KTM Factory “Blueprinting”

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by creeper, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. creeper

    creeper Still alive...

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    I received the bulk of my KTM LC4 inventory on Monday from Penco in Montana, including a new ’03 to ’05 “high flow” cylinder head.
    I was completely surprised to see that KTM is hand finishing these heads. They have taken the time to match and blend seats and ports, as well as deburr the combustion chamber.
    Photos are of the head as it came out of the box… all I’ve done is to begin measuring things.

    [​IMG]

    It is a very rough finish… not at all “pretty”, but certainly effective. Suzuki is the only other major player I am aware of that does this is, specifically on the GSXR 750 sport bike series.
    It would have been nice to see what the head looked like before someone at KTM attacked it with a porting bit… but it serves as an example of a company aware of the potential for improvement and willing to put in the extra time and effort to obtain it.

    [​IMG]

    There is a bit more to be had by additional blending and smoothing … I’m sure the worker that performed the task had no idea this head would land in my lap to be scrutinized, with observations posted on the internet, rather than go on to become part of a motorcycle.

    [​IMG]

    There are a few sharp edges left in the combustion chamber… potential “hot spots”, as well as quite a few casting “buggers” in all the ports. The happy-go-lucky KTM employee may have gotten a little over zealous around the spark plug hole, leaving some very thin areas… I’ll have to get a spark plug and see if I have room to remove the exceedingly skinny spots without exposing the plug threads to the combustion chamber.

    [​IMG]

    Also of note are the valve guide shapes in the ports. The intake guides have a nice flow-enhancing taper on them while the exhaust guides are of full diameter and are supported by the head casting almost to the end of the guide.
    Part of this disparity in shape is the size of the ports themselves, the tapered guides help to improve intake air flow... and with the exhausts, to improve in heat absorption and transfer.

    [​IMG]

    The new seats are fully 3-angle cut and have contact angle widths of .045” for the intake and .050” for the exhaust.

    All in all, it’s nice to see that KTM puts in the extra effort, and I’m sure there is a flow improvement vs. the as-cast version… but it may take more work to “clean up” what was done than if I had done it myself.

    What will happen to this head?
    At some point, after I’ve dissected it as far as I can, I’ll finish what KTM started as far as blueprinting, assemble it and offer it as a premium exchange piece for 2003 to 2005 LC4s.

    That's about it.
    Chris
    #1
  2. dirtrider

    dirtrider Dusty Adventurer

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    I'm glad to see your having fun playing with your parts. :evil

    When the bearing went out in my transmission, I had to split the cases on my 01. I was constantly impressed with the quality and level of engineering of the LC4. Almost everything has a bearing instead of a cheap bushing, easy to work on, dual oil pumps, lightweight bolts, and more.
    #2
  3. creeper

    creeper Still alive...

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    The way I look at it, for a factory to do this kind of hand work, there has to be justification... major justification. I would love to know the difference in CFM numbers before and after.
    Somebody at KTM did this to a head, tossed it on a flow bench and said "holy crap!"... showed it to someone up the food chain who said "holy crap!"... and so it went until someone at the top said "thats going into production"... all in German of course. :D

    Relatively small companies like KTM are good for this kind of "experimental today - production tomorrow" stuff. Fewer "suits", bean counters and red tape in the way of progress.
    #3
  4. Jinx

    Jinx Call me Renzo

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    A "bowl job" is not very time consuming. Not that it gets done much in a production environment, but Moto Guzzi was doing it 30+ years ago on the V7 Sport heads. Not the trick Telaio Rosso stuff, all of them.

    It helps, but the real money is in the seats (want to find flow obstruction? Look for the highest velocity areas. Want better flow? Make the high velocity areas work better). What the bowl job does is make the heads consistent from one to the next. And if you are trying to extract performance, you need all the heads to flow the same +/- fuck-all. With precision seat/valves, and a quick and dirty bowl job, KTM has made a very consistent platform for tuners.

    Best bang for the buck in head work? Really good valves and seats, a moderate bowl job, and drop the squish clearances to .035" +.005/-.000. But it is nice to see KTM cares. Now if they would quit putting 2-stroke bottom ends on their 4-stroke singles..........Cheers.
    #4
  5. meat popsicle

    meat popsicle Ignostic

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    I say boy, dashing good photographs! :nod I actually was going to suggest you give us an introduction to what it is you want people to pay money for... especially since I have little exposure to high end engine work. I see that you are way ahead of me. :D

    PS - Mack is gonna be real peeved, you flashin that beauty across his screen! That is unless it will fit on his older non-HF engine? :evil reel them in baby! :getiton
    #5
  6. Loadedagain

    Loadedagain making chips

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    what's the difference from that bad boy to the one on my '02? wonder if there's any benefit to installin a "high flow" head on an older engine.... :scratch hmmmm.
    #6
  7. GODSPEED

    GODSPEED finger lickin' good

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    Yeah, it helps ya get to Alaska quicker and lets more hot air out. :D
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  8. Tim

    Tim Long timer

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    Apparently there is a benefit to be gained from having a HiFlow head on an older engine. Sommer do what they call the "red head" flow job on older heads which, they claim, takes the head to better than a stock HiFlow. Also their advice on airbox mods varies for the HiFlow - Older bike = airbox door but leave the snorkle in, whereas HiFlow = airbox door and remove snorkle.

    Don't know if a stock HiFlow will bolt on to an older engine but I guess it should - shouldn't it?
    #8
  9. Happe

    Happe Offroad Nut

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    hi KTiM,

    I would go for the Sommer solution.
    It is a handmade High Flow with finishing touches.
    Or send your head to Mr. Creep :wink:

    I think I will send the head of my spare engine to the good ol' US of A

    cheers

    Stefan
    #9
  10. Tim

    Tim Long timer

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    Stefan,

    With the current exchange rate you may even save some money by sending it to Uncle Creep! (Plus you'll get that specialAdvRider service :evil )
    #10
  11. Happe

    Happe Offroad Nut

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    You nailed it :wink:
    #11
  12. wickedsprint

    wickedsprint Banned

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    ...Either that or it had a serious casting flaw that required it be fixed by hand and inventories were short...I like your answer better though.
    #12
  13. Loadedagain

    Loadedagain making chips

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    and you know the special service is gonna leave stains on your clothes... :D
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  14. Happe

    Happe Offroad Nut

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    I just wanna send the cyl. head, I don't wanna touch Creep :eek1 *shudder*
    Have you seen his avatar?? :huh
    cheers

    Stefan
    #14
  15. daotoys1

    daotoys1 Long timer

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    I have a collection of exotic bikes...mostly Italian stuff...

    TM are hand crafted off road bike and cart engine builders...all my TM 2 stroke and 4 stroke bikes come with balanced, blueprinted and polish/match ported engines...

    Vertemati of which I have 5 copies, also Italian hand crafted race bikes...are also match ported and polished from the factory....

    Bimota also matchports, polishes and routinely do head work on the bikes they use to build...they of course would source engines from suppliers, but they would rework the engines to thier specs before using them in thier hand assembled bikes....

    Its nice to see that KTM, also a race oriented bike maker, is not cutting all corners to safe money on the mass production level of their manufacturing...

    Of course, this extra time and attention to details will raise the cost of the parts, and the bikes them selves...but you end up with a better bike in the process too.....

    This is oneof the reasons I personally am attracted to the Hand made Exotic vehicles...both of 2 and 4 wheeled design....you get better quality of parts, work manship and assembly....plus alot of attension to details, and billet, and sand cast alloy components.....so you get a work of art as well as a vehicle...


    :thumb
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  16. creeper

    creeper Still alive...

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    Go to bed... get up, find this sillyness. Loaded in the mix?... of course sillyness. :D

    As I understand it, the '03 and later head has 32mm vs 30mm exhaust valves. KTM is not very good at providing detail on changes (one of the reasons I bought a head) so it may be safe to assume a cam timing change as well.
    The 32mm valves appear to be a retrofit to older heads, although you still have the smaller ports and seats... a bit of an improvement due to the larger valve diameter circumfrence offset by the restriction of the smaller ports & seats.
    What was the change in power output? I'll have to go and look at my old reference material... but I seem to recall a net gain of around 4 to 6 hp peak at the crank, which would jive with the Sommer data.
    #16
  17. meat popsicle

    meat popsicle Ignostic

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    that would be a yes?

    :lol3
    #17
  18. Badmunkie

    Badmunkie ...and needing spanked!

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    I had Sommers to the Special on my 2001 640 LC4. I insisted on before and after dyno runs for verification and the difference was almost 5 hp at peak. The only other work done between runs was an SXC silencer re-pack. I could definitely tell the difference.

    Creep,
    Have you looked into the cam timing yet? I had the cams indexed on a 2001 Ducati 996 and the 4 cams were off 7,10,10 and 12 degrees from stock. After being corrected with offset keys, the bike ran much smoother and pulled harder. Even the idle was smoother. I realize that with a SOHC engine an offset key would change both I and E lobes the same amount (and limit adjustablilty tremendously) but have you noticed any consistant error in LC4 cam timing?

    'munkie
    #18
  19. creeper

    creeper Still alive...

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    I haven't seen a Sommer "Red Head" in person. I would love to have one for a day to measure what they did, and more importantly what they didn't do.

    You didn't mention if the cams were off plus or minus on the Duck, still 12 degrees is a tremendous variance! :huh
    On a single cam KTM, I suppose one could advance or retard the cam timing by as much as 3 or maybe 4 degrees (valve to piston clearence might be an issue)... it's highly unlikely you would see a substantial increase in peak performance unless the timing was off in the first place, but you certainly would notice a "shift" in that peak by as much as 400 or 500 RPM up or down the range.
    Generally, DOHC bikes are more in a position to take advantage of cam timing shifts to improve or alter performance.

    Interesting post BM :thumb

    Creep
    #19
  20. Jeff620RXC

    Jeff620RXC Been here awhile

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    I'm thinking RIDEGUY (here and over on ktmtalk) has an 02 with the newer hi-flow head. His 02 had some trouble so he got a new head under warranty (I believe if memory serves).
    He reported a little better performance.
    #20