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Old 04-23-2006, 09:02 PM   #1
vagabondingshane OP
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'06 KTM 640 Adventure break-in/commute

OK, what I am wanting to do is commute for the next 3 months with my new '06 Adventure until I retire (bike is a retirement gift to myself) and then use this as my only transport around town. The journey day to day for the 3 months will be 40 miles (US 101 Ca) and 5 miles of street to work and the same back, (so 90 miles for the mathmatically challenged daily). So, what should I do prior to starting this commute (break-in?) as the bike is at mile zero and what would be the greatest mods to help things along the way? Thanks in advance....
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Old 04-24-2006, 06:29 AM   #2
meat popsicle
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you're askin' for Break-in Theories? I followed the Owner's Manual proceedure, which as I recall only states to not excede 4800 rpm during the first 1000K. Here is the "Running In" proceedure from my manual:

Quote:
Originally Posted by KTM 2003 640 Adventure Manual
Running in
Even finely machined surfaces of engine parts have rougher
surfaces than parts that slide on each other for a long time.
Therefore, every engine must be run in. For this reason, do not
demand maximum performance from the engine for the first
100 kilometers. The vehicle must be run in at low, changing
performance level for the first 1000 KM (620 miles). The maxi-mum
number of revolutions per minute must not go exceed
4800 rpm. Do not accelerate the engine up to the red mark on
the tachometer (8500 r.p.m.) during a running-in period of
1000 km. Exceeding the above listed rotations as well as pus-hing
high rpm when the engine is cold will have an adverse
effect on the life of your engine.
I also believe that it is hard on an engine to run it without letting it fully warm up. So I did not start the engine and then shut her down without letting her reach operating temp for awhile (about 3 bars but check your manual on that).

Some say it's good to go for a long highway trip (long steady rpms) while others say it's best to not keep the engine at the same speed (rpms) for any length of time at all. I think I went with the later and tried to vary the engine speed as much as possible during the first 1000K.

There is one theory going around that I know says that the best way to break in an engine is to "drive it like you stole it"! The theory believes that the roughness of the engine and high rpms help smooth out the parts better than the same roughness at low rpms. I think that sounds like flawed logic, but who knows until somebody does a double-blind study...

More opinions on the way, I'm sure.

PS - the index is full of mods for your bike. There is a generally well-accepted standard of setting up the breathing properly (airbox, carb, and exhaust modifications) that you probably should look into. Then you probably want to setup the ergonomics for your height and such (bar risers, footpegs, seat). You might want to do some other changes depending upon your riding and style (more dirt-oriented tires, suspension adjustments, and on and on and on...). But try to ride it a bunch first before you go hog-wild and see what you need!
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Old 04-24-2006, 09:14 AM   #3
zugy
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If your going to have the shop do your maintenece then the by the book.

If you can't hold back then check this out. Found it here or on ktm talk. hit it!

http://www.mototuneusa.com/break_in_secrets.htm
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Old 04-24-2006, 09:21 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zugy
If your going to have the shop do your maintenece then the by the book.

If you can't hold back then check this out. Found it here or on ktm talk. hit it!

http://www.mototuneusa.com/break_in_secrets.htm
There it is... the "ride it like you stole it" theory.

Could be right, could be baloney, or maybe it doens't matter... but I still wonder what are the liabilities to the top end (valve train). I hear tell that new valves need time to get "properly seated", and I wonder what slappin' them about right from the get does to them.

Perhaps someone with alot of motorcycle engine knowledge, and particularly alot of top end experience, could address that?

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Old 04-24-2006, 10:55 AM   #5
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It's the rings, not the valves.

From what I understand, most of the "break in" for a new or reciently rebuilt motor has to do with ring seal.

The rings "machine" themselves to the piston bore using the cross hatch pattern left by the hone.

The sharp points of the hone pattern are quickly worn down by the rings, so you want to get your rings smoothed to the bore as quickly as possible. This requires high rpm counts, and some oil if possible. (Like under decleration, the engine vac will suck some oil up over the two compression rings, and allow them to be cut faster this way by the sharp asperities left form the hone.)

If you just idle around, under 4500rpm for example, the rings are going to knock down the sharp points before they are cut to a custom fit to your piston bore. Then it will take thousands of miles to get good ring seal, and your going to lose some oil and fuel economy and power due to excessive blow by.

Never heard about the valve's being broken into the seats? I just did a custom engine for my Supra, and broke it in the "Fast" way. Not sure it was any better than other engines I've broken in the "Slow" way, but it does run great.

My 620 Lc4 has about 7500miles on it, and has had synthetic oil most of the time. (This is another point of contention. Do you use mineral oil, or synthetic oil? I belive for the first 50 miles, run Mineral oil, then change the oil and filter, and run mineral oil again for 400 more. Then change over to synthtic oil with a new filter and run it 1500 miles. For cars. For this bike, the oil has been changed every 1000 miles, and I bought it used, but the reccords show a similar oil change pattern with the first one done early, then one more mineral and then switched to Mobil 1 Synthetic.)

I have just reciently changed over to Rotella T Synthetic for all my vehicles. Great oil, and a decient price. On my cars, I use Canton Mecca fuell flow filters, and the stock stuff for the KTM. (Trying to figure out a way to convert them to Canton if possible. I also use a Motorguard bypass filter on my Supra, and will soon have one mounted to the Audi.)

Nice thing about Canton/Mecca filters, they stop particles down to about 8 microns, and the bypass stops stuff down to under 1 micron. Wear is caused by stuff larger than 10 microns, and most paper type filters only stop stuff down to about 20 or 30 microns at the best, and generally 40 or more is common.

So, good luck on the break in, and nice choice of motorcycle :)
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Old 04-24-2006, 01:32 PM   #6
meat popsicle
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I have to ask...

Quote:
Originally Posted by adjuster
From what I understand, most of the "break in" for a new or reciently rebuilt motor has to do with ring seal.

The rings "machine" themselves to the piston bore using the cross hatch pattern left by the hone.

The sharp points of the hone pattern are quickly worn down by the rings, so you want to get your rings smoothed to the bore as quickly as possible. This requires high rpm counts, and some oil if possible. (Like under decleration, the engine vac will suck some oil up over the two compression rings, and allow them to be cut faster this way by the sharp asperities left form the hone.)
Why does the machining process require a higher RPM count? I am no machinist (Loaded? ), so the speed doesn't ring any bells in my head. The oil does, since I have heard of cutting fluids, but I though lubrication was for temperature control... and I can imagine that a new bore's roughness would shelter some oil from the rings (as they seat) and provide some lubrication.

Sorry, but I just can't seem to get my head around the physics that you are implying. Can you elaborate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by adjuster
If you just idle around, under 4500rpm for example, the rings are going to knock down the sharp points before they are cut to a custom fit to your piston bore. Then it will take thousands of miles to get good ring seal, and your going to lose some oil and fuel economy and power due to excessive blow by.

Never heard about the valve's being broken into the seats? I just did a custom engine for my Supra, and broke it in the "Fast" way. Not sure it was any better than other engines I've broken in the "Slow" way, but it does run great.
Idle on my bike is ~1500rpm, so I don't consider 4500 'idling around'. KTM specifies 4800rpm as the maximum rpm during the first 1000K for 'Running In'. But forget that, why would slower engine speeds make the rings knock down the sharp points of the bore and 'machine' the rings any differently than faster engine speeds?

Speaking of KTM, why do you think they don't specify this method? I would think that engine manufacturers are a interested in the best break-in method, and if a method proved to be better at setting up their engine they would specify it.

I have read that the top end has a break in period, as the parts conform to eachother. Seems reasonable given the obvious: moving parts and tight tolerances.

Perhaps I should take the time to read that fella's website, but I get tired of reading about Snake Oils... OK, I took a peak, here is his take on his method:

Quote:
Originally Posted by MotoMan
...
How Do Rings Seal Against Tremendous Combustion Pressure ??
From the actual gas pressure itself !! It passes over the top of the ring, and gets behind it to force it outward against the cylinder wall. The problem is that new rings are far from perfect and they must be worn in quite a bit in order to completely seal all the way around the bore. If the gas pressure is strong enough during the engine's first miles of operation (open that throttle !!!), then the entire ring will wear into
the cylinder surface, to seal the combustion pressure as well as possible.

The Problem With "Easy Break In" ...
The honed crosshatch pattern in the cylinder bore acts like a file to allow the rings to wear. The rings quickly wear down the "peaks" of this roughness, regardless of how hard the engine is run.

There's a very small window of opportunity to get the rings to seal really well ... the first 20 miles !!

If the rings aren't forced against the walls soon enough, they'll use up the roughness before they fully seat. Once that happens there is no solution but to re hone the cylinders, install new rings and start over again.
...
So his method is based upon two assertions (of his):
1) that higher RPMs creates higher gas pressures in the combusion chamber,
and 2) that this higher pressure is needed to make the new ring conform to the irregularities of the cylinder hone and use the new hone's roughness to 'machine' the ring to fit the bore.

First off, I do not claim to understand the physics of internal combustion engines; but I do understand physics somewhat. And my first thought is that the pressure inside the cylinder does not increase with RPM, at least not substantially - but I could be wrong. My guess would be it decreases, at least over time since the combustion chamber is expanding more rapidly.

And secondly, is torque related to pressure or just mechanical geometry? Because torque is higher at lower RPM... probably need an engine guru to explain this relationship and settle the score. One of those along with a machinist would probably take care of analyzing the theory behind this method. We have some of those laying about (being fed grapes by nubile shelias... ); hopefully they will show up. Unless this is 205...

PS - I do hear good things about Rotella.
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Old 04-24-2006, 02:08 PM   #7
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Woo Whoo, the can of worms is open!

Ok, like you, I'm no rocket scientist, and I did leave out the gas pressure/ring seating theory, but I have read all of Motoman's pages that I could before they became somewhat repetative, and the gist of the idea is correct.

Break in your new motor as quickly as you can, and that takes RPM and load. (Based on what you wrote, first 20 miles should be 1/4 mile passes at maximum speed, then change the oil.....)

My Supra motor is turbocharged, and I've driven it quite hard from the start. Boost pressure is daily at 18 to 22psi, and the max it's seen has been 27.8 according to the electric boost controller memory.

Also since I have overkill oil filtration on this engine, the coatings that have been worn off as the parts "machine" to each other have been trapped in the filters. Also any metals. The first few changes the filters were black with molydisulfied and some other small particles of metal and the assembly lube.

Now the filters are pretty much clean, and the oil stays clean for thousands of miles.

My KTM is already broken in so I don't have any personal experiance with this "thumper" motor, but I like the Motorman's theory of engine break in. (Which is why I used it on my high performance engine.)

I know a few years ago, I was told the Honda new cars were filled with oil that contained very fine polishing compound. This first factory fill of oil was supposed to be left in the engine for 1500 miles so it would help the parts polish them selves during use. I don't know if that was urban myth, or just the service guy lying to me, but it made sense, and the Honda engines do seem to last a very long time with little wear if maintained properly.

Why most engine makers reccomend a slow break in is beyond me. Seems like the rings would take longer to seat properly, especially on a high performance engine.

On the horsepower v/s tourqe deal, actually HP is just a matimatical figure of engine Tourqe? Or something like that. I know the curve always crosses over at 5250 rpm. (Where Tourqe falls below HP on a dyno sheet.) I do know you can change tourqe curves with engine changes like bore and stroke, and also affect the HP as well. My Supra motor is a custom stroker engine with only slightly more displacement, but the longer stroke raised the tourqe curve over 100lbs from prior dyno pulls. The HP was unchanged if you can belive it! The engine feels stronger due to the increased tourqe curve, and area under the curve v/s before. Peak HP at the wheels is about 420, but tourqe went from the 360's to over 475lbs peak, and the area under the curve is more than twice what it was before the longer stroke, slightly higher compression and larger valves and head port work. I was hoping for more peak HP, but can live with the great Tourqe returns.

Just like how I like the peaky power my brother's Suzuki 400 SM has, but really like the tourqe of my KTM 620 when it counts. Both are about as fast, and if anything, his 400 might even make more peak power, but the KTM has LOTS more tourqe everywhere.

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Old 04-24-2006, 02:28 PM   #8
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my take on breakin is a combination of both theories, the manual says dont run it up above 4800, but its does not say to go easy on the application of throttle. i like to load the engine with generous throttle, not lugging at low RPM and not revving over 4800. the engine pulls pretty hard from about 2500 on, so roll that throttle during breakin but dont over rev.
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Old 04-24-2006, 02:45 PM   #9
meat popsicle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adjuster
Ok, like you, I'm no rocket scientist, and I did leave out the gas pressure/ring seating theory, but I have read all of Motoman's pages that I could before they became somewhat repetative, and the gist of the idea is correct.

Break in your new motor as quickly as you can, and that takes RPM and load. (Based on what MotoManwrote, first 20 miles should be 1/4 mile passes at maximum speed, then change the oil.....)

...

My KTM is already broken in so I don't have any personal experiance with this "thumper" motor, but I like the Motorman's theory of engine break in. (Which is why I used it on my high performance engine.)
the gist of my summary of MotoMan's idea is correct? or his idea?

Not sure why break in has to happen quickly, aside from MotoMan's assertion that the roughness of the new hone will be worn out before it can 'machine' the ring properly. And he says that high RPM increases pressure which forces the rings out and (I guess) conforms better to the rough hone so they match up better once they wear together...

So you are adding that it takes higher RPM and load, I assume to increase pressure inside the cylinder. The load is higher at slower speeds (more resistance inertia than motion inertia right?) so maybe it should be first gear only? Just trying to make sense of this; but I don't think we can solve this problem. Like I said before we need a engine guru and a machinist.

Parsimony says that MotoMan represents an industry trade group that rebuilds motors and is just trying to drum up more work! Just kidding...

Quote:
Originally Posted by adjuster
I know a few years ago, I was told the Honda new cars were filled with oil that contained very fine polishing compound. This first factory fill of oil was supposed to be left in the engine for 1500 miles so it would help the parts polish them selves during use. I don't know if that was urban myth, or just the service guy lying to me, but it made sense, and the Honda engines do seem to last a very long time with little wear if maintained properly.

Why most engine makers reccomend a slow break in is beyond me. Seems like the rings would take longer to seat properly, especially on a high performance engine.
My 2003 Honda Civic came with "break in fluids", a special motor oil that, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WAS I TO ALLOW MY MONEY GRUBBING DEALERSHIP TO SWAP OUT BEFORE THE NORMAL OIL CHANGE PERIOD! They wanted to change it every 5K... I said Honda recommends every 10K. They said, OK, how about 7500K? They go onto say Honda told us you are in a "harsh conditions area" (shorter service interval). I checked with Honda, who said, bullshit. They also told me that the first load of oil from the factory was special, and was very important for proper break in. I called the dealer and said they were full of it. They said sorry.

Like I said, we need some folks who can critically review MotoMan's diatribe, an engine guru and a machinist.
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Old 04-24-2006, 02:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2 SPOT
my take on breakin is a combination of both theories, the manual says dont run it up above 4800, but its does not say to go easy on the application of throttle. i like to load the engine with generous throttle, not lugging at low RPM and not revving over 4800. the engine pulls pretty hard from about 2500 on, so roll that throttle during breakin but dont over rev.
that would be more load eh? if that relates to pressure and the ring thingey is true then you are on the money.
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Old 04-24-2006, 04:58 PM   #11
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Guys, the few definitive articles published about break-in (major magazines, not internet heresay) say that arbitrary break-in RPM limits are specified strictly to keep owners from running the engine at sustained high power levels right out of the box. By limiting the max power the engine can produce in this rather crude way, you prevent localized overheating of parts that may not have sufficient clearances due to production tolerances.

That's it. That's the ONLY reason for RPM limits. I'm sure the engineers would rather say in the manuals that higher RPM operation is fine for brief periods, but if then they'd leave the word "brief" open to interpretation. It's just easier to arbitrarily set an RPM limit.

It's also widely accepted that it takes cylinder pressure to seat rings. So you do want to use some throttle during break-in, occasionally full throttle.

Don't pull sustained high power, vary your speeds, avoid idling, and try and keep the bike out of slow traffic. For production motorcycles, that's all that is required. This doesn't need to be that complicated.

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Old 04-24-2006, 05:33 PM   #12
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Eh? Well great.

I just finished the first 500 miles of my breakin. I kept the bike under 4K rpm as recommended by the stickers plastered on the Tach and gas tank. Now I have to keep it under 6K for the next 500. I guess I will be watching my rear view mirrors for clouds of blue smoke.
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Old 04-24-2006, 07:19 PM   #13
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i havent held a 640 piston in my hand, but all the piston i have worked with have small holes in the ring grooves, they are theyre for a number of reasons and one of them i believe is crankcase pressure pushing the rings against the cylinder wall during the bang stroke as the piston travells down, but i dont claim to know anything its just my ASSumption
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Old 04-24-2006, 10:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markjenn
...
It's also widely accepted that it takes cylinder pressure to seat rings. So you do want to use some throttle during break-in, occasionally full throttle.
...
Thanks Mark,

question: so how does cylinder pressure vary with RPM and load?

I also ASSume that cylinder pressure is more related to load (resistance to expanding combusion gasses) than RPM (piston speed). I know that when my bike's engine is wound out in certain situations there isn't necessarily much resistance to increasing RPM; conversely, I know that sometimes when my bike's engine is at low RPM (not lugging but certainly not even midrange) there is alot of resistance to increasing RPM.

With those observations in mind I can think of many instances when the most resistance to the expanding gasses can be at the lower end of the RPM range. And this is where the engine will naturally be prepared to deal with it, since peak torque is generally in the lower (to mid? ) end of the RPM range.

So if it is indeed pressure, which I am reasoning (on a limb) to be irrespective of RPM - perhaps even highest in the lower end of the range (or at least the best time to load the engine, when available torque is highest?) - then maybe it would be ideal to focus on load and not throttle? Certainly not RPM...

Please throw me a rope before breaking this branch! And sorry to make it complicated, but theory is, particularly when there are multiple dimensions: engine speed, bike speed, and load (for a multitude of reasons).
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Old 04-24-2006, 11:04 PM   #15
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You're on the right track.

Peak combustion pressure is more or less directly related to engine torque, so you'll get maximum combustion pressure right at the engine's torque peak and, of course, full throttle. So during break-in, you should be occasionally giving it full throttle at or near the torque peak to get good ring seating. Not for long periods because this gets back to that localized overheating problem, but brief spurts of full throttle around the torque peak are just the thing to seat rings. Engine RPM is not important other than you don't want to be lugging or overrevving.

There is nothing wrong with adhering to the break-in RPM limits specified by the mfg per se. Personally, I think brief zings approaching redline as the engine builds miles are probably good - they help to get parts friendly with each other at the full range of engine speeds. But if you want to hold to the limits in the owner's manual, there's nothing wrong with this. It is just unnecessary and makes your first 1K with your motocycle needlessly boring.

IMHO, I think there are only a few really bad things to do during break-in:

1. Running the engine hard before warming up. This is hard on any engine but especially hard on a new engine that not established final working clearances. But riding it gently to get it up to temperature quickly is the best way to warm any engine - you want to get it to temperature as quickly as possible and minimize the time when it is running on choke or FI enrichment.

2. Excessive babying of the engine, including idling. This results in insuffiicent pressure to seat rings which may can cause glazing of the cylinder walls which leads to an excessively long break-in during which the engine will have poor oil control and compression. Worst case with some engines that have very hard cylinder walls and rings (e.g., Nikasil BMWs) you never achieve good oil control and they're oil burners for life.

3. Running them at sustained high power right out of the box. This causes the localized overheating problem where parts that are at the extremes of tolerances and have not achieved working clearances actual have metal-metal contact and scuffing which shortens engine life.

That's about it. Everything else is fine. And if you look at mfg's recommendations, they basically say this - it's just that they stick in those silly RPM limits to keep people from taking their new bike out on the freeway and "seeing what she'll do" with 5 miles on the clock. If an owner religiously follows these RPM limits and also goes easy on the throttle, they may never exceed 25% of the engine's rated power during break-in and it's tough to get a good break-in at these power levels.

It can pretty much be sumarized as "ride normally, but take it a little easy."

- Mark

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