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Old 03-12-2011, 10:12 AM   #1
south OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Florida
Oddometer: 242
'88 KLR650 project thread

Back at the end of last year, I picked up an '88 KLR650 off Craigslist for $500. The PO (so he said) had owned and ridden it for about 6 months before he stripped it down (not the motor) for a complete re-do. He'd gotten it mostly back together when (it was evident) his money situation became difficult and he chose/needed to sell. So that's the short intro. I've already done a write-up and posted it to another forum that I frequent and where I am known, so I'll largely just copy/paste that write-up here as well; but feel free to skip ahead to the build portion if you're not interested in the lengthy story-line intro:

As the saying goes, I needed another motorcycle (project) like I needed a hole in the head. And I'd been doing well to stay off Craigslist and concentrate on a few pieces currently crowding the garage (and elsewhere). However, a good friend expressed a desire to find a deal on a (50cc) scooter: something to buzz down to the neighborhood pool/clubhouse/corner store with and/but not so nice that his grandsons couldn't take and potentially abuse/trash.

Well, needless to say, that was all the excus--er...reason...I needed to return to my daily perusals of the area Craigslists. Read quite a few scooter ads in the ensuing weeks and months, called on a few, even drove out and looked at some, but nothing that really fit the bill. Of course, couldn't help but see quite a few motorcycle ads as well. Called on a few. Even drove out and looked at some. But nothing that compelled me to dig my project hole deeper. There was one (picture-less) ad I saw--repeatedly--but didn't call:

Custom 1988 KLR 650 Kawasaki. Professional ground up build, mods, new tires, new batt. chain, plug, coil, paint etc. This is a complete rolling bike, just needs the wiring finished, tag it and go. I no longer have the time or the money to finish this great bike. Quick sale.$700.00. Clear Title in hand. Serious inquiries only.

When I first saw the ad, I casually thought about calling. Every time I saw the ad re-posted over the following weeks, I casually thought about calling. But there weren't any pics, and the thing was way out in the sticks 100 miles away, and I sure as h*ll didn't need any more motorcycles. I was quite certain about this last, since I'd been told exactly that by The Girl on a number of occasions.

But then one evening, the ad was back. Only this time with pictures. Nice pictures. And a new price: $575. So, I casually thought about calling. More than that, this time I put the phone # in my cell. Then I took the dogs to the park, sat on a bench, and decided that I didn’t have anything better to do than call a guy about a motorcycle.

Nice guy. Low-key. Got all the right sort of answers. Yep, I could come by tomorrow evening and look at it--he’d be home all day and had a guy coming to look at it at 7pm. Got off the phone and that’s settled then: I’d drive the truck to work in the morning with the ramp and tie-downs *just in case*, and see how I felt about making the trip up after work.

Gave the matter some more thought as I drove into work the next morning. Thought about the long drive; thought about all my pending bike projects; thought about the other prospective buyer already lined up; and decided, screw it, I didn’t feel like working all day and then driving 100 miles--part of it in rush-hour traffic--to look at a bike that I didn’t really need and was probably going to be sold before I got there.

So instead, I ducked out of work shortly after I got in and just drove up that morning . Eventually left the interstate for a state highway; left the state highway for a county road; left the county road for a dirt road; left any cell phone signal back at the feed and farm supply store.

Found the red, farm gate that marked my destination, left the truck at the road, and cautiously headed over toward the open double garage door visible at one end of the house, keeping a wary eye out for shotguns and/or dogs and similar type things one expects to find in such settings. As it turned out, my concerns were unfounded--the owner was a transplant from Miami--and, holy cow, is that ever a clean looking bike. No question, if he’d just posted pics with his earlier ads--and wasn’t located out in the middle of nowhere--the thing would’ve been long gone.

His story: had a lot of car and bike projects over the years, bought the KLR, rode it for 6 months, took it all apart (save the motor--no need), and, in his words, “put his hand to every nut and bolt” as he put it back together. Sandblasted and painted the frame, swingarm, and spring/shock; cleaned and buffed every inch of every component; stripped, polished, and de-restricted the factory stainless steel exhaust; rejetted/tuned the carb; mounted brand new Michelin Anakees front and rear, new chain/sprockets, new AGM battery, new coil and plug, etc.; and etc. He’d removed (and apparently disposed of) the stock airbox (which holds the battery) and the main wiring harness, relocated the battery and some electrical components and had started a complete “custom” rewiring of the bike. (In an unintended warning, he told me how he likes things “simple”, wanted to get rid of “all that unnecessary sh*t”--e.g., clutch lever and sidestand safety switches, vacuum-control fuel-shutoff petcock innards, etc.--so I knew I had some fixing to do.)

After he’d got the thing back together in its current showroom-quality state, albeit with some rudiments of his “custom wiring“ in place, he’d temporarily hooked up the original harness and started the bike. Said it ran fine, then backfired once, died, and wouldn’t re-fire. H(e claimed h)is troubleshooting unveiled some chafed/shorted wires in the original harness which fried the CDI--and just for good measure, he pulled the CDI apart, apparently snapping off a corner of the circuit board and losing the cover in the process. (As he’s telling me all this, I’m looking at the new coil and “custom wiring”, and my immediate thought is that there wasn’t a d*mn thing wrong with the CDI--that is, before he broke it taking it apart--and likely not anything wrong with the original harness.) The quality of his work was unmistakable, but his (lack of) knowledge of things electrical/electronic was strongly indicated--and would prove to become ever more apparent as I got into things.

Whatever the case, as advertised, the thing needed to be re-wired; but it also needed a new/replacement CDI--he said $400 new or $200 on ebay, which, although I didn‘t say so, I thought was a little high. He said he hated to see it go, but he didn’t have the money to finish it, and it needed to go. I didn‘t ask him to elaborate, but the fact that he was home all day on a weekday seemed to speak for itself.

Anyway, standing in his garage looking at the bike, I had two primary concerns: 1) I had only his word that the motor/power train was sound; and 2) from almost the moment I showed up, his telephone had been ringing seemingly every few minutes, and his answering machine was steadily filling up with messages inquiring about the bike--must‘ve been 4-5 calls in 20-30 minutes. So, while I could pat myself on the back re my decision to drive up that morning rather than wait, #2 also meant that I had to resolve my issue with #1 on the spot--take it or leave it, right now.

I saw he had a battery charger/jump-starter, so I was able to pad my bet somewhat by getting him to hook the jump-starter directly to the starter and turn the motor over--which he did; and it did, spark plug out and making all the right sort of noises. But when it came right down to it, my decision was made just by looking at the bike--ain’t nobody gonna invest that much time and effort (let alone money) with any kind of questionable/bad power train.

“Take $500?”

“Yeah. Yeah, that was my absolute minimum price I’d take. I’ve got about $1300-$1400 in it, but that‘s always been my problem: I buy high and sell low instead of the other way around.”

Paid the man; backed up the truck; loaded it up along with a bucket of bits, leftover paint, and a thick stack of paperwork; and made it back to get in a half-day’s work.

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Old 03-12-2011, 10:25 AM   #2
south OP
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Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Florida
Oddometer: 242
Got home and, after a fair bit of wrangling, managed to fit it in the garage before heading in to source a wiring harness and CDI.

Found this price sheet listing some of the PO's expenditures in with the paperwork:

I was going to have to spend a little more money to determine whether this latest acquisition would go in the “win” or “loss” column. Turned out I was (somewhat) right about the CDI pricing on ebay; the going rate looked to be more in the $130-$150 (plus shipping) range--more than I figured, but still not $200. Unmolested/unmodified wiring harnesses ranged from $35-$75. Found a seller with separate listings for a CDI--$100--and harness (with relays and coil)--$35--from a ‘92 who was also open to “best offer(s)”. Made an initial offer of $100 (plus combined shipping) for both (pitched as $75 for the CDI and $25 for the harness) to open negotiations...which was promptly accepted via a(n email) request for payment notification that left me kicking myself that I hadn’t made a lower offer.

Got the CDI and harness headed my way, and, a few days later, (optimistically) returned to ebay and bought a (gently) used set of factory service manuals (KL600 base manual and the KLR650 supplement) for $32 with free shipping, and didn’t hardly so much as look at the bike until the CDI and harness arrived.

Once I pulled the tank and bodywork and started to sort through the electrical bits and pieces still on the bike, consult the wiring schematics included in the stack of paperwork that came with the bike, and attempt to mate up the replacement harness, I quickly felt the first stirrings of irritation with the previous owner’s electrical “work”. His component relocations were not improvements upon the factory design; if anything they were detractions: the battery was wedged (with foam pads) horizontally between the sub-frame rails with the positive and negative terminals and unsheathed wire ends scant millimeters from the metal sub-frame on either side, the starter relay and solenoid were removed from their protected mounting directly on the frame and hung on the plastic rear inner fender/hugger, etc. Adding to my bother, many of the remaining sub-harnesses--including both sets of handlebar switches, ignition switch, rear lighting harness--were missing their multi-pin connectors; the connectors had just been cut off and discarded. Of the remaining sub-harnesses that still retained their respective connectors, the connectors’ locking clasps were snapped off every single one. And the dash sub-harness was butchered worst of all--h*ll, there was hardly any of it left, with wires cut off flush right at light bulb sockets, or just a few inches out of the backs of the gauges.Please understand, given the money paid for what I already got, I was in no way going to feel swindled or ripped off; this sort of stuff was/is just so irritating because it was/is so unnecessary. “Custom wiring”, fine, but why not make use of the original connectors? D*mn sure better than the crimp-on butt connectors used in their stead. And even if choosing not to use most of the connectors, take a moment’s care with the connectors slated to be retained and don’t break the d*mn things when separating them.

Anyway, a few final irksome discoveries awaited before I had the fullest picture of what my reconstruction efforts would entail. In addition to the harness butchering, the PO took the (equally vexing/unfathomable) idea to cut up and render largely useless the metal brackets which mounted and secured the various electrical components and wiring. Nothing in any of it that couldn’t/can’t be repaired or replaced for modest sums, but just so irritating in its senselessness. In the “I understand, but disagree” category, I needed to source an airbox to replace the missing unit, a new inner fender to replace the original which had been notched out to accommodate the relocated battery, and clutch-lever safety switch and choke lever and cable--all absent as received.

One bit of good to counter all the above: the replacement harness--with relays and coil--and CDI arrived complete with a fully intact mounting bracket, so that was a welcome freebie and one less bracket I’d need to source. And now that I had the CDI and harness, I was somewhat under the gun to get the stuff (at least temporarily) hooked up and tested inside a time frame where I could pursue a refund or exchange with the ebay seller should I need to.

So, with wiring schematic at hand, plug everything up--everything that had plugs, anyway, just rig up the (bare wire) rest--compression test good, oil showing in the sight glass, hook up the XR100 gas tank, no choke so a spritz of starting fluid, and:

I was now free to (re-)open my wallet and start checking things off my shopping list.

south screwed with this post 03-12-2011 at 01:26 PM Reason: pic fix
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:31 AM   #3
south OP
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Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Florida
Oddometer: 242
The replacement harness and CDI as delivered:

Thankfully, every connector on the harness and CDI were fully intact, so just washed/wiped it all down and applied a fresh layer of electrical tape all over. Blasted and painted the included bracket and I was ready to install according to the routing diagrams provided in the factory service manual.

Now, I have to say, in all fairness to the PO, it's not shocking to find a few broken wiring connectors on a twenty year old motorcyle, so I could reasonably expect to have to address *some* of this stuff even if he hadn't contributed to the electrical woes. Anyway, for the missing/broken connectors and cut-up dash sub-harness, I was able to secure a number of solutions. I ebay-sourced a couple new 2, 6, and 9 pin connectors identical to the OEM connectors on the harness at $1-$1.50 apiece. I also snagged another full KLR main harness (that had a couple cut and spliced wires) auctioned--and purchased--concurrently with a replacement airbox; both pieces off the same '04 KLR: $5.50 for the harness, $6.50 for the airbox, plus combined shipping. (I was really after the airbox since it was the only non-reserve, actual auction, and all the other airboxes on ebay were "buy it now" listings for $30-$60; the fact that I could get a "parts harness" shipped in the same box for only $5 more made it a no-brainer.) Lastly, I was able to cannibalize a couple spare (parts-quality) harnesses from my own inventory: a Honda GL500 harness from the boxes of spares included in the purchase of my CX500 a few years back, and a Honda GL1100 Goldwing harness from the bad-motor, largely stripped but rolling (and, most importantly, titled) chassis I acquired awhile ago.

The new connectors will provide the new male/female metal mini-spade connectors needed to terminate the cut sub-harnesses--as well as the ends of the replacement wiring for the missing dash sub-harness--rather than graft (splice/solder/heat shrink) cannibilized ends (unless necessary to make up missing wire length). The KLR parts harness will supply the proper color-matched wiring to make up the new dash sub-harness (Worst case, a new subharness can be had for about $60--not *too* terrible a thing). And all 3 parts harnesses will--and already have--provide(d) replacement connector casings for the existing but broken connectors on the bike (alternator output, ignition pick-up, etc.), as well as color-matched casings for the cut sub-harnesses where possible. So, for $10-$15 I'm able to restore the wiring and (fully functional) locking connectors; I can live with that--especially as I count myself to be a fair bit under budget on the CDI, main harness, and airbox.

Original CDI bracket with the horizontal, connector interface/securing plate removed by the PO:

Freshened-up freebie replacement installed:

3 parts harnesses--for me, with all their color-coded, fully intact connectors, worth their weight in gold:

Replacement connector casings fitted, harness routed, connectors secured in place:

south screwed with this post 03-12-2011 at 01:48 PM
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:40 AM   #4
south OP
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Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Florida
Oddometer: 242
Severely scalped dash sub-harness:

2 wiring connectors; the original unit on the left missing its locking tab, an otherwise identical, fully intact donor (even though they may look a little different in height--it's just how they're sitting--although this wasn't the replacement I ultimately used) on the right. Behind them is another broken original that had also been replaced courtesy of one of the Honda parts harnesses:

New 6- and 9- pin connectors ready to contribute to the cause:

(Cleaned up) $6.50 airbox--$22 total with shipping --with the new AGM battery back in its intended position, albeit not in the bike:

So, back to ebay where I made a slew of "buy it now" purchases from the fine folks at Pinwall Cycles (Ohio-based bike salvage)--the first of a number of "slews", in fact--to put some finishing touches on the electrical recovery program. Coincidentally, like the airbox and parts harness from the other ebay seller, all also from an '04 KLR (apparently, 2004 is an unlucky year for KLRs)--and this particular bike would yet contribute a few more parts.
The PO's battery relocation mod required/included some "custom" cables, so:
positive battery cable - $1.95
negative battery cable - $1.95
starter cable - $1.95
starter relay and solenoid mounting bracket and cover - $4.95
Plus combined shipping, of course. About $20 to my door.
Starter solenoid (top) and starter relay (bottom) mounted to the freshened '04 Pinwall-sourced bracket installed in its proper location on the frame (included cover not shown):

Got the replacement rear fender--$4.95--clutch safety switch (the whole perch and lever actually; Kawi--and apparently everyone else--doesn't sell the switch separately, only as part of the perch)--$9.95--and main fuse block--$4.95--on the way from Pinwall. The final replacement electrical bracket, for the dash (the original got the same treatment as the CDI bracket--the connector mounting plate was removed )--$10--sourced from another ebayer, and it's cover--$5--and a battery hold-down--$8--picked up from yet another seller.

south screwed with this post 03-12-2011 at 02:01 PM
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:49 AM   #5
south OP
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Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Florida
Oddometer: 242
The (final) replacement bracket, freshened it up and installed.
cut-down original vs. whole replacement:

replacement installed:

Ignition switch wiring repair:

Terminating left handlebar controls wiring:

Reconstructing the dash wiring, duplicating the original color coding whenever possible courtesy or donor wire from the various "parts harnesses":

As can be seen in the earlier dash wiring pic, the wiring for the bulb sockets had been cut off (more or less) flush, so had to remove, re-use, and re-wire the individual bulb socket connectors:

south screwed with this post 03-12-2011 at 02:26 PM
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:52 AM   #6
south OP
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Joined: Mar 2011
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Oddometer: 242
Did the same for the temp gauge terminals, extended the other cut-shortened wires, then it was time to stitch everything together:

Mount the dash, trim the (new) dash wiring subharness to length, and terminate the ends:

Took a bit to repair the hacked right 'bar controls wiring:

Everything plugged:

After sitting for a couple weeks, the thing was due to be started and run a bit, so fired it up, and, surprise, surprise, everything works--tach, temp, lights:

south screwed with this post 03-12-2011 at 02:44 PM
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:03 AM   #7
south OP
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Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Florida
Oddometer: 242
Received the K&N air filter (and pre-filter sock) I'd ordered, so I went ahead and pulled the rear subframe and installed the airbox; and while I was there, I mounted the replacement rear fender. My ebay airbox didn't include the OEM wing bolt to secure the air filter element, so I had the choice of either ordering a new replacement or fabricating one myself. Not a whole lot to the thing, and I'm a big fan of stainless steel hardware anyway, so I opted to fab one up. I did end up ordering the airbox lower support/battery cover mounting bracket and rubber damper to complete the airbox install.

Turning down 1/4" stainless rod:

Cutting 6mm threads:

Finished piece with wingnut (permanently) affixed:

Next up was the choke cable issue. The PO had eliminated the handlebar-mounted choke lever and cable in favor of a (crude) loop of safety wire attached to the enrichment piston hanging out the side of the carb. I wasn't particularly pleased with his arrangement, but then I wasn't exactly thrilled with re-installing the OEM set-up; in the first place, a replacement/new cable and lever would run me about $40-$50, and I didn't like how the choke lever mounted--slung under the left 'bar, just begging to be snapped off in even the most innocuous of tip-overs. There are kits available to relocate the lever to a somewhat more protected location on the "back" side of the left 'bar, but that option meant even more money, and it still wasn't fully satisfactory from a durability standpoint.

Fortunately, there was another option mentioned on the web. Turns out, Harley Davidson (of all manufacturers) uses the same Keihin 40mm carb on any number of their bikes, and they use a short, approx. 8", non-'bar mounted, choke cable/knob assembly--$18 instead of $40+. Just needed to figure out where to route/mount it and then come up with a mounting bracket. And the money I saved with the Harley combo cable/knob unit I was then free to spend on an aftermarket aluminum choke cap-piece for the carb to replace the OEM plastic item that the PO had thoughtfully cut up all to h*ll (just as he'd done with all the other stuff ). Add in a $4 cable routing elbow--also sourced from Harley--a 1/4" vacuum cap (used as a spacing sleeve to mate elbow to aluminum cap-piece, a little (protective) heat shrink, and an OEM Kawi rubber sealing boot, and I was all set.

After a few days of consideration, and quite a bit of fiddling, I decided on a placement for the choke. And, once again, thanks to the PO's "handiwork", I had to go about things the hard way. Apparently, it wasn't enough for him to just delete the--admittedly troublesome--sidestand switch assembly; he had to take the additional, and wholly unnecessary, step of grinding the switch's mounting tab off the frame. So, now, not only was there no lower mount for cover for the starter solenoid and relay, but I'd lost the closest/most direct mounting point for a choke cable/knob bracket. So, I settled on the upper mounting bolt for the solenoid and relay bracket as the anchor for the choke bracket.

The PO's choke set-up:

Harley choke cable/knob assembly, the remains of the original Kawi plastic cap-piece with the aftermarket aluminum piece above/next to it, and the original spring and enrichment piston:

The initial/working "prototype" (aluminum) choke bracket (such as it is):

The second--and final--bracket iteration installed with cable, (modded) 90* elbow, and etc.:

Closer look at the carb-side of the cable install--aluminum cap-piece installed, heat shrink-covered elbow fitted and rubber sealing boot installed:

Overview shot showing the protected placement of the choke knob nestled behind the frame down-tube but still readily accessable on the bike's left side:

For the final bit of related work, I needed to come up with a means to secure the bottom of the solenoid/relay cover. The cover originally screwed/bolted to the now-absent/ground-off sidestand switch assembly.

Took just a few minutes to fab up a light-duty aluminum bracket that mounts to/under a bolt for the front sprocket cover:

south screwed with this post 03-12-2011 at 03:08 PM
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:08 AM   #8
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Joined: Oct 2007
Location: Gainesville, Fl
Oddometer: 3,455
Cool beans. Might have bid against you on some Pinwall Cycle auctions (agree with your comment on 2004 model bikes, must be something about Ohio) .

All of your pictures are behind the eSportbike forum authentication. If you're logged into that forum then you can't see pictures.

Oh, I just finished a 2 pot caliper+relocation bracket+310mm rotor+14mm master cylinder conversion this morning from an eBay seller in Miami. Cost ~$250 to my door and the brake improvement is incredible. Just saying
86 KLR250 01 KLR685 06 K1200LT
As ever, buyer and seller of all things KLR
KLR Doohickey Wrench available!
The North Florida Tag-O-Rama wants YOU!
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:14 AM   #9
south OP
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Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Florida
Oddometer: 242
So, the final piece needed before I was prepared to take the thing for a spin (at least) around the block, was a battery cover/holder. The KLR's battery sits in the (left) side of the airbox with an OEM cover and holder to keep it from sliding/falling out the side of the bike.

1) I didn't have the OEM pieces, and

2) The PO had purchased a new, AGM battery in place of the original vented-style unit, and while I was/am pleased with the AGM battery, and dimensionally, it fits right in place, the terminals on the AGM are reversed from those on the OEM-style battery. So, unless I wanted to install the battery "wrong end" first--which would put the "+" terminal right close to the (sub)frame rail instead of safely in the (approximate) center of the bike--the terminal cut-outs of the OEM battery cover would be on the opposite side of the AGM battery's terminals, and the cover wouldn't fit even if I had one.

Thus, all the reason to make one.

I had two different thicknesses of aluminum sheet at hand with which to make the cover. I initially opted for the thinner sheet and ultimately re-made the cover in the thicker metal because I wasn't entirely satisfied with the (lack of) rigidity and protective potential of the thinner aluminum piece. So, shoulda, woulda, coulda saved me 1/2 day +.

Anyway, took some measurements and laid out the pattern:

Cut it out:

Checked the fit/marked the exact bend:

Fully formed, awaiting final trimming/fitment:

Sliding cover into place; note how the top slides under the "lip" of the airbox surround--front back and interior edges--while the vertical "wrap-around" wings on the side face fit into slots in the airbox on either side of the battery compartment:

The (first) cover installed:

Time to do it all over again--only thicker. At least this one went a little quicker since I took care of all the fine tuning on the first one:

The thicker aluminum sheet made for a better/tighter fit under the airbox lip, the whole thing was much more rigid/secure, and I now have zero concerns about anything puncturing the cover and damaging the battery in the event of a tip-over/crash.

At this point, I was able to take the bike for a quick spin--the first since I'd acquired it--and go on to address some other items, but I returned to work to finish the cover a few days later, so I'll jump ahead chronologically in order to show the cover job start to finish.

First, I needed a spacer (visible in the previous pics) in order to secure the cover at/using the (OEM) mounting boss on the lower airbox mounting bracket. So, cut a disc from a piece of scrap aluminum angle:

Turned down the outer diameter to size, faced it off, and cut a shoulder into the underside edge in order to clear the OEM airbox mounting bracket at the battery cover mounting boss:

The remaining work was largely aesthetic in nature; I'd intended on painting/powdercoating the cover from the start, but once I saw the thing on the bike, I just didn't care for its plain, slab-sided appearance. Coating it black was certainly going to reduce its (visual) presence/impact, but, knowing I'd see the d*mn thing every time I looked at the bike, I wasn't going to be happy unless I did something more to try and integrate the look of the piece into the rest of the bike.

Given their proximity and similar shape/orientation, I hit upon--and liked--the idea of copying the look of the starter solenoid cover with its center-ridge, and spent some little time mulling over the best way to duplicate/carry over that feature (on)to the battery cover. I considered slotting or cutting down the face of the cover to achieve the look I was after, but I wasn't crazy about potentially compromising the strength of the cover--especially after I went to the trouble to make this second, thicker/stronger piece; and, honestly, I was hesitant to risk f*cking up cover #2 after I'd otherwise gotten it where I wanted it.

I'd decided to powdercoat the cover because the powdercoat would be much more durable than paint, and it would offer better protection against accidental shorting/arcing if inadvertantly contacting the ("+") battery terminal(s) during removal/installation for battery servicing. So, I opted to try to get what I wanted via the (powder)coating itself; the integrity of the cover wouldn't be impacted, and, figuring, worst case, if I screwed up I could always just sand it all back down and start over.

(Everything but the) center "ridge" on its way to being all taped off for initial (heavy) application of powdercoat which would (hopefully) form the raised center stripe:

Coated, cooked, center ridge (edges) cleaned up and scuff-sanded, then dust the whole thing, back in the oven, and done:

The last (trivial) touch was to powdercoat the SS washer to tone down the fastener a touch:

south screwed with this post 03-12-2011 at 04:06 PM
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:19 AM   #10
south OP
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Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Florida
Oddometer: 242
In between all that, I knocked out a few other things that can be seen in some earlier pics.

First up, the PO (I assume, but it may pre-date him) had drilled the radiator cowls and through-bolted them where the original plastic mounting posts had been--certainly understandable that the plastic posts may have snapped off 20+ year old bodywork, I just wasn't thrilled with his solution of long screw-and-nut, big-*ss fender washers, and large nylon block spacers, which all had to be disassembled/reassembled when removing/reinstalling the cowls. Besides, like the rest of the hardware he'd used, it was all zinc-plated stuff just waiting to ugly-up with rust:

The first thing was to come up with an assembly that would mount permanently to the bike (gas tank) so I'd only have to deal with a simple (screw) fastener on the cowl itself when removing/installing the cowl, instead of having to wrangle a wrench/fingers back behind the cowl to loosen/tighten a nut and then try and catch/position all the bits of hardware while removing/installing the cowl. So, 5mm SS allen screw with a small (cut-down) nylon sleeve fitted through the PO-supplied, cut-down OEM rubber grommet--sandwiched by SS fender washers and threaded into/secured by an aluminum spacer which I'd tapped straight through with 5mm threads:

I now had a secure, cushioned, permanent mounting point providing the proper spacing to mount the cowl:


Next up, I needed a screw fastener for the cowl. The requirements were: 1) stainless steel; 2) 5mm (to match/screw into the spacer); and 3) a broad and low-profile (i.e., "truss") head. A quick local and internet search turned up zero candidates, so, although, as The Girl says, it's like making/baking crackers (from scratch) in order to (just) have cheese and crackers, I was left to make my own.

Start with 1/4-20 SS truss-head phillips screws, and turn them down on the lathe:

then, cut to length and cut new (5mm) threads:

Original 1/4-20 on right; new 5mm on left:

Tapped an aluminum washer with 5mm threads, and (back to the lathe) cut a slight "waist" into the screw just below the head; thread the washer onto the screw until it drops into the "waist" area, and the result is a "captured" washer:

Slip the screw through the cowl, slip on a small rubber flat washer, then thread on the "captured" aluminum washer. Now have a SS screw fastener retained in place on the cowl; the captured washer holds the screw to the cowl, but merely spins freely on the "waisted" portion of the screw while the screw is loosened/tightened into the mount on the bike. The top screw is a shorter copy of the lower screw, and it threads directly into an original 5mm tab on the bike; I've used (just) the small rubber washer to hold it to the cowl in similar, but less robust, fashion to the lower screw's captured aluminum washer:

The result can be seen in this pic posted previously, and just repeated for the other side:

south screwed with this post 03-12-2011 at 04:33 PM
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:30 AM   #11
south OP
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Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Florida
Oddometer: 242
In keeping with his theme, the PO was kind enough to butcher the rear wiring subharness for the tail/brake light, turnsignals, and tag light; kinda understandable, since the bike only had the tail/brake light--no turnsignals or tag light--when he sold it to me:

Fortunately, one of my ebay main harnesses (either the "good" one, or the "parts" one, didn't notice) included a serviceable rear subharness that just needed a slight bit of work:

I'd sourced an LED tag light off ebay for $8 and set about making a tag--and tag light--bracket to mount to existing points under the rear fender. A little crude, but I wasn't too concerned about looks since it virtually unseen when on the bike; just wanted it to be functional and reasonably sturdy--yet light weight (since it bolts directly/solely to the plastic fender).
The tag light and its sub-bracket fit into the bump-out on the rear fender like they were made for it (which, of course, one was and one wasn't).

Mounted and lit:

And, a little more lathe work--just playing around and really no other reason. In the interests of keeping the total assembly weight down, I cut down the license plate mounting hardware to the minimum length and then went ahead and drilled out the centers to a modest depth--i.e., not so deep as to risk sheering the screw upon removal:

as it turned out, more fork work to come, but at this point I'd fitted the fork boots--with a little help from my Harbor Freight lift--and got the thing more or less fully roadworthy. OEM fork boot clamps were MIA and no longer available from Kawi. Could've ordered some Honda clamps, but they wanted $7 each and they weren't especially corrosion resistant; could've used some plastic zip-ties, but that really wouldn't do; and, since I failed to source any appropriately narrow-banded units, ditto for hose clamps. So I used some stainless steel, smooth "zip-ties"; initially, bit of a trick to get them pulled sufficiently tight--and they're not reusable--but, so far, I'm pleased with the result, even more so at $8 for 10 ties:

Fitted some ebay-sourced, rubber stalk, enduro turnsignals (K&S clear lense, OEM replacements to come), and, somewhere in all this, I re-covered a $20 ebay-sourced seat to replace the original that the PO chose to shave down in questionable fashion. 1 yard of marine-grade vinyl courtesy of Jo-Ann's Fabrics--$7 after 50% off coupon.

Still had yet to address the windscreen issue, but, anyway, the roadworthy iteration at the time:

south screwed with this post 03-12-2011 at 04:44 PM
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:39 AM   #12
south OP
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Location: Florida
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Received the balance lever--a.k.a. doohickey--along with the torsion spring upgrade option, and a rotor puller, so that would take care of the left side of the motor: gen rotor swap and doohickey. The planned right side work--installing the kickstarter--overlapped some planned brake upgrades, so I also got my braided SS lines (paid the extra $5 for black lines and fittings) and (the kickstarter tie-in) banjo bolt with integrated pressure brake light switch from Spiegler. The kickstarter interferes with the original linkage spring for the rear brake brake light switch. Back when the optional kickstarter kits were available, Kawi's solution was to include a new linkage assembly consisting of a sqiggley rod (which curved around the kickstart shaft/lever), a guide bracket for the rod, and a short spring to the switch. Needless to say, the banjo bolt with integrated brake switch represents a far simpler--and cheaper--solution.

Before I got into all that, I ran down the source of a couple small drops of oil that would appear under the bike immediately after a ride. What I initially thought was a couple oil drops from the breather tube turned out to be a leaky rear shock. Just great ; decision time. The stock, non-rebuildable shock can actually be rebuilt: do-it-yourself with new seal head then find somebody to nitrogen charge it for a total cost of about $50, or send it out and have it done for about $200. Used shocks on ebay were going for $100-$200. New aftermarket units ranged from $350-$600.

The issue with rebuilding the original shock was/is that, while none of the stock units were all that great, the early model shocks like mine were/are especially lacking, so ultimately this option was ruled out as "good money after bad". Gambling $100+ on a used ebay unit was likewise discounted as "good money after potential bad. Now, both of these decisions were made in consideration of the price of an aftermarket shock which promised improved performance for not *too* much more money.
Unfortunately, this added value argument held sway all the way up to Cogent Dynamics $600 Moab shock--widely acknowledged to be top-of-the-heap for KLRs. Ultimately, on the one hand, it was hard to pay more for a shock than I'd paid for the whole d*mn bike, but, on the other hand, the fact that I didn't pay a whole lot for the bike can make it a little easier to justify the expense. And, custom built to match each specific purchaser, 30 day free tune/re-work period, lifetime warranty (provided you send it in every couple years for a (discounted) maintenance check/service), and a very nice, small (3 person)--read "responsive"--company to deal with all helped push the thing over the top.

Now, if I was going to crack that nut, what the h*ll, might as well sort the (well documented as) weak front-end as well. Donor front-ends--including USD set-ups--can be fitted to the KLR, but only with substantial work--steering stem swaps involving a fair bit of machine work, dash/ignition/control mounts, etc.--in addition to the cost of the donor front-end. However, for a fair bit less money, and a whole lot less work/hassle, the original KLR front suspension can be improved substantially; barring Supercross/MotoX duty, a modded KLR front-end can approach the performance of typical stock donor units. A final important consideration to the matter was/is the fact that I presently tip the scales at a modest 145 pounds--a rather suspension-friendly figure.

So, Cogent Dynamics Moab shock for the rear, Race Tech cartridge emulators and fork brace (most all options were/are in the neighborhood of $130-$140, but caught Happy-Trails' unit on sale for $100) for the front. 145 pounds saves me from the expense of aftermarket fork springs and instead keeps me with the stock springs.

south screwed with this post 03-12-2011 at 04:49 PM
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:41 AM   #13
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I can't see ANY of the pics. Just a bunch of white boxs' with red exs'.
2014.5 Kawasaki KLR650 NE-2006 Buell XB12SS-2002 Husky TE570-2001 Husaberg FE650E-1993 Kawasaki KX500-1984 Honda XL600R/XR650L Hybrid-1984 Yamaha TT600L-1980 Honda CB750F
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:49 AM   #14
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For those who are interested in the specifics, there're plenty of detailed how-to's online when it comes to the doohickey mod, so I'll just offer a brief pictorial of how mine went.

Original, early model, 14A rotor coming off; rotor bolt in wrench; rotor puller in rotor:

Rotor off; stock balancer lever--a.k.a. doohickey--intact and in place bottom center; end of adjustment tensioning spring just visible behind on left:

Original doohickey and spring just fine after 23 years and 19K miles:

Eagle Mike replacement doohickey with torsion spring upgrade installed:

New(er) model 17A rotor on and torqued down:

Right side engine work. Started out (just) to install the kickstarter option available to pre-'96 KLRs; as mentioned previously, optional kickstarter kits are no longer available from Kawi, but the exact parts came standard on the earlier KL600s--ebay sourced for $100. Once things came apart on the way to that job, I wasn't entirely happy with some things I saw with the water pump, so I ended up doing a bit there as well. Kickstarter first:

The side cover plug thoughtfully labeled "kick starter" to indicate where it goes:

Interior mounts been sealed up and patiently waiting over 20 years to be put to use. The plug in the socket for the kickstarter shaft is jettisoned as well--the socket is oiled from the back side; I assume the plug, like the shaft end that replaces it, serves to cap the oil port and thus maintain overall engine oil pressure. Note the two threaded bosses just below where the guide and stop plates mount, and directly below the right-hand boss and just inside the cover gasket surface is the retaining hole for the kickstart shaft spring:

Plates mounted:

Shaft assembly installed; shop manual calls for removal of the clutch, but I was able to sneak it by without:

Buttoned back up with cover plug replaced by (new) seal:

So, the water pump housing and impeller must be removed in order to pull the right side engine cover. And, of course, the coolant must be drained before pulling the water pump. And here's where I had one of my first indications that I might be doing some work on the water pump.

The fluid that drained from the system--didn't know coolant was available in rust orange:

Even before removing the pump housing, while there had been no signs of active leaking, the area around the housing showed signs of previous issues--rust and water stains. Taking a look inside, the spring-loaded carbon side of the mechanical seal fell right out of its press-fit base cup, which showed obvious signs of rust indicating both the poor/neglected condition of the coolant and the fact that water was getting places it shouldn't:

More of the same with the mechanical seal base cup pressed out:

The oil pump seal rides on the same shaft behind the water pump mechanical seal (both fitted into the clutch/engine cover) and pressing out the water pump seal means going through--i.e., pressing out--the oil seal on the way to the water pump seal. So, ordered new mechanical seal, impeller shim, drain plug sealing washer, and oil seal. Once the new seals were installed and I was re-installing the cover (a tight job along the lower frame rail made more difficult by the presence of the kickstarter shaft), I managed to snag the lip of the new oil seal on the threaded end of the water/oil pump shaft and slice a sliver out of it, thus ruining the seal . Pulled everything back apart, sourced a replacement seal from a local bearing/seal shop, and reassembled--only this time with a rubber vacuum cap over the end of the pump shaft:

I opted not to get into an extensive refresh of the engine side cover, just cleaned up the area around the pump housing, then a quick bead blast and powdercoat of the rather shabby looking pump housing itself and reinstalled:

Added fluids--oil and fresh coolant--and fired it up. No problems/leaks on the left side--doohickey and rotor--or on the right--kickstarter and water pump. Hooray.

south screwed with this post 03-12-2011 at 05:03 PM
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:55 AM   #15
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By this point, I was working a few things at once, but (once again) I'll just lay things out by the job instaed of strict chronological order. So, next up, shock swap. To gain access to the shock (or the airbox), the lower rear-subframe bolts are loosened, the upper bolts removed, and the subframe is swung back out of the way (after first disconnecting the carb intake, rear MC reservoir, and various wiring and removing the muffler):

New Moab shock in place:

Hinge things back together and move on to the forks.

Bike still on the lift and pull the forks:

Couple of "specialty tools" for the job--piece of 1 1/2" PVC pipe (ID of one end beveled with a utility knife) and a 5/8" nut welded to some threaded rod:

Not even enough (filthy) original fork oil left in both shocks to cover the bottom of the catch pan--spec capacity is 420ml each, or nearly a full quart for both:

All apart--the threaded rod with the welded 5/8" nut is used to hold the damper rods while the allen bolts are removed from the fork bottoms:

In addition to the Race Tech emulators, the forks got new MSR seals (PVC pipe used to set the bushings and new seals). Thanks to my Ichabod Crane-like physique (5'10" and 145lbs)--there was no need--or option, really--to swap out the stock springs for (heavier/stiffer) aftermarket units, so that saved a few bucks. (As yet) untouched stock damper on the left, modified as per Race Tech damper--drilled out and chamfered, effectively neutering the damper rod for compression damping duties--on the right:

The emulators sit atop the drilled-out damper rods and are held in place by the main springs, so reworked/new internal fork spacers are needed to account for the added height of the emulator bodies as well as providing an opportunity to (re-)tune fork preload. So, the "industry standard" of 3/4" PVC pipe was cut to appropriate lengths and topped by some thick aluminum "washers" fabbed up on the lathe:

Forks reassembled, re-filled, and re-installed with the new fork brace (and braided SS brake line, etc., but I'll get to that in a minute:

south screwed with this post 03-12-2011 at 05:15 PM
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