TuneECU IS your friend … just don’t forget it!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid TuneECU TPS resetI’ve just had a fun few hours preparing the Capo for its MOT (annual inspection) and one of the issues I wanted to get around to sorting was the slightly high tick-over.

For quite a few months now the idle has been 1,500 – 1,550 when warm – not enough to be troublesome, but noticeable. Problem is ….. I’ve plain forgot to do anything about it once the ignition was turned off! So today I dusted off the cable and charged the old ASUS notebook and plugged in.

Thankfully it was just as I hoped, the TPS (Throttle Position Sensor) was not at zero with a closed throttle. It was reading 1%. A tap on the ‘TPS Reset’ had it reading 0% and the idle was fine once again. So, the question is, have I got a TPS on its way out, or was it simply the fact that I hadn’t done a reset in 18 months ( 20K+ miles), something I used to do at every service. I’m hoping it’s the latter and will endevour to make sure I hook up TuneECU during all future services. Funny really that a tool I used to hook up on an almost weekly basis slowly slid to the dark recesses of the workshop over time.

Bargain Futura motor

Aprilia Futura RST1000 engine V990Just bagged a nice little Aprilia spare off eBay ….. an RST1000 Futura motor! Not the lowest mileage, but complete and still sporting the starter motor. Overall in nice condition with only age related external wear and no corrosion at all, but of course it’s the condition of the internals that count! Either way, use it or break it for spares, I think it’s well worth what I paid for it – can’t wait to pick it up later this week.  😀 

I’ve noticed that engine prices seem to be on the increase in the UK …. Capo/Futura motors seemed to go for £350-£500 a year or two ago – now they seem to be commanding £450 – £700 plus!

Seal of disapproval!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid AP0850050 gearbox output shaft sealWhen is a part not the right part? When it’s an Aprilia part of course!!!!! A few weeks ago the old Capo seemed to be producing its own chain lube …. long and the short of it was the possible failure of one of three seals. Clutch push-rod, gear selector or gearbox output shaft. Two of the seals are stock off-the-shelf items so no problem ordering spares. But the gearbox output shaft seal is down as AP0850050 and quoted as ’40x47x7.5′ …… and what a load of bollocks that turned out to be!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid AP0850050 gearbox output shaft sealPunch the numbers into any online seal supplier and you’ll draw a blank or at best come up with a ’40x47x4′ …… so thinking it was a Rotax special, I caved in and ordered the brain numbingly expensive Aprilia item from Fowlers (UK). And here it is, written crystal clear on the Aprilia bag and backing up the parts manuals … except it’s all a big fat lie! The seal is in fact marked in itty-bitty script on the back as – ’30x47x7′ – and THAT seal size is most definitely available through any online seal store for a frigging fraction of the Aprilia one! Now you know …

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid AP0850050 gearbox output shaft seal

Introducing the ‘Capogiro’ unit ….

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid & Capogiro dynamic brake light unitFirstly may I say that we here at moto-abruzzo wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and hope that 2018 brings good roads and big smiles on those shiny Caponords of yours!

Secondly, fellow Capo owner and electronics whizz Michele from Italy (MCR on AF1 forum) got in touch about his Mk3 ‘Capogiro’ unit. Based on the BMW Dynamic Brake Light system, it uses a microcontroller and a 3-axis gyro/accelerometer unit to control the brake light and hazard warning lights, as well as having other useful outputs. In a nutshell the DBL function is:

    • Normal brake light function under all light/medium braking conditions
    • Brake light pulsed at 5Hz when braking hard (>0.35g) from between 14Kmh (9mph) and 60Kmh (37mph)
    • Below 5Kmh (3mph) normal brake light function is restored
    • If still braking hard at below 5Kmh (3mph), the hazard lights are turned on automatically
  • They will then remain on for 60 seconds OR until the speed is greater than 20Kmh (12mph) for xx seconds

This then is the primary function of the unit. But Michele didn’t stop there, he’s added a raft of other useful functions as well, including:

    • Add a handlebar switch and you have rider switchable hazard warning lights
    • Drop the bike on its side and the opposite (high side) pair of indicators will operate in a kind of half-hazard mode to alert others of an obstruction on the road
    • Leave the indicators on too long and the system will give you an audible alarm to remind you to turn them off …. who hasn’t done that!
    • A basic but useful alarm function. Add a hidden switch and intercept a relay and the unit will use the gyros and accelerometers to know if it’s being moved and set off the horn/hazards as well as immobilise the engine.
    • It also has the ability to do what Aprilia never did – keep the headlights switched off until the engine is running, then turn them on, vastly reducing battery drain on starting.
  • And last but not least the ability to interface with an eCall device that alerts others that you may need assistance.

Each of these functions is well thought out with outputs all protected and battery status being analysed so as to not activate certain functions which could possibly prevent the bike from starting due to low voltage. All in all, a well thought out and professionally built unit. All this fits into a neat 122mm * 39mm * 31mm package that is designed to locate on top of the headlight behind the windscreen. Granted, if you use all the functions then there are a fair few wires to be connected, but if you don’t want to use a particularly function(s) then just don’t hook up those particular wires, easy! And the cost for this little box of wizardry …… currently €120, not cheap granted, but for the safety features and added additional functions thrown in, I think it’s well worth the money. You can download a copy of the installation instructions in English HERE or in Italian HERE.

OK, sounds great but is it legal to use? Well BMW have added a similar system because it conforms to EU legislation and they sell bikes fitted with it in the UK. But the fact is they DO appear to fall foul of the Highway Code rule 116 (watch their own videos):


“….. You MUST NOT use hazard warning lights while driving or being towed unless you are on a motorway or unrestricted dual carriageway and you need to warn drivers behind you of a hazard or obstruction ahead. …… “


In other words, if the hazard lights activate while moving on any other road than motorways/unrestricted dual carriageways then that’s a legal no-no …. even if it is helping to save your pride and joy (and skin) from some inattentive muppet driving too close behind!

So the bottom line seems to be that a big manufacturer can bend the rules but we, no doubt cannot. Fitting it then may be legally questionable, on the other hand if it increases safety, makes no visible changes to your bike in day-to-day use AND will most likely never be noticed during an MOT test or roadside inspection ……….. well then that’s up to you, I cannot condone anything that would possibly break local or international law in any way shape or form, no siree Bob. Me? I’m only testing it off-road of course. 😉

If you’re interested in more information or would like to buy on, please drop me a line with your details and I’ll forward them to michele for you.

And that just leaves me to express my own gratitude to Michele for not only sending me a Capogiro to try, but also sharing ‘under the bonnet’ details so that I can get a better understanding of how the functions work. I owe you one Michele! 😀

While the tank was off ……

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid fuel pump harness (AP8124664) connector SupersealI finally got around to changing out the open-to-air 4-way connector that feeds the fuel pump and fuel level sensor. In went a nice 4-way Superseal (14A rated) with the connectors crimped, soldered and given a light coat of dielectric grease before sliding home into the waterproof housing.

Hopefully no more erratic fuel level due to oxidation on the pins! While I was at it I pulled the spare fuel pump harness (AP8124664) out of its bag and changed its connector as well. I’d look mighty foolish if I’d pulled that out of my spares kit at the roadside and the connectors didn’t match!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid fuel pump harness (AP8124664) connector SupersealWhile under the hood, I noticed that the outer coat of the fuel return line (marine-grade ISO 7840 A1) is showing signs of deterioration and kinking near the swaged end at the fuel tank. I’d noticed it back in September, but unfortunately it appears to be a little worse now. Time then to order a new cLCD 170-04 1/4″ barbed quick release connector from Tom Parker (UK) along with suitable Oetiker clamps – I’ll only use clamps that need to be crimped, never ones with screws that can work loose. I’ve no problem doing the return hoses myself, but when it comes to the high pressure side, I leave it to the professionals. Last time that was MF Hydraulics in Oxford and I’ll be happy to use them again come the day.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid fuel pump return line hoseThe marine hose has lasted well (9 years) and that’s to be expected given that hose for marine applications has to meet very strict guidelines, however I think hose rated at SAEJ30R9 with its improved impermeability and tolerance to Ethanol is probably better suited on the Capo nowadays. Either way I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it! The high pressure line and main return line are holding up just fine with no sign of wear or deterioration.

Magnecor KV85 HT leads – Review

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Magnecor KV85 2530 HT leadsThe modified HAAS coils have been on now for just over six months and 12,000 miles and everything is ticking along just fine. Even so, the Capo needs a few treats every now and again, so I thought a nice new set of HT leads might complement the new(ish!) coils. Besides, the old OEM HT leads have been on the bike for 14 years!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Magnecor KV85 2530 part number ignition cable HT leadSo a couple of weeks ago I placed an order with Race Spec Performance (UK) for a set of Magnecor KV85 (Part No: 2530) HT leads. These are made on an order-by-order basis and this means a bit of a wait if lots of orders are flooding in as the riding season gets underway. They make it very clear that the wait could be three to four weeks. I wasn’t in a rush, the wait would be fine. So I was pleasantly surprised when they rocked up on the doorstep in just over two weeks – excellent stuff!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Magnecor KV85 2530 HT leads and sticker!Now these leads are designed to fit on the OEM Sagem/JCI coils but also fitted my modified HAAS coils with no issues at all. Well maybe one ……. the rubber boot is such a damn good fit it doesn’t allow the air out as the lead is pushed into place – so the trapped air just builds up pressure as the volume decreases. Then when you let go it oh-so gently pushes the lead back off again! The trick is to get it seated properly then slide something blunt up under the boot until hearing a ‘psstttt’ as the trapped air escapes …… NOW the lead is on securely!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Magnecor KV85 2530 HT lead on HAAS modified coilOverall the caps are shorter than the OEM angled ones and even with 8.5mm diameter cables the fit and bend of the supple cables is perfect in all four mounting locations. Overall length is fine allowing cables to be routed comfortably without trying to lose excess cable or bend cables in an unreasonably tight radius. And of course, now the engine looks way more powerful with these bright red babies in place!

Would I buy them again? Yes. I’ll definitely pop a set on the other Raid, with one proviso – I’ll skip the international shipping as it’s a bit steep (£16 versus £4.99 shipped within the UK). Otherwise at £50.99 I’m happy enough given the quality of the product, excellent fit and 10 year limited warranty. So lets start clocking up the mileage and how well they last!

 

Ognibene sprockets

The first Ognibene (7164-16) 16 tooth front sprocket was fitted last April, since then its done over 18,000 miles and I’m happy to say, still has some life left in it. In comparison to the excellent Renthal sprockets that I’d used since the OEM one wore out, I have to say I’m very impressed. Yes they cost a couple of pounds more that the Renthal, but it has covered more miles. The Reynolds typically averaged (15,000 miles), making the Ognibene’s running cost slightly better pence-per-mile wise.

Now a matching set of front and rear (8098-45) sprockets are going on, along with a nice new gold/gold DID 525-112 ZVM-X chain. Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Ognibene front sprocket 7164-16The France Equipment rear sprocket (1683-45) I fitted last year is still looking pretty good, so it’ll go on the shelf as a part-worn spare.

One thing that’s maybe worth mentioning about Ognibene sprockets is to be aware that the ‘silent’ bands will bed-in over the first few miles. Initially the chain side-plates ride up on the hard plastic bands before sinking in – changing the effective diameter of the chain’s run around the sprocket ……. this means your chain adjustment has to be monitored more carefully at the beginning Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Ognibene 8098-45 rear sprocket and DID ZVM-X chainand will no doubt require a couple of tweaks. Once everything beds-in I guess it’s business-as-usual with regards to the long intervals between adjustments that I like about the DID chain.

New chain and rear Ognibene sprocket courtesy of Motrag at a very competative price. Unfortunately they could only supply the 17 tooth front, not the 16 tooth…… that may change in time.

Cam chain tensioner – Part 3 ….. Judgment Day!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid cam timing chain tensioner AP0236252 AP0236253A few days ago the two new cam (timing) chain tensioners (AP0236253) arrived ……. and as if she knew, the Capo started to rattle the rear cylinder for a second or two at almost every start-up! So as soon as we got home yesterday, it was off with the bike kit and into the workshop-wear and time to seriously twiddle some spanners.

Thankfully the rear tensioner is nice and easy. Fuel tank up, pop out a couple of spark plugs to make rotating the rear cylinder to top-dead-center nice and easy, then rummage under the wiring on the right hand side and find the cap requiring a 6mm hex-key.. Remove the cap and the copper washer underneath and then use something pointy to hook the tensioner out enough to get a grip with podgy fingers.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid AP0236252 cam timing chain tensioner INA F-46807The tensioner shows definite signs of movement and rotation and the plunger could be pushed in about 1/2 its travel ….. I think FUBAR best describes it! The new tensioner was oiled up and before it was dropped into the motor I did a little experiment. Both old and new parts were flushed and filled with new 15w/50 and gently pinched in a vice. The new tensioner remained snug for a long time, only a small amount of oil could be seen coming out ….. next up the old one. This remained snug for no more than 1-2 minutes and oil could be seen leaking from it the second it was compressed. So all in all a major difference in performance between old and new.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid cam timing chain tensioner AP0236252 AP0236253After a few more jobs were carried out, it was buttoned together and warmed up …. no rattles and in fact the idle was smoother than it has been in a while.

The tensioner that came out is an original Mk1 (AP0236252) that was superseded by the new version a good few years back. From what year they were fitted as standard I don’t know. Looking closely at the old one I found ‘INA F-46807’ printed around the edge. I can’t find much about it unfortunately. However ……..

……. I did find something that might be of interest. It looks like the tensioner fitted to the BMW 650 (late models) and F700/800 bikes could well be the same. Now this can only be corroborated by direct comparison, so I might tout the other new Aprilia one around a few BMW dealers to see if I can find out if they match. If they do fit, then they are available for substantialy less than the £68 each from Aprilia.

Keeping the postman busy

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 RST Futura hybrid velocity stack 47mm 51mmAfter January’s awful weather – snow, rain, sub-zero temps, earthquakes & landslides, it’s been a very nice balmy February! So much so, that the Capo has squirreled a good few miles under its belt – the last 300 of them with the new snorkel in place. And I have to say, I’m really chuffed at how it performs. No extra induction noise that my aged arthritic lug holes can detect and no detriment to performance even though it’s been nowhere near a dyno to tweak the mapping.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid cam chain tensioner AP0236253As I write, a swanky set of Futura throttle bodies are winging their way here, as are a nice new pair of Mk2 cam chain tensioners – AP0236253. The velocity stacks are now finished and ready to fit to the throttle bodies and so it just leaves the matter of swapping out the Anakee Wild tyres for a fresh set of Anakee 3’s and a DID ZVM-X chain and Ognibene front/rear sprocket set (courtesy of Motrag) and I think she’ll be ready for a damn good thrashing on Dr Dyno! 🙂

 

Take a deep breath ……..

Hawker Typhoon air inlet and radiatorWith plans a-foot to assemble a big-cc motor for the Capo, it was time to cast an inquisitive eye over the airbox snorkel, that ugly rubber protrusion at the front of the airbox, sucking in hot air from on top of the radiator. This one object has been debated far and wide over the years – keep it, or remove it? Yes the questionable snorkelectomy!

Only a couple of ways to find out I guess. Dyno the bike with and without it or draw it up and run a flow analysis on it from the comfort of an armchair. Armchair it is then! With the model Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid snorkel restrictioncomplete, here’s a couple of basic facts: Snorkel Inlet area (total) 1,750mm² and outlet area (total) 3,050mm². So the inlet is slightly restricted, the offending area is highlighted in the picture (click to enlarge). In fact, if the restriction were removed, the snorkel would have an inlet nearer to 2,400mm² – about 37% more!

To keep it simple the analysis was run with air at 1013mb and 20C, both with AND without the Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid airbox snorkel air velocity and pressurerestriction in place and at RPM’s ranging from 1,300 to 10,250 – well above Caponord max RPM of 8,750.

I think it’s reasonable to say that the OEM snorkel doesn’t really do badly until it hits 9,000RPM+ and lets face it, by then the whole thing is over for the poor old Capo anyway! Based on a days digital twiddling and some airbox datalogging several years ago, I have to say that I’m planting my flag firmly in the ‘leave it alone’ camp when it comes to the OEM Capo snorkel. It isn’t and never will be an RSV so why try to make it like one ….. the standard bits are designed to work well enough together for the style of bike it is. Yes of course remapping will improve things no end, but why screw up the ride by making it noisier and offering the local mice a HUGE entrance through which to set up an epic knocking shop on Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid airbox snorkel air pressure & velocitythe air filter!

But what about the big-cc conversion? well running the analysis with the 1,103cc and 1,127cc flow certainly seemed to cast doubt on the suitability of the OEM snorkel as the strong pressure drop is now occurring lower down the rev range. So the snorkel design originally drawn up back in October 2012 was dug out of hibernation, modified and polished up for 3D printing and run through the flow software – the green line on the graph above. Overall it seems to offer a cleaner flow, less pressure drop and maintains a similar airflow velocity into the airbox. Unfortunately the one thing the software can’t tell me is how much extra Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid airbox snorkel 3D print printednoise will be generated! The OEM snorkel is made of PVCD (flexible) AND has a foam pad in the roof of each inlet – both presumably are to reduce inlet noise.

With everything looking OK a few test parts were printed to make sure it’s going to fit, then the model was split into two along the mounting plate and both parts printed separately. This was due both to size limitations in the printer and because I didn’t want to use any support material to upset the surface finish. Afterwards both parts were bonded together and the inlet tracts rubbed down with 80/180/400/1200 grit sandpaper to get a reasonable finish.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid acoustic panel AP8117151With a bead of sealant and 4x M4x12 and 4x M5x12 screws and nyloc-nuts, the snorkel fits into place just fine. Of course only time will tell how well it stands up to the rigours of its new home! The OEM snorkel has a rubber/foam acoustic panel (AP8117151) that fits over it and of course it won’t fit the new one, so I’ve trimmed this one to suit(ish) and placed an order for a similar dual-material sound deadening product to make a new one specifically for this snorkel. However the chopped-about old panel can’t be far off the ball park, as inlet noise just wasn’t noticeable which was a pleasant surprise …… It could well be a different story from the saddle though! 🙄 

So what next? Well the plan is to get a day on a dyno when the weather is more amenable. I’d like to run it as standard, standard + new snorkel and Futura throttle bodies, new velocity stacks and new snorkel and see what the numbers say. Any guesses?