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Thursday, Jan. 10th 2013

Rebuild Journal: KLR650 Day 2

Here we are! Day 2 of the build already. In case you missed it, here's Day 1. I made a lot of good progress in a little over two hours tonight. There's lots of images (around 80 in total), so please be patient!

After seeing the extent of the damage, it's looking like the head is going to need to be replaced. The hard part will be finding a used head for a KLR 650 between 1997 and 2007. It needs to have the matching cam caps as well. I believe the head and the caps are cast as a pair and are not interchangeable.

Anyone out there with a spare head meeting those specifications that they would be interested in selling? :)

Here's how the bike was sitting as I last left it.

I covered up the head when I finished working on it last night. Not sure how much this really does. Probably more for peace of mind.

When we last left off, I didn't have a long 1/4" drive extension to reach the cam chain cover bolts. I stopped by an Autozone that was near my commuting route after work and picked a cheap one up. It's amazing how much easier things are with the right tools. Even basic tasks.

The cam chain cover slides out. Careful not to drop the bolts. I first removed the innermost and shortest bolt. To prevent dropping the two long bolts on the left side, I slowly backed them out together while lifting the cam chain cover so they couldn't possibly fall.

Now the cam chain easily slips off and the cams can be removed.

Zip ties are my friend. I didn't want to drop the cam chain into the bottom end of the case.

Close up of the intake cam. Mmm… some nice gouges in them. I'll have to chat with my machine shop and see if these can be smoothed out and used. They might just be in spec. The grooves didn't seem very deep, but who knows how much material is really gone.

Exhaust cam inspection.

Even though it's pretty obvious which is which (with the decompression unit on the exhaust cam) I still like to keep good habits going. Orange or red zip ties always mark exhaust cams for me.

A view of how the head currently stands.

I think I've said this a million times: don't drop stuff into the bottom end of the case. It would definitely be a turn for the worse.

Time to drain the coolant. Here's the water pump. The drain plug is at the bottom.

Once I got something to catch the coolant and I removed the bolt, I removed the radiator cap. This will really increased the rate of the coolant draining.

Yup. It's a radiator cap. This is my first water cooled motorcycle. I kind of hate dealing with coolant. Not as much as brake fluid… but brake fluid is kind of unavoidable with any moving vehicle.

A little addendum to my warning sign. Bonus points for writing like a third grader.

Removing the coolant overflow guard/shroud.

Easy enough…

Now to remove the actual overflow tank.

Adjustable-angle ratcheting wrenches really come in handy here.

The overflow for the overflow…

The overflow/reservoir tank needs a little bit of a cleaning. I'll have to clean it up in my kitchen sink after my dishes queue is taken care of.

The bottom connection was a little tricky for me. It looks like it was slightly glued by someone. Odd.

Note the small chunk of hose it took with it. I'll have to add this to my list of things to pick up this weekend.

The tank is off!

Not the cleanest of coolant.

Now for the thermostat and coolant connection at the head. Three 8mm bolts.

Off! There will be some coolant in the line still. Where did I put that bucket…

Dear carburetor, you're next!

This one is pretty obvious.

This is a nice throttle cable holder. Makes removal really easy.

Now for the vacuum line and fuel overflow line that are attached to the carb.

Fuel overflow:

Vacuum line:

Although this bike is simple, experience with cars has taught me to label vacuum lines and their destinations.

The choke plunger (attached to the carb) comes out with a couple of twists from the hexagonal section with a wrench. I had to wiggle the carb around to get an ideal angle of approach.

Carb is out! Glamour shot time.

I drained any fuel out that was in the carb bowl in an environmentally safe way. Note: definitely not my neighbors lawn. Seriously, I didn't.

Now it's time to remove the valve bucket shims. I easily moved the notch to a more accessible angle with a small phillips head.

After, it's a matter of gently wedging the shim out.

This is my method for labeling where the shims came from.

Note that they have numbers relating to their thickness on the bottom.

Current state of affairs.

The oil banjo bolt is easily removed. Some residual oil was still in the bolt and line.

Some close-ups of my cam journals. If any experts out there would like to chime in with their opinions on the damage, I'd be grateful.

Warning: the next photo is fairly graphic and potentially disturbing.

I had to remove these acorn nuts to separate the head from the cylinder jug.

There's one in the front as well.

Time to remove the head bolts! I slowly work them out. I broke and loosed them in a diagonal pattern. Similar to the crappy small car I owned in high school that only had four lug nuts.

Time for a brief break to chat about the difference between a 6-point and 12-point sockets. I've had quite a few friends not pay attention to this, so I feel it's worth pointing out.

I never break head studs (or any heavily torqued down bolt) with a 12-point socket. It is more likely to strip the bolt and it won't get as good of a grip. I only use 6-point sockets in situations like this.

I like knowing I'm using a good 6-point socket when I start using breaker bars and cheater bars like this:

Once I slowly worked the head bolts out and cleaned them off they looked like this (check out my sweet thumbless glove):

I then had to finagle the front left head bolt past the frame spine.

Game over for these gloves. They couldn't withstand the power my weak computer keyboard hands could put out.

One last look at the head before I removed it.

I start tapping around the head with a rubber mallet to loosen the head up. It didn't feel quite right, and the tonality wasn't changing.

Time to start looking for any bolts I missed.

Bingo. There was this allen camouflaged in on the front left side of the engine. I don't remember the Clymer manual mentioning this.

Ideally, I always want to take the small head bolts out first otherwise it could tweak and over stress them if they are removed after the head bolts.

Now that the head was free after another quick mallet hit, I could cut the zip-ties holding the cam chain.

I gently lifted the head up…

Once the studs were clear of the cylinder jug, I moved the head to the left underneath the frame spine.

I like to hold onto the cam chain with my thumb while removing the head.

Return of the zip-ties.

Head gasket.

Top of the piston and cylinder jug.

Looks pretty typical for a piston that has seen use. Although, more carbon buildup than I was expecting at 12k miles. Could this be indicative of burning oil?

The head is now on my workbench.

Combustion chamber looks pretty good. Again, more carbon buildup than I was expecting.

Intake port.

Exhaust port.

That's it for today. I'm fairly tired, so I hope everything in my post was coherent (I have a tendency to mix tenses when I'm tired)!

Next, I'm going to try and do some sleuthing to the cause of the oil starvation. Possible culprits include the head oil supply line and the oil mesh screen. If I have time, I'll take a peek at the doohickey and see if it has been replaced and what condition it is in.

Continue to day 3.

Updated on Sunday, March 29th 2020