Welcome Everyone

This will be a journal of my first real engine rebuild. I have always been fairly mechanically inclined and could do basic things but this will be the first major type of engine work that I have done. Lets takes a look at the stock KLR650 that was running perfectly back in 2008.

There she is in all her glory. I built the rack on the back to hold my cooler for the ride to work every day. I made it out of 1/2″ round stock that was sitting around the shop I worked in at the time. It ended up weighing about 500lbs but it was strong as hell.

Enough talk about how great of a bike it is. Lets get to the screw up. I was commuting to work with it and was doing 50 miles per day. Most of the miles were on the highway and averaged around 75 mph. If you have ever owned a KLR you will know that is almost top speed and towards the top of the stock geared engines RPM’s. Everything was going great and I was saving a ton of money on gas every week until the “big” night. I work the night shift and get out at midnight so it was really a wonderful night out with no wind and warmer than usual. I take off from work and head on up the highway. I do the usual 18 miles of 75 mph highway speed and pull off of the exit for my house. At the bottom of the off ramp, I hear a strange ticking sound and the engine cuts out. I managed to get it started again when the light turned green and limped it to the gas station down the street. Now I will take a moment to explain why I started it back up if I knew something was wrong. You see, the area that i have to drive through every night is not exactly the friendliest place for a white guy on a KLR to be stranded at. If the bike was on fire I would still ride it to a safer area…… now where were we. At the gas station I look into the sight glass for the oil and see nothing. I go in and buy a quart and put it in. I wait for a few minutes and check the level again, no oil yet. Ouch. I walk balk in the store and buy another quart and dump it in the bike. I let it sit again and check it after a few minutes. Finally I saw the oil was up to the proper level. If your keeping score, that makes 2 WHOLE quarts. I said my prayers and hoped the ticking was just a warning from my valves telling me to pay attention. I start it up and guess what? Yup, still ticking. there was no way I was going to leave my bike in that area so we limped nice and slow the remaining 5 miles to my house and parked it. Here is what I found when I started taking the engine apart.

All of the crap out of the way. It's time to start the fun stuff.

I took this picture mostly as a reference as to where all the hoses and crap go when I put it back together.

To the left is the intake cam, to the right is the exhaust cam.

The things holding down the cams are the cam covers. Notice how the intake cam covers are a nice bright color? That’s how they should look. Now look at the exhaust side. Notice how much darker the closest one is? That is bad. Let’s take a look.

Both cam covers from the exhaust cam. The one to the left is still in good shape, the one to right, not so much.

Let’s look at the actual journals that the cam sets in. The journals and the cylinder head are all one piece so hopefully it’s still ok….

Ouch. I'm no mechanic but think this sucks.

Nope, just as shitty as the cover. Now how about the cam? That’s made out of hardened steel and not aluminum like the head, I’m sure it’s ok….


So, this is what going to happen. I checked the cylinder as well and it still looks perfect but….. If I am replacing the head, why not buy a new cylinder as well? I am going with a 685 cylinder and a new, lighter piston with rings and all the gaskets. I am buying from a guy out in California who does a lot of business with KLR’s. He is also selling me a lightly used cylinder head with it. http://www.eaglemike.com/ is where I am getting the parts from. Stay tuned for when my parts arrive and I promise to keep track of every step along the way and maybe we can learn this stuff together. Or if you know how to do it, chime in and leave some comment’s or advice. Thanks for sticking around hope you come back for more.