The bike returned an average of 30.2 kmpl with mixed riding conditions.
While cruising in 60-70 kmph range using mostly 5th and 6th gear, the bike runs at around 4000 RPM happily and returns a mileage of 37 kmpl. (Without lugging the engine).
I think fuelling is slightly lean at this range, because I noticed the fan turning on after a long time.
On today's episode of why you cannot live a normal life with a KTM, I present you with a 'leaky water pump seal'.
The coolant level had been going down slightly for the past 6 months or so. I attributed this to the hotter climate. The engine oil level was also consistent after using SAU.
It's been 2 years and 6 months since I replaced the coolant in the bike. Therefore, I thought to get it replaced. Motul Motocool (which is currently in the bike) seems to have some supply shortage. It is not available on Amazon or Flipkart. Motul India told me it'd take a few months for it to be imported.
So, I went in search of an alternative. Shortlisted Motul Inugel Expert since it had the same boiling point as Motul Motocool (135 degrees C).
It was also Nitrate, Silicate, Amines, and Borate free.
I ordered it along with SAU from Amazon during the sale.
2x754 + 2x174 = Rs. 1876.
I was looking forward to replacing the oil and coolant in Feb since the oil change is scheduled for Feb.
But then, I kept thinking about the water pump seal as if some sixth sense was telling me that it was about to go bad.
I tried dismissing those thoughts many times since multiple KTM service centers in Kerala and Karnataka have replaced these seals in my bike during various events in the first few years of ownership.
But then I finally decided to replace it since it was an inexpensive part for peace of mind.
Went to the nearby Bajaj service center and procured a water pump seal kit,
Part Number- 36JL0039.
This part was seen to be used in all KTM bikes in YouTube videos. But apparently, they changed one of the seals (inner seal) to another design.
I need to get the part 12 in the below diagram now.
Anyhow, unaware of the part difference, I proceeded to remove the water pump.
Removed the outer seal fairly easily. And lo and behold, engine oils started seeping out from the inner seal.
The outer seal was also full of a white paste-like compound from the oil and coolant mixing.
I was riding a ticking time-bomb! No better words to put this down. As we all know from previous cases, had the coolant found its way to the oil, it would have made this white paste all over the engine and damaged every single bearing and moving parts.
A puddle of oil behind the outer seal. The inner seal had somewhat disintegrated itself. It was really a pain to get it out because we have to be so careful not to scratch the surface.
A white compound formed from oil and coolant mix.
I replaced both seals with the one I got from Bajaj now knowing the inner seal is different.
I started the bike and ran it around with no issues. It was only later when I talked to someone who knows KTM bikes well, I came to know that there is an inner seal update for post-2017 bikes.
The seals I got are meant for those bikes that had a circlip holding the seal. In newer bikes, there is no circlip.
I have to open it again and replace it with the correct inner seal now.
Did not change the oil as there is no sign of coolant mix. I will procure the correct seal, replace it, and ride it around to see if there are any issues, and then change the oil.
The seal is not built to stand the extreme heat and pressure of a 390 engine. They use the same for NS200 as well. The cost for these 2 seals is around Rs.150. On comparison, the water pump seal of a Yamaha R15 costs Rs.1300.
Now, of course, that includes Yamaha tax too, but it is a better-built seal that doesn't disintegrate itself.. Therefore, I suggest everyone with a KTM/ Bajaj to replace these cheap seals every 2-3 years or 20000 km if you do not want to blow up the engine.
Got the right parts from Bajaj Service Center. Even newer Bajaj bikes use the updated inner seal.
If you are planning to replace the water pump seal, there is no need to but the whole kit with an impeller. Seals are individually available.
JG601007 - Outer Seal
JL601010: Double lip inner seal. (updated)
Since it takes some force to get the seals out, I replaced the outer seal as well to avoid any chances of leaking.
It was one of the most time-consuming work I have ever done since we must be cautious not to score the aluminum engine case. If we do, then coolant/oil will leak through that. See how this guy does it.
It took more than 30 minutes to fish out the inner seal carefully.
The double lip seal is a tighter fit than the older type seal. It took some taps to get it seated.
The chances of oil getting mixed with coolant are close to none. I started the bike without both seals and the other was no oil spray from inside, however, there was crankcase pressure coming out.
Filled Motul Inugel coolant again and went for a test ride. There are no signs of leaks or coolant mixing with the oil.
Overall, this is a pretty crappy water pump design. R15 has a separate pump case which we can remove and conveniently replace the seal.
This bike has run only 1800 km on SAU oil, but it has become dark brown-reddish from the leftovers of previously used Motul 7100. Decided to change it for peace of mind.
After draining the oil, it was still transparent. I think it degraded so quickly due to my shorter runs. Or is it cleaning the engine from previous deposits that were not cleaned by 7100?
Around 1.4L came from the right side drain plug.
Proceeded to drain the second plug and ended up rounding off the bolt head even after using a box spanner.
I have to try removing it with a vice-grip plier now. Hoping to get this bolt from the Bajaj Service Center because it's only 0.5 km from my home.
I haven't tried them yet. I mostly order from mysparemarket.com.
Minor parts can always be sourced from Bajaj Spare parts.
I was able to source the bolt from KTM spare parts.
Apparently these second drain bolts are known to seize. This may be because it is situated at the bottom and that's where all sludge deposits form. So, KTM/Bajaj has upgraded the part to have an Allen head. This is a good move. I appreciate Bajaj/KTM for acknowledging this and making an update on the part.
The new bolt had some left over metal pieces from manufacturing.
The part was fully covered in some oil. Yet, there was some rust like formation inside despute it being just 2 months old.(MFG- 09-2023). I cleaned it with WD-40 and it's all good.
Bajaj manufacturing quality:
I also got the evacuation strainer. JY571008.
As for the existing rounded bolt, vise grip plier didn't help.
Looking for other ways to remove it now.
This is exactly how it went down. I took the bike to a nearby lorry shop with gas welding to weld a bolt on top of the rounded bolt to get it off.
Thankfully, the mechanic there had some custom tools that he used to remove the oil drain bolt within a few minutes. If anyone with a KTM/Bajaj is reading this, please replace your bottom drain bolt during the next oil change with the updated one.
The rubber gasket for this bolt is not available anywhere. I went to the KTM service center as well as the Bajaj service center, but they did not have it in stock.
Part No. LJA00006. Marked as No. 22 below.
BTW, Bajaj has the best spare parts manual I have ever seen. Clearly color-coded and easy to understand. Some Japanese manufacturers are still using the black and white cartoon-like catalogue even in 2023.
The seal that you see on the new bolt is the oil cap seal of a Bajaj Discover.
I ended up reusing the old seal from the old bolt.
KTM/Bajaj should have provided this with the new bolt.
The same goes for the evacuation strainer, JY571008. Both O rings were missing. I had to reuse the old O rings.
New bolt installed.
I had procured a service kit for the bike from mysparemarket for Rs. 499.
Oil filter O ring
Oil Strainer (O ring included)
Filling Shell Advance Ultra (SAU) oil.
The last time I used the SAU, the oil level reached the recommended max level when I poured about 70-75% of the second bottle.
This time, even after filling about 90% of the second bottle, the oil level stayed at the minimum mark, I even rode the bike for a few km and let the oil drain to the sump.
The oil level was still at the minimum mark. The bike is smoother just like any other oil change.
The last SAU filled Feb 2023 lasted me 1800 KM before losing smoothness. The bike was mostly used for short runs.
If the same is noticed with this oil change as well, I would move to some other oil for the next oil change. Because I expect a fully synthetic oil to last a minimum of 3000 KM before losing smoothness.
Motul 7100 despite the evaporation issues, retained the smoothness. Also, Motul oils have the smoothest gear shifts ever.
I doubt if the oil capacity the SAU bottles came with was lower than 1L from the factory. This is a possible scenario if the calibration for their oil-filling instruments were wrong.
The bottle was not transparent and it did not have the level window that some oil bottles have.
When I received the bottles, both were sealed and there were no signs of leak. I got it from Shell's official store in Amazon.
I did not want to overfill the engine. So, I decided to leave it at that and check after a few days. There are only about 200-250 ml of SAU oil left with me now.
So, if the oil level is not stabilizing, I might have to get another SAU bottle.
Oil level when the bike is tilted to the right side. I did this to see the oil color.
I decided to remove the rear shock for the rebuild.
Stanley 1/4 socket set with extension was not able to remove it. It was so right and the socket set extension was bending.
So, I went out and got this Taparia 8mm long Alen key. Costs Rs.90 at a local hardware shop.
I used a ring spanner as an extension and with an enormous torque, the bolt moved.
Once the shock absorber is removed, the rear will collapse. So, I had my friend's old Duke 200 shock absorber with me to fit temporarily.
You have to lift the bike keeping it on the side stand to remove the rear shock.
Never keep the bike on the paddock stand and remove the rear shock!
The shock looks good. No leaks. Only the tak-tak sound.
An old shock was installed to prevent the rear frame from collapsing into the tire.
If the Adventure 390's adjustable shock is the same size, I hope to get it installed.
But I have no idea how it would work out since it is meant for an off-road bike. The 2024 Duke 390's shock would have been a better option since it was also a road bike.
The spare parts of the new Duke are yet to hit the market. Even owners haven't received the user manual for 2024 Duke, so a parts manual is out of the question.
BTW, someone with the 2024 390 had their engine blown (well, I think it's the gearbox) within 200 KM. KTM is getting a lot of backlash on this. The showroom called the police on that guy and as a YouTuber, he is posting everything online.
Some 2024 250 YouTubers are also complaining of oil leaks and had to dismantle the engine case to replace the gasket.
On top of that, another Youtuber is complaining that he was sold a demo bike. This is possible since most review bikes shown on YouTube had their speedo disconnected to avoid ODO readings.
My dad always scolds me for tinkering with the bike at home and he insists on giving it to the service center. It causes a lot of stains all around our home and I keep calling in from time to time for help.
My Mom used to scold as well, but she's not with us anymore. May God bless her soul. Working more on bikes helped me overcome the depression.
Doing these kinds of work help me with my mind too. I'm a Software developer who lives with computers and coding all the time.
Yet, I cannot explain the pleasure of DIY. This is not about saving a few bucks. Heck, I would pay double if they were ready to put up the care and attention I give. We cannot expect this from a service center. They have 10s of bikes waiting for service which they have to finish by the end of the day. And, for them, this is like a repetitive task. Take the case of the drain bolt. The new bolt had 2 sharp metal pieces. This could have caused serious damage to the engine if it was not removed. And there is this feeling we get when we know in the back of our head that we did it right.
I got this DIY inspiration from reading @deville_56 from 2012.
For O-rings, there is a shop right at the Powerhouse Road/Chenthitta signal, Sara Engineering Agencies. They got assorted boxes of O-rings. I usually pick from there. Parking can be an issue. Better park in Powerhouse Road and take a walk.
99rpm was a gamble, indefinite delay and a hopeless customer care. Over that, they used to charge extra for individual parts even when they could fit in the same package.
Took the shock absorber for 'reconditioning'.
Apparently, this has been a thing recently. Monoshock suspension was thought to be an unserviceable part.
But there seems to be a new way of opening it and changing the damaged bush.
There are several videos on YouTube on how it's done.
My friend's BS3 Duke 390, Duke 250, and Duke 125's mono-shock were repaired at this place.
Shop: Kumar Shock Absorber Repair
Cost to repair: ₹1500.
It took 1.5-2 hours to get it done.
The owner was friendly and had a good attitude.
This was the piston from the shock which had faulty seals. He said that he would give this to the lathe to change the seals.
Seals are procured from Bangalore. He already had a similar part ready with new seals installed. That was installed in my shock absorber.
The one that was taken from my shock absorber will be fixed with new seals and used in another bike.
He used 20W oil.
Repaired shock absorber.
He also installed a new black bump stop. The original white bump stop had started disintegrating. There was also a tiny scratch on the shaft. He polished it.
From the factory, this had Nitrogen gas to avoid bubbles in the oil. Now, there is no nitrogen gas in it. Also, if we shake the shock absorber, we can hear the oil slushing inside.
I installed the shock at home after cleaning and greasing bolts in the bushes.
Replaced the air filter and fuel filter as well.
Fuel and air filter were both 4000 km old.
Old fuel filter
New fuel filter
As expected, the oil level came up. It's within limits.
I read from some other forums that you have to get the bike to operating temperature, that's ride it for at least 15 minutes to get the correct oil reading.
While filling new oil, even after pouring 1.8L, sometimes the level might stay below the minimum level in the glass window. Don't add more oil.
Just add the recommended 1.7L, ride it for 15 minutes, and check the level. Add more if the level is still low.
As for my case, I think it got drained a lot more than usual since I went looking for gaskets for several hours before filling the new oil.
The bike is back to its glory and most importantly the annoying tak-tak sound from the shock absorber which I've been living with for more than 2 years is solved now.
My friend who owns a Duke 200 and a Husqvarna Svartpilen 250 also did a test ride on my bike and confirmed the improved ride quality.