Known Design/Quality Control issues with the 950/990

These are issues that have proven themselves by causing failures in members' bikes:

The KTM 950 Adventure was designed and built by racers with the primary objective of producing a light weight, versatile machine that handled well on both dirt and pavement. The engine was designed to be light, narrow, and torquey, yet still rev freely. You will no doubt notice similarities between the LC8 engine and a number of the Austrian Engine builder Rotax's creations. This is no coincidence, as much of the original KTM design staff was made up of former Rotax engineers.


Early bikes '03's or the equivalent.... (read silver or orange "S") design issue updated parts fixed the issue (different oil jet, push rod and ultimately complete new assembly) There was a Tech Bulletin issued that addressed the oil jet issue. Symptoms were creeping, dragging clutch. We found that bikes that were retrofitted with new push rod and jet and (unfortunately) a new clutch pack no longer suffered symptoms. Romeo Feliciani (Meoni's mechanic) listed the items he needed to modify to make Fabrizio's 950 Dakar Rallye bike reliable and competitive. He lists some interesting mod's to the clutch. You will find it at this link.

Clutch Pressure Plate Bolts:

2006 & 2007.
Affected models: 950 Adventure, 950 Adventure S, 950 Supermoto, 950 Supermoto R, 950 Super Enduro R, 990 Adventure ABS, 990 Adventure S, 990 Super Duke. Improperly torqued pressure plate bolts from the factory. Fix: A tech bulletin was issued with instructions on properly torquing the bolts. The results of the bolts backing can be a destroyed outer clutch cover and bent/broken bolts. I suggest checking these bolts on ALL years and models. Once they have been initially checked and re-torqued if required, no other checks have been reported as needed. Note: Loctite is NOT required on these fittings.

Clutch Slave Cylinder:

All years. A number of LC8's have experienced clutch slave cylinder failure. It appears as though high heat and a single o-ring design piston combine to cause failure. The fix is a newly designed aftermarket replacement by Evoluzione. There is also a group led by RedRupert working on a better design spacer that they hope will cure the heat problem with the OEM slave. This thread will explain that project in detail. Also, part of the heat problem is due to the relatively small amount of fluid in the system. There are fixes in the works, but the best bet in the meantime is to replace the clutch fluid regularly (probably at each oil change). Some members have reported good results with the Oberon unit.


Water Pump Impeller:

Early bikes '03's or the equivalent water pump circlip (retains impeller) not fitted properly (very few bikes suffered this). Symptoms: overheating, impeller wearing on cover, black residue in coolant/tank. (if your impeller wasn't worn this was not your issue) repair was to replace impeller and properly fit circlip. We are still seeing this from time to time. In one reported case, the inner bearing retaining circlip (0472240120 CIRCLIP DIN472 D=24X1,2) was missing. It was undetermined whether it was missing from manufacture or from a previous repair, as the reporting owner was not the original.

Water pump shaft wear:

All years. A large number of 950 Adventure engines have had waterpump seals fail. A large number have also NOT had this problem. This doesn't seem to be as much of an issue with the 950 SE or SM, or the 990 SD and Adventure engines, though we have seen a few. There may be some correlation with left over casting sand in the engine blocks breaking loose and getting under the seal causing wear of the impeller shaft. The fix, for now, is replacement of the seal and shaft. The latest version of the seal is made of Teflon, which has a higher temperature and wear resistance capability. KTM now lists replacement of the seal and inspection of the shaft every 15,000 km for the 950 Adventure models. Another possible remedy has been to thoroughly flush the cooling system to get rid of the sand. I suggest removing the pump cover and flushing the water jackets directly into the block through the two exposed passages. A small flexible brush (such as a gun cleaning tool) will aid this process. Follow-up with a thorough flushing of the radiator and hoses. It is important that there is no sand left to wear the seal and shaft. Note this quote from Tech Bulletin 0544 - April 15, 2005:

"Additional Information:
In the course of the scheduled service please check the expansion cooling reservoir for sand deposits from the casting process. If this is the case, drain the reservoir and flush the cooling system and carefully clean the reservoir and radiator cap before reassembling the motorcycle."

Here is a link to an article about overhauling the waterpump and properly flushing the cooling system.

As noted in the waterpump rebuild article in the Orange Garage section of the HOW, CJDesigns makes a replacement hardened shaft for the waterpump. So far, it looks to virtually obviate this problem once all of the casting sand has been removed from the system.

Ignition Rotor Mount:

This only applies to a small number of engines built before May of 2003 and an even smaller number of bikes that left the factory after that date with the early engines. These engines were built with keyless crankshafts. All later engines were built with keyed crankshafts and are not required to perform this. Tech Bulletin 0305 was issued to address this and a number of other issues.

Freewheel bolts: There have been several cases of one or more of the bolts holding the freewheel assembly to the generator rotor loosening up, and in a few cases backing out far enough to make contact with the stator. This has resulted in damage to the stator, and in at least one case, the sheering off of one of the bolts. A Tech Bulletin was issued on October 16, 2004 that addresses this issue. Since it is such a critical item, it is suggested that ALL 950/990 owners check their bikes as instructed in the TB. Note: Be sure to use Locktite 648 as instructed. We have had failures caused by using lesser products in this instance.


Chain slide guard:

This issue was first addressed by a Technical Bulletin in May of 2003. It has recently popped up again with some 2007 Adventure models and is addressed in Recall Tech Bulletin 0795 (06/08/2007) . One or both of the screws holding the chain slide guard to the swing arm have been known to loosen and back out. The result is the possibility of locking up the chain and causing the rear wheel to lock. The recommended fix is to remove and clean the suspect screws, then reinstall with locktite 243 and torque to 10Nm. It would be a good practice to do this on all years and models as PM.

Radiator cap:

All years of 950 Adventures not very common but we've seen some 5-10 maybe... normal symptoms are of non-sealed system. ie: overheating, coolant not returning etc. Fix: new cap. (you will not find coolant in your oil due to this one!!!). May be related to casting sand in the system lodging itself in the seal and under the return valve. If your cap is doing this, chances are the sand is also eating up the waterpump shaft as well. Do a proper flush of the cooling system ASAP. It still may be too late for the waterpump seal. Watch your coolant level closely and be ready to replace the seal and shaft. Might not be a bad idea to do a preemptive overhaul of the waterpump anyway. It's generally easier in your's (or the dealer's) shop, than it is along the trail.

Leaking head gaskets:

Early bikes 03/04 symptoms- coolant overflowing while temp. operating normal. (coolant is being pressurized by combustion gases) this occurred mostly at extended high RPM usage. A Tech Bulletin was issued calling for installation of redesigned head nuts and washers. Repair includes new head gaskets, nuts, washers etc. (later bikes have different part numbered heads). FYI many dealers had trouble with this one as very aggressive use was needed to cause symptoms easiest to diagnose on dyno buy holding at 8k rpm for 5-10 minutes.

Starter Torque Limiter:

Years: 2005.5 - 2006. Torque limiter slips with a loud clacking noise when starter button is pushed. KTM redesigned the entire unit and issued a Tech Bulletin which describes the replacement procedure.

Note: the torque limiter was an update by the factory to fix a problem that was sporadically showing up on 2003 - 2004 bikes and on early works racers. This was reportedly caused by "kick-back" during starting under certain conditions. If the Freewheel starts slipping on the early bikes, the only fix is a new rotor/freewheel assembly PN 60039005100. It is recommended that the cause of the kickback be fixed and the new torque limiter PN 60040016044 be fitted at the same time as the new rotor/flywheel.

See this post by jimrazz.

Fuel Pump:

Years: 2003 - 2006 950 engines. Contact points in the OEM Mitsubishi fuel pump eventually pit and wear out resulting in fuel starvation to the carburetors. Fix for now is to replace OEM pump with with a new OEM pump or an aftermarket solid state pump of similar pressure and flow characteristics. Some have had good results with the Facet #40105 and Carter (NAPA P74021). There have been a few reports rich running and of flooding with the Facet 40105 when the bike is parked on the side stand with a full load of fuel. The Facet 40171 has built in check valves that prevent fuel from flowing either direction when the pump is off. This is now the preferred replacement pump for the 950 Adventure and is in use in several dozen bikes that we know of around the World. It is suggested that Facet 40105 users shut off the fuel petcock when parking the bike or install a 40171. There are a some ingenious tinkerers, gefr and ridewestKTM, to name a couple, who have been working on digitizing the OEM pump thus taking the points out of the equation. This has the advantages of not having to change any OEM plumbing, the pressure/and volume are correct for the LC8, the pump will fit in the original location. If the pump fails at a later date for some other reason, it will be easy to swap in the new pump as the solid state firing device can be wired into the loom and located in a remote location, like under the seat, Another solution my be at hand from the Netherlands. Check out this thread for more info.

Fuel Tanks:

All Years. Due to the design of the emissions equipment pertaining to the fuel tanks and carburetor, many owners have experienced cases ranging from unequal fuel feeding, to violent, pressurized fuel escaping from filling caps, plus hydrolock and flooding/poor running issues. The fix is to perform the Canisterectomy, and if needed due to extremely hot climates, the Flapendectomy. These procedures must be combined with proper fuel tank and carburetor bowl venting.
Note that KTM has issued a Tech Bulletin to install a balance tube between the tops of the two tanks to mitigate the tank pressurization caused when one or more of the emissions devices failed. Unfortunately, the upgrade kit was poorly thought out and executed, and some of the parts supplied are attacked by motor fuel resulting in failure of the parts and fuel leaking from the top of the tanks. Dad2dad provided an article on how he removed the balance tube and sealed the holes.

Rear Brake:

2003 - 2006. Owners report loosing rear braking power. Usually when used hard such as on long descents, but not always. Fix: a Recall was issued in North America instructing how to upgrade with redesigned parts. Many owners have replaced the brake fluid with high performance fluids like Motul RBF600. Also, many have replaced the brake pads with Galfer greens(ft) and blacks(rr) for better performance.

Crankcase Ventilation:

2003 - 2005. Under certain operating conditions, oil vapor was forced up the crankcase ventilation hose from the ignition rotor cover to the airbox where it deposited on/in the throat of the front carburetor eventually causing driveablity issues. Fix: A tech bulletin was issued with instructions for replacing the vent line with a new design which included a back pressure valve. However, this valve has caused other problems including, but not limited to, oil tank pressurization and crankcase pressurization and seal leaks. Other work around's include installing an LC4 crankcase breather filter (PN 58431070000) in the line or terminating the line outside the box with a small filter.

Also, a contributing factor (likely a major factor) to the excessive oil in the crankcase vent line is a bad balance shaft seal. This seal is on the left side of the engine behind the ignition cover. The purpose of the seal is to keep the oil mist from the crankshaft area from blowing through the balance shaft bearing into the ignition cover area, then out the vent hose in the cover, eventually depositing oil on the front carburetor intake. The proper way for the crankshaft area to vent is through holes in the balance shaft weights, then out through the hollow balance shaft to the ignition cover area. This circuitous path eliminates most of the oil vapor from the crankcase vent line. The ignition cover needs to be removed to get to the seal, naturally, so a new ignition cover gasket is recommended.

Balance shaft seal: 0760122050 ~$9USD
Ignition Cover gasket: 60030040100 ~$25USD


Chain Slider Bolts:

Affected models: 990 Adventure and Adventure "S", and some 950 Super Enduros. Improperly installed bolts holding the swingarm chain slider/protector have come loose on a number of the bikes listed above, resulting in a locked up rear wheel. Fix: A safety recall and a tech bulletin were issued with instructions to remove and apply loctite 243 to the threads of the slider mounting bolts.


990 Fuel Injection Problems (stalling, abrupt on-off throttle):

Problems range from abrupt transition from off to on throttle, to stalling when throttle shut off over 5k rpm, to steady throttle engine shut down. Fixes range from installing G2 throttle cams, to tightening loose battery cables, replacing battery, charging system malfunction, aftermarket workarounds, and MAP updates. KTM hasn't admitted a problem exists, but the 2009 LC8's all got new ECU's.

The final fix for the 990 FI may be at hand. TuneECU has a free program (shareware) that can reprogram the FI maps in the 990 ECU. The results have been very promising, so far. Check the ADVRider thread.

990 Fuel Injection Filters:

All Years 990's. Because of the poor quality of fuel found in some parts of the World (especially those changing over to Ethanol blended fuels recently), the fuel pump filters are known to clog and cause poor running and stalling. Other than change filters often (one load of bad fuel can clog the filters), it is recommended that a pre filter be used when the quality of the fuel is the least suspect. One ongoing thread to read: fuel pump/filter problems

Wiring problems:

2005 - 2007 and 2010 Adventures. There were a rash of bad wiring harnesses with broken wires inside the insulation near where the bend is made for the steering head. It is suggested that owners check that the harness has enough slack in this area and re-route those that are found to bind. Random bad crimps have been found on some 2010 bikes.


2010-2011 Adventures and Supermoto T & R. There have been several cases of immobilizer malfunctions causing the owners to be locked out by the ECU from starting their bikes. KTM seems to be at a loss as to how to remidy this at this time. Some members have suggested that the ECU and ignition switch from a 2008 990 may be a workaround, but hasn't been proven yet.

Super Enduro (SE) Voltage Regulator:

All Years SE-R's. A large number of SE's have been plagued with voltage regulator failures. The failures manifest themselves in un-regulated overcharging of the battery. The first sign the rider usually notices is a high pitched whistle coming from under the seat. This is the battery acid boiling off and venting steam through the safety valve. Fix is a new VRR. It is recommended that the VRR be located to a cooler location on the bike. The factory location under the seat subjects it to very high temperatures from the rear exhaust header.

There may be a solution. Several Orange lads have tried Rick's Motorsport Electrics replacement VRRs and report good results. Only time will tell. Check out Colorado Uli's post on the OC to keep up to date.


Note: There were some problems with the KTM DealerNet computer system that resulted in some confusion and misunderstanding on the dealer level in 2003 and 2004. The result was that a number of bikes delivered in these two years were not entered into the computer completely, so some of the Tech Bulletins and dealer services were not recorded. Thus, it is recommended that if you have one of these two year's models, you carefully check all of the Tech Bulletins pertaining to your year bike carefully yourself (or have it done by a competent LC8 mechanic).

This site would be impossible without the yeoman's work of fellow Katoom riders, dealers, mechanics and engineers. Thank you to all who have contributed (you know who you are). I will update this list periodically. If you have some other "DESIGN" issues you know of that you would like to be added to the HOW, please e-mail them to me at:

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