Loads of people all over the world favor the Kawasaki KLR650 for its ease of maintenance, budget-friendliness, and general bullet-proofness, myself included. YouTuber FortNine does too, apparently. Even after hitting a rock and splitting his KLR’s engine case he found it worthy of a total teardown and rebuild. I don’t disagree, and he made a really fantastic time-lapse video out of said rebuild.
This video makes everything look really easy, even all the “gotchas” when it comes to assembling the transmission and fitting the piston rings.
Right around the four-minute mark you can see him installing the famous KLR “doohickey,” which is probably an upgraded one; I recognize the aftermarket specific doohickey tool he and his shop assistant use to tighten everything down.
Installing the engine into the frame is a great milestone but there’s so much left to do. The host pauses between the installations of each major system and highlights all of the parts laid out: all of the engine pieces, all of the air and fuel delivery, the electrical. Anyone who has ever had their hands on or in a KLR recognizes all of these parts and we’re alternately inspired and scarred depending on our own history and experiences.
Right around 11:20 he’s obviously installing a manual thermostat bypass. This is a pretty common modification for the KLR; fans say it keeps the engine running at a more constant and consistent temperature. It is, however, not the most traditional bypass, the “Thermo-Bob,” and my google-fu fails me when I try to find out what it is he’s using and why. Dear readers, do you recognize his particular bypass gizmo?
I do absolutely love the replacement rear fender, the aftermarket headlight, and the gauge kit (without the front subframe and fairing, you’ve gotta put your dashboard somewhere). The astute KLRista who has, like me, struggled with stripped screws on an aged KLR will note the replacement screws on the front brake master cylinder. This (along with the hex-head screw upgrade on the carburetor) is one of those little upgrades that will make a huge difference down the road, especially if you ride your bike in the wintertime. Sometimes those stripped screws mean a new master cylinder. Heck, I have an eBay-sourced front master cylinder in my parts collection ready for my own KLR overhaul this spring: one of my master cylinder screws is stripped. I could drill it out, but I don’t want metal shavings anywhere near my brake fluid.
The video concludes with the moment of truth we all know and love (and hate); the first time you push the starter button after a big rebuild. Will it start or will it make some kind of horrible noise? You’re always sure but you’re never really sure, you know?