My dad had sent me an article on this from motorcyclist magazine. Kawi isn't accepting the fact that something is wrong. But, this problem is destroying the trannies and the engine. Do a google search on the KLR do-hicky.
The balancer spring and adjusting lever have been a problem for guys that get on the throttle and buzz these engines up near the red line, and continues to be on the 08's.
Most last about 7,500 miles and then require the "fix," but I ride with a lot of older guys (over 55) and most of them never have had any problems, but do not hit speeds over 65 mph either. I have always done the "fix" so never had any problems.
The fix is cheap, easy, parts readily available and most local dual sport groups have a party a couple times a year where they fix new members' bikes. The wrenches needed are sold on Craigslist for around $20 pretty regularly, and the improved aftermarket parts are available from enlightened Kaw dealers.
I have never seen a transmission fail, but I have seen the engines develop a wild shake when that arm snaps and lets the balancer shaft stop. Most guys ride them home and then do the fix after the break, but do it first and avoid the annoyance.
I would guess about 1/4 of them break, some do no real big damage when they snap.
Others send metal thru the whole motor and its now junk.
I am on my secong KLR650, I did the doo on my 1999, and it was fine when I replaced it at something like 15,000 miles.
The 08 I have now has been upgraded to a better lever, but some report he spring still needs replacing as its too long.
I will do my doo this winter on it as well.
Go to KLR650.net and order the parts from the guy on their named Eaglemike....he is an awesome dude.
The 650 is particularly sensitive to having the correct oil, one light enough that it oils the cams as soon as it starts, and in the operator keeping the cam chain tensioner properly set so the cam chain does not flop around. I use the best 10-40 I can find and change it every 1,000 miles, and readjust my cam chain tensioner at every oil chain, it is easy to do and only takes a minute.
Also, never rev them up cold, that tears out the piston skirts and wallows out the cam journals - results in knocking. Let them warm to just hot enough to be uncomfortable to touch, and then you can nail them all you want without any trouble at all. I ride mine more than the more powerful Zuki, simply because it is a whole lot more fun than just about any other bike I can think of.
By the way, the older KLR650's carry the exact same part numbers for the balancer lever, the balancer idler shaft lever, and the spring - the items that break, as does the 07. The early 07 and older models use a different spring. Just go aftermarket and save a lot of worry.
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