Valve Adjustment on a 1290

Discussion in 'Hard. Core. (1090/1190/1290)' started by wiseblood, Aug 16, 2018.

  1. wiseblood

    wiseblood 100% "That Bitch" Supporter

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    In the spirit of my epic-ish thread doing a major service on my 2007 KTM 950 SMR, I am posting this thread, as I do a valve check and adjustment on my 2014 KTM 1290 Superduke.

    Quick history:
    • Purchased used in November 2017 w/ about 14.5k miles
    • 20,225 miles as of this writing
    • Vehicle history prior to me (I'm the third owner) is unknown, but it was in good condition
    • I do all the work on my own bikes
    • I have done regular maintenance on the bike (oil, filter, tires, brakes, coolant, etc), but this is my first valve check & adjustment
    • No trips on the bike yet – just riding to work, occasional fun ride, and two track days :ricky
    • Two more track days coming up end of Sept! :super
    • Only one significant problem on the bike, which turned out to be a failed voltage regulator/rectifier.
    First, the bike in question:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    :raabia
    #1
  2. wiseblood

    wiseblood 100% "That Bitch" Supporter

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    I'll try to make a narrative of what I did / am doing. But, I won't bore you with the basics. For starters, you all know how to remove the tank, plastics, and airbox:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The only thing I will say is this: It's a LOT easier to get access to the front cylinder if you free the radiator, and move it out of the way. You don't have to remove it – just unbolt it, and let it hang by the hoses. (I had just done a coolant renew, so I am hoping not to have to drain this again.)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. wiseblood

    wiseblood 100% "That Bitch" Supporter

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  4. wiseblood

    wiseblood 100% "That Bitch" Supporter

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    So, here are the steps, overall:
    1. Strip down bike, remove valve covers
    2. Rotate rear cylinder to TDC, and measure clearances
    3. Rotate front cylinder to TDC, and measure clearances
    4. Adjust if necessary

    Things I've noticed KTM has changed which make my jor easier than on the 950:

    First, they changed the fixture used to rotate the motor from a BIG hex, to a bolt (15mm I believe). Just like before, you can access it by removing the screw in the alternator cover:

    upload_2018-8-16_8-51-4.png

    However, instead of a place to stick a huge hex key, you have this:

    [​IMG]

    I found that it was MUCH easier to find a 15mm socket which could fit into the alternator cover and grab the rotor bolt, than it was to use the hex key.

    Also, KTM made the dot markings on the cams much more clear, and got rid of the "+" ("X"? :lol3) marks:

    upload_2018-8-16_8-55-24.png

    In case you were wondering, the locking bolt screw size is the same for the 1290 motor as it was for the 950 and 990, so you don't have to buy a new one:

    [​IMG]

    Although, the location looked a little different, due to the very different case design:

    upload_2018-8-16_8-59-4.png


    So, to get to TDC on the front OR rear is the same:
    1. Unscrew the plug in the alternator cover
    2. Using a 15mm(?) socket, rotate the motor COUNTER-CLOCKWISE until the dots line up, just above the gasket surface
    3. Unscrew the indicated bolt on right side of the engine, and verify you see the "notch" lined up
    4. Firmly (hand tight only) screw in the crank locking tool
    5. Verify that you are no longer able to rotate the motor w/ the socket

    PRO TIP!: Remove at least the "inside" spark plug. It will make the motor much easier to turn! (Less compression.)

    :beer
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  5. wiseblood

    wiseblood 100% "That Bitch" Supporter

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    One thing which went wrong for me here: I didn't remove the plugs at the start. At one point, I was rotating the motor to get to TDC, and the friggin' rotor bolt came loose! That was very unexpected. :facepalm

    The consequence of that was that I had to remove the generator engine cover to tighten it back up. I wasn't intended on changing or adding oil during this service. (I did an oil & filter change just 1k miles ago.) But, I knew removing the cover would lose some oil. Oh well! Stick an oil pan under there and....

    [​IMG]

    Getting the alternator cover off is a little harder on the 1290 than on the 950. This is due to the shape of the case, and the additional wires. I had to clip a bunch of zip ties, and I unbolted the clutch slave from the side of the bike.

    The service manual says there is a tool which screws into the case to help pull it out. I just used a rubber mallet and constant slow force with my hands. You have to overcome the powerful magnets in the generator, but if you keep working on it, it WILL come off!

    [​IMG]

    Anyone see the problem in this ^^^^ picture? :lol3

    Here you go:

    upload_2018-8-16_10-8-59.png

    It took me a while to figure out what that washer was from. It's an odd washer, with what looks like a hex cut-out in the middle, but circular witness marks on one side.

    I finally found it on the fiche for the Balancer Shaft:

    upload_2018-8-16_10-13-16.png

    I'm surprised just turning the engine would have turned that bolt out. But, I guess it takes a lot of force when the plugs are still in!:

    upload_2018-8-16_10-16-24.png

    To tighten it to 90 nm I slipped a flathead blade between the sprockets to prevent them from moving:

    upload_2018-8-16_10-18-25.png

    Anyway... Back to the valve check!
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  6. wiseblood

    wiseblood 100% "That Bitch" Supporter

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    Random aside: I've never owned a motorcycle with such perfect-looking plugs at 20k miles!:

    [​IMG]

    :clap
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  7. wiseblood

    wiseblood 100% "That Bitch" Supporter

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    So, I got to measuring clearances. The Spec for the valves is:

    Intakes: 0.10 to 0.15 mm
    Exhaust: 0.25 to 0.30 mm​

    (Cold engine, obviously.)

    What did I get? Here you go:

    upload_2018-8-16_10-27-9.png

    Bzzzzzzzt! :nono

    Exhaust valves were perfect. Exactly where they were supposed to be. :thumb

    Intakes, though... :fpalm I had to measure these ten times to convince myself that I wasn't just doing it wrong! ALL FOUR intake valves were beyond "tight" – they were in contact w/ the valve stems at TDC!

    :hmmmmm

    That's not good. Not at all. If true, that means the valves weren't sealing the combustion chamber, and hot gasses/flame front was going back through the throttle bodies and airbox. At least as critically, it means that the valves were not transferring heat away, to the cylinder head. ("Do you like burnt valves? Because that is how you get burnt valves!")

    On the good side: When I make this right, I should have....

    [​IMG]

    :lol3


    Next step, which I hope to do tonight: Swap in new shims, and remeasure everything!
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  8. wiseblood

    wiseblood 100% "That Bitch" Supporter

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    Continuing last night: I finished adjusting the valve clearances on the rear cylinder, and buttoned that up. I started on the front, and will finish that today.

    More changes KTM made to the 1290 motor, from the 950/990: No more "Shim-Under-Bucket." Instead, they have these plastic(?) "Valve Levers" –

    upload_2018-8-17_9-31-41.png

    You don't have to remove them, as you do a "bucket" – which I guess is a plus. Less parts to lose or drop. :D Here's what they look like:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Other than that, replacing the shims is the same. Same size (10mm diameter) shims as all previous LC8 motors.

    One tip: In order to be able to more easily remove the rear cylinder chain tensioner, REMOVE the throttle bodies. (Just pull them out of the way.) The service manual doesn't call for it, but it will save you a ton of time and swearing, and only takes a minute to do.

    [​IMG]

    Once that's out of the way (just two plugs need to come out – easy-peasy), you can get a straight shot with your socket to remove and re-install the timer chain tensioner:

    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. wiseblood

    wiseblood 100% "That Bitch" Supporter

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    Speaking of the timing chain tensioner, it has changed a little, too:

    upload_2018-8-17_9-41-1.png

    Part #5 is the tensioner. It has a strong spring and some internal latching mechanism. According to the service manual, the spring is supposed to keep better tension on the timing chain even when oil pressure is low – such as first start and idle/low RPMs. Hopefully this will tamp down the historic "chain rattle" threads. Though, maybe it just masks other problems, such as a worn out oil pressure relief valve spring.

    When you re-install, you are supposed to:
    1. Compress (with your hand) the tensioner until it "clicks". (Takes some force! And, oil will spurt out.) This will cause the latch to hold the tensioner in a "compressed" position.
    2. Install, and tighten tensioner bolt to 25 nm
    3. Remove (if you haven't already) the inner bolt
    4. With a "special tool" – or just a 5mm hex key! – firmly press into the tensioner again until it clicks. This takes a LOT of force! It's imperative, because you need to "unlatch" it for operation. Verify that the tensioner has "expanded", and that the timing chain is now tight.
    5. Reinstall the inner tensioner bolt to 10 nm
    6. Have a :beer
    #9
  10. wiseblood

    wiseblood 100% "That Bitch" Supporter

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    Speaking of "POWAH!": After I got the throttle bodies off, I wanted to verify my hypothesis about the intakes not closing fully, if I could.

    Looking down the intakes, it appears that there is carbon marking which might very well be from the heat and flame front blasting out of the intakes:

    [​IMG]

    upload_2018-8-17_9-52-18.png

    Who knows! But, I guess if I see a difference – maybe just slightly better fuel economy? – that could be it.
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  11. maritan

    maritan Been here awhile

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    :beer

    Have another beer for using hypothesis correctly (instead of using theory).

    Nicely documented. I'll be doing a valve check later this year on my 1190R, so this is helpful.
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  12. wiseblood

    wiseblood 100% "That Bitch" Supporter

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    Pulling the cams: Pretty much the same process as with the 950/990:
    1. Lock cylinder at TDC
    2. Remove spark plug shaft insert
    3. Remove tensioner
    4. Loosen & remove cam bridge bolts (manual suggests "from the outside to the inside")
    5. Lift timing chain off cams, and carefully remove cams
    BEFORE you remove the tensioner, I find it helpful to use a sharpie to mark one chain link and the place on the cam where it mates up. When you're putting it back together, it's easier to verify that you have the timing set correctly. The manual, of course, says to align the dots the same. However, in my experience, the UN-tensioned cam chain doesn't necessarily hold the timing marks exactly where you expect them to be. The black sharpie marks make me more confident that when the tensioner is re-installed, that everything will be right.

    For example, after you lock the crank at TDC, I'd make sharpie marks like this:

    upload_2018-8-17_10-15-48.png

    (Ignore the fact that the picture above is NOT at TDC! :deal)
    #12
  13. wiseblood

    wiseblood 100% "That Bitch" Supporter

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    Moar changes I see in the 1290 (vs 950/990) motor: They installed oil jets on the cam bridge:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Interesting! Jets aim directly on the cam lobes.
    #13
  14. wiseblood

    wiseblood 100% "That Bitch" Supporter

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    Thanks! :lol3

    I'm no @Pyndon , but I do what I can! :beer
    #14
  15. mhr650

    mhr650 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Nice write-up.


    Regarding the “valve levers” those are the finger followers and anything but plastic. They are highly engineered pieces made from the best high strength steel alloy, the black color is from the DLC (diamond like carbon) coating on them. The finger follower valve train is one of the features that allows KTM to make so much power from their engines, by careful design of the followers and cams KTM can use much more aggressive valve timing than they could with bucket tappets. Finger followers are used an pretty much any serious race engine nowadays, and are a big factor in why the BMW S1000RR makes so much power.
    #15
  16. wiseblood

    wiseblood 100% "That Bitch" Supporter

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    Cool! Very good to know! (Also, explains why they cost $65 to replace! :lol3)
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  17. wiseblood

    wiseblood 100% "That Bitch" Supporter

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    So, I finished everything up over this weekend. Went up one shim size from my first guess on one of the front intakes to get the clearance exactly right. Final clearances set perfectly in spec. :thumb

    [​IMG]

    This morning I rode into work. Any feeling I had about the bike was probably clouded by the fact that for the last week I've been riding my "small bike" (450 EXC, pictured above) which is completely different. I'll have a better sense of it in the next few days.

    I did the "15 minute reset" thing – let the bike idle without touching the throttle. I don't know if it's a cargo cult myth, but it didn't cost me anything to try.

    upload_2018-8-20_9-42-54.png

    The one quantitative thing I'm going to keep an eye on is fuel economy. For years, I've tracked the fuel usage of all my motorcycles. For the 1290:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Is will be interesting to see if the graph of my fuel usage changes at all after this valve clearance adjustment. :lurk
    #17
  18. wiseblood

    wiseblood 100% "That Bitch" Supporter

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    One thing I noticed is missing from the service manual: Adjusting the throttle body balance.

    Is that not required for the 1290? How? I see that the butterfly valves are mechanically linked together, as they have been in the 950/990 motors. There appears to be an adjuster for balance, but mine was marked w/ yellow paint, and didn't appear to have an adjuster head – no Phillips or flathead cap. The manual makes NO mention of it. There isn't even a manometer in the pages on "special tools"!

    So, HOW does the 1290 throttle body balance get adjusted? Is it somehow electronically balanced?
    #18
  19. ls6777

    ls6777 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Do you put it on Fuelly.com? That way you can track your mpg and fuelly can combine your stats with other stats for the same bike. Very helpful for others interested in mpg!
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  20. Zuber

    Zuber Zoob Supporter

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    Good write-up. I know this takes some time.

    BTW, you didn't need to pull the cover to tighten that mag bolt, the engine blocking screw will hold the crank just fine. Probably would have been good to put some loctite on it.

    Did you re-use the spark plugs? I've seen these go another 20k with a little cleaning and adjustment of the gap.

    What air filter are you using? With your intakes being tight, I'd guess you have the stock paper element. Best if you change that out to a better one, oiled cotton or oiled foam.

    You should notice the bike starting and idling better. Most of the effect with loose(r) valves is like putting in a milder cam. It will run better at low rpm, with less of a hit up top. It will run slightly richer and cooler.

    I've seen the throttle body balance be way off before a valve adjust, then be perfectly balanced after. You rarely need to adjust that, unless you change out the airbox.
    #20
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