Difficulty and expense of a top end rebuild on a 2008 klr 650

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by jpk1080, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. jpk1080

    jpk1080 Adventurer

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    Hello. I posted in the introduction forum about being new to the sport and have never owned a motorcycle. I'm in the market for a dual sport so I've been hunting craigslist excessively lately looking for deals. Recently I cam across a 2008 KLR 650 that was super cheap. The bike is on there for $1300 bucks, but needs a top end rebuild. The ad suggest this being a great time to do the bore upgrade to the 685 kit. The bike has 12000 miles on it and supposedly no other issues. I messaged the guy and he confirms thats the only issue with it. He may have gotten this bike in a trade from someone else so I'm not sure if it's even his. I know nothing about doing something like this but I was hoping someone with some experience may be able to steer me in the right direction. I worry about it getting too expensive to repair and then after doing the top end, another issue arising. He said the engine seized due to oil circulation, but I wonder if other damage could have been done, or if replacing the top end would correct most of this. I live in the Asheville, NC area. If any of you are close, I would more than willing to pay you for your advice. Thanks in advance from a future rider!
    #1
  2. coloradoklr

    coloradoklr I ride high on the rocks

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    that was bad about burning oil if the top end is gone then he mite have ran
    it out of oil, sometimes the bottom end makes it be careful.
    #2
  3. coloradoklr

    coloradoklr I ride high on the rocks

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    That year was bad about burning oil, if it is ran low the 1st thing to go is
    the exhaust cam bearing. Now you need a new head. Sometime the bottom
    end makes it, like vegas roll the dice. Won't know till it runs again.
    #3
  4. jpk1080

    jpk1080 Adventurer

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    Yeah it seems like such a nice bike but a potential risk. I know nothing about bikes other than what I've learned here soon far. This might be a little much for my first attempt at finding a motorcycle.
    #4
  5. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    $410 for a piston kit with bored cylinder from Eagle Mike.

    If it needs a head, they vary a bit, $450 on the low end to $800 on the high end.


    $1200 worst case for a top end rebuild to a 685 on a KLR.
    #5
  6. jpk1080

    jpk1080 Adventurer

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    that price doesn't sound half bad. i wonder if anything else is wrong with it but i'm guessing i would have to buy it before i could find out. i'm also not sure how much labor would be involved doing the top end. are there any other obvious clues or things i could do that would help me further deduce what kind of issues this bike might have. filters, plugs, etc that the guy would let me look at prior to buying? part of me really wants to take this one for some reason. if this bike were running i think it would be worth upwards of 3000. if i can buy it for 1000 and put another 1500 in it, might be worth it for a newer bike. thanks for helping me with this.
    #6
  7. jpk1080

    jpk1080 Adventurer

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    Just an update to this bike and more questions! I'm obsessed with this bike for some reason and don't want to let it go despite a few unknowns. I talked to the guy in detail about what went wrong with this KLR. The bike is an 08', the first year of the 2nd generations he said. He knew quite a bit about the bike which was a little reassuring. Anyways, basically the previous owner (his friend) ran the bike low or out of oil which caused either a valve or something else to seize and it through i'm guessing a valve through the valve cover? Sorry for the lack of info there, but i'm new to this stuff. So it sounds like and he confirmed that the head is toast. At the bare minimum I will need a head, which I hope i could possibly find. With his knowledge of the bike, he seemed pretty certain that the lower part of the motor would still be fine seeing as how most of the oil is in this portion of the motor. I'm supposed to see the bike tomorrow but the said the rest of the bike is in great shape as far as the plastics, brakes, clutch, fuel tank, etc. It's never been crashed or laid down. He doesn't have the time to complete this bike now as he has several other projects.

    Assuming I can find a head for around 500 bucks and do the 685 kit from eagle mike, I'm hoping I could stay under 1200 or so for this repair. Is it likely that a used head I find would need new valves as well? Does this sound like a bad idea entirely? I've talked to several people I work with both airplane mechanics and some other do it yourself kind of guys and I get mixed answers. Some say don't touch it. Others say do it and if it looks like it's destroyed, part it out and get your money back. I think this would be a great way to get into a newer bike at a decent price while gaining some experience as well. I'm just worried if i pick this bike up and the bottom part of the engine is somehow toast or other items need attention, things may not go well. The owner has not gotten all the way down to the piston itself, It sounds like he's just take the valve cover off. Does this sound fairly accurate. Do you guys think this sounds like a bad idea or that there may be higher chance of other issues existing?

    I appreciate everyone here. Already I've learned a ton in a short amount of time. I love working on stuff like this it's just still a bit overwhelming and I would hate for my first bike experience to go badly. Thanks again!
    #7
  8. DesertRatliff

    DesertRatliff Tinker Tinker Ride Ride

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    I say go for it! KLR's are easy to work on and the amount of information and support on the net alone are amazing. Like someone else said, if the bottom is toast, too, part it out. Even with a blown motor, the bike is worth $2.5-3.5 grand in parts.
    #8
  9. mcma111

    mcma111 Long timer

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    If the head is in fact damaged Engine Dynamics can repair it about 90% of the time unless it's really, really ugly. $150.00 for the exhaust journal and $270.00 for intake and exhaust journals. They will even clean up the cam(s) at no extra charge.

    http://www.enginedynamics.com/
    #9
  10. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Dirt Farmer

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    Yup, if the bottom end is toast you can easily part out the rest of the bike or maybe find a new 08+ motor, tho a prior gen should fit as well.

    However I do want to make a counterpoint. For your very first bike do you want one that you are going to have to rip into first thing, learn how to wrench on a bike, source parts and buy a big bore kit. Or do you want to spend this summer learning how to ride a bike?

    Most project bikes take 2-3 times as long as you think it will take to finish. I would recommend taking things one step at a time. Buy a good running bike for the 2500 that you would spend on this one and learn how to ride. And then if the urge for a project is still strong after a year or two, go ahead and find an 08+KLR that has bit the dust. They were notorious oil burners in that first year and many of them get run low on oil. Then you can still be riding while you wrench on your project. Project then gets done and you can sell your first bike for about what you paid for it.
    #10
  11. jpk1080

    jpk1080 Adventurer

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    Thanks for the reply. After talking to a bike mechanic that I know indirectly, he kind of said the same thing. He said the chances of the bottom end being burned up was greater than I probably nothing. I do like smaller projects, but you're right. The time it takes to complete something like this is time I would rather spend riding. For that reason, I guess i'm going to pass over this one although the idea of being on a newer bike like this for a smaller price tag is quite attractive.
    #11
  12. Captain115

    Captain115 Been here awhile

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    Yep, I've bought 3 project bikes over the past two years thinking that I'd just fix them up. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy working on the bikes and building them back up but I don't think I've ever come close to finishing anywhere near as soon as when I first thought.

    Stuff just takes forever to get here, then you forget something, then some bolt burr or something snaps etc.

    I'd say that buying a working bike to begin with is probably the best idea for now.

    Hope it works out, whatever you decided.

    John
    #12
  13. Mala Suerte

    Mala Suerte Been here awhile

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    I bought a '96 KLR650 and rebuilt the top end immediately after buying it (it started knocking real bad). Ended up putting a new, lighter, piston, ring and wrist pin in it w/ new top end gaskets, fluids, etc. and I think it cost me $300-$350. I did all the work myself, but a good buddy, who owns a motorcycle shop, supervised and helped me when I needed it. Not terribly complicated, but some crucial steps you don't want to screw up. Clymer's walks you through it well.
    #13
  14. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Dirt Farmer

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    One other point.....Newer and KLR is relative. Even though they went through the restyle in 08 it is still basically using an 80's design.

    The 08+ has a little bit better front brake and larger fork diameter, but those improvements can be done to an earlier model as well if you find that they are needed.

    Keep looking, find a bike in your area, research the model and ask questions on here and you'll be riding in no time. A great adventure awaits you! :freaky
    #14
  15. jpk1080

    jpk1080 Adventurer

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    Good advice I need more patience. Thank you again.
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  16. jpk1080

    jpk1080 Adventurer

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    I stumbled across an 2001 DRZ400 today that has 1800 miles on it asking 2500 bucks no issues supposedly. Sounds like a decent deal and it does have the electric start and is the street legal version. trying to find out more info and he's apparently going to send more photos this afternoon. i wonder if he would come down antoher 300 bucks or so. that seems pretty good for a bike with such low mileage. Thanks.

    http://asheville.craigslist.org/mcy/3882409233.html
    #16
  17. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Dirt Farmer

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    That sounds like an excellent bike there. Supposedly no issues can only really be verified in person but certainly nothing wrong with the DRZ400 as a whole.
    #17
  18. jpk1080

    jpk1080 Adventurer

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    Does that price sound pretty fair. I'm hoping maybe 2200 will work for this bike. The only thing i worry about is that I will be mostly on the road. Will this suffice especially with street tires and minimal freeway use?
    #18
  19. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Dirt Farmer

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    That is spot on for price, at least in my area. I have never seen an S model below 2k.

    That is a valid concern with the DRZ as they have a close ratio 5 speed. However you can gear them up to be more road friendly at the expense of having to do more clutch slipping on dirt trails and slow going. This is a problem for people that do singletrack and highway in the same ride but not much of a problem for commuters, who can deal with the gearing change better.

    The main problem for me doing long distance road work on the DRZ however is the seat. It is narrow and about as hard as a 2x4. I rode a buddies for about an hour and was ready to get off for that reason alone. Seat concepts makes a much better replacement I hear.


    Hope that helped.
    #19
  20. jpk1080

    jpk1080 Adventurer

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    Helped a ton jimmy thanks. Thankfully I'm used to my rock hard Mtn bike seat so hopefully it won't be too bad. He hasn't answered me on price yet but I guess tomorrow I will look at it. He said its sat for a while so so,e of me fuel has kind of gelled in the carb. Runs fine but he wants to get it cleaned. Does that sound pretty common for a bike thats sat a while. The tires may also be old. When u talk abt changing the gearing for the road r u referring to changing he front and rear sprockets? Thanks
    #20