ARE WE KTM'S LAB RATS? Product recalls, known issues & fixes

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by B1, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    A common criticism of KTM and Husqvarna is they bring out some of their innovations too soon and customers become their guinea pigs, resulting in a lot of recalls and ongoing problems. This has probably been true in a limited number of cases, such as the terrible 4CS forks they experimented with, but overall I suspect any manufacturer that likes to innovate will hit problems from time to time... and often the quality control issues can be caused by outside suppliers.



    In any case it makes sense to know what the potential problems are with a new or used KTM, and fix things before they become a problem. Let's start with product recalls.

    PRODUCT RECALLS
    These are just examples. There's a more comprehensive list here.
    Nov 2007: Potential fuel leak due to faulty sealing area of filler cap and fuel tank.
    2006 models: 250 SX-F, 250 SXS-F, 300 XC. 2007: 125, 250SX, 250/450/505 SX-F, 200/250/300/450/525 EXC

    June 2012: Potential serious injury as the inner fork tubes may crack due to incorrect heat treatment process.
    2009 model: 300 EXC

    Nov 2012: Potential fire hazard as certain fuel hoses may leak fuel at the hose bends or ends.
    2012 models: 350 EXCF, 450EXC, 500EXC, 350 FREERIDE
    2013 models: 250 XCF, 350EXCF, 350XCF, 450EXC, 450XCF

    April 2013: Throttle may lock in open position due to production faults in throttle grip housing.
    2013 models: 85, 125, 150, 250, 300 motocross and enduro models

    June 2014: Potential danger from foot brake levers not tightened correctly during assembly.
    2014 models: 690 ENDURO R and 690 SMC R

    November 2014: Potential accidents from possible seizing of the 4CS front forks as the piston rod may detach from the screw cap.
    2015 models: 125SX, 150SX, 250SX, 250SXF, 350SXF, 450SXF, 250XCF, 350XCF, 450XCF, 250EXCF 6 Days, 350EXCF 6 Days, 450EXCF 6 Days, 500EXCF 6 Days
    Husqvarna 2015 models: FC250, FC350, FC450, FE350, FE450, FE501, TC125, TC250, TE125, TE250, TE300

    March 2015: Potential rear brake failure due to possible brake line damage during assembly.
    2015 models: 690 ENDURO R & 690 SMC R

    March 2015: Potential front brake failure from possible damage to brake disc, fork tubes and ABS sensor due to incorrectly sized front wheel spacers.
    2014 & 2015 models: 690 SMC R

    October 2015: Fuel hoses can have uncontrolled fuel leakage at the bends or at the ends.
    2016 models: 250, 350, 450 SX-F EU & US Model
    2015 models: 250, 450 SX-F Factory Edition US Model

    October 2015: Potential fire hazard due to possible issues with tank breather.
    2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 models: Freeride 350 & Freeride 250 R

    Dec 2015: Spokes may break potentially resulting in a crash.
    2016 models: 125, 150, 250 SX Models
    2016 models: 250, 350, 450 SX-F Models

    May 2016: Connecting rod may fail or fracture due to deviations in production process.
    2016 models: 250 SXF Factory Edition, 250 SXF

    May 2016: Oil loss may damage to the interior of the shock absorber, posing a potential accident hazard.
    2015 & 2016 models: 1290 Super Adventure

    Sept 2016: Hand brake cylinders may have defective machining, affecting brakes through early wear of the sealing cup in the hand brake cylinder.
    2017 models: 250 SX-F, 350 SX-F , 450 XC-F, 150 XC-W, 250 XC-W, 300 XC-W, 250 EXC, 300 EXC Six Days, 300 EXC, 250 EXC-F Six Days, 250 EXC-F, 350 EXC-F Six Days, 350 EXC-F, 450 EXC-F Six Days, 450 EXC-F, 500 EXC-F

    Nov 2016: Brake system may fail due to conductive brake line overheating and melting due to deviations in the assembly process.
    2013 2014 2015 and 2016 models: 1190 Adventure, 1190 Adventure R, 1290 Super Adventure

    Feb 2018: Possible front brake failure as piston in handbrake master cylinder may crack
    2015 and on: 690 Duke R, 1290 Super Duke, 1290 Super Duke R/SE
    2016 and on 1290 Super Duke GT

    June 2017: Potential loss of headlight due to Head Light Control Unit rebooting when riding
    2017 model 390 Duke

    Feb 2017 Potential fuel leak due to faulty hoses
    2016 & 2017 1290 Super Duke GT

    Feb 2018 Fuel tank, filler neck and filler neck gasket may leak fuel.
    2016 and on: 690 Duke & 690 Duke R

    OTHER KNOWN ISSUES
    Next are all the issues not serious enough to issue a product recall. Each year KTM dealers receive a list of these which we can't access, but you'll occasionally see the issues pop on forums like this one:
    "2016 KTM 125 SX and 150 SX models have been found to have cracks in engine cases due to incorrect assembly, leading to transmission oil entering the combustion chamber and causing excessive exhaust smoking."

    Oil transfer issue in 2008 to 2011 four strokes (XC4 engines). This affected many 2008 models and some 2009 models. Might be worth just making sure your 2010 or 2011 model is working okay... unlike other models these engines had separate compartments for the transmission and engine. In the early models many (not all) would allow oil to transfer from one side to the other potentially leaving levels low and requiring constant monitoring. KTM said by 2009 it had resolved the issue.

    Until the new design in 2017, the two stroke starter motors were widely seen as a very unreliable weak design that needed frequent maintenance. We've done a whole video about keeping these suckers working here. Thankfully the new design seems to be working well.

    Apart from product recalls on certain 4CS forks, they were very widely criticised for being much worse than the earlier forks. I spoke with the suspension specialists at FFRC who tested them on their dyno chart and they said it looked as though the KTM suspension crew went to lunch and never finished the job properly. There are various fixes available, see this video.

    A minor but persistent problem, the weak sidestand on the enduro models. In the quest for light weight most European bikes have weak sidestands but KTM are probably the worst. If it falls off just buy a decent aftermarket one.

    A fairly rare issue was the weak idler gear on 2017 models, but it would be a much more common problem if riders used their kick starters a lot. Some riders were finding this was breaking even on their first ride. The best fix possible is to use a longer bolt and tap the thread to make room for this. Have fixed this for 2018 and also redesigned the case to provide more support.
    https://thumpertalk.com/forums/topic/1253879-2017-2-stroke-idler-gear-snapped/

    In 2017, KTM and Husky switched from the mostly trouble-free Keihin to the Mikuni carburetor. Many riders have reported problems with jetting, incorrect installation and float level issues. Eventually the manufacturers released a technical bulletin to hopefully fix the problems, see your dealer for more information.

    KTM Freeride air boxes were poorly designed. In wet weather the rear wheel would throw water up into the airbox and eventually drown the engine. Just google around for info on how owners designed plastic flaps to prevent this.

    In 2017 KTM began using their own reed valves and there have been complaints about these breaking or not sealing properly. Some riders have swapped over to the VForce 4 aftermarket option which has stronger reeds, a better seal, reed stops and better airflow.

    Back in 2011 there was some very handy information posted by the guys at Stillwell Performance after years of racing KTMs. Bear in mind some of these may have been fixed in later models....
    Exhaust mount can break right above the footpeg on the 250, 350 and 450 SX-Fs
    Loctite the chain slider bolt - a notorious KTM problem as it loosens or seizes up and breaks off in there
    Check the chain guide bolts regularly and loctite them as they frequently become loose
    The large 19mm bolt for the linkage on the 250 and 350 SX-Fs is seizing - apply a 50/50 mixture of heavy-duty bearing grease and anti-seize
    Grind down the brake pedal tangs - when you hit a rock the pedal result in a broken case
    Bleed the brakes immediately - we've had bikes delivered straight from the factory with soft brakes
    Check your sprocket bolts - these aren't holding as well as they have in the past
    Check the gas tank bolt regularly as it tends to come loose easily
    Problems with air filters not sealing, remove the seat and look down into the airbox to make sure it's a good seal.

    And this brings us up to the new TPI and oil injection. Quite a few riders had their oil tanks splitting, and KTM were investigated by the UK Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. KTM said there was a slight miss alignment and over tightening of the oil tank mounting screws and they have now fixed it. If you have an early TPI model keep an eye on this and see if your dealer will replace a faulty one. In 2017 plenty of riders reported their bikes were running perfectly but a substantial number reported issues with starting, idling and running lean. Hopefully there have been mapping upgrades for 2018 models, but Jeff Slavens has a useful video here on some fixes.

    Also KTM did not provide a certain part needed to bleed the TPI system and prime the oil pump, again Jeff Slavens has come to the rescue on how to fix this here.

    Many of the four stroke models use a hydraulic cam chain tensioner.

    Cam chain tensioner problems - the stock KTM cam chain tensioner is hydraulic. It uses pumped oil pressure to press the slider pad against the timing chain. In isolated cases a worn chain can jump teeth with fluctuations in oil pressure, but more commonly the engine will just be noisy when first started until the oil pressure rises. Some riders fit an aftermarket tensioner to avoid these problems. This can affect the following models:
    2005 to 2009 KTM 250 four-strokes
    2007 to 2009 450SX-F
    2008 to 2009 400 450 505 530 XC and EXC models and
    All models with RC4, XC4 or RF4 engines (including Husabergs)

    What about KTM frames breaking? Guys love posting these pics online and saying KTM have gone too far with trying to reduce weight. Possibly this is true, but note these are almost always motocross bikes and you can probably find similar motocross pics of any brand. I think a lot more evidence is required before making any judgements on this. Talking of evidence though, a fair number of KTM 1190 riders are reporting cracks or breaks in the frame gussets under their seat.

    Prices! I'm not sure what is happening in the rest of the world but in Australia KTMs and especially Husqvarnas are getting bloody expensive. And it gets worse when you add $1000 for a TPI model. Obviously if your brand is popular then milk the market for what you can, but here they may be pricing themselves out of the market. KTM parts were ridiculously expensive, I can remember them charging $60 for an NGK group 1 spark plug, the identical one was $15 in the Beta shops. They did a big price drop here a few years back but they still ain't cheap by a long shot. Neither are Sherco parts, I think both could learn a lot from Gas Gas, Beta, and of course the Japanese, on their parts and bike pricing.

    A CONCLUSION OF SORTS
    So are we KTM's lab rats? Possibly with some innovations, but generally I think all manufacturers will hit unexpected problems every time they make changes. The reality is all the bikes are pretty amazing nowadays, but they all still have their known issues if you dig deep enough. I think this quote sums it up well....

    People praise KTM for having a large product line and making lots of changes year-to-year, and ridicule Suzuki for running a stable platform for years and years. Pick what you want: New and 'updated' frequently with a myriad of potential bugs to iron out, or a platform that has been been refined over time and is more trouble free. When you put out new designs, more often than not they are gonna have weak-links and bugs. Like it or not, the OEMs use the customer as their guinea pigs.
    JAFO92 on vitalmx.com
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  2. KneeDrachen

    KneeDrachen Long timer

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    Interesting as I have been eyeing an RC390 which have had a problem with head gaskets and cooling fans.
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  3. Crisis management

    Crisis management Latte riders FTW!

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    Well, my KTMs don't have any known recalls / problems, clearly I'm a genius at selecting bikes.


    Good read tho, I assume it's similar for all manufacturers not just us dirt Harley owners?
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  4. plumer1kt

    plumer1kt Adventurer

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    NO we are not lab rats....
    their policy is not to have us like a lab rat.
    we are buying a "ready to race" machine , and anyone who knows the difference between race and street bike can understand the problems occurring when pushing the limits of a machine.
    we know that, and choose to buy a "race" machine even if we never race...
    why?
    because we want to feel like a racer...
    we have the need for the latest version...
    we need to be faster...
    we need that small change on the new bike if it actually does nothing more...
    we wearing clothes with KTM's logos... (even underwear's)
    we drink our beer from a KTM glass...
    we never mind about a recall....we feel like a test driver and that is done for us....
    we need all this for the next KTM event...
    hmmmm.....:hmmmmm
    now think about KTM's policy...
    they want our money!
    i think they call that MARKETING and KTM does that well.
    yes i know that i will be faster with an EXC than a WR when i hit that trail on sunday but will i be faster with
    the 2018 EXC vs the 2014 EXC???(i really don't know)
    i know guys that sold their 690"s to buy the next model because it had 2 more hp......
    and they bought all the aftermarket goods for the new bike again!now they waiting the 790....

    we may start to think ourselves like a sheep and KTM as the shepherd.
    i did...and stayed here
    [​IMG]
    as long as it lasted i never asked for something more
    .
    Can you remember the 90's and the "dakar" bikes?
    same thing there with HONDA and YAMAHA.
    Every body bought their bikes to fell like Peterhansel or Cyril Neveu
    HONDA is getting into play with the crf 1000 again but with lot of problems too(see the crf thread)
    just KTM has better marketing director...and better bikes.
    i know that because i wanted to feel like fabrizio! and bought the 990...
    #4
  5. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    I think part of the problem is when do you call something a "known issue"? For example a lot of guys have no issues with the old two stroke starter design. But if 30% fail well before they should, is this often enough to say it's a known issue?

    The recall items are probably similar. I doubt many riders experienced broken handlebar clamps but it was obviously a big enough risk for KTM to make a recall.

    Given most of these problems only occur occasionally, there should be plenty of riders having no problems at all. Just my two cents, I'm always keen to hear what others think. :1drink
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  6. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    There is a poet in our midst! KTM is my shepherd and I shall not want....
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  7. Richarde1605

    Richarde1605 Long timer

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    https://goo.gl/images/YNxxa9

    You forgot the toaster...

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
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  8. nk14zp

    nk14zp Long timer

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    KTM is Austrian slang for FUN.
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  9. plumer1kt

    plumer1kt Adventurer

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    haha!
    and the bikini's
    61ozb7oZyCL._UX679_.jpg
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  10. Richarde1605

    Richarde1605 Long timer

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    A mate used to sell katooms, I have buttered ktm toast as he has one. That's what made me think of it, btw he was more a berg fan, he sold them as well...

    :-)

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  11. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

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    This thread is similar to how the new Milwaukee 8 owners are being treated by Harley only none of their customers have the balls to call out the MoCo publicly.
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  12. greasyfatman

    greasyfatman Long timer

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    Good on them for being upfront about recalls and getting info out. Its the known by corporate defect that doesn't get to the public that upsets me.
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  13. TheProphet

    TheProphet Retired; Living the Dream

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    In a sense, we are ALL Field Testers for whatever Brand name and/or model bike we ride.

    No R&D / Product Development testing is 100% accurate and complete, so new models go out for sale once they've reached a certain level of confidence. Things show up from the field, and resolves are investigated, etc. All manufacturers do it it to a certain degree.

    How the different companies respond to field issues is another subject altogether. As many have said prior, huge kudos to those who readily admit an error, and make public a recall notice, etc., and do all they can to resolve the issue. Huge smack in the head to those that try to deny or hide it. Bad idea.

    That said, I personally would NEVER purchase a 100% new model. Give it a year or two to get the kinks sorted out. Being the first kid on the block to own something has a price tag.
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  14. Snowbird

    Snowbird Cereal Killer

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    Right now in another thread in a universe seemingly far, far way there's a multi-hundred page bitch-fest going on over Yamaha dragging it's corporate feet on a certain up-coming dual-sport with pros riding it across the planet, possibly doing beta testing for future buyers. Just sayin'.
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  15. plumer1kt

    plumer1kt Adventurer

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    haha!they just can't build it yet.....
    that's not a marketing game.
    that way ,they covering up their inability to produce that bike ...
    or else not only the planet, but entire galaxy will laugh at them:lol3:lol3:lol3
    #15
  16. IronButt70

    IronButt70 You don't have to be crazy to do this but it helps

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    Actually they have. Read the threads on sumping, tranny to primary oil transfer (48 pages on this one), venting issues etc.
    http://harleytechtalk.com/index.php?board=101.0
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  17. Drop_Center

    Drop_Center Long timer

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    My Superduke 1290 was "Ready For All Kinds Of Shit" The fork was terrible and I'm only 160 lbs.
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  18. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

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    Oh I have been reading the posts, mostly on the HD Forums tho. I'm talking about really going public, not anonymous through internet forums. I wanna see a magazine article about it.

    I'm in the market for a bike, but no hurry, and certainly not until Harley gets their shit together on that new lump. (i'm not hellbent on an HD either, I just like the style but I don't bleed orange and black)
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  19. IronButt70

    IronButt70 You don't have to be crazy to do this but it helps

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    HD actually put out a service bulletin on the oil transfer issue and shortly there after pulled it. Several lawsuits have been filed in states that have motorcycle lemon laws. I've never seen or heard HD go public with any issues so I'm not expecting anything different this time. Sux for M8 owners.
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  20. TheProphet

    TheProphet Retired; Living the Dream

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    All you need to do is enter your VIN number. HD maintains a detailed and up-to-date Database for all recalls. https://www.harley-davidson.com/us/en/owners/maintain-your-bike/service-recalls.html

    Same as KTM has: https://www.ktm.com/us/service/safety/

    Otherwise, you can simply "search" the web for "Harley Davidson Recalls", and they are readily available to the Public. Check the NHTSA Site, they list all manufacturers recalls in the US: https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/rcl/2017/RCLRPT-17V333-2333.PDF

    If you actually own a Harley Davidson bike, they mail you any notices that may pertain to your bike.

    All that said, There is no "cover up" nor negligence involved in any of this. You guys are just blown' smoke, offering up B.S. as thinly disguised as 'fact'.

    How did a Thread about KTM morph into a "Harley" thread? :confused

    Diversionary tactic? :-) ...https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/diversionary :flush
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