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Old 10-11-2012, 07:28 AM   #31
NathanCooper OP
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Location: La Paz, Baja Mexico
Oddometer: 7
update

Thanks again for the advice.

Alright, here's what's happened. The mechanic, Luis at Baja Motos, found the parts we
needed in Cabo (why he didn't find them earlier, we're not sure, but that's ok) and had
them delivered. What was going to cost about $1,880 (shipping was going to be $380) to have
shipped from Florida then only cost about $300 and the possible 2 weeks of waiting for the
parts reduced to 1 day.

He replaced the camshaft and there was still a problem. The bike didn't make it on the
ferry and was instead brought back to the shop in a truck. Turns out the camshaft
sprocket's pin somehow got out of place and wore away at the inside of the sprocket and
eventually dug a new hole on the bottom side of the sprocket so the arrow that is meant to
point forwards was pointing backwards. This sprocket, apparently was overlooked before.
I don't know exactly how the pin did that or how it wasn't noticed from the beginning.
Since that's been replaced, the engine has been working great.

The engine was drinking oil at an alarming rate, especially while driving down Baja, but I
was told by quite a few people that as long as I kept replacing the oil, it wasn't such a
bad thing. Yes, I should have investigated that issue earlier.

In the last few days, since it's been working properly, I have not noticed any leaking, But
it hasn't been on any longer rides yet.

There was an electrical problem after that which again stopped us from getting the ferry
resulting in another ride in the truck. The brain wasn't fully charging the battery while
it was running and this led to starting difficulties. The mechanic replaced the brain (not
a new one, but a better one) and put the headlight on a switch. Since then, I haven't had
any issues with that.

The total cost of all the work has been about $1000. After the bike spent a week and a half
in the shop and had a couple breakdowns and after the mechanic sent me away saying it
worked fine, he took it personally, promised he would get everything working perfectly, and
didn't ask for any more money.

In response to the ideas given above and what I've found to be the case down here...
Selling the KLR and going to San Diego was a good idea. When I looked into that option, I
found that the flights were not much more expensive than the bus, though. There are people
that need vehicles taken from La Paz or Cabo up to Tijuana or San Diego, though and they'll
pay for gas and sometimes a bit more, so I found that as the best option, when it's
available.


A lot of the information given about paperwork and the issues the come with buying a bike
in Mexico are true, but only in mainland Mexico. Baja has different rules regarding
vehicles and most of them are American anyways, so paperwork in Baja is often not as big an
issue. Bikes are also more expensive in Baja, though, so again, buying a bike in Baja was
not the best option.

My frustrations with the situation came from some of the contacts here who were less than
optimistic about the likelihood of my bike ever moving on it's own again and spending
multiple days when sitting outside a garage that closed for siesta and didn't reopen that
day was the only notable thing I could say I did.

Thanks again for the advice everyone, it's been invaluable. In the end, I stuck with the
KLR and put my expectations of moving forward on Mexican time (now a 20 day stop). I feel like
I have a very good grasp of how things get done in La Paz and have the contacts to help
others, so I suppose everything's ok.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:44 AM   #32
NathanCooper OP
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Afterthought

I apologize for not keeping more current here on ADV. At a certain point there seemed to be consensus on what my options were and I didn't want to post again here without making a decision and some progress.
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:04 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanCooper View Post
I apologize for not keeping more current here on ADV. At a certain point there seemed to be consensus on what my options were and I didn't want to post again here without making a decision and some progress.
Hi Nathan,

Thanks for reporting back and letting us know the deets. Always interesting to find out what happens in the end. Inquiring minds and all.

I look forward to getting on Mexican time soon. Maybe see you down the road in Central America.

Best luck,
John Downs
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:28 AM   #34
Adv Grifter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanCooper View Post
I apologize for not keeping more current here on ADV. At a certain point there seemed to be consensus on what my options were and I didn't want to post again here without making a decision and some progress.
Thanks for the details and update Nathan. Great job getting your KLR sorted.
I helped a friend get his BMW air head fixed by Luis in La Paz ... and the bike is still running. (touch wood).

I believe your experience in La Paz is excellent prep for the rest of your trip South. You now know how things work ... and how to get things done.

All the best y

!Que le via muy bien!
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:50 AM   #35
NathanCooper OP
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KLR contacts around Puerto Vallarta?

I'm beginning to think the KLR does not want to be on this journey. I'm near Puerto Vallarta now and I've got a broken rear shock. It looks like the best bet for finding a working replacement is in Guadalajara.

So, again I ask for advice. Will I do any major damage to the KLR if I drive it to Guadalajara bouncing as it is right? Does anyone have a contact for KLRs in the area?

Thanks
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Old 10-13-2012, 12:10 PM   #36
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I can't help you for KLR parts, but if you happen to come through Manzanillo, I'd be happy to put you guys up for free and give you some work space if needed. If what you have is unfixable, you're probably best off ordering it in from the states. For what you'll pay for new kawasaki parts here, you might as well spend the same money and get a much better aftermarket shock from the states. If you think it's fixable you could pull the shock and hop on a bus up to Guad. Bouncing around like crazy won't hurt much as long as you try to minimize topping out. That hard hammering you get when topping out can damage internals. I can't remember how rebuildable KLR shocks are though. If you need a place to tear down the bike and leave it during a trip up to Guad, or a free place to crash while you get things figured or just an address to ship parts to, let me know. I'm a few hours south of you on the coast. Shoot me a PM.
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Old 10-13-2012, 03:24 PM   #37
Adv Grifter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanCooper View Post
I'm beginning to think the KLR does not want to be on this journey. I'm near Puerto Vallarta now and I've got a broken rear shock. It looks like the best bet for finding a working replacement is in Guadalajara.

So, again I ask for advice. Will I do any major damage to the KLR if I drive it to Guadalajara bouncing as it is right? Does anyone have a contact for KLRs in the area?

Thanks
Is the tire scrapping on anything? Has the shock 100% collapsed? Is it leaking oil? If not, ride on. Maybe crank Pre Load UP to max. Probably fresh internal seals, new oil and a Nitrogen recharge will fix you up for a while.

In the meantime, have someone mail you a replacement shock along your route. Make sure to include receipt from a shop ... make it under $200 to avoid Aduana probs. Other countries? Not sure.

Check in with ALL the local Japanese brand shops first. Most use Showa or KYB shocks. I believe your KLR uses a Kayaba (KYB), correct? There is also a $BMW$ community there, someone may know of a shock tech in town. Get in touch with that community ... maybe through the BMW dealer there? Very helpful group of guys!

Maybe PM some KLR riding Mexico experts here for more accurate advice? Check in on KLR.net or other popular KLR sites. Helpful group.
Good luck!

Adv Grifter screwed with this post 10-13-2012 at 03:36 PM
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:36 PM   #38
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Airhead Wrangler

Take it from me, Airhead Wrangler is one if "The Good Guys," he'll help you out anyway he can. He and Mary helped us out of a jam last February on our Mexico-Baja trip. If you do hook up with him tell him, Mary & "Mr. Boots" hi from ADV Fool & Goinpostal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Airhead Wrangler View Post
I can't help you for KLR parts, but if you happen to come through Manzanillo, I'd be happy to put you guys up for free and give you some work space if needed. If what you have is unfixable, you're probably best off ordering it in from the states. For what you'll pay for new kawasaki parts here, you might as well spend the same money and get a much better aftermarket shock from the states. If you think it's fixable you could pull the shock and hop on a bus up to Guad. Bouncing around like crazy won't hurt much as long as you try to minimize topping out. That hard hammering you get when topping out can damage internals. I can't remember how rebuildable KLR shocks are though. If you need a place to tear down the bike and leave it during a trip up to Guad, or a free place to crash while you get things figured or just an address to ship parts to, let me know. I'm a few hours south of you on the coast. Shoot me a PM.
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Old 10-14-2012, 07:30 PM   #39
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When I rode the Continental Divide trail a few year back, a riding partner's KLR puked out all its rear shock oil the first day. He had a spare shock shipped a couple days down the trail and rode those two days with a blown shock. So it shouldn't be a big deal if you stick to pavement and take it easy through vados and over topes.

The KLR shock is not listed as rebuildable. However, a Canadian KLRista had a web page showing how to do it and I rebuilt mine following his instructions, and it worked fine. Was pretty cheap as I recall. I don't have the webpage url as that was a long time ago.
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:59 PM   #40
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Regarding a bad shock and the ability to continue riding...

That shock is one part of the suspension system.
You can ride forever without one. Really, really.
Many people have that t-shirt.
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:20 PM   #41
NathanCooper OP
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Location: La Paz, Baja Mexico
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update

So I rode to Guadalajara bouncing around on the rear spring. We walked into a BMW heavy moto shop and they connected me to a guy named Saul who has a garage and works on suspension systems. He had the pieces that were broken on hand and we took apart the rear shock absorber and rebuilt it. I got there late, but he stayed open and worked on it until it was finish (about 4 hours) and gave me a really good deal on it. He even made it a bit beefier.

With that problem fixed, We rode to Mexico City (technically Jilotepec). Everything's fine now, except that KLR has again started pushing through oil.

Saul told me that an Italian woman riding from Argentina to Alaska stopped by his shop a few years ago. Her rear shock abosorber broke in Venezuela and she made it all the way to Guadalajara just like that...
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:25 AM   #42
Adv Grifter
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That's great news Nate. Maybe post up Saul's (shock mechanic) Tel. and address or web site in Guadalajara? I'm sure others could use his services in future. Glad to hear the BMW guys stepped up to help.

KLR's are infamous oil users. Seems the newer ones (post '07) are the worst offenders. As long as valves are in spec and plugs are swapped out once in a while ... and of course you keep it FULL of oil, I'd bet it will keep running for the duration.

Suerte!
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:47 PM   #43
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Nathan I am glad to see you and your brother are finally on the road again. You met me and the ToughMiles.com crew in the restaurant just before we were off to the ferry. It is just as well you missed that crossing, as we ran into big winds, and the ferry could not dock for a dozen hours past arrival.
The Btits are in Costa Rica last I heard, and I am spending some time in Antigua trying to pick up some Spanish. Perhaps we will see you two on the road, and hopefully all of your bad bike happenings are behind you. Good Luck..
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:12 PM   #44
NathanCooper OP
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Location: La Paz, Baja Mexico
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update - a break in the journey

So Aaron and I made it across the gap and rode into southern Colombia. Just north of Pasto I crashed a bit and slid for a while with the KLR on my leg. I broke two bones and tore a tendon and had to have surgery in Pasto.

We've returned to the US to recuperate and have got the bikes in storage down there waiting for our return. I'm working on writing the trip down and am editing video.

The website is http://www.endurobros.com/ and our facebook is http://www.facebook.com/theendurobros?ref=hl

I've got a lot more time on my hands now that I'm sitting at home with a broken leg, so if anyone has questions about the trip or how we got through the gap, I'll do my best.
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:39 AM   #45
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Oh My!!!!!

Sorry to hear of your crash, glad your home safe and on the mend.

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