Advice on 09 KLR nightmare

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by TravisThumb, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. TravisThumb

    TravisThumb Yeah, OK!

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    I bought a brand new 09' KLR for my dream trip to Alaska. It had 84 miles on it when we left on 07/17/09. I had the oil and filter changed and the bike gone thru at a dealer on the way at 500 miles. The rear shock failed at 1500 miles and was replaced by the Progressive 420 shock. During its stay to get the shock replaced, the oil and filter was also changed and the bike gone thru again.

    I continually checked the oil almost daily as our trip progressed but honestly did not give it much thought seems how I thought along with buying a new bike I had also bought piece of mind that everything was new and I had nothing to worry about.

    Along a desolate stretch of the Top of the World Highway after just crossing over into Canada from Alaska, the bike made a whining noise and shut down. The starter worked but the piston did not seem to be moving and there was no compression. The oil had completely disappeared from the crank case.

    The motor had apparently seized from lack of oil. I had just checked it the previous day and it was fine. The bike had 5700 miles. We were doing about 250-300 mile days at speeds rarely exceeding 60 @ 4300rpm. So all the oil disappeared within 250-600 miles. I have read 2 other forums on other websites where riders had experienced massive oil loss within 200-300 miles of up to 1qt. No signs of leaks.

    My insurance covered the $5500 tow bill to the nearest Kawasaki dealer in Whitehorse, Yukon where I was given a 2 week time frame to even have it looked at. The bike is still there and I spent 3 days on a Greyhound back home.

    This trip took over a year to plan. It took an incredible amount of energy to get time off work and prepare. I have a 99' KLR sitting at home that I was nervous about taking because it had 24k miles so I bought a new KLR specifically to take this trip.

    I have met so many people on this trip who have had a similar experience with a newer KLR or know people that have. I am considering trying to take legal action if Kawasaki doesn't own up to this obvious flaw in the bikes engine and the once in a lifetime vacation that they have ruined. I am looking for any and all advice that any of you might have to offer. I also would like to get in touch with people that may have had a similar experience with this bike.
    #1
  2. BIG ED XT FAN

    BIG ED XT FAN Long timer

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    I now know that a 08 or 09 KLR will never be in my garage. Earlys one are the way to go.
    Sorry about your trip. I know that a trip that size take a lot of planning time off and $$$$:evil:evil:evil
    I know your older KLR would make that trip. I know a guy with 133,000+ miles on his bike. It went to Alaska and no problems. Bike is in service today.
    Me? I ride old yamahas XT 600s, TT600s and a WR400! Never a problem with them! Hope this helps! And get the GREEN Team to fix your bike!!
    #2
  3. Velociraptor

    Velociraptor TrackBum

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    I know there was a guy on KLR650.net that got stranded in Mexico due to the same thing. You might do a search over there. I know there were some 08 oil burners due to ring redesign that didn't work properly. Many were burning oil at highway speeds but 60 is not that fast. I wonder if you had a broken ring or something or the bike for some reason was blowing oil into the airbox. Did you confirm that after the oil change (while you got the shock replaced) that the proper oil level was there? Also I hope that the oil filter was properly installed. Dumb question but the oil drain plug did not fall out? I had an 08 but it never burned oil up to 3000 miles when I did the 685 kit. Major bummer and I hope insurance and Kawasaki cover the repairs.
    #3
  4. Wannabee

    Wannabee Survivor of Reality

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    Sorry to hear about the trip being ruined.
    I like the new KLR , but everytime I walk into the local dealership , Something in the back of my head tells me to stay away from it. The more I read about things like this , the more i think I should listen to the voices in my head.
    Hopefully Kawasaki will step up and take care of it , then go buy yourself a DR650
    #4
  5. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Sux big time especially since you already had a KLR that could have done the trip more reliably! $5500 for a tow? I'm surprised the insurance company didn't total it, you could buy a new one for about that..

    The guy who had the same problem as you posted his story on this forum. He was in Mexico and his engine seized for lack of oil. Here's a link to his sad tale:

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=398301


    I hope you get satisfaction from Kawi. According to the above thread, Kawi changed suppliers on the piston rings and after his engine was fixed under warranty, he did not have any further issues.

    Keep us posted.
    #5
  6. montesa_vr

    montesa_vr Legend in his own mind

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    You might want to do a google search on this site, like:
    klr oil site:advrider.com
    and pm some of the people that have had similar experiences. From what I've read on here, Kawasaki has been somewhat variable in their treatment of this issue. If you make enough noise you might get a new bike. You will almost certainly not be compensated for your disaster vacation.

    You are fortunate your oil changes were done at Kawasaki dealers. Especially if it turns out the oil drain plug fell out. If you noticed no oil consumption issues in 5,000 miles, it's hard to believe it suddenly burned through all its oil in 500. (Although velociraptor might be on to something with the broken ring theory). The tricky thing is, if it was a drain plug falling out, Kawasaki could say your issue is with the dealer who did the last oil change and is not a warranty issue for the company.
    #6
  7. FATTKAW

    FATTKAW http://www.fattkaw.com

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    Please file a complaint ---- http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/index.cfm

    It has worked with the harness/turn signal/muffler bolts recalls!!!!

    I feel very bad for you and Kawi has been sucking with the new KLR's!
    If you have it fixed do the 685 kit and there won't be any more oil issues.
    #7
  8. rallyhound

    rallyhound Macho stud guy

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    What you should have did was torch the damn thing, call insurer with your sad story.

    bought new bike, anything you could find, and continued your trip.
    #8
  9. ROYAL COACHMAN

    ROYAL COACHMAN Long timer

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    I know my story won't help you out but here goes. I recently purchased a new 09 KLR to finish my vacation that I had begun on my new F800.

    Yea, my F800 left me stranded when it toasted a rear wheel bearing, destroyed the hub and swing arm @ 70mp and damned near face planted me!

    So i buy this new KLR, put 2000 mile on it in 5 days, change the oil 4 times for break-in and it has not used more than 2 ounces of oil in all that time.

    The last 1000 mile were done on the slab @ 70 mph fully loaded down with camping gear.

    I hope Kawasaki make this right for you, I know what your going through.

    Glen
    #9
  10. 09Prodigy

    09Prodigy Instigator

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    Best of luck!

    Please keep us posted, I have an 09 and am planning a TDF trip for 2010.
    #10
  11. whisperquiet

    whisperquiet Long timer

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    The same thing happened to my buddy's '08 last year on the Trans Labrador Highway............ran out of oil in a short period of time/miles and burned up the top end. My '08 had a wiring break (but was able to get it running), but my friend's bike had to be towed 125 miles (250 mile round trip for the tow truck) back to the Canadian Kawasaki dealer in Baie' Comeau, Quebec. He eventually rented a U-Haul truck and transported the bike back to Cleveland, Ohio where we started (cost $1500.00 rental/gasoline for the 1500 miles). They had disassembled the bike, but could not get the new style rings at the time.

    Mine ran good for the 1500 miles home, but I sold it while still under warranty with 11,500 miles on it and the person who bought it advised that it quit again due to an electrical problem.

    My buddy's spent a few weeks at the local Kawasaki dealer, was fixed under warranty, but the whole ordeal still cost him about $1700.00 total as Kawasaki USA refused to pay for the entire shop bill at the Canadian Kawasaki dealer.

    I bought a used '99 KLR which now has 24,600 miles on it which uses no oil on 2500 oil change intervals. I rode a '93 KLR650 to the Arctic Circle in '99 with no problems...........I've owned 6 KLR650s since 1991, and I going to ride the old model a little longer.

    As the original poster stated............the last place you want your NEW bike (or any bike) to strand you is in BFE.

    I am aware of the 685 kit cure.........it's just BS that you have to do that to a new bike to make it reliable.
    #11
  12. CodyY

    CodyY ADVenture Capitalist

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    Note to self: When motorcycle takes a giant shit in the middle of nowhere, light a match.
    #12
  13. Birdmove

    Birdmove Long timer

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    Sorry to hear of your ruined trip. I know I will never buy one of the newer, redesigned KLR650s. I had a 2005 model that never used oil between changes. I rode it for some 15,000 miles and finally traded it in on an XL883.
    I had a rather ruined weekend one time. We were out for a three day trail riding trip.It was the first time I had made it to get any off road riding for many years. I had a new 2001 KLR250. While returning to the my buddys cabin after a great day of trail riding, my KLR started a very nasty knock. My friend went and got the trailer, and I trailered it home then to a dealer. Turns out that a little glob of silicone sealer used on assembly broke loose and plugged the oil supply line to the top end destroying the cams,rockers,cylinder head,cam chain and tensioner etc. The piston and cylinder were okay. All was repaired under warranty, but it took way long. My trip was nothing compared to your maybe once in a lifetime trip to Alaska. My bike was properly repaired and went on to a long, healthy, good running life. I hope Kawasaki takes good care of you.I asked if Kawasaki might give me a new engine, and was told they would not. Their policy was to repair the old engine-even if it cost more than dropping a new one in the bike.

    jon
    #13
  14. JeremyZ

    JeremyZ ^ Loves thumpers

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    That's a bummer. I waited for the '09s because I'd read about this on the '08s.

    My '09 has been flawless. I keep a wary eye on the oil sight glass, but it hasn't gone down at all. No pinched fuel hose issue. No brittle turn signal mounts.

    This seems more like either a manufacturing defect or dealer screw-up than anything else.

    One thing to check yourself: Look for the aluminum washer that acts as a gasket between the oil drain plug and bottom of the engine. It is quite possible that fell off when the oil was drained. If the drain plug is put back in tight without that washer, it may not leak at a standstill, but as it gets out, maybe it drips out one drop at a time.

    The only reason I mention this is because when I did my first oil change, I was just putting the drain plug in. "Hmm, no washer." I put it in anyway. I thought I'd better just get dirty and go fishing in the dirty oil to make sure there's no washer in there. Sure enough, there was the washer. It fell right off, and I didn't even notice. The bolt never left my hand, so the washer must've been stuck to the bottom of the engine and the oil pouring out took it right with.

    It seems to me that over that few miles, at that speed, it could NOT have burned up or "aspirated" all the oil. There would be a lot of smoke, a fouled plug, SOME indicator that something was wrong.

    More likely is that it leaked out, either through the drain hole or the oil filter cover if it wasn't tight enough.

    Check those two things first, before spreading the word that Kawasaki doesn't know how to make a bike that doesn't leak oil.

    Related side story. After about 150,000 miles of re-using the aluminum washer with my oil drain plug on my old '98 Civic. The Civic started leaking oil. At first, I couldn't figure it out. Finally, it dawned on my to check that washer. It was much flatter than it was when new, and it was pulled up onto the threads of the drain bolt, allowing a slow leak. I lost about a quart every two weeks.

    Went to the Honda dealer, bought a baggie of the washers for about $3.

    This is one example where the home mechanic may do the better job. He is not in a hurry, and is paying attention to detail, because he is the one who gets stranded if he screws up.
    #14
  15. JeremyZ

    JeremyZ ^ Loves thumpers

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    Kind of a side thought to my above post.

    Maybe the folks who ride older KLRs are better mechanics (in general) than folks who buy the newer ones? The issues are known and documented. The bikes are worth less, so folks try their hands at doing their own work and become more accomplished mechanics.

    On the flipside, a lot of folks who buy new KLRs want a new, trouble-free bike. Peace of mind, warranty, all that jazz. But one mechanic who has not paid enough attention can still ruin the bike.

    Here's a perfect example. Guy A has a beautiful '65 Mustang. He looks it over all the time, does his own work, and has restored it from the ground up. He has become an accomplished mechanic either with this car or by working on previous ones.

    Guy B goes and buys a brand-spanking-new Mustang. The dealer changes the oil, but they've got a new guy on staff who is not qualified to rebuild engines, adjust valves. All he does is wash bikes, change oil, and check tire pressure. He doesn't notice when the washer falls into the drain grate (there isn't even a pan, just a grate in the floor sometimes!) He changes the filter, replaces the drain plug, refills it with oil, does a quick check, and sends it on its way. The oil leaks out while the car is at speed, and the engine burns up.

    Therefore, old Mustangs are more reliable than new ones.

    We know this is not the case. Aside from style preference, the new Mustangs are better cars in every way.

    With KLRs, it is even worse, because Kawasaki has not been as supportive as they should be.

    This maybe happened to 5 guys. But it spreads like wildfire on internet fora. Everyone knows the guy it happened, or has read his story, so it keeps getting spread.

    One more side rant. Ever hear anyone say: "Buy the dealer." Suggesting that knowing the dealer will support you and that their techs are competent can make more of a difference than the sometimes negligible difference between one model bike and the next.

    If it turns out to be the oil drain plug washer, it would be a perfect example. Bad dealer.

    What's scary is that maybe they found their mistake, quietly replaced the washer afterwards so as to leave no evidence, and now you're up the creek without a paddle.

    Unless you're really not paying attention (and you don't seem like that type) it is just impossible that it burned or aspirated that much oil in so short a time.
    #15
  16. 09Prodigy

    09Prodigy Instigator

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    Out of curiosity, is there any oil build up on the under carriage of the bike at all? How about the tail pipe and the muffler? How much deposit do you have in those? Maybe it's ignorance but the oil had to go somewhere.. wether it leaked out of a bad gasket or burned through the engine there has to be a trace.

    I would think about starting a thread with this paticular issue (since it seems your not the only one) and start gathering a list of everyone who has had this issue. Get enough people together and it may be grounds for a class action lawsuit. Or at the least enough to spread the cost of an attorney around so the cost doesn't sting as bad.
    #16
  17. holycaveman

    holycaveman Long timer

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    Really am sorry about your trip. Honestly. I know when a new bike is purchased everything we believe should be fine.



    That said, I check my oil level every single fill up! No matter what bike I have I do this.

    If you lost over 1quart in a fill up, then you have to be smoking out the tailpipe. Also you would be able to smell it. I know because my KLR, a couple of years ago with 100,000 miles on it was burning just over a quart for every tank. I took it in that condition on a 4,000 mile trip out west, just carried oil with me. However with that much you can literally see it.

    Name your bike and I have seen them fail right off the show room floor. Again so sorry about your trip. You buy a new bike, expect to ride it anywhere, and then it fails you. Bad deal for certain. Cars can go the same way.

    Hopefully next bike next time you will have better luck. Check the oil every gas, takes all of one second. Not lecturing, but it can save your butt!

    I don't know about legal action. There is rider responsibility also. When I worked for Yamaha, they stated that 1 qt every 1,000 miles on a new bike is acceptable. A few thousand miles and you could be out of oil on a brand new yamaha!!

    Also your breakin period extends to 4,500 miles not using much throttle at all. So you will have a tough case in front of you. Coupled with the fact that the bulk of the new KLR's burn no oil at all.

    Its up to you. I would be upset too if my new bike was burning oil, especially if I broke it in exactly as Kawasaki suggested.

    Whatever you descide to do, I hope it works out for you.
    #17
  18. kojack

    kojack Stay adventurous my friends!

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    I have an 08, while it does burn some oil, i would not hesitate to ride it anywhere. I think your bike just had a problem or whoever done the oil change never did it properly.
    #18
  19. NewHampWoodsRider

    NewHampWoodsRider Tag Captor

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    Huge bummer, Sorry to hear.

    Perhaps Kawasaki will offer some Goodwill assistance for your troubles.
    Have you contacted Kawasaki customer relations?

    On a side note: How did you break the engine in?
    Per Kawasaki? Per the "other" method?

    Huge bummer, hope things work out for you!

    I ride a 09', broke it in using the "other" method.
    Does not burn any oil, but I do keep a close eye on it for good measure.
    #19
  20. whisperquiet

    whisperquiet Long timer

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    The oil burning issue is bad enough for some KLRs...........the electrical shorts and wiring harness problems are another problem that are a major problem with some of the '08s........Kawasaki did issue a recall for the wiring harness fix.
    #20