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1999 KL650A
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello again, KLRforum.

Was riding down the road when my rear tire locked up & engine died @ 55mph. Stayed upright somehow and pulled over. It appears a 6”x3” piece of tree bark got stuck between my rear tire and the swingarm.

Now the bike won’t start. When I hit the start button, it almost sounds like a car door being unlocked. Sounds/feels like it’s coming from the little black starter motor.

I’ll be taking it apart in a couple hours once my buddy can help me get the bike back home. But I’ve never messed with the starter system, so any advice or thoughts are appreciated. I’ve got a Clymer manual and good old YouTube but you guys have never led me astray so I always start with this forum when I’m unsure.

thanks!
 

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2022 Pearl Lava Orange
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Does the bike free wheel in neutral now?
Check your battery voltage. Also if the debris made it around the counter sprocket you may have some damage near the starter. Check everything out the best you can. Sidestand switch as well.
 

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1999 KL650A
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@Reveille Bike rolls in neutral and does not roll in gear unless i disengage clutch so that seems good. I'll check things more carefully when I get the bike moved in an hour. Sidestand switch was removed by PO. The chain did seem pretty loose to me afterwards but I must admit I hadn't checked it in a couple months so it's unknown whether that's a new issue.

@Six8five You're both giving me a lot of hope with all this battery talk! That would be pretty great honestly. I even have a spare on hand lol. Will definitely check it. But can a battery die from your rear tire seizing up and your engine stalling out?
 

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I wouldn't think this incident would cause battery damage. I'm thinking some of the wood made it around the counter sprocket and may have damaged something in there. It's a tight fit and your stator wires and other wiring lives nearby. Take your time and inspect the entire drive train before riding the bike again. You'll also have one hell of a flat spot on the rear tire.
 

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After checking like Reveille said, Id pop the starter motor out. As I recall its just 2 bolts. If it turns, id suspect something in the sprag gear has it locked in place. A really crazy idea would be to put it in 5th and push the bike backwards. Trying to get it to roll the transmission backwards a bit. Maybe giving things a chance to unload
 

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KLRs: 2013, 2005, 1998, 1987; 2017 HD Electraglide Ultra
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I’m with Reveille and 685: it sounds like a dead battery. The question is how did you end up with a dead battery simultaneously with the rear wheel locking up and stalling the engine? The systems are not related.

Did you leave the ignition and headlight on while you were troubleshooting the removing the chunk of bark? Something else that ran down the battery? How old is the battery? 3-4 years is about what you can expect.

Maybe the sudden stoppage broke something inside the case and the engine is locked up now.

However, if you have a spare good battery, it’s real easy to swap it out and see. So that’s where I would start. Pun intended. 😁
 

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When I was working and we were planning a new system we always had fun interfacing the products from different teams. We used to argue about it endlessly, and for no good reason, until I came to a meeting with the concept of an AMWO box. The idea behind it was that any time that the interface was not fully defined we would just stick an AMWO box in the flow diagram so we didn't have to worry or argue until it was appropriate. "AMWO" stood for "A Miracle Will Occur".

The same sort of thing may be happening here. A bad thing happened. After the bad thing happened, things stopped. Lots of things, like the bike, the trip, the engine, etc. While everything was stopped, An Unknown Process Took Place (AUPTP). The end result of the process taking place was that the battery wound up dead. It wasn't the hunk of bark, it was the process. Sort of like "It was the Dukes. It was the Dukes". Seems to happen a lot.
 

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1999 KL650A
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92 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Trickle charger shat the bed earlier this year. Guess I’ll be walking to the store to pick up a new one tomorrow!

Battery voltage at rest = 12.8v
Ignition switch + brights = 12.7v
Starter button engaged = 6.5v (and my lights droop like a cartoon trombone)

Extra battery I have is about the same, minus roughly 0.5v for all results, so it’s no help at the moment. (Unless it’s worth trying to jump one with the other?)

I did go ahead and test the starter relay & starter circuit relay for continuity. Everything’s good there.

Looks like another classic case of AUPTP, @Tom Schmitz. Or a case of Idiot Leaves Lights On While Inspecting Bike Roadside—Wonders What Happened to Battery (I honestly don’t remember, so it’s pretty likely).


If I didn’t need the help I’d probably be annoyed at how right you guys are all the time.
 

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KLRs: 2013, 2005, 1998, 1987; 2017 HD Electraglide Ultra
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Well, since it reads 12.8v at rest, and 6.5 v when the starter is engaged, that suggests to me that the starter is trying to crank the engine, but the engine is locked up. I hope that’s not the case.

Next step: turn the engine over by hand, either by putting it in 5th gear and pushing the bike, or by removing the cap on the left engine cover and putting a 19mm socket on it.
 

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2022 KLR650 - Fully loaded
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Well, since it reads 12.8v at rest, and 6.5 v when the starter is engaged, that suggests to me that the starter is trying to crank the engine, but the engine is locked up. I hope that’s not the case.

Next step: turn the engine over by hand, either by putting it in 5th gear and pushing the bike, or by removing the cap on the left engine cover and putting a 19mm socket on it.
I was thinking the same. You can clearly hear that starter motor harshly engage in that video he took. If the battery was weak, you would hear a buzzing/clicking noise coming from the starter motor.
I hope I’m wrong tho…
 
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1999 KL650A
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I hope you guys are wrong too lol but on my own limited instinct I don’t think you will be. I should’ve clarified in the original post that the starter button “clicking” is really more of a “knock.” I can feel the vibration of it by placing one hand anywhere around the starter motor while pushing the button in/out with the other hand, and to me it feels like a gearwheel that won’t turn another gearwheel (I’m hoping the starter clutch got knocked off its axis a tiny bit or something). I looked on YouTube yesterday for low battery issues and I’m not having the electrical “buzz” that seems to be the symptomatic sound there. The starter seems to be engaging, but not turning the motor.

I’ll pick up a charger anyway because of course I will, and I’ll charge both batteries for the sake of being thorough, but while I wait for the nearest farm store to open I’ll be draining the oil and gettin all up in there.

I’m going in.
Pray for me.
 

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1999 KL650A
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks Kool-Aid, I appreciate that! I’m shocked I stayed upright lol, I’m still a pretty new rider (1.5 years of daily riding) but I do try to set aside time for continuous safety practice (braking/swerving drills, etc.)

Never even saw the bark on the road. Just riding along & suddenly my tail was up near my left side. Fully resigned myself like “welp, this one’s gonna hurt.” Didn’t hear the tire screeching or realize the motor was dead until the 3rd or 4th fishtail.

It’s all good though! As they say in aviation, “Any landing you walk away from is a great landing.”
I can always fix the bike.
 

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1999 KL650A
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Update: Drained the oil. Crankshaft is extremely hard to turn via rotor nut so I think something’s up. About to remove the alternator cover (and most likely LH crankcase cover). Will update again soon!
 
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