1998 Klr250

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unimpressed by you
Welp... I bought another bike.



I bought it looking like this, missing a throttle cable(the other was for the wrong bike), broken choke lever, missing kill switch, broken front brake cable, no battery, no turn signals, hacked off rear fender, leaking gas tank, an o-ring chain that looked baaaaad, and covered in mud.

But, clean title.





But, it had a clean title, cleetus wanted $500 cash, so it came home.

I've put less than $500 into it, and it will pass inspection once the throttle cables arrive.
Total number is $1228.48, including purchase, parts, tags, and title.

I may need an air filter, but we shall see, the original one cleaned nicely in some degreases. The throttle cables came today, and I got them installed after work.

It runs, moves, stops, starts, etc. It idles, somewhat. It gets warm and then doesn't like to idle, I'm thinking valves have never been adjusted. Unfortunately it doesn't rev over about 5500rpm, and the top end makes a lot of noise, so either the valves are way off, the cam chain is super loose, the cam lobes are wiped out, or it's got some other issue. Given the idle issue, and the rev issues, I wonder how out of whack the valves are.

I'll do an oil change, run fresh oil through it, then do a filter and oil change, just to see how much metal is in the oil. Hopefully it's not bad... However, it does start relatively easily hot and cold, so I'm not expecting anything catastrophic.

Got it tagged today, so once I fix the only-does-5000-rpm and doesn't-like-to-idle issues I'll take it out on the road.

Picked up a new helmet too, this one is so light I almost don't notice wearing it. It's a Klim Krios Pro with the Senna 10 Bluetooth installed.


Queue the narrator voice. "But it wasn't an easy fix, it was the worst case scenario, as usual."

Carb top is cracked.

Cam chain is really loose, and the tensioner is maxed out.


And the cams are scored pretty good.

So, looks like it's going in the back of the garage for a while, until I get less pissed off at it for being a steaming pile of garbage.
Cam chain is under the 20-link service limit. It seems like the cam chain tensioner doesn't extend fully all the time, which sucks, because there's no way to check after you install it.

I'm going to put a manual cam chain tensioner on it, new intake cam, and run it.
It's been a while, but I've been working on it. I finally got the flywheel puller tool I ordered a few weeks ago, so I got the flywheel pulled. Naturally, I pulled the balancers off without actually looking at them or making any marks, so I'm just kinda hoping I didn't mess that up, I guess we'll see. I remember thinking "hmmm, I should probably walk across the shop and get the paint pen... Nah, it'll be fine."

I got the old cam chain pulled out, and the new one wrapped around, so now I just have to get the new intake cam installed, old exhaust cam back in, and set timing.

Oh, I did paint it, I think it's alright looking, it's definitely attention-getting. I was going to do something trendy like Multicam Black, but I decided that I have always had a hard enough time being seen, even with blaze orange jackets on a bright red bike, I don't want to tempt anyone to run me over again.


As far as cosmetics, I need to paint the radiator covers, front fender, and maybe the tank with houndstooth. Then I'm going to re-cover the seat, put new fork covers on (I'm not sure of the accordian style or maybe just "seal savers"), and then new wheels that aren't so beat up with new tires.

Mechanically, after I finish the timing chain, cam, and balancer chain:
Lower Skid Plate install
New tires
Tusk Brush Guards
Build or buy some kind of luggage rack
Find and install various bolts that I may or may not actually need
Maybe an LED headlight?

Perhaps I'll switch out the tires on the beat up wheels for some grippier street tires before it gets too cold to make use of them.

Tonight I hope to get the chains back on, cams installed, and at least start to get it all buttoned up.
The bottom end is all buttoned up, the new intake cam installed, exhaust cam installed, and the manual tensioner is at minimum now.


I might get to ride it tonight, if I can finish it up.

I'm going to need to get some new valve cover bolt seals, and at least one new valve cover bolt... It appears the previous owner stripped one out, and used a random bolt.


I wrote above this earlier this morning.


Got it all buttoned up and started. Rode it around the property a bit, then put it away. The lights work, tach works, it sounds quiet, it's in pretty good running order now.

There's an exhaust leak where the header pipe meets the muffler coupling, I'll have to get something for that tomorrow, otherwise, it's a fun bike. Gets up and goes, popped a couple wheelies unintentionally, then a few more intentionally, lol.

Tomorrow I'll take it to the gas station to fill up the tank and perhaps shake it down a bit more.
Maiden voyage! Took it out for about 8 miles total during my lunch break, at about 1/4 mile in I had to switch to reserve, but I was heading straight to the gas station, so it was fine. My only complaint is that the turn signals don't cancel, and it doesn't have much power (compared to the last street bike I had, an sv650s) but it does alright. It'll make a nice commuter bike.

Filled up with 2.5 gal of premium, and after getting home I realized the radiator fan switch wasn't working. Then, after finding a bolt, I realized I forgot to tighten some things... they're tightened now.

There's a vacuum leak somewhere or the jetting isn't right, but it's got decent street-manners, even on the knobbies.

After getting home I got the brush guards in the mail, so I'll get those on later. I also received the white rear fender, so I'll get that painted up and installed later.

Rear fender installed!


Now for a more permanent license plate bracket, seat cover, and some kind of box/rack for stuff, tools, and things.
I'm consistently surprised at how easy it is to get this bike into places. To get here on the Trail 90, it would have taken about 3x more effort and time.


I finished up the plate mount (which is a lot more beefy than required, but meh, I'd rather not have to get a replacement plate.) and put the tool/essentials box on the fender. It's drilled and bolted to it.






And finally, one with its little brother:

I'm not sure if I'll keep this, or sell it, but it's a lot of fun, so maybe it'll stick around for a while.

I swapped the tail light bulb to an LED "bulb", it should increase reliability of it, decrease draw on the electrical system, and be slightly more visible.
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The radiator fan still doesn't come on, despite swapping out the right radiator completely. I'll burp the cooling system and see if that helps... But I think Kleetus overheated it more than once, and possibly blew out the head gasket. A blown head gasket would explain the constantly puking coolant if it's not just the overfilled reservoir.

I'm not looking forward to replacing the HG, despite having all the gaskets and tools to do it, just because it's gonna suck. The procedure on this bike is:
Pull cam chain, pull cams, pull head bolts, pull head, mill and polish head surface, mill and polish cylinder top surface, put it all back together, torque head bolts, install cams, timing chain, set valves, reinstall valve cover, . Then, after putting it all back together, you get to run it to get it warm, and take the valve cover off, remove the cams, and re-torque the head bolts, then put it all back together again, setting the valves on the way out. Once again, run it to get it warm, let it cool off, and do it all over again.

So, unlike a civic or a trail 90, replacing a head gasket on this is going to take like 6 hours. I'm really hoping I don't have to do it.
I had some time to play with it during lunch.

Right when the fan comes on, T1 is the radiator, T2 is the head.

And with the fan running, right before it kicks off again, T1 is head, T2 is radiator

All that, and it never stopped bubbling out the radiator.

And I need to finally fix the carb's vacuum slider that's been broken since I got it:

So, I put some gaff tape on both sides of that cap, and now it works fine. I also had to bust out the LH drill bits to extract the idle jet, which was a little sketchy, but the last time I had to use them was drilling out a valve cover bolt on my built d16y8, so it was actually less stressful after I thought about that.

The bike now idles reliably, and the temps are still kinda wonky, but I figured out why I couldn't seem to get any of the bubbles out. Kleetus swapped the draw and feed coolant lines, presumably to "repair" breaking one of the hoses. I'm surprised he didn't just put some garden hose on it. Top photo is how it was, bottom photo is the correct way:

So, perhaps the weather will support a ride this afternoon.
Yeah, it should be pretty good now. I got the bar risers on, and moved the kill switch closer to the throttle hand.



Apparently it's very common for people/mechanics to reverse the water pump hoses on these bikes, leading to an overheating issue that seems to always be diagnosed as a bad head gasket with no discernible failure point on the actual head gasket. You have to remove the coolant hoses to get the head off, and it seems to reason that you'd wind up referring to the manual when reassembling or fail to mention that they were backwards causing the HG replacement due to hubris. Interesting issue, definitely.

So, we'll see, but it doesn't look like my schedule is going to cooperate, maybe I can get a few miles on it later today/tonight.
First night ride. It runs great, except uphill? Took me a bit to figure out that it cuts out when going uphill...

So, in any gear pretty much anything above an idle, it goes "ukh. Ukh. Ukh." Instead of "braaaaaap" when going uphill or up a grade. Kinda irritating. I think it's the carb float level maybe?
First night ride. It runs great, except uphill? Took me a bit to figure out that it cuts out when going uphill...

So, in any gear pretty much anything above an idle, it goes "ukh. Ukh. Ukh." Instead of "braaaaaap" when going uphill or up a grade. Kinda irritating. I think it's the carb float level maybe?

So, apparently the carb float height is set to about 2mm, and it should be set to 17mm. I'll fix that tomorrow. My hands are dry and I don't feel like getting covered in gas for a second time today. But, that should fix it.