KLR 650 rod knock - engine swap/new bike?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by charliefirpo, Jul 4, 2019.

  1. charliefirpo

    charliefirpo Adventurer

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    My 2008 KLR 650 with 32k miles had the pleasure of experiencing Rod Knock because of lack of oil. I haven't looked into the engine yet but its so messed up inside that the engine wont even turn over anymore. Now my question is what do? I am not a mechanic but like to work on the bike and am quite handy. Shall I buy a new engine an swap the whole thing? The engine alone would costs USD 1000 (1500 CAD up here). Is it worth it? Is it viable for a non mechanic? How long a job would it be for me? I have an apartment complex garage and would have to rent power tools if more than a drill is required. I have most other hand tools. Getting it professionally repaired would cost USD 1600 in labor alone according to a mechanic who heard the story. Or should I just buy a new bike (second hand that is) and sell this one for parts? A new one (used) would also cost x2.5 the cost of a new engine.
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  2. vagueout

    vagueout Long timer

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    Buy another bike . Buy a 5 litre container of the correct oil and a funnel.:*sip*
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  3. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b Supporter

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    Changing the engine shouldn't require any power tools unless you mangle a bolt or screw head and have to drill it out.

    The math depends on 1) how much the bike is worth to you and 2) if you think you can get an engine that's in good condition.

    Then again, I bought my KLR for $1200USD but I wouldn't count on it today.
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  4. Johann

    Johann Long timer

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    Doing an engine swap is totally within the realm of a very average DIY mechanic with limited access to tools. Having a workshop manual and taking as many photos as you can during the process will make your life easier. Tupperware boxes to store everything that comes off the bike so nothing gets lost. It´s Japanese, it is going to be designed to come apart with a basic socket set and 8/10/12/14/17mm spanners. A torque wrench for doing up the mounting bolts when the engine is back is the only special tool I can think of. You can do it, just work slowly and methodically.

    Repairing the engine could end up as a very expensive black hole, engine swap is the most cost efficient way to go. With practice you could do it in a few hours, for the first attempt I would expect a full day taking it very slowly and double checking your work. An extra pair hands when it comes time to offer the new engine up to the frame is worth its weight in gold but there are other options if you are working alone like laying the bike on its side.
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  5. charliefirpo

    charliefirpo Adventurer

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    Thanks for all the tips. I have a torque wrench and tons of sockets. How much time would you plan to swap the engine? I would do it in winter but would prefer not to spend all my spare hours at the garage for six months. What time frame would I realistically need to plan for? Again I'm not an expert but do all my regular repair and maintenance work myself. (Except refilling oil:rofl)

    Edit: Thanks, I see you already answered my question, Johann! That's very helpful! I think in that case I will attempt a swap.

    Any ideas what that means for insurance? I know it will differ from country to country and I'm in Eh-country but what does a swapped engine mean for insurance purposes? Not that I insured the bike anyway but I'm curious in case I resell it and the impact I would calculate for the new buyer.
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  6. Johann

    Johann Long timer

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    Get someone to help you and no reason you couldn´t get it all done in a day. It is better to do it the same day if possible, it is still fresh in your mind and you have all the parts there. A small electrician´s screwdriver to help prise block connectors apart might be a good idea. An impact driver might be handy as well depending how old/rusted the bolts are. Soak the mounting bolts (and anything else you can think of) with penetrating oil while you are waiting. A breaker bar on standby might be a plan as well, getting the nut holding the front sprocket off is normally a bit of a faff (don´t know about KLR design you might be lucky).
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  7. Johann

    Johann Long timer

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    If you can move the airbox back any distance at all it will make refitting carb easier, may or may not be possible. Taking the rubber between carb and airbox and leaving it in a pan of boiling water will make it soft enough to fit easily but it will harden again within 30 seconds so you have to move fast.
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  8. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    engine swap, Saturday morning if you really go slow and break some stuff
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  9. charliefirpo

    charliefirpo Adventurer

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    Thank you, Johann that's a lot of good information. Do you by any chance also know if I could use a Gen1 engine in a Gen2 KLR?

    Saturday morning certainly sounds like an acceptable time frame :).
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  10. Johann

    Johann Long timer

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    The wiring from the stator might be different, I think the power for the ignition on the 1st gen had a dedicated coil, on the 2nd gen it was from the battery. The main jet sizes may be different, you would have to check. I think there were other small changes but the dimensions stayed the same so in theory should work. I´ve never done it so best to wait for somebody that has to confirm.

    I bet somebody on this thread would be able to give you a definitive answer...

    https://advrider.com/f/threads/klr650-only-thread.742912/page-1758
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  11. anonny

    anonny What could go wrong?

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    If plan B is to sell it cheap.... I may be interested.... where in BC is it?
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  12. charliefirpo

    charliefirpo Adventurer

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    Thanks Johann that's really good to known I will look for a Gen 2 then. Retrofitting a G1 engine might be above my qualifications.

    @anonny I'll dm you.
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  13. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

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    probably not worth rebuilding the original because (among other reasons) there is one bearing that is unobtaium.

    not that hard to change an engine

    Gen I and Gen II engines should interchange but the engine electrics are different. the ignition systems do not mix. you can swap stators. the carb is no problem

    when you get the engine out, remove the manifold for the carb... it's held on with Phillips screws. replace those with either Allen heads or case bolts. I like the case/cover bolts with the 8mm wrench size. when you re-install the carb, slip it into the manifold and then fit the pair to the engine.... much easier. if you use Allens you will have to shorten a wrench to fit in there
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  14. gumbellion

    gumbellion Been here awhile

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    go post in the regional canada section of the forum. I bet there is someone close to you that would help you do it for a case of beer. I bet they would even let you use their garage and tools if you get them kokanee instead of blue
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  15. Schmokel

    Schmokel Key to Happiness: Low Expectations

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    Shelf it. Buy a running bike. Keep this current bike as a parts bike.
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  16. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Long timer

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    Low on oil? Top end is trashed as well. Not rebuildable

    As for replacing the engine, if you can find one. Not just any one, but a good one. KLR engines are a bit hard to get. People will run the bikes into the ground, and then keep riding them until they run them low on oil. You are going to have much better luck finding a whole bike in good shape than just a good engine to swap in.
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  17. NJjeff

    NJjeff Long timer

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    That's my thought.
    If you got a rod knock I'll bet the cam journals are toast. Especially the exhaust they are the last to get oil.

    If funds allow push it to the side and pick up another bike.
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  18. charliefirpo

    charliefirpo Adventurer

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  19. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Long timer

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    Better know what year it is. The '08 is well known for ring issues. What's another bike going to cost? What is the bike you have now worth?
    #19
  20. Aprilia

    Aprilia Long timer

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    I've done KLR engine swaps at least a doz times. Gen1 to Gen2 or opposite has already been discussed...non issue. As also stated early Gen2's do burn oil...up thru mid 2010's. Personally, if/when I do an engine swap I automatically do a big bore kit and go thru the head. Doesn't cost that much and now you know the condition of the top end...better than factory. www.eaglemike.com can do it all for you. I also pop off the ignition cover and upgrade the Doolever and verify the upper balancer bearing is in good shape. That bearing is splash lubed and if the bike is run a bit low on oil at highway speeds that bearing can go... As for time to swap...I can usually have it done in 4hrs if I'm doing nothing but a swap. Its a good time to do other maint though. KLR's are stupid easy to work on...

    As for finding engines. They can be found. I usually have a couple on my parts shelf (I have a Gen1 and a Gen2 currently). Expect to pay min $1200 usd with most going for $1500 average. Early Gen2's with oil burning really raised the pricing for used heads and engines. Owners just couldn't spend the 4 sec to check oil levels on a regular basis and burned up top ends. I can't find a good head any longer for under $600.

    A couple yrs ago I had a local come in with engine knock. It sounded like upper balancer bearing and I ended up buying the bike. Pulled the engine and found the upper conrod bearing was at fault. Very unusual. Dug a bit further and found a dry air filter. Called the owner and he was not aware a new filter needed oiling.

    Intake side of cylinder/piston confirmed dirt was getting past the air filter. So much so it took out the upper conrod. This was a 2013 KLR with the down graded clutch (mid 2011 saw that change) so I ended up swapping over a early 2011 bottom end with the better clutch. Did the big bore kit and went thru the head. Sold it to another local who recently stopped by...he has racked over 60K miles on it and loves it. I always like a good ending!
    #20