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  #1  
Old 20 Aug 2012
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KLR650 - How Far is Too Far?

In May 2013 I'm heading out on a 45,000km+ trip. I have a perfectly-tuned 2001 KLR650 with 30,000kms on it. Does anyone out there have experience with high mileage KLRs making it though such far travels? I'd like to know if my 30,000km KLR will make it to 80,000+. I'd also like to know what mechanical issues anyone may have had on a long trip (10,000km+) with their KLR.

(I don't want to ask this question on the KLR forums, as it inevitably sparks a thread that will just go in circles around peoples opinions and not their actual travels.)
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Old 20 Aug 2012
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Couple of years ago I left for South America on a KLR with 48,000 miles/75,000 km on it. I returned with 94,000 miles/150,000 km, then rode it around for a while getting my life back into order. It still starts, runs, stops, turns and carries too much crap whenever I ask it to, but it makes a lot of internal rattling and other weird noises, it vibrates alarmingly, and it's lost some power.

I had a couple of major issues over the course of its life--doohickey exploded around 10k miles, muffler baffle broke loose around 50k, shock gave out around 80k. Mostly I just changed the gas frequently and fed it a lot of new tires and oil. I learned to carry two (not one) spare clutch cable and a set of fork seals on long trips, along with the usual assortment of consumable parts.

Hope that's helpful.

Mark
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Old 20 Aug 2012
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That's some fantastic advice!
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Old 20 Aug 2012
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Glad if it's helpful. On the other hand, I bought a low-mileage 2005 recently which has terrible compression and some odd fuel/air issues, likely needing a lot of top end work in addition to whatever else turns up.

I think expected mileage and reliability mainly depend on routine maintenance--lots of oil changes, making sure valves stay adjusted, that sort of thing. If you've been keeping at it, it's not a complicated bike and engine stuff tends to go wrong incrementally. Most peripheral stuff--carb, cables, bearings, seals--is easily repaired almost anywhere. I carry fork seals because the Kawasaki parts seem to be better than the aftermarket ones, and clutch cables for the same reason--I had locally-sourced ones break in awkward situations after only several thousand miles. But in an emergency, you can find workable parts, or have them made up for you, throughout the world.

The doohickey is a notable exception--took a month under warranty in North Ontario, of all places. I won't make that mistake again.
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Old 21 Aug 2012
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I share the same good experience as Markharf. If looked after with oil changes etc they last a long time. I bought a 1990 model with 55000km on it 3-4 years ago. Last year with the odometer reading 130,000 km I left Vladivostok and rode 28,000 km over the next 5 months getting to the UK. Problems were 2 broken clutch cables, a rear wheel bearing and a leaking fuel tap. I'm now planning to take it down through Africa next year and am not planning any major engine work for that (the suspension and brakes are shot though and need doing).

My only other comment was after 28000km a couple of my valve clearances had closed up so for a 45000km trip you may need one or more adjustments during the journey. These are not hard to do if you have any mechanical ability or you can get a dealer to do it; and I would carry some spare adjustment shims one or two thicknesses smaller than the current ones with you - they are small, cheap and not always easy to get when you need them.

Also if you don't know if the Doohickey has been done - do it. I've worked on a couple of KLR's and all have needed them doing. They really are as bad as the internet posts suggest.

Just as an aside I also bought a second KLR which had siezed its cam due to complete lack of oil. Original plan was to use it as a spares bike but in the end I put a second hand cylinder head on and see how it went (I did nothing else except for the doohickey). Its now done 20,000km since then and is running like a trojan - they really are tough motors, if a bit agricultural.

Happy riding

(PS - I see you live in Toronto. So do I - trouble is I suspect not the same one, mine is in Australia!)
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Old 30 Sep 2012
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Is the doohickey still a problem on newer models? I'm getting a 2012 model in Oz and expecting to do around 40K kms. Any advice.........

John
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Old 30 Sep 2012
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The newer (post 2007) model has a stronger doohickey, but the spring installed with it doesn't tension the quadrant very much. A few--or less--adjustments and it runs out of stretch, so it stops doing anything at all. Whether you find that acceptable or not is up to you and your personal risk tolerance.

Hope that's helpful.

Mark
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Old 10 Oct 2012
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Hi AVID and oldrider,

I had a 2003 KLR with 5000 miles on it, did a trip around the states and mexico and left 21,000 miles on it. 70% good roads, 30% dirt and bad roads.
Problems/Repairs: bolts in rear rack loosened and snapped, front sprocket and chain severley worn around 11,000 (maybe from rider slackness), 2 rear tyres and 1 front, 1 set of brakes, speedometer cable died, fuel cap started to leak out top (when on side), bike got a little smashed up as I used soft panniers and had no radiator guards when i dropped it, had serious wind fatigue and sore neck from small stock windshield across the great plains.

Currently in Colombia on my way to Argentina from Alaska on a 2012 KLR, 80% good roads 20% dirt and bad roads. 15,500 miles on the clock so far.
Problems/Repairs: 2 rear tyres and 1 front, 1 headlight blown, 2 main frame bolts loosened and fell out, front sprocket and chain severley worn around 11,000 (maybe from rider slackness again) rear sprocket was perfect, rear wheel just starting to wobble bad (needs balancing), temperature guage stopped working, uses fair bit of oil when doing above 65 mph, new front and rear brakes at 8000 and due for a new set now. Air filter gets pretty filthy especially south of the border in the rainy areas, got serious pins and needles in fingers and toes from stock hand grips and pedals rubbers so I put a double thickness of the pillow grips and its a much smoother ride. Seat was too high so I pulled it apart cut off an inch of foam and now I'm closer to the ground.

Advice from mechanics/old hands along the way: spokes can loosen after a while, check valve clearances - checked mine at 8000 and were in specs (will check again in next few days), check oil levels after long rides, mineral and synthetic oils dont mix too well, replace the chain/front and rear sprocket around 10-15000miles as it will probably be shot around then anyway, dont use engine oil as a chain lube as when the chain heats up it wont bind too well and will flick off

Tips from my recent ride: some stuff hard to get in some places e.g synthetic oils/ air filter oil and good chain lube, take at least a spare front sprocket so when it needs doing you dont have to wait for weeks to have it shipped. For some reason even the major dealers I've encountered dont stock them. If your really keen you could take a fresh chain as well as the front sprocket and you'll have at least a spare chain if you snap or destroy it, WD40 along with a plastic bristle brush to clean your chain, happy trails front crash bars, moose handguards rear rack and pelican cases have saved my bike and my bacon twice now. Centre stand a must for tyre changing, proper chain maintenance and bead braking. High windshield good on open roads where you can go fast but not real good in tropics when you need that air flow and are going much slower on windy roads.

Have done everything pretty much to the Kawi maintenance specs and the KLR has not really ever let me down, and will do the major 15000 mile service in next few days, so will post any other issues that have arisen.

cheers

Last edited by sellheim; 10 Oct 2012 at 20:19.
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