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September 6th, 2020, 03:30 AM   #1
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I Ride: 2016 ktm 380, 1999 ktm 380, 2002 fe 501
02 fe 501 id updated parts

Hi guys

I have just picked up a 02 fe 501 not running. Stator measures open cct on one coil so it's shot, while I'm waiting for the stator can I please get the low down on what parts definitely need updating to get this engine reliable? I have read counter balance, rockers, auto decomp, main bearings, cam sprocket and cam chain are all problematic, the bike is really low hours looking at the original discs, wheels and foot pegs. will it just go bang! If I get it running and ride it. How long does it take for all these parts to fail? You guys kind of have me scared to ride this thing. I'm probably getting a bit ahead of my self but I'm curious to know
Cheers
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September 6th, 2020, 07:06 AM   #2
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I Ride: '08 FE450e Supermoto & '02 CR250R
I think you might have been scared off a bit too much. But at least pull the engine apart and inspect it. Then see what you really need. If it has less than 100 hours total then you should be fine with smaller stuff but since itís not running be sure to check the cause of it thoroughly. Water pump seals/bearing is to be a no brainer to change since itís cheap and depending on bike will leak somewhere between 50-120h hour intervals especially if it has been stored a while. Taffy will probably answer with some leads as well.


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September 7th, 2020, 02:00 AM   #3
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I Ride: 2016 ktm 380, 1999 ktm 380, 2002 fe 501
Thanks for the reassurance I'll check the water pump seal and bearing, is there any way to tell if any of the parts that fail on the 02 bikes have been updated all ready? Like the rockers and decomp for example

I'll check the cam sprocket to see of its steel and how much is left in the auto cam chain tensioner, anything else I can easily check?
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September 7th, 2020, 02:56 PM   #4
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I Ride: "2000" FE600, 1994 FC660, 1994 FE501 (in pieces), 2001 FE 501 (in fewer pieces), 2002 FE 400
I recently picked up an '01 FE 501 that had been partially disassembled by the previous owner. The cases were not split but most of the remainder of the engine was apart. I checked the cam follower bearings and found them to be badly worn. I upgraded the rockers to the '03 parts, upgraded the chain tensioner, removed the electric start parts, the kick start decomp and the auto decomp (I prefer to kick start my Husabergs). I also installed one of Taffy's dual valve spring kits. I'm sure there were some other things that it needed.

Once it was all together (running the original carb) I went for a couple of rides and enjoyed the bike immensely. However, I noted that there was a whirring noise from the engine that was getting louder and louder. Finally, after running it for about 10 hours, I couldn't ignore the noise any longer and took the engine to Thumper Racing. They tore it down and found the main bearings to be bad. Travis even said that those bearings didn't appear to have even another 20 minutes left in them!

So, now I'm having them remove the counterbalancer to eliminate another known weak spot and rebuild it using a high compression KTM RFS 540 (97mm) piston on a rebuildable Carillo rod, new main bearings, and whatever else it needs.

The point is, at least in my experience, the main bearings don't seem to just go bang without any warning. In this case, the whirring just got louder and louder. That said, I did have a cam bearing (not a cam follower bearing but one of the actual bearings that the cam rides on) fail in an older Husaberg 501 engine and it DID just go bang and die.
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September 8th, 2020, 02:58 AM   #5
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I Ride: 2016 ktm 380, 1999 ktm 380, 2002 fe 501
Great run down of info thank you and I was not sure if these engines would start with out the auto decomp so that's good to know.

How did you plug up the area where the starter motor goes?
Are these liners cast iron or nickasil?
Is the rocker up grade to prevent the cam follower bearings wearing out?

Cheers mate
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September 8th, 2020, 02:33 PM   #6
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I Ride: "2000" FE600, 1994 FC660, 1994 FE501 (in pieces), 2001 FE 501 (in fewer pieces), 2002 FE 400
The factory motocross bikes came without electric starters so they had a plug. Taffy has them. They must have been bonded in with an adhesive originally because I couldn't find any other method to secure them. So, I drilled and tapped a hole in the plug and another in the engine case just next to the starter hole so I could fabricate a small aluminum bar to hold it in place. That'll make it easier to add the electric starter if I ever decide to.

I'm not sure what the material of the liners is although Thumper Racing is making me a new one for my 501. The one on the left is the new one and is thicker through the middle to better accommodate the bigger bore. It appears a bit too shiny to be a casting.



As for the nikasil, I may be wrong but I believe it to be a coating used on aluminum liners to keep them from wearing out quickly.

Yes, the rocker upgrade uses a smaller cam follower bearing pin which allows for larger bearing needles which don't wear out as quickly. I got lucky and found Dan at MotoXotica had a pair still on the shelf after all these years. If you're unable to find a set of rockers, you can still swap to a milder cam and dual valve springs which should extend the life of the original style bearings.
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September 9th, 2020, 02:26 PM   #7
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I Ride: 2016 ktm 380, 1999 ktm 380, 2002 fe 501
Thanks your all very helpful here I appreciate the info. Good luck with the big bore! It should be pumping out some serious HP. I used to have a ktm 520 with a 540 kit and ported head etc, man that thing really went hard.
Enjoy!
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