Your contribution means a lot. Especially coming from a fellow traveler. There are times on the road that are quite difficult and you can't help but feel very alone. It's reassuring to know that others are supporting me.
Through North America, Mexico and Central America, the KLR was consuming the ´normal´ amount of oil about 1 litre every 3000km. After looping Colombia, the bike started to consume oil at a rate of 1 litre every 500km. I decided to dissamble the bike and replace the piston and rings with a reliable and well known mechanic in Medellin, Carlos Mesa. I replaced the piston with original OEM Kawasaki parts that were readily available in Medellin and compatible with my 2000 model KLR. I had problems shipping parts in the past to Mexico and Belize, so I figured I was lucky to be in the situation I was in.
Picture set 1:
a) Original piston. No aparent scoring on the cylinder. A lot of oil leaking through.
b) Another problem encountered was that the radiator resevoir was clogged. No modifications were ever done to the resevoir to my knowledge and the bike didn´t perform overly hot. The water pump now also posed a concern.
c) The culprit. The a piece of the piston broke off between the rings.
d) Diassambled KLR
The 1st rebuild latested all but 1000km, when the KLR started to consume again oil at a rate of 1 litre every 500km. I was pressed for time as I had spent over a month in Medellin diagnosing the problem and performing the repairs. My aunt and uncle were also meeting me in Lima, Peru, so I was unable to address the issue for another 4000km. In Lima, I had a recommended mechanic, Vladimir Brzovic, overcharge me for cleaning my carburator and not encountering any problems. He didn´t believe my oil consumption problems. After much research, I came to the conclusion that the only solution to my problem was the 685 piston kit by Schnitz Racing. Thus, I had the kit shipped along with other gaskets to Cochabamba, Bolivia. In Cochabamba, I saw online that a mechanic by the name of Coco at Moto Charlie was recommended. When I went to see Coco he was too busy to do the work and recommended another mechanic down the road called Moby; BIG mistake. Moby reassured me as did Coco that he was familiar with bigger cylinder engine, etc. etc. ¨No te preocupas¨ (Don´t worry yourself...) All lies. His rebuilt didn´t last more than 400 km...
Picture set 2:
a) A lot of carbon residue. I had gone through 3 bridged spark plugs since Colombia.
b) The work done in Colombia was correct. No oil leaks and no scoring on the cylinder walls.
c) The OEM slightly oversized (0.50) piston by Kawasaki. The culprit.
d) The cylinder being bored in Cochabamba. Me overseeing the bore/hone. They did it very quickly without much care.
In Sucre, oil was leaking everywhere, the bike was overheating, bolts were loose, but Moby wasn´t the only one to blame. The machine shop that did the bore was also very over confident and did quite a poor job. A contact from Australia that has been living in Sucre for the past 2 years recommended a mechanic to me. I very much regret not taking his advice before performing the job in Cochabamba, as this mechanic in Sucre is probably the best I´ve encountered on my entire journey. Fortunately for me he also rides a KLR and is quite familiar with the bike. He charged me a third of the price that Moby did and his work is very much more professional. I was really lucky to have him around to redo and fix the mess Moby made.
Picture set 3:
a) Oil leaking once I arrived in Sucre. Exactly the spot where Moby didn´t want to put silicone, but I did. Unfortunately, we couldn´t find the recommended type and I trusted his ´expertise´.
b) Scoring on the cylinder walls. Cause of overheating. Less than 400km after rebuild.
c) Dissasembled top end. Done with care. All parts thoroughly cleaned.
d)´New´ 685 piston installed for the second time.
I am currently in Bolivia still testing out and break-in the bike. I want to make sure the bike is running perfectly before I leave. It is still running a little bit hot, which is supposedly normal immediately after a rebuild. However, we have since thoroughly cleaned the radiator, replaced the coolant 3 times and rejetted the carburator. I´ve since lost a lot of power at altitude, but I was reassured by my mechanic that I would regain that and much more when I am once again at sea level.