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Old 10-31-2010, 11:58 PM   #1
getagripgreg OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jun 2006
Location: Marin, CA
Oddometer: 409
Build Report: Inside my new 2003 950 ADV with 89,850 miles


This will be a look at what I've done to inspect and update the 2003 950 ADV I recently bought in boxes with just a hair under 90,000 miles. I've lusted after a 950 for a few years now but haven't been willing to part with the cash required for a "ready to rock" model, so I've checked craigslist every morning in hopes of finding that perfect bike needing only a frame repair or modest engine work. Finally found what I wanted a month ago.

I'm a mechanic by trade, working on old cars (old meaning 1920's to 1960s) Alfa Romeos, Bugattis and the like. I'm pretty lucky to do what I do, and as a perk I get to work on my projects at the shop after hours.

So here's the pile of parts as received:

And the big chunk, generously made into a roller by the seller:

The bike was described as having a motor problem, "a noise" as well as a charging system issue. Stator and cam chains diagnosis, possibly with the flywheel loose on the crank taper. That was the worst case scenario in my mind, as a wrecked crank taper would be expensive and time consuming.

I figured if I had to rebuild the motor, I'd expect $2k in parts, which would give me a solid bike for less than the cheapest high mile bike I'd seen anywhere.

I heard the motor start and run before I handed over the cash, but without mufflers, so the first order of business was to fit the exhaust so I could listen to whatever noises it made. Of course I could not just slap it together, I had to clean everything first.

Sodablast to get 89,000 miles of road grime off the subframe and scotchbrite wheel on the buffer to get the pipes shiny again. Sort out missing hardware and gaskets, charge battery, and fire it up!

Sounded good! OK, pretty rattly. And if it failed to start, like it did before I remembered to turn on the fuel tap, it made a big clack when it came to a stop off the starter.

Lets see what's in there then, shall we? This looks suspiciously like a fried regulator connector.

Well well, I've read about this...

All six bolts loose and coming out..

But good news, the flywheel is tight on the crank!

To be continued...
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:30 AM   #2
getagripgreg OP
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Joined: Jun 2006
Location: Marin, CA
Oddometer: 409
Coming Apart

Look Ma, no key!

So this is an early early motor, from what I've read. Also has the old school non-torque-limiter starter drive.

So now I needed to decide if I would just throw a stator at it and ride for the minimum investment, or go big. I read here at OC and over on the HOW for hours, debating pro and con, making parts lists and figuring out the cost. I decided it would be foolish to go in part way and decided to do the timing chains at a minimum, with a leakdown test to determine if the top end came apart. So I stripped the motor down to the point required to swap chains.

Coming apart...

Cams look pretty cherry and lash is only a little out...

Tappets look good...

Ooh, that's not so nice. The clutch basket is seriously groovy!

Cam journals had some light scoring and the caps showed some wear. Little nervous about clearance on the outer journals...

My camera SUCKS at macro shots, so these pics don't really show much, but the booster ramps were ugly.

The bearing fell out of the pressure plate...

The clutch hub was also pretty worn and had two grooves at the base from the belleville washer, installed upside down.

Note the Feliciani mod!

I hadn't figured on clutch replacement when calculating parts costs. Stupid, eh? It looks like the clutch, excluding plates, is about $900. Lucky for me the plates were all like new, and I can deal with the worn parts for now.

Leakdown results coming up next. 89,850 miles.
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:54 AM   #3
getagripgreg OP
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Location: Marin, CA
Oddometer: 409

OK, so cold leakdown tests don't really tell the whole story, because everything changes when things heat up and parts grow. But hey, this motor is already in pieces!

First I had to get the plugs out, and of course none of my many sockets fit. So I turned one down in the lathe to fit. Front jug first...

Woo hoo! For those of you that don't know what you're looking at, the gauge set shows inlet pressure on the left and percentage of leakdown on the right, or how how much of that 100 psi the cylinder is holding. 92% here, or 8% leakdown, which seems to me to be a GREAT number for a 90K motor cold. None of it leaking past the valves, just the rings.

Now for the back hole:

Ooh, not so good. And I can hear the air escaping past the intake valves. I shot some solvent down the port and it gushed right out. See the bubbles?

Fortunately, there is a trick here to make sure that the valves are seated properly. There could be a little chunk of dirt or carbon on the seat. Grab a soft drift (I use a brass punch) and whack the top of the bucket, just hard enough to pop the valve off the seat. The air pressure in the cylinder (still connected to the leakdown set) will blow any junk off the seat and give you another reading... like this:

Yes, that's 2% on a 90,000 mile KTM. I am happy and I'm not taking the motor any further apart.

More later...
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Old 11-01-2010, 01:10 AM   #4
***** dweller
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Joined: Aug 2004
Location: Sydney, Australia
Oddometer: 4,341
i always find these tear downs and part examinations so interesting... thanks for this. Amazing results on the leakdown on a high mileage motor.
"And some guy said, let there be filtering, and we filtered and we saw that it was good, and hours became minutes..."
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Old 11-01-2010, 02:33 AM   #5
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Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Midlands UK
Oddometer: 383

Great write up so far, you obviously know what you are doing, nice to see the 90k motor (top end at least) in very good shape.

This thread should form a detailed account of how the engines last with high mileage.

A question though what on earth is the 'booster ramp'?

Are you going to file the clutch basket, it doesn't look bad IMHO for a 90k engine my enduro baskets are worse than that with 3K.
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Old 11-01-2010, 03:30 AM   #6
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Location: Sunny South Africa
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Man, I just love these threads!
Keep it coming.

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Old 11-01-2010, 06:17 AM   #7
Sit there, turn that
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Joined: Aug 2001
Location: Great White North
Oddometer: 4,760
I predict that in 25 years we'll look back at these motors in awe at their durability and ability to still run strong. We owe a HUGE thanks to those KTM engineers and the race development teams.

Carry on, great tear down report.

I became friends with someone just because they rode motorcycles from no-place to no-where.
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Old 11-01-2010, 06:35 AM   #8
Dan Alexander
Ride Far - Ride Fast
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Joined: Nov 2003
Location: Now only Montreal
Oddometer: 7,665
Beemers Past and Present: 74 R90S, 77 R100RS, 85 K100RS, 2x 87 K100RS, 96 R1100GS (getting hacked), 99 R1100S, 2002 R1150GS, 2005 F650 Dakar, 81 GL500/Velorex
Plus the occasional Triumph, BSA, Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and KTM but who's counting
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:05 AM   #9
Ride that nasty thing
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Joined: Oct 2003
Location: Elizabethville, PA
Oddometer: 1,658
My favorite threads.
"04" 950 Adventure S 37,000+ miles
2003 Harley XL883 converted to CAFE (2013-14)
"Grim Brother" #1
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:48 AM   #10
out ridin'....
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Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Boulder, Co or lost in Mexico....again
Oddometer: 433
Loving this thread, especially since my nine five zero is a bit high milage as well.....
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Old 11-01-2010, 08:09 AM   #11
Live and let ride
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Santa Cruz Ca
Oddometer: 1,410
I'm a sucker for "bike in a box" projects myself. Great pics and write up.
Tell me, are you going to retro fit that mechanical fuel pump as pictured in #2 post??? I'm sure it'd outlast the stocker.
" I can't fix your motorcycle over the phone or internet" Spanky
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Old 11-01-2010, 08:45 AM   #12
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Joined: Jun 2006
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Oddometer: 9,506
Good thread. Thanks for taking us along.

AntWare has 98k on his. At 88k it got cam chains and rings, just 'cuz. He reused the pistons (as did Pyndon on his).

These are the reasons I had no problem buying a 30k mile bike out of state sight unseen. I'm seriously amazed at the quality of KTM bikes. And I've had 6 from 200 all the way up to the 950.
Not an ACTUAL motorcyclist
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Old 11-01-2010, 08:55 AM   #13
Mr. Motivated
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Joined: Jun 2002
Location: Stanley, NC
Oddometer: 1,868
Great stuff.

If you're going to replace the clutch basket, you might want to look at CJ's Billet Basket.

Looks to be bombproof, but I have no direct experience. All my experience with CJ's stuff has been 100% positive.

Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.

-Albert Einstein
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:55 AM   #14
Jerkus Maximus
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Joined: Aug 2007
Location: Lowville, NY
Oddometer: 8,470
Awesome thread!!!
For Sale: 2012 KTM 990 Adventure
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:01 AM   #15
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Oddometer: 2,456
those are fantastic leak down numbers.
2011 KTM RC8R
2012 BMW S1000RR
2000 Kawasaki ZRX1100
2013 KTM SMT 990
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