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Old 05-20-2014, 08:29 AM   #1
hotrdd OP
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Newbie overheating 950 S

So I’m an newbie to the KTM 950 but am already in love with it. My other bikes are old 1970’s customs and the KTM is just so much easier to ride for hours at a time. And there is all the fun of getting off the HWY whenever I want.

Bike is high mileage but seems to be in great shape otherwise. I’ve noticed the last couple of rides that the temperature bars have been creeping into the 5 bar range even when it’s cool. When I got home the other day from a short ride it puked a little bit of the green stuff onto the garage floor. Then this morning I rode to work on the HWY and it was 38F out and the bike still managed to get up to the 5 and 6 bar range.


The oil appears to be fine so I’m not afraid of a leak in that direction. I also have a second fan installed though I’m not convinced it’s even working. I need to do some more investigation on that one. But what sort of things should I look for? I have to drive it home from work today so is it okay to top up the system with some water?

-What coolant should I use in the LC8?
-I assume I get the front wheel high in the air to burp the system?
-If I look at the water pump what am I looking for?

hotrdd screwed with this post 05-20-2014 at 02:11 PM
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Old 05-20-2014, 08:45 AM   #2
gearheadE30
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Coolant type shouldn't matter as long as it is the good phosphate free stuff that doesn't corrode. I use engine ice personally, but I've used the autozone stuff in a pinch as well. Topping off with water is fine.

You shouldn't need the second fan to keep it under control in those conditions.

Do you have any coolant leaks? If the level is going down, something is wrong. Anywhere coolant is coming out, it is replaced by air, which will cause it to overheat. Bleeding the system should help, but they don't normally un-bleed themselves like that unless there is a different problem.

Check your oil filter for waviness. That's the best check for a water pump leak, really.
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:49 AM   #3
hotrdd OP
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The coolant level was really high when I got the bike so I have a feeling that the green stuff on the shop floor was a result of the bike being hot and too much coolant. But since the bike just rolled off the truck a short time ago I don’t have any history on it so I’m fixing issues as they arise. Definitely Reactive and not proactive at this point

Should I assume that checking the oil filter will require draining all the oil and doing an oil change? If that’s the case what are guys using these days that I can stop off and pick up on the way home?

hotrdd screwed with this post 05-20-2014 at 02:10 PM
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Old 05-20-2014, 11:32 AM   #4
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Lay bike down with left side up and you can open filter cap without draining any oil, strong magnet is a good way to get filter out to check.

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Old 05-20-2014, 11:48 AM   #5
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That black on Grey font is tough to read
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Old 05-20-2014, 01:43 PM   #6
hotrdd OP
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Sorry. Never even looked at the font colour.

Thanks for the help I'll pull the oil filter and see what I have.

If I pull the water pump what should I be looking for?
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Old 05-20-2014, 05:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotrdd View Post
Sorry. Never even looked at the font colour.

Thanks for the help I'll pull the oil filter and see what I have.

If I pull the water pump what should I be looking for?
From another thread. This filter shows signs of water infiltration.


If it looks like that, then its probably time to do the water pump.

This one is pretty normal:


I prefer to run a Scott's Stainless filter because water does not clog the Scotts. Water on a paper filter causes it to clog and rob your engine of oil pressure. That's bad.

The older bikes often need a new radiator cap to maintain proper pressure in the cooling system. If the cap seal fails, you lose system pressure and cooling efficiency.

When the water pump fails, you usually see grooves in the shaft where the rubber seal rubs. Kinda hard to see the grooves without disassembling the whole thing, but there is one ADVer who uses screws to pull out the old seal without really disassembling the entire pump.
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Old 05-20-2014, 06:47 PM   #8
hotrdd OP
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tried to bleed the system when I got home by parking the bike on a very steep incline with the front wheel in the air but no luck. But come to think of it I took the small black cap off of the over flow bottle. Is there another rad cap I should remove?

stupid thing was running 6 bars on the way home.
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Old 05-20-2014, 06:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by hotrdd View Post
tried to bleed the system when I got home by parking the bike on a very steep incline with the front wheel in the air but no luck. But come to think of it I took the small black cap off of the over flow bottle. Is there another rad cap I should remove?

stupid thing was running 6 bars on the way home.
The little black cap on the side is just for the overflow. The main radiator cap is just to the left and above that. Take off the side cover, and you'll see it.

See it here? (copied from another thread).


You have to "burp" with the radiator cap off. The overflow cap is really irrelevant for that.

Also remember that the temp on the gauge is measured off of the rear cylinder by a sensor that is pretty much by your left thigh. The sensor on the radiator turns on and off the radiator fan. If your gauge on the dash is going up and up and it seems out of sync with the fan going on and off, then you have a circulation problem or a "burp" problem.
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Old 05-20-2014, 08:54 PM   #10
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Threw the bike up on a jack tonight and got the front wheel nice and high in the air. Took both side covers off and started up the bike. Let it idle for a bit with the radiator cap off and watched it clime to 6 bars and radiator coolant come gushing out. But never heard the fans kick in. Should I start with the engine sensor?

The coolant was really ot which should means circulating. I'm also not losing any coolant from the system. I'll check the oil filter tomorrow or Thursday after work.

But if I am running down the highway on a cool day shouldn't the radiator be getting enough air flow?
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:25 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by hotrdd View Post
Threw the bike up on a jack tonight and got the front wheel nice and high in the air. Took both side covers off and started up the bike. Let it idle for a bit with the radiator cap off and watched it clime to 6 bars and radiator coolant come gushing out. But never heard the fans kick in.

Should I start with the engine sensor?

But if I am running down the highway on a cool day shouldn't the radiator be getting enough air flow?
It's odd that the fan is not kicking on. It should kick on about when the fifth bar lights up. Something is wrong there. My bike just has the stock fan. It's 80 degrees or so here now, and the bike will generally always run on the fourth bar on the dash unless I'm in traffic in town. When the bike stops as a light, it pretty quickly turns on the fifth bar, and then the fan kicks on. I only see the sixth bar when I'm running off-road and going slow.

You can pull the plug off of the radiator sensor and just close the circuit, which should force the fans to turn on. You don't hear a lot about sensors going bad, but it would be good to know that the fans will turn on.

The engine sensor is apparently working, so wouldn't mess with it.

Yes, running down the road on a cool day is normally enough to keep the bike cool without the fans. So, your fans are not kicking on appropriately, but that doesn't necessarily explain why you are seeing high temps when running down the road.

Note that the system has to be completely full of fluid to work properly. The system works on 1.5 bars of pressure, and if you have any air gaps in the system, you won't get the 1.5 bars of pressure. So make sure it is properly burped and then completely full under the radiator cap.

And don't get discouraged. You'll get it.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:34 AM   #12
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If the coolant level is rising, not falling, it's unlikely to be the water pump. I'd suspect a head gasket. Check if the cylinder head nuts have been replaced.

Typing this from my phone so I can't post full details, but basically there was a TSB on early bikes to replace the head nuts and washers. Of the gaskets are leaking, replacing and retorquing the nuts might solve it.

Check the HOW (link at the top of the forum index) for more details.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:45 AM   #13
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If the engine temps are rising, and the radiator temps are not, the pump impeller is probably disengaged from the end of the crank shaft.... I would pull the clutch cover and verify the clip is in place, then go from there.... Oh, and make sure that the radiator cap is clean and working correctly.
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Old 05-21-2014, 07:15 AM   #14
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the coolant is definitely getting hot based on my test last night. But I need to test that the fans are coming on when required. Hopefully I have time to do that tonight. Should the fans be enough to keep things cool if its just idling in the shop?

its not very warm in Alberta so I'm not sure why the issues ��
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Old 05-21-2014, 07:18 AM   #15
hotrdd OP
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Right now I don't know if the coolant is rising or falling. I think what I may be seeing is just the regular expansion and contraction during heating and cooling.

I'll test the switch on the radiator tonight and also look at the oil filter.
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