My new KTM 990/Why I cancelled a Winter riding Mexico

Discussion in 'Crazy-Awesome almost Dakar racers (950/990cc)' started by Kedgi, Jan 16, 2014.

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  1. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    This is a brief description of why I canceled my Winter in Mexico on my new KTM 990.

    In short, the fuel filters are so poorly designed you can't trust this bike.

    I am spending my forth night in a motel in San Antonio Texas waiting for new fuel filters to arrive and be installed on my bike.

    I left my home in eastern Canada on my new 990 in late October, just ahead of the snow and rode to Houston, where I dropped the bike at a friends house (after a trip to the dealership). I flew home for Christmas and New Years. I returned in early January to Texas to pick up the bike for a long ride in Winter in Mexico, solo, now cancelled.

    This bike has had reliability issues since South Carolina, quit dead and left me stranded four times there. I limped in with much effort to the Savannah KTM dealer who doesn't sell the adventure bikes, but he determined I had bought bad gas. A fuel treatment he sold got me going but the bike still had major hesitation issues and stalling.

    In the end I got to Texas and took it to Wild West Honda/KTM in Katy TX. I told them I had been having fuel, stalling quitting issues since South Carolina. They "fixed" the bike. My friend picked it up (i needed sprockets and chain and Wild West didn't have them in stock, and I had a flight to catch) and it did indeed seem to be fixed.

    I returned in January picked up the bike rode for about an hour and it was a lot better.....for and hour and then it was back to the same old thing.

    The bike left me stranded on the side of the road in Port Aransas Tx. Quit dead, without warning while riding at 70mph in busy traffic. I have the pucker marks in my seat to prove it. I am eternally thankful it failed there instead of in Northern Mexico between Reynosa and Monterrey. I'd potentially be writing this, waiting for answers from KTM while eating goat with the Cartels.

    To keep the story short, or maybe it's too late for that. It is clogged fuel filters. I have been sitting at a motel for four days waiting on replacements. It is a shop job. This is not a proceedure that can been done in a parking lot. Both tanks have to be remove etc etc etc. It takes hours and costs hundreds of dollars, something like and oil change and valve set, which is also $500. I know I have paid for about 6 of them.

    KTM Canada is saying this is all the dealers fault (Wild West in Katy TX) they should have checked the filters. Wild West is saying a filter check wasn't on KTM Canada's maintenance schedule. The point is moot, either way they are both happy to leave me holding the bag for an expensive delay and repair and I still don't trust the bike and have had to cancel my trip and I am faced with a huge bill to ship it home, fly myself back and sell the bike asap. I want to go riding (overland) on a bike I can trust. This KTM 990 is a lot of things trustworthy is not one of them.

    The dealer in Katy, when they had the bike apart did not check the fuel filters:eek1 They were happy to send me riding solo in Mexico after I had fuel issues since South Carolina, without checking my fuel filters. Now I am faced with another huge repair bill. I have spent over $4000 in maintenance on this bike in six months, two of those months it sat in my friends garage, so really about $1000/month of riding.

    Contrast that to last year when i rode my KLR 650 to Argentina from my home in Canada and spent next to nothing on maintenance, maybe $800 bucks total.

    I am longing for a new KLR 650. I do not trust my KTM 990 to be out of sight of a pickup truck and a ramp. The KTM 990 is not an overland bike, in my humble opinion. I bought it to ride Mexico, planned and saved for months, studied Spanish and am I ever disappointed. What a piece of crap.

    Please read my ride report, especially the last 10 pages or so, where there is a lot more detail.


    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=929171

    My humble opinion, it's worth what you paid for it but consider it before buying a KTM for overland travel

    Kedgi
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  2. SilkMoneyLove

    SilkMoneyLove Long timer

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    Seems the first dealer should have discovered the issue? Fuel Filters are not specific to just Adventure bikes.

    Anyhow, I owned 1 KTM and I have been cured of ever wanting to own another. Maybe a ride or two, but not to own. Too finicky for my tastes.

    You liked the KLR and you might want to go back to that but have you thought of picking up a Honda CB500X? What about trading in the 990 for a CB5X and taking the cash difference for alittle MX trip? maybe the dealer in Katy is sympathetic to your plight and will give you a good deal?

    There is always a way to make it work. Keep the dream alive.
    #2
  3. Off Road Ryder

    Off Road Ryder Long timer

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    Im sorry your having issues. I love my KTM lc8 and will never let it go.
    The filters have been a common issue on the 990, Im pretty sure there are resolutions.
    Not to be critical or judgmental but...
    I have to wonder why someone would travel abroad and not works on their own bike?
    #3
  4. VxZeroKnots

    VxZeroKnots Long timer

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    That would scare me as well. How different is taking the tanks off a 990 than a 950? It's a 30 minute job tops to R&R the tanks on the 950. I'm considering retrofitting FI to my 950, whats the difference?
    #4
  5. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    Selling a CDN bike in the USA is fraught with difficulties and unfortunately not an option as I see it. You're right, every bike has fuel filters, only some have fuel filters that take 4 days and $1000 to replace.

    Kedgi
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  6. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    Just the diagnosis was two hours on the 990.

    I am considering a retrofit of my 990 to a seat on one of Westjet's 737's.
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  7. atwoodtja

    atwoodtja Been here awhile

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    Wow, that sucks. Hope you have better luck on your next trip, whether its on a KTM or KLR or whatever you choose.

    FWIW, from a distance this seems like more of an incompetent dealer mechanic than anything particularly bad about the bike design. On a stalling FI bike with any decent amount of mileage, they really should have checked the fuel filter(s) to make sure they're flowing enough gas (assuming this really is the problem, finally).
    #7
  8. john_aero

    john_aero Long timer

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    sorry your having issues,

    but if the issue was you buying bad fuel then the bike is not faulty

    the filters did their job and stopped crap getting into engine

    all bikes have issues, my klr had to get 2 doohickey mods as kept failing so all bike need work and you learn to work on them

    id get fuel filters, then a spare set. replace them yorself using the HOW on here and test bike for few days and see if issue sorted.

    clogged fuel filter is like saying your bike sluggish due to dirty air filter.

    in fact if i had issues like yours and turned out filters did their job id be delighted was so simple and not a ech fault with bike

    i hope its just filters. if it is then just take time, get used working on bike and enjoy trip
    #8
  9. KMC1

    KMC1 There is no spoon.

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    Quick question.
    From your symptoms, it kinda sounds like a clogged vent line. How sure are you that it's the filters? Obviously the shop mechanic isn't telling you the straight scoop since the bike keeps getting "fixed" and then breaks down five minutes later.
    #9
  10. steveWFL

    steveWFL Long timer

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    ...another thread full of pure win, this one is going places [​IMG]
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  11. EltonAvenue

    EltonAvenue Banned

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    $1000 for 4 fuel filters???Are you kidding me??

    Have you taken up your issues with KTM direct in Austria or wherever the head honcho sits these days???They may be open to giving you some assistance, because the US franchises seem to be expectedly clueless!!

    Scroll down on this link to get Austrian Corporate;
    http://company.ktm.com/gb/service/contact.html

    Here is a "local" KTM contact;http://www.ktm.com/us/contact.html
    #11
  12. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    I prefer riding my bike to working on it. My KLR never missed a beat on a 26000 km trip, not once. Again, replacing a set of these filters is not a job for anyone that's not a mechanic. I am a retired Air Traffic Controller, not a mechanic. Think of it this way, why buy a bike that is going to give you a ton of trouble when you want to ride overland? It's fine if you don't ride far from home, but if it takes fours days to get these filters to San Antonio, how long would it take to get them in Arica, Chile, were i spent a wonderful couple of days riding my trouble free KLR last year. If this bike will clog up so badly it won't run on premium fuel in the USA, why would anyone take it overland where you buy gas in pop bottles at the side of the road in many instances, just as i did last year, in Eastern Colombia nd Southern Peru, trouble free, on my KLR.

    Kedgi
    #12
  13. bomose

    bomose Long timer

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    I've just bought a used 2011 990. It has been well taken care of. After reading several threads, I wonder if I should keep my 2004 950 with 42k on it. I've had no problems with it and I can work on it without a computer. By the way, I've never had a problem with my KLRs either.
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  14. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    I think you may have misread my comments. It is about $1000 bucks to get the fuel filters changed once, but routine maintenance on this bike is astronomical, a total of $4000 for oil changes and valve sets in 6 months. I am not kidding. It is outrageous, not to metion the $65/night I am spending on a hotel room while i wait. $4000, soon to be $5000 on maintenace on this bike since June. To borrow the comments of a friend who has ridden worldwide for 7 years, major issue free, on his BMW, $4000 will buy a lot of Corona. he is Mazatlan today. I was supposed to be with him.

    Please read my RR about my attempts to get satisfaction from KTM

    Kedgi
    #14
  15. EltonAvenue

    EltonAvenue Banned

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    Sell it & with the money you get buy a KLR & a DR650 & even a DRZ400 for short gnarly trips!!!:deal
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  16. nevermind

    nevermind sLOW Rider

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    If you don't trust it, time to offload it and move on.
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  17. Afry

    Afry Why hike?

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    Bummer it didn't work out this trip. After looking at your trip thread and seeing all the homes on stilts and knowing the fuel tanks are underground I can see potential fuel problems as well.

    Sometimes simple is better but unfortunately bikes seem to be getting more complicated. Maybe a KLR is in your future again but I for one could not go back.

    In all other areas that 990 is a great bike, have you thought about a work around so that the filters are modified in a way to make them more accessible and using a filtering funnel like this one?

    http://www.maesco.com/products/racor/r_funnel/r_funnel.html
    #17
  18. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    My KTM has 30,000k on it. I would describe it as an absolutely unreliable money pit.

    Kedgi
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  19. dirtdiver

    dirtdiver Long timer

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    Bummer that you had an issue and you are so upset. I have 35K miles on my bike and for the most part it has been trouble free. I have put plenty of Mexican gas through the bike.

    It did leave me stranded in Mexico at one point and I had to get the bike trailered back to the US dealer which was a PITA. My issue turned out to be a bad fuel pump at 20K miles.

    I would bet that you can push through this with some persistence.

    DD
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  20. Kedgi

    Kedgi Banned

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    I love riding the KTM and do not dispute the fact that it is a wonderful bike to ride. My point is, if you intend to ride internationally or to remote areas like Labrador, the KLR is a far better choice.
    #20
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