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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a 1985 model and I have owned MC's off and on for a long, long time. Purchased used just yesterday and it was running when I picked it up. Got it home on the trailer, battery is dead.

Anyway it did not start for me. So I R&R the spark plugs, replacing the Champions with NGK's. Taking out all the one year old gas and replacing with new premium like I usually run in MC's and snowmobiles.

Got the required new battery, but wanted to see it run before I installed. Hooked up to a spare car battery, no go and the spark is fine. Called the PO and he says "its always been cold blooded" needs to be 70 degrees or warmer. So I recharge the battery and put a electric heater near the bike and after a while it starts fine, and I was happy to see the battery actually charging at 13 volts or so.

Question? Does everyone else with a 454 only ride on nice warm days?? First motorcycle I have owned in over 40 years that did this??

OMG I just read the Sticky, Yes I have a DVM, official spark tester and am also a master electrician and have a machine shop in my garage. Was it ok to post? :). Just kidding, but I can't believe Kawasaki would make just a 70 degree and warmer days motorcycle!
 

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Insect Impact Analyst
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Yeah, that doesn't sound right to me. There are a couple of things you might want to check.

First off, you are probably gonna want to take the carbs off and clean them up. If they have been sitting for a while with bad gas, then they may be a bit gummed up. That can cause starting (and other) problems.

Second, you might want to check the valve clearances. If they are too tight, you can run into cold weather starting issues. An older bike like that may well be due for a valve adjustment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well they have been riding this thing off and on, but not a lot. The guy rode it 15 miles to meet me so I could save some road time. I thought when valves were worn they made clicking noises instead of getting tighter. Maybe I don't understand the valve train operation?
Need to get either a service manual or owners manual.

It has 24,000 miles and the adjustment caps are still on the carbs... or maybe that's good thing.

Thanks for the reply!! I checked a lot of Kawasaki forums and this was the best one I found. Great people.
 

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Insect Impact Analyst
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What happens with valves is they wear into the seats. When that happens, the stems stick out of the head farther, and thus tighten the clearances rather than loosening them. This changes the amount of time the valves open, which changes the overall operation of the engine. (In extreme cases, the valves don't close tight enough to transfer heat through the valve seats and into the heads, and the valves can burn). Tight valves in a lot of cases have been known to cause hard starting when the engine is cold. It's probably worth looking into.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Makes sense to me!! I'd guess with 24k they are about due. I will need to locate the info to do the job correctly. Got to get a service manual...
Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I need to make a correction here. It has problems starting when its below say 50 degrees or so. Even with the oil changed to 10W-40 and the rest it still has the problem. I was hoping not to adjust the valves until the new gas and cleaner is ran out of the tank, maybe a 100 miles or so. If it was just a matter of removing the caps and adjusting I would do right away, but it involves a lot of work.... and if it turns out not to help.

I'm wondering IF it could be a spark issue, as when its cold the drain on the puny (new and charged) battery just to crank it over, has to be taking power away from the CDI system and not full power to the coils. Thoughts?
 

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Navy Vet Search & Rescue
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I won't say much of anything is impossible but I would say a more likely cause for the coils not getting full power is the old wiring harness these older bikes have and the many connection points in the harness for the coils 12v input get dirty/corroded. It wouldn't be a bad idea to get the meter out and check your input voltage. If it is much lower than a direct reading of the battery voltage, I'd look at doing the coil repower mod a lot of us have done.
 

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Insect Impact Analyst
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I second the coil power issues. It may be a stretch, but it's easier to check the voltage than to go through and do the valves and all that. If they are a little bit low, then it might cause problems. I have had bikes fail to fire when the battery is low, even though there is still enough juice to crank the starter over. Pop in a fully charged battery and it starts right up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I second the coil power issues. It may be a stretch, but it's easier to check the voltage than to go through and do the valves and all that. If they are a little bit low, then it might cause problems. I have had bikes fail to fire when the battery is low, even though there is still enough juice to crank the starter over. Pop in a fully charged battery and it starts right up.
Well the battery is new, but that doesn't mean anything. It looks to be undersized for the CC's of the engine. My guess is if it does not fire on the first few seconds of cranking, the battery voltage is then low enough to effect the spark. I can use the start button and the starter cranks, not as fast as other MC's I have owned. After a couple tries and I can smell the gas. However, Once this baby is started and warmed up it starts at the first second of the cranking process.

Tell me about the coil mod (or where to find the info) and I guess I will need to wait for my service manual to know what pins, or wires to check on the Ign Module. I guess I should put in my tag line I am a electrician and have done lots of control wiring and design work.
 

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Obfuscation Engineer
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Adjust the valves http://ltd454.proboards.com/index.cgi has a sticky for valve adjustment .
These bikes are so lean from OEM that they virtually will not start without the airfilters installed and are difficult to start with some aftermarket filters .
These carbs use a mixture enrichment circuit for a "choke" and it's easily plugged by rotten fuel . The idle (pilot) jet is also easily plugged by deposits . there is a carb clean howto at the above mentioned site also . If the problem is minor you can try seafoam but I feel that nothing beats a good , intelligent , correct cleaning of of the carbs .

more if you need it , just ask :D

~kop
 

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Navy Vet Search & Rescue
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Couldn't find a link to the article at wiredgeorges forum so I'll post a pic I have. It should be pretty obvious to you since your an electrician. Some members have elected to run a straight hot wire to the coils since the ground side is normally open. But I'm with the ones that are afraid of an igniter failure causing a perm ground to the coils and frying the coils so I used the relay. I guess I'd rather be safe than take the chance.

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So the Red/Yellow on the coils is + DC from the key switch or where? And the Black or Green wires on the coils are from the Igniter module? So the module just acts the same as the points in the old system. So where do you pick up the Red/Yellow from the kill switch? Or is it the same wire that was / is feeding the coils now?

Lots of questions, IF I had my service book with the diagrams I would not need to ask!

What I think would really help if you could kill the headlight during the cranking. The headlight has to be sucking power away from the ignition system. Glad I'm retired so I have lots of time to mess with this...
 

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Yes, the red/yellow comes from the kill switch via the ign switch. You can pick it up anywhere after the kill switch. For simplification of installation, I removed the + wires from the coils and cut them where they Y'd out from the single red/yellow coming from the kill switch. Then I extend that wire back to my relay which I mounted under the seat. This wire is only used to pick the relay, so being low voltage won't affect it. I also chose to run my new + wire direct from the battery instead of the start relay (again for ease of installation).

I agree with killing the headlight for cranking purposes and some of the new models do this. I've been thinking about where and how to add a relay to mine for this reason but haven't done it as of yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
OK, Well this is all starting (pun intended) to make sense. If the red/yellow wire goes through the Ignition Sw. , Kill button and who knows what else before it actually powers the coils I can see where the improvement would come from.

I have not seen the diagram for the headlight or lighting yet, but I assume it never leaves the headlight switch/ fuse area up front. That will make the headlight lockout when starting more complex. Darn I wish I had the book....
 

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I think the new bikes are tripping the headlight relay with the alternator output and using a hold voltage on the relay so that once the bike has been started the first time, the light won't go out until the key is switched off. Even if the engine dies after the initial startup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well it was only 65 degrees in the shop this morning, not really cold. But the motorcycle started like right now, no choke, no throttle just enough to make sure it did not die. I'm a believer (In Valve adjustments) and other things!!
But all the other stuff I did before now means I can ride this bike right away. I do not have the stock air filters in yet, but like I posted above, I removed the old really plugged filter paper and left the screens in place. I then stuffed some air filter media used when doing my HVAC job, pretty good poly foam stuff but not paper filter grade. This was in place when the engine started almost on the second turn of the crankshaft. Wow, Thanks guys!!

The starting relay mod may still be on the list, later.
 
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