2007 KTM 990 Adventure: Top End Job

Discussion in 'Dakar champion (950/990)' started by Rockwell, Dec 30, 2019.

  1. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

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    I finally have gotten around the starting work on my engine. The bike has been sitting in my dining area (I don't have a garage) for the past year or so, and I've missed an entire riding season. I don't know what I am doing, but, at this point, I figure what do I have to lose? :johntm

    IMG_2238e.jpg

    I quit my job back in 2018 and left on a trip that was supposed to take me from Ontario, Canada through the USA, into Mexico and back again. I made it as far as New Orleans when I experienced some engine problems, and a major loss of coolant.

    My symptoms were:
    • engine running at 5 bars at highway speeds (usually 4 bars) in moderate temperatures (25°C)
    • significantly lower fuel efficiency (from fuel light on at 220 km to 180 km)
    • noticed lots of coolant loss
    • no signs of external coolant leaks
    • no signs of oil in the coolant, and no signs of coolant in the oil, other than appearance of possible slight steam coming off the oil when oil cap was removed when engine was hot (was using Engine Ice, not glycol-based coolant)
    • no wavy filter since was using a stainless steel filter
    Sometime over the past year and a half since the engine has been out, I performed the following:

    With some suggestions from @wiseblood in another thread, I will possibly be doing the following:
    • New piston rings
    • Maybe re-cutting of value seats in the head, and new valves (but not always)
    • possibly a new head gasket
    • possibly water pump rebuild
    • new cooling system hoses and clamps
    Any suggestions and helped is greatly appreciated!
    #1
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  2. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

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    I'm currently on this step:
    timing.JPG

    I've loosened the bearing bolt, but the bearing shown does not seem to be coming out easily. Any suggestions or advice so that I don't bust anything?
    #2
  3. Micky99

    Micky99 Adventurer

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    Sounds like water pump partially failing. How many KM/Miles on the engine?

    All the best with that work
    #3
  4. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

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    It has close to 100,000 km on it.

    I did a water pump rebuild back in 2010/2011 when it had 16,000 km on it. The symptoms then were completely different. I had milkshake milkshake coolant then. This time, there did not appear to be any coolant in the oil as far as I can tell, if what I was looking for was the milkshake. I also was using a stainless steel oil filter, so was unable to look for waviness. I don't know if it made the difference that, this time, I was using Engine Ice Coolant, which is not glycol-based.

    I figure with 100,000 km, it's about time I got comfortable with engine work and learned some new things. Hopefully I can get it up and running again. If I do the right work now, I might just get another 100,000 km. Fingers crossed.
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  5. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

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    Just a general question: am I rotating the engine to put each piston at top dead center to ensure that the cam lobes are not putting any pressure on the valves so that, when the cam bridges are removed, I don't damage them?
    #5
  6. Micky99

    Micky99 Adventurer

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    Well it was probably burning the coolant off in the engine. You would identify that as white smoke when warmed up. Also the stainless filter will not show coolant in oil as you said. I've no experience with engine ice, but it should be more slippery than water, maybe that's why it found a way out the cooling system. But since the compression is good, leak down test good, you had to be losing coolant somewhere and I'd place my money on the water pump. Nowadays you can't even get 60,000 out of a water pump in a car let alone a high performance bike.
    I'm going to be following your build. I've no answer to your latest question, no engine building experience here. Just basic troubleshooting and maintenance.
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  7. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

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    I didn't notice any white smoke. The last time I had the engine running was May 2018, and I think I specifically looked for white smoke based on other forum member's suggestions.

    Just reading about Engine Ice - their website says it's made from propylene glycol and de-ionized water, as opposed to ethylene glycol. It says that the former is non-toxic, as compared to the latter, but I'm not sure what this means as far as the difference in how it reacts with engine oil and how it presents in the exhaust. Either way, I'll be ordering water pump rebuild kit and some much-needed cooling system hoses and clamps. Will also have a look further into the head components to see how they are and to try to improve my experience.
    #7
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  8. wiseblood

    wiseblood Quid Quo Pro Supporter

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    Definitely head gasket! Those things are not reusable. Also, put in new base gaskets.

    Replace the piston circlips. They’re a pain to get in and out, but you don’t want to risk a problem by reusing them.

    You said you’re losing coolant. I would renew the water pump seal. No good reason not to!

    Coolant loss could be four ways:

    1. Head gasket
    2. Water pump seal
    3. Radiator cap (weak spring)
    4. Leak in radiator

    If #4, you’d smell it and would see fluid.

    #3 would cause the bike to run hotter, and burp coolant into the overflow. It’s a cheap fix. I’d replace the radiator cap just to be sure.

    #2 is the best reason to use paper filters. They would alert you to a problem before it becomes a problem!

    #1 Head gasket really means any leak in the crank case between the coolant and oil circuits, or leaking into the combustion chamber. A puff of white smoke when you start after a night sitting is a classic sign.

    Having the head cleaned up is really only necessary if you have low compression. If you haven’t taken too much apart yet, I would test compression. Pay attention to where the air is coming out. (Our the airbox: Intake valves. Out the tailpipe: exhaust valves. Out the crankcase: piston rings.) If you have the tools for a leak down test, that will tell you a lot.
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  9. Salzig

    Salzig Long timer

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    Yep. That's mandatory.
    If there's any load on the valves when losening bridge bolts, there's a high risk of breaking the bridge.
    Then you're in for a complete new head set, as head and bridge are machined together.
    #9
  10. jhalfhide

    jhalfhide Been here awhile

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    I had the same. I used a big Rawl plug, insert and use a long screw to expand... Then pull the screw
    #10
  11. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

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    I'm going to listen to you because you seem to know what you're talking about. :beer

    I did do a compression test back in 2018, just after getting the bike home. According to others, the numbers looked good. Here is the thread: https://advrider.com/f/threads/compression-test-question.1321937/

    I also attempted a leak-down test, and it seemed that air was getting past the intake valves from what I remember. This was also done back in 2018. I just measured the valve clearance on the rear cylinder. The exhaust was in spec (25mm), and the intake was a bit loose (18mm), so, I am not sure what this means other than valves not sealing properly?

    If I had to guess, it seems as though coolant was leaking into the engine somewhere. Something wet that did not appear to be oil seemed to be getting sucked up into the crank case breather hose and deposited into the front cylinder, and I was not getting proper ignition. If it is a blown head gasket, is this likely to be clear when I remove the heads? I guess I should also check all mating surfaces for gaps and possibly have them resurfaced if needed?
    #11
  12. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

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    So basically you loosened the bearing bolt, then inserted the plug and screw between the bearing bolt head and the cylinder head and pulled?
    #12
  13. Mr Head

    Mr Head Adventure Hippie Supporter

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    I suggest the Samco hoses and clamp set. Very good stuff. I've been using Engine Ice in my 990 since I got it. I blew the motor sky high in 2018. $$$$ to repair, then more repairs to the repairs/hamfisted reassembly. I have zero room to deal with the bike and less time at that time, so I paid and paid.
    Non-toxic means it is less likely to kill a dog who gets into it. Traditional coolant is attractive to dogs in particular.
    #13
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  14. jhalfhide

    jhalfhide Been here awhile

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    Bolt out, Rawl plug in, long screw to expand... Pull like hell 1577836134226.jpg
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  15. Zuber

    Zuber Zoob Supporter

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    If you don't re-do the valves, be sure to at least replace the valve stem seals. They wear.

    I don't think you have a head gasket problem either.

    The radiator cap can get dirty and leak. You won't see steam or leaks, it just slowly looses coolant.

    Use the KTM gasket set. It is very complete and excellent.
    #15
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  16. jhalfhide

    jhalfhide Been here awhile

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    I'm in the middle of doing piston rings and gaskets.

    Front plug oily and was experiencing moments of poor running and intermittent coughing.

    Also had a few drops of oil every time I parked and this wasn't the usual gear position sensor
    #16
  17. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

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    I've been looking at the Samco hoses. I've heard they clamps are a bit of a pain to get on, although, I'm sure it will be easier with the engine completely removed.

    You only need a dining room for repairs and to live alone without a girlfriend to prevent the storage of a motorcycle where the dining table is supposed to be. :jack

    Got it. Will give that a try.

    I had a brand new radiator cap on weeks prior to this happening. I replaced the old one as a preventative thing. When this happened, I reverted to the old one that I knew worked, and it had no effect. If I had to guess based on what I've seen, lots of coolant was somehow leaking somewhere into the engine. There was the obvious sign of rapid coolant loss, and the engine was not firing properly, to the point where is would completely stall by the time I last ran it. The symptoms were very dissimilar and the amount of coolant loss was very different as compared to the time when I did have to repair the pump, although I don't think I will completely rule this out. It's about time for a rebuild anyway. If it is a head gasket, I don't know if I will be able to tell by visual inspection, but will replace and see how things are.
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  18. Rockwell

    Rockwell Been here awhile

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    This sounds similar to what mine experienced. I also had a mysterious oil leak every time I parked that I never got to the bottom of. I was going to look into the gear position sensor after reading about it on this forum.
    #18
  19. Zuber

    Zuber Zoob Supporter

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    Sounds to me like you have it figured out.
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  20. MAXVERT

    MAXVERT O.G. on da O.C.

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    Good on ya Rocky . You'll be learning skills that will pay rewards for the rest of your riding days,
    and your life in general . Diagnose , form a plan , one step at a time and you'll achieve your
    goal .

    Keep after it ! Max
    #20
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