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Old 07-09-2014, 09:34 AM   #1
JRod152 OP
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KTM 950SE engine case damage!

Well, here's a new one for me...

I went on a fun dual sport ride with some fellas the other day, exploring some back roads & minimum maintenance roads. We also did some riding at an ORV park that has some decent single & 2 track trails. This is KS, you know... the good stuff is kinda lacking & few & far b/w. This ORV park rests against a state lake near the Flint Hills in KS and consists of loamy soil & small flakey limestone rock.





At one point in the ride, we were exploring a flooded area along the lake edge from some recent rains. The rear wheel was, at several points, churning through some of this flakey limestone, muck & such. When I hopped out of it & began to accelerate, it heard a "clunk". I looked down & didn't really see much, other than the normal debris I was in. All seemed well & I ripped on, having a good time.

Soon after while still riding trails, I began to experience some "clutch fade". Weird, I said to myself... that's never happened. I have a Rekluse EXP on my 950SE and have for the last 10K or so miles. It's been stellar and I love what it allows for a big bike in tight conditions. For those w/ a Rekluse, it felt as though my "free-play" gain just shot through the roof. On the clutch lever, when blipping the throttle, normal free play gain is 1/8" to 1/4". At times, it jumped to triple that, easily. Nothing remotely like this has ever happened. It has always been really predictable & consistent, even when hot & ridden hard. The clutch never slipped, FPG just increased. I looked down through my CJ clutch cover... good clean oil flow. Oil level good on motor. Weird.

So we stopped, grabbed a cool drink, & I looked into things. Here is what I found...





















WTF!!! ...a cracked case, or more specifically, a cracked bottom clutch slave boss. The slave had been pushed out & down, explaining why I now had an increase in free play gain. At this point, I dismantled everything. I took the CS plastic guard off, slave, slave spacer, case saver, & slave backer off. Clutch push rod & pin are fine. All other parts, except the small & unassuming gouge in the spacer, are fine. Engine case is not. At this point, I am 120 miles from home. I clean things as best as possible & button things back up. The clutch slave is not leaking. The pushrod seal may have a slight weep in it, leading me to believe it took some force. I'll likely replace the seal, maybe the rod. The only random problem... a cracked lower slave mount. I cleaned the threads a bit and screwed a bolt in. It seemed to have enough threads in place to hold things. I bolted it back up. It held great & I made it home to inspect things a little closer.

From a gouge on the slave spacer, it looks as though just the right size SOB limestone rock took a ride on my chain, under the CS guard and got pulverized b/w the chain & slave, but not w/o shoving the slave forward & down, cracking the lower mount! Or, after looking closer at the spacer, maybe a rock got b/w the CS sprocket & chain and forced thec chain into the spacer. FFFFFUDGE!!! What are the chances! Also, the lower bolt in the affected area is definetely bent as well... hard to see in the pic.

I have an aluminum Oberon spacer in place of the standard spacer. My thought, (after severe pissed-off-ness) was I should have kept the "softer" OEM spacer in place & maybe it would have "gave way" more than the aluminum spacer.

My only other thought, if debris didnt cause it, was that the chain gouged it. Chain slack was appropriate, as I'm a stickler about that. Surely there is no way this happened.

So...
Any thoughts on this?
Anyone experience this?
Any recomendations on how to fix?
Any recommendations on how to prevent this in the future?
Does someone make a better sprocket guard?
Do you think the pushrod is bent, possibly?

My thoughts on a fix...

1.) Find a quality TIG welder. Disconnect batter, ECU, electronics, etc. Break the chunk off & replace in original spot. Screw bolt in. Weld the chunk back to the boss to secure. Unscrew bolt & run a tap through to clean up the threads. Ride on.

2.) Break the chunk off. Screw a bot in. place epoxy (JB weld, Quiksteel,e tc.) in place of chunk. Before epoxy is setup, unscrew the bolt. When cured, re-tap to clean threads. Ride on.

3.) Do nothing, assume it's good enough, & ride on.

I like #2 personally, but wonder how well I can get the epoxy to adhere. I know many have had luck w/ this on cracked engine cases or holes from rock damage, LC8 side stand oops fixes, even. Some have welded though too.

All I need is for a reliable threaded hole to handle 10 NM for the rest of it's life. That's not asking much. Whatever the repair, I need to maintain the flat machined surface but just reinforce the side of the boss where it's broken.

BTW...
I usually run 16/45 gearing, but I had just switched to 17/45 for the lame commuting I am doing. I wonder if I had the normal 16 tooth CS on, it would have been enough room to not cause an issue... hindsight is 20/20! DID ZVMX chain. OEM CS sprocket. All well in spec.

Thoughts & recommendations are appreciated.

I told my wife it's totaled & time for a new bike... or maybe a carbureted 115HP 990 ADV/SMT motor off ebay!!! :)

Cheers
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:51 AM   #2
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I would take it to a reputable shop and have it welded. If you JB Weld it, you will make welding it later really hard to do.

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Old 07-09-2014, 10:04 AM   #3
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Isn't the OEM spacer plastic?
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:04 AM   #4
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I would guess that a piece of that junk got caught between things and did this. Having the 17 CS compounded the problem.

This is why I have never agreeded with the whole case saver deal with hydraulic clutches. They do more harm than good by providing more area and leverage to actually break the case. If you just had the clutch slave it probably would have gotten damaged but is much less hassle to replace than repair/replace cases.

Just my opinion but I have seen this happen countless times when people run with them.
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:21 AM   #5
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JB Weld would work if you were stuck out on the trail, but for a more permanent repair I would:

-Make sure there are no leaks coming from the cracked piece
-clean and prep the metals (and unplug all electrical bits) and TIG Weld the broken piece back on
-Drill out the obviously damaged threads and install a helicoil so youcan use the original bolt size.

Good luck
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Old 07-09-2014, 02:27 PM   #6
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I have seen similar damage on bikes where the chain slider top screw has come out and got between chain and sprocket.

Thats why I use a long screw that passes all the way through the swingarm with a nyloc on the underside.

Also why I dont use case savers on enduro bikes - I would rather gouge a slave than crack a case.
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Old 07-09-2014, 06:52 PM   #7
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Progress...

Well, I dug a little deeper today. After calling quite a few places to find a good hot rod shop, performance radiator shop, etc., I landed with a guy who is a TIG talent & has expressed confidence in his ability to fix it. I have a tentative appt. tomorrow morning, so we'll see.

The loose piece chunked off when I removed it to prep for welding. I'm thankful it held enough to get home. As far as the spacer... I feel that even w/ the "softer" OEM spacer, most of the rigidity is found with the dowels & case saver. I'm betting the same would have happened with the original spacer, but who knows.



As for running w/ no case saver... after looking at the somewhat fragile & unsupported slave mounts (especially the lower), I still think damage would happen. The ZVMX chain is a heavy SOB, which can't help either. Maybe a 16T w/ a 520 conversion is in order!

I stripped the tank, shifter, CS sprocket, etc. to get it out of his way. I'll remove the neutral position sensor. I'll DC the battery, VRR, & ECU for the operation. I decided to remove the clutch push rod to get it out of his way but also to inspect it. Good thing I did... it's bent! Some decent force definitely occured to bent both slave mounting bolts ( yep, both), crack a case, & bend the pushrod. I hope nothing else surfaces.





So hopefully I'll be in better shape this time tomorrow. He is going to fill the hole and widen the bottom of the lower boss, while maintain a decently flat mounting surface. If I have to do some grinding / filing to finish it off, that's cool. Then I'll mock everything in place to drill & tap. I'll put a new pushrod, pushrod seal, bolts, etc. in place and ride it till something else breaks.

I inspected & cleaned the clutch oil jet while in there... spotless. The larger oil jet, while making neutral a bit harder to find, seems to provide great oiling. This is evident at speed too while watching through the clutch cover.



I find it quite odd that I seem to be the only LC8'r that this has happened to.... seriously? My research doesn't bring up anything else. I believe the original rally bike was designed with a 16T CS in mind, but for goodness sake... there are billions of miles out there on 17T CS. I know that's not the problem... just wanting to pass some blame to make myself feel better.

Oh well. I'll ride it no differently. Stuff happens. Good grief is this bike fun!

I'll post up the results when I have a chance.

Thanks all for your input!
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Old 07-09-2014, 07:06 PM   #8
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Get a nice new clean M6, thread it in and get your tig man to weld it with the bolt in place...You wont need to drill and tap.
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Old 07-09-2014, 07:18 PM   #9
JRod152 OP
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Originally Posted by charlie264 View Post
Get a nice new clean M6, thread it in and get your tig man to weld it with the bolt in place...You wont need to drill and tap.
Thought about that, but...

-the existing threads are damaged & I dont trust them

-I don't know if he could get a good weld by just bridging that area.

I'll ask him about that in the AM. I'm no welding expert.
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Old 07-09-2014, 07:25 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JRod152 View Post
Thought about that, but...

-the existing threads are damaged & I dont trust them

-I don't know if he could get a good weld by just bridging that area.

I'll ask him about that in the AM. I'm no welding expert.
I doubt he'll use the broken bit, just build new.
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:38 PM   #11
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More progress...

Well, things are looking up.

I used a local welder & rolled up to his place this morning. When I showed up, I was concerned that he was a bit of a hack. After talking with him a while, he had a good understanding of my expectations & I his. He has 40 some odd years of doing this, I guess. At one time, he made the comment... "Yeah, I once was asked how good I was. I answered- when you find someone better, I'll start practicing." Well...alrighty then...

So after getting comfortable dealing with a cocky crotchety old fart, I let him have at it...

We hoisted the bike onto his welding table and laid it over for good access.













I have some minor filing & touch-up to do, but all in all, I'm good with it. He was able to fill the hole and build the tab beefier than it originally was. I suspect that if I break it again, the case is coming with it.

For $60, he welded the case & fixed a crack in my POS OEM skid plate... seemed fair to me. Will someone please make a decent skid plate for this bike... please!!! By decent, I mean front mounts to the flippin' frame! So sick of bent radiator tabs & other BS.

I'll touch up the weld for a "true" surface. Then mock up and bolt the other mounts in place. Then drill & tap.

Parts are being shipped & I may have them by the weekend, thanks to Craig & Jenny @ CJDesigns! Props to you guys for, yet again, great customer service!!!

Getting closer. FWIW, don't shove a rock past your slave cylinder... muy malo!
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Old 07-11-2014, 03:20 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by JRod152 View Post
Well, things are looking up.

For $60, he welded the case & fixed a crack in my POS OEM skid plate... seemed fair to me. Will someone please make a decent skid plate for this bike... please!!! By decent, I mean front mounts to the flippin' frame! So sick of bent radiator tabs & other BS.

I'll touch up the weld for a "true" surface. Then mock up and bolt the other mounts in place. Then drill & tap.

Parts are being shipped & I may have them by the weekend, thanks to Craig & Jenny @ CJDesigns! Props to you guys for, yet again, great customer service!!!

Getting closer. FWIW, don't shove a rock past your slave cylinder... muy malo!
They are out there- guys on this forum are making and selling them. I have one. Do a search- should come up relatively easy. I'm at work and can't remeber the name of mine right now.
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Old 07-11-2014, 05:51 PM   #13
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They are out there- guys on this forum are making and selling them. I have one. Do a search- should come up relatively easy. I'm at work and can't remeber the name of mine right now.
Hmmm... hit me up if you come across the builder. The only "properly" mounted ones I've seen (off the oil tank, bottom of motor, etc.) have been one-off.

I'll see what a search brings up. Thanks.

Tim Robel... this is a hint & plug for you...
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:03 PM   #14
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When you go to retap that, not sure what your experience is...

Use cutting fluid, WD40 is fine for aluminum.
You want a bottoming tap too to finish that hole and get all the threads. Mcmaster has them for cheap.

I'd bolt up the slave and fixture it using the good bolt hole. Use a transfer punch to prick the exact location of the new bolt. Drill straight with a depth stop taped to the drill. Personally I'd use a center drill to start and then a stubby but just make sure you center punch the hole so the bit doesnt walk.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:21 PM   #15
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Great thoughts!

I was wondering about a bottoming tap, especially with a shallow hole. I was not sure if a tapered tap would thread sufficiently at the bottom of the hole.

I'll double check the top mount bolt hole depth and mark accordingly. I can even utilize the 2 case saver mounts, mocking all of that up together. That will help for alignment.

Great advice on the center drill... was planning for sure to center punch. Thanks for the words of advice!

Now for a steady hand. A handheld drill fixture seems crappy w/ no good place to support it. I'm hoping I can use the hollow dowels in the space as a guide. If I had a lathe, I'd turn a dowel that was an exact fit for the bit, but don't... bummer. I suppose even if the hole is very slightly off plumb, the mating surface is what is providing most of the rigidity.

Freehand surgery is not ideal!
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