Beware The KTM 990 Clutch

Discussion in 'Crazy-Awesome almost Dakar racers (950/990cc)' started by Chrisgray, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. Chrisgray

    Chrisgray Adventurer

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    Warning - If you are blinded by the love of your KTM 990 Adventure then do not read on. What follows is a tale of sorrow.

    Recently I had a catastrophic failure of my clutch on my 2007 adventure. I was riding the Great Ocean Road in Australia when the gear shifts were not slipping in smoothly. This was quickly followed by a horrible mechanical crunch. I switched the engine off and pulled over.
    11 hrs and a 300km tow truck ride later I was home.

    The next day the bike was taken to a local dealer and the clutch cover removed. The reason for the failure became apparent. One of the clutch retaining bolts had come loose.

    Now there is a technical bulletin that is to be applied during a service to tighten up these bolts (TB008). Apparently these bolts were not tightened correctly at the factory. This TB had been applied to my bike.

    There are 6 bolts and the mechanic checked the torque on the remaining 5 bolts. The torque of each bolt was the required 10Nm. There was also residue of locktite on the bolts.So it appeared as though the TB had been applied correctly.

    Why one of the bolts came loose is concerning. 8 months earlier I was riding solo around South America and I shudder to think what may have happened if it had failed in a remote area.

    At 25,000km the bike has always been serviced at an authorised KTM dealer. But when I talked to KTM, the initial response is that the bike is out of warrenty and there is nothing the can do. But I see this as a design fault which KTM are trying to manage through a maintenance schedule. However, the maintance fix seems inadequate.

    So the warning is always get these bolts checked at each service and especially before a major trip. I have asked KTM to review their position and assist with the $2500AUD repair bill. It would be disappointing if KTM do not stand by their product and the work of their authorised dealers. I will keep you posted on what they say.

    Attached Files:

    #1
  2. rider911

    rider911 Shortcut Navigator

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    I think its important for people to post up these types of failures so we are all aware of the POTENTIAL problems that may occur, but I think your being abit harsh expecting KTM to foot the bill.
    I would hardly call it a design fault and it is 5yrs old, certainly there was a problem somewhere in assembly during the 07 year but I think they have forfilled there obligations with the SB. There are hundreds of 07 models worldwide which have not given problems. Maybe you could blame the mechanic who performed the SB rectification for not cleaning the threads before loctiting but this clutch basket design is the same on almost all bikes in the modern era and I have never loctited any on any bike I have every owned and have never had a problem.

    I feel your pain but sometimes shit just happens :cry
    #2
  3. MT950

    MT950 "OLD" Adventurer

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    +1 with rider911, more of a maint. issue . After doing the SB check/redo on my clutch bolts, I now do a check at every oil change. Also, about every time I ride( just one more reason I like my CJracer clutch cover) ! This has happened to other owners in past years,(reason for SB,and reviewed on this sit) and should be a known issue.Never hurts to refresh owners memories,sorry it happened to you! If clutch cover had been removed (for inspection of noise/clutch action) I think ,after removeing the bad bolt,the KTM could have been limped home(just what I'd try:evil but ?) Anybody out there tried this? (to put in my "just in case bin") Sorry for your bad luck, hope it gets sorted out! Must ad with 70,000+ miles on big KTM's never any real issues,just maintain/ride/repeat!

    Attached Files:

    #3
  4. gefr

    gefr Life is a trip

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    Yes shit happens but why should the owner pay for them. He has to survive from whatever situation he has been into, pays to recover the bike and get home and on top of all that he has to pay for somebody's bad job.

    I think the least compensation from KTM would be to replace his damaged item. Which is nothing in comparisson to the bills he already paid. And for all these bikes that never failed, KTM could pay for the few that did fail.
    Cheers.
    #4
  5. CA Stu

    CA Stu Thanks Super Moderator

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    The exact same thing happened on my 05.5 950 (after I had sold it), I was riding with the new owner.

    He just laid it over on the dirt, yanked the cover, found the problem and removed the bolt, put it back together and continued on his way, fixed it when he got home.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    When you have a bike that is 4-5 years old and has been ridden off road (let's be honest, these bikes just beg to be flogged), you are going to have breakdowns. It's inevitable.

    What you do when you have a breakdown is entirely up to you.
    Heck, I enjoy trailside repair*. A little bit of adversity reveals a lot about a person, I reckon.

    My friends and I just fix it and get on with it. :dunno

    * More so when it's not my bike. :D
    #5
  6. gefr

    gefr Life is a trip

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    I wish I was that cool. Cheers.
    #6
  7. CA Stu

    CA Stu Thanks Super Moderator

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    He is! :D

    But that's not my point at all.

    My point is that one should expect to do some repair on a 4-5 year old bike, and it's a good idea to be prepared.

    Thanks to the OP for the heads up / reminder, next time my SE needs an oil change I'm gonna pop the cover off and check the torque on all those bolts :thumb
    #7
  8. geometrician

    geometrician let's keep going...

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    The service schedule for these engines states the need to check the clutch plates/linings & clutch pressure booster system every 15,000km or 2 years which would necessitate removing the clutch pressure plate each time- in which case you (or a shop) would clean & Loctite the 6 pressure plate bolts each time you have it off. With an o-ring & a separate clutch outer cover it takes just a few minutes without loosing a drop of engine oil or making a mess...have you or someone else been keeping up with this?

    Loctite requires a wire brush or wheel to get it off properly, residue hangs around in the bolt holes as well as oil. It takes a few minutes to properly clean things before application of Loctite but it must be done. All Loctite's have specific chemical requirements in order to cure properly- if they don't get them you aren't going to have a good bond to hold the threads in place.

    I'd guess that one bolt (& hole) didn't get as good a cleanup as the others which led to its failure.

    KTM North America does a good job of covering warranty claims (and even extending them) compared to some other importers I know of (Honda, Suzuki Kawasaki come to mind). With the miles & age on the bike, I think you're on your own here. Perhaps the dealer that did the clutch TB could be asked for a discount on the parts- maybe some labor (free or discounted) but asking KTM to foot the bill seems unlikely to happen given the facts provided
    #8
  9. men8ifr

    men8ifr Been here awhile

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    How do you clean the inside of the hole before locktiting/supergluing?

    I imaging it's extremely difficult to get oil out and off all the threads...

    Thanks to the OP for posting and sorry about your bad luck :cry
    #9
  10. Just Paul

    Just Paul Pro Cat Herder

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    +1 get the clear clutch cover

    it also detects water pump failure
    #10
  11. geometrician

    geometrician let's keep going...

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    I use .22 caliber gun cleaning brushes for 6mm diameter fasteners (steel, brass & nylon to choose from) along with MEK, paint remover &/or contact cleaner... compressed air w/thin tube tip on end of blower so you can blow from the bottom of the holes back out.

    This is useful for all sorts of places on the bike, nothing like breaking a bolt/screw from hydraulic lock from an oil-filled hole when replacing a cover/installing something :huh

    ... in the end I chase the holes with clean Q-tips so you can see if you're still pulling stuff out
    #11
  12. DirtyADV

    DirtyADV Long timer

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    Sidestand the bike, remove the clutch cover and you can torque all these up easily, o-ring seal on that cover can be reused many times. Traveling right now so dont have the manual for torques, but I'm sure someone can provide that.

    Took mine apart just after buying it a few years ago, a 2004, 2 years old and only 3500kms on the odo and 2 bolts loose, one was 2 full turns out so that was close.

    /Johan
    #12
  13. codys

    codys Lost in the Vizcaino

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    My buddy Paul on his 07 990 had a bolt back out a couple years ago. It leaped to it's freedom on East cape road near Cabo in Baja. The dealer told him that the metal bits that were now floating through his bike were softer than the piston so no worries. :lol3 He removed the mangled bolt and did a couple oil changes on the road side. We made the rest of the trip home with no drama. Paul was a little on edge though always hearing weird engine noises....Can't blame him.


    The 10$ Peso/jb weld patch. :clap

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

    ^^^^ Um should I be worried. Poor guy....
    #13
  14. Gluaisrothaí

    Gluaisrothaí Feckin' gobshite

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    There was a TB to add Loctite to the starter flywheel bolts, but not for the clutch pressure plate. TB0804 only requires loosening and retorquing of the pressure plate bolts.

    And from the HOW: Clutch Pressure Plate Bolts:

    2006 & 2007.
    Affected models: 950 Adventure, 950 Adventure S, 950 Supermoto, 950 Supermoto R, 950 Super Enduro R, 990 Adventure ABS, 990 Adventure S, 990 Super Duke. Improperly torqued pressure plate bolts from the factory. Fix: A tech bulletin was issued with instructions on properly torquing the bolts. The results of the bolts backing can be a destroyed outer clutch cover and bent/broken bolts. I suggest checking these bolts on ALL years and models. Once they have been initially checked and re-torqued if required, no other checks have been reported as needed. Note: Loctite is NOT required on these fittings.

    Attached Files:

    #14
  15. Gluaisrothaí

    Gluaisrothaí Feckin' gobshite

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    TB0804 page 2

    Attached Files:

    #15
  16. Zuber

    Zuber Zoob

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    I've never seen these bolts loosen up. This design is the same on all bikes since the 60's. None were ever loctited. If these are a little loose, the spring could slowly twist them out, I guess.

    I wonder what's different about this bike? Bolts just not tight to start with?

    The new formula for the blue loctite #243? is 'oil tolerant' which means you don't have to get it spotless. Usually, just a squirt of carb cleaner and a puff of air will prep it.

    Guess I'll have to start checking these.
    #16
  17. Dusty

    Dusty Long timer

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    Back when that happened to Paochow i checked mine on my 07 and found several not torqued to spec. I also had the loctite, no loctite question. Just didn't make sense to try to put loctite in oil filled holes. I found enough blue chucks on the screens on the first oil change. I did checked them this spring and all were still at the proper torque.

    my .01
    #17
  18. Chrisgray

    Chrisgray Adventurer

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    KTM have replied..... and as some of you have suggested, they are unwilling to assist in the repair. No offer of assistance of any kind, although they did "think long and hard about the failure" :huh.

    I posed the question "What I might have done as a user to prevent this failure" but no answer was provided by KTM.

    If a product is used in accordance with manufacturer’s guidelines and maintenance schedules, then you can expect it to perform without catastrophic failure. I think this is a fair and reasonable statement.

    The clutch failure is not a wear and tear issue or due to the bike's age. The bike has 25,000km on it and it has always been serviced at a KTM dealer. I have a lot of mechanical sympathy with my bikes. My daily commute has 90,000km on the original clutch and is often riden with a pillion. Its a 250cc Honda, so imagine the amount of clutch work that gets 2up in traffic.

    I tried to get KTM to classify this problem as either a design fault, manufacturing fault or servicing fault.

    The bolts in the factory may of had an incorrect torque applied 6Nm. The Technical Bulletin was issued to address this. So it is not a manufacturing fault as my bike had the TB applied and the remaining bolts were torques to 10Nm.

    So is it a design fault? Well KTM say not but then also stated that the bolts should be checked every 15000km. Is this a way to manage an in service issue with a maintenance schedule? Why check them if there is no problem? Perhaps.

    Is it a servicing fault. Well this one is hard to decipher. The dealer who applied the TB is now no longer operating but as I said the remaining bolts did have 10Nm of torque + blue loctite. Why the loctite was applied is not clear, as it is not instructed in the bulletin. The bike did also have a 15000km service but in Santiago, Chile at a KTM dealer. It is unlikely that they checked these bolts though. But take a guess at my chances of getting a dealer in Chile to pay for my repair in Australia? KTM head office are unwilling to act as intermediary in this respect.

    So where does this all end up. Well I have to question the value of getting it service by KTM dealers when they are not backed by the manufacturer. I may end up paying the $2500 for the repair of the bike and carry on with a little less respect for the KTM brand.

    I will aim to set up a system which is more reliable though. I am less inclined to put the same parts back into the bike. So I am looking for an after market clutch. This would remove the bolts and KTM parts from the equation completely. I have looked at the Rekluse clutch and there is a new model available in Feb. I have heard good stories about them backing their products if they fail unexpectedly. Unfortunately Rekluse clutch still uses most of the KTM parts including the bolts and pressure plate. Are there any suggestions for an aftermarket clutch (including basket)???
    I have looked and come up with nothing (I don’t want a slipper clutch).

    It may be that I have few alternatives other than to pay for a KTM OEM clutch. I did like the idea of the transparent clutch cover though, so you can regularly monitor the bolts. It just hurts to pass money over when I did everything required by their guidelines I guess.

    :tough

    Anyway, hopefully this will be useful to other KTM LC8 riders and just make sure you check those bolts regularly.
    #18
  19. rider911

    rider911 Shortcut Navigator

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    I have never personally seen a Rekluse kit specifically for the 990 however I have fitted a few on enduro bikes, KTM Honda and Kawasaki and they all discard the oem pressure plate, springs and bolts ect. because that is exactly the principle of the centifugal clutch which is to discard the spring pressure if favour of centifugal ramped pressure.

    I'd be surprised if your statement is correct.

    Dont you think that if your issues were as serious as you seem to be worried about that we'd all be at home fixing our clutches and noone would be out doing awesome long distance adventures that these bikes are renouned for.

    You have just had bad luck.

    Just replace the damaged parts, do a few quick oil/filter changes and keep riding. The majority of 9*0 owners would have never heard of this issue and plenty of them have over 100000km on them.

    The smile will return :D

    911
    #19
  20. Sumi

    Sumi Long timer

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    Excuse me for the dumb question, but how does this all sum up to $2500?
    A new pressure plate is about $80 and a new clutch outside cover (if it's toast) is also about $80.. Changing the oil 3 times, to get most of the particles out of the engine would be let's say.. $400 - but then you are using motorex.. So $600 total. Okay, if the basket is shot, that's another $4-500, and you may want to buy some new plates as well.. so the whole thing shouldn't be more than $1000 +- $200..
    #20