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Old 16 Dec 2015
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 56
Klr 650 backfiring and starting issues

hey my wise klr kompatriots, I have an 02 that is suddenly refusing to start.

The bike was detonating randomly if I would start in gear, and I have been needing to give it a little gas to get it going because the rings are so wasted they are constantly fouling the spark plug and it's not starting smooth. Well today I tried to start her while hot, and here was a loud detonation and now when I push the starter there is a pause where it almost seems to be jamming, and then the engine turns but at a higher pitch like when I'm giving it gas while starting. I recognize this doubly because if I try to give it gas the engine doesn't reach that higher pitched sound; it's already there.

Anyway there's a host of factors with this engine from stretched timing chains to worn crankshaft sprockets to tight exhaust valves to faulty petcock to overheating, so frankly I'm just not sure where to start looking to see which of these to investigate tomorrow at first light. Tonight I arm myself with your wisdom my friends, and tomorrow revive the beast.

I'm thinking of starting by putting in a fresh spark plug and taking the cap off the carb to make sure the diaphragm isn't buggered. The cables on the throttle show good action, though it looks like the return spring is a little worn. Anyways thanks for any tips!


El explorador
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Old 16 Dec 2015
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: california
Posts: 3,822
If everything you've said about your bike is true ... then you may want to think about parking it ... and just walking away. Cut your losses now, or sell cheap as parts bike.

On the other hand, if you're in a place where parts are available and if you have the skills/tools or ... can find someone who has the skills, you could fix most or at least some of your issues ... maybe ....

So what skills do you have?

First thing I would do:
Pull off fuel tank, flush it and clean of crud. Pull off and clean petcock filters.
Remove Carb from bike. Disassemble, install new O ring kit. Inspect all jets, especially Pilot jet which may be blocked. Perhaps just replace Pilot jet with NEW JET. Check rubber diaphragm. Blow out all passages going BOTH directions.

Set valves correctly. (you will need shims) Bike will never run right with valves out of spec or a blocked Carb. Very basic stuff.

Check fan, make sure it runs when engine is HOT. check to make sure water pump is pumping water throughout cooling system and that no passages are blocked.

Low compression is not good. Could be worn valves/valve seats or bad rings. Compression leak down test will tell the tale.
You may need to rebuild entire top end: head, valves, new rings, valve seats, guides and seals.

Loose cam chain tensioner or ? crank chains/sprockets is a major bad news thing. If bad ... once again, maybe walk away. could be too expensive to fix and would require complete bottom end tear down. Not easy.

New plug for sure, fouled plug not good ... but unless you fix all other issues ... it will just oil foul again. Replace rings, do complete top end, head re-build. If you have skills and access to parts, do all this. But no guarantee with loose and worn internal chains/drive sprockets.

Good luck!
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Old 14 Jul 2018
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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Alive again!

Hello from Cusco Mollydog!
Just to thank you for chiming in, I did get the bike going again replacing parts one at a time until finally almost every part of the motor is new (to this bike).
Finally starts!
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