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Old July 21st, 2017, 04:30 PM   #1
Noobman
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Possible Coolant Issues and Overheating on an Ex-Ninjette Bike

Hi there,

Ex-ninjetter here. So I've had this KTM for 3 years now and something strange happened:

I was riding my 2010 Duke 690 yesterday in heavy traffic trying to get to my destination but I never made it. My bike died (twice).
I was 10-15 minutes in to the ride from leaving my house, the temperature outside was around 30 degrees Celsius and I was in some pretty bad bumper to bumper traffic downtown when I noticed that the bike began "hunting" while idling. It usually idles around 1.5k-2k. But as I was stuck in traffic I noticed it was struggling to make that 1.5k, so I flicked the throttle a bit in a panic and it began choking and gasping and then completely died. Electronics still on just no engine. There was no indicator light or temp warning (is there one?), just that the bars were all the way up just before the last one. The fan does come on around the 6-7 bar mark.

So there I was in traffic frantically pushing the ignition button but to no avail. The engine was turning over it just wasn't firing up! So I ended up rolling it to the curb and into a parking lot trying to figure out what just happened.

I don't have many "mods" on it, just that "Thermostat switch upgrade" that most people with Duke 690's do. I had run this new thermostat switch for a whole summer in the past as well and there were no problems. I waited 20-30 minutes and tried the ignition switch again and presto it fired up no problem, no signs of choking or hunting for idle.
So then I started thinking it must a cooling issue.

I decided to ride back home and park it and research, but around 7-10 minutes in after heading back home it again hunts, chokes and dies. Again, the fan did kick in at the appropriate time but the bars were still all the way up when it shutdown the second time. I let it sit for another 30minutes and fired it up and went home, made it there luckily without it shutting down for a third time.

I checked the coolant level in the reservoir tank and noticed that instead of it being that fluorescent pink coolant it was completely clear like water with no colour, a little dirty in there like black sandy specs and nearly empty (way below the minimum required level). So I flushed and bled the whole coolant system and added some newly bought coolant!

Did everything by the book (literally by the KTM Duke 690 Owners Manual). I rode it around right after but couldn't replicate the issue. (I couldn't get the bike hot enough while riding around). Still very hot though (you could probably fry an egg in there somewhere), but not hot enough to raise the bars all the way to the top.

So what gives? Why was the reservoir tank filled with this strange dirty water instead of coolant ? and why did the bike die twice on me that day?

*(I've owned this bike for 3 years now I believe, and I've actually had it in storage prior to this summer, through last winter)*

**I forgot to mention, I did check all the fuses and they check out, non of them are burnt**
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Old July 21st, 2017, 05:23 PM   #2
"A"
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Air box/filter?
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Old July 21st, 2017, 06:41 PM   #3
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I think you may have had an air pocket in the cooling system when you refilled it. If the level is not up, the temp sender may not get the correct signal and the gauge will not read correctly.

As far as the stalling and not restarting until cool, my buddy's RC390 had the same issue. I'll check with him to see what they did exactly, but I know it took them a bunch of trial and error to find the problem. Then, the mechanic was out on a test ride and it spit the cam chain. They installed a completely new crate engine at no charge. It had maybe 2000 mi on it when the problems started.

Another possibility is a blown head gasket.
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Old July 21st, 2017, 08:34 PM   #4
Noobman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by "A" View Post
Air box/filter?
Wow that skipped my mind... I will definitely be checkin that out !! Thanks !

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkv45 View Post
I think you may have had an air pocket in the cooling system when you refilled it. If the level is not up, the temp sender may not get the correct signal and the gauge will not read correctly.

As far as the stalling and not restarting until cool, my buddy's RC390 had the same issue. I'll check with him to see what they did exactly, but I know it took them a bunch of trial and error to find the problem. Then, the mechanic was out on a test ride and it spit the cam chain. They installed a completely new crate engine at no charge. It had maybe 2000 mi on it when the problems started.

Another possibility is a blown head gasket.
Oh gawd, I reeeaally hope its not something blown....or broke(ish).

I made sure after todays flush and bleeding of the old coolant that there were no air pockets.

I look forward to hearing how your buddy got around that cooling problem with his RC390.


Thanks guys
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Old July 21st, 2017, 09:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noobman View Post
I don't have many "mods" on it, just that "Thermostat switch upgrade" that most people with Duke 690's do. I had run this new thermostat switch for a whole summer in the past as well and there were no problems.
Is this a radiator fan thermoswitch? A sensor/switch that turns on radiator-fan at pre-determined temperature? Usually factory is 105C and you can get switches that turn on at lower-temp, typically around 90C? Check to make sure radiator-fan is working! Idle bike and note at what coolant temperature fan turns on.

Black coolant specks sounds like an incompatible chemistry. There's been so many developments in radiator-fluid past couple decades to deal with new all-alloy engines and various waters around World. You'll want to make sure you follow KTM's recommend coolant chemistry. NOT ALL COOLANTS are same, people who say that just don't understand different chemistries involved and how they can interact adversely. Usually this bad reaction is a precipitation of sort where the coolant gels or solidifies. Sounds like it in your case with pink coolant turning into black specks.

When selecting coolant, pay attention to the various terms:

- ethylene glycol
- propylene glycol
- IAT
- OAT
- G05
- HOAT
- silicates
- borates
- phosphates

Select a coolant with mix of these components that's advised by KTM.

Also do compression-check

Last futzed with by DannoXYZ; July 22nd, 2017 at 01:02 AM.
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Old July 21st, 2017, 10:34 PM   #6
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one simple thing to check... is your gas tank venting properly??
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Old July 22nd, 2017, 12:25 PM   #7
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You know something, I haven't checked/ tried all these recommendations yet but I just wanted to sign in and say how helpful this community on ninjette.org is.

You guys n gals are literally more helpful than the actual "official" ktm forum....


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Old July 22nd, 2017, 01:00 PM   #8
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Talked to my buddy with the RC. He said they felt they solved the problem by replacing the ECU. That was after swapping the Throttle Body and other electrical parts with no change. Ran fine for a few miles, before the cam chain let go. Luckily the mechanic was on board at the time.

New engine is running fine, but it probably has less than 2000 mi on it at this point.

He really didn't have any cooling system issues, but when the fan would run the problems would start. More heat related than cooling system related.

Keep in eye on the cooling system. Be sure the radiator is full and the overflow is at the correct level, then check it after riding (and cooling) a couple times to make sure it's not changing. If there is any change, be sure to check the oil level to make sure that coolant isn't going into the oil.

Hopefully none of that is happening, but be sure to check.

We just replaced a head gasket on one of our cycles with 4000 mi on it. In our case, the coolant was being over-pressurized by the cylinder pressure and being pushed into the overflow bottle - which was overflowing. After it would cool the radiator would be low and the bottle would be filled to the top. There were black specs in the coolant as well (coolant had been recently replaced).
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Old July 23rd, 2017, 06:47 PM   #9
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Sounds like your bike was overheating due to an issue with the cooling system.

Do you know does the bike have a safety feature where it shuts down if it gets too hot?

Just my thoughts

So your cooling system wasn't working 100% which made it unable to keep the bike at a stable temp. Low on coolant is definitely a possible issue. In my experience coolant doesn't just disappear with out an underlying issue. It either gets boiled off but is typically very obvious when it is spewing out the over flow, you can also lose it if you drop the bike and it flows out the overflow, other than that, water pump seal is bad and you r losing it out the weep hole (if it has one) if no weep hole you will see it in your tranny oil or whatever is on the other side of the water pump shaft seals. other possibility is head gasket leak, coolant could go either way and lastly a hose leak.

When coolant looks black in my experience it can be head gasket leak, deteriorating hoses, oil seal and water seal on the pump shaft, and finally if the pump propeller is black and it comes loose it can rub on the cover/case whatever and it can turn the coolant black.

The change in idle could be an air leak caused by a bad head gasket, it gets bad enough when it gets overheated and that is when you notice it.

I would monitor the coolant like a hawk, check level before every ride, if you notice it getting low you know you have an issue.

Keep an eye for any coolant leaking, if it is on the head it will most likely evaporate off when the bike is quite warm but sometimes it leaves a residue stain. Keep an eye on the overflow tube and the weep hole (if there is one) If you notice the coolant getting low and see nothing wrong with what is mentioned, drop the oil into a clear container and look for coolant and or milky color.

Good luck
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Last futzed with by subxero; August 1st, 2017 at 06:47 PM.
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Old July 26th, 2017, 08:09 AM   #10
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any updates? curious as to what this problem is
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