A bad day at the track... - Wrist Twisters
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post #1 of 41 Old 09-07-2008, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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A bad day at the track...

is better than a good day at work. Right?

JenningsGP Saturday - 4 sessions in and I'm just getting my legs on the bike, adjusted the suspension a bit and it's on rails. Light and flickable with strong pulls through 4th gear.
Speedkills and I are playing through the technical section when it starts to sputter, no big deal it's just out of gas, checkered flag is thrown and I limp back into the pit. Engine dies as I enter pit road so I coast to the stall.

Climb off and put it on the stand, gas up, climb on and kick and kick and kick until my leg throbs in pain. Much more resistance than usual so I climb off and look at the ground. A warm chocolate milkshake oozes from the crank vent filter. ARGH! that's never good, pop the radiator cap and it's empty. faaackk, the dark cloud of doom appears over my head.

The rocker covers had water condensation so draining the caramel oil from the sump came as no surprise. Head gaskets on KTMs require grinding out a pin from the timing chain, there's no clip link. I know this because I spent 4 hours tearing the engine down in Snowman's trailer only to realize I wasn't going to fix this trackside.

At 20:00 I started buttoning it back up.
At 21:30 I put it back on my trailer and started breaking down my pit and loading it up.
At 22:30 I rolled out for the 3 hour drive home. I was already exhausted, it had been a very hot day with no cloud cover. I had drank a case of water through out the day and still had a dehydration headache. Slammed a giant Monster drink, cranked the AC to freezing and found something soothing on XM radio.

Home at 01:30, shower and bed.
Somewhere in between tired, frustrated and uncertain of exactly how much damage has been done (wont know until I can pull the head off and check the cylinder wall) I kept thinking to myself...
I should've SMd a XR650.

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post #2 of 41 Old 09-07-2008, 02:31 PM
 
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OUCH... fried KTM = Buckoo Bucks amigo, I feel your pain.

Don't know how tight you are with your local KTM Dealer or if you'll be able to fix it with aftermarket parts but if I can help in any way, you know where I am!

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post #3 of 41 Old 09-07-2008, 02:47 PM
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Sooooooooo


KTM


Konstantly Takes Maintenance???

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post #4 of 41 Old 09-07-2008, 03:31 PM
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what the heck? why would the radiator be empty with out you knowing it?? Surly it would have crappy performance if it were burning it off, and i would think you had to change it out to water wetter so it was full before you started right? Crazy i mean Crazy sucky day!! BUT yes even a bad day at the track is better than a good day at work!! At least you got to take it some trips around!

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post #5 of 41 Old 09-07-2008, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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radiators were empty because the head gasket blew and the water jackets lost their seal, all the water went into the oil and made the milkshake.

Best case I'll replace the upper head gasket and all will be well. Worst case I've got a scorred cylinder wall and need a new top half.

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post #6 of 41 Old 09-07-2008, 04:36 PM
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Damn sorry about the luck Jet. Hope the damage isnt too bad.

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post #7 of 41 Old 09-07-2008, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetblast10 View Post
radiators were empty because the head gasket blew and the water jackets lost their seal, all the water went into the oil and made the milkshake.

Best case I'll replace the upper head gasket and all will be well. Worst case I've got a scorred cylinder wall and need a new top half.
That is an easy fix either way and while you are taking the top end off you can do big bore kit, that will fix the jug and then there is the piston... I see a nice high compression replacement!!! (Squeeze it tight before you light) A more aggressive cam, some flow work and you are off to the races again!

^^^^Look at me spending your money!^^^^

Could be that it wasn't a bad day, but an excuse to do all the motor work you've been wanting. That is only if its what you've been wanting to do?

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post #8 of 41 Old 09-08-2008, 05:03 AM
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Well, that sucks about the rapid end to the first trackday. There is an upside though. At least you will absolutely know what is being repaired in the engine and have first hand experience. Buying a used bike is a crap shoot at best and at least you found out the easy way rather than it bucking you off mid turn or something from siezing up.

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post #9 of 41 Old 09-08-2008, 06:21 AM
 
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Sorry to hear dood...

If it went as far as to stutter and stall... I think you will be looking at some top end damage unfortunately.

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post #10 of 41 Old 09-08-2008, 06:26 AM
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Bummer. Hopefully the repair costs are minimal and you get back out there again soon.

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post #11 of 41 Old 09-08-2008, 08:04 AM
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That sucks Kevin....you get a chance to pull the head yet?




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post #12 of 41 Old 09-08-2008, 08:09 AM
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Hey, I forgot to say crap for you. You did catch it before it stopped, so that is cool. I wasn't so lucky once when I blew my buddy's 455 Olds in his flatbottom. I know what you are going through.

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post #13 of 41 Old 09-08-2008, 08:10 AM
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Ouchie Kev - Sorry to hear about that man. Hope the repairs are not as bad as it might sound bud.

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post #14 of 41 Old 09-08-2008, 08:15 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. I wont open the engine up again until I get back from Indy. In the meantime I have the minimum necessary parts inbound. Either way, it'll be an education.

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post #15 of 41 Old 09-08-2008, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetblast10 View Post
Thanks guys. I wont open the engine up again until I get back from Indy. In the meantime I have the minimum necessary parts inbound. Either way, it'll be an education.

Makes me miss 2-strokes....I could do a top-end in 30 minutes as long as a bore wasn't in order. The newer four strokes are pushing eveything to the max and the reliability factor is suspect to say the least compared to the old 2-strokes. I've seen numerous 250's (4-stroke) lose their top ends after only 30 hours or so of racing and the bills run $1700 and up. That's not for the faint of heart or light of wallet.

Bring back the smokers and I'll be a happy camper.




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post #16 of 41 Old 09-10-2008, 09:53 PM
 
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Not a very reassuring thing to read being in the market for an EXC. I guess you gotta take the good with the bad, whatever the ratio may be.

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post #17 of 41 Old 09-10-2008, 10:39 PM
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A bad day at the track

Quote:
Originally Posted by jetblast10 View Post
is better than a good day at work. Right?
Yes i've challenged this idea a time or two myself. May the motorcycle machining gods smile upon you.

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post #18 of 41 Old 09-17-2008, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
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bike is disassembled. Looks like I got lucky and had only a gasket failure, cylinder has no cracks and although I cannot see the con rod I doubt it's damaged.
I had to place one more parts order last night, the o-rings that seal the camshaft bearing are cracked and falling apart. Aside from that I should be able to get it back together relatively painlessly.

Not sure I'll make the trackday now though, I only have 10 days.
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post #19 of 41 Old 09-17-2008, 05:23 AM
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Lucky you with the gasket. Don't forget to do a compression test after you get it all tightened up. As for the trackday, I still want to see a knee dragged on the KLR....

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post #20 of 41 Old 09-17-2008, 05:55 AM
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Minimal damage is a great find! What do you think caused the failure? Just 'normal' wear and tear (for a track bike)?

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post #21 of 41 Old 09-17-2008, 06:27 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brevity View Post
Minimal damage is a great find! What do you think caused the failure? Just 'normal' wear and tear (for a track bike)?
tough to say for certain. I know the valves were replaced/upgraded before I bought the bike, so the engine has been disassembled before. I can only guess that it was just a fluke gasket failure or it was reassembled with poor attention to detail.
The top head gasket definitely blew apart, the center ring was mangled and gasket crumbled at the water-jacket.
All I can hope for is a smooth reassembly.

I'll clean up the gasket decks tonight and reassemble slowly.
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post #22 of 41 Old 09-17-2008, 06:46 AM
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Looks like you got off pretty easy Jet. What bike is it that you are running? I know it is a KTM motard but which model?

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post #23 of 41 Old 09-17-2008, 07:34 AM Thread Starter
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2005 525 SMR

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post #24 of 41 Old 09-17-2008, 07:54 AM
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You think it warped the head at all?




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post #25 of 41 Old 09-17-2008, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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You think it warped the head at all?

Doubt it.

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post #26 of 41 Old 09-17-2008, 08:12 AM
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Maybe the head was not torqued down properly? Since it appears like a dual failure and both are on the same side of the head. I would check the head and cylinder very carefully with a straight edge.

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post #27 of 41 Old 09-17-2008, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1000RRHooligan View Post
Maybe the head was not torqued down properly? Since it appears like a dual failure and both are on the same side of the head. I would check the head and cylinder very carefully with a straight edge.

+1, that's what I was thinking.




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post #28 of 41 Old 09-17-2008, 12:02 PM
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Hey, just for you Jet....here's a couple of KTM's from MotoGP weekend, just in case you forgot what an actual running model looks like
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post #29 of 41 Old 09-17-2008, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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LOL! If I go KTM again it'll be a 690 Enduro. Hopefully I'll love this bike again. It's actually pretty easy to work on.

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post #30 of 41 Old 09-17-2008, 01:37 PM
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I'm in agreement on decking it. No need for a repeat.

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post #31 of 41 Old 09-17-2008, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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got it down flat and checked it 40 ways with a stainless steel ruler and a flashlight, everything looks flat, I think either the gasket just failed or whoever was in the engine last was not a detail person and either torqued incorrectly or failed to clean the mating surfaces properly before installing the new gasket.

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post #32 of 41 Old 09-22-2008, 11:11 AM
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Any spare time? Break out the dremel with a fine rubberized wheel. Clean up the carbon deposits then polish the combustion chamber to a mirror finish. Be careful not to remove any metal which would lower the compression ratio.


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post #33 of 41 Old 09-22-2008, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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The carbon has been cleaned off. Electrical component cleaner does an excellent job of cleaning everything. I did some light polishing last night but haven't gone much further with it.

Cylinder goes back on tonight, head goes on tomorrow.

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post #34 of 41 Old 09-22-2008, 01:48 PM
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you're really making it hard on me! the more you talk about this the more I want a single to work on! Just love the TQ and Sound of a single! I may need to find a cheap dirt bike and so I can do a street conversion! Then I can have fun too!

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post #35 of 41 Old 09-22-2008, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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cylinder and head are on. hopefully this time tomorrow night the neighbors will be bitching about the noise.

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post #36 of 41 Old 09-22-2008, 07:49 PM
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Why does it look to me like there is structural damage to the wall? Is that thing oblong or am I seeing a shadow?

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post #37 of 41 Old 09-22-2008, 08:11 PM
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It's a bit late in the game for any advice, And I apologize for not chiming in sooner, but there is one thing you should consider for the future -- a three layer Cometic gasket instead of the crap composition one from the factory.

Let me explain.
Composition gaskets consist of two layers of treated paper with a punched steel plate between to prevent drifting and add reinforcement to the paper, and a swaged steel ring to contain combustion gases and protect the paper from the fire in the combustion chamber. They will work reliably for quite a while, but have an Achille's heel -- the perforations in the steel plate work against the paper, which adheres to the surfaces of the head and cylinder and therefore move independently of each other and against the steel. After a time the perforations tear the paper, especially under high load / heat conditions, to the point of weakening the paper sufficiently to start leaking coolant, further weakening it until the soaked paper loses contact with the swaged steel combustion ring, allowing coolant into the cylinder and combustion gases into the cooling system, resulting in what happened to you.

Cometic gaskets are made quite a bit differently, and are generally considered (rightfully so) highly blowout resistant. They are comprised of two thin embossed stainless sheets with a thicker central sheet coated with PTFE fortified neoprene. Under high heat and load the outer sheets are free to move slightly against the center sheet, allowing differential thermal expansion between the head and cylinder without damaging the gasket. Honda has been using this type of gasket in their cars for 20 years, and in that time the occurrence of blown gaskets is practically zero, whereas before it was comparatively common.

If Cometic doesn't list a gasket for your engine they can make custom gaskets for a quite reasonable price, especially for a single. It's worth looking into.

By the way, as a long time desert dweller I should say that plain water is not a good idea if you are sweating buckets on a hot day -- it certainly keeps you hydrated, but does not replace the electrolytes NACL (salt) and K (Potassium) that comprise a small but important part of sweat. As these are removed from the body and not replaced nerve function is compromised as the electrolytes are the primary nerve impulse transmitters. The more water you drink the more electrolytes are lost through sweat and urine, and the less effective nerve function is to the point of synapses in the brain erratically firing (or more properly, not responding to received impulses) which can result in heart arrhythmias, hypernia --rapid breathing, and in extreme cases ventricular fibrillation and death. The best preventative for this is to buy Gatorade in powder form and mix it 1/4 to 1/2 recommended strength (depending on how hot and dry it is) in all water consumed during the day. It effectively replenishes the electrolytes, and you will find it takes considerably less to keep you sharp on even the hottest days.

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post #38 of 41 Old 09-23-2008, 03:23 AM
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Good advice Rob, I would never have thought to discuss the gasket choice. So on that note, Yes Cometic is the best choice in gaskets and all I ever used.

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post #39 of 41 Old 09-23-2008, 04:42 AM Thread Starter
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excellent advice Rob, thanks a million!

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post #40 of 41 Old 09-23-2008, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robtharalson View Post
By the way, as a long time desert dweller I should say that plain water is not a good idea if you are sweating buckets on a hot day -- it certainly keeps you hydrated, but does not replace the electrolytes NACL (salt) and K (Potassium) that comprise a small but important part of sweat. As these are removed from the body and not replaced nerve function is compromised as the electrolytes are the primary nerve impulse transmitters. The more water you drink the more electrolytes are lost through sweat and urine, and the less effective nerve function is to the point of synapses in the brain erratically firing (or more properly, not responding to received impulses) which can result in heart arrhythmias, hypernia --rapid breathing, and in extreme cases ventricular fibrillation and death. The best preventative for this is to buy Gatorade in powder form and mix it 1/4 to 1/2 recommended strength (depending on how hot and dry it is) in all water consumed during the day. It effectively replenishes the electrolytes, and you will find it takes considerably less to keep you sharp on even the hottest days.

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