On the Cheap
Note: most of the cheapness here applies mostly to 1998-02 KTM EXC/MXC 250's,
300's, and 380's. I sold my '02 300MXC in 2008 and obviously haven't kept up with the
newer models. Who knows, maybe some of this still applies....
You can get by with about 10 inches shorter. The hex socket on the right is
14mm, for use at the compression valve cap. The other two came with the Auto
Zone set.
Close-up of the cut-outs. These match up with the
cartridge inside the fork and keep it from turning as the
compression valve cap is tightened or loosened.
It's a 2-inch PVC male adapter, about $1.50 from Home Depot or
Lowes. I cut it in half and put the two halves around the fork tubes,
connected with duct tape. The smaller-diameter end is just the right
size to drive the seals.
1998-2002 KTM's

Throttle & Cable
A Magura throttle can be made to work if you break your
throttle housing like I did.  Dennis Kirk sells Magura's
Model 314 throttle.  This 77-degree throttle works well for
off-road use.  The only downside is that you have to drill
out and tap your own threads where the cable comes
into the throttle. Pretty easy, though, since the housing
is plastic.

A throttle cable from a mid-1990's Honda CR250 works
very well and is available from Motion Pro for $10-15.  It
is a bit longer, which is popular with those of us who run
Scotts steering dampers and need more slack to route
the cable around the damper.  The end that fits into the
carb slide needs to be filed down just a bit, but otherwise
it's perfect.

Odometer Cable
An odometer cable from a 1998 Yamaha WR400
replaces the stock cable.  KTM gets $42 for their cable,
while the WR400 cable is about $12 through your
Yamaha dealer.  Plus, the Yamaha cable has metal
ends that thread onto the odometer and the odometer
drive, rather than the plastic ends used on the stock
cable. Enduro Engineering also sells a replacement
cable.

Heim Bearing - Lower Shock Pivot
KTM has pretty much priced themselves out of existence
for these parts, showing up as $52 in August 2007.
Enduro Engineering is the best bet, with a reasonably
priced replacement.

The "Other" Heim Bearing
Take a close look at the back side of the rear brake
pedal and you'll see a small heim bearing where the bolt
attaches the brake pedal to the actuating rod. Take a
look at the replacement part (546.03.069.000) and you'll
find a $36 list price. This small heim doesn't keep its
lubrication very long and eventually develops play, so I
was tempted to replace it until I saw the price tag. Don't
worry, there's an alternative. Check out the
McMaster-
Carr online industrial catalog and do a search for part
number 59935K52. Get the right-hand version, which fits
perfectly and is only $5.73 (as of April 2006).

Other Bearings and Seals
The KTM parts guide lists all the bearing types and the
seal measurements.  Your local bearing supply shop can
match you up with the same bearings and seals, and
probably better quality.  For the 608 bearings in the
chain roller and the brake pedal, go to your local skate
board/inline skate shop and get a pack of replacement
wheel bearings.  The bearings in skate wheels are the
same size, but they are usually not the sealed type, so
expect to change them more frequently.  Generally,
these bearings are about $1 apiece.

Rubber Seal - Pipe/Silencer Junction
When my silencer broke during a race, the rubber piece
that fits over the pipe/silencer junction was lost. Instead
of paying $24 for a KTM replacement, I used a 4-inch
piece of mountain bike inner tube.  It's the perfect
diameter, and you can put a dab of silicone sealer inside
each end to keep away the spooge. For a tight fit, use a
piece of new, never-inflated bike tube and a few zip ties.

2003 Kawasaki KX250
Homemade Fork Cartridge Holder
While the KTM’s WP 43mm fork cartridge was fairly easy
to keep from spinning (compression on the fork spring
would usually keep it from moving), the Kawasaki fork
cartridge was pretty much impossible to hold still while
tightening or loosening the compression valve cap.
Loosening the cap was doable with an impact wrench,
but I don’t like to use an impact driver to tighten such a
critical part of the bike. Instead, I built my own cartridge
holder with 1” PVC conduit. It was remarkably easy and
cheap.

Step 1:
Get a piece of 1” PVC conduit, about 18 inches long
(does not need to be as long as what’s pictured…it was
laying around and close enough in length). Eight-foot (or
longer) lengths are just a couple bucks at Home Depot
or Lowe's.

Step 2:
Using a Dremel tool or equivalent, cut four ¼” slots,
spaced evenly (every 90 degrees around the circle). The
slots should be about 3/8” deep. I used a cutting wheel
to carve out the slots.

Step 3:
Drill a hole in the opposite end of the pipe, big enough to
insert the end of a screwdriver or any other object that
allows you to grip the pipe and keep it from turning.

That’s it. Just stick the pipe down the fork, line it up at
the cartridge, hold on to the opposite end with your
screwdriver (or whatever you choose to use), and tighten
the compression valve cap to 45 ft-lbs.

Another mini-cheap tip: the 14mm hex/allen head
socket you need to loosen or tighten the compression
valve cap can be obtained at Auto Zone. It comes in a
set of three ½” drive sockets – 12mm, 14mm, and 17mm.
Costs about $8.
This one, not sure if it truly falls into the category of
cheap, since part of it was bought at some fancy-pants
store in Lincoln Park (Chicago), but when I saw it, I knew
my air filter cleaning problems were solved. The last few
years I've finally bucked up and kept an extra air filter on
hand for each bike, oiled and ready to go. This means, of
course, that I am usually cleaning two at a time since I'm
lazy and never get around to cleaning each filter as it is
dirtied. The upside is that it's actually a bit more efficient
that way - less Bel-Ray, Simple Green  and mineral
spirits used for each cleaning/oiling.

My cleaning procedure is this:

  1. Soak each filter in mineral spirits (using the same
    mineral spirits for each filter - efficiency, remember?)
  2. Rinse out the mineral spirits from each filter.
  3. Soak each filter in Simple Green - I do this because
    at some point I discovered that while mineral spirits
    do an excellent job of removing the dirty oil, they
    don't get out all the dirt. I learned this when blowing a
    clean filter with compressed air (no idea why I was
    doing that) and seeing dust flying out. After soaking
    the filter in Simple Green, I was shocked at how
    much fine dirt residue was left in the cleaning bowl.
    Simple Green takes away the dirt and leaves the filter
    smelling like a cool summer breeze or maybe a
    nursing home.
  4. Rinse filters and air dry.
  5. Oil'em up.

So the downside to using a big stainless steel mixing
bowl is the crunchy layer of grit left in the bottom. When
it's time to clean the second filter, it always seems like it's
picking up the grit left behind by the first filter. Here's
how we remedy this sich-y-aten:
On the left is a standard stainless steel mixing bowl (6
quarts, I believe). On the right, the middle basket from a
3-piece hanging fruit basket. Why anyone would need to
suspend their fruit from the ceiling or wherever is not
entirely clear to me, but all I know is that for $12.99, my
bowl-grit problems are now over. The basket fits perfectly
inside the bowl and sits just high enough to clear any dirt
particles floating around at the bottom.
Together at last
Like I said, not really
cheap, but afterwards I
still had two hanging
baskets to suspend stuff
from the ceiling (click on
picture for a link to the
store where you can buy
one...or just steal one
from your married buddy's
kitchen).
Basket
used -->
Would you clean your filters here?
Sure you would...if you weren't
married.
Filter Cleaning