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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Eliminator techs,
I own an 85 Eliminator, 20k miles, that shuts down mid run when I reach higher rpms. It's not fun and scary at higher speeds when the motor shuts off. I pull in the clutch, down shift, pop the clutch and engage the motor again and I keep going. Not fun....

Anyone ever experience this symptom?
Am I having carb issues?
Any ideas or suggestions on what might be going on would really be appreciated?
 

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It could be the battery. Does it start running poorly, losing power, then shut down; or does it just shut off out of the blue? I've had a couple of times when my motorcycle would do the 1st thing >> lose power, then quit; but I was able to limp the motorcycle home at lower speeds. Turns out in both cases the problem was the battery >> one time the electrolyte had gotten low over a long hot summer & the other time was because that battery went bad a few months later.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The bike starts up easy and runs fine at all rpms, except when I'm freeway and getting up to higher rpms and speed. At about 80mph and rpms over 5k when I give it a bit more the engine justs cuts off cold, no sputtering.

I'm guessing is carburation, but don't really know.

Just down right confusing and a bit harry when it happens in traffic... I drive in southern california....
 

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Ok here is one theory:

If you have dirt sloshing around in the float bowl there may not be enough suction to pull it up into the main jet until you have the throttle wide open or almost wide open. At that point the dirt gets sucked up into the main jet and the engine dies. When you drop the throttle, the needle pushes the dirt out and you are fine until the next time you use that throttle position.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Interesting, logical and sounds like a potential cause.
I'll advise my mechanic and see how we do. It may be 3 weeks to get results do to scheduling, but I'll let everyone know what we find.
I really appreciate your insight and lead.....have a great weekend and enjoy your ride....
 

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When this happens does the engine catch and run normally when RPM drops below the problem range? Or does it quit completely?
 

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Yeah, but the fact that it cuts off suddenly and you can fire right back up.
I'm wondering if there may be a flap cutting off your air supply when your engine starts to pull in air at a higher velocity.
Can you get this to happen in other gears or does this only happen when you are going 80mph?
For instance, accelerate hard in 3rd gear to get the motor over 5K. See if the motor dies.
 

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It doesn't sound carb related to me. Your Eliminator has basically the same engine as my 84 Ninja 900, so it has 4 cylinders/carbs. It is unlikely that all 4 carbs would run out of fuel and cause the cylinders to shut down at the same time like your seeing. I once had a fuel line kink on my Ninja and it would shut down on me out on the highway, but it would first gradually lose power as each cylinder shut down, and it would not restart until I had stopped and let it sit for a half minute or so.

It also doesn't sound like an ignition coil, because the engine has two, one for each two cylinders. A problem with a coil would only cause two cylinders to shut down.

It could be a poor connection or a faulty switch in the ignition circuit. High resistance at a connection, or in the key switch or kill switch could cause the ignition to stop working at high rpms when the electrical load is high. I would check all of the connections and measure the resistance across those switches.
 
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... It is unlikely that all 4 carbs would run out of fuel and cause the cylinders to shut down at the same time like your seeing...
Well, that's a good point. Back to the drawing board I guess and likely electrical but why only at 80 MPH+ under acceleration?

But before we abandon fuel starvation issues, I wonder what the tank looks like inside? The only reason I keep coming back to fuel is that the evidence shows that the problem only occurs during very heavy fuel consumption (+80 MPH and accelerating). So if the tank is crusty with rust etc, the mesh filter inside the tank may be plugged enough that at those speeds it just cannot supply enough fuel to the carbs. Or the petcock is crudded up. Might be worth a quick peek before tearing into the electrical system

Also just for background info does the bike have any mods we should know about? Pods, headers, re-jetting of carbs, third party coils?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It doesn't sound carb related to me. Your Eliminator has basically the same engine as my 84 Ninja 900, so it has 4 cylinders/carbs. It is unlikely that all 4 carbs would run out of fuel and cause the cylinders to shut down at the same time like your seeing. I once had a fuel line kink on my Ninja and it would shut down on me out on the highway, but it would first gradually lose power as each cylinder shut down, and it would not restart until I had stopped and let it sit for a half minute or so.

It also doesn't sound like an ignition coil, because the engine has two, one for each two cylinders. A problem with a coil would only cause two cylinders to shut down.

It could be a poor connection or a faulty switch in the ignition circuit. High resistance at a connection, or in the key switch or kill switch could cause the ignition to stop working at high rpms when the electrical load is high. I would check all of the connections and measure the resistance across those switches.
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The bike is bone stock and the shut down is not gradual. It’s a completely shut off. I do believe this has occurred in multiple gears now that I think about it. Most of you who know the bike know it can get to 80+ real quick...
I’ll check the tank and note the electrical issues highlighted...
Thanks for all the feedback..it’s giving me hope to get this beast back where it deserves to be....
 

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81 KZ440D2
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True, but if the tank was crudded up, he wouldn't be able to refire the bike while still moving.
It would take longer to fill up the bowls especially if the filter is clogged.
It may be something electrical that is failing due to wind resistance.
Possibly a wire getting crushed or a loose connection.
We need more info on this problem.
Does you tach go to zero when it dies?
 

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You may be right, but the proof is in the pudding. I like to work from facts and eliminate the easy stuff first. Grab a flashlight and a mirror if needed and have a peek in the tank. No harm to look and it only takes a minute or two. If it is full of crud it should be cleaned regardless of whether this is the root cause of this problem because it sure as heck will be the root cause of another problem down the road if not cleaned.

Electric troubleshooting can take a lot of time and I find it suspicious that the problem appears so consistently whereas electrics are usually more random. I would also pop off the fuel line at the carb and test for full flow by applying a vacuum to the vacuum line.

It is an intriguing problem and I am sure collectively we can solve it and you are right, we need more info.

Another question for the OP. Was any work done on the bike recently or even a year ago?
 

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Jorge,
Next time it fails.
Look at your tach.
If it's fuel related, the tach will still work.
If it's ignitor, then rpm will be close to zero.

The tach receives a ground firing pulse from one of your two coils. If that coil is not firing, because your ignitor shut down. It will show in the tach.
An ignitor shut down will kill all cylinders immediately.
Once the tach comes back up, that one coil is firing again.

There is a possibility of a 12v+ connection issue with the coils and in that case the tach will still work.
But an ignitor issue should show up as a tach failure till the ignitor is back online.

I just found out one other thing that could kill that engine suddenly...your side stand switch.
 

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Jorge,
Next time it fails.
Look at your tach.
If it's fuel related, the tach will still work.
If it's ignitor, then rpm will be close to zero.
Excellent idea but of course Jorge has to remember not to instinctively pull in the clutch like he has done in the past.
If he pulls in the clutch with a dead engine the rpm will go to zero from either cause.
 

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I had a similar situation with a customers motorcycle many years ago. Before I go any further, I really need to know, if when the engine dies and you do not pull in the clutch will it re fire when the rpm drops below the level where it quit?
 

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As an 85 Eliminator owner of about 15 years, it seems like an electric connection issue. If you have not already cleaned all the connections, then I recommend that. There is one under the gas tank on the right side, as you sit on bike, that once gave me similar problems by being just partially connected. Hope this helps and that you find the problem so you can get back to riding your zl900 which, as you know, is a lot of fun.
 
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