Smoked KTM Engine Story - Need Opinions/Insight (LONG)

Discussion in 'Dirt Bike Mods & Maintenance' started by Rooster, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. Rooster

    Rooster Today's Tom Sawyer
    Damn Yankees

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    Hey all, been a while since I stopped by this joint. I have a story, and want some honest opinions. This could probably go in a KTM forum, but it's kind of open to anyone that knows engines.



    A 2015 KTM 350 EXC-F was traded in for another offroad type toy. The KTM had 217 miles on it. The bike was practically new. Mods were spendy but simple, a Rekluse clutch and FMF Titanium silencer. Nice bling. Good looking bike. According to the salesman, the Rekluse and silencer were installed there at the shop, so “you know it was done right”.

    It ran great, but sounded kind of intense in the engine noise. It appears to be understood that KTM runs a little louder than other four stroke engines, so it is confirmed with the service manager that this is “normal” for the bike. OK. Fine.

    I ride the bike. It has tons of power, feels light enough, and seems like everything is fine.

    Problem 1 (unresolved): There is a glitch. I decided to see how difficult it would be to start a hot fuel injected four stroke with the kick, just in case the battery should wear down in a difficult situation. The kick went straight through. Not like a auto-decompression easy, like no gears were meshing easy, like I hyper extended my damn knee at the end of the kick.

    Problem 2 (resolved): The clutch doesn’t hit like I want it to. Rekluse is probably the last thing I would ever do to a perfectly good bike, other than light it on fire to see how long it takes to smolder to the ground. Really, a selling point for these things is hand fatigue from operating the clutch? If that’s a problem for some riders, they need to find a different sport. Maybe knitting or something that requires little wrist/hand strength. I want the clutch to disengage when I tell it to, not when I drop the rpms. I also want it to hit like a freight train when I need it. I put the factory parts back in and used the Rekluse cover for an interesting door knocker on my office.

    Problem 3 (unresolved): When taking the Rekluse off, there was a 1” piece of the o-ring gasket missing off the cover. I am assuming it pinched off when the Rekluse was initially installed. So, I say, where in the hell is the rest of this o-ring? Yep. Right there in the bottom of the oil drain pan. BUT, not the entire 1” piece, just a 3/8” long piece. There were chunks of chewed up rubber throughout the oil drain pan. So, off to the shop I go with the partial o-ring, the part found in the oil and a sample of the chunks. The service manager tells me not to worry about it, that rubber won’t hurt anything in your engine. What?!!???? No. No. And No. Nothing belongs floating around in an engine but oil. Period.

    Problem 4 (resolved but unresolved and a moral/ethical/unanswered mytstery): A free servicing by the shop goes bad. REALLY bad. I had just hammered out six hours of hard riding on a Saturday. It was time for an oil change, and I had a free one coming. When I rode out to the shop to show them the o-ring issue, I just left it there for service.

    I picked it up a couple days later, it was a gorgeous night, so I fired it up for a quick run around town to enjoy the late fall weather. I stopped and fueled up, headed straight for nowhere in particular. I got just over a mile and suddenly lost power. There was a horrible shearing noise. I tried to start it up, it sounded even worse. That was it. I made a call and got a ride to my truck and hauled it home. I checked everything that could be obviously wrong, everything was fine but that shearing noise when I was trying to start it.

    Next day, I drop it off at the shop. Tell them the issue, they will diagnose and get back to me.

    They call. The oil filter was bone dry. The engine is toast. The primary gear is chewed like someone took a cold chisel to it. Bottom to top, smoked with shredded brass all over the place. Not even one and a half miles after they changed the oil.

    They said it was my fault. I put the clutch in wrong when I replaced the Rekluse. I said bullcrap. I put a little rubber clamp in place to hold the clutch basket where it was so there was never an un-meshing of anything beyond the clutch plates themselves. I have done just a few clutch plates in the last 30 years. NEVER even had a gasket leak, even when they were still paper.


    Solving time:

    1) They never admitted to actually installing the Rekluse, which they said they did. Every time I asked they skirted the issue like it was the plague.

    2) They kind of admitted that the kick start issue may have been an indicator of something wrong.

    3) I rode the bike for 14 hours of hard dirt AFTER I replaced the Rekluse.

    4) It sounded like crap (worse than before) and ran like crap right after they did the oil change (and obviously destroyed itself)

    5) They asked me about the extended warranty/aftermarket plan and said they would get ahold of KTM and have them take a look at my issue.

    6) I looked at the engine again in the shop, and once again stated there was something wrong (from the start)with the engine, noise, kick start, pieces of rubber floating around in the engine, how I was uber careful when changing out the clutch parts and so on. Not to mention the fact that if those gears weren’t meshed, the bolts wouldn’t even start to thread in.

    KTM, or so they say … payed for the whole thing. They again told me to be careful when changing out clutch parts, and something about the basket (which I secured to begin with) sliding out and timing (??) and how if you don’t line everything up the gears won’t mesh. Acting as if I was stupid enough to torque down bolts without making sure everything was in place. Really.

    What do you all think happened?

    Did KTM actually pay for it?

    Did the shop screw something up when they serviced it?

    Did I screw something up when changing the clutch out? (Remember, everything ran fine for 14 solid hours after I changed it out, no issues at all)

    Have I put this shop on the blacklist for good reason?

    I haven’t started the bike since I got it back. I want to have a camera rolling and stethoscope to the engine case to compare what it sounded like before and after.
     
  2. Rich Rohrich

    Rich Rohrich BioHazard
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    Roost - If you got 14 hours of riding on the engine after the clutch change, then the clutch was right. They don't give IQ tests at the franchise meeting, so if you can afford to buy a dealership then you are a dealer. Mechanical ability is optional it seems, unless you plan on being in business for a while. It's a shame really, from all indications the 350 EXC-F is a great bike, unless you get the bike from the wrong dealer.

    Hopefully they have it right this time.
     
  3. Rooster

    Rooster Today's Tom Sawyer
    Damn Yankees

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    Thanks Rich. My gut feeling just wouldn't let go. I don't think this dealer is "all that". I haven't had time or weather to take the rebuild for a spin yet. Fingers crossed, when it was running it was a great ride. I'm already concerned, they didn't even get the stinking seat back on right. _PILE_
     
  4. Rooster

    Rooster Today's Tom Sawyer
    Damn Yankees

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    Follow up: The bike runs and sounds normal. Better than it did when I picked it up. I feel a pretty raw about this dealer, and won't be back there for anything, not even a free meal.
     
    truespode likes this.

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