ASK THE MXPERTS: MY KTM 350SXF QUIT IN THE MIDDLE OF A MOTO, WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
My KTM 350SXF quit in the middle of my second moto last week. I thought I had just ham-fisted it and killed the engine, but it wouldn’t restart. It made no electric noises, and nothing happened when I pressed the button. Before I take it to my dealer, can you tell me what MXA thinks my problem is?
You didn’t say what year your 350SXF is, but that isn’t a big issue. There are only four reasons why your bike would not respond in any way to the starter button.
(1) The battery is dead; however, since you said it stopped while you were riding it, this cannot be the source of your problem. KTM has a relay switch that takes the engine off of battery power once it is running.
(2) The master relay switch is broken or the fuse in it is burned out. This is easy to check because the master relay switch comes with a spare 10-amp fuse in a plastic case attached to the relay. You can check the fuse by holding it up to light to see if there is a break in the wire.
(3) If you have a 2016 KTM 350SXF, you could have a condenser problem. In 2016, KTM switched to a smaller condenser than the previous years’. This new condenser proved to be erratic. It is easy to upgrade to the large condenser that comes on the 2017–’18 models. The KTM part number is 777-110-3500.
(4) But, we highly doubt that your battery, master relay or condenser are at fault. How do we know? Because we have seen this problem many times before and even suffered from it ourselves. The main culprit is the white plastic fitting behind the front number plate that the wire from the handlebar-mounted electric starter button goes into. To find it, follow your starter button wire to the fitting. It isn’t uncommon for the starter wire to pull out of the male/female plug. The most common cause of this wire failure is the wire getting hooked on a tie-down or being routed so that it cannot move freely when the bars are turned. To test if this is your problem, remove the front number plate and push the starter wire into the plastic fitting by hand while someone else presses the starter button. If the bike turns over, you have found the problem. You can get the clamp-on electrical fittings for the end of the wire at your KTM dealer or at an electrical supply store. Of course, you can also order the whole piece from KTM.