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Old 06-12-2007, 08:21 PM   #1
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Default 2008 "Doohickey" & Spring - READ ME

There has been some confusion about the balancer tensioner lever and spring on the 08 KLR. While Kawasaki did redesign the lever so it won't break, they put in a spring that is too long. Estimates from KLR expert Mike Cowlishaw are that it will run out of adjustment at some point pretty early in the bike's life.

Bottom line: you will still need to go in and replace the spring with one of the proper length. If you don't, the stock spring will run out of travel (eventually) and your balancer chain won't be properly tensioned.

Please scroll down to Eaglemike's posts for further details.

Note: I'm not saying to not buy the bike! I'm just saying it's not perfect and this is something you can fix to increase your peace of mind. Frankly, I think it is a bit of an embarrasment to Kawasaki that they let this issue continue, after 20 years of ignoring the balancer tensioner problems in the previous KLR. That said, I still love the KLR, and I don't think it is, or ever has been, a deal breaking issue.
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Last edited by Maniac; 08-11-2007 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 06-13-2007, 12:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2008 "Doohickey" & Spring - READ ME

I'm going to supply backup data for my conclusions first. You can spend a bunch of time on www.buykawasaki. (I have) looking at parts diagrams. Some of my conclusions are also based on being involved in changing or helping change somewhere over 300 balancer levers, aka doohickies.

The current 2008 spring is a little over 46mm long. The 2007 and earlier springs (back to about 1989) were 40mm long.The 40mm spring is usually too long by 5k miles in the earlier bikes, and did not have enough tension to take the excess slack out of the system. I've examined the parts diagrams supplied by Kawasaki. The rest of the parts in the system affected by the spring length haven't changed for 2008. It's important to know that sometimes in the past the part numbers have changed, but the part did not. An example of this is the part number change for the balancer adjustment lever/doo between 2000 and 2001.

I've worked on some higher mileage KLR650's that needed a 29mm spring. I've seen a couple that needed a 26mm spring.

The 2008 spring is not likely to break. It will, at some point, fail to take the excess slack out of the chain. I find the idea of putting the 2008 spring in an earlier bike somewhat humorous, since it will just sit there with no tension - so why bother to open up the bike to do this? Of course this is what it will do in the 2008 bike too. I have a pic of a 2007 bike with a few thousand miles on it with the 2008 spring. I stuck it in the left side case just to get a pic as an example. I'll post a link to it after I get it up on a site. Bottom line: the 2008 factory spring is too long.

The 2008 balancer adjustment lever is much superior to the old factory part. It is machined from one piece of stock. It has been strengthened quite a bit in the slot area. The collar area is not as likely to break as the old part. There are sharp inside corners in the collar area (not good), and it is dimensionally wider across the inside flats than it should be (also not good). The will be play between the idler shaft and the lever. This will allow the shaft to oval out the holes in the aluminum cases. This will also result in increased vibration as this happens. The adjustment slot has not been re-indexed as compared to the older factory part. There have been a few cases where the factory lever ran out of travel. Bottom line: they've improved the factory part, but did not finish the job.

It has been suggested that the owner replace the balancer sprockets and perhaps the chain when the system is no longer tensioned properly. The sprockets cost about $175, and the chain about $225. This replacement is more work than replacing the balancer adjustment lever and spring. The balancer lever and spring kit is around $40, a few dollars more than that if you elect to go with the torsion spring. The standard lever kit I supply contains a 38mm and a 35mm spring. All replacement procedures suggest replacing the rotor bolt, about $14.

I do make and supply aftermarket springs and levers. If you want to stick with the factory stuff for some reason, no problem. It's your bike, and your decision. You should do what you think is right.

I hope you find this information helpful.

all the best,

Mike
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Last edited by Eaglemike; 06-13-2007 at 01:02 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 06-13-2007, 01:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2008 "Doohickey" & Spring - READ ME

I'd like to be as clear and objective as possible. The new parts are not likely to break, based on what I know. They will, at some point, fail to tension the system properly. There is not the urgency that there would be for an earlier model, though. If you decide to upgrade/replace the factory parts, I'd think somewhere between 3k and 7k miles would be good. There will be some wear in the holes in the cases. If you want to do it earlier, that would be good, of course.

The parts are not as likely to cause severe damage or leave debris in the bottom of the cases as the earlier parts, they just won't tension the system properly.

I would change the parts out in a 2008 (if I had one) even If I had to pay for them.

as noted: I make the aftermarket parts...... I'm not trying to sell stuff here. I hope this information is useful. This topic has been discussed often, sometimes objective fact is missing from the discussion.

all the best,

Mike
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Cary Aspy -the real klr650 guru. RIP my brother, I miss you.

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Old 06-13-2007, 03:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2008 "Doohickey" & Spring - READ ME

Ask KLRCary about what he's observed with ovaled out holes in the cases. He doesn't sell my parts, and has no financial interest. Most people don't bother to measure, and don't have the tools to measure.

I'm confident that I'm being truthful and objective. If you were standing here, I could put the parts and measuring tools if your hands. I could show you a baggie of broken parts, springs and levers both. I'm confident that if you had the experience working on the KLR650 that I have you'd reach the same conclusion.

If you don't agree, that's ok, too.

What I said was I'm not trying to sell parts on this forum. I try to provide accurate info here. Most of my posts are in support of general maintenance. Carb work, suspension work, etc. I currently own a 2006, 1993, and 1989. I've spent over $1K out of my own pocket in support of the local tech days, supplying tools, lifts, grill, food, etc.

all the best,

Mike
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Eagle Mfg & Eng since 1990 - Insist on genuine Eagle parts!
http://eaglemike.com/ for parts.

Cary Aspy -the real klr650 guru. RIP my brother, I miss you.

Don't try to be a great man, just be a man, and let history make it's own decision

Be your own KLR650 GURU!

Last edited by Eaglemike; 06-19-2007 at 01:04 PM. Reason: to stay on topic
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Old 06-19-2007, 10:33 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2008 "Doohickey" & Spring - READ ME

Here are pic's that will show the situation. It's been agreed that the fixed spring attach point, a cast peg in the left side engine case has not changed for 2008. You can see this peg in some of the pic's. The other parts that affect the tensioning of the system have not changed - excluding the spring and lever, of course, since that's what we're discussing here. I've printed out the parts lists from www.buykawasaki. for 2006, 2007, and 2008. You might consider looking at this site. It's a very good site for the KLR owner to know. Remember to get the complete part number below the exploded view, in the parts list frame.

The captions are above the pic's.

Spring pic: Short to long. Eagle 38mm, Kaw 2006, 2007, and the 2008 46mm spring


2008 46mm spring shown on Dave's 2007 with 5.7K miles


38mm spring Dave's bike with 5.7K miles


2008 46mm spring on Emil's 2004 with 20K miles. Notice the left end hook. No tension! It's not seated on the peg.


38mm spring Emil's bike with 20K miles


I think these pic's show the 2008 spring to be inadequate after 5K miles. The lever is another subject. I'll lest this rest for now, and visit the lever another time. My personal viewpoint is that the balancer chain and sprockets are still good on both these bikes.

all the best,

Mike
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Eagle Mfg & Eng since 1990 - Insist on genuine Eagle parts!
http://eaglemike.com/ for parts.

Cary Aspy -the real klr650 guru. RIP my brother, I miss you.

Don't try to be a great man, just be a man, and let history make it's own decision

Be your own KLR650 GURU!

Last edited by Eaglemike; 06-19-2007 at 10:48 AM.
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