I wrenched on my bike all week to take care of little things. The bottom bushings for the tank were replaced with the updated, harder durometer bushings from KTM. An issue had been uncovered on ADVrider involving the radiator. So I removed the radiator and found similar issues but not to the point of leaking.

Everything went back together well enough. I fought with the Safari tank as usual. The petcocks all leak from the exit resulting in me smelling like gas every time I take off the tank. Now my personal failure was not test riding the bike after wrenching on it. A lesson that I should have learned by now.
The plan for the weekend was to head to a friend's house on Friday in Mission Viejo. Mind numbing pavement but I'd gone farther. I was going to catch up with my friend and hang out Saturday. Sunday I was going to "Ride the Mountain" and try to get back to Mesa in time for work on Monday. So I got out of work earlier on Friday to try to minimize the amount of night riding that I had to do.

Traffic was typical for a Friday, generally crummy but not as bad as it would be later in the day.
Breaking free of the city, I was eating up the miles when the bike started cutting out and I realized the fuel light was on. I pulled to the shoulder, opened the petcocks from the Safari tank and got going again. The cutting out problems just seemed to get worse. It seemed like a little gremlin was hitting a non-existent kill switch enough to make the bike cough but not actually stop. I pulled off next to a closed rest stop and the bike wouldn't start again. I rolled down into the closed rest stop and started in on the bike. I phoned a friend (aka mechanics and shops) for ideas giving them all the symptoms and what I had tried.

After tons of fiddling I disconnected the positive terminal of the battery and the bike started. After getting all buttoned up and on the road again the bike immediately started jerking again and I had to call a friend and ask for a pick up 100 miles away from town.
After going through the battery disconnect routine again the bike started running and I kept the throttle on through the jerks to get to a gas station. It seemed like a better place to sit out the wait. I was 140 miles away from home. I don't think the test ride that I skipped could have caught this issue unless I rode 100+ miles but it's still a mistake to skip the test ride. After fortifying myself with some caffeine and beef jerky I got online to look for explications to my issue.

I was still looking when my angel for the night, Donna and her overactive puppy Rio rolled up. Good friends are amazing.
Before we left though we saw the most unique moving van. Where there's a will and all that.

I got home safe and sound if not terribly disappointed. My neighbor came over to help trouble shoot the problem. After the issue with the fuel pump my confidence has been shaken a couple of times with this bike. I didn't need another reason to doubt its reliability.

You should note that a trailer can make a great workbench.
His diagnosis ended up being user error. Or rather mechanic error. In all my putzing I had apparently bent and damaged a connector on the ignition coil. The spade connector was loose and would definitely have fluttered in a 75mph breeze, resulting in the jerking pace of the bike. Also a radiator coil wasn't perfectly seated and there was some leaking to add more drama. After it all went back together the bike ran normally. I rode it 100+ miles over the next week to make sure that it wouldn't die on me mysteriously again in the middle of nowhere without cell service. I can deal with user errors, bike issues are not as easy to stomach.

This was a tough love lesson on preparation and troubleshooting but a good one for the future.


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