1. eNewsletter Sign Up

09 KLR - Buddy stranded on the Alcan

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by AKTobias, Oct 10, 2010.

  1. AKTobias

    AKTobias Frugal Badass

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    292
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Okay, here’s the situation. A noob buddy is on leg #1 of his ride from Prudhoe to Tierra Del Fuego. He is on his way down now and stranded in Stewart, BC with a broke down KLR and doesn’t know what to do.

    He said he had just filled up about 60 miles previously, he was cruising about 60 mph or so, it sputtered, then it died. It wouldn’t even turn over, and he said the lights wouldn’t even come on. No horn, no flashers, nothing.

    Questions I asked:

    1. Was it bad gas? No. Twas running just dandy and then just stopped. Won’t even sputter to a start. Dead dead dead.

    2. Did you check the fuses? No. But then again this doesn’t explain why it would quit while it was running.

    3. Did you try to jump the battery? Yes. Nada.

    4. Did you try to push start the bike? No.

    This is an 09 KLR with 6500 miles on it. The valves were checked before this trip, fresh oil, filters, and a new battery installed.

    He’s calling me back in a bit after he gets the bike hauled into Stewart (population 300ish). He’s in a hotel tonight and will try to get the bike going in the am.

    Any advice for him I could pass along?
    #1
  2. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    Oddometer:
    5,957
    Location:
    Central Mn
    Man, I have not a clue to offer, but count me in as a listener, this one a great mystery thus-far. Can't wait to hear how it turns out.... :puke1
    #2
  3. ColininKodiak

    ColininKodiak (not in Kodiak)

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    714
    Location:
    Tampa Bay Florida
    If he lost all power ask him to check his ground wire on the battery. If it came loose that would explain why jumping it did nothing. Also Stewart is on the Cassiar, not the Alcan. :wink: Awfully late to be riding from Deadhorse, but it sounds like he made out ok until now. This one is a :lurk for sure. Good luck for him, hope he gets it sorted.
    #3
  4. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2005
    Oddometer:
    11,828
    Location:
    Golden CO
    Its definitely electrical. I'd start by looking at whatever modifications he may have done if any, then check battery cables, fuses (if a wire rubbed though some where and shorted it'd most likely have popped a fuse) and grounds (especially the "other" end of the negative cable) and take it from there.
    #4
  5. kodiakfrank

    kodiakfrank Gloria's Cheerleader

    Joined:
    May 23, 2004
    Oddometer:
    9,628
    Location:
    In the mountains of Idaho!
    Ok, I'll say it... How the fuck is he gonna make it to the tip of South America if he can't even troubleshoot electrical problems on his bike?:huh
    #5
  6. AKTobias

    AKTobias Frugal Badass

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    292
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Yep,
    I'm getting messages from inmates saying it's the main fuse. Evidently this has happened a good bit with the 08 and up. When I talk to him again, he'll start there, then check the clutch switch and then start wiggling wires for loose connections.

    So here's "The back story":
    He came back from his army vacation in Afphganistan this Spring and we met here in Anchorage. We realized we both had bike fancies ... not fancy bikes mind you.
    He had never ridden, so we found him am 09 KLR and shipped it up. He learned to ride in my neighborhood and only tore up my neighbor's yard once ... but he busted all that fancy plastic on the right side on the first fall.

    Just after D2D, which the Army prevented him from attending, he tooled up the Haul Road to Prudhoe. HIs greatest disappointment was that he only saw a squirrel and a porcupine. Over 1700 miles and that was all he RECOGNIZED as he sped by.

    With leg #1 of his Pan Am trip behind him, he began planning leg #2: Anchorage to Seattle. He was going to winter the bike there and when he finally got out of the army in February, he'd pick back up in Seattle and head South.

    So while he was out on a top secret army money-wasting excercise in Hawaii for the last month, I've been getting his bike ready. Adding amenities like heated grips and aux outlets, rear tire and lubing everything. Basic stuff. He got back on Monday ... and was planning to head south on Friday ... 4 days later. He was really glad I had been loving on his baby while he was out.

    Friday this week we head out of Anchorage together at 8 am. It was 38 degrees in Anchorage, and by the time we hit Palmer it was 28. We stopped because he wanted to buy another fleece. I drank a cup of wonderfully scalding coffee.

    By the time we hit the glacier, it was about 18, and then in Glen Allen it was about 28-30 degrees. That was the coldest I've ever been in my life. 75 mph at that temp for 2 hours without stopping! I could feel the cold knife on me at every zipper!

    So we ate at the Caribou, warmed up and after getting gas we prayed that he wouldn't hit ice, moose, bear or other major issues ... and then we parted ways. He went toward Tok, hoping to get close to Whitehorse for the day. I went back to Anchorage, and longed for a hot shower the whole way.

    He attempted to camp that night somewhere north of Whitehorse and tried to sleep. But the wolves started making their cat calls at him and he thought they were getting closer and closer, so he packed up and headed toward whitehorse. Just after he got on the road at 2:30 am, it started snowing.

    He limped into whitehorse, gassed up as it dumped snow. He moved on out of Whitehorse at 25 mph.

    The last scene I heard was at Stewart. He had hitched a ride into town after his bike went zonkers on him, he got a room and was enjoying the benefits of a small town having a wedding ... free food. His bike was going to be towed in later tonight or in the morning. And between now and then, we'll talk about where to start diagnosing the issues.

    Thanks for all the support guys. Alaska ADVers are good family.
    Toby
    #6
  7. AKTobias

    AKTobias Frugal Badass

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    292
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    He's learning it just like the rest of us ... except later in life and with less of a safety net.

    He knows the risks of this trip. He knows that he doesn't know how to diagnose issues on the bike yet. But he also knows if he doesn't do it now, he probably won't get a chance or make the time later to do it.

    I think 18 months of being in the sand with the Army makes you wish you were anywhere else doing anything else. That's a lot of time to think and dream and regret. And within a few days of getting out of the army in Feb, he'll be in Mexico ... whether he pays somebody to fix the bike or he does it himself.

    So for now, he's eating and drinking in Stewart tonight. He will probably have to pay someone fix his bike for him, and knowing him he will look over their shoulder and take notes in his little notebook, and then he'll be riding South by tomorrow afternoon.

    And I'll be at friggin' work.
    #7
  8. beamertwin

    beamertwin Paul

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,088
    Location:
    the end of the rainbow
    pm sent

    saftey switches or ground

    glad he is out there
    #8
  9. subybaja

    subybaja Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,896
    Location:
    Anchorage (Spenard)
    :poser I met that guy the night before he left!

    ...sitting on his dead bike in the middle of Spenard road!

    He'd just picked it up from a valve adjustment at the tour place by HoH. He made it just past Gwennie's when it died. We pushed it up into the rental car lot, and started looking it over. It turned out that they'd forgotten to hook up the petcock vacuum line and the fuel line!

    I hope this problem turns out to be as easy!

    :ricky

    PS- you're gonna get more consistent, logical diagnoses of his problem with one central thread...IMHO.
    #9
  10. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Oddometer:
    9,487
    Location:
    Anchorage, formerly Spenard (hub of the universe)
    pm sent.... gotta be bad battery, main fuse, battery leads... something in the core electrical. Unlike older KLRS, Gen II bikes need battery to run.

    Bad safety switches will not cause the bike to quit if it's running.
    #10
  11. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    Oddometer:
    5,957
    Location:
    Central Mn
    wow, there's a positive forum response. I'm sure that one helped.
    #11
  12. AKTobias

    AKTobias Frugal Badass

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    292
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Here's the latest.
    I got a text this am that says he's 180 miles further down the road from where he broke down. I don't know what that means. Maybe he figured it out and just drove through the night. Maybe he was hauled over to the next town. We'll see. But, though he's ignorant about how to fix that bike, he's getting a story.

    Suby, He told me you bailed him out Thursday by Gwennies. You see what I'm working with? It's hard to get frustrated with a guy that nice and earnest about making this trip. Even if he doesn't recognize his gas lines aren't connected!

    Thanks fellas
    #12
  13. kodiakfrank

    kodiakfrank Gloria's Cheerleader

    Joined:
    May 23, 2004
    Oddometer:
    9,628
    Location:
    In the mountains of Idaho!
    Sometimes you have to remove the rose-colored glassed and face the facts.

    Motorcycles are mechanical/electrical beasts and at least a basic working knowlege of each is needed when venturing off the beaten path.
    #13
  14. AKTobias

    AKTobias Frugal Badass

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    292
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Just got a call and here's the scoop.

    The main fuse was blown. He replaced the fuse and was wiggling wires when it sparked and blew the fuse again. The wire that connects to the main fuse rubbed into the frame somewhere.

    So he replaced the fuse again, wrapped the wire, checked other wires and is repacking the bike now.

    I think after a cold day of riding, less than a full night's sleep in 2 days, he was pooped. Evidently he found it right off this morning when he started looking it over.
    #14
  15. vegasphotog

    vegasphotog Las Vegas Cheechako

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,333
    Location:
    Covered in Desert Dirt since 2007
    word.
    #15
  16. simestd

    simestd Packet plumber Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    763
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    Glad to hear your friend is back on the road. You'll have to let him know he now has a small following and we're anxious for a trip log - or at least some updates so we can adventure by proxy :evil
    #16
  17. AKDuc

    AKDuc Alaska Born Ducatisti

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,886
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Hello and welcome ADVn00b simestd!

    AKTobias, very glad to hear your buddy is doing well.

    And as I recall, he should be able to get a new wiring harness for a newer KLR under warrantee when he gets to a shop.

    Good luck and have fun, Mark H.
    #17
  18. ohiodualsporter

    ohiodualsporter Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    207
    I thought I read somewhere on here that Kawasaki had a recall on wiring getting chaffed-shorting out against the frame near the seat. If I remember right, the fix was just to reroute the wires.:evil
    #18
  19. Tom S

    Tom S Can I ride it? Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,374
    Location:
    Anchorage Alaska
    Simestd, I bet I talked to you & looked at your bike @ the Tasty Freez earlier this summer. You had your young daughter that wants an airplane with you. We were yackin' outside at the table on the South side. You told me about fixing up your bike & using the Colortune plug.
    I must have been on one of my Buells & mentioned this site.
    Right?

    BTW, AKDuc is like the Welcome Wagon guy around here. :nod Right, Mark? :wave
    I don't think he ever fails to welcome a n00b. :D
    #19
  20. akadvntr

    akadvntr Frozen

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    233
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
    AKTobias, glad to hear your friend is on the road again. I envy his adventure! Sometimes leaping before looking is OK. I wish him the best and know he will learn as he goes, especially with a little help from ADV family.

    Ken
    #20