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Old 06-27-2013, 10:38 PM   #1
chrisepp OP
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Location: Vancouver, BC
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Help - 950 adv broken down in Fairbanks on vacation!

Hey All,

My wife and I are on a trip from Vancouver to Alaska on our bikes. Coming up the Cassiar I got some bad gas and had a moment of white smoke for about 2 seconds. Did it once more but after that bike ran great to whitehorse (got good gas again). Rolling into whitehorse, temp started getting hot just as I rolled into the hotel it was getting hot so I shut it down. Coolant was low so I did my first oil change of the trip and saw a slightly wavy filter, but not mushy, and oil looked fine. A little dark sludge on rad cap. To be sure, new oil/filter and coolant and went for a couple kilometres. Ran great and then suddenly the coolant overflow tank was empty. Coolant all over my boot and it got hot so shut it down, loaded on pickup and took to Fairbanks, the only KTM dealer that would touch it was there. They said they would help me out so I left the bike with them and was camping in Kenai waiting for them. Just found out they did nothing really and said it needed weeks and a top wend rebuild (just a test ride so far as I know. Rebuild was just done. New pistons/rings/cam chains/ head work etc... I'm thinking blown head gasket.

Back to Fairbanks on sat to get the bike. Anyone know decent mechanic that actually knows the 950 who could maybe help me out? I might try to retorted heads in the hotel parking lot but a shop would be preferable. I was to do inivik and don't want that to all fall through!

Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated, so if you know a mechanic who can help me out and has time please let me know. My wife's KLR is being a champ of course! :)

Cheers!
Chris

chrisepp screwed with this post 06-28-2013 at 12:23 AM
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:51 PM   #2
Head2Wind
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I don't know anyone in the AK area, so unfortunately can't help you there... I don't know how much time you have or if the shop it is at has the skills, but you might see if they will try to retorque the heads. If they don't know how to do this or have the time, then I wouldn't have them do it.... the bummer deal is there is no easy fix if the head gasket/s failed, and I am sure you are aware of the cost/procedure if it was just done. Engine has to come out to get to the rear cylinder.

The other potential is the water pump seal has given up, but usually this will not result in a overly pressurized radiator system, just lost coolant into the engine/oil... and then eventually it will start to overheat as a result of low coolant.
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:17 PM   #3
chrisepp OP
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Repairs

Thanks for the feedback! I just put in a brand new cjdesigns water pump shaft and a new seal. Just preventative for this trip, so that should not be it. Even if it was the symptoms don't suggest it. It blew out coolant in less than 2 km all over my boot.

I know how to retorque myself, I was just hoping to spend the time vacationing with my family instead of doing that in a parking lot and making them all wait for me... I will try that in case re-torquing will let me at least get to do my ride, but if there is someone who knows a mechanic that can help still that would be amazing... Murphy has it out for me on this trip!

Day one, in whistler, 2 hours in to the trip my pickup blew an oil pump. (Wife's parents are driving my truck for the trip, wife and I are on bikes). Dodge only has sold 60 oil pumps for that pickup. Almost never happens, go figure... Low mileage truck... 5 day delay eating up much of the trip and very costly to repair.

I've never had such rotten luck, something has gone wrong almost every day. I'm on the Murpy Extreme Adventure it seems like. Oh well, will make for some great stories later. :)

Cheers All!
Chris
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:23 PM   #4
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Hey Chris,
You can fill up the coolant again and run it with the radiator cap off. If its bubbling, it's probably a head gasket. Did you put the front wheel WAY up in the air to bleed the air out if the system? As you already may know, they are very temperamental to air locking in the coolant system. Hope you get it fixed. Inuvik was awesome...... the Dempster......crazy! D
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:30 PM   #5
Head2Wind
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If I was in your situation I would try retorquing the heads, reassemble and fill coolant system with distilled water (flush it before to get all the anti freeze out as much as possible). Its not necessary to lift the front as long as you fill slowly and work out most of the air by pressing on the lower and upper hoses, doing a little side to side shimy shake back and forth.

The reason I suggest filling with distilled water is then it would prep for the next option to use diesel engine block sealer (or other silica based sealant), the coolant system needs to be clear of the antifreeze... add the sealant, and follow the instructions, heat cycle the engine, drain the water/sealant mix and let stand for 24 hrs. Not optimal, but if you are in a "need to do this, no other way out", I would not be afraid to do it and leave it that way.... provided it fixes the issue but I would only do this after a retorque and maybe as a safe guard to a failed/failing and healed up from retorque head gasket.
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:31 PM   #6
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Damn. That sounds terrible!

You're handling it a lot better than I think I would!
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:32 PM   #7
chrisepp OP
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Missed you in Dawson!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schleprock View Post
Hey Chris,
You can fill up the coolant again and run it with the radiator cap off. If its bubbling, it's probably a head gasket. Did you put the front wheel WAY up in the air to bleed the air out if the system? Hope you get it fixed. Inuvik was awesome...... the Dempster......crazy! D
Hey! Sorry we missed you for Dust 2 Dawson! I was trusting the shop to do the diagnostic for me but they are busy so never got to it. I'm sceptical when they said it needs a top end rebuild and several weeks when they have not opened it up. I am in anchorage and will be back at the bike in two days (accommodating everyone else's vacation as well or I would be back there already. I will pull it apart wherever I can find space and confirm if its the gasket. Only 2500 KM on the gasket so maybe it just loosened up... Crossing everything and hoping!

Maybe you would share some pics of what I missed with me later? :)

It was great meeting you btw!

If your ever riding in the Vancouver area and want to ride around let me know!

Cheers,
Chris

chrisepp screwed with this post 06-28-2013 at 12:19 AM
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:36 PM   #8
Schleprock
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PM me your cell. I'll send you a couple of motivational photos. It is not uncommon to do a retorque after several heat cycles. Have you done that after your rebuild? D
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:45 PM   #9
chrisepp OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Head2Wind View Post
If I was in your situation I would try retorquing the heads, reassemble and fill coolant system with distilled water (flush it before to get all the anti freeze out as much as possible). Its not necessary to lift the front as long as you fill slowly and work out most of the air by pressing on the lower and upper hoses, doing a little side to side shimy shake back and forth.

The reason I suggest filling with distilled water is then it would prep for the next option to use diesel engine block sealer (or other silica based sealant), the coolant system needs to be clear of the antifreeze... add the sealant, and follow the instructions, heat cycle the engine, drain the water/sealant mix and let stand for 24 hrs. Not optimal, but if you are in a "need to do this, no other way out", I would not be afraid to do it and leave it that way.... provided it fixes the issue but I would only do this after a retorque and maybe as a safe guard to a failed/failing and healed up from retorque head gasket.
Thanks so much for the tip. Any long term negative effects of using a sealant like that in my bike? I'll definitely try that route if torquing the heads again doesn't work. I think I have all the tools I need along todo it, if not I'll buy them!

Cheers,
Chris
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:56 PM   #10
chrisepp OP
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Hunting

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Originally Posted by KMC1 View Post
Damn. That sounds terrible!

You're handling it a lot better than I think I would!
We don't have this in Canada, but Walmart in anchorage has a big gun selection... I've been thinking of some Murphey ('s law) hunting!!! ;)

Trying to make the best of it. :)
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Old 06-28-2013, 04:10 AM   #11
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Call this guy

I was stationed at Ft. Wainwright for 4 years and have a great friend who got out of the Army and opened a shop in Fairbanks. His shop is called Frozenmotorworks. Give hime a call. He is also an ADVrider inmate, but dont hold it against him, both him and his wife ride GSs.

He is a BIG TIME ADV rider/traveler and can help you out. His name is Jon Mansker, here is his number:

(907) 451-7600

I'll give him a heads up that you're calling.
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:51 PM   #12
chrisepp OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hennessyktm View Post
I was stationed at Ft. Wainwright for 4 years and have a great friend who got out of the Army and opened a shop in Fairbanks. His shop is called Frozenmotorworks. Give hime a call. He is also an ADVrider inmate, but dont hold it against him, both him and his wife ride GSs.

He is a BIG TIME ADV rider/traveler and can help you out. His name is Jon Mansker, here is his number:

(907) 451-7600

I'll give him a heads up that you're calling.
Thanks for the tip! I'll definitely give him a call. I might be able to get the bike to him in time on sat to retorque the heads. I won't be able to wait until Tuesday if I miss that. Weather is going south soma parking lot retorque would be fun!

Thanks for all the help!

I still might end up having to try the block sealer. Anyone know the drawbacks?
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Old 06-28-2013, 06:10 PM   #13
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Might be worth checking for water in the oil, even with WP rebuild. How about thermostat? Motor running, cap off, coolant flowing??

I would add that the WP on my 950 went bad. The filter was just slightly wavy. Very little sign of oil in the coolant. But my oil pressure light was flickering on and off. I always check the last thing I worked on--WP snap rings in correctly, impeller bolt tight, seal right in WP housing???Gaskets??
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Old 06-28-2013, 07:01 PM   #14
AJ990R
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just a heads up

Don't forget about Adventure Cycleworks! Him & his son are up 24/7 for adventure bikers...
typically doing maintenance & minor repairs though. Bet you could get him to do waterpump seal if you ask NICE! Sounds like your up a creek without a paddle, wouldn't hurt to ask him for help, very trustworthy father & son team. Hes very capable but BMW guy but loved wrenching on my 990.

Remember to call CJ designs (of wisconsin) & he can "express" ship you parts faster than a dealer up there can prolly get you parts!! a fee may apply

www.advcycleworks.com
1(907)457-4259

safe travels
AJ
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Old 06-28-2013, 08:54 PM   #15
Dustodust
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could be something as simple as a failed radiator cap (more common than blown head gasket)
hard to tell without being there
I would try the radiator cap
and take out the thermostat put it in boiling water to be sure it is opening
also be sure the cooling fan is working
water pump is very common

motorcycle mechanics are usually theives (not always)
I feel sorry for anyone at their mercy
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