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2008 Kawasaki KLR 650
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Don't know any Aussies or mechanics down here that install them. Our temps are as extreme as the northern hemisphere, possibly more hotter. From what I have been told and word of the dealerships down here, is that they don't fail down under. Must be how we ride the KLR, look after them and conditions we ride in. There was a old mechanic who worked for Kawasaki in Japan for years now lives in Melbourne who said it was Eagle Mike himself who started the rumour and built up the hype around swapping it out and the doohickey as well. Just making more business for himself. Just my two cents.
"Don't know any Aussies or mechanics down here" - can't you be an Aussie AND a mechanic? The doohickey issue is a real one - but only a change of spring is required...not the entire assembly. As for the thermabob - I think it depends where you live. I live somewhere so constantly warm I NEVER use the choke (AKA enricher) But if I had a KLR and lived in Montana...I would maybe consider it - but as someone said, "Just ride it"
 

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only because my last 2 KLRs had 67,000 and 55,000 k miles on them before I sold, and the doo was never replaced nor did it fail....
If you didn't remove the outer cover of either of those higher mileage, older model KLR's just before you sold them, you don't Know whether or not the springs were coil bound or tip broken off or if a Gen 1 the welded doo-hickey was actually broken or not.

The only thing that you do Know is that neither of them had tied themselves in a knot yet.

I had about 56,000miles on my 1987 oem doo & spring when I finally decided that I had pushed my luck Far Enough.
When I went in there, the doo would no longer re-adjust. The slot of the original design 'stamped sheet metal' doo was bound on the bolt. Had it been a slightly newer Gen 1 it could have had a broken, welded style doo or a broken stiffer spring.
 

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Often times the oem Doo won't cause a problem even if the spring is shot, this is, until one tries to perform a balancer chain adjustment; at which point it breaks.

It's amazing how many folks never touch that adjustment bolt and/or don't even know it's required to perform adjustments.

Other times the pieces fall into the sump without contacting any of the rotating parts/gears in the left side case.

I firmly believe there should have been a recall from Kawasaki a long time ago regarding that particular part. Just look at the 'pile' of broken doo levers that EM has; that should tell you something. Best wishes Ride hard
 

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I have to agree with you sir,, I have owned 3 KLRs, (just bought a 22" and have already put 13k on it) I rode the hell out of the last 2 in cold and extremely hot weather and never had an issue with temp fluctuation that caused any premature engine wear or issues. I don't think the Thermo Bob is a necessary addition or trust me I would buy one"
As far as the doohickey.... yes they can fail and with certain years it's more common, but I can't say for sure that it's something that has to be upgraded ? only because my last 2 KLRs had 67,000 and 55,000 k miles on them before I sold, and the doo was never replaced nor did it fail....
Were you performing regular adjustments to the Doo? Or never touched it?
 

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As I understand, the Thermobob is just a coolant bypass that is supposed allow the engine to achieve and maintain proper operating temperatures no matter what the ambient temperatures might be. This supposedly prevents the KLR's piston from warping due to the engine coolant not being uniformly hot enough?

I'm personally still on the fence about this and the Doohickey replacement. I have heard and read about their failures but it seems that those are outliers more than the majority. I wish someone would objectively collect data and make it available. From what I also understand, Big Green did not bother to redesign the Doohickey or include a coolant bypass like the Thermobob because the number of warranty claims involving them was so insignificant that theey did not deem it worth the time, effort or cost.

Personally, I wished they committed the R&D effort they used to design and build that stupid rubber mounted footpeg and that plastic skid plate to redesigning the Doohickey and Thermobob just to be done with all of this controversy. Although, they probably had an agreement with someone not to so that someone can keep making, selling and installing these aftermarket kits. JM2CW.
 

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KLRs: 2013, 2005, 1998; 2017 HD Electraglide Ultra
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CarlosDJackal and others who don't want to install doos or T-Bobs:

Guys like EM and PDW have collected lots of data through their own experience. They have worked on thousands of KLRs. On Gen1's the lever cracks and breaks far more often than not, and those that have not broken have relatively low miles on them. The spring also breaks. On Gen2's, the lever is a little stronger, so doesn't break as often, but still breaks with more use and mileage. However, the tensioner spring fails almost every time with enough miles.

My own experience reinforces their observations. I've replaced doos on 4 bikes. One of those was a 2013, and the spring was broken and the lever quadrant was cracked, that was around 25Kmi. The others were Gen1's with 17, 20, and 37Kmi. Surprisingly, the one with 20Kmi still had an intact lever, although the spring was broken. The others and broken levers and springs.

If you are a doubter and choose not to replace the Doo by about 15Kmi, then do yourself a big favor, and DO NOT adjust the doo after that mileage, because if you loosen the locking screw to allow it to adjust, and the spring is broken, the balancer chain will LOOSEN instead of tighten. Then the loose chain will cause problems you didn't have.

T-Bob: Plenty has already been said, but if you don't want to install one, then don't. Not having one will not cause the engine to catastrophically fail. But if you want your engine to last a long time, use less oil, and be more efficient, then install a T-Bob. I installed a T-bob after installing the EM 692 kit, since I wanted it to stay round, last a long time, and not use oil.

You've been warned.
 

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Just bought a brand new 2022 Traveler, my first time owning a motorcycle but not my first time wrenching on stuff. :)

I ordered a Thermobob - when should I install it? Should I do it ASAP or wait until 600 mile service? I'm going to do the 600 mile service myself, so I'm not sure if it's worth it to tear it open now to install it or if it'll be fine to wait.

I am in Portland, Oregon, where temps are in the 40degF range this time of year, if that makes a difference.
What is a thermobob? I have a 2018 klr 650 & ride it daily in 30 degree weather. Mountains of northern Arizona. Thanks
 

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I'll just leave this here. 😁
Oh thanks for posting THAT again! (Insert sarcastic smiley here).

My doohickey post for the 10,000th time;

I have spent significant time reading and researching this issue over the years as have others......my opinion is thus:
  • Gen1: failure of the stock lever and/or spring is highly likely.......the people "in the know" guesstimate around 33% though I'd suggest the figure is somewhat mileage dependent with the 33% being around 20,000 miles.....higher mileage = higher percentage of failure.
  • Gen2: doohickey lever failure is almost non-existant.......the issues of loose fit on the shaft and loss of spring tension are real. Loss of tension is said to occur around 6,000 miles though some have zero tension from new and some still have tension at 20,000 miles.
So is this all an internet myth? No, it's real enough IMO. There are several reasons that I believe contribute to the lack of even more documented failures:
  • A great many people never adjust their counterbalance system. If the adjustment is never attempted, the system doesn't get the huge slack that an attempt with a broken spring would introduce. I always tell new owners NOT to adjust the system without physically checking to see it's intact first.
  • Most grenaded doo and spring bits float around harmlessly in the bottom end without causing catastrophic failure. My 2001 was opened up at 15,000 miles to find the typical broken doo (three pces) and spring (two pces). I found all the pces in the bottom end and oil screen and the bike was likely ridden for some time in that condition.
  • the "upgrade" in 2008 significantly reduced the likelihood of a broken doo lever.
  • a large percentage of bikes die of old age, crashes and neglect long before they can be considered high mileage units.
  • many failures are never diagnosed......i.e. bike is "broken" and parted out or otherwise discarded.
  • Sometimes other failures (i.e. 2008/2009 low oil level/oil burning) takes out the engine before the counterbalance system has the opportunity to.
At the end of the day, I believe that the stock counterbalance adjustment system is problematic but the vast majority of KLR owners are ignorant of the issue and it doesn't come up on their radar for the aforementioned reasons.
On a Gen1, I believe replacement is critical to longevity. On a Gen2 you could get along fine by just periodically checking the spring to ensure it is intact and has tension. Due to the loose fit on the shaft, the springs are put under significantly increased duty cycles, EM's superior lever with better fitment and the torsion spring design completely eliminate this concern.
A KLR, especially a Gen2 can live for quite awhile without even acknowledging the counterbalance adjuster.....but it's still a weak link that is worth replacing if you want some piece of mind.
2 cents,
 

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As far as the rest, I'll advise everyone to completely IGNORE anyone that says they didn't have a doo problem but never LOOKED to confirm the system was intact and functional....all that really means is that any failure of the counterbalance adjuster system didn't cause catastrophic failure.....yet.

Confirmation bias is a real thing.


Dave
 

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CarlosDJackal and others who don't want to install doos or T-Bobs:

Guys like EM and PDW have collected lots of data through their own experience. They have worked on thousands of KLRs. On Gen1's the lever cracks and breaks far more often than not, and those that have not broken have relatively low miles on them. The spring also breaks. On Gen2's, the lever is a little stronger, so doesn't break as often, but still breaks with more use and mileage. However, the tensioner spring fails almost every time with enough miles.

My own experience reinforces their observations. I've replaced doos on 4 bikes. One of those was a 2013, and the spring was broken and the lever quadrant was cracked, that was around 25Kmi. The others were Gen1's with 17, 20, and 37Kmi. Surprisingly, the one with 20Kmi still had an intact lever, although the spring was broken. The others and broken levers and springs.

If you are a doubter and choose not to replace the Doo by about 15Kmi, then do yourself a big favor, and DO NOT adjust the doo after that mileage, because if you loosen the locking screw to allow it to adjust, and the spring is broken, the balancer chain will LOOSEN instead of tighten. Then the loose chain will cause problems you didn't have.

T-Bob: Plenty has already been said, but if you don't want to install one, then don't. Not having one will not cause the engine to catastrophically fail. But if you want your engine to last a long time, use less oil, and be more efficient, then install a T-Bob. I installed a T-bob after installing the EM 692 kit, since I wanted it to stay round, last a long time, and not use oil.

You've been warned.
Excellent post Pete.

(y)
 

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2022 KLR
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Like any mod you do on YOUR bike it's your choice. The information is out there, believe it or not, your choice YOUR bike. Many people add stuff to their bikes for no practical reason. There is however significant evidence for these two mods so why not. I added the thermobob at about 8-900no cause I could only afford one mod at a time and in the middle of riding season I didn't want to test the case open. I will be installing the door this winter. My opinion: extra insurance. Just my two cents. You can send me my change in FTX crypto currency😁
 

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2022 KLR650
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Bic OR Zippo?

Are you a Bic or a Zippo guy? Are you the type of person that buys a Bic Lighter because it lights and when it starts acting up, it's on to the next Bic? OR.... are you a Zippo type of guy? The type of guy that is in tune with the workings of his lighter. Knows what it takes to use and maintain it. When you have an issue, you know where to look and how to address it.

I sold my Harley-Davidson Street Glide awhile back. It has a "Twin Cam" 103ci engine in it. The Twin Cam engine is one of the best engines H-D has built but, it has some issues from the factory. The big issues are in the Cam Plate/Cam Chain Tensioner/Oil Pump and the Primary Chain Tensioner & Compensator areas. Some will buy a bike and ride never knowing of an issue. Some will have the engine let loose at the worst time.

It's a know set of issues. They are fairly easy to prevent with aftermarket parts. Just like the T-Bob and Doo, there are both camps on the H-D Forums too. I upgraded my H-D @ 500 miles. I put 20,000 miles on it before I sold it to a FRIEND who knew I rode it hard. He also knew I took care of the "ISSUES". To this day, he says "I don't know what it is about your old bike but, it runs and shifts better than mine (he had purchased the same model but one year newer just after I got mine in 2011) ever has!!! He had NEVER done the H-D versions of the T-Bob & Doo to his 2012 Street Glide, which he still owns but never rides since buying my 11.

Are you a Bic guy? Seems to me, most KLR guys are ZIPPO to the core!

Willie
 

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Zippo to the core, not just with my KLR but all my bikes.

I always look forward to the day when all the mods are finished. Then it's just change oil and tires, plus ocassional valve adjust, drive chain, and don't forget the Doo Hickey.

Getting real close with my John Deer team green machine. Gotta say my KLR has the most mods I have ever done on one bike.
 

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I think all KLR owners should proactively do both mods…..so we don’t get the “what’s the T-bob” question for the millionth time 😂

In regards to this topic, there’s enough internet-literature to keep a guy reading for the next year…..
 

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I'll just leave this here. 😁
One should ask that mechanic what is the highest mileage KLR he has had the alternator cover removed from?
And if it had over 50,000 miles on its meter, did it have an EM Doo-Hickey installed or not?

I hate the fact that even that mechanic makes the ERROR of referring to "cam chain", rather than balancer chain in the beginning (1:05) of that video.
If the cam chain is excessively worn from "extreme high mileage" the balancer chain is also going to be excessively worn, even with an EM Doo-Hickey installed & properly maintained!

What does that mechanic consider high mileage on a KLR?
 

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2022 Kawasaki KLR650
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I have a Gen 1 engine on my workbench. Got it as a practice engine to work on before I got my Gen3. It has 198,000km on it. No Doohickey, No T-Bob either and was running smooth and perfect. The owner had it since new, went all around Australia multiple times. Never had an issue and he rode it hard with a lot of gear. I have taken it apart and rebuilt it several times, all parts in tact.
Will comment on a previous post, no we dont have full access to wholesale parts, lots of American parts get shipped here on order. our dealerships just have never needed them. Must be a different batch of bikes that get sent to Australia? I know Japan send different models to different markets.
From all the mechanics I have spoken to, over 50 from dealerships, and all the Aussie riders I have toured with and they had KLR motorcycles, never not one issue with the engine and not one installed the doo or T-Bob.
 

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2008 KLR650/685 tricked out / 2008 XR650L / 1988 XLV750R
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I have taken it apart and rebuilt it several times, all parts in tact.
That doesn't make any sense. Why rebuild a perfectly good engine MULTIPLE times when it runs and ALL parts are intact ?
Did you ever measure the roundness of the cylinder ?
 
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