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Discussion Starter #1
Hiya....Have a slight problem that any input would be gratefully received. Amongst the boring broken bikey stuff, I will write you a little story....If you're sitting comfortably, I will begin (in the words of Listen with Mother in the 70s!)

A mate and I decided on a bit of a ride-out, taking in France, Spain and Portugal, to experience some of nearby Europe's fantastic roads, visiting the odd friend on the way. We left Essex on Sunday 8th, bound for Dover, me on my '06 950SM and my mate on his '03 950 Adventure S. Leaving potential rain clouds behind, we embarked upon the SeaFrance ferry to Calais.

My mate was due near La Rochelle/Niort by early evening so we chose to hammer out the 400-450(I think) miles by motorway. All was spiffingly great(apart from the boredom of motorway, of course), cruising at around a ton beneath a clearing sky. We headed, obviously, west, taking in Rouen etc on the way. Both bikes behaved perfectly.

At around Poitiers we parted company for a couple of days, he off to Niort and I to claim as many miles south as possible before nightfall. I had nowhere scheduled for my night's stop, but knew of a cheap, cheap motorway-side box of an hotel for around €30. We inteneded to camp whenever possible, but I thought I would luxuriate for my first night away. I lost track of where I thought this hotel was as darkness fell, so opted for a campsite that I had seen a sign for some 10 kms north of Limoges.

Under a dark sky I erected my freshly bought tent by torchlight and 30 second spouts of KTM headlight. So fresh was my tent that I had never previously even taken it from its packaging. Quite surprisingly, twenty minutes later it was more or less up. The torch was fading quickly as I was holding it in my mouth and a couple of gallons of spit must have dripped from its end.

A pleasant night's sleep was had, and the new day promised sun and warmth. I smoked myself half to death once I had laid the dew gathered tent under the morning sun to dry out before packing away in my top-box.

I rode into Limoges for a spot of breakfast of bread and butter and 5 large cups of coffee at a central cafe-bar. When I could be bothered, around 11, I mounted the steed and headed south quickly towards Toulouse. My plan was to hammer fast south before taking the Pyrenees at a more leisurely pace, enjoying the magnificent roads to the full.

As thunder threatened just north of Toulouse, I nipped into a petrol station for fuel and fags, and waited for the storm to pass. It did in no more than 10 minutes. I did however don Wets as a further small squall threatened further ahead. For no longer than 10 minutes I was rained on heavily until I sped out onto perfectly dry road with a scorching sun over head.

Knackered, as actually I had not slept a wink the night prior to our departure from Ol' Blighty, I headed for Foix and chose to do what we should do and stop at around 5pm to find the night's rest. I checkened out of camping and found a hotel in the centre of town for €40 including brekkie and a safe place for my beloved.

Chilled and happy, I wandered around the narrow aged streets of Foix until I had lost my hotel, but had at least eaten and taken a few snaps of the medieval town.

I left Foix at around 9 in the morning. BUT.....There was a slight light, soft metallic rattle coming from my beloved's beating heart. Up until now I had been using ear-plugs...How long had this rattle been evident? I couldn't hear it with plugs in. As the motor ran as well as ever and the oil at the correct level, I gingerly continued on my way...Perhaps it was me, I thought as I trundled over and under the Pyrenees.

I wondered what to do if this rattle was more than a figment of my imagination. There would unlikely be any KTM dealers within several hundred miles of me...I had no Spanish...I had no internet...I did have a mobile phone.

The sunny skies lifted my spirits. Imagine this brain-fuck with pouring rain. I had something to be thankful for. I continued kind of south east for Barcelona. My next stop should have been Calpe followed by Murcia, before my mate would catch up at a convenient point en route for Faro in Portugal.

50 miles or so from Barcelona the lit oil light forced me to pull into a service station. With ear-plugs out I wondered if the rattle had become worse for the couple of hundred miles or not. Certainly the oil light illuminating was a serious worry.

Following advice from my mechanic in UK, I dumped the oil and put it back in again. This was very simple, except for snapping my KTM 13mm spanner - Thankfully a froggy m/cyclist(on a three-wheeler Spyder) was at hand to loan me one. However the rattle persisted....and the oil light remained on! In fact, so far no oil had even been burnt.

I had had a full service, I might add, before leaving home - oil change, filters, plugs blah blah blah....

Initial thoughts were that the oil pump was at fault; not pumping enough around the necessary parts. The rattle, as I say, was light.

With hard attempt to find a recovery that would carry my beloved to a KTM dealer in Barcelona, I utterly failed. I had no less than 7 people on the case in Murcia trolling the internet and on the phone. All to no avail.

As evening approached I HAD to make a decision. Although capable, I could have erected my tent at the service station and continued to find a safe way out the following morning, with fresh brain etc. Instead I opted to carefully ride my bike the 20 kms to Merassa(I think!), where there was rumoured to be a KTM dealer (surely not that easy and near!!) informed to me by an ill-speaking Spanish bloke.

My beloved behaved well, even sounding remarkably better as I rode into town; a shithole of a town....

Plotting up in a cheapy hotel, I went to re-charge my phone that had had all its energy sucked from it earlier on, I discovered that I had left the plug adapter in the previous night's hotel. In a moment of pure genius, I cut the plug and metre length of it's cable from my rooms lamp, bared the wires and taped them to the two UK plug prongs of my phone's charger, and whacked it in the wall. And, hey presto, my phone began to suck in energy. :)

The following morning I had made the perhaps odd decision to continue south. I could have returned to France where I would have a fighting chance as I speak enough French and the frog is less lazy and 'Manana' than the spik or head into Barcelona to locate one of 3 KTM dealers (Which I had already been told were shut due to annual holidays for the entire Spanish populous, or ride south to ultimate sanctuary just outside Murcia in Santiago De Ribera, where me bird was with a place I could safely leave beloved until I worked out how to repatriate her. Or I could find a friendly spik to house her....Very unlikely I thought, especially without any Spanish words in me except for 'cervesa'.

Nervously, I rode out under a boiling, boiling sun. I cruised at as much as 70 mph, with the rattle there and the oil light flickering, almost in beat to the engine. Sometimes it would go out, sometimes it would brighten and remain on.

By accident I rode straight into Barcelona. It took me an hour to find my way out to the circular dual carriageway. I searched the streets for one of the 3 KTM dealers, though to no avail.

I took to the motorway, guessing I had around 400 miles to get to Murcia. I prayed each mile after each mile that she wouldn't completely give up on me. If she did, I would in reality be no worse off than I had been the previous day. Fucked beside the road!

Counting down the miles bit by bit, free-wheeling into service stations to avoid the embarrassment of the rattle, I finally triumphantly arrived at the seafront in Santiago in 45 degree heat at around 7pm. She had done me well, very well indeed. I had only asked her to deliver me there, and then she could, if she wanted give up and die....I too was mentally drained by then. For all of those 400+ miles I had my hand hovering over the clutch lever waiting to whack it in the instant the engine seized and locked up the back wheel. My head praying, counting down the miles, eyes constantly between the road and the flickering oil light...Nervous times! Apparently I did looked very grubby and exhausted once I arrived. Two chilled beers and half a dozen fags made me feel better though.

For a couple of days I didn't start my bike, but when I did, just for 30 seconds or so, the oil light went immediately out, even though the rattle remained.

My bike is to be shipped back to me at a actually quite reasonable price of £450, door to door. Certainly, I couldn't drive over myself for that little.

So....Have any of you who have endured my endlessly boring story got any idea what maybe wrong with my beloved KTM??? A soft, slightly high rattle, maybe coming from right-hand side of engine, and flickering oil light, though is sometimes completely off or completely on.....Is it the oil pump??

Any suggestions on a post card.....Thanks for your time! :)
 

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Excellent story and thanks for taking the trouble to write it. I can well imagine that feeling of sick apprehension as you rode along.

Sadly though I haven't a foggiest idea what it might be, myself barely knowing how to top up the coolant.
 

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Just two comments :

1. If you had posted on here I could have put you in touch with an english speaking LC8 owning friend just outside Foix whom does all his own maintenance and knows his bike inside out !

2. Sometimes AA 5 Star recovery is worth it's weight in gold !

Hope it isn't anything serious and you get it all sorted when the bike gets back home
 

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See if the oil filter is wrinkled.
Waterpump seal goes, causing oil to get water in it, this swells the paper oil filter. Reduced oil flow/pressure causes oil light to flicker
 

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See if the oil filter is wrinkled.
Waterpump seal goes, causing oil to get water in it, this swells the paper oil filter. Reduced oil flow/pressure causes oil light to flicker
+1. Change the oil and filter. If the filter is very dark, oddly heavy and the folds of it are no longer straight lines, you have water in there. See the waterpump refresh job elsewhere on t'internet for details how to fix the cause.
 

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I had an 05 adv, and the cam chain & tensioner made a high note, fast clacking sound from the bottom of the engine. I think I remember the oil light flickering as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you very much guys for your comments and input. There are at least a couple or three things for me to look into. With hindsight, and a lap-top with internet access included, I'd have been chuffed to bits to have found the guy in Foix. Ho-Hum! As for AA 5-star douby-whatsit, I really wonder if I could have easily and fluently recovered from the roadside. I wonder who has actually had real experience of this from a country as Spain....Any takers??

Sorry that I bound on. I kinda got in a flow that wouldn't stop! :) ......If you would like further, elongated stories of my motorcycle experiences, just ask! ;)

Thank you again for all your suggestions.... :)
 

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Great story mate.
Sounds like water pump seals. I rode mine 2000miles through France, Germany and Italy with one of the seals leaking. Luckily it was on the water seal bearing, the oil seal held up. No oil light on, just constant loss of fluid and overheating.
 

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Yep great storytelling. Can't have been much fun riding along hoping it wouldn't pop. Sounds like you might be onto the problem now. Hope its quickly/easily sorted.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
As a result of your suggestions, it actually now looks as if the problem I have isn't going to be as serious as I originally thought. Or perhaps I am just being far too positive. Either way, I will find out in just under a month's time when my Beloved is delivered back to me!

As for further motorcycle stories...I am not sure that a weekend trip, flat out on sports bikes, to the Catalunyan MotoGP last would be terribly exciting. Though we did believe Lorenzo had won as the final corner was just out of sight. It tooks us until arriving back in the UK to learn the result. As for a trip into Morocco on KLR650 in 1996.....My memory has faded rather, I'm afraid.... :(
 

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You are hereby commissioned to embark on new adventures
and report back at regular intervals. ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If my Beloved KTM is not so damaged and is brought back to usual duties fairly quickly, a small group of friends and I are due to embark upon a small trip to Scotland, a country so near, yet so far, for us southerners, in late September, early October. However, I do think that we may as well ride in wetsuits that isn't terribly inviting, but in order to gain experiences, necessary. (Note to self: Must replace tent! ....Or should I try the Bivvy Bag option?). In the event that the Scottish weather really isn't the ideal, or that my mates bottle it with pretentious calls to work, I may well take what I have learned and just nip over to France for a trundle, east to west, along the top. For a weekend a couple of years ago, we took the B roads from Boulogne to Honfleur....just because we could, I suppose. The ride was relaxed, but fun, and the destination was well worth a visit. For those who don't know Honfleur, it is a small medieval town right on the estuary to.....oh, bugger, whatever river Le Havre sits on. Of a late summer's evening it is absolutely lovely wandering the bars, dining actually rather too well for bikers, on lobster, steak etc, followed by more bars, tucked away down wobbly, narrow, cobbled side streets. The ride, to and from, is no more than 3 hours at an 'OK' pace, so can easily be squeezed into and Saturday and Sunday, should work or family commitments usually dictate.

So, in the event Scotland is off this September, I may well whip down to Dover, cross for a mere £25, and skip along to Honfluer, but also take in the D-Day beaches of Northern Normandy, something I have always wished to do, and in fact, passed by all too often without a second glance.

I thought that to breed confidence back into myself, and mates who also have KTMs, I would go on a 'reasonable' test ride once she was repaired. Initial thoughts were to ride for exactly one thousand miles, stop, turn around, and hammer home again. Perhaps I should add some other adventures to the test ride and go and rip up the roads of Northern France.....No stress, no drama.....Just a bit of a jolly! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Halleluyah! :) A result at last....if any of you are still subscribed to this thread. Upon repatriation of Beloved KTM, she has been looked at, with the recommendation that the oil filter is the first port of call, following an incident with a friend's Adventurer this summer. Basically, the oil filter was banana shaped, anot allowing free flow of oil. The cam chain tenshioners were therefore starved of oil, and clattered. Oil light on due to obvious limited oil flow.

So, she was run up without an oil filter in, after a few minutes of clatter and light going out, all is good. Took her for a blast down the road and she is as good as new.....

:)
 

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Halleluyah! :) A result at last.... Basically, the oil filter was banana shaped, anot allowing free flow of oil. :)
Well then Sherlock - "Who was responsible for the banana shaped oil filter then"? You have my total attention for the next installment of this latest epistle to the great unwashed.
 

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Indeed. Was the filter itself wet and heavy with water? Could your bike be suffering the fairly waterpump seal failure? Do you have to top the coolant header tank up regularly?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The oil filter seemed not to be contaminated with water, and following your suggestions, some friends are saying, "No!" However, I am losing water SOMEWHERE, but there is no evidence that its getting into the oil. There is no more milkiness than expected from condensing in oil tank etc. There is no evidence of it leaking externally either. That said, because of your comments I am going to consider water pump seal change. We did find that the pipe from radiator to overflow bottle was cinked, thus not allowing water to be sucked back into the radiator when it wanted to be. In the 1200 miles that I covered in France and Spain, it has drunk about half a litre of water.

I think I will change the water pump seals after a little more 'testing', especially as I potentially have a week long trip to Scotland, or Germany if its pissing down(or snowing as the forecast is suggesting for the week after next in the highlands!). Being in the UK though will make life easier for repairs if need.

Thank you to all your suggestions and comments. It is so important to pass on our findings on problems. My mechanic would not have automatically gone to the oil filter which he had only just replaced to find this problem. What a good job a mate had a similar problem and was suggested to me through about 3 people! Result!

Happy riding! :)
 
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