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First Thoughts on KTM... Not Good

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I just came of a WR250F. Actually that is what my last three bikes have been but this time I made the jump to KTM. I must admit that at this point I am disappointed. I have had my 2009 400XCW for a week now and I have two major concerns along with a list of minor ones:

The bike was just idling with the choke on when it started billowing blue smoke. I mean a pile of blue smoke. I shut it down right away, waited a bit and then restarted it. Same thing. I gave it a few revs and it cleared right up and it has not done it since. The engine did sound like it was ‘ rattling’ just before also. I have 1.4 hrs on it.

The rear shock is leaking. I have only ridden on dirt roads (still snow on the ground here) and have 12 km on the bike. No jumping and nothing bigger than an odd potholes

Minor stuff:

That air box is not sealed very well. It looks to me that the bike will drown out going through any water crossing halfway up the bike and it is pretty dirty inside just from riding dirt road.

That rear fender doesn’t do a whole pile. Spray all up my back on onto my helmet. I have no problem getting dirty while dirt biking but if you designing an off road bike…

The gas cap is a pain to get off but it is getting easier with time. What is wrong with the simple threaded on cap?

The wires that go into the engine cases so not seem to have much in the way of waterproofing. Japanese bikes have these nice big rubber grommets.

There is nowhere to life the bike to get it on a stand or if you’re stuck in a mud hole. Again, if you are designing an off road bike….

I don’t want to sound too negative. I am looking forward to the suspension and the bike does feel good riding it. I am just hoping my riding/racing it will erase my initial impressions.

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the motor on the 400 is incredible, so linear. I'm a 2t guy, but if I were to buy a fart machine it would be the 400 xcw..Congratulations on the new bike. I'm sure you will learn to love it. KTM's airbox's do suck...I used silicone and snowmobile prefilter foam to seal the box, under the seat and by the fender and side covers..it wont help with the water issue..it will however keep the dirt, sand and silt from the airbox.

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Re Blue Smoke, did you do the mandatory jetting changes required to get it to run well? e.g. JD Kit or diff KTM Kneedle? Agree on gas cap and fendor....i have the 2010 with improved airbox (may want to see if it's compatible with yours and how much $'s)....they're great bikes, but not perfect.

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I would check the oil level. They are usually overfilled from the factory. The best way to check the oil is the next day with the bike level. You want the oil to be 1/2 to 3/4 up the site glass.

The rattle could be from the stock cam chain tensioner. They are known to fail. I would replace the oem tensioner with a Dirt Tricks tensioner.

I would also rejet the bike for your conditions if you havent already.

I used silicone to seal my airbox in certain places and you could also use foam. I installed the Tugger strap on the rear of my bike and it makes lifting the back a breeze. They also have one for the front to.

I would talk to the dealer where you got the bike from about the shock leaking. You could remove the shock and bring it to them to fix. Removing the shock is very easy. Two bolts and a twist here and there and it's out..

Once these bikes are dialed in you will be glad that you chose a KTM.....

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wow- i thought for sure the front brake thing was going to come up. hehe - you'll see

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Actually the front brake.... not as powerfull as I thought. I have heard that they are really touchy but this one is pretty nice. Maybe it has to break in more.

I haven't jetted yet but I will get the JD kit. This smoke was not from jetting and it only happend that once. There was enough smoke to fill my backyard and I have a 23 acre back yard. Well a slight exageration but there was a lot of smoke.

My dealer and KTM have made a note about the blue smoke so if something happens down the road they will cover it. Initially KTM won't cover the shock (disappointing) but it sounds like my dealer will fix it himself. That is why I bought the bike where I did. A good dealer is great to have behind you.

I am going to personalize the bike a bit and hopefully all will be well.

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the gas caps are a bit of a pain, but you dont have to disconnect them from the vent to remove them as it is only 1/4 turn to remove,

you also have to realize that the tank is designed as a street legal tank as it shares the tank with the exc model. they have a special coating inside to stop the off gasing of gasoline fumes thru the plastic and a smog legal cap...

the smoke was just an over fill of oil that blew out of the crankcase vent and thru the carb to be burned in the motor and made blue smoke.

the rattle is the cam chain tensioner, they are a new hydraulic model that never needs manual adjustment, nice feature, but at idle they sometimes loose enough oil pressure to let the cam chain to go slack and rattle a bit...it is not a mechanical problem and causes no issues according to ktm, if it bothers you "dirt tricks" makes a tensioner with a preloaded spring to prevent this problem for about 60 bucks {usd}

the leaking shock im sure the dealer will fix, just one of those assembly line things i guess.

almost no bikes these days have lifting holes on the side panels, i dont know why, it is a styling thing i guess just like the rear fender, mine doest spray me though, not sure why. just add the tugger straps they cheap and work great.

the wires going into the cases ARE completely sealed, it is a wet magnetto full of oil so if it holds oil, it is keeping water out...no worry's

the air box is definately different than other bikes but it is set up for ease of access more than water tightness. they seal better than you might think. but remember the 400 is moving alot more air than your 250f was. the more sealed up an air box is the more restictive it is and robs power.

hope this helps you worries

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arent there problems with the 09 piston rings?

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I have the exact same bike....best bike I have ever owned. Once you get past the shock leaking, you are going to love it. Linear power, smooth, etc...

I agree with rear fender, the tapered design makes for a muddy backside/helmet. All KTM's have poor lifting designs...just get a tugger and install.

Airbox, seal it up and you'll be fine. I have gone through some deep crossings with no problem.

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I've raced a 250 XCW and a 450 XCW for over a year in local enduros and hare scrambles and use them for trail riding and dual-sport. I've had the bike in water up to halfway up the tank and the airbox has been fine. It gets dirty inside, sure, just make sure you clean and re-oil your filter regularly. Blue smoke sounds like either too much oil or a jetting issue. Make sure it's jetted right and it should be good to go. My 450 burns no oil after 90+ hours and runs great from 4000' up to 10000'. The Tugger will help to lift the rear, nothing like trying to lift the bike out of a mud hole. As for the shock, that should be a warranty fix if the bike is new. The only suspension part I've had to fix on my two '09's is one fork seal was leaking after a year's enduros.

-z

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Well just as I was starting to feel better about the whole thing the blue smoke has come back. It seems like when the bike is idling or putting around it happens, not everytime though. I am thinking that the rings are not seating under the lower pressure but once the revs are up they do????

I know the bike needs to be jetted but I don't think bad jetting causes this type of smoking.

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KTM has replaced faulty piston rings and valve stem seals on a number of bikes. There have been several threads here and over at KTMTalk on these events.

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ran it with the choke on probably pulled oil in through the crank case/valve cover vent smoked like hell. then on the other hand leaking shock dried up seal dried up valve guide seals from sitting in a crate to long.

get your self a jd jetting kit re-plumb the vent lines off the carb

as far as the shock goes get that thing re valved while its out.

I dont buy new bikes cause I end up dropping a grand or two on it setting it up . no mater what brand.

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My 400 is a 2001, not new like yours, but it has a crappy airbox too. You know even with that it will still cross 2.5 to 3 feet of water no problem, as long as you are moving little. It's not a mud bogger like my old XR250R, but is wonderfull all the same.

Congrats on the bike and i'm glad you have a good dealer willing to help you out. With only 1.5 hours on the bike, I am positive everything will work itself out for the better.( and power output will improve also)

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It is a brand new 09 and I am pretty careful when I brake my bikes in. I did a couple of heat cycles and then up and down a dirt road rowing through the gears at a low RPM. I have 1.6 hrs on it now and I am revving up more now.

I will have to read up more on this crank case venting thing but to me oil only gets in the cylinder through the rings or valve seals. But if it was either of these things you would think it would be more consistent. It only seems to do it when idling for a bit or when putting around. Once it is revved it clears up.

My dealer is away for the week riding so next week I will hopefully get it sorted.

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I got the 2009 400 XC-W and had the same thing with the oil coming out the pipe. The KTM Orange certified technician told me that the rings need time to set in. I was freaked out because my bike burned up a bunch of oil and I couldn't even read the level in the sight glass after 10 hours of riding.

He said to run a non-synthetic oil in the bike for one oil change's worth. The Motorex is too slippery and won't allow the rings to set in properly. Once the rings are set, I can switch back to Motorex or any oil I like.

I followed his instructions and have to believe he was right. The bike smoked for a little while more and then stopped. Now it uses no oil and it was remarkable how I felt the motor break in and begin to produce more and more power every ride.

Here is some advice I know I will get flamed for. DO NOT GET THE JD JET KIT! Unless you live above 3500'. Otherwise, it is a waste of your money and you will still be running too lean. The best thing you can do is go to a KTM dealer who's technicians ride similar terrain and ask them how they have jetted the bike. If they tell you JD Jet kit, ask another dealer.

I fought jetting issues, starting issues, and overheating until I found 2 dealers that knew better than JD jetting and got me jetted properly - with Keihin jets and needle. Now the bike runs so much better. Anyone want to buy a JD Jet kit? I'll sell it cheap. :banana:

FWIW, I came off a Yamaha WR250F before this bike. Is this KTM the greatest bike in the world? No. Is it better than my Yamaha? In many respects yes, but the Yamaha has some distinct advantages over the KTM.

Is my KTM the best bike I've owned? Could be. I love the bike and I am glad I purchased it. Just like all the bikes out there, my KTM needs some customization and personalization to suit me.

I think this is by design. I don't think the manufacturers have any intention on building a bike that needs no personalization. That would take away the fun and hurt the economic ecosystem around bike manufacturers and aftermarket vendors.

Enjoy your bike and keep posting questions and comments. We'll all benefit from it.

Jack

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I got the 2009 400 XC-W and had the same thing with the oil coming out the pipe. The KTM Orange certified technician told me that the rings need time to set in. I was freaked out because my bike burned up a bunch of oil and I couldn't even read the level in the sight glass after 10 hours of riding.

He said to run a non-synthetic oil in the bike for one oil change's worth. The Motorex is too slippery and won't allow the rings to set in properly. Once the rings are set, I can switch back to Motorex or any oil I like.

I followed his instructions and have to believe he was right. The bike smoked for a little while more and then stopped. Now it uses no oil and it was remarkable how I felt the motor break in and begin to produce more and more power every ride.

Here is some advice I know I will get flamed for. DO NOT GET THE JD JET KIT! Unless you live above 3500'. Otherwise, it is a waste of your money and you will still be running too lean. The best thing you can do is go to a KTM dealer who's technicians ride similar terrain and ask them how they have jetted the bike. If they tell you JD Jet kit, ask another dealer.

I fought jetting issues, starting issues, and overheating until I found 2 dealers that knew better than JD jetting and got me jetted properly - with Keihin jets and needle. Now the bike runs so much better. Anyone want to buy a JD Jet kit? I'll sell it cheap. :banana:

FWIW, I came off a Yamaha WR250F before this bike. Is this KTM the greatest bike in the world? No. Is it better than my Yamaha? In many respects yes, but the Yamaha has some distinct advantages over the KTM.

Is my KTM the best bike I've owned? Could be. I love the bike and I am glad I purchased it. Just like all the bikes out there, my KTM needs some customization and personalization to suit me.

I think this is by design. I don't think the manufacturers have any intention on building a bike that needs no personalization. That would take away the fun and hurt the economic ecosystem around bike manufacturers and aftermarket vendors.

Enjoy your bike and keep posting questions and comments. We'll all benefit from it.

Jack

What jetting specs did you end up with (needle, main & pilot)? Thanks....

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What jetting specs did you end up with (needle, main & pilot)? Thanks....

I have to get it off Phil from Fivestar KTM.

http://www.fivestarcycle.com/

Give me a day or so to find out what they are exactly.

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I got the 2009 400 XC-W and had the same thing with the oil coming out the pipe. The KTM Orange certified technician told me that the rings need time to set in. I was freaked out because my bike burned up a bunch of oil and I couldn't even read the level in the sight glass after 10 hours of riding.

He said to run a non-synthetic oil in the bike for one oil change's worth. The Motorex is too slippery and won't allow the rings to set in properly. Once the rings are set, I can switch back to Motorex or any oil I like.

I followed his instructions and have to believe he was right. The bike smoked for a little while more and then stopped. Now it uses no oil and it was remarkable how I felt the motor break in and begin to produce more and more power every ride.

Here is some advice I know I will get flamed for. DO NOT GET THE JD JET KIT! Unless you live above 3500'. Otherwise, it is a waste of your money and you will still be running too lean. The best thing you can do is go to a KTM dealer who's technicians ride similar terrain and ask them how they have jetted the bike. If they tell you JD Jet kit, ask another dealer.

I fought jetting issues, starting issues, and overheating until I found 2 dealers that knew better than JD jetting and got me jetted properly - with Keihin jets and needle. Now the bike runs so much better. Anyone want to buy a JD Jet kit? I'll sell it cheap. :lol:

FWIW, I came off a Yamaha WR250F before this bike. Is this KTM the greatest bike in the world? No. Is it better than my Yamaha? In many respects yes, but the Yamaha has some distinct advantages over the KTM.

Is my KTM the best bike I've owned? Could be. I love the bike and I am glad I purchased it. Just like all the bikes out there, my KTM needs some customization and personalization to suit me.

I think this is by design. I don't think the manufacturers have any intention on building a bike that needs no personalization. That would take away the fun and hurt the economic ecosystem around bike manufacturers and aftermarket vendors.

Enjoy your bike and keep posting questions and comments. We'll all benefit from it.

Jack

I agree its a good idea to run regular dino oil during break in. Go to wally world and get some Rotella T and run that for at least 5 hrs. I run it all the time.

The JD Jetting kit is a lot better than stock jetting and a must have if you don't have someone to jet it for you with the off the shelve Keihin parts. With the JD kit you are paying for all the R&D and technical support. It is well worth it to someone that has limited jetting experience. But yes it can be done cheaper by someone who knows what they are doing.

:banana:

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