Resurrecting Janis - Creating the indestructible KLR

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Parepin, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    358
    Location:
    Wandering...
    Oh man. The really hilarious thing is that statistically this will be your 15 minutes of fame, and that few things you do from here on out will be this widely propagated. This will haunt you!

    Enjoy your internet fame! :eek1

    I want BAJA UPDATES on your other thread, damnit! I need something to read while my broken wrist heals!
    #41
  2. Myfuture_yourdebt

    Myfuture_yourdebt Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    Oddometer:
    372
    Location:
    Front Range, CO
    This pic I get, it's absolutely hilarious and hideously ADV. It begs the question..."did the front brake still work?" The bathroom pic has awkward composition to me, mostly your posture. Not that anyone's asking, but this pic should have made it to the front page...great pic, great story, representative of how KLR650s are treated on this forum, so totally ADV.
    #42
  3. Parepin

    Parepin The Filthy Nomad

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,148
    Location:
    That's... a tough one to answer
    Dammit, Fey. I've told you from day one, you keep wheeling (wheel...ie...ing?) through cow patties with reckless abandon, you're gonna get hurt!


    There's a big update in the works, no worries.
    #43
  4. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    358
    Location:
    Wandering...
    Haha! Cow patties would have been a bit softer than asphault, at least. No, I was passing a semi doing like 80 and it went into a tankslapper, but other than the wrist, one pannier and a bent luggage rack, both the bike and I are fine. Very lucky.

    I look forward to it! You have the best adventures. :freaky
    #44
  5. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,635
    Location:
    Vagabond Hippie
    "Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world's first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better...stronger...faster."
    #45
  6. High Desert Rider

    High Desert Rider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    126
    Location:
    Fallon, Nevada
    This!

    :lol3
    #46
  7. Hobbes950

    Hobbes950 Darth Kitten

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,089
    Location:
    Nevada City
    This man has a beer waiting in several refrigerators around the world.

    He knows better. I offered to let him ride my KTM, if for no other reason than so I could experience Janice in her sadly beautiful glory. No dice. :cry

    YES! :flug
    #47
  8. Parepin

    Parepin The Filthy Nomad

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,148
    Location:
    That's... a tough one to answer
    Yes. Yes it did. But in the sand, I washed out and tripped over the forks. I always manage to find a way to eat shit.

    The frame was held together with shoddy welds and hammered drain pipe. It was for YOUR benefit, not my own.
    #48
  9. sunset_ryder

    sunset_ryder aka "toots"

    Joined:
    May 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    877
    Location:
    New Mexico
    I beg to differ, nothing awkward about the bathroom pic. Nothing but absolute, breath taking beauty.
    I' be been following you for a long time youngster, and I too want the Baja story.
    Glad to see you back, BTW.
    As always I'm in for any of your new adventures

    :bubba
    #49
  10. Treadless

    Treadless seeking adventure

    Joined:
    May 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,416
    Location:
    Santa Barbara Ca



    Yo Alex, you're to young to be <strike>shooting</strike> drawing blanks... now at my age it's understandable. :lol3

    Anyway, it don't matter what you've done only what you're doing in the now and that is truly an awesome thing. I had a window to go "walk about" years ago and didn't go through it and have regretted it. You have my respect.
    #50
  11. bobfab

    bobfab Long timer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,535
    Location:
    Westminster CO
    :lurk

    in for rebuild
    #51
  12. GISdood

    GISdood Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    803
    Location:
    Prince George, BC
    Just spent the last two slow work days reading the rootbeer thread and now this one...

    Wow. Just fucking wow, dude. :huh Truly epic stuff.

    I know you've done the trip twice now (kinda), but if you happen to head north again, there's tent space or a spare room (or a couple of dog beds if thats the way you're rollin' these days - don't worry, the dogs will share, damhik) and always plenty of cold beer on hand in Prince George.

    Kudos to you for persevering and keeping the rest of us home- or desk-bound inmates entertained. Enjoy Baja!!
    #52
  13. Parepin

    Parepin The Filthy Nomad

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,148
    Location:
    That's... a tough one to answer
    With the gussets fabbed together, I turned my attention to the two sleeves. I had marked the frame with red paint pen where it had snapped on me and used this as a guideline for the reinforcement. I was going to try to bridge the weak point as far as I could on either side and encompass the stock tubes as much as possible. The material I had purchased for this fix proved to be quite a bit thicker and stiffer than the factory material which made forming it around the different diameters of the backbone and the down tube kind of a pain in the ass. This, along with the sheer amount of protrusions and random interference along the frame, proved to be too much work and I figured a partial sleeving would be enough.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    I spent the better part of a day with the grinder nestled in my palm, trimming and cleaning up the sleeves. The backbone was pretty simple and easy, and with the break being damn near in the center of the framing member, I was able to bridge the new frame quite a bit on either side of this weak point. The down tube, however, proved to be quite a bit more work for me. With all of the fittings and holes for the skid plate, engine brackets, and radiator mounts, it took a fair amount of work to make sure the new sleeve would clear everything. This broke at the base of the upper factory gussets, just below the triple trees. I would have to find a creative way to get this reinforced seeing as this break would be towards the end of the sleeve.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    With everything checked and triple checked, it was time to break out the welder. Now before I go showing off pics of the welding project, I'm just gonna tell you right now. I'm no welder. I can get the job done, especially with the MIG setup that Dan had stashed in the corner of this octane haven, but it aint pretty.

    And so I went about tacking the gussets in place. I wanted to keep as many things on the bike as I could during this process, just to make sure nothing interfered. I was able to sneak the grinder in most spots and clean out a fair amount of the factory paint before zapping any steel. The gussets went in fine, with no interferences. The sleeves took a bit of work. I had to spread the sleeve for the backbone a bit, and the downtime I had to pinch in. A C-clamp made quick work of positioning and I simply went around the outside with a few spot welds as well as a few placed in holes that I had drilled in the field.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #53
  14. Parepin

    Parepin The Filthy Nomad

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,148
    Location:
    That's... a tough one to answer
    I also took a moment to make further preventative measures. I went in with a power drill and hogged out not only the foot peg mounts, but the sub frame mounts as well. Dan fashioned up a couple of plates and welded on some turned down 10mm hardened steel nuts along the backside. These plates would get welded into the factory peg "box", essentially replacing the factory hardware that's got a bad habit of stripping out with bigger, beefier, better hardware. This same treatment was taken to the rear subframe mounts, replacing the existing threaded fittings with 10mm nuts. The upper sub frame mount was drilled clean through, replacing the existing two 8mm bolts with a single hardened 5in bolt. This is a bit more of a common mod done to the KLRs, one that I really recommend.

    [​IMG]

    Sorry for the blurry pics.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I was able to use the factory bracket on the right hand side, the one that the existing water overflow bottle mounts to, as a clearance gauge when placing the secondary radiator. My research led me to believe that the right side radiator out of a KLX was the way to go. Dimensionally, it was fairly close to the stock KLR radiator, but a few inches shorter. This was needed to clear the header. I threaded some bolts through the radiator mounts and stacked several nuts on the other side. With the reservoir bracket in place, I gauged my placement in the dim light with one eye closed and tacked the nuts to the frame. I didn't have a clue at the point how exactly I was going to plumb everything together, but I would get to that when the time came.

    [​IMG]

    I stacked two more nuts on these mounts than what's shown here.
    [​IMG]

    With everything tacked into place, I set about going to town with the grinder stripping away any paint from the welding points. I put a good several hours of welding into this frame while instrumental tunes played in the speakers overhead. I was having WAY too much fun. My sleep schedule was all sorts of fucked at this point. I would wake up late in the morning and be out in the garage from early afternoon well into the wee hours of the morning. I caught some flack for this, but I think Dan got a kick out of not knowing what he would be walking into the next morning before work. He would be going to bed with a bike 90% intact strapped to the bright pink stand, and wake up the next morning with the smell of ozone and burnt metal in the air and a naked frame in the corner.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Again, not the prettiest of welds. I took my time and experimented with my technique. Filling voids first, then laying a bead. Swirling the tip to fill any gaps, or just kind of cross hatching back and forth to spread the material a bit. All and all, I think it came out fairly well. I was nervouse about overheating the thin factory metal and ended up bouncing all over the frame. A two inch weld here, then while that cooled, a few other misc. welds all over. Dan suggested using some filler material on the lower framing gussets, and it worked out fairly well, even if I did have trouble filling the seam and making it look right. I would go through nearly an entire coil of welding wire and half a tank of gas on this job.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Back to the front downtube, I was still undecided how i would reinforce and bridge the gap where I had trimmed off the factory gussets. In the end I just used a beefie chunk of pipe, trimmed into kind of a medalion, to bridge the seam and add some strength. I hope.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #54
  15. Kawidad

    Kawidad Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,110
    Location:
    Central Coast, Cal
    :yikes
    #55
  16. Murphy Slaw

    Murphy Slaw Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,724
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    My thoughts as well.

    Great thread.
    #56
  17. Parepin

    Parepin The Filthy Nomad

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,148
    Location:
    That's... a tough one to answer
    The red lines are where I dealt with complete failure, whether it be breaks in the frame or complete separation of the welds.
    The yellow lines are simply cracks in the frame or powder coat that I found.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I spent the countless hours over the next day or two stripping the remaining components from the frame, degreasing, and scrubbing the frame as clean as I could get it. Using just a scotchbright, I scuffed up the factory paint fairly well and even cleaned up some of the welds with the grinder and a lapping wheel. The smaller components (footpegs, brackets, etc.) would go into a sandblasting tank at Dan's work just for a quick etching.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Everything then went out back and got hung from the rafters above the patio out back to be painted. I ended up just using Industrial Rustoleum, rather than going for a powdercoat job. I much rather would have had powdercoat, but the prep required, the overall lack of funds, and a quickly shrinking timeline prevented this. It wasn't all that bad, though. After four cans of paint and countless coats that seemed to dry in an instant in the Phoenix sunshine, everything came together fairly nicely. The paint stuck and held up well, even to the aluminum fork tubes.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Reassembly has commenced. The original Janis was still in one piece off to the side. I wanted to keep her intact as long as I could during this project so I would still have a bike to ride, but the time was quickly approaching for her own disassembly. Everything was coming together nicely. The radiators mounted right up, and I was even able to re-use the factory reservoir bracket as a bit of reinforcement. The electronics were relocated up and into the frame a bit. I'm not happy with this fix, but it would work for now. With the second radiator in place and the necessity for air flow, I was limited with where, exactly, I could place all these components necessary for forward propulsion.

    [​IMG]

    Shitty pic
    [​IMG]

    I went about plumbing in the cooling system here. On top of the secondary radiator, I also had a Thermo-Bob to deal with. This is also a great mod, but the placement of the external housing was always a tight fit. The flow of coolant was fairly factory, going from the pump into the bottom of the cylinder, then out of the head and through the Thermo-Bob and back into the factory radiator at the top. From there the line would cross from the bottom of the stock radiator back up and into the new KLX radiator, then down between the header and back into the coolant pump.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Space was a big issue here. There was a small void where the backbone and the downtube are gussetted together behind the steering head. I was able to cram a few electronics into this void, and it left enough room for the two cooling lines that connected the radiators to cross. There is kind of a gnarly bend required for the line connecting the two radiators. I had to go down to the local carquest with a chunk of line and wire that was loosely bent in the shape i would need. I was able to find a line with pre-existing bends that I cut down and managed to fit. Zip ties were used to hold all the lines in place and prevent any rubbing. The rest of the wiring harness was crammed into the remaining void and zip-tied into place. I'd like to take a more elegant approach to this later on, but for now this would work. This left just enough room for me to run the bypass line for the Thermo-Bob and the housing itself.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Just a quickie here. For those that aren't familiar with a Thermo-Bob, it's basically a radiator bypass. The idea is that in cold weather, the bypass would divert hot coolant just as it exits the engine, bypassing the radiator all together, and routing some hot coolant back into the engine. This greatly helps maintain a steady temperature in the engine, preventing it from getting too cold on those blustery winter commutes. The addition of the radiator, of course, goes the opposite direction by adding cooling capability. These two mods have worked well together so far, and I haven't had any issues. Stays at optimal temperatures in 30 degree weather, as well as those 100+ days in slow traffic. My fan is rarely used.

    The coolant reservoir was relocated to the left side of the subframe, just opposite the muffler. A res. off of a YFZ 450 (I think) nestled right up under there nicely. I was even able to re-use the existing bracket from the California charcoal box with minimal effort. Just had to cut out a simple bracket and it bolted right on. The overflow line was run along the backbone and split off just before the radiator, allowing me to connect both rads to the bottle.

    [​IMG]
    #57
  18. Parepin

    Parepin The Filthy Nomad

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,148
    Location:
    That's... a tough one to answer
    During this whole project, I found myself getting burnt out on more than one occasion. Several times I had to just switch projects or simply wander off to find something else to do. I took some old copper sheet that Dan's neighbor, Don, had lying around and used it to add some details to Janis. The fender brace got a nice accent, and the wedge-shaped chunks that I used to extend my upper fairing were clad in weathered and beaten copper, giving it a pretty cool look.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I also went in and fucked with my wiring a bit. A dashboard was fabbed up from an old alumimum dental tray and Dan created a really cool mount setup that attached it to the fairing mounts. This allowed me to simply remove one bolt and tilt the dash up and out of the way, giving me access to the wiring behind. A fresh hot lead was run up behind the dash and I wired in a few relays to the headlight. One for high beam, one for low. This gave direct battery power to the bulb and greatly increased its brightness. With the stock wiring, I was losing a little over a volt at the headlight. This solved that. I also installed a fan bypass switch, a set of heated hand grips complete with dimmable indicator light, and a digital volt meter courtesy of RaceTech Electric. I'm riding in style, now.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #58
  19. Parepin

    Parepin The Filthy Nomad

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,148
    Location:
    That's... a tough one to answer
    That's pretty much it. A simple re-assembly went fairly easily. I had to adjust the rubber tank bumpers a bit to compensate for the additional thickness of the sleeves, and I've gone in a couple of times since to clean up the wiring. The only real problem I had was when it came time to install the aluminum skid plate. The front lower gussets ran too high, preventing me from being able to use the supplied U-bolt. When I brought this to Dan's attention, he just laughed and said he was glad. It seemed to be annoying him that everything was going so smoothly, and he had just been waiting for something to go awry. Well, here it is. a simple fix, however. I threaded two bolts through the front mounting holes of the skidplate and snugged down a couple of 1" long nuts on the other side. I ground an angle on either end and just welded the nuts right to the beefed up gussets. Fill around it with plenty of weld, grind to shape, and paint. Job done. Fuck you, Dan.

    [​IMG]

    One other thing I wanted to add onto here regarding the skidplate is the addition of a cutting board that we glued to the bottom. My problem with the skidplate that I had before was that whenever I would bottom our or highside on any rock, the hardware would get mangled. This prevented me from really being able to extract them at all. I tossed the idea to Dan and he went to town, using a $7 Wal-Mart nylon cutting board for his material. Bent to shape and secured with low profile screws, this allowed the skidplate mounting bolts to be resessed below the surface of the nylon. Now, whenever I high side it, I should just slide right along the nylon and NOT mangle the bolts. It's worked well so far.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, that's where I'm at right about now. A few other adjustments were made to the luggage and a freshly rebuilt Ricor Inertia Shock smoothed the ride right out. I had very few issues on my test rides, short of a loose connection and a few suspension bolts that needed to be snugged after a handful of shakedown runs from Four Peaks outside of Phoenix all the way down to a Hooligan run through Tijuana and into the mountains. I'm pleased with how this has all come out, but I will say this. For the time and effort involved, this was one of the most anticlimactic projects I've ever undergone. I was left with a bike that looked completely identical to the bike I rolled in on nearly a month before. Bigger, stronger, fa.... er... heavier.....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #59
  20. Parepin

    Parepin The Filthy Nomad

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,148
    Location:
    That's... a tough one to answer
    So... that's it. It took just under three weeks of daily work to get this done. Everything on Janis is now practically new, except for the engine and the plastics.

    I want to thank:

    Dan and his wife Cindy for taking me in during this whole project. It was quite involved, but we had a blast hanging out, listening to music, exchanging ideas, and downing a beer or two. I benefited greatly from his mentality and wisdom, and it means a lot to me that, at the end of this project, he was able to stand back and just look at the finished product. He was quiet, with a beer in his hand. I waited for him to find something wrong, but instead he just nodded and said "Looks good. That's how I'd have done it." Thanks, Dan.

    DaFoole for the sharing of HIS wisdom and old biker stories. I had a place to stay, some awesome meals, and a great atmosphere to wrench. I'm glad I could help him get his fleet going, but I still feel greatly in debt. I gotta buy him a beer... or somethin.

    Beechum, for networking me into some employment. The timing was perfect, and the paycheck is just what I needed to get this project off to a start. He also took me on a HELL of a shakedown in Tijuana. Highway speeds down center medians, popping wheelies over discarded couches, getting airborne of bridge berms, and slaloming through road signs and downed fences. What. A. Ride.

    And, of course, every random person that wandered into the garage with a beer in their hand, waiting to offer advice, service, or just moral support. Walker, 'Lil Bill, Joe, Jeremy, Paul..... and Don.

    Any way, this is the approach I took to a problem I had. I've spoken with a few people and I seem to have made more than one leery about the KLR. I'm gonna say this, though: The problems that I had are rare. They HAVE happened, but in all my research, I can only think of less than a dozen. In the MILLIONS of KLRs out there. Look your bike over, but don't feel it necessary to do what I did. Janis has lived a hard life, and I'm incredibly impressed with how she's performed and the fun I've had. I definitely got my money's worth.

    If anyone has any questions or comments, shoot. I'm not looking to get this pinned or turned into a guide, I'm just trying to get your creative juices flowing. If I can help in any way with anyone's projects, I'd be glad to.

    Now I just need a new engine...
    #60