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Old 08-21-2010, 07:59 PM   #1
bretoneer OP
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KLR 650 '08+ Questions

Hi all,

Looking at the new KLR after coming off several years of great fun on a DL650. Couple questions (sorry if they've already been answered elsewhere, I haven't found them yet):

1) Doohickey: how many of you have actually had a catastrophic failure due to doohickey problems (this question is for both pre and post '08 models)?

2) Thermobob: how many did this mod prior to putting miles on the bike, and if so, did this eliminate oil burn problems?

3) How many of you actually have oil burn problems at 70mph? Is there any fix for this (see 2) above for possibility)?

I read about the things "needed" to make the KLR run reliably for many, many miles, and at the same time read about how bullet proof the KLR motor is etc. That doesn't jive. I don't know if there's someone with a statistical chart or something that might be indicative of wide spread issues vs. isolated incidents.

I'm very keen on the KLR in general for the following reason: it is sort of between the DL650 and DRZ400 in purpose, which is what I'm looking for. What I'm not too keen on is having to take a new bike and "repair" it to make it work right. I've never had to do that with any other bike I've owned, aside for self imposed suspension upgrades, intake / outflow performance enhancements etc.

The DL ran flawlessly over four years and 10's of thousands of miles, with nothing but tire changes plus LOF. Should I be looking at a DR650 instead (although that bike is not nearly as comfortable as the newer KLR, and I put a high price on comfort). I rode the DL off road without problem, the size of the KLR is irrelevant to me. The reason for leaving the DL is the lack of subframe to support a proper skid plate to keep the oil filter from breaking off or puncturing the case in a hard hit.

All this talk about doohickeys, thermobobs etc has me a bit nervous about jumping on a new KLR. Seems like if this stuff is that bad the factory should be made aware of such and either warranty or recall so as to make this stuff right (?)

Any "real life" experience helping me get to the truth would be much appreciated.

Thanks,

Bret
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Old 08-21-2010, 08:12 PM   #2
Full Power
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I am riding an '08 KLR I am VERY happy with the bike... rest of the bikes in the fleet are jealous.

The coil spring which tensions the balancer shaft drive chain was a little too long to do it's job.
Not a big deal, just put in the correct spring after 6 or 8 thousand miles, then smooth sailing.
No oil consumption problem,Ran it real hard for a 2200 mile weekend dash to PrudhoeBay, added 8 ounces of oil when I got back.... pretty minimal consumption.
A nd I honestly don't know what the fuss is with cooling system, Mine does not have cab heat or windshield defroster option, so the cooling system is pretty much just along for the ride, Holds a quart and a half of antifreeze mixture, and does its thing.
..... I am happy with mine, would buy another right now if mine came up missing.
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Old 08-21-2010, 09:10 PM   #3
El Gato
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I've got an '09. Haven't done the Doo yet (I have the parts and tools sitting in the garage, but been too busy riding it to do the doo). I've done the T-bob. One of the best mods I've done. Can't say whether it's eliminated oil consumption, but the bike warms up faster and stabilizes at a better temperature even when running on the freeway. Needle used to drop to just above the cold mark on the highway. Now it's at just below the 1/2 way mark pretty much permanently. At >70 mph, the bike WILL burn oil, no matter what anyone says. I've got a 16t sprocket and T-bob, and when I run it at 75 steady I'll have to add 1/8 qt at each fill-up. That's pretty much the only time I have to add oil. Normal commuting, backroads, dirt, no oil consumption. Steady >5K rpm and it will burn oil. I wouldn't let the Doo or the T-bob steer you away from the KLR. You can ride it just fine without doing either one, or do them both and have more peace of mind. The bike's pro's outweigh it's con's.
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Old 08-21-2010, 09:12 PM   #4
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Thanks for the report

Thanks Full Power for the update. Funny remark re cab heat and windshield washer option

I kinda suspected things weren't as dire as they can sometimes seem based on posts etc. The bike has been around too long with too good a reputation for the unthinkable to be happening every other bike.

I did find some info re bad piston/rings on some new model KLRs that were taken care of by Kawi via the dealers, and from what I've read that problem has now been sorted out and is a non-issue.

Glad to hear you are enjoying it, I am planning on doing the same. Thanks again for your feedback.

All the best,
Bret

Quote:
Originally Posted by Full Power
I am riding an '08 KLR I am VERY happy with the bike... rest of the bikes in the fleet are jealous.

The coil spring which tensions the balancer shaft drive chain was a little too long to do it's job.
Not a big deal, just put in the correct spring after 6 or 8 thousand miles, then smooth sailing.
No oil consumption problem,Ran it real hard for a 2200 mile weekend dash to PrudhoeBay, added 8 ounces of oil when I got back.... pretty minimal consumption.
A nd I honestly don't know what the fuss is with cooling system, Mine does not have cab heat or windshield defroster option, so the cooling system is pretty much just along for the ride, Holds a quart and a half of antifreeze mixture, and does its thing.
..... I am happy with mine, would buy another right now if mine came up missing.
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Old 08-21-2010, 09:16 PM   #5
bretoneer OP
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Thanks El Gato

Thanks El Gato for the reply. Your suggestion is exactly my plan of action: get one, ride it as is, and fix only as needed. The thermobob looks like a very simple install based on the pics and directions I've seen online.

Thanks again El Gato for checking in.

All the best,
Bret

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Gato
I've got an '09. Haven't done the Doo yet (I have the parts and tools sitting in the garage, but been too busy riding it to do the doo). I've done the T-bob. One of the best mods I've done. Can't say whether it's eliminated oil consumption, but the bike warms up faster and stabilizes at a better temperature even when running on the freeway. Needle used to drop to just above the cold mark on the highway. Now it's at just below the 1/2 way mark pretty much permanently. At >70 mph, the bike WILL burn oil, no matter what anyone says. I've got a 16t sprocket and T-bob, and when I run it at 75 steady I'll have to add 1/8 qt at each fill-up. That's pretty much the only time I have to add oil. Normal commuting, backroads, dirt, no oil consumption. Steady >5K rpm and it will burn oil. I wouldn't let the Doo or the T-bob steer you away from the KLR. You can ride it just fine without doing either one, or do them both and have more peace of mind. The bike's pro's outweigh it's con's.
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Old 08-21-2010, 09:29 PM   #6
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Bretoneer,
I bought my 2008 KLR new, and did the doo, at 8300 miles. No failure, but the original spring did not have a lot of tension left. The bike ran quieter and a bit smoother with the doo upgraded. I have 16,000 and no major issues with the bike. The bike had a couple warranty issues, like muffler bolt vibrating off and the wiring harness rubbing through on the frame. But the 09 bikes should be fine.

I never did the thermo-bob. My bike does consume a bit of oil when going long distance on the freeway at 5,000 RPM, no consumption in town or on the trails. I just always carry a Qt of oil on long trips.

I also have a DRZ 400 and have ridden my brothers DR650. The DR 650 is easier to ride in the dirt, and it has a stronger motor at low RPMs and does not consume oil. However, the DR suspension is very soggy and springy compared to the KLR. The KLR is better handling, can carry more, and very comfortable on the roads, and has the needed fuel range.

The DRZ is the best of the three in the dirt, but I would absolutely put a custom seat and small windscreen before taking it on a long trip.

If I were forced to own only one motorcycle... hands down it would be the KLR!




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Old 08-21-2010, 10:00 PM   #7
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I have 6,100 miles on my 09. I have not had any issues with it. It does seem to use a little oil if it is ran hard at higher RPM's but nothing that worrisome. You can do the 685 kit to cure (supposedly) any oil consumption issues. I check the oil a couple of time a week. I check the air in the tires and I put gas in it. I ride it and pay attention to what it needs. I live in SoCal and it gets a little hot here at times, the bike warms up at a stoplight and cools back down as soon as I start moving. I replaced the rear shock and front springs with some PROGRESSIVE products to haul my fat ass around and that was a huge improvement.
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Old 08-21-2010, 10:40 PM   #8
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26,000 miles on my 09, I ride it almost every where. I upgraded the doo and spring at about 1500 miles and the spring barely held any tension (like others said, too long) I upgraded to the Eagle Mike torsion spring and it seems to be smoother. No noticeable oil burning issues. I usually don't run over 70 for very long and I change the oil between 2500 and 3000 miles.


Never installed the thermo-bob, my temps are all over the place. From almost "cold" when moving to about 3/4 of the way to "hot" after sitting a minute or two at a traffic light...I ride in weather from 15F to over 100f and new overheated or failed to start...

Everyone has their own reasons for doing things and everyone rides different....hope it works out
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Old 08-22-2010, 03:40 AM   #9
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For those debating on whether or not to install the T-bob: I installed it on my '02...temps went from being all over the place to a constant temp (obviously got hotter when sitting in traffic, but on the other end of the spectrum, it stays in the midrange on the gauge even at highway speeds in sub-freezing weather). The nice bonus, my MPG has improved a good bit. My last 5 tanks or so have gone from an avg of 52-53 MPG to 57-58 MPG. The install was simple...well worth the money!


Good luck Bretoneer, with whatever you decide to buy!
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Old 08-22-2010, 04:46 PM   #10
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Here is my take on this seemingly age old KLR 'doohickey/thermobob' arguement. Should either mod be necessary........HELL NO. Are either a big deal to fix....HELL NO. Are they overly expensive fixes.....HELL NO. In short, Kawasaki should step up to the plate and fix both of these problems. But, for a fairly inexpensive bike, a couple hundred bucks in mods (doohickey/thermobob) the bike is spot on and a pleasure to own. I absolutely love it. I ride it more often than my GSA. As far as oil burning, I haven't had that problem. I currently have about 6K on it and change the oil every 3K. Seriously, if your type of riding style is in line with the abilities of a KLR, I would not hesitate to drop some coin on one. The doohickey and thermobob are weak points, but are extremely easy fixes. If you want a KLR, pick one up, make the mods and ride.
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Old 08-22-2010, 05:48 PM   #11
StinkyCheese
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I have not made either mods to my '09 as of yet. I have contemplated the doo at some point but the bike is running smooth and happy at the moment so I ain't changing nothing!
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Old 08-22-2010, 08:24 PM   #12
Romulus
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Had my '08 for over 16k+, never touched the engine, no problems, runs better than when it was new.
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:01 AM   #13
electroken
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bretoneer
Hi all,

Looking at the new KLR after coming off several years of great fun on a DL650. Couple questions (sorry if they've already been answered elsewhere, I haven't found them yet):

1) Doohickey: how many of you have actually had a catastrophic failure due to doohickey problems (this question is for both pre and post '08 models)?

2) Thermobob: how many did this mod prior to putting miles on the bike, and if so, did this eliminate oil burn problems?

3) How many of you actually have oil burn problems at 70mph? Is there any fix for this (see 2) above for possibility)?

Thanks,

Bret
Speaking only for myself and my '08:

1) The stock spring had zero tension at 1200 miles and the doo fit the eccentric shaft very loosely. The new doo made the rock crusher sound a bit more like a sewing machine.

2) The Thermo-Bob went in at about 1500 miles but made no significant difference as far as oil use. My bike used about a quart in 1000 miles. What it does do is allow the bike to run properly at sub-freezing temperatures.

3) My bike really only used oil when kept above 5000 RPM for any length of time. A 16-tooth CS sprocket helped with this at highway speeds. Installing a 685cc kit eliminated oil use completely. Seriously, just hold a set of stock rings in your hand and the reason why many of them use oil is pretty obvious.
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Old 08-23-2010, 05:07 AM   #14
kingrj
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Klr

I bought an '08 when they first came out..I put just over 20,000 miles on it and sold it with no major mechanical issues. My impressions:

Might as well be a two stroke because it burns a quart of oil every other gas stop.

Too heavy for a good dirt bike and never handled well on the twisty pavement.

Good utilitarian around town transportation and it didn't cost much..

I bought the KLR to have a one bike solution to the Dual Sport problem. I now have a KTM 950 Adventure and a DRZ 400 and those are better solutions in my opinion..
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Old 08-25-2010, 05:51 PM   #15
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It's your money to spend as you see fit but the thermo bob is a solution to a problem that exists only in theory but not in reality. Why complicate a simple and effective cooling system?
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