Pre-trip thoughts, rants, etc.

Project KTM

Travel Log 1 - September

Travel Log 2 - October

The Accident

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KTM 950 Adventure

This is the bike I have chosen for the trip.  It has been modified for durability and reliability.  Some of the modifications are:

  • Dunlop D606 front tire and Dunlop D908RR rear tire
  • Hepco & Becker Gobi cases (side cases and top case)
  • Kolpin Fuel Packs (1.25 gallons each)
  • Hepco & Becker crash bar
  • Black Dog skid plate
  • Moose Racing bark busters
  • E-line folding brake lever
  • KTM 690 Enduro high fender kit
  • KTM heated grips
  • Custom bar risers
  • Magura shorty clutch lever
  • Leo Vince exhaust
  • Uni pre-filter
  • Evoluzion LC8 billet clutch slave cylinder
  • KTM steel clutch push rod
  • DID 525 VM2 Gold x-ring chain
  • 16/45 sprocket gearing
  • NGK Iridium spark plugs
  • Powerlet auxillary power plug
  • Headlight on/off override switch
  • Low octane fuel switch


My 2005 KTM 950 Adventure is a working project.  Here are some of the mods done since I purchased it in January 2008:




Water pump impeller shaft failure!  (Or, how I spent my weekend.)  A common problem for the Adventure 950 with an easy, but time consuming solution.  Here's the rebuild in full swing:

Here's the problem - notice the scoring on the impeller shaft.  That shouldn't be there.

While I was in there, I swapped out the aluminum clutch pushrod for an updated steel one that is supposed to prevent wear and eventual clutch dragging.  I also added a billet clutch slave cylinder manufactured by Evoluzione.  It's a nice one piece aluminum piece that is supposed to cure another common Adventure 950 problem: a leaking slave cylinder.  Mine was already showing the beginning signs of failure: mineral oil dripping on the kickstand.

Stitching her back up:

Lastly, time for some new kicks:

I'd been wanting to add some more off-road oriented knobs since I bought the KTM.  I think they'll be much more fun around the mountains of western North Carolina, but the Pirelli Scorpions will probably go back on for the predominantly interstate/highway ride from Flat Rock to the Mexican border.  I also put the OEM windscreen back on.  It's narrower and less likely to break if (when) I drop it on the trail. 



Kurt Forget at Black Dog Cycle Works skid plate makes a really nice skidplate.  After hearing several horror stories on ADVrider.com about the kickstand taking hits that resulted in cracked engine cases, I decided to invest in a little insurance in the form of powder-coated armor from Black Dog.  Installation is a simple as removing the old skidplate and replacing the new one (4 bolts and about 5 minutes). 

Here's a side by side comparison (new vs. old):

And the finished installation:  Sweet!



I just got a shipment of miscellaneous spare parts and upgrades for the Adventure: a Facet fuel pump, filter, and check valve; high fender kit (pieced together myself); and extra parts like spare oil filters, tire tools, etc.  This weekend is looking like it will be a "tech" weekend.


So, the tech weekend begins... with really bad news.  I pull the 950 out of the garage to warm it up and ride it into my workshop, noticing the coolant level in the overflow reservoir is a little low.  Upon cranking, there is a puff of steam - indicating a problem with the water pump seal once again.  It's only been 3,500 miles since the last rebuild and I think it needs to be rebuilt again.  Luckily I already have the parts onhand, but this does nothing for my confidence of reliability over the long journey to come.  I delay the waterpump rebuild for another day, and continue with the scheduled upgrades.

First up, a new waterpump:


The Facet-Purolator 40105 solid state fuel pump is a recommended upgrade over the stock pump.  I chose the 40105 over the 40171 pump purely due to availability.  The 40171 pump has a built in check valve to prevent carb flooding due to gravity feed from the tanks.  Because the 40105 doesn't have the check valve, a Andair check valve is installed downstream of the fuel pump to prevent flooding and fuel hydrolock.

Next up, a homemade high fender kit:

Using KTM 85SX fork guards requires fabricating a a bracket from aluminum stock, riveted to the guard for stability.

I rerouted the left brakeline, using another right brakeline (for the length needed) to replace the short brakeline that routed over the stock low fender.  The fender is from a 2008 690 Enduro.

The high fender will allow mud to build up around the front tire without clogging between the tire and fender - and stopping forward motion of the bike - a necessary upgrade considering the muddy conditions we are likely to encounter in Central America.  It also looks bad ass - an added benefit!



Another huge box of parts showed up today from KTM Twins.  This weekend will be another tech weekend.  I still have to check valve clearance, upgrade the cylinder head bolts, install heated grips, put on a new chain and sprockets, and do some miscellaneous wiring.  Most of the stuff I needed came today.








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