by Elden Carl
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Maintenance Tip (KLR650/DR650)
“Grease your long bolts”
If you don’t like rust on your cross bolts, it’s best to apply a film of water proof grease to
the bolt shaft before installation. This is especially important when you’re getting ready
to install the long fat cross bolt that goes through the front of the “uni-trak” lever on a
KLR650. This critical fastener not only handles the massive forces fed into it by the
“uni-trak” lever, but it also ties the frame together.
Should you fail to lube this bolt and the “uni-trak” lever when called for, you could be
headed for big trouble. This bolt being low in the frame collects lots of moisture and
will sometimes corrode to the point that it bonds to the front “uni-trak lever collar. If this
happens you may not be able to withdraw the bolt. I bought my used KL650A-1 (1987),
and almost couldn’t remove the uni-trak cross bolt. It took several applications
of anti-corrosion fluid and finally heat before my driver and ball-peen hammer could do
Most long bolts pass through collars and or spacers, so protecting the shaft from
corrosion is important. Equally importantly is the need to make sure that the underside
of the bolt head and the surface it contacts are completely dry so as not to cause
slippage during the torquing procedure (don’t get any grease on the threads either).
This is especially true in the case of the DR650SE rear axle. If the adjustment snail
surfaces on both sides are greasy they can slip, “boogering” the index studs on the
outside of the swing arm. Even worse, the index notches on the snail may also be
damaged. The DR650SE rear axle should be held firmly on the left side with a box
end wrench while the nut is being torqued on the right side – or, you can buy a new
axle, right snail and replacement indicator studs from time to time.
Good luck and good wrenching