Posted by: caryandjohn | August 20, 2013

KLR Engine Progress …

One silver lining to loosing our garage is that I’ve been forced to deal with some projects that are easy to put off when you have space in which to simply store the project …

Anyway, I had to put a junkyard motor in my KLR about a year ago when a lot of the insides of that engine poured out with the used oil during an oil change …


So, yesterday, I got that motor out of my garage and into my friend Steve’s garage … Steve is an air-cooled XR guru, who’d expressed an interest in KLRs … “Do you want to tear it down now?” he asked as I heaved the lump onto his motorcycle lift. … “Uh, sure, if you want to … ” So we did, or Steve did, while I snapped pics …

The 2001 engine … real motorcycle guys, and especially real dirt bike guys keep their stuff clean, by washing it, so I’m told … this would be a fail …


Obligatory doo-hickey pics … no problems here …

Head pulled … 685 piston … installed when engine began to require a quart of oil every other tank of gas …

Steve said we’d expect to see a clean area ringing the crown of the piston, if there were a big problem with the rings … The oil that the rings fail to control gets into the combustion chamber and washes the top edge of the piston clean …

In other words, things still look mysteriously good …



Pulled the cylinder for inspection … now we see some issues …

This engine began to use some oil at the end, even after the new piston … it also began to be hard to get into or out of neutral … I had attributed the returned oil-burning to a poorly maintained air filter … Bad owner let dirt get into the engine due to general neglect …



What on earth is this? A ring of steel, about the size of a quarter …

Unhappy shift forks … this pair sits lower in the engine than the third ‘fork … The single shift fork in this engine looked good …



And, ah-ha! My worn out transmission, exposed … Third gear was the worst … But most of the gears had this pitting damage … the steel from the pits gets into the oil and damages the piston rings and valve seats …


One disassembled engine … We’ll see how to proceed …

This damage to the gears probably contributed to my initial oil consumption problem, which the 685 kit only hid for a short time, before also being damaged by steel from the pits in the transmission gears …

Steve is going to have Mike Crowther from EDCo inspect the piston and cylinder, and I need to see what makes sense to do about the transmission … put new parts in, or used parts?

We’ll see …



  1. Hey John,
    Did I hear that the Service for Mark will be in Oct?
    or is it Sept?

  2. Hi Tucker,
    Just posted about the plans … 10/12/13 up near Montclair, on Saturday night ….
    see you soon,
    — John

  3. John, nothing wrong with used parts but price out new ones just for fun. If you want the next transmission to survive longer maybe take a look at cryotreating of the gears and maybe a dry lube coating for good measure. Not expensive. Good luck! Ivan

  4. Nice report, thanks for posting.

  5. Hi Ivan,
    I’m going to buy used parts and new bearings …
    Will look into treating the gears, too … Can they treat the gears on the shafts, or does the transmission need to be disassembled?
    see you soon!
    –John A

  6. Thanks, Steve … It will be fun to see if I can give this engine another life … Sure hope so!

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