Originally Posted by elel
I've got some questions about repair work I need to do on my '08 KLR650. I bought the bike last year with about 4000 miles on it, and have put another 6000 on myself. The previous owner said it was broken in properly and maintained, though he didn't believe in lubing the chain.
It's been running fine for me with a few exceptions which I'll get to, and the one big problem.
The big problem is as follows. I drive the bike into work/school when I'm able, and given the price of gas, I drive pretty late into the year. One cold morning (about 18F I think) I was driving into work on the highway, doing 55. I noticed several puffs of haze form behind me, but since it was kind of foggy in places I thought it was just my exhaust condensing. I rode another 4 - 5 miles and then pulled off on an ATV trail to warm my hands up. I noticed some smoke coming from the engine, so I shut it down and took a closer look. The oil level had entirely disappeared from the sight glass, and the left side of the engine and my left leg were covered in oil. The smoke was coming from where some oil had got on the exhaust pipe. I only had a mile and a half to go to get to a gas station, so I drove slowly there and put some oil in. Since then I've driven another two or three miles, and see no sign of any leaking, but I don't have any idea where the oil came out of the engine. As I said before, the left side of the engine was coated, the right side had nothing. There are no visible holes in any seals, though I can't see the top end very well under the tank.
On to the smaller issues I've had. When on a weekend trip last summer, my oil filler cap came off on the highway. I felt my peg getting slippery, so I stopped very quickly. I had extra oil along that time, but I couldn't find the cap, so I rode the rest of the weekend with a piece of foam and then a sink stopper stuck in the hole. I changed the oil right away when I got back, but I think there are still a couple of bits of the foam loose in there. The other smaller issue I had was that once the weather started getting cold, my oil sight window and filler cap became coated in white moisture residue. I put the watt-man radiator mod on, and that seemed to be helping, but then I shut everything down after losing all that oil.
So my questions:
1. Any idea where the oil is coming from, and how it could spray so much oil and then not leak a drop?
2. I'll (obviously) be tearing the engine apart until I find what's the matter. Anything I should do while I've got it out of the bike and am working on it? I'd prefer not to put a bored cylinder on it; I just don't have the money for that now. But what is prudent to keep a 2008 running on long trips?
1. Finding the oil leak. Clean the bike well- with a water soluble degreaser - spray on, wash off. Ride the bike (on a dirt road) and see where the dirt collects. Several areas. There is an oil delivery pipe that sends oil from the left side to the transmission, the counter sprocket bearings and up to the head and cams. These attachment points and their copper washers may be loose. This oil leaking will be on the top back of the motor. If the chain was too tight, then it may have destroyed the counter shaft oil seal - oil will be coming out of that shaft area. Both are relatively easy to fix and no need tear the motor apart. Find the leak area 1st.
2. Foam in the motor. I would 1st look at the oil filter area to see what was in there. Then definitly, and as soon as possible,
remove the clutch side cover and check the oil screen at the bottom. If this gets blocked, then it would starve the oil pump and if that happens, it will 1st toast your cam bearings.
3. White moisture residue in the sight glass. Not a big issue. A by-product of combustion is acidic water which does not get expelled from the exhaust, but leaks into the crankcase and is usually heated off/evaporated when the motor (oil and crankcase in particular, gets up to operating temp. This evaporation does not occur if all you are doing is short trips in cold weather. Those of us who have the thermobob have less of a problem as the motor warms up quickly and stays at a higher temp (195) than the 160 degree stock stat.
4. Leaking oil and using oil are two different animals. Fix the leaks and then see what your oil usage is before sweating over piston replacement.
5. What is prudent for keeping an 08 running on long trips?. Oil and gas is the short answer. Proper maintenace, including lubing and adjusting the chain helps. The long answer - another day. However, the best and most important answer to keeping any motorcycle running long and reliably is what is between your ears! Information (and knowing where to get it), knowledge and a KLR, as simple as it is, will help you there.