KTM Forums banner

1 - 20 of 34 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have been having a starting issue with a new 2018 Duke 690 since the first week of ownership. The dealership and KTM customer service have been unable to sort it out after 6 months, in which time, I have towed it down to the dealership several times. I have little choice at this point but to try and sort it out myself. The problem is that it does not turn over every time when you press the starter switch. Even with it warmed up, it is hit or miss......Click.......Click.......Click...... several times and then maybe it decides to turn over. On my 3rd ride, I couldn't get it to turn over at all and it left me stranded. First thing that came to mind is the battery, so I took it down to the dealership and asked them for a new one. After waiting around for over 8 hours while they "analyzed" it, they came to the conclusion that the battery was okay and they would not warranty it. In addition they could find no other problems. I put my foot down and had them get me a new battery anyway (which took over 9 weeks because they were jacking me around). There is a lot more to this story, but suffice it to say that new batteries are not fixing the problem. I went as far as to purchase a high-end LiPo with almost twice the cranking amps as the stock battery and that failed to fix the issue. Likewise, I have checked and there is no abnormal parasitic drainage on the battery. Neither can I find any apparent poor connections. I have had 2 service managers at the dealership tell me; "Well it's new and tight, so it might not turn over on the first hit". This kind of made sense at first...whopping single cylinder bike...high compression....new and tight, engine probably stops at a high compression point, etc. However, after putting 300 miles on it (that's all I have gotten on it in 6 months, which is just plain sad) with no decrease in symptoms, I am thinking that this theory is complete bullshit. Either KTM has the worst engineering group on the face of the planet and KTM's don't measure up to the hype, or there is an issue. Incidentally, this is about the 20th bike I've owned and I have never had one that starts like this, which makes it very hard to believe this is how it should be. KTM's ludicrous excuse for North American phone-in customer service was no help and likewise, the dealership service experience has sucked. I am hoping there is someone out there who can give me the straight facts; 1. Do KTM Duke 690's really start this poorly, particularly when new?, 2. Does anyone have an idea on what the problem could be? I think batteries and bad starter switches can be excluded from consideration. When it does turn over, it cranks at a good rate and starts right up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
If you bump the cyl - by putting in third gear and rolling it forward a bit (engine switch off of course )- then put in neutral turn on switch and see if it starts, does that work?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yes, nudging the piston a little to get it off of a high compression point typically will get it to turn over on the next attempt. The only time this didn't work was at the end of the first week (I think too many hard start attempts had depleted the battery charge). Do you think this is the way it should be? I haven't owned a bike with such a single large displacement cylinder before, so I am wondering if this is just the way it is. Seems to me like they didn't design the starter system too well if this is the way things are.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
694 Posts
I don't know this specific model... but I would assume there is a decompression setup to eliviate the issue? Perhaps your decomp setup is not working properly?? (In the old days there was a decomp lever on the hadle bar of bikes...)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I hear you. I was wishing that I had an old-style decomp lever on this bike. I assumed this LC4 engine must have an auto-decompression feature for starting and I wondered if this could be the problem. I just did a quick search and I see that the auto decompression feature on these engines employs a centrifugal mechanism on the cam shaft. It does look like a few people with the 2016+ LC4 engine have had trouble with this mechanism. I wonder if there is a quick way to verify operation without ripping into it and compromising the warranty? I guess it may be time to invest in the service manual. I would like to be able to go down to the dealership and tell those "!#$*&" guys: "Hey, did you think about checking this?".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Axzon for that info. Doesn't look like there is a quick check for the auto decompression feature that I can see. Looks like it is going to be pretty hard to check this mechanism without removing the valve cover, which would definitely void the warranty. Apparently, there is a little centrifugal arm on the end of the cam shaft that swings out when the engine is started and running at idle or higher RPM. When this arm swings out, the exhaust valve closes all the way and you get full compression. At slower rev rates (starting) the weighted arm is pulled in by a tiny little wire spring. This ends up swinging a little bump into position on the low point of the exhaust cam lobe and causes the exhaust valve to leak a little during starting. There are a few reports of the little swing arm/spring mechanism being gummed up at the factory with excess Locktite, preventing it from properly returning to center.

I wonder if with this particular model of bike in gear, whether you should be able to push it and have the engine rotate a full cycle? Whenever, I have tried to push this particular bike in gear, trying to get it off the high compression point, it is pretty much locked up with the rear wheel skidding, which surprised me. Again, I don't have a lot of experience with this bike and what is normal.

I wonder if anybody else has any ideas or experiences that might help in drilling this problem down to the source?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
175 Posts
I haven’t worked on a 16+ engine, but I have rode them, and they should start as easy as any other bike. I have heard of people having decompression issues on the previous engine, so I can see that being a thing. It might be worth finding a different dealer or good independent mechanic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
694 Posts
If you want to push the bike with gear in it pays to have her in high gear as it makes it easier to push and should help with the wheel rotation. Your bike is a 2018, how long warranty did you get??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks dsmer06 for that hands on experience report. Nice to know that the Duke 690 can work. I agree with the idea of taking it to a different dealership for service the next time. I have no faith in the service capabilities of the dealer I bought it from.

I suppose one way to check the auto decompression would be to do a compression test on the bike and look at the factory specs. I like working on bikes, but I was hoping there was an easier way to check this function. Ideally, before I drag it down to a dealer again, I want to figure out what is going on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
The bikes still under warranty, that is why I don't want to start breaking into it, but I'm getting tired of packing it on a trailer and taking it down to the dealership only to get it back with the same issue.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,930 Posts
TBH i'd be finding a new dealer. The 690s in a starting context should be completely reliable. I've owned several of them now and a few mates have too, none have ever experienced any quirks of starting like you're getting. None, ever.... Also having been on here and other KTM forums over the years i think you're the first. Sure we've had the odd dead battery, but you've already ruled that one out too.

Your dealer sounds like he simply doesn't care and you don't want to drag this on. I'd find another KTM dealer, build up a rapport and give them some business etc... get things moving.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
594 Posts
There is no reason why a new motorcycle of any kind would be hard to start. The 'tight' theory is BS. If there is nothing wrong with the starting system, battery, connections, solenoid, starter, then the auto decompressor is the best bet (come over and try to kick my '61 BSA 500 without using the manual decompression lever). Is there a lemon law in your state? Otherwise, you'll have to find a decent dealer, call and ask them if they know how to check the decompression device before you go there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
594 Posts
BTW, where are you? Some of us might know a decent dealer in the general vicinity. I can recommend Solid Performance in Downingtown, PA and I have other friends along the east coast that should know other dealers they trust.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Thanks weeksy for more confirmation that this 690 I have is not starting the way it should.

Chip, thanks for your comments as well. I bought the bike from a dealership in northern Nevada, they know their dirt bikes, but they haven’t proven to me that they know dick about street bikes. On the first ride, I stopped at a stop light and had smoke coming up off the engine. I pulled over to check it out and spotted a pool of black goo sizzling on top of the cat. I thought, “Great, it’s got a bad seal”. A little more inspection though showed that the problem was that there was wads of moly lube on the chain dripping everywhere (and up the backside of my riding pants). In addition, the chain had about an inch and a half of resting free play. Great new bike setup and inspection. When I queried the service manager about it on my first trip back, he told me they come set up this way from the factory.

When I first took the bike back to the dealership after one week of ownership and having been stranded, before the service manager even checked out the problem he accused me of having left the key on and draining the battery, I knew that wasn’t a good sign. On a subsequent trip down to the dealership, the sales manager let me know that they had dismissed this first service manager. This still didn’t achieve getting the problems fixed though, or prevent them from rolling a bike out to me that had still had obvious problems.

Yes, Nevada does have a Lemon Law and this bike has fully met all of the requirements.



Just curious, any of you guys out there with with 690’s: Can you put the bike in 2nd or 3rd gear and roll it, without the rear tire just skidding along, with the engine turned off? If I could get confirmation of this, it would confirm my hypothesis that either the auto decompression mechanism is not working or, the valves have been shimmed with too much clearance (keeping the auto decomp from working).
 

·
Full Throttle
Joined
·
5,703 Posts
Your only choice is to take a parts spread into the dealer and say that its the cam decomp system and fark please i will help your tech do it . Tell him to contact ktm to see if the cam removal is billable to ktm waranty. Or phone call ktm direct with all your details explaining that dealer is reluctant to investigate a cam decomp reset.
 
1 - 20 of 34 Posts
Top