How to have fun on a KLR and burn exhaust valves too!

So how did we go from this...

...to this?

When I first bought the bike in the fall of 2007 it had been well maintained by the previous owner, Tinker from the Ontario Dual Sport Club. In fact, it was so well maintained that he guiltily confessed to replacing a rusted fastener prior to delivering it to me. I didn't have the heart to tell him that it would be stored outside for it's first winter as I'd no where else to put it. 

When I bought the 2004 Kawasaki KLR 650, it was to replace my 2005 Honda VFR800a that had gotten into a wee bit of a scrap with a Buick and got the stuffing knocked out of it, so the idea behind getting a KLR was to slow me down while opening up a new world of dual sport riding as I hadn't been offroad on a bike since I was thirteen on a little 50cc Honda mini trail.

Now we can hear the problem, the stock shock is used, and really does not like launching my 250lb 6 foot frame over these jumps. It's landing so hard that the muffler seam hit the swingarm and cut off the plastic guide for the brake line! Something is going to have to be done about this! You can tell how low the bike is riding here on the stock setup.

I went up to Royal Distributing in Innisfil looking for some gear during their red tag tent sale event, and while lofting my front tire in the air, observed that the exhaust had changed it's note and was making more noise, but upon inspection I couldn't find a problem, and the bike seemed to run fine, so I made the mistake of ignoring it and taking the bike for a ride up to Minden with friends the following day.

The trip to Minden went well until the highway portion on the trip back where I found myself unable to keep up to the other bikes, my speed falling, and the bike hesitating like crazy. It got worse until I made the exit ramp and  keeping the bike rolling the last two kilometres into my driveway was my total focus.

Diagnosing the trouble didn't take very long as I was planning on running the bike with no air filter to test for a blockage when I found this...
This is what happens when the exhaust weld breaks and you don't catch it in time.
So the exhaust had split at the seam under the subframe and had been jetting hot exhaust up at the air box, which had finally let go and melted a hole up into the air box, melting the OEM foam filter, the bird cage, and lumps of molten plastic were lodged on the inner screen leading into the carburettor. I was sick with worry. Had I messed up the carburettor? 
A friend of mine with an aftermarket pipe donated their old stock pipe to me, and I was able to solve the problem of the exhaust straight away.  Thanks Carrie!

I had a trip planned to ride down to the Blue Ridge Parkway that May with the www.GTASportriders.com, it's our annual spring run and now it was about a week away and I was in trouble with that hole! I bought an aftermarket foam air filter, Moose racing brand, and a new cage. I asked around my circle of friends to find someone who could perhaps plastic weld it prior to the trip.

I'll give him a call. Kawi wants two hundred for new. I'm sure I can get used for a better price. I take it he would want it off the bike for the repair?
- Hide quoted text -
------Original Message------
From: James 
To: Ron 
Subject: Airbox repair
Sent: May 11, 2009 11:54
Hey Ron,
 I spoke to Gilligan (real name Jeff) and he said he could repair it while u wait. It won't be pretty but it will be functional. It's under the tank so no matter IMHO. You can call him directly at 416-123-1234. Tell him Wobblycat sent you, haha!
 He's working on painting an R6 right now so he probably won't be able to work on it until Wednesday night. BTW, he does this on the side after his regular job (doing custom work on porches and mercedes).
 BTW, thanks for the invite yesterday, I had a lot of fun.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device
Gilligan was busy, and I needed it done straight away, so I fixed the airbox on the cheap with JB Weld, a strip of aluminum and some RTV Silicone, and that repair has proven to be watertight and has lasted for a couple of years, so buying a replacement airbox is now on hold.

Phase 2 of burning a valve...
I joined in on a ride to Killarney Ontario which google maps puts as 781 kilometres round trip, and 10 hours and forty two minutes.

Yep, it was a very long day on the bike, and when I heard exhaust noise and rattling coming from the head I checked it at a fuel stop to find that one of the cap fasteners had fallen off of the flange that bolts the front pipe onto the head. Now that flange was dangling on one side and I'd a leak between the head and front pipe. I still had another three hundred kilometres to get home at highway speeds, and the although I replaced the copper gasket and the nut on the flange, the bike never ran correctly again. From what I understand, the valve was running hotter than designed with lean stock jetting, and a lack of restrictive back pressure allowed it to run with more air and less fuel which resulted in the burnt valve. I now run on the rich side with a KLX needle in the KLR carburettor, so not only does the bike pull stronger, it protects it ever so slightly.

What does a burnt valve feel like?
That being said, what I experienced with that burnt valve was a loss of engine braking, as in comparison to my friend's 2001 KLR with only around 27,000 kilometres on the clock, when I rolled off on his bike, I felt like I was applying a brake. When you roll off on my bike, you'd best be on the brakes before the verge rushes up at you all too fast. I lost power, perhaps in the 20% range, but I attributed that to the loss of back pressure and kept on riding. In addition, I'm a pretty cheap bugger and have been tossing around the idea of a new bike, so selling a high mileage KLR that's never been dropped (Hahahahaha!) wouldn't get me much, in fact I'd probably do better selling the farkles one at a time, so instead of buying a new bike, I decided to pony up for the 685 kit, and get the head seen to prior to next riding season.


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