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Old 09-17-2014, 06:35 AM   #1
Aser OP
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Cry KLR Broke Down

I'll try to get this down before I have to start work...

I was riding yesterday and out of the blue I hear a very awful grinding sound. I pulled over and it turns out that the "drive shaft" (the splined thing that the front drive sprocket attaches to) is now spinning freely of the motor. I can put the bike in gear (while off) and push it like it's in neutral.

Does anyone have experience with this issue? I've got to start the daily grind here in a few minutes, but I'll try to get back to this topic this afternoon.

I'm hoping it isn't a huge fix, but it kinda seems like it's going to be.
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Old 09-17-2014, 06:44 AM   #2
mcma111
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You may have stripped the countershaft of it's splines or the sprocket is stripped. Only way to tell is to remove the sprocket for a look see. If it is the shaft that part is one of the first things placed in the engine upon assembly. So yes, it is a huge job. Motor has to come completely apart.

Now if you just want the down 'n dirty fix get a new sprocket and have it welded on to the countershaft.
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Old 09-17-2014, 08:46 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcma111 View Post
Now if you just want the down 'n dirty fix get a new sprocket and have it welded on to the countershaft.
I did this to one of my bikes. It makes the sprocket more difficult to change but the difference in price is huge. If you open the engine there are always a lot of other things that could be changed and the money evolved is always a lot.
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Old 09-17-2014, 08:56 AM   #4
Sidecar Jockey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aser View Post
the "drive shaft" (the splined thing that the front drive sprocket attaches to) is now spinning freely of the motor. I can put the bike in gear (while off) and push it like it's in neutral.

The other replaies to this thread seem to think that the front drive sprocket is spinning on the countershaft. Is this true?

When I read your description, it sounds to me like the countershaft is spinning freely regardless of gear selection or the engine running and that the sprocket is firmly attached to the countershaft.

Which one is it? If it's the second choice, check your cltuch. If your clutch is toast or WAY out of adjustment, the countershaft will freely spin all the time.
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Old 09-17-2014, 01:02 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Sidecar Jockey View Post
Which one is it? If it's the second choice, check your cltuch. If your clutch is toast or WAY out of adjustment, the countershaft will freely spin all the time.
OP (in IP) said, "shaft" is spinning.
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Old 09-17-2014, 03:56 PM   #6
Aser OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidecar Jockey View Post
The other replaies to this thread seem to think that the front drive sprocket is spinning on the countershaft. Is this true?

When I read your description, it sounds to me like the countershaft is spinning freely regardless of gear selection or the engine running and that the sprocket is firmly attached to the countershaft.

Which one is it?
The entire shaft is spinning. The front sprocket and shaft splines are fine.


Edit: I will try to check the clutch tonight when I get it. I'll look up some info on clutch adjustments. Any advice?

Thanks for the replies guys.
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Old 09-17-2014, 06:38 PM   #7
juddspaintballs
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Can you grab a video for us too? You make it sound like the countershaft is spinning freely inside of the countershaft sprocket.
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Old 09-17-2014, 06:59 PM   #8
DirtyDog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aser View Post
The entire shaft is spinning. The front sprocket and shaft splines are fine.


Edit: I will try to check the clutch tonight when I get it. I'll look up some info on clutch adjustments. Any advice?

Thanks for the replies guys.
I concur with the suggestion to check the clutch. Make sure that you have freeplay in the clutch lever. If you have that, then the clutch should be operating properly and you should feel engine resistance with the dead bike in gear and you try to push it. If the bike rolls like it's in neutral regardless of gear selection, then yes, you have a problem. Let's hope it's just the clutch- relatively cheap and easy to fix.

Have you drained the oil yet? Was it loaded with metal filings? If not, then it might be the clutch and not the countershaft.

Did you notice any symptoms prior to the noise? Any clutch slippage?

My gut tells me that you'd roast the clutch long before stripping the countershaft. That is, unless there is some other circumstance yet to be described.
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Old 09-18-2014, 06:49 AM   #9
Aser OP
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Originally Posted by juddspaintballs View Post
Can you grab a video for us too? You make it sound like the countershaft is spinning freely inside of the countershaft sprocket.
I would if I could (no camera).

That is not what I am trying to explain. The whole mechanism (countershaft, sprocket, and chain) is spinning together. I checked and the sprocket and countershaft splines are both fine and working properly.

I've yet to do anything to the bike besides get it out of the woods. I don't have the space/time to start tearing into it until this weekend. I appreciate the suggestions. At least now I have a place to start. I'll get back to you when I know more.

Quote:
Did you notice any symptoms prior to the noise? Any clutch slippage?
As far as clutch slippage, I have noticed some recently, but I had chalked it up to user incompetence in the proper operation of the clutch. Other than that...

I did recently break my front sprocket retention clip, as I disregarded advice suggesting I use some locktite. The bolts vibrated out and the clip snapped into a few pieces. (I don't know if that's a related issue or not)

Otherwise it has been running smooth.
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Old 09-18-2014, 06:23 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by DirtyDog View Post

Have you drained the oil yet? Was it loaded with metal filings? If not, then it might be the clutch and not the countershaft.
Agreed - taking a look at what (if anything) is in the oil and filter may give you an idea as to what's going on. Doesn't take a lot of time to do, either.
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Old 09-18-2014, 08:45 PM   #11
DirtyDog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aser View Post
As far as clutch slippage, I have noticed some recently, but I had chalked it up to user incompetence in the proper operation of the clutch. Other than that...

I did recently break my front sprocket retention clip, as I disregarded advice suggesting I use some locktite. The bolts vibrated out and the clip snapped into a few pieces. (I don't know if that's a related issue or not)

Otherwise it has been running smooth.
So do you have clutch lever freeplay? At least a few mm, IIRC? If you have any serious tension in the clutch cable (i.e. no freeplay), then you could be slightly slipping the clutch at highway speeds. When you romp the gas, the engine revs a bit, but you don't feel the bike surge forward immediately. Slippage can happen in any gear. If left in this condition, you could certainly roast the clutch resulting in your described condition. Could have gotten hot enough to leave you in a free wheeling mode.

That's an interesting detail about the early Gen1 sprocket keeper. What year is the bike and how long has it been since an oil change? What type (weight) of oil is in it? This is one circumstance where the oil grade is actually relevant to the discussion.
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Old 09-19-2014, 07:20 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by DirtyDog View Post
So do you have clutch lever freeplay? At least a few mm, IIRC? If you have any serious tension in the clutch cable (i.e. no freeplay), then you could be slightly slipping the clutch at highway speeds. When you romp the gas, the engine revs a bit, but you don't feel the bike surge forward immediately. Slippage can happen in any gear. If left in this condition, you could certainly roast the clutch resulting in your described condition. Could have gotten hot enough to leave you in a free wheeling mode.

That's an interesting detail about the early Gen1 sprocket keeper. What year is the bike and how long has it been since an oil change? What type (weight) of oil is in it? This is one circumstance where the oil grade is actually relevant to the discussion.
The clutch has a few mm of freeplay (book says 2-3 is the desired range). I haven't noticed clutch slippage except when shifting. I'm pretty sure this is mostly just poor clutch operation on my part. I'm probably giving to much throttle and clutch at the same time. Still working on finding the right mix while shifting.

The bike is an '88. It could have been a while since the oil change. I haven't changed it since I bought it (stupid/lazy...I know)., so it has 2000+ miles on the oil. The oil I've been using is Castrol 10w-40.

I drained the old oil and didn't see any kind of metal in it. The magnetic plug had a little sludge build up on it, but nothing visibly metallic. Then I pulled the filter cover and filter. I still didn't see anything metallic. How noticeable of particles am I looking for? I shined a flashlight on and around everything and didn't see any kind of reflection.

I'm thinking the next step is to remove the crankcase cover and inspect the clutch. Anyone disagree/ have an alternate next step?

Aser screwed with this post 09-19-2014 at 07:34 PM
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Old 09-19-2014, 07:42 PM   #13
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hey Aser try removing the clutch cable from the clutch and see if the problem still exists with the bike in gear. The cable may be frayed inside the sheath and not letting the clutch fully engage or lock-up. just trying to help.
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Old 09-19-2014, 07:49 PM   #14
Aser OP
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Originally Posted by pigjockey View Post
hey Aser try removing the clutch cable from the clutch and see if the problem still exists with the bike in gear. The cable may be frayed inside the sheath and not letting the clutch fully engage or lock-up. just trying to help.
I'll give it a shot before I start tearing into things.

I played around with the clutch cable and it seemed like the clutch lever was able to move backwards fully. I will play with is some more tomorrow and let you know what happens.

Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old Yesterday, 01:29 PM   #15
Aser OP
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So...

I tore the right crankcase cover off and dug into the clutch. It is showing some moderate wear, but I was able to diagnose the problem.

As suspected by some, the countershaft is stripped. The reason I didn't notice this was the manner in which it was stripped. The splines are stripped into a spiral pinwheel, so it still has some grab. It was enough to trick me into thinking the splines were fine, but not enough to drive the bike.

The clutch has lot of marks from what the shop manual calls "chattering". And most of the friction plates look shot. Looks like they need replaced. The book says I can remove the chattering marks with an oil stone.

I'll be replacing the clutch parts when they come in the mail.

It looks like my options for the output shaft are:

1. Try to weld the sprocket on and hope that I don't melt the seal.

2. Replace the output shaft. From research, I understand they are nearly impossible to find.

3. Replace the entire transmission to jive with the newer style of output shaft and replace my shaft with the newer style.

I'm thinking I will try a combo of 1 and 3. Try the weld and hopefully ride it for the 2 remaining months of riding season. Then spend the winter getting it fixed properly.
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