Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Anytime you learn something new, it’s a good trip.

[ Click any photo to see full-size version ]

Well, this was a really great trip in any case … aside from that sinking, disastrous feeling of impending doom.

Not sure where to begin – the past few weeks have seen several endeavours south of the border … the previous post on the Baja 500 offers some insight...

From this...

…to this…

…to this!

I was back down in Baja the week following the race to do the camera bike thing, and G.Kennedy + LKN4DRT were looking to do some training for upcoming race(s) … no better training opportunity than to run the 500 course the week after the race went through … plans do change, but that was the idea.

After packing up the 950, the next morning out came the 450.

I started the day with a quick 35-mile run into Ensenada to meet up with Glen & Russ for breakfast at San Nic. I was already noticing a relatively significant oil leak from the anerobic gasket material I tried out on the HT Cooler (fit isn’t perfect to the case – gap is too much for the anaerobic stuff to cure … more on that later).

We sat around at breakfast & discussed route selection, what trails we wanted to do. We knew there would be silt … but C’MON!. However-many-hundred Baja 500 entries plowing through this canyon did not improve things by any means…

We were 3 for 3 as far as going down in the stuff :D

LKN4DRT found silt & described it later.

A cattleguard for naught.

It was in this silt bed I realized two things – 1st I was leaking oil like crazy. 2nd the 450 was running horribly. I would later realize that sealing one’s airbox with silt does no good for a motor’s power.

After riding over the beginning portion of the course that ends up in Ojos Negros earlier, we made a quick stop at a parts store there in town & I picked up a bottle of oil to have handy, just in case, plus a roll of gasket materials & sealant – there was a project in mind for later in the day. Now that we had been through the nasty wash & fueled up in Trinidad, it was time to hit the road up toward Mike’s.

Glen had a sticker sent from out of state & specifically to bring down here…

More trails up near Mike’s:

Motors don’t run well like this (thank goodness for lithium grease & filter skins … the seal wasn’t broken & no silt on the inside of the filter…)

Now at this point it was only around 2-3pm. I had a project to get to work on, so the other two went out to get a bit more of the Mike’s loop in – I’ll let them chime in on that. I was busy with other things at the time…

The gasket came out great – shot a pic of the initial fitting before fine-tuning …

Building gaskets by the pool, everything was going swimmingly, until…

Really, really diffictult to attach oil lines without … bolts.


I learned that the longer of the two oil lines for the cooler is just shy of being able to connect the sump to the top end in an emergency like this.



At least it all happened in a nice spot.

So I start scouring around for my options. Maybe there’s an old motor carcass with a banjo bolt that would fit a 2007 KTM ….

… or not.

Oil line won’t reach – that’s out.

About that time Russ & Glen rolled in & Russ was rummaging through my bolt pack & found the solution!

A bolt of just slightly smaller diameter than the inner diameter of the oil line ends … use the washers off the original banjo bolts, a little Teflon tape for the nut … and attach the two oil lines. On Glen's suggestion, we turned the motor over a few times with the new setup and the top oil jet removed … sure enough, good flow!

Oil cooler bypassed, bike was essentially back to stock! Given the extra amount held by the cooler, I didn’t even have to add any oil in spite of the leak!

Next morning we take off … I’d been shooting all the photos because Glen forgot his camera. Something about many of his cameras ending up like this after rides :D

I’d heard it was relatively hot up north of the border past few days … weather was perfect in Baja!

All the better when you have to remove stuff like this from your wheel…

Was a fun, educational trip. Next one coming soon!