Doohickey 101 - In the '86-'07 KLR650’s chain-driven
balancer subsystem, two related parts are prone to failure: 1) the balancer
idler lever (Kawasaki part no. 13168-1436); and, 2) the idler shaft spring
(Kawasaki part no. 92144-1860). The two parts serve to maintain tension on the
balancer chain. The OEM idler shaft lever is a welded piece. Because it is
improperly supported, the lever can be easily crimped, dented, or warped.
Eventually, the damage can become so severe the lever “hangs” on the crimped
part and fails to allow adjustment to the chain tension. In some cases the weld fails or the collar breaks so the
lever is no longer attached to the idler shaft and pieces fall into the oil sump
below. Tension on the system is now held entirely by the idler shaft spring.
Under tremendous stress, the spring can fail either by breakage or being
stretched beyond limits. In any of the above scenarios, when tension is lost the chain is
capable of jumping a sprocket, jamming and locking the engine. It is also
possible for the broken pieces to find their way into the oil pump (assuming the
protective screen is missing) and cause engine failure at speed. What about the 2008+ KLR650? The balancer idler shaft lever is improved but
not nearly what it could be. But even more important, the factory extension
spring is too long to do any good. It only gets worse with miles.
This Mike Cowlishaw (Eagle Mfg & Engineering) solution is made from 17-4PH
stainless steel, heat treated to 44c on the Rockwell scale. The alloy is
characterized by great strength, it is also tough and not brittle (corrosion
resistance is a side benefit). The material is more than twice as strong as the
factory part. The one-piece billet design dramatically improves the
strength over the OEM part. The design also increases the bearing surface (along
the shaft) by about 100 percent in length. It also is reindexed to allow
adjustment for the entire useful life of the chain.
Included in the Doohickey upgrade kit is: one balancer idler lever and
two idler shaft springs (extension type) in 35 & 38 mm. We prefer to use the
Eagle Torsion spring kit which includes a
1/16" drill bit for creating an anchor for the stationary pin of the torsion
spring. The torsion spring offers significant advantages over a conventional extension spring setup: ● it has enough
adjustment range for the life of the engine; ● it is captured on installation; ●
it takes the excess slack out of the system in the best possible way since it
attaches directly to the adjustment lever. If you select this kit you will use the torsion
spring instead of the factory style extension springs included in the kit.