
PO bites me in the arse... not sure if its the immediate past PO or the one before him... don't care.

Found my cooling system weirdness. First thing I looked at was level in recovery bottle, it was about 2/3. OK. Then start and run and start and run and start and run, running about 3/4 on the guage, hotter than I think it should be. Inquire with forum gurus, something may be weird. Check hose routing. OK. Divided opinion from gurus whether normal or not. Hmm.

Pull the rad cap, since coolant recovery bottle is 2/3, expect to find coolant in the neck of the rad cap. Nope. Can see in and see cooling fins, no coolant at all in top tank of rad. Add about 750ml (3 cups, 3/4 qt) of coolant, now up to the neck. Do the start and run thing, temp guage needle stabilizes at level, right across the screw-head. Fan cuts in and out, needle does not move from level.

OK, so the low coolant level corrected sorted out one part of cooling system weirdness, now how did coolant in rad get low-ish and burp-over bottle not replenish it?

Pulled overflow hose off rad cap neck. Put a little of hose on it, and blow. Nothing. Unable to wheeze my ancient lungs into coolant burp-over bottle. Hose plugged? With what? Took lid off coolant bottle, still the same. Took coolant bottle off and fished out overflow hose. No coolant coming out of hose to rad filler neck. Blow on cap while holding finger on burp-over outlet. Unable to blow clogged crud (?) out. Dump coolant out cap, and check it out.

Turns out bottom outlet nipple had broken off, and been glued back on with so much excessive glue that there was a glue-plug in the hose about an inch long. No coolant getting outa that bottle into the hose no-how. Pulled the hose off, and the glue plug came out of the bottle. No fixing that.

So I cleaned up the broken off nipple area with alcohol, sanded it and cleaned it again, and JB-Welded right over top of it, totally closing it off. Drilled a 7/32 hole in the top of the bottle, right beside the outlet nipple for the burp-over outlet hose. Why do they run that burp-over outlet hose over the engine and to the swingarm area, does burped-over glycol do less harm to environment if it gets hit by the rear wheel before it hits the ground? I digress... Anyways, 7/32 hole in the top of the bottle. Stuck in a piece of stiff nylon air tubing, all the way to the bottom of the bottle, with the natural curve of the nylon tube holding itself to the very bottom corner inside the bottle. The bottom corner of that nylon tubing cut at a 45 so it doesn't suction itself to the bottom. Leave 1-1/4" of that nylon tubing sticking out the top, and cut it off square. JB-Weld that joint of the bottle and the tubing. Re-install it all, the rubber hose that used to go to the bottom of the bottle gets about 6" cut off and will now slip on and clamp to my newly placed nylon tube sticking out the top of the bottle.

Tomorrow after the JB-Weld has cured for 24 hours, I will leak-test my bottom patch. Now I see where I have to fab up a piece of sheet metal to keep the heat of the exhaust pipe away from that coolant overflow bottle. Did that exhaust pipe heat contribute to the broken off (and over-glued) nipple? Probably, I don't know for sure. I know my haywire and nylon tube and JB-Weld fix is a more failure resistant design. How well will the JB-Weld patch on what used to be the nipple hold for the long-term? Would a sheet metal screw with an o-ring under the head have sealed better? The smell of glycol cooking off the exhaust pipe will let me know that the bottle is leaking at my repair. The JB-Weld around the nylon hose outlet on top is inconsequential to me, I doubt that can leak enough glycol for me to smell, unless I can perfect the art of riding upside-down.

I'm still amused that KHI spent a few extra pennies running that rad-tank outlet burp-over hose an extra 2 feet over and aft the engine instead of just dumping it out under the front of the engine.

I wonder what other surprises the Previous Owner(s) have in store for me. I hope I will find an emergency-preparedness $100 bill tucked away in the tool roll in the tool tube... Sure.
 

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Yeah, I’ve wondered why the extra long vent tube too. I’m thinking about just removing it from the frame and cutting off most of it, and rerouting it down the center frame downtube to the skid plate.
 

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The coolant overflow hose goes to the rear of the bike so it doesn't puke coolant on or near the rear tire. Antifreeze is very slick and may cause a skid. I'm sure Kawasaki's litigation lawyers had something to do with the hose being so long.
 

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I was thinking "melted nipple syndrome".....same problem, different cause.

...and I'd avoid idling a KLR for more than a couple minutes normally

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Got my coolant burp-over bottle repaired with the JB-weld. This is the area on the bottom of the bottle where the overflow hose from the radiator used to connect in. That was so messed-up I just plastered over it with the JB-weld. After three days and about 50kms, not leaking yet. The yellowish plastic is from the heat of the exhaust header pipe. Yes, I fabricated and installed an aluminum sheet metal reflector guard to keep that heat away from fully melting and destroying this bottom corner of the bottle.
29478


This is the top of the bottle. The existing hose connector takes glycol burps and pipes them over the engine and deposits them right in front of th rear tire. The other connector, that looks like a piece of tubing JB-welded in is exactly that, a piece of stiff nylon tubing to the bottom of the bottle that picks up the coolant to be sucked back into the rad when the engine cools down.
29479


We will see what KLR heat, vibration, do to the JB-weld sticking to the plastic over the long term.
 
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