What to do when you blow up in the desert.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by inte, Jul 12, 2005.

  1. inte

    inte neophyte serendipity

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    2,744
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    USA
    …or why a KTM will ruin your psyche.


    If I remember, I’ll explain that at the end of the report.

    Last week, I had a multi-day ride planned (the operative word here). This mini-journey was to begin with a pre-dawn run across state lines to the RTT headquarters to have my steering damper rebuilt. After which I was to head toward Las Vegas, camp someplace in the desert, then meet up with Neduro in Vegas to check out the Dakar stuff (although apparently he had other plans which I’ll have to let him explain :evil).

    Any rate, that was my intention. But for the best laid plans of mice & men … and all that jazz.

    The first indication that this might be an interesting trip for me was when I checked the expected weather for the following day when I’d be headed to Lake Havasu:


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    My departure went off fine – early, no traffic, straight off started encountering interesting people along hwy 40 … the 950 seems to draw a reaction of some type from most people. Kids dig it. Harley guys ignore it. The general population is confused by it – something like that. I seemed to be answering questions at nearly every gas stop.

    Pulling into Lake Havasu around 10 or 11am, I head straight to the RTT shop – BIG place. Couldn’t figure what all the large machinery had to do with making steering dampers. Turns out they make large machines for the automotive industry – large machines that make other large machines. Think “I-Robot” without the mechanical intelligence or creepy translucent faces.


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    The guys here were awesome! Turns out there was a newer version of the damper I had & an “old” design was installed when I bought the bike – they pulled the damper & milled it out on the spot! Rebuilding it in the newer design. Killer design! Apparently RTT had a team over at Dakar & Cyril Despres saw one of these dampers & actually took it off the bike to bring to KTM following the race. This is all in the works as we speak … perhaps a KTM branded OEM damper for the 950 in the future…?


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    After the work was done they called their photographer guy was there & shot some pics of the bike for the website/catalogues. While sitting in the air-conditioned shop, I was told the weather wasn’t the 116-degree estimate I saw on the weather. It was 118. Dry heat however, so it wasn’t that bad.

    I should also point out that up to this point, there were no issues with the bike – no burping fuel, hard starting, etc. Stayed at 4 bars like normal, hit 5 bars at longer red lights. All was well, so I decided to cruise around town a bit after the bike was done.

    Levi’s, FirstGear HT overpants, Sidi City boots, t-shirt, FirstGear Kilamanjaro jacket, Arai XD (black), and gloves ….one hundred eighteen degrees.

    Let’s go ride!

    London isn’t what it used to be.


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    “The London Bridge”.


    Imported?


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    This is where things started to get interesting. I was doing a 1st-2nd gear cruise through down via these dirt connector “roads” (leftover space between buildings) & the bike was hovering at 5 bars for quite a while. Then I stopped to get gas.


    Following the fuel stop, I started moving again & all was fine for around 10 miles or so. Then on a long, gradual climb out of town, the bike was running fine but hovering at 5 bars due to the heat & the hill, I started to smell gas. At first I thought it was the car in front of me, but it persisted, so I pulled over at a station near the 40 & sure enough – fuel pouring from the left side of the bike. Crap.

    The canister had already been pulled & none of the lines were kinked, so this has something to do with the vacuum valves(?) I’ll leave discussion of the specific issue/fix for the “orange crush” forum (started a thread there from this ride here. Oh well … nothing I hadn’t been warned of. Annoying, but neither unusual nor insurmountable. The fact that the bike didn’t want to start was a bit more of an issue however.

    Twenty minutes of waiting, cranking, waiting, cranking, waiting, c…r…a...n…k…i…n…g & it finally fired up. More like sputtered to life.

    With this new issue, I decided to scrap my original plan of heading towards Bullhead City via dirt roads & just head straight to Kingman, then to Vegas from there. Besides, there was a ghost town,“Chloride”, I’d never been to & I’d already been through Bullhead City traveling with a band a few years back.

    Once the bike started, it ran fine as usual. I arrive in Kingman & pull off to get gas & some water. Fill up & press the starter …


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    Oil was spraying out of the bike. Turns out the oil-return line to the reservoir had ruptured – very unusual.


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    Better view:


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    So began the gas-station surgery:


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    I had gone through the toolkit & added things I thought might be needed – I needed them. 6mm allen was quite important (can’t remove tanks without). I did not have a 13mm socket & it turns out I needed one for this job to remove the V-shaped bracket that holds the battery box:


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    I had actually got a hold of a short length of high-pressure hose from a shop next door, but it wasn’t the proper “preformed” hose, which could affect oil flow as it would be somewhat crimped to make the final bend before the reservoir.

    Long story short, after realizing the scope of the project, I found a better short-term solution was to simply loosen all the retaining brackets I could on the hose (2) & pull it up to get a bit of slack (VERY little in this thing), cut off the bad piece of hose & then re-fit it.

    Worked great, but I was now low on oil (right at the “min” mark on the dipstick), so not wanting to risk the line blowing up again in the middle of the desert, I called my brother who drove my truck out the following morning. Fortunately the bike was running & the oil was still in acceptable limits so I cruised around for a little sightseeing & to grab some dinner.


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    The next morning my truck shows up – the parking lot was flat so the easiest way to load the bike is to ride it up the ramp. These bikes are stupid addictive. I’m pulling around to the truck & see a kid on a BMX bike jumping this little dirt mound on the other side of the lot…

    …off I go. Just aim for the gap between the parking blocks.



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    IknowIknowIknow…ATGATT & all that, but I was just pulling around to load the bike. Plus, there’s no helmet laws in AZ, so you can’t get hurt here right?

    Any rate, the 950 nosewheelies pretty good. I also found a sand wash behind the motel that cut through town. The parking lot suddenly got a LOT bigger, and “Loading the bike” took about 30 minutes because of this … J

    I finally got pulled around to the truck.


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    My brother had the day off & I still wanted to check out Chloride, so we went out there.


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    Turns out it’s not really a “ghost” down – still mostly inhabited with trailers & such. Some of the old mining structures are still left over while others have been converted into gift-shop(ish) businesses. The mining past is clearly evident in the not-so-clear waters flowing from the hills:


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    I don’t know if it’s always green like this, but the particular little dirt road we turned off on was in stark contrast to the rest of the surrounding desert.


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    Life in southern California has to be planned around good & bad traffic times – we decided to delay our departure so we’d arrive just as traffic was starting to clear following rush hour(s).

    I had a camera, a couple rolls of film, a functioning 950, and my brother had a Remington black-powder pistol ….kill some time with photo ops.


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    “There’s a new sherrif in town.”


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    Soon enough it was time to leave. Thanks to my chauffeur…


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    …and the use of the weaponry.


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    Oh … and I remembered. The KTM-phyche thing. I think I remember someone comparing the owner to an abused spouse …no matter what this thing does to me, I just look forward to when it comes back in working shape. I got it home & started on the repairs, but noticed the ‘classic’ sediment in the coolant reservoir, so I decided to take it in for warranty – the oil line, the coolant/waterpump, & the emissions stuff (found a dealer that admits that stuff has to go & will do it under warranty!! We shall see…). Once I got the thing running with the field repair – it was right back to having fun … It was just a very ill-timed quirk as I was supposed to be in Laguna Seca…

    Eh. It was an interesting trip regardless.
    #1
  2. Darin

    Darin WYSIWYG (WIZ-zee-wig)

    Joined:
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    Retired military lounging in FresYES
    Interesting field of events, great narration and pictures, Glad to see you opted to cage the 950 and had it serviced --good choice. Hope you have better luck the next time you adventure out.


    Darin
    05 640 Adv
    #2
  3. neduro

    neduro Addict

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    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I'm sorry that the stars were crossed for our rendezvous... but you got some great pics! Love the nosewheelie and the biiig smile on your face as you're driving it around to load it.

    Next time, Next time.
    #3
  4. ajaxauto

    ajaxauto Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    82
    INTE next time you want to go for a ride in the desert let me know
    That is my back yard and your old bike likes those fast desert trails
    We can ride from Palm Springe all the way to the river off road no problem
    Rode a loop on Sat from ps up to Big Bear then down Rattle Snake Canyon
    out to Soggy Dry Lake and back to ps .Like 180 miles all off road , only
    problem is when you are by yourself you worrie about needing help
    #4
  5. inte

    inte neophyte serendipity

    Joined:
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    USA
    We're there ... sent you a PM.

    Didn't we talk on the phone a couple days ago about my 640 Adventure...?
    #5
  6. dirtypumpkin

    dirtypumpkin "Monster Truck Bike"

    Joined:
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    Northern California
    Looks like you chopped the throttle on take-off.

    Please, no more near Gary Busey moments. Head injuries cant be fun.

    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. OUtback UFO

    OUtback UFO GLOW IN DARK SPACEINVADER

    Joined:
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    NOT HERE
    I am not looking forward to riding to Long Beach for business on Wendsday.... Plan to leave Colorado at 7-8pm on tomorrow evening and ride the desert at night... but on the ride back on Sunday... i expect to be fried... will be taking the large hyro-pak....
    #7
  8. ranger rick

    ranger rick Been there , done that

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2005
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    118
    Location:
    Ohio
    Great pics


    Man, sounds like KTM needs some serious quality control put into place, every other post on them is " this is what broke" ???
    #8
  9. ramjet

    ramjet Long timer

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    Location:
    Super F'd Up N. California
    Interesting trip indeed, Inte. Hey, you almost got a Good, the Bad and the Ugly thing going there. Get these pics to the producers now![​IMG]
    #9
  10. Red Stripe

    Red Stripe Church of the High Desert

    Joined:
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    SLC, UT- bastion of free thinking
    We don't need no stinkin bahges, maen.
    #10
  11. coyote

    coyote gagger of lollies

    Joined:
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    Location:
    on the Rogue
    I had a similar experience with mine while returning home from the US MOTOGP.

    I was tooling around Carson City, not sure of the temperature, but it felt like at least 100 degrees Farenheit. I had filled fuel, making sure not to overfill, parked the bike at the hotel, and noticed fuel spewing from the overflow. I immediately opened the gas covers and had fuel spill from the high side tank, the low side tank was low on fuel.

    What I noticed was the fuel was boiling (in both tanks). This happened after riding at 5 bars for 30 minutes or so.

    Note to self: Don't ride at slow speed in miserably hot weather.
    #11
  12. inte

    inte neophyte serendipity

    Joined:
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    USA
    My DSL is finally working again ... back to looking at ride reports, and posting the map to finish this one.

    The fact that this ride went from a multi-day trip to a brief overnighter kinda shrunk the west in my mind ... from now on, if I get a couple days free, it shouldn't be that big a deal to head out for a ride like this :)

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    Madmax signing off...

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    #12
  13. Kinsman

    Kinsman Ribs....for her pleasure

    Joined:
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    Finger off the trigger! You do know the four rules, right?
    ATGATT!
    Sheesh.....
    #13
  14. mr7q

    mr7q Stupid and Contagious

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    Perhaps he doesn't like his foot or the sky and intends to shoot both...
    #14
  15. z_bassman

    z_bassman n00b

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
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    5
    Had you only known the strange twist of fate that lay ahead... given your thread title. [EvilLaughterOn]

    (Oh, and for those of you that don't know - I'm "the other brother". You know, the one that doesn't drive around with loaded cannons!!!!)
    #15
  16. decaldude

    decaldude Banned & NOT associated with ADVrider

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Bullhead City, Arizona
    No not looney, but out here the water is better off inside your body then outside. We had one of the hottest summers in a long time this year. Most days were 120 to 122, the only good thing is that it is a Dry Heat and once you are here for a few years of it you pretty much look forward to it. Right now we are going through our Monsoon season and that is the real killer with it being 106 to 110 but 85 to 95% humidity a lot like back east.

    Most people think we are crazy for living out here, but it's like anywhere else I guess, you have to want something bad enough and for me I wanted to be able to do outdoor sports 95% of the year and the weather here allows for that for sure.
    #16
  17. braaap!

    braaap! Long timer

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    Here and There
    world peace starts at home!
    [​IMG]

    what is it with you guys and guns?
    #17
  18. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

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    In Yonder Hills
    No intention of getting this sent to Jo Momma, but if you'd brush up on US history then you'd understand that without guns we'd probably still be some kinda wimpy British Protectorate!

    "Regnat Populus", baby !!!
    #18
  19. decaldude

    decaldude Banned & NOT associated with ADVrider

    Joined:
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    Yeah :gun1 Baby

    Right to wear state ARIZONA ROCKS :gun2
    #19
  20. decaldude

    decaldude Banned & NOT associated with ADVrider

    Joined:
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    Bullhead City, Arizona
    Yes,

    It is pretty cool (I mean Hot), and it is the only place I have ever lived where it is ok to eat to much salt and that drinking all the time doesn't mean there is something wrong with you. :freaky
    #20