Friday, October 19, 2018

Vapor Recovery and AIS Removal

When I purchased the KLR650 in November 2015, I was rather surprised...indeed shocked...when I noticed it was a California Model. I mean, over here on the right coast, we don't normally even think that a dealer would have a Cali Production Model on the showroom floor. Anyway, I had a seat rip problem that caused me to remove the seat and there is was, plain as day, the charcoal canister and the dual vent ports of the Cali Model Vapor Recovery System. How can that be?

Of course I was all over my dealer, who didn't know how that happened except to say that the manufactures may from time to time sneak a Cali model in the shipment. However, after a day or two the real reason came to light...for at least the 2016 Model Production Year all Camo Models were Cali Models. There you go...

Well, here I am over 13,000 miles later dealing with a major top end overhaul (twice now under the valve cover) and I'm thinking all this pile of intertwined hoses and useless components needs to go...and there is no better time than right now to tackle the modifications.

There are two systems that I need to tackle.

First is the California Vapor Recovery System Removal.

Second is the Air Induction System (AIS).

Let's start with my removal of the Vapor Recovery System (VRS). In fact this system, properly working, doesn't do any harm to the bike or affect it's performance. However, it doesn't to any good from a performance perspective either. What one is left with is a convoluted maze of components and hoses that simply get in the way of just about everything that needs to be done on the motorcycle. Further, it's been noted some KLRistas in the KLR Forums and AdventureRider that a non-working VRS system can cause problems out on the trails and a good idea for a rally bike.

Anyway, here is a diagram of the Vapor Recovery System as reflected in the KLR650 Service Manual that I tinkered with to better understand the flow, so to speak. I have laid in the color coding (for further reference) and the Carb overlay (to help show that connection). The principal components of the VRS are the Rectangular Charcoal Canister and tube-like the Vacuum Pump (aka Separator). The trick, as I saw it, was to modify the hose structure to be able to remove those two components.

Fuel Tank:

One of the many distinguishing features of the Cali VRS is the dual fuel tank nipples. They are color distinguished on the tank with a red button (right line) and a blue button (left line). The colorized red hose, representing the red/right valve, is vacuum line of the VRS. The colorized "dark" blue hose, representing the blue/left valve, is the traditional tank vent line. For purposes of this operation, the red/right must be removed from the Vacuum Pump and capped off. Probably the best means of capping off hoses is to use Dorman-Type Vacuum Caps (as shown below) available at auto-part stores. The old skool stick a bolt in the hose with a hose clamp will probably work too.

The "dark" blue hose in the diagram above continues to serve to vent the tank to the atmosphere. That hose is disconnected from the Vacuum Pump and secured to a location that will have it out of the way.

Air Box/Canister:

The air box is connected to the Charcoal Canister via the green hose. The green hose is no longer necessary. However, the air box is going to be left with a hole in it, and that hole is on the wrong side of the air filter. The hose either needs to be capped or the hole needs to be properly filled.

The Canister is then connected to the Vacuum Pump by the "light" blue hose. That hose can be removed. The hose on the front of the Canister vents to the atmosphere and, like the "light" blue hose is no longer needed.


The Orange hose connects the Vacuum Pump to the carburetor via a T-Conduit. This hose is the "vacuum" line that also serves the petcock. As a result, the modification must continue to support the petcock. The best method is to replace the T-Conduit and run a single hose from the petcock to the nipple on the carburetor.

At this point, the Vacuum Pump and Canisters are no longer connected and can be removed along with their respective brackets.


The next system that I eliminated is the Air Induction System (AIS). The AIS is not part of the Cali Evaporative Recovery System, but it is part of the 50 State Emissions. It's purpose is to impart fresh air into the exhaust pipe to burn excess fuels. However, it becomes ineffective when aftermarket pipes are installed, such as the Yoshi on my KLR.

The primary components of the AIS are the Air Valve and the notorious Cylinder Head Pipe that is affixed directly in front of the spark plug.

The air valve receives clean air from a hose connecting from the back of the valve to an aperture into the frame directly below the fuel tank. When a vacuum is created by a vacuum tube to the carburetor, air is moved into the cylinder head and ported to the header pipe so fuel can be burned off.

A special kit available by Eagle Mike is necessary to do this modification (about $15). The kit provides a very simple block-off cap for the cylinder head and a nipple cap for the carburetor.

In the diagram for the VRS, above, I noted the carburetor nipple that supports the vacuum tube of the AIS. It's bronze in color and fairly obvious as shown in the photo below. That is the nipple that is capped with the orange vacuum cap in the EM Kit.

When the cylinder head block-off plate and the vacuum cap on the carburetor nipple are installed all other components of the AIS (Air Valve and Hoses) can be removed. It would be a good idea to keep these particular parts tucked away in case we go back to the stock exhaust pipe.

At least we got a little weight loss. Here's all the junk that came off on the scale...

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Wild Bear 2018

As the KLR 650 continues to come together for me, I'm starting to feel like I might take a run at the Wild Bear Safari over in New Smyrna Beach in early December. Sam and I did the rally last fall. It's a good rally that does a lot of trails up in ONF.

The DR650 is gone. The KLR650 is coming together. I may do it. We'll see.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

KLR 650 Restoration Part 2

I needed to take some time away to attend to other needs on my property, but got back to the KLR restoration yesterday. Previously, I got the new top end installed and all I really needed to do was get everything back together.

So, as intact as I felt it needed to be I got it started up. I didn't ride it in this state for obvious reasons, but I also have a sense I'll be doing some clutch work before I roll it too far. Otherwise, it seemed to run well with the 2013 top end, although there are a few things that I'll need to address.

The exhaust valve clearances (both) are outside of spec; way too tight. From my forum readings and personal experience with clearances, this is fairly common. The motorcycle that the top end came off had 5,600 miles, so clearances were not due. However, it's fairly common knowledge on the KLR forums that we need to be on the clearances (especially the exhaust) between 5,000 and 6,000 miles. Unfortunately, I don't have the right shims...woulda been nice to have the clearances properly set when I had it all apart, but who knew if the thing was even going to run.

There's a coolant leak in the lower left corner in the fins. I can't see where it is, but it's enough of a leak that it'll need to get fixed.

UPDATE October 18, 2018

Following a few adjustments, I've now been able to take the KLR650 out for a ride and it did fine. The clutch issue was a simple adjustment. I think the PO was tinkering around with it without knowing what to do.

While riding, I had what I believe is a chain noise, so I ordered a new chain and sprockets along with the valve shims and a few other bits.

I also have a fairly serious oil leak that appears to be coming from the outer left case seal. I have an extra gasket from my doohickey mod that I will install along with some sealer.

Monday, September 24, 2018

KLR 650 Restoration Part 1

As discussed in my post Welcome Home.... KLR650, I reported that I re-purchased my 2016 KLR650 after selling it earlier in the year. Unfortunately, I bought it back with some fairly significant damage.

Since my first report, I've has some considerable luck finding used components to virtually replace the top end from eBay Vendors

My best find was an OEM Head Cover off a 2013 KLR. The OE prices for the cover, gasket, bolts and o-rings rolls up into a big number...$331! I got used cover in good condition with fewer dings than on the original for $30!

I also got a complete top end with valves and the cams off another 2013 KLR. The complete top end was $600 (the new OE price was over $1,000). Then I got both cams (intake and exhaust) off the same bike from the same vendor for $200 (the new OE price was $637).

Now, there was a compete top end with valves off a 2016 KLR available. I offered the vendor $600...then $650, but he held tight on his price at $900. Perhaps a little bit of a gamble going with the 2013; however, I wouldn't have paid the $900. Rather, if I really felt that I needed a newer head, I would have bought a new OE head for $100 more and switched the valves off my current head over. So it is what it is.

All in all, the used parts seem to be in good shape. There were a few missing components and parts, but so far I've been able to transfer them over from the damaged top end.


Now that I have the parts, I've started tearing down the motorcycle in my shop. It's so hot this time of year that it's hard to keep the shop even close to cool...and I have an air conditioner in there.

Fortunately, I have a Service Manual for this model, which is very helpful in figuring out how to get to the parts your trying to replace. In this case, it seemed like half the motorcycle had to be disassembled just to take the cylinder head off...but I got there.

The head on the right is the damaged head. I was pleased that I found the head gasket on the damaged engine in fair shape when I pulled it off. That part is $45.

I was not pleased when I found that the spark plug in the new/used top end was the wrong size such that I couldn't get it out with a spark plug wrench. It was an NGK but I couldn't see the size before smashing the insulator. What a total pain in the ass it was getting that thing out. I'm going to be using a Champion to get started, such as in the photo, but you can see that the socket size of the incorrect plug was much bigger.

Anyway, that's where I am with it at the moment. It'll be quick to get the cylinder head back in and then as time consuming putting it back together as it was taking it apart. Of course, I'll need to set the timing and valve clearances before kicking it over.

A couple interesting observations, though.

There is a spare starter relay fuse in the bottom of the boot. That was probably somewhere in the owners manual, but I missed it.

Then, I found a little filter in the primary fuel line. Now I know something else to check if I have a fuel starvation issue.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Welcome home...

My life has been full of adversity and misfortune since my last post. One of the outcomes was that all my motorcycles were sold off. However, most recently the person who bought the KLR650, a young man I've know for almost his entire life, contacted me about what appeared to him to be some significant engine damage. I got a sense of what the problem was (very serious) and gave him some ideas on how to proceed. He subsequently contacted me and told me that the shop quoted him over $3,000...a number he couldn't afford.

I have way too many memories involving the KLR650 to see it's demise, so I bought it back from him. It was a mistake to sell it in the first place. Welcome home... has not been well cared for.

Having now peeled  a few layers back on the damage location, let me cut to the chase and tell you what happened. Essentially, the decompression assembly which is a component of the exhaust cam literally exploded. 

Below is a stock photo of the two camshafts that I found online with a good view of the automatic decompression assembly...aka Kawasaki Auto Compression Release System (KACR). While it appears that the KACR is removable, it is sold as an integral component of the OEM exhaust cam and, quite frankly, I couldn't find one for sale anywhere.

However, replacing the KACR isn't necessarily an option as the camshaft itself and the cam clamp are now FUBAR as well. 

If you're wondering what the valve cover looks like after such a catastrophic failure of the KACR, here it is...

I wish that was all I was dealing with but, in the immortal words of Billy Mays, "Wait, there's more!"

The "more" is the damage that the cylinder head took when the KACR exploded and the cam itself siezed in the cam cradle. It's hard to get a good photo but here are a couple angels that pretty much show the trauma. 

There is no machining opportunity here. The cylinder head needs replacement.

So, how on earth did this happen? Well, the current owner doesn't know, but it can only be one of two things. It was either a manufacture/metal defect or oil starvation. Given that I can not find a case of a KACR disintegration the way this one did, I'm betting on oil starvation. And, for the record, while the case was full of "nice clean" oil when I picked the bike up, a small oil leak has developed since it passed hands the first time. Hopefully, that's not going to be a big problemo too.


Well, I didn't buy it back to sit and look at it. I bought it back to fix it up and to do that I need parts. The most expensive components are the cylinder head, cam and valve cover. An OEM cylinder head without valves, gasket and hardware is around $1,000. An OEM exhaust cam, with the sprocket is around $350 and an OEM valve cover, with a new gasket is $320. Then there are a myriad of small parts and odds and ends...and they're all way overpriced. I'm seeing why a shop is quoting over three grand.

Faced with those numbers, I quickly headed to the used parts market. Although, of course, riskier, I found some components that will work at a much reduced outlay. I have a 2013 cylinder head, complete with valves, on the way for $600. I got the cams from the same part out for $200 (had to buy both). I found a cylinder head cover with the bolts, O-rings and gasket for $40!

I have some odds and ends that I'll order from an OEM dealer and then I'll likely run into some other parts as the project proceeds, but I'm going to take my time digging in and inspecting all the parts.

So, that's where I'm at here on September 10. Stay tuned for updates as I bring the KLR650 back to life.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

DirtRack Guards_Report

As mentioned in a previous post, we installed a set of front DirtRack Crash Guards on the KLR650 just prior to the Devil's Creek Dual Sport Rally. Unfortunately, we didn't find that the DirtRacks are up for serious rally work.

We run our motorcycles pretty hard on the forest trails and they're on their sides from time to time. There's so much sand that front washes that falls are inevitable. The DirtRacks collapsed in on the cowls fairly quickly even in these sandy conditions. They will need to be promptly removed and replaced. Very unimpressed.

Back to the Tusk. The Tusk held up during the entire season with no problems until a paved high-side collapsed the right side. That's understandable.

For the record, the rear DirtRacks Guards take a licking and have held up extremely well.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Devil's Creek 2018

Devil's Creek 2018 is in the books.

Here are a few photos from the event.

My son Sam rode the KLR650 and took on the Discovery Track with his girl friend on the back.

I was on my DR650 again this year; third year for our KLR and second year for our DR.

A new friend, Pablo, rode his GEN1 with us. He actually moved it through the sand pretty well with those 50/50 dual sport tires.

The sand is so deep, but living here in Florida, riding in it is second nature. 2-up, no problem.

This was a stop on the Withlacoochee River.

Rocky Bull is joining me on the rally circuit again this year.

As reported in the prior post...the only carnage during the rally.

Next stop...Hoenwald, Tennessee and the Tennessee Dual Sport Association Spring Rally.