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Products available for the KLR650 balancer system:

Basic lever(doohickey) and 2 extension spring $39.95 (US)

Torsion spring (a better and totally different spring design) $13.95

Rotor puller $12.95

Rotor holder wrench $24.95

Gaskets, inner and/or outer $16.95 each

Rotor bolt (one time use, set 130 to 144 ft-lbs torque) $13.95

Prices do not include shipping. Usual shipping method at this time is USPS priority mail.

I've now personally wrenched on or helped wrench on more than 350 KLR650 engines - so I think I have a pretty good handle on what's goingon in the balancer system.

The KLR650 engine balancer system has been a weak point in the bike, as far back as the KL600, in 1984. Sometimes the adjustment parts fail (early and later model). Sometimes the sprocket parts of the early system fail.

There are several failure modes. The most common one - the system simply will no longer adjust (and maybe it never did). It can fail to adjust even without any parts breaking. The more serious failures are when the parts break. The most serious is when the parts break, bounce around inside the engine, and destroy the left side case, balancer system, and sometimes even the entire engine. The forward balancer shaft goes through to the right side of the engine, where it also drives the water pump. A few cases of early sprockets failing, but not destroying the engine immediately have occurred. It took a little longer, just until the engine overheated.......

 

A little balancer system history:

 

The early system (up to and including 1995 KLR650) has several parts that have been known to be a problem. The sprockets for the balancer chain are made of multiple parts, some of which have been missing, when the engine was opened for the first time. The early adjustment lever is a soft, stamped, one piece design. It can take a while to fail, but can still fracture in several pieces. It also fails to adjust fairly early in life. It often fails to adjust for three reasons: the adjustment tensioning spring is weak, the lever is soft and distorts easily, and the early adjustment bolt has a small diameter head where it clamps the adjustment lever (sometimes the adjustment bolt in crimped into the soft lever so much there is no chance it will ever adjust.) The adjustment lever was changed to the later welded up 2 piece lever, circa 1990. The multi-piece sprockets stayed with the KLR650 until 1996.

The later system has solid balancer sprockets, so the problem of the sprockets failing, or pieces going missing, is no longer an issue. The balancer adjustment lever and spring are still failing. I've personally seen broken spring and/or lever in every year of bike through 2006. At the time this is written I haven't upgraded a 2007 model. The part number is still the same for the lever in the 2007 model parts fiche.

A little more detail...........

Many times the broken piece of collar stays on the eccentric shaft, and that's where it is found when we go in there to upgrade the parts. Sometimes the broken parts fall into the sump, or wind up in the oil intake cavity, against the intake screen. I know of a few lever pieces that have ruined the engine. Sometimes the broken springs stay more or less in place, hooked on one end. Sometimes they travel through the engine. I know of at least one where the spring went between the cam chain and sprockets, causing the cam chain to slip, and lose timing. The owner opened up the engine to replace the lever before this occurred, and found the spring missing from where is should be. He fished around in the engine and found the spring - it was twisted and distorted. The engine was running poorly, though, down on power and using a lot of fuel. After some detective work, he checked the cam timing, and it was off 2 teeth. He was fortunate the valves did not hit the piston.

How can I tell if my parts are broken?

Often you can't tell until you get in there. If you have a bike with a properly working balancer system next to another that isn't, usually it's obvious. The bike that is working properly is quieter and smoother. I've worked on a few bikes that sounded like a paint mixer with nuts and bolts in it. The broken off piece of the lever was bouncing on the rotor, making a horrible racket. Even if your parts are intact, the system often doesn't adjust, resulting in an engine that vibrates more than it should.

Something I hear from time to time.....

"I replaced the parts in my engine, and the factory parts were fine." Or "I opened up my engine, everything looked fine, so I just closed it up."  As to the first quote, most times the owner or mechanic didn't check to see if the system was working, just installed the upgrade parts. I always suggest leaving the adjustment bolt tight (when doing the upgrade) until after the rotor and big starter gear are removed. Then loosen the adjustment bolt, watching the lever to see if it moves. It usually won't! Then rap on the case close to the lever with a tool, and usually it still won't move. Then tap the right side of the lever itself pushing it clockwise. It often jumps over 1/4 inch or more, showing you how much slack there was in the chain. This is why the engine is so much quieter and smoother after the upgrade, even if the parts weren't broken. Often the collar on the lever has started to spread, allowing extra play in the rotation of the eccentric lever. This also results in excess wear in the hole in the case where the shaft fits. If you're sure the factory parts are good enough for you, and won't be an issue, then that's ok. You can always go in and change them later, you'll just have to repeat the process.

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Last modified: 03/05/09.