'88 KLR650 project thread

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by south, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. south

    south Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Florida
    Back at the end of last year, I picked up an '88 KLR650 off Craigslist for $500. The PO (so he said) had owned and ridden it for about 6 months before he stripped it down (not the motor) for a complete re-do. He'd gotten it mostly back together when (it was evident) his money situation became difficult and he chose/needed to sell. So that's the short intro. I've already done a write-up and posted it to another forum that I frequent and where I am known, so I'll largely just copy/paste that write-up here as well; but feel free to skip ahead to the build portion if you're not interested in the lengthy story-line intro:



    As the saying goes, I needed another motorcycle (project) like I needed a hole in the head. And I'd been doing well to stay off Craigslist and concentrate on a few pieces currently crowding the garage (and elsewhere). However, a good friend expressed a desire to find a deal on a (50cc) scooter: something to buzz down to the neighborhood pool/clubhouse/corner store with and/but not so nice that his grandsons couldn't take and potentially abuse/trash.

    Well, needless to say, that was all the excus--er...reason...I needed to return to my daily perusals of the area Craigslists. Read quite a few scooter ads in the ensuing weeks and months, called on a few, even drove out and looked at some, but nothing that really fit the bill. Of course, couldn't help but see quite a few motorcycle ads as well. Called on a few. Even drove out and looked at some. But nothing that compelled me to dig my project hole deeper. There was one (picture-less) ad I saw--repeatedly--but didn't call:

    Custom 1988 KLR 650 Kawasaki. Professional ground up build, mods, new tires, new batt. chain, plug, coil, paint etc. This is a complete rolling bike, just needs the wiring finished, tag it and go. I no longer have the time or the money to finish this great bike. Quick sale.$700.00. Clear Title in hand. Serious inquiries only.



    When I first saw the ad, I casually thought about calling. Every time I saw the ad re-posted over the following weeks, I casually thought about calling. But there weren't any pics, and the thing was way out in the sticks 100 miles away, and I sure as h*ll didn't need any more motorcycles. I was quite certain about this last, since I'd been told exactly that by The Girl on a number of occasions.

    But then one evening, the ad was back. Only this time with pictures. Nice pictures. And a new price: $575. So, I casually thought about calling. More than that, this time I put the phone # in my cell. Then I took the dogs to the park, sat on a bench, and decided that I didn’t have anything better to do than call a guy about a motorcycle.

    Nice guy. Low-key. Got all the right sort of answers. Yep, I could come by tomorrow evening and look at it--he’d be home all day and had a guy coming to look at it at 7pm. Got off the phone and that’s settled then: I’d drive the truck to work in the morning with the ramp and tie-downs *just in case*, and see how I felt about making the trip up after work.

    Gave the matter some more thought as I drove into work the next morning. Thought about the long drive; thought about all my pending bike projects; thought about the other prospective buyer already lined up; and decided, screw it, I didn’t feel like working all day and then driving 100 miles--part of it in rush-hour traffic--to look at a bike that I didn’t really need and was probably going to be sold before I got there.

    So instead, I ducked out of work shortly after I got in and just drove up that morning [​IMG]. Eventually left the interstate for a state highway; left the state highway for a county road; left the county road for a dirt road; left any cell phone signal back at the feed and farm supply store.

    Found the red, farm gate that marked my destination, left the truck at the road, and cautiously headed over toward the open double garage door visible at one end of the house, keeping a wary eye out for shotguns and/or dogs and similar type things one expects to find in such settings. As it turned out, my concerns were unfounded--the owner was a transplant from Miami--and, holy cow, is that ever a clean looking bike. No question, if he’d just posted pics with his earlier ads--and wasn’t located out in the middle of nowhere--the thing would’ve been long gone.

    His story: had a lot of car and bike projects over the years, bought the KLR, rode it for 6 months, took it all apart (save the motor--no need), and, in his words, “put his hand to every nut and bolt” as he put it back together. Sandblasted and painted the frame, swingarm, and spring/shock; cleaned and buffed every inch of every component; stripped, polished, and de-restricted the factory stainless steel exhaust; rejetted/tuned the carb; mounted brand new Michelin Anakees front and rear, new chain/sprockets, new AGM battery, new coil and plug, etc.; and etc. He’d removed (and apparently disposed of) the stock airbox (which holds the battery) and the main wiring harness, relocated the battery and some electrical components and had started a complete “custom” rewiring of the bike. (In an unintended warning, he told me how he likes things “simple”, wanted to get rid of “all that unnecessary sh*t”--e.g., clutch lever and sidestand safety switches, vacuum-control fuel-shutoff petcock innards, etc.--so I knew I had some fixing to do.)

    After he’d got the thing back together in its current showroom-quality state, albeit with some rudiments of his “custom wiring“ in place, he’d temporarily hooked up the original harness and started the bike. Said it ran fine, then backfired once, died, and wouldn’t re-fire. H(e claimed h)is troubleshooting unveiled some chafed/shorted wires in the original harness which fried the CDI--and just for good measure, he pulled the CDI apart, apparently snapping off a corner of the circuit board and losing the cover in the process. (As he’s telling me all this, I’m looking at the new coil and “custom wiring”, and my immediate thought is that there wasn’t a d*mn thing wrong with the CDI--that is, before he broke it taking it apart--and likely not anything wrong with the original harness.) The quality of his work was unmistakable, but his (lack of) knowledge of things electrical/electronic was strongly indicated--and would prove to become ever more apparent as I got into things.

    Whatever the case, as advertised, the thing needed to be re-wired; but it also needed a new/replacement CDI--he said $400 new or $200 on ebay, which, although I didn‘t say so, I thought was a little high. He said he hated to see it go, but he didn’t have the money to finish it, and it needed to go. I didn‘t ask him to elaborate, but the fact that he was home all day on a weekday seemed to speak for itself.

    Anyway, standing in his garage looking at the bike, I had two primary concerns: 1) I had only his word that the motor/power train was sound; and 2) from almost the moment I showed up, his telephone had been ringing seemingly every few minutes, and his answering machine was steadily filling up with messages inquiring about the bike--must‘ve been 4-5 calls in 20-30 minutes. So, while I could pat myself on the back re my decision to drive up that morning rather than wait, #2 also meant that I had to resolve my issue with #1 on the spot--take it or leave it, right now.

    I saw he had a battery charger/jump-starter, so I was able to pad my bet somewhat by getting him to hook the jump-starter directly to the starter and turn the motor over--which he did; and it did, spark plug out and making all the right sort of noises. But when it came right down to it, my decision was made just by looking at the bike--ain’t nobody gonna invest that much time and effort (let alone money) with any kind of questionable/bad power train.

    “Take $500?”

    “Yeah. Yeah, that was my absolute minimum price I’d take. I’ve got about $1300-$1400 in it, but that‘s always been my problem: I buy high and sell low instead of the other way around.”

    Paid the man; backed up the truck; loaded it up along with a bucket of bits, leftover paint, and a thick stack of paperwork; and made it back to get in a half-day’s work.

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. south

    south Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Florida
    Got home and, after a fair bit of wrangling, managed to fit it in the garage before heading in to source a wiring harness and CDI.

    [​IMG]

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    Found this price sheet listing some of the PO's expenditures in with the paperwork:

    [​IMG]

    I was going to have to spend a little more money to determine whether this latest acquisition would go in the “win” or “loss” column. Turned out I was (somewhat) right about the CDI pricing on ebay; the going rate looked to be more in the $130-$150 (plus shipping) range--more than I figured, but still not $200. Unmolested/unmodified wiring harnesses ranged from $35-$75. Found a seller with separate listings for a CDI--$100--and harness (with relays and coil)--$35--from a ‘92 who was also open to “best offer(s)”. Made an initial offer of $100 (plus combined shipping) for both (pitched as $75 for the CDI and $25 for the harness) to open negotiations...which was promptly accepted via a(n email) request for payment notification that left me kicking myself that I hadn’t made a lower offer.

    Got the CDI and harness headed my way, and, a few days later, (optimistically) returned to ebay and bought a (gently) used set of factory service manuals (KL600 base manual and the KLR650 supplement) for $32 with free shipping, and didn’t hardly so much as look at the bike until the CDI and harness arrived.

    Once I pulled the tank and bodywork and started to sort through the electrical bits and pieces still on the bike, consult the wiring schematics included in the stack of paperwork that came with the bike, and attempt to mate up the replacement harness, I quickly felt the first stirrings of irritation with the previous owner’s electrical “work”. His component relocations were not improvements upon the factory design; if anything they were detractions: the battery was wedged (with foam pads) horizontally between the sub-frame rails with the positive and negative terminals and unsheathed wire ends scant millimeters from the metal sub-frame on either side, the starter relay and solenoid were removed from their protected mounting directly on the frame and hung on the plastic rear inner fender/hugger, etc. Adding to my bother, many of the remaining sub-harnesses--including both sets of handlebar switches, ignition switch, rear lighting harness--were missing their multi-pin connectors; the connectors had just been cut off and discarded. Of the remaining sub-harnesses that still retained their respective connectors, the connectors’ locking clasps were snapped off every single one. And the dash sub-harness was butchered worst of all--h*ll, there was hardly any of it left, with wires cut off flush right at light bulb sockets, or just a few inches out of the backs of the gauges.Please understand, given the money paid for what I already got, I was in no way going to feel swindled or ripped off; this sort of stuff was/is just so irritating because it was/is so unnecessary. “Custom wiring”, fine, but why not make use of the original connectors? D*mn sure better than the crimp-on butt connectors used in their stead. And even if choosing not to use most of the connectors, take a moment’s care with the connectors slated to be retained and don’t break the d*mn things when separating them.

    Anyway, a few final irksome discoveries awaited before I had the fullest picture of what my reconstruction efforts would entail. In addition to the harness butchering, the PO took the (equally vexing/unfathomable) idea to cut up and render largely useless the metal brackets which mounted and secured the various electrical components and wiring. Nothing in any of it that couldn’t/can’t be repaired or replaced for modest sums, but just so irritating in its senselessness. In the “I understand, but disagree” category, I needed to source an airbox to replace the missing unit, a new inner fender to replace the original which had been notched out to accommodate the relocated battery, and clutch-lever safety switch and choke lever and cable--all absent as received.

    One bit of good to counter all the above: the replacement harness--with relays and coil--and CDI arrived complete with a fully intact mounting bracket, so that was a welcome freebie and one less bracket I’d need to source. And now that I had the CDI and harness, I was somewhat under the gun to get the stuff (at least temporarily) hooked up and tested inside a time frame where I could pursue a refund or exchange with the ebay seller should I need to.

    So, with wiring schematic at hand, plug everything up--everything that had plugs, anyway, just rig up the (bare wire) rest--compression test good, oil showing in the sight glass, hook up the XR100 gas tank, no choke so a spritz of starting fluid, and:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMjcJNtGId8

    I was now free to (re-)open my wallet and start checking things off my shopping list.
    #2
  3. south

    south Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Florida
    The replacement harness and CDI as delivered:

    [​IMG]

    Thankfully, every connector on the harness and CDI were fully intact, so just washed/wiped it all down and applied a fresh layer of electrical tape all over. Blasted and painted the included bracket and I was ready to install according to the routing diagrams provided in the factory service manual.

    Now, I have to say, in all fairness to the PO, it's not shocking to find a few broken wiring connectors on a twenty year old motorcyle, so I could reasonably expect to have to address *some* of this stuff even if he hadn't contributed to the electrical woes. Anyway, for the missing/broken connectors and cut-up dash sub-harness, I was able to secure a number of solutions. I ebay-sourced a couple new 2, 6, and 9 pin connectors identical to the OEM connectors on the harness at $1-$1.50 apiece. I also snagged another full KLR main harness (that had a couple cut and spliced wires) auctioned--and purchased--concurrently with a replacement airbox; both pieces off the same '04 KLR: $5.50 for the harness, $6.50 for the airbox, plus combined shipping. (I was really after the airbox since it was the only non-reserve, actual auction, and all the other airboxes on ebay were "buy it now" listings for $30-$60; the fact that I could get a "parts harness" shipped in the same box for only $5 more made it a no-brainer.) Lastly, I was able to cannibalize a couple spare (parts-quality) harnesses from my own inventory: a Honda GL500 harness from the boxes of spares included in the purchase of my CX500 a few years back, and a Honda GL1100 Goldwing harness from the bad-motor, largely stripped but rolling (and, most importantly, titled) chassis I acquired awhile ago.

    The new connectors will provide the new male/female metal mini-spade connectors needed to terminate the cut sub-harnesses--as well as the ends of the replacement wiring for the missing dash sub-harness--rather than graft (splice/solder/heat shrink) cannibilized ends (unless necessary to make up missing wire length). The KLR parts harness will supply the proper color-matched wiring to make up the new dash sub-harness (Worst case, a new subharness can be had for about $60--not *too* terrible a thing). And all 3 parts harnesses will--and already have--provide(d) replacement connector casings for the existing but broken connectors on the bike (alternator output, ignition pick-up, etc.), as well as color-matched casings for the cut sub-harnesses where possible. So, for $10-$15 I'm able to restore the wiring and (fully functional) locking connectors; I can live with that--especially as I count myself to be a fair bit under budget on the CDI, main harness, and airbox.

    Original CDI bracket with the horizontal, connector interface/securing plate removed by the PO:

    [​IMG]

    Freshened-up freebie replacement installed:

    [​IMG]

    3 parts harnesses--for me, with all their color-coded, fully intact connectors, worth their weight in gold:

    [​IMG]

    Replacement connector casings fitted, harness routed, connectors secured in place:

    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. south

    south Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Florida
    Severely scalped dash sub-harness:

    [​IMG]

    2 wiring connectors; the original unit on the left missing its locking tab, an otherwise identical, fully intact donor (even though they may look a little different in height--it's just how they're sitting--although this wasn't the replacement I ultimately used) on the right. Behind them is another broken original that had also been replaced courtesy of one of the Honda parts harnesses:

    [​IMG]

    New 6- and 9- pin connectors ready to contribute to the cause:

    [​IMG]

    (Cleaned up) $6.50 airbox--$22 total with shipping :rolleyes--with the new AGM battery back in its intended position, albeit not in the bike:

    [​IMG]

    So, back to ebay where I made a slew of "buy it now" purchases from the fine folks at Pinwall Cycles (Ohio-based bike salvage)--the first of a number of "slews", in fact--to put some finishing touches on the electrical recovery program. Coincidentally, like the airbox and parts harness from the other ebay seller, all also from an '04 KLR (apparently, 2004 is an unlucky year for KLRs)--and this particular bike would yet contribute a few more parts.
    The PO's battery relocation mod required/included some "custom" cables, so:
    positive battery cable - $1.95
    negative battery cable - $1.95
    starter cable - $1.95
    starter relay and solenoid mounting bracket and cover - $4.95
    Plus combined shipping, of course. About $20 to my door.
    Starter solenoid (top) and starter relay (bottom) mounted to the freshened '04 Pinwall-sourced bracket installed in its proper location on the frame (included cover not shown):

    [​IMG]

    Got the replacement rear fender--$4.95--clutch safety switch (the whole perch and lever actually; Kawi--and apparently everyone else--doesn't sell the switch separately, only as part of the perch)--$9.95--and main fuse block--$4.95--on the way from Pinwall. The final replacement electrical bracket, for the dash (the original got the same treatment as the CDI bracket--the connector mounting plate was removed :rolleyes)--$10--sourced from another ebayer, and it's cover--$5--and a battery hold-down--$8--picked up from yet another seller.
    #4
  5. south

    south Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Florida
    The (final) replacement bracket, freshened it up and installed.
    cut-down original vs. whole replacement:

    [​IMG]

    replacement installed:

    [​IMG]

    Ignition switch wiring repair:
    [​IMG]

    Terminating left handlebar controls wiring:

    [​IMG]

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    Reconstructing the dash wiring, duplicating the original color coding whenever possible courtesy or donor wire from the various "parts harnesses":

    [​IMG]

    As can be seen in the earlier dash wiring pic, the wiring for the bulb sockets had been cut off (more or less) flush, so had to remove, re-use, and re-wire the individual bulb socket connectors:

    [​IMG]

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    #5
  6. south

    south Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Florida
    Did the same for the temp gauge terminals, extended the other cut-shortened wires, then it was time to stitch everything together:

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    Mount the dash, trim the (new) dash wiring subharness to length, and terminate the ends:

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    Took a bit to repair the hacked right 'bar controls wiring:

    [​IMG]

    Everything plugged:

    [​IMG]

    After sitting for a couple weeks, the thing was due to be started and run a bit, so fired it up, and, surprise, surprise, everything works--tach, temp, lights:

    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. south

    south Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Florida
    Received the K&N air filter (and pre-filter sock) I'd ordered, so I went ahead and pulled the rear subframe and installed the airbox; and while I was there, I mounted the replacement rear fender. My ebay airbox didn't include the OEM wing bolt to secure the air filter element, so I had the choice of either ordering a new replacement or fabricating one myself. Not a whole lot to the thing, and I'm a big fan of stainless steel hardware anyway, so I opted to fab one up. I did end up ordering the airbox lower support/battery cover mounting bracket and rubber damper to complete the airbox install.

    [​IMG]

    Turning down 1/4" stainless rod:

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    Cutting 6mm threads:

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    Finished piece with wingnut (permanently) affixed:

    [​IMG]

    Next up was the choke cable issue. The PO had eliminated the handlebar-mounted choke lever and cable in favor of a (crude) loop of safety wire attached to the enrichment piston hanging out the side of the carb. I wasn't particularly pleased with his arrangement, but then I wasn't exactly thrilled with re-installing the OEM set-up; in the first place, a replacement/new cable and lever would run me about $40-$50, and I didn't like how the choke lever mounted--slung under the left 'bar, just begging to be snapped off in even the most innocuous of tip-overs. There are kits available to relocate the lever to a somewhat more protected location on the "back" side of the left 'bar, but that option meant even more money, and it still wasn't fully satisfactory from a durability standpoint.

    Fortunately, there was another option mentioned on the web. Turns out, Harley Davidson (of all manufacturers) uses the same Keihin 40mm carb on any number of their bikes, and they use a short, approx. 8", non-'bar mounted, choke cable/knob assembly--$18 instead of $40+. Just needed to figure out where to route/mount it and then come up with a mounting bracket. And the money I saved with the Harley combo cable/knob unit I was then free to spend on an aftermarket aluminum choke cap-piece for the carb to replace the OEM plastic item that the PO had thoughtfully cut up all to h*ll (just as he'd done with all the other stuff :rolleyes). Add in a $4 cable routing elbow--also sourced from Harley--a 1/4" vacuum cap (used as a spacing sleeve to mate elbow to aluminum cap-piece, a little (protective) heat shrink, and an OEM Kawi rubber sealing boot, and I was all set.

    After a few days of consideration, and quite a bit of fiddling, I decided on a placement for the choke. And, once again, thanks to the PO's "handiwork", I had to go about things the hard way. Apparently, it wasn't enough for him to just delete the--admittedly troublesome--sidestand switch assembly; he had to take the additional, and wholly unnecessary, step of grinding the switch's mounting tab off the frame. So, now, not only was there no lower mount for cover for the starter solenoid and relay, but I'd lost the closest/most direct mounting point for a choke cable/knob bracket. So, I settled on the upper mounting bolt for the solenoid and relay bracket as the anchor for the choke bracket.

    The PO's choke set-up:

    [​IMG]

    Harley choke cable/knob assembly, the remains of the original Kawi plastic cap-piece with the aftermarket aluminum piece above/next to it, and the original spring and enrichment piston:

    [​IMG]

    The initial/working "prototype" (aluminum) choke bracket (such as it is):

    [​IMG]

    The second--and final--bracket iteration installed with cable, (modded) 90* elbow, and etc.:

    [​IMG]

    Closer look at the carb-side of the cable install--aluminum cap-piece installed, heat shrink-covered elbow fitted and rubber sealing boot installed:

    [​IMG]

    Overview shot showing the protected placement of the choke knob nestled behind the frame down-tube but still readily accessable on the bike's left side:

    [​IMG]

    For the final bit of related work, I needed to come up with a means to secure the bottom of the solenoid/relay cover. The cover originally screwed/bolted to the now-absent/ground-off sidestand switch assembly.

    Took just a few minutes to fab up a light-duty aluminum bracket that mounts to/under a bolt for the front sprocket cover:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #7
  8. newcastleadam

    newcastleadam Artful Tagger

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,482
    Location:
    Gainesville, Fl
    Cool beans. Might have bid against you on some Pinwall Cycle auctions (agree with your comment on 2004 model bikes, must be something about Ohio) :D.

    All of your pictures are behind the eSportbike forum authentication. If you're logged into that forum then you can't see pictures.

    Oh, I just finished a 2 pot caliper+relocation bracket+310mm rotor+14mm master cylinder conversion this morning from an eBay seller in Miami. Cost ~$250 to my door and the brake improvement is incredible. Just saying :evil
    #8
  9. south

    south Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Florida
    So, the final piece needed before I was prepared to take the thing for a spin (at least) around the block, was a battery cover/holder. The KLR's battery sits in the (left) side of the airbox with an OEM cover and holder to keep it from sliding/falling out the side of the bike.

    1) I didn't have the OEM pieces, and

    2) The PO had purchased a new, AGM battery in place of the original vented-style unit, and while I was/am pleased with the AGM battery, and dimensionally, it fits right in place, the terminals on the AGM are reversed from those on the OEM-style battery. So, unless I wanted to install the battery "wrong end" first--which would put the "+" terminal right close to the (sub)frame rail instead of safely in the (approximate) center of the bike--the terminal cut-outs of the OEM battery cover would be on the opposite side of the AGM battery's terminals, and the cover wouldn't fit even if I had one.

    Thus, all the reason to make one.

    I had two different thicknesses of aluminum sheet at hand with which to make the cover. I initially opted for the thinner sheet and ultimately re-made the cover in the thicker metal because I wasn't entirely satisfied with the (lack of) rigidity and protective potential of the thinner aluminum piece. So, shoulda, woulda, coulda saved me 1/2 day +. :rolleyes

    Anyway, took some measurements and laid out the pattern:

    [​IMG]

    Cut it out:

    [​IMG]

    Checked the fit/marked the exact bend:

    [​IMG]

    Fully formed, awaiting final trimming/fitment:

    [​IMG]

    Sliding cover into place; note how the top slides under the "lip" of the airbox surround--front back and interior edges--while the vertical "wrap-around" wings on the side face fit into slots in the airbox on either side of the battery compartment:

    [​IMG]

    The (first) cover installed:

    [​IMG]

    Time to do it all over again--only thicker. At least this one went a little quicker since I took care of all the fine tuning on the first one:

    [​IMG]

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    The thicker aluminum sheet made for a better/tighter fit under the airbox lip, the whole thing was much more rigid/secure, and I now have zero concerns about anything puncturing the cover and damaging the battery in the event of a tip-over/crash.

    At this point, I was able to take the bike for a quick spin--the first since I'd acquired it--and go on to address some other items, but I returned to work to finish the cover a few days later, so I'll jump ahead chronologically in order to show the cover job start to finish.

    First, I needed a spacer (visible in the previous pics) in order to secure the cover at/using the (OEM) mounting boss on the lower airbox mounting bracket. So, cut a disc from a piece of scrap aluminum angle:

    [​IMG]

    Turned down the outer diameter to size, faced it off, and cut a shoulder into the underside edge in order to clear the OEM airbox mounting bracket at the battery cover mounting boss:

    [​IMG]

    The remaining work was largely aesthetic in nature; I'd intended on painting/powdercoating the cover from the start, but once I saw the thing on the bike, I just didn't care for its plain, slab-sided appearance. Coating it black was certainly going to reduce its (visual) presence/impact, but, knowing I'd see the d*mn thing every time I looked at the bike, I wasn't going to be happy unless I did something more to try and integrate the look of the piece into the rest of the bike.

    Given their proximity and similar shape/orientation, I hit upon--and liked--the idea of copying the look of the starter solenoid cover with its center-ridge, and spent some little time mulling over the best way to duplicate/carry over that feature (on)to the battery cover. I considered slotting or cutting down the face of the cover to achieve the look I was after, but I wasn't crazy about potentially compromising the strength of the cover--especially after I went to the trouble to make this second, thicker/stronger piece; and, honestly, I was hesitant to risk f*cking up cover #2 after I'd otherwise gotten it where I wanted it.

    I'd decided to powdercoat the cover because the powdercoat would be much more durable than paint, and it would offer better protection against accidental shorting/arcing if inadvertantly contacting the ("+") battery terminal(s) during removal/installation for battery servicing. So, I opted to try to get what I wanted via the (powder)coating itself; the integrity of the cover wouldn't be impacted, and, figuring, worst case, if I screwed up I could always just sand it all back down and start over.

    (Everything but the) center "ridge" on its way to being all taped off for initial (heavy) application of powdercoat which would (hopefully) form the raised center stripe:

    [​IMG]

    Coated, cooked, center ridge (edges) cleaned up and scuff-sanded, then dust the whole thing, back in the oven, and done:

    [​IMG]

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    The last (trivial) touch was to powdercoat the SS washer to tone down the fastener a touch:

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. south

    south Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Florida
    In between all that, I knocked out a few other things that can be seen in some earlier pics.

    First up, the PO (I assume, but it may pre-date him) had drilled the radiator cowls and through-bolted them where the original plastic mounting posts had been--certainly understandable that the plastic posts may have snapped off 20+ year old bodywork, I just wasn't thrilled with his solution of long screw-and-nut, big-*ss fender washers, and large nylon block spacers, which all had to be disassembled/reassembled when removing/reinstalling the cowls. Besides, like the rest of the hardware he'd used, it was all zinc-plated stuff just waiting to ugly-up with rust:

    [​IMG]

    The first thing was to come up with an assembly that would mount permanently to the bike (gas tank) so I'd only have to deal with a simple (screw) fastener on the cowl itself when removing/installing the cowl, instead of having to wrangle a wrench/fingers back behind the cowl to loosen/tighten a nut and then try and catch/position all the bits of hardware while removing/installing the cowl. So, 5mm SS allen screw with a small (cut-down) nylon sleeve fitted through the PO-supplied, cut-down OEM rubber grommet--sandwiched by SS fender washers and threaded into/secured by an aluminum spacer which I'd tapped straight through with 5mm threads:

    [​IMG]

    I now had a secure, cushioned, permanent mounting point providing the proper spacing to mount the cowl:

    [[url]https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/_aTH_vLQomW8/TXwOk2sgKNI/AAAAAAAAAI0/ck2xuaqR4L4/s512/klr_092.jpg/img][/url]

    Next up, I needed a screw fastener for the cowl. The requirements were: 1) stainless steel; 2) 5mm (to match/screw into the spacer); and 3) a broad and low-profile (i.e., "truss") head. A quick local and internet search turned up zero candidates, so, although, as The Girl says, it's like making/baking crackers (from scratch) in order to (just) have cheese and crackers, I was left to make my own.

    Start with 1/4-20 SS truss-head phillips screws, and turn them down on the lathe:

    [img]https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/_aTH_vLQomW8/TXwOCiy1J3I/AAAAAAAAAIs/JdIDAz-1TsI/klr_083.jpg

    [​IMG]

    then, cut to length and cut new (5mm) threads:

    [​IMG]

    Original 1/4-20 on right; new 5mm on left:

    [​IMG]

    Tapped an aluminum washer with 5mm threads, and (back to the lathe) cut a slight "waist" into the screw just below the head; thread the washer onto the screw until it drops into the "waist" area, and the result is a "captured" washer:

    [​IMG]

    Slip the screw through the cowl, slip on a small rubber flat washer, then thread on the "captured" aluminum washer. Now have a SS screw fastener retained in place on the cowl; the captured washer holds the screw to the cowl, but merely spins freely on the "waisted" portion of the screw while the screw is loosened/tightened into the mount on the bike. The top screw is a shorter copy of the lower screw, and it threads directly into an original 5mm tab on the bike; I've used (just) the small rubber washer to hold it to the cowl in similar, but less robust, fashion to the lower screw's captured aluminum washer:

    [​IMG]

    The result can be seen in this pic posted previously, and just repeated for the other side:

    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. south

    south Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Florida
    In keeping with his theme, the PO was kind enough to butcher the rear wiring subharness for the tail/brake light, turnsignals, and tag light; kinda understandable, since the bike only had the tail/brake light--no turnsignals or tag light--when he sold it to me:

    [​IMG]

    Fortunately, one of my ebay main harnesses (either the "good" one, or the "parts" one, didn't notice) included a serviceable rear subharness that just needed a slight bit of work:

    [​IMG]

    I'd sourced an LED tag light off ebay for $8 and set about making a tag--and tag light--bracket to mount to existing points under the rear fender. A little crude, but I wasn't too concerned about looks since it virtually unseen when on the bike; just wanted it to be functional and reasonably sturdy--yet light weight (since it bolts directly/solely to the plastic fender).
    The tag light and its sub-bracket fit into the bump-out on the rear fender like they were made for it (which, of course, one was and one wasn't).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Mounted and lit:

    [​IMG]

    And, a little more lathe work--just playing around and really no other reason. In the interests of keeping the total assembly weight down, I cut down the license plate mounting hardware to the minimum length and then went ahead and drilled out the centers to a modest depth--i.e., not so deep as to risk sheering the screw upon removal:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    as it turned out, more fork work to come, but at this point I'd fitted the fork boots--with a little help from my Harbor Freight lift--and got the thing more or less fully roadworthy. OEM fork boot clamps were MIA and no longer available from Kawi. Could've ordered some Honda clamps, but they wanted $7 each and they weren't especially corrosion resistant; could've used some plastic zip-ties, but that really wouldn't do; and, since I failed to source any appropriately narrow-banded units, ditto for hose clamps. So I used some stainless steel, smooth "zip-ties"; initially, bit of a trick to get them pulled sufficiently tight--and they're not reusable--but, so far, I'm pleased with the result, even more so at $8 for 10 ties:

    [​IMG]

    Fitted some ebay-sourced, rubber stalk, enduro turnsignals (K&S clear lense, OEM replacements to come), and, somewhere in all this, I re-covered a $20 ebay-sourced seat to replace the original that the PO chose to shave down in questionable fashion. 1 yard of marine-grade vinyl courtesy of Jo-Ann's Fabrics--$7 after 50% off coupon.

    Still had yet to address the windscreen issue, but, anyway, the roadworthy iteration at the time:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. south

    south Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Florida
    Received the balance lever--a.k.a. doohickey--along with the torsion spring upgrade option, and a rotor puller, so that would take care of the left side of the motor: gen rotor swap and doohickey. The planned right side work--installing the kickstarter--overlapped some planned brake upgrades, so I also got my braided SS lines (paid the extra $5 for black lines and fittings) and (the kickstarter tie-in) banjo bolt with integrated pressure brake light switch from Spiegler. The kickstarter interferes with the original linkage spring for the rear brake brake light switch. Back when the optional kickstarter kits were available, Kawi's solution was to include a new linkage assembly consisting of a sqiggley rod (which curved around the kickstart shaft/lever), a guide bracket for the rod, and a short spring to the switch. Needless to say, the banjo bolt with integrated brake switch represents a far simpler--and cheaper--solution.

    [​IMG]

    Before I got into all that, I ran down the source of a couple small drops of oil that would appear under the bike immediately after a ride. What I initially thought was a couple oil drops from the breather tube turned out to be a leaky rear shock. Just great :rolleyes; decision time. The stock, non-rebuildable shock can actually be rebuilt: do-it-yourself with new seal head then find somebody to nitrogen charge it for a total cost of about $50, or send it out and have it done for about $200. Used shocks on ebay were going for $100-$200. New aftermarket units ranged from $350-$600.

    The issue with rebuilding the original shock was/is that, while none of the stock units were all that great, the early model shocks like mine were/are especially lacking, so ultimately this option was ruled out as "good money after bad". Gambling $100+ on a used ebay unit was likewise discounted as "good money after potential bad. Now, both of these decisions were made in consideration of the price of an aftermarket shock which promised improved performance for not *too* much more money.
    Unfortunately, this added value argument held sway all the way up to Cogent Dynamics $600 Moab shock--widely acknowledged to be top-of-the-heap for KLRs. Ultimately, on the one hand, it was hard to pay more for a shock than I'd paid for the whole d*mn bike, but, on the other hand, the fact that I didn't pay a whole lot for the bike can make it a little easier to justify the expense. And, custom built to match each specific purchaser, 30 day free tune/re-work period, lifetime warranty (provided you send it in every couple years for a (discounted) maintenance check/service), and a very nice, small (3 person)--read "responsive"--company to deal with all helped push the thing over the top.

    Now, if I was going to crack that nut, what the h*ll, might as well sort the (well documented as) weak front-end as well. Donor front-ends--including USD set-ups--can be fitted to the KLR, but only with substantial work--steering stem swaps involving a fair bit of machine work, dash/ignition/control mounts, etc.--in addition to the cost of the donor front-end. However, for a fair bit less money, and a whole lot less work/hassle, the original KLR front suspension can be improved substantially; barring Supercross/MotoX duty, a modded KLR front-end can approach the performance of typical stock donor units. A final important consideration to the matter was/is the fact that I presently tip the scales at a modest 145 pounds--a rather suspension-friendly figure.

    So, Cogent Dynamics Moab shock for the rear, Race Tech cartridge emulators and fork brace (most all options were/are in the neighborhood of $130-$140, but caught Happy-Trails' unit on sale for $100) for the front. 145 pounds saves me from the expense of aftermarket fork springs and instead keeps me with the stock springs.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #12
  13. brucifer

    brucifer Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,686
    Location:
    Eureka, Ca.
    I can't see ANY of the pics. Just a bunch of white boxs' with red exs'.
    #13
  14. south

    south Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Florida
    For those who are interested in the specifics, there're plenty of detailed how-to's online when it comes to the doohickey mod, so I'll just offer a brief pictorial of how mine went.

    Original, early model, 14A rotor coming off; rotor bolt in wrench; rotor puller in rotor:

    [​IMG]

    Rotor off; stock balancer lever--a.k.a. doohickey--intact and in place bottom center; end of adjustment tensioning spring just visible behind on left:

    [​IMG]

    Original doohickey and spring just fine after 23 years and 19K miles:

    [​IMG]

    Eagle Mike replacement doohickey with torsion spring upgrade installed:

    [​IMG]

    New(er) model 17A rotor on and torqued down:

    [​IMG]

    Right side engine work. Started out (just) to install the kickstarter option available to pre-'96 KLRs; as mentioned previously, optional kickstarter kits are no longer available from Kawi, but the exact parts came standard on the earlier KL600s--ebay sourced for $100. Once things came apart on the way to that job, I wasn't entirely happy with some things I saw with the water pump, so I ended up doing a bit there as well. Kickstarter first:

    The side cover plug thoughtfully labeled "kick starter" to indicate where it goes:

    [​IMG]

    Interior mounts been sealed up and patiently waiting over 20 years to be put to use. The plug in the socket for the kickstarter shaft is jettisoned as well--the socket is oiled from the back side; I assume the plug, like the shaft end that replaces it, serves to cap the oil port and thus maintain overall engine oil pressure. Note the two threaded bosses just below where the guide and stop plates mount, and directly below the right-hand boss and just inside the cover gasket surface is the retaining hole for the kickstart shaft spring:

    [​IMG]

    Plates mounted:

    [​IMG]

    Shaft assembly installed; shop manual calls for removal of the clutch, but I was able to sneak it by without:

    [​IMG]

    Buttoned back up with cover plug replaced by (new) seal:

    [​IMG]

    So, the water pump housing and impeller must be removed in order to pull the right side engine cover. And, of course, the coolant must be drained before pulling the water pump. And here's where I had one of my first indications that I might be doing some work on the water pump.

    The fluid that drained from the system--didn't know coolant was available in rust orange:

    [​IMG]

    Even before removing the pump housing, while there had been no signs of active leaking, the area around the housing showed signs of previous issues--rust and water stains. Taking a look inside, the spring-loaded carbon side of the mechanical seal fell right out of its press-fit base cup, which showed obvious signs of rust indicating both the poor/neglected condition of the coolant and the fact that water was getting places it shouldn't:

    [​IMG]

    More of the same with the mechanical seal base cup pressed out:

    [​IMG]

    The oil pump seal rides on the same shaft behind the water pump mechanical seal (both fitted into the clutch/engine cover) and pressing out the water pump seal means going through--i.e., pressing out--the oil seal on the way to the water pump seal. So, ordered new mechanical seal, impeller shim, drain plug sealing washer, and oil seal. Once the new seals were installed and I was re-installing the cover (a tight job along the lower frame rail made more difficult by the presence of the kickstarter shaft), I managed to snag the lip of the new oil seal on the threaded end of the water/oil pump shaft and slice a sliver out of it, thus ruining the seal :rolleyes. Pulled everything back apart, sourced a replacement seal from a local bearing/seal shop, and reassembled--only this time with a rubber vacuum cap over the end of the pump shaft:

    [​IMG]

    I opted not to get into an extensive refresh of the engine side cover, just cleaned up the area around the pump housing, then a quick bead blast and powdercoat of the rather shabby looking pump housing itself and reinstalled:

    [​IMG]

    Added fluids--oil and fresh coolant--and fired it up. No problems/leaks on the left side--doohickey and rotor--or on the right--kickstarter and water pump. Hooray.
    #14
  15. south

    south Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Florida
    By this point, I was working a few things at once, but (once again) I'll just lay things out by the job instaed of strict chronological order. So, next up, shock swap. To gain access to the shock (or the airbox), the lower rear-subframe bolts are loosened, the upper bolts removed, and the subframe is swung back out of the way (after first disconnecting the carb intake, rear MC reservoir, and various wiring and removing the muffler):

    [​IMG]

    New Moab shock in place:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Hinge things back together and move on to the forks.

    Bike still on the lift and pull the forks:

    [​IMG]

    Couple of "specialty tools" for the job--piece of 1 1/2" PVC pipe (ID of one end beveled with a utility knife) and a 5/8" nut welded to some threaded rod:

    [​IMG]

    Not even enough (filthy) original fork oil left in both shocks to cover the bottom of the catch pan--spec capacity is 420ml each, or nearly a full quart for both:

    [​IMG]

    All apart--the threaded rod with the welded 5/8" nut is used to hold the damper rods while the allen bolts are removed from the fork bottoms:

    [​IMG]

    In addition to the Race Tech emulators, the forks got new MSR seals (PVC pipe used to set the bushings and new seals). Thanks to my Ichabod Crane-like physique (5'10" and 145lbs)--there was no need--or option, really--to swap out the stock springs for (heavier/stiffer) aftermarket units, so that saved a few bucks. (As yet) untouched stock damper on the left, modified as per Race Tech damper--drilled out and chamfered, effectively neutering the damper rod for compression damping duties--on the right:

    [​IMG]

    The emulators sit atop the drilled-out damper rods and are held in place by the main springs, so reworked/new internal fork spacers are needed to account for the added height of the emulator bodies as well as providing an opportunity to (re-)tune fork preload. So, the "industry standard" of 3/4" PVC pipe was cut to appropriate lengths and topped by some thick aluminum "washers" fabbed up on the lathe:

    [​IMG]

    Forks reassembled, re-filled, and re-installed with the new fork brace (and braided SS brake line, etc., but I'll get to that in a minute:

    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. south

    south Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Florida
    So, while all the rest of this (pretty straightforward) stuff was going on, one issue occupied the bulk of my time and efforts: brakes, and, in particular, the front brake. Quite simply, the front brake on the (pre-'08) KLR sucks; and I personally am tempted to go so far as to say it’s dangerously inadequate. Despite the bike's relatively light weight, the single rotor and single piston caliper just don't get the job done. From my very first ride on the bike I knew something had to be done to improve the front brake.

    Of course, the standard first upgrade with virtually any bike is to install braided SS brake line(s); that I‘d be fitting braided lines to the KLR was a given, but my concern with the KLR was that it was noticeably running out of (front) brake before I was running out of lever. Once a certain (modest) level of braking force was achieved, no matter how much harder I squeezed the lever--d*mn near all the way to the 'bar--the front brake failed to generate *any* additional stopping force whatsoever; what I got with the lever half way to the 'bar was exactly what I kept getting the rest of the way to the 'bar. Sure, a braided SS line would firm up the lever and doubtless increase initial bite, but it was clear that the stock line was not the weak(est) link in the chain.

    Some quick online research revealed the "next step" in upgrading the front brake was/is an oversize rotor kit, which includes a caliper relocation bracket. However, 1) a number of KLR owners voiced concerns re ground clearance issues (don't know how much of an actual problem that would be), and, 2) a little in-house comparison turned up the fact that the Kawi 250 (and early 500 Ninjas) utilized virtually the same size (single) front rotor and weighed about the same as the KLR, but had considerably better braking performance, so the rotor clearly wasn’t the weak(est) link in the chain, either. See where this is headed yet? (Almost) only one thing left…

    And that brings things back to front-end swaps for a minute. The one undeniable benefit to fitting an upgraded donor front-end to the (pre-'08) KLR is the ready ability to gain a 2 piston front caliper. But then I'd already ruled out a front-end swap because of all the work/hassles involved.

    So, back to the 250 Ninja(/500 Ninja). One immediate difference between the front brake on the littlest Ninja and that of the KLR: 2 piston caliper on the 250, single piston on the KLR. A less immediate difference was/is that the front brakes mount on opposite sides--the KLR on the left, the EX250 on the right. However, (more research) turned out that the caliper mounting bracket on the right-braked 250 was/is a universal fit--left or right--on other Kawi models equipped with dual front calipers/rotors, and, as it naturally follows, the same twin-pot Tokiko caliper found on the 250 was/is found in left- and right- versions on the dual front disc bikes. Possibilities are percolating…

    A little back-and-forth (rough) measuring between the KLR and it's EX250 garage-mate, and it *looked* like a left-hand twin pot caliper bracket would bolt up: in addition to being a universal left- or right- fit, the twin pot caliper bracket has a total of 4 threaded mounting holes, only 2 of which are used in any given application, so it *looked* like I could get 2 of them to match up to the KLR fork bosses. Off to Ebay…

    Where I sourced a 1988 ZX600R (with 16K claimed miles) left front caliper--pictured complete with mounting bracket, brake pads, and banjo bolt--from the fine folks at Pinwall Cycle. Given the going rate of old(er) calipers on Ebay, I wasn’t entirely overjoyed about the $35 total to get it to my door, but I didn’t want to play wait-and-see, and the thing was shown complete with the bracket and even a set of pads so I could at least try to make it work without having to lay out additional money for the mounting bracket and a set of pads that I ultimately might not be able to use. The plan hit a little hiccup when the caliper arrived sans bleeder screw, banjo bolt, and one brake pad--pieces that were clearly shown in the listing’s pic and essential for the caliper to be “ready to bolt on and go” as claimed. Shot off a quick email to Pinwall figuring that, as a large bike salvage yard, it was a slam dunk for them to scrounge the missing bits and drop them in the mail. But instead, they went ahead and just refunded my money. Fair enough, I now had a free caliper and bracket, the banjo bolt and bleed screw would swap over from the KLR’s original single piston caliper, and I could pull the brake pads from the 250 Ninja for test purposes. Back on track…

    For only long enough to find that the holes on the 2 piston caliper bracket didn’t actually line up with the mounting bosses on the KLR’s fork. Further, the bracket took 10mm bolts; the KLR used 8mm, so the fork boss holes were undersized. Lastly, the bracket required more space than was available between the fork tube mounting bosses and the rotor--i.e., the bracket was too thick. Well, I guess that explains why I couldn't find any caliper swap how-to threads in the KLR forums. Now, all this didn’t mean it wasn’t going to happen, it just meant it was time for a think.

    Clearly, I had to overcome some mounting issues and some spacing issues; fortunately, I had a mirror set-up on the 250 Ninja to provide needed reference points for proper caliper-to-rotor placement/alignment. And, I had(/have) everything I need(ed) to add metal, reshape metal, and take metal away--and the final bit was that now the pieces I had to work with/on were free , so I had nothing to lose that way. I was ready to start thrashing away.

    And it was a thrash--I was working and re-working the thing on the fly as I progressively gained a full(er) understanding of exactly how the thing needed to fit based on what the thing needed to do and how it needed to do it. After-the-fact, the mods to the bracket are pretty straightforward, but working it all out took some trial and error.

    First and foremost, altering the fork mount bosses was out of the question: I wanted to be able to re-mount the original caliper if necessary/desired; I didn't want to weaken them in any way, and I didn't want to introduce yet another variable into what was shaping up to be a bit of a tricky undertaking going in. Anyway, my first step was to cut the leading edge of the bracket down just so it would clear the fork tube when in rough position at the fork mounting bosses (unlike the intended applications for the bracket, the KLR fork bosses are both cast close to the fork tube itself; the bikes made to take the bracket have a lower boss that extends a fair bit further off the fork tube, so the leading edge of the bracket clears the fork tube no problem.

    [​IMG]

    I was then able to roughly position the bracket on the fork with the wheel and rotor in place and have a real look-see on where everything needed to be. At this point I became aware of a few issues (mentioned previously):

    None of the bolt holes were in the right place--in order for the caliper to be aligned properly with the swept area of the rotor, the lower hole actually needed to be off the front of the bracket in order to kick the bottom of the caliper back to compensate for the close-set lower mounting boss on the fork; conversely, the bracket's existing upper bolt hole positioned the top of the caliper too far back.

    While the OEM bracket and the planned replacement unit were the same thickness (6mm), the 2 pot bracket had guide tabs for the outer pad which stuck out from the inner face of the bracket and contacted the rotor.

    The original bracket/caliper assembly mounted with 8mm bolts; the 2 pot assembly mounted with 10mm bolts--which obviously wouldn't fit through the mounting bosses on the fork.

    Last problem first: as mentioned, I'd already decided not to modify the original mounting bosses, so drilling them out (and possibly weakening them in the process) to accept 10mm bolts was not an option. So, the new bracket would have to be fitted with 8mm (threaded) mounting holes--which was just fine in one regard, since new mounting holes had to be made/located anyway. However, the idea of downsizing the original/intended mounting hardware of the more powerful caliper wasn't particularly pleasing/comforting. An immediate (partially) compensatory measure was/is to upgrade the 8mm mounting bolts to grade 12.9, but I still had some concerns.

    Which were actually addressed when I moved on to the issue of the bracket thickness. Again, I didn't want to modify the fork bosses, so shaving them down to gain the necessary (2-3mm) clearance wasn't an option. After some thought, I hit upon the idea of "pocketing" (around) the mounting holes on the bracket--the bosses would fit into the pockets; the bracket would fit over/overlap the ends of the bosses; and the bracket would then be shifted over off the rotor to the same measurement as the depth of the pockets. Further, since the protruding brake pad guide tabs were the actual points of contact with the brake rotor--and not the entire inner face of the bracket--I was free to build up the areas of the inner face of the bracket surrounding the mounting holes--whatever thickness of material I removed from the outer face of the bracket to pocket the mounting holes and thus shift/clearance the bracket (guide tabs) away from the rotor, I could add a corresponding thickness of material (so long as it didn't extend past the protruding guide tabs--which it didn't) to the inner face of the bracket and thus regain strength and appropriate depth of the threaded bolt holes.

    This solution had the added benefit of addressing my lingering concerns over fastener strength. By pocketing the fork mounting bosses into the outer face of the bracket, the bosses themselves would accept (shearing) load directly from the bracket; as long as the mounting bolts held the overlapping bracket/fork bosses together, much of their work was done.

    So, OK, I now had a plan.

    Dovetail, bevel, and multi-pass TIG weld some additional material (1/4" plate--only slightly thicker than the 6mm bracket, and that just gave me finish-grinding leeway) needed to create/locate the new lower mounting hole:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Start the process of welding up the bracket's original mounting and lightening holes, test-fit, and determine/mark locations for new mounting holes:

    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/_aTH_vLQomW8/TXwcSNRHlPI/AAAAAAAAAKg/y-7x5dEqY48/s512/klr_198.jpg

    Grind down welds, cut down/form bracket's new leading edge, drill and tap new mounting holes:

    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/_aTH_vLQomW8/TXwcSoHAkII/AAAAAAAAAKk/yxJX90IyVcU/s512/klr_202.jpg

    Cut pockets:

    [​IMG]

    Weld up the rest of the un-needed holes, drill a few (more modest) lightening holes--because of the specific mods to the bracket, I wanted to err on the side of more strength rather than less weight--powdercoat, and (thought I was) done:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The big issue once you start pumping heat into a work piece--as happens when welding--is that stuff starts to move around--warping, twisting, expanding/contracting, etc. So every time I welded up one of the existing holes, or added material on the back side of the bracket, or whatever, the thing would be slightly deformed in one way or another--the brake pads wouldn't fit on their bracket mounts and/or the caliper wouldn't mount properly on the bracket's slides, or if the stuff did fit, it would bind up, etc., and I'd have to take measurements and try to determine what dimension was out of spec, and then tweak the thing to fit the pads and caliper as it should. And I'd invariably fix one issue and screw up something else at the same time.

    After the above pic of the "finished" bracket was taken and I mounted it on the bike for the first time--thinking I was home free--I found that the piston-side pad wouldn't fit properly. Took the thing off, made another lengthy round of adjustments, re-powdercoated and re-installed. Now the pads fit, but the brake seemed a little draggy.

    At this point--sometime after midnight on a week night :rolleyes--I indulged in a little denial, told myself that maybe the (used) pads off the 250 Ninja just needed to "sort themselves out" with this new installation, and I decided to take the bike for a test ride. Compared to the original caliper's performance, the twin pot stopped the thing like a heart attack. And I'd held off on replacing the original brake line so I could get an accurate comparison between the two calipers. Sure the lever was still spongy, but a firm pull would slam the fender d*mn near onto the front tire (granted, the near oil-free, underdamped forks certainly contributed to the effect), and the bike stopped right NOW. I was so jazzed, all was forgiven, and I immediately decreed the result to be well worth the trouble.

    Which was good, 'cause when I got back and put it back up on the front stand, the front wheel was as draggy as ever, and the rotor was a fair bit warmer than it should have been. And it wasn't any better when I checked it again the following afternoon. :rolleyes

    After a fair bit of fiddling, I discovered that the caliper moved perfectly freely on the bracket right up until the mounting bolts were fully torqued to spec, at which point it all but locked solid. Obviously, there was an issue with the mounting points on the bracket--i.e., the pockets--and the bracket was being slightly deformed when fully tightened to the fork mounting bosses, mis-aligning the caliper slides and causing the caliper to bind. Now, while the faces of the bosses were (more or less precisely) machined, their circumferences were not--they were just left as cast--and were therefore not exactly perfect circles. Further, I'd powdercoated the pockets just like the rest of the caliper (save for the slides), and the coating had "webbed" up the sides a bit and certainly wasn't entirely uniform across the mounting face across the bottom of the pockets.

    So, I went to work on the pockets: mill the pockets, install the bracket/caliper, torque to spec, check, fail, remove the caliper, and mill the pockets some more. Sometimes it was a little better; and sometimes it was a little worse, and the mounting bolts--bracket to fork--would even bind up as I was tightening/torquing them...until ultimately I stripped the threads in both bracket mounting holes. :rolleyes

    Fine. Take the f*cking thing off, grind/mill off the powdercoat, weld up the d*mn stripped holes and the d*mn problematic pockets, grind the welds down, straighten the thing out, locate for new holes, drill, tap, and cut new (modified) pockets. Mount everything up while it's still all ugly...and the thing worked like a dream. Mounting bolts thread/tighten up cleanly; wheel spins free on the stand, stops immediately with the brake, and spins free again. Repeat the cycle a dozen times or so just to be sure (read: "just because I can't belive the frickin' thing is finally actually gonna work"), and it's time for another test ride. Got all the brake when I want it and none when I don't. Time to make things less ugly and mount it all back up for real, complete with braided line:

    [​IMG]

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    The stock brake line routing hangs the line from the handlebar brace-bar with a couple plastic clips--which were long gone. So, I made use of a 'bar pad I had from a set of Renthal 'bars I'd picked up for another project, and killed 2 birds with 1 stone: pad the 'bars and secure/route the front brake line:

    [​IMG]

    So, not quite the slick, easy fab job I'd hoped for, but it seems that things have worked out in the end. Now on to some easier stuff.
    #16
  17. south

    south Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Florida
    Rear brake line was simple enough to do. Routed the wiring for the brake light pressure switch up through the frame bracket which originally held the stock brake switch and along the downtube, and paired with the re-routed fuel tank vent hose (both visible in the 2nd pic located rearward of the kickstarter):

    [​IMG]

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    While I had the tank and seat off routing/connecting the brake switch wiring, I went ahead and performed a common KLR mod and installed a "T" (which I had lying around) in the gas tank vent hose--the standard hose out the bottom (prone to clogging when the bike is taken off-road) and a second vent hose tucked along between the airbox and frame rail. The hose looping over the battery/fuse area is the one (that gets) connected to the tank:

    [​IMG]

    Also swapped out the footpeg and rear subframe bolts with grade 12.9 replacements--same exact bolts I'd used for the front caliper, so I'd just bought enough to go 'round at the time.

    Another shot of the front caliper, now fitted with new pads; "test" pads returned to the 250 Ninja. The PO never balanced the front wheel/tire, something I discovered--and rectified--when I had it off for the caliper:

    [​IMG]

    Better shot of the fork brace:

    [​IMG]

    Sourced an OEM rear rack off ebay for $15 + $14 shipping. Had some knicks along one edge, but nothing a few layers of powdercoating wouldn't hide/fill. I wasn't digging the (cheap, painted, and scratched) silver finish anyway--thought (and still think) it looks much better in black.

    Rack disassembled; section on the left beadblasted and ready for powdercoat, section on the right as received:

    [​IMG]

    Coated and in the (no-more-cooking-parts-in-the-kitchen, dedicated parts-cooking, workshop) oven:

    [​IMG]

    20 Minutes later:

    [​IMG]

    Rack reassembled:

    [​IMG]

    On the bike along with ebay'ed tool box fitted with new velcro-backed strap. New K&S brand, OEM-style clear-lense turnsignals still to come:

    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. griffo1962

    griffo1962 Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,766
    Location:
    Carrara, Qld, Australia
    none of your pictures are working.....:wink:
    #18
  19. south

    south Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Florida
    At this point, I was able to get out on the thing and ride it (on the street) for a week or so, including slabbing out a work commute, and I decided to try and gain a bit more on the front brake.

    The basic issue was that my preferred single-finger braking wasn't optimum with the KLR; with *just* the right hand/finger placement, I could manage a single finger full-pull on the lever without the lever getting back into my other fingers: full brake force, no finger interference. Braking with 2+ fingers worked great wherever my hand/fingers were on the grip, but that doesn't allow the same level of simultaneous throttle control that single-finger braking permits.

    So, I acquired a(n inexpensive) master cylinder from a mid-90s ZX-6 off ebay, which sports a 5/8" bore--the next step up in bore size--and, of particular interest, the capacity to use an adjustable lever. It'd sit on the 'bar a little differently, but I figured it'd be worth a few bucks to try it out--the plan was to see if the 5/8" MC would give a little less lever movement and/or the ability to adjust/optimize the brake lever position, such that I could single-finger brake the thing as I'd like and am used to doing--without a negative effect on feel or overall brake performance, and, hopefully, perhaps even a further step up in performance.

    Received and installed the MC and took it for a test spin. Couldn't be better; gave me exactly what I was looking for. With the (temporary) adjustable lever set at its maximum, I get 3/4"-1" of lever stroke for full brake (the same or perhaps fractionally less than with the stock MC), and the lever is well clear of my fingers still on the 'bar.

    3 MCs. Stock KLR MC lower right, replacement ZX-6 MC upper right, and even newer plastic reservoir MC (taken from "inventory"--given to me by my neighbor along with some other odds/ends from a ZX-6R formerly drag raced by Tony Nicosia)--donor of the temporary (adjustable) brake lever. I considered using the plastic reservoir MC--since I already had it--for all of 2 seconds before disqualifying it as unsuited for rough duty:

    [​IMG]

    MC installed:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now just needed to source a black anodized lever, and that would be that.

    And instead, I found some (short, "Superbike"-style) folding levers for a ZX6R which are presently enroute from the far side of the planet. In the meantime, I locally sourced a (used) corresponding ZX6R clutch perch (with one-handed adjuster) and lever and installed that in place of the KLR-only OEM clutch perch and lever; unlike the stock unit, the ZX6R perch will accept the on-its-way folding lever.

    So, as of now, here it sits:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. south

    south Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Florida
    Whoops, sorry about the (lack of) pics, guys. Didn't realize they'd block the links; I was just trying to save myself a whole bunch of work, especially since this site only takes one attachment per post. Lemme get to work on fixing.
    #20