In this how to degree klr650 cams write-up we will walk you through the process of degreeing a set of dual overhead cam shafts. Degreeing dual overhead cams calls for a sober mind. Leave the six pack securely locked up because beer and degreeing cams together has never ended well.

The lobe center sweet spot for the KLR650 is at 110 – 112 degrees for the intake cam and 106 degrees for the  exhaust cam. Although the bikes we set the lobe center to these specifications responded well your bike might be different.

It is assumed that you have purchased and are going to install our adjustable cam gears or that you have some sort of adjustable cam gear that you are going to install.

Tools required to degree cams

Note: Always use the 19 mm deep socket and short power bar to turn the crank.

Make your own degree wheel:

  1. degree wheel to degree klr650 camsScale your printer and print a degree wheel of approximately 7 inches. (Click on image to print)
  2. Cut the degree wheel out and stick it to a piece of straight cardboard.
  3. Size the cardboard to the degree wheels size.
  4. Cut a 2″ hole or a hole that is the same size than the socket you are going to use to turn the engine with, in the center of the degree wheel (Click for Pic)
  5. Study the degree wheel and make sure you understand where is TDC and BDC, and when is it BTDC, ATDC, BBDC and ABDC

To make is easy remember the degree wheel turns in a clock wise direction.

Procedure to degree KLR650 cams

Start by draining the oil and then remove the following items:

  1. Tank and side covers
  2. Disconnect the battery
  3. Clean the weep or drain hole with a 3/16″ drill bit and suck up all debris around the spark plug with a vacuum cleaner before removing the spark plug.
  4. Spark Plug
  5. Valve Cover
  6. Now remove the Generator Cover (Do not remove the rotor bolt)
  7. Replace the factory cam gears with your adjustable cam gears
  8. Tighten three bolts less than finger tight. The fourth bolt, preferably the one that is the easiest to reach with tools when the engine is at TDC, should be torqued down to at least 30 inch pound
  9. Set the engine to TDC (Top Dead Center)

Fit the degree wheel to the rotor

  1. Remove all the oil from the face of the rotor and make sure it is completely dry.
  2. With the TDC mark pointing upwards, hot glue the degree wheel  to the front face of the rotor. Make sure to install the degree wheel as close to center as possible. (Click for Pic)
  3. Now affix the pointer to the engine with to the top bolt of the cam chain tensioner and bend the pointer so that it aligns with the zero on the degree wheel. (Click for pic)

Find TDC with a Dial Gauge and TDC Rod (Preferred method)

  1. Stick the 10 x 60 mm TDC rod  into the spark plug hole until it rests on top of the piston. (Click for pic)
  2. Set the dial gauge up in such a way that the pointer rest on top of the rod. (Click for pic)
  3. Zero the dial gauge
  4. Move the crank slightly back and forth until you find the turn point on the dial indicator
  5. Set the pointer on the degree wheel to zero
  6. Remove the dial gauge and rod.

Install and setup the dial gauge

Degree the exhaust cam first.

  1. Install the base plate on the bolt hole of the inlet cam side valve cover with a 6 x 20 mm bolt. (Click for pic)
  2. Attach the dial indicator to the Magnetic Base Dial Indicator Holder,
  3. Place the Magnetic Base Dial Indicator Holder on the base plate and activate the magnet.
  4. Place the extended tip of the dial indicator on the rim of the shim bucket so that it is as close to perpendicular to the shim bucket as possible. (Click for pic)
  5. Set the dial indicator to zero and turn the engine two full revolutions. Make sure Zero on the degree wheel and the pointer corresponds. Always keep the important note above in mind.
  6. Whilst watching the dial indicator closely slowly turn the crank counter clock wise with the 19 mm socket and power bar until the dial indicator has moved 0.040″.
  7. Notate all numbers on the dial gauge and the corresponding number on the degree wheel and pointer on a piece of paper. ( Lets say it was 30 degrees BBDC)
  8. Slowly turn the crank through 180 degrees until the dial indicator is back at 0.040″ on the closing side of the cam.
  9. Notate the corresponding number on the degree wheel. ( Lets say it was 11.5 degrees ATDC)
  10. Now add 30 + 180 + 11.5 = 221.5. Then divide by two 221.5 ÷2 =  110.75. Now subtract the smallest number,  110.75 – 11.5 = 99.25 Therefore  lobe center for the exhaust cam is 99.25

The lobe center should be at 106 – 107 degrees. That means that the exhaust cam will have to be moved forward by 3.5 cam degrees. One cam degree equals two crank degrees.

Adjusting lobe center when degree KLR650 cams.

  1. Set the engine to top dead center.
  2. Loosen the bolt on the adjustable cam gear that was torqued down to 30 inch pound
  3. Move the cam forward by 4 degrees on the cam plate by using a 12 mm socket on the cam gear center bolt. Note: The crank must stay stationary during this process. (Click for pic) (Note cam gear was the original R&D gear and does not degree markings)
  4. Tighten one bolt too at least 30 inch pound
  5. Perform steps 1 to 11 under “Install and Setup the Dial Gauge” until an exhaust lobe center between 106 –  108 degrees is achieved.
  6. Once you are happy that the lobe center is where you want it to be, tighten all for cam bolts to a torque value 60 inch pound.

Important Note: There must be 180 degrees of crank rotation between the opening and closing side of the camshaft.  If there is not 180 degrees of crank rotation the smallest degree wheel number must be subtracted from 180 before the other number is added. The result is the divided by two.

Example. At 0.040″ lift the cam opened 40 degrees BBDC and closes 7.5 degrees BTDC. (7.5 degrees short of a full 180 degree rotation) The calculation will now look like this:

(40 + (180 -7.5))÷2

= (40 + 172.5)÷2 = 106.25

Degree KLR650 inlet cam

The process for degreeing the inlet cam is exactly the same.

Move the base plate to the valve cover bolt hole at the exhaust cam side and repeat the degree process from “Install and setup the dial gauge“.

Note: The opening and closing readings on the degree wheel will be different.


You can purchase your set of adjustable cam gears here