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2012 KTM Fuel Injection & Filter Discussion

2012 KTM Fuel Injection & Filter Explained

There is quite a bit of chatter going on about issues with the KTM fuel injection systems. While I have not encountered any problems with either the 2011 or 2012 bikes that I have tested, I thought I would look into the issue to see what I could find and hopefully provide some explanation of the system.

The symptoms of a clogged filter are somewhat vague, but generally a poor running condition and/or a bike that will not idle.

On the 2011 fuel injected bikes, 250 & 350 SX-f and XC-f, the bikes have a fuel filter inside the gas tank. Apparently, some issues with clogged injectors arose with those models. For 2012, all fuel injected bikes now also have a secondary inline fuel filter.

So far, it appears that the inline fuel filter may be the cause of more issues, rather than the cure. The 10 micron membrane is so small that it is very prone to clogging. KTM has issued a technical bulletin (TB1202) that directs dealers to replace the 10 micron filter with an updated, larger opening, 20 micron filter. Part of the service bulletin includes updating all 2011 models to run the inline filter.

This is a warranty service. There are a couple of different part numbers for the repair, depending upon the model of the bike. I have included a photo of one of those parts, where you can see the new filters and hose clamp. The OEM clamp is a one-time use crimp on item, so it needs to be replaced.

Changing the inline filer is a fairly simple task. It requires removal of the seat and gas tank. Then the fuel line is removed from the fuel rail with one Phillips head screw. With this apart, you remove the hose camp at the ā€œLā€ fitting and access the filter.

Reinstalling the fuel line to the fuel rail is a little more difficult. There is very little space to line the L fitting up properly and the orange O-ring needs to be treated with care to avoid damage. A very light dose of grease around the O-ring will help it slide into place. Make sure to place the O-ring on the male end of the L fitting, not inside the fuel rail. Along with keeping a spare filter handy, I would keep a fresh O-ring also, just in case.

Depending on the model, it may be possible to remove the fuel line directly from the L fitting. That would eliminate the need to remove the L fitting from the injector body. Loosening and rotating the injector body may help with the access. On our 2012 500XC-W model, this did not appear possible due to the location of the frame rail and wiring harness. It looks like the placement on the forthcoming “Dungey” edition 450SX-F will be completely different.

Can a repair be made trailside? The answer is yes, but only if the original hose clamp has already been replaced with a reusable one. In an emergency, the inline filter could simply be removed and run without it.

I spent some time talking with RJ Savage at All American KTM in Ramona to see what he could tell me. He has serviced a number of bikes for this already. The first thing he told me was that not a single bike had shown any sign of dirt in the filter. His belief is that this is simply a fuel issue. What is clogging the filter is varnish or other impurities associated with the gas. You can imagine how easy a pilot jet gets clogged with current fuels and with an opening that is hundreds of times larger than a 10 micron filter.

He has also had some success, in emergencies, simply back washing the filter with either gas and/or compressed air. This eliminates having to take the filter assembly apart. RJ recommends the use of a fuel additive to all of his customers. They have tried a couple of different products and like the Star Tron fuel treatment. Another option would be to use Chevron Techtron fuel injection cleaner at a ratio of 1oz per gallon of fuel. All American has had no repeat issues on bikes that have the updated filter.

I know many riders are concerned about the potential of being stuck out of the trail with any kind of problem that may leave them stranded. Like any new technology, there will be a learning curve for the owners about the system and the maintenance that goes with it.

KTM has not issued any specific care instructions regarding this yet. I expect that at some point they will specify a service interval for replacing these filters. As an owner, I would just treat this as a regular maintenance item, to use a fuel treatment regularly and plan to replace the inline filter at regular intervals.

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  1. Chris says:

    My 11 350sxf recently started running poorly after about 50 hrs. I found a failed orange O ring at the fuel line L fitting to the throttle body. It was visibly torn. I replaced it and the bike ran much better for a few motos and then ran poorly again. Now I have removed the throttle body and found a broken and corroded electrical plug connection to the large black cylinder under the throttle body. One of the two pins in the connector is actually broken off and the seal clearly has failed to keep dirt and water out. Does anybody know what this black cylinder shaped component does?

  2. Dean says:

    Owch, that was a little strong wasn’t it?

    I the sense of fairness, I think I should step up and say few good words in defence of the “exploding pumkins”.

    My first stint on a KTM was a 2005 new 450EXC. To this day probably the best overall motorcycle I have ever owned. It was fast, comfortable, turned, stopped and depenable as a fixed election in Mexico. 1000’s of fun and care free miles (especially in Mexico), just add gas and change the oil every now and then. The funny part was I had just dumped 10 grand into making a 2002 Honda CRF 450 into the ultimate dual sport bike with an Athena cylinder, flywheel weight, taller 5th gear, 18″ rear wheel, hot cam, etc.,etc. That little stock KTM beat the fire beathing Honda like a red headed step child!

    Since then I have owned several new KTM’s including a 2009 530XC-W and true it wasn’t as easy to ride as my old 450 but it was still very reliable.

    I think part of KTM’s bad relibility rap comes from the fact that lots’ of people ride them until they are near death and sell them without keeping up on regular up keep (oil changes, vales adjust, wheel bearings, etc.).

    In my humble opinion, KTM’s cost a lttle more when you buy them but cost way less and are more fun to ride in the the long run.

    I have owned all the major(and some minor)brands of motorcycles and think they are all good if operated as the manufacture intended. KTM is no more guilty of letting one get out the door with a first year squak then anyone else. Don’t forget the first year Honda 450X models made better boat anchors then motorcycles.

  3. Katooms Test Monkey says:

    KTM=Katooms Test Monkey

    I learned the hard way long ago when I bought an 08 530 EXC and had nothing but trouble. My bad for getting a first model year from KTM. They use their customers to do the sort of long term testing they should be doing beforehand…just look at all the corrections to the 09, 10, and then 11.

    2012 is starting the process all over again. If you haven’t learned this thru your own KTM frustration, your buddy’s KTM frustration, or the hundreds of forum’s of KTM owners frustration then you have nobody to blame but yourself.

    I’m back on an early 2000 DRZ that Suzuki didn’t need to update or correct for 10 years because they did their testing beforehand. Is my bike heavier and underpowered compared to the current crop. Yes. Is it 1000% more reliable when I’m 100+ miles from the border in the middle of nowhere. Hell yes!

    The first time you have to ditch your overpriced KTM and walk 25 miles out you’ll come to the same conclusion I did.

    Any KTM after the RFS should be closed course rated only because it’s not if but when they will leave you stranded with no way back.

  4. Paul Lehrman says:

    Just had my 350 xcw done by Fun Center in Durango, Colorado.
    Awesome!

  5. keith killoran says:

    Just went through this on my son’s 2012 KTM 250 SX-F . It was a nightmare after $7,000 and a DNF. Just drove 3hrs there and back from the dealer “who didn’t know shit,but had the recall parts”. Their was also a new spark plug cap,that they said was only for the 250’s.

  6. Chilly says:

    I ran across this today from the Dirt Rider Mag site. I must be doing something right, they practically copied my entire post, even the pics.

    http://www.dirtrider.com/tech/141_1203_ktm_fuel_line_filters/index.html

  7. Gooseman says:

    Cory, you have to take it back to the dealer and they will do the recall on this model. They will install a bigger filter (20 instead of a 10). The kit comes with two spare filters, so make sure you get this from them.

  8. Cory Dalton says:

    I have a new ’12 450 xc-w and it is dying constantly with out explanation….it has 2.5 hrs on it…someone suggested I look into the fuel filter issue..I am thinking..what!!!!…this is a brand new $9,000 bike! So someone please tell me how to fix this thing considering the dealer i bought from is 4 hours away and the closest dealer is 2 hours away

  9. I just bought a 12 xcw 450, I ride baja a lot, I’m definitely a little concerned. That was a lot of good info chilly, you-know I will be calling. You definitely know more than the dealers mechanics, you would think they would be keeping them up dated

  10. This same info applies to the Husabergs also. Some updated notes; the original in-line 10 micron filter has also had reports of melting during use. Hopefully the new 20 micron also address’s that problem. Some folks have opted for an old school type in line filter placed in the fuel line. I question the necessity of either of those though, as there is an in-line filter immediately after the pump, in the tank, as well as a screen at the inlet of the pump. There have also been many reports of just plain old failed fuel pumps…..know a guy with a ’12 350SX whose failed in four hours use, bike was down about three weeks for parts.

    Seems what you really need to do is protect your fuel line from debris entering when it is disconnected. As one who suffered a DNF from a clogged injector after traveling from Colorado to Baja, it is very discouraging! Another racer friend of mine suffered a DNF last weekend on a 350SX after traveling from Co. to Glen Helen. Seems he uses a dry break quick fill and dirt entered at that time when he was pitting.

    I have heard similar reports about asian bikes having failing pumps also, just seems the KTM’s and Bergs are most susceptible. FI appears to be one of those “be careful of what you ask for” things. Many are clamoring for DI on two strokes…….I say ferget about it, keep ‘em simple!

  11. Len Faltyn says:

    I talked to Creg at ACTIONMOTORSPORTS KTM in Decator, TX. They are flushing the fuel tank several times and using the fuel screen that goes in the tank. They keep flushing until there is no dabree left in the screen and then they know the tank is clean before a customer gets the bike. That’s is what a good dealer is all about!