Thursday, May 10, 2012

Misadventure of May

I can safely say my 640 does not like southern Ohio, at least the cooling system doesn't.  2 summers ago a rogue branch tore the radiator hose off and I had to run about a half hour with no fluid to get it fixed.  I thought it had just over heated until I added water and soaked my boots instead.

Got up this morning and headed out to meet some friends down at a restaurant called Peggy Sue's.   Form there the 3 of us headed south to Perry State Forest to do some off-road riding.  Why trailer when you can ride there?  Don't ask, today I almost wished I had.

Adam, Alan and Mike

We'd been only riding about 40 minutes when we decided to ride out and have lunch with Adam before he had to head home.  All I did was look back to ensure all were in tow only to look back ahead and see a 2" branch perforate my right radiator snapping it into pieces like a jousting rod.  After a quick assessment, lunch was definitely a must, especially if it were near a parts store!

Set the GPS to Somerset which was the closest but in the wrong direction.  I figured if the 640 could last over a half hour, it should make it a measly 10 miles.  It wasn't going too bad, I'd cut the motor on the downhills and power it up the hills.  After a while the dash started to flash which like before, meant I was running dangerously close to owning a very expensive paper weight!  I saw a woman mowing her lawn and asked to borrow her garden hose to which she obliged.  A spray down to cool the beast off and a quick refill and we were off.

We found Landmark Auto Parts on South Market where I started to dismantle the bike in hopes of some kind of repair while the guys headed off to get lunch.


The guys in the store had everything I needed, 2 feet of hose, a double barbed splice, clamps and fluids.  Now all I had to do was make it work.  The down side was I punctured the side with the filler and the fan switch so I had to figure out how I was going to fill the damn thing.  I figured if I routed the connector hose from the bottoms of the radiators and looped it up to the filler hose at the top and bypassed the whole thing I'd be golden.  

After a few minutes of debate, hit and miss, Adam and I got it figured out, bolted most of it together, stuck a screw driver bit in a small cross over vent hose, then filled the big hoses up and let it run a few seconds to purge the air.  I pulled it back apart at the splice and topped off both hoses before jamming them together and tightening everything up.  I really should have started it to see if it would hold but was anxious to get the hell out of Dodge and on the road.  Adam helped me get the tank back on before he headed back home.  Alan and Mike headed back to Perry to get their bikes muddier and I set the GPS to shortest distance home.

I was very nervous about doing this but figured what could go wrong?  Knowing what could go wrong I rode for a long time with one finger on the clutch in case the piston decided to merge with the cylinder wall locking up the rear wheel skidding me off the road.  To my surprise the temp gauge started to work and the bars started to build.  Evidently the temp gauge sending unit isn't the same one as the fan's in busted radiator.  Once the bars stopped rising and held steady at 5 of 7 I felt a huge amount of relief.  The bike was running so well I decided to take the long way home avoiding main roadways and enjoy the scenery.

It was while I was taking those photos that 2 more problems surfaced.  At first I thought I had blown a hose or something, fluid was dripping on the header and pouring out the bottom of the motor.  The header was being dripped on by fluids draining from the dead radiator when I tipped it over on the side stand, big relief! Now what the heck was coming out the back?  Gas!  My float was stuck open and was draining everywhere.  I have no clue how long but a little tapping and the fuel flow stopped. 

Back on the road and everything was going great until I blew a turn on a gravel road outside Frazyburg and slid off into the weeds.  No harm, no foul, back on the road heading north.  After a while I started getting cold and decided to stop and put on a sweat shirt.  I figured this was as good a place as any...

I kept working my way home trying my best to stay on gravel and ended up in Millersburg.  It was getting late do I decided to stop for grub.  That's when I noticed the right side of the bike was still wet, not from the gas which should have dried within a mile, but a nice spattering of 15w-40 or what ever I put in it last.  Seems like the seal behind the front sprocket shaft decided to loosen it's lips from the shaft resulting in a little drippage.  Well, maybe a little more than that, the chain was lubed better than it ever had but a quick look into the sight glass showed I was still full on oil so off to eat!

While I was sitting there I found out it was indeed slightly more than just a little drip, DAMN!

I finally made it home around 7pm and feeling confident that the motor in that KTM is way tougher than I am.  Never missed a beat and never over heated, even on one radiator and no fan.  A big thanks to Adam, Alan and Mike for making sure I made it to the parts store.  Probably the best $17 I've ever spent on a ride!