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.

1 comment:

  1. Holy mackerel! First off, I, glad you got it back. Secondly, yeah, it was oil starvation. Lastly, I hope you’re making progress on whatever adversity you were/are facing. You sound bright and tough...and that’s a great combination.

    Let us know how the engine work comes along. It’ll be well worth it.

    Welcome back to the KLR family!