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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Wasn't sure whether this belonged in issues or maintenance - but here goes!
My bike is a 1st gen Duke 390 (2013), always serviced - basically stock.
It's my daily commuter and I'd hate to part with it so I really need some guidance here...not a technical person so keep that in mind while you're reading.

(Edit) Around two years ago the orange frame was starting to fade so I decided to take it in for powder coating. In the process I also ceramic coated my header exhaust pipe and cat. Not sure if this was a mistake, but my mechanic at the time said it could help with the heat. A few months later the orange powder coating near the header exhaust (dent area) started to bubble, and the paint garage offered to re-do it. In the meantime, I also wrapped the exhaust pipe to try curb the radiant heat. For the second re-build some motorcyclists advised to switch to a more competent mechanic, which brings us to today.

The re-build (as well as a service) revealed sloppy mechanic work, improper adjustments, stripped bolts and a broken airbox.
The garage was also pretty concerned that the bike was running too lean (which I now learnt is "normal" for Dukes).

I am looking to replace the airbox and anythign that's 'obviously' wrong or broken.
What steps should I take to help the bike run better - and possibly reverse the years of shoddy servicing?
Would it make sense to go for the RB Easy or Evo to fix the lean running? I live in a very hot country so anything that will help it run cooler will probably help too.

Sorry for the long post and thanks for any help!
 

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Welcome, Jeanine,

Good to read of a commuter on her Duke from 2013 and even with a crappy mechanic still going strong.
how many km are on her now?
One thing you probably can't blame the mechanic for is the cracked airbox.
This happens to most of us (I'm on my second box and this one and 1 nut from the air filter cover came out again).
Anyway, As long as your airbox is not thorned along the side, I now keep my air filter cover on with ty-wraps and the one remaining bolt.
These frames are powder coated so I hope your paint job on it will last.
As for the exhaust, the paint coming off is probably due to an insufficient pre-pain exercise.
As has been more often discussed, the heat mostly comes from the radiator rather than the exhaust.
Anyway what is done, is done.
What obviously needs to be taken care of are the stripped bolts/nuts and I still thing ik better to replace the airbox as the later models were made from a better plastic.
The lean running can be bettered with any piggyback or even booster-plug.
See what is available near you, PowerTRONIC, Rapid-Bike, Bazzaz, Coober etc and compare the prices there.
Reversing age on mechanics will not be possible but use the correct oil (preferrable full synthetic in 15W-50 or as I use in Thailand 10W-60).
If your new garage is more into bikes a PowerTRONIC can have the fuel as well as the ignition adjusted which make for better fine-tuning.
Obviously, things such as valve clearance and the correct grade spark plug should be warranted as well.
Good luck and let us know how you're getting on with this and perhaps a pic when ready.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Hi, @KTMasean thanks for the welcome and for all the helpful info! I believe now the Duke's done a little more than 30K - an oldie I guess! :)

Yes you're right, I read here that the airbox on the dukes are almost disposable. Mine seemed in pretty bad shape so the mechanic thought best to replace it, and he's also taking care of the stripped bolts - but i'll keep in mind the diy fixes for the future.

Sorry I wasn't clear on the paintwork, it's actually the orange that started bubbling - the guy admitted it might have been a lack of proper application or bad paint mix though - let's hope!
For the heat I considered getting a SPAL fan replacement, but I'm not sure if there's a way to keep the shroud? (it's too hot here without one) Would it help?

In Europe RapidBike are more accessible and I think the EVO model has control over the ignition timing.
What's your take on Easy vs EVO? I was going to go for Easy since it's cheaper and it's a stock bike, but if the EVO has other benefits I can go for it maybe with a black Friday sale.

Which spark plug do you recommend? I'll check about the oil and keep you updated - thanks again!
 

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I am surprised that 390 owners are satisfied with 30K odd on the clock... I assume it is km? For the price of the 390's they should last much longer IMO... I run a RB Evo on my 390 (2018). The suggested settings from RB brought constant "error" messages on the TFT. I had to pick another O2 sensor setting (which RB suggested) - that ended the "error" messages. However, the 390 is still not smooth low down as was advertised by RB, so I do not know how successful the Evo is. If I had to do it again I may go with the Booster Plug... Regards!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi @J W C thanks for your input. Yes KM, i'll check the exact amount - the bike still works don't get me wrong, however I can feel that something is up even if I'm not an expert. I'm sure the poor servicing didn't help, and the fact that it's been running lean for all this time - i'm feeling lucky the engine is still alive!
Hmm, good to know about the EVO - as it's quite expensive, I wonder if it has the same problems with the 1st Gen :unsure:
I was considering it just to be able to make sure that the engine is running properly from now on...

I am surprised that 390 owners are satisfied with 30K odd on the clock... I assume it is km? For the price of the 390's they should last much longer IMO... I run a RB Evo on my 390 (2018). The suggested settings from RB brought constant "error" messages on the TFT. I had to pick another O2 sensor setting (which RB suggested) - that ended the "error" messages. However, the 390 is still not smooth low down as was advertised by RB, so I do not know how successful the Evo is. If I had to do it again I may go with the Booster Plug... Regards!
 

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Stripped bolts are common as the metal isn't very high grade, heli coil will work. As for the paint, your best bet for the frame would have been powder coating. The exhaust header should have been ceramic coated, not painted. I also have mine wrapped with exhaust wrap as well. A lot of people say not to do this as if you live in a moist environment it can cause the pipe to rust out. I live in Socal and it doesn't rain. That and I'll just replace it with the higher flowing unit that is available on the market. the air box is not because of the mechanic. The airbox on these bikes are dog **** and will keep breaking. I have replaced mine a few times and it is always the same result. This last time I used a **** load of metal epoxy on the outside of the airbox.
 

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Jeaninne,

I have absolutely no experience with the RB products so can't really comment on that question.
The error readings with the RB is often mentioned but our first-gen bikes do not generally have this issue.
For a standard bike (with no modifications to the in- outlet planned) a BoosterPlug should work fine.
In all honesty, if you have been riding 30k km with your bike already I would not worry 1 second about lean fueling.

An Italian SPAL fan (I've got 1) works wonderfully but I have not put the shroud back on.
Whatever fan you install if initiated by the bikes thermo-switch it will come on at 95C and switches off at 85C.
A more efficient fan (SPAL) will only reduce the running time, the coolant will cool down a little quicker but the heat burst probably increases.
All the wrapping of the exhaust will not take away the sensation of heat or perhaps only at traffic lights/standstill.

For the spark plug, I am now using the NGK Laser-Iridium (for longevity) LKAR8AI-9 or you can stick to the copper type LKAR8A-9 and the standard plug the bike came with Bosh VR5NE.
 

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I on the other hand have a lot of experience with the rapid bike easy and have datalogged my bike using it. If you have any questions I have a thread on here with detailed information.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Stripped bolts are common as the metal isn't very high grade, heli coil will work. As for the paint, your best bet for the frame would have been powder coating. The exhaust header should have been ceramic coated, not painted. I also have mine wrapped with exhaust wrap as well. A lot of people say not to do this as if you live in a moist environment it can cause the pipe to rust out. I live in Socal and it doesn't rain. That and I'll just replace it with the higher flowing unit that is available on the market. the air box is not because of the mechanic. The airbox on these bikes are dog ** and will keep breaking. I have replaced mine a few times and it is always the same result. This last time I used a ** load of metal epoxy on the outside of the airbox.
I wasn't very clear regarding the 'paint job' - my bad! I'll edit the main post too.
The orange frame was indeed powder coated and the exhaust pipe was ceramic coated in black + heat wrapped.
After some time the orange powder coating nearest the exhaust header started to bubble. The paint started to crack elsewhere and the guy who did it was nice enough to admit this wasn't normal and probably a case of bad mix/prep work - i'm hoping it's the case and it won't happen again 😬

I included this info to give some context to the bike's history and see if there could be any side effects from the exhaust+cat being ceramic coated.
It's a bit sad to hear that some parts are just 'badly made'. 😕 Thanks for the tip about the epoxy!

Thanks for the info on the Spark plug @KTMasean - I have some rigid ceramic heat shield lying around...would it be a recipe for disaster to try diy a shroud on the SPAL fan with it?
Thanks @1jzsupra for the heads up, will check it out.

What do you guys think about switching to lithium batteries? Does it make life easier for the bike?

Really appreciate all the help, will keep you updated!
 

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I wasn't very clear regarding the 'paint job' - my bad! I'll edit the main post too.
The orange frame was indeed powder coated and the exhaust pipe was ceramic coated in black + heat wrapped.
After some time the orange powder coating nearest the exhaust header started to bubble. The paint started to crack elsewhere and the guy who did it was nice enough to admit this wasn't normal and probably a case of bad mix/prep work - i'm hoping it's the case and it won't happen again 😬

I included this info to give some context to the bike's history and see if there could be any side effects from the exhaust+cat being ceramic coated.
It's a bit sad to hear that some parts are just 'badly made'. 😕 Thanks for the tip about the epoxy!

Thanks for the info on the Spark plug @KTMasean - I have some rigid ceramic heat shield lying around...would it be a recipe for disaster to try diy a shroud on the SPAL fan with it?
Thanks @1jzsupra for the heads up, will check it out.

What do you guys think about switching to lithium batteries? Does it make life easier for the bike?

Really appreciate all the help, will keep you updated!
Bubbling powder coat makes me think that the prep work wasn't done right. Having powder coated stuff myself there is a lot of prep work that has to be done and temperature control is important as well. Are you having issues with the bike over heating because of the shroud? I'm running the factory radiator with a spal fan, 100% engine ice and no shroud and have no problems with heat (even when it's 108 degrees outside).
I can't really comment much on the lithium battery, what are you trying to gain by that other than weight? I just run cheap batteries as I ride mine all the time so the battery doesn't go flat on me. 22,000 miles and I've only replaced it 1 time.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Bubbling powder coat makes me think that the prep work wasn't done right. Having powder coated stuff myself there is a lot of prep work that has to be done and temperature control is important as well. Are you having issues with the bike over heating because of the shroud? I'm running the factory radiator with a spal fan, 100% engine ice and no shroud and have no problems with heat (even when it's 108 degrees outside).
I can't really comment much on the lithium battery, what are you trying to gain by that other than weight? I just run cheap batteries as I ride mine all the time so the battery doesn't go flat on me. 22,000 miles and I've only replaced it 1 time.
Good to know about the bubbling - that puts my mind a bit more at ease!
Well after 10 mins of riding it does get a bit hot around the leg area and the mechanic did comment that the header exhaust does feel a bit too hot after a ride (even for an exhaust pipe)
I have thought about changing to SPAL, but the topic always confuses me. o_O
While it makes better work of cooling, since it's a puller doesn't it dump the hot air into the engine/header area without the shroud? Or are the cooling effects gained from the SPAL enough to make that heat blast from the SPAL negligible (since the engine runs cooler)? :unsure:
Re the lithium I was wondering if it was more reliable long term? I've replaced mine once as well.

you can order the new airbox and all the lost bolts by checking the frame and engine diagrams,schemes here... or you can show your bike to a Ktm service...
Thanks for this I'll keep it for reference - the mech did go straight to KTM when he found so many stripped bolts!

Good news - the mechanic confirmed that he made the call to switch my oil to Putoline 15W50 (they were out of MOTUL) during the rebuild so that's one thing off the list @KTMasean
 

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Hi Jeaninne,

As long as this is a motorcycle oil with JASO (Japanese Automotive Standards Organization) rating MA, MA1 or MA2
Also in the manual, it recommended a semi-synthetic oil (fully synthetic is good as well though)
I never used Putoline in my Dukes only Motorex and Ipone but as long as the oil complies to the requirements/specifications its good.
Some oils have your bike shift more smoothly, some reduce engine noise but this will be different for each brand and even type of engine so no need to worry about this.

PS; all Duke/RC fans are puller fans, they suck the air through the radiator.

(/QUOTE)
Good news - the mechanic confirmed that he made the call to switch my oil to Putoline 15W50 (they were out of MOTUL) during the rebuild so that's one thing off the list @KTMasean
[/QUOTE]
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Okay so the airbox arrived today - but it's marked on the packaging for Duke 125/390 2017 😩
Do the later airboxes fit or do I have to send it back?
 

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Not likely these are interchangeable as also the air filter is different.
2017 = 93306001044 Air filter Box Kit.
2013 = 90206001044 FILTER BOX CPL.
 

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Welcome, Jeanine,

Good to read of a commuter on her Duke from 2013 and even with a crappy mechanic still going strong.
how many km are on her now?
One thing you probably can't blame the mechanic for is the cracked airbox.
This happens to most of us (I'm on my second box and this one and 1 nut from the air filter cover came out again).
Anyway, As long as your airbox is not thorned along the side, I now keep my air filter cover on with ty-wraps and the one remaining bolt.
These frames are powder coated so I hope your paint job on it will last.
As for the exhaust, the paint coming off is probably due to an insufficient pre-pain exercise.
As has been more often discussed, the heat mostly comes from the radiator rather than the exhaust.
Anyway what is done, is done.
What obviously needs to be taken care of are the stripped bolts/nuts and I still thing ik better to replace the airbox as the later models were made from a better plastic.
The lean running can be bettered with any piggyback or even booster-plug.
See what is available near you, PowerTRONIC, Rapid-Bike, Bazzaz, Coober etc and compare the prices there.
Reversing age on mechanics will not be possible but use the correct oil (preferrable full synthetic in 15W-50 or as I use in Thailand 10W-60).
If your new garage is more into bikes a PowerTRONIC can have the fuel as well as the ignition adjusted which make for better fine-tuning.
Obviously, things such as valve clearance and the correct grade spark plug should be warranted as well.
Good luck and let us know how you're getting on with this and perhaps a pic when ready.
Powertronic will not help with low speed jerkiness. It realey only helps in closed loop, not in open loop where the jerkiness comes from. With powertronic you can add a bunch of fuel (20%) in the low rpm/low throttle then modulate the throttle to keep the system in the closed loop. But soon as you hold a steady throttle it will go lean again as it goes into open loop. the open loop uses the O2 sensor. That output can be modified or you can just use a boosterplug or rapid bike easy. The powertronic is great for tuning maximum power and performance but you need a way to measure afr for powertronic to be most usefull.
 

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I'm not convinced you are correct saying this.
All our ECU's jump into closed-loop mode the moment the O2 sensor is in the correct temperature range.
For a brief moment (at cold start) the O2 sensor is not effecting the ECU and again at a certain throttle position.
In between all fuel is regulated by our ECU (except for the BP that fools the ECU in reacting as if the ambient temp. is a couple of degrees cooler than it factually is).
If I am wrong in this perception I love to learn otherwise.

Powertronic will not help with low speed jerkiness. It realey only helps in closed loop, not in open loop where the jerkiness comes from. With powertronic you can add a bunch of fuel (20%) in the low rpm/low throttle then modulate the throttle to keep the system in the closed loop. But soon as you hold a steady throttle it will go lean again as it goes into open loop. the open loop uses the O2 sensor. That output can be modified or you can just use a boosterplug or rapid bike easy. The powertronic is great for tuning maximum power and performance but you need a way to measure afr for powertronic to be most usefull.
 

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Powertronic will not help with low speed jerkiness. It realey only helps in closed loop, not in open loop where the jerkiness comes from. With powertronic you can add a bunch of fuel (20%) in the low rpm/low throttle then modulate the throttle to keep the system in the closed loop. But soon as you hold a steady throttle it will go lean again as it goes into open loop. the open loop uses the O2 sensor. That output can be modified or you can just use a boosterplug or rapid bike easy. The powertronic is great for tuning maximum power and performance but you need a way to measure afr for powertronic to be most usefull.
I would disagree with this. I say this because I have a Power Commander V and I have run A LOT of datalogs and I have seen the effects of modifying fuel tables to include at idle conditions. I could easily go out and pull a **** load of fuel out of at idle rpm range and it would dump a crazy amount of fuel. This includes if I was to just hold the RPM at a set range.
 
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