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Old 09-20-2016, 03:33 PM   #21
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Default Re: My first dual sport-- and it's a mess

I put near 30 psi both front and rear and it still wobbles.

It's taking alot of kicks to start it cold, sometimes even warm. If I turn it off and immediately kick it, it will often start right up with only a couple kicks, but if it sits for even a minute, it can turn into a kicking frenzy, and I tend to open the throttle to get it to start. I'm probably not supposed to do that, but it just might be helping. I'm gonna pull the valve cover and check the valves. I don't have the right torque wrench or manual yet, so I'm going to wing it a little on the locknuts if I have to adjust anything. If it's like .001-.002 loose or something, I probably won't even touch it. Then, when I'm ready, I'll get everything just so.

Who's to say the PO went by torque specs? There's probably a truck load of people just snugging it up, and they survive somehow. I'm can torque the valve cover pretty well, though.

If the valves are not too far out of spec, then it'll be time to check the carb.
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Old 09-20-2016, 10:37 PM   #22
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Default Re: My first dual sport-- and it's a mess

Adjusted the valves today. I think I did it a little good, although not without setbacks. I broke the little metal tab on the temp sensor in the head and had to solder it back. I don't know... the gauge may be showing slightly hotter now... Meh... I don't know... It sits usually fluctuates between the mid mark and the one just past it. Does that sound normal?

By the time I got it tightened, I believe I got it a tad looser than spec. I guess that's okay right? I used a small 10 mm wrench to tighten the nuts. They were crazy tight to get loose. I had to hook one wrench on to the end of the other to get enough torque. They do seem to like being tight. Using a small wrench is a bit tough snugging them up. It takes them a bit of torque before they "harden up", if you know what I mean. Still can't say I got them tight enough. 18 ft lbs is a lot of torque for a tiny nut.

One of the reasons that I used a wrench instead of a torque wrench was because I had trouble getting a socket on the right hand intake valve. I think the cam cap is in the way or something. Maybe I could have turned the engine till the rocker was down? How does everyone else do it?

I think the intake valves were a tad tight (maybe .007), and the exhaust were closer to spec, maybe just barely within spec, but still slightly tight. Since they were all on the tight end, I went ahead and adjusted all of them.

So far, it seems to crank a little better. Makes a little more noise, though.

Last edited by rockdathumper; 09-20-2016 at 10:50 PM.
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Old 09-21-2016, 12:20 AM   #23
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Default Re: My first dual sport-- and it's a mess

BTW, I found today that the enrichener mount on the carb (you know, the plastic threaded thingy) was loose and seems a little stripped. I wonder if that could be causing problems.
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Old 09-21-2016, 04:34 PM   #24
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Default Re: My first dual sport-- and it's a mess

with all the metal that you seen in your oil it would be in your best interest to pull the clutch cover and check and clean the oil pick up screen.. you said the back wheel had to missing spokes.. check and see if you can move the tire/wheel from left to right.. I had this issue with my rear rim and replaced it.. it would cause the bike to wobble because some of the spokes was loose...
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Old 09-21-2016, 09:54 PM   #25
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Default Re: My first dual sport-- and it's a mess

Hi rockdathumper

Itís been awhile since Iíve been on the forum and when I saw your posts I felt bad, this guy needs help!

Hereís the thing, Iíve had my 1990 KLR250 for a bit over 3 years and havenít really had any problems with it. However, I have worked on it and I do have a 69 year lifetime of experience as a ďshade treeĒ mechanic (Iím a geologist by profession) and Iíve owned over a dozen motorcycles, everything from a 1947 Indian V twin and a classic 1976 Honda Goldwing to a 50cc Jawa (POS) and just about everything in between.

SoÖ first your hard starting. My KLR250 always starts in 2-3 kicks when itís cold and 1 kick when itís warmed up. However, itís an easy engine to flood. If it doesnít start within 3 kicks I open up the choke and throttle all the ways and kick it over until it starts to run, thatíll clear the excess gasoline from the cylinder. Also, early on I made note of the choke position for best cold starting and always set the choke to that position. On your bike you should experiment until you find that cold start sweet spot with your choke.

Valve timing, when I adjusted my valves the engine sounded sort of like a sewing machine, people on the board here assured that was normal.
Valve Clearance Spec
-Intake: 0.008-0.009" (0.20-0.24mm)
-Exhaust: 0.008-0.009" (0.20-0.24mm)

Recommended tire pressures are somewhat lower than youíve been using.
Tire Pressure
-Up to 215lbs rider weight: 21 psi
-215lbs to 330lbs: 25 psi

Manuals, I ordered mine on eBay, it came in the form of a CD. I forget what I paid but $25 comes to mind. BTW hereís a website for you to peruse
I found it to be quite helpful when I first got my KLR.

Broken spokes, out of balance wheels, thatís a new one on me. Find a shop that can spin balance your wheels, perhaps thatíll solve the problem. In the meantime, how old are the tires? Maybe you have a tire with a bad casing. Iíd check it out ASAP, you donít want a blowout at speed.

As far as batteries go three years ago I bought mine at Walmart and itís been just fine.

Torque values, I donít know what to say that hasnít been said already, donít confuse inches with pounds or with metric torque values (we here in the US are dinosaurís when it comes to adopting metric measurements). Having worked on aluminum block engines since I was 12 years old, when I hopped up a chainsaw engine for my go-kart, I seldom ever use a torque wrench except for bolting down cylinder heads, engine bearings, and flywheels. That said, be careful about overtightening spark plugs theyíre easy to strip out. Until you develop a feel a torque wrench is a good way to go, especially with aluminum.

A simple way to squeeze more power from your engine is to remove the spark arrestor from the muffler. However, if you do make certain that you provide an exhaust extension or youíll melt your rear fender. I use a 20ounce beer can with the bottom cut off and the pop top opened up with can open around the circumference. I attached it to the end of the muffler with a radiator hose clamp.

As far as the metal particles go, have you checked for slack in your timing chain? If you have too much slack it could be rubbing somewhere, look for rub marks on the valve cover and the walls of the passage that the chain travels in.

Thatís about all I can think of for now. I hope itís been helpful.


PS do yourself a favor and replace the standard NGK DP9EA-9 spark plug for a smaller wrench diameter Champion 809 RA6HC. That way you won't need a thin-walled socket to remove the spark plug. Damned inconsiderate Kawasaki engineers! BTW torque it to 10 ft/lbs
Approach life like you do a yellow light - RUN IT!

Iíd like to die peacefully in my sleep, like my granddad, and not die screaming in terror like the passengers in his car.

Last edited by Rockdoc; 09-21-2016 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 09-26-2016, 09:19 PM   #26
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Default Re: My first dual sport-- and it's a mess

I put in a new air filter. Made it out of Poly-fil Nu-Foam, that polyester bedding stuff and oiled it with peanut oil. Sounds crazy, right? Like a joke? True, though. Got the trick from the Suzuki Savage crowd. I am a little concerned about the little fibers breaking loose and getting through the screen or something though.

After that, I noticed it getting harder to start. I can't say for sure the new filter helped noticeably. Who knows, could have made it worse. I wondered whether it was that or the valves again. I was planning on checking the carb, but I didn't get that far.

After cleaning the garbage out of the spark plug hole, including a piece of solder-- of all things-- I pulled the plug. Looked a bit on the rich side.

I popped the cover to look at the valves. When I pulled the cam chain, it seemed a tad looser than it was before. Then I broke over and pulled the tensioner, and it didn't really pop out of the case. Bad news. It has reached the end of its travel.

What do I do now? This is depressing. Will a manual tensioner pull some more life out of the chain, or do I have to take weeks pulling the motor and stripping everything apart and spending $$$ a new OEM chain and tensioner parts that may be just as crappy as the old one?

Last edited by rockdathumper; 09-26-2016 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 10-09-2016, 08:30 PM   #27
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Default Re: My first dual sport-- and it's a mess

I just installed my new Krieger manual cam chain tensioner, but when I measured the 20 link length, I believe it is out of spec at 130+mm. I sure do get more adjustment room, but I'm not sure I should really use it. I'm seeing alternating wear marks on the sprocket teeth. I'm concerned about wearing down my sprockets with a worn chain.

I believe the cam lobes are near or a little past spec as well, and the intake lobe seems a little pitted.

While looking through the spark plug hole, I recall the piston looking a bit wet, as though I may be looking at an oil burner.

Mark Krieger didn't seem too concerned about the chain, but that was before I measured it.

I've been wanting to flush it out with diesel fuel to get all the metal out and get a little more life out of the engine. I've stalled a bit worrying about the timing chain and sprockets.

This engine is probably going to be due for a rebuild soon, but I don't have the money or patience for it right now, but when I do, I'd like to put a big bore kit in it or something that'll give durable power. I just want my cheap, ugly little KLR to run fast and run forever.

What is it that makes these little thumpers burn up? 6k miles, and all this trouble? Well, in my case I've got a clue--

It was low on oil when I bought it, and considering how easily it burns it, who knows how many times it's been run low?
The oil was not being filtered and had metal in it.
The oil seemed thin when I drained it. Who knows what kind of oil it was or when it was changed (The PO could have lied about service).
It's a high revving engine to begin with, and someone put a 14t front on it. High revs are probably hard on the top end.
Supposedly, the cooling system sucks, which is bad for wear, hence the development of the Thermobob mod.

Such delicate little flowers, little thumpers are... (and, to some degree, perhaps most bike engines). I'm sure some here get 50,000 miles without much trouble, but how meticulous were those people with service? Maybe I'm grasping at straws here. My bike was abused, yes, but maybe there's an increased vulnerability here compared to bigger, heavier, multicylinder engines like those used in touring bikes and cars. How many poorly-maintained thumpers met early deaths because of this? And it doesn't have to be real neglect either. I believe there's one forum member here whose 250 met it's end (or needed rebuilt) after randomly running critically low on oil after a hard day up in the mountains.

Does the KLR 250's particular situation stand to benefit from the big bore kit? Lower revs needed might help top end durability until you factor bigger cam, but then stress on the lower end becomes higher.

I think next time I'll buy one that doesn't run at all. At least then I can get what I pay for.

No... I'm serious. You pay out the nose just because something is running and supposedly driveable. It's hardly a good deal when you find out later that the thing is ready to fly apart on you. Seems like when a bike is advertised as broken, you can sometimes grab it for cheap so that the repair costs don't outrun the worth of the bike quite so badly.

But... What can I say? It's not like there are very many driveable dual sports lying around for $800. There were signs of trouble before I bought it, but you take what you can get. But, by the time I work on the engine and get all the broken and worn out stuff replaced on the rest of the bike, I'll likely have more than double that in it. DS bikes are just too hard too find and too darned expensive when you do find them.

And then they blow up (or do they?)


Perhaps somebody needs to reinvent the motorcycle engine.

Any comments? It would be comforting to hear that it's safe to keep riding it (IF it's safe to keep riding it, that is). What about the big bore kit or other performance mods for durability? Other durability mods? This bike is largely going to be a commuter with maybe some puttering around the back 40.

I take it that MSGT-R has these sort of mods on her 250. What has been her experience with durability? I assume it's been pretty good? Any lugging worries?

Last edited by rockdathumper; 10-09-2016 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 11-12-2016, 07:07 PM   #28
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Default Re: My first dual sport-- and it's a mess

I had both an 1989 and a 2005 250. The 1989 had the LS main crank bearing go out every 32,000 miles (and again at 64,000-sold at 73,000).

Re the cam chain, the 1989 was original when I sold it(all street use).

My 2005 starting rattling at about 28,000 miles. You don't have to pull the engine bit you do have to pull both sides of the engine, valve cover, rotor, etc. When I placed the new chain next to the old one, I couldn't see a difference. Once assembled, the stock CCT (extended) stuck out easily 3/8" MORE....

You need a chain, possible a rear chain guide..

BTW, I felt left side crank play and sure enough, the left side bearing had play in it (a full engine tear down- but a little over $100.00 in parts)
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