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A few months back my dad let me have his Bayou 400. It is a great bike and ran fine for a couple of months. It never had a great idle, but once it warmed up it was ok. Well, a few months back i was riding it and all of a sudden it shut down for no reason. I ended up having to push it back to the house, but the next day it cranked up and ran for a few minutes, but killed shortly after. Now it won't crank at all. I replaced the spark plug and i actually left it out of the head and tried cranking it. It gets fire to the plug. I then removed the air cleaner and sprayed starter fluid and it ran for a couple of seconds and then died. i looked for a fuel filter and i haven't had much success. Does this bike have a fuel filter? and if so, where is it located? Any other idea on what the problem could be? It surely seems to be a fuel problem. Thanks for any input.
 

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The usual cause of no fuel is a clogged carburetor from gums deposited by old fuel. Old fuel may only be a few weeks old to you, so anything not fresh from the pump is suspect. To correct the problem it is necessary to remove and fully disassemble the carburetor and clean both the jets and the internal carburetor passages.

The Bayou has a carburetor with a diaphragm operated main jet needle and venturi vacuum valve. What ever you do, do not turn the carburetor upside down with fuel in the bowl or use carburetor cleaner near that diaphragm assembly or you will be buying a new diaphragm for around $100 plus shipping.

If you have no clue what I am talking about, do not touch the carburetor. Take it to a shop and have someone that works on these fix the problem. It will be far more cost effective in the long run. Screw up the diaphragm and damage the float seat and you will be into the parts for around $350 plus freight. Then if you test the new carb and turn it upside down with fuel in the bowl, you get to start over and spend even more money. I have kids (guys under 30) show up here all the time after trashing new carburetors, then wondering why they get to pay me $350 for a new one and another couple hundred for labor, when all they started out with was a dirty carburetor that could have been cleaned for essentially nothing if they were careful and followed the service manual procedures in the first place.

Lastly, do not waste you money on a new Ebay elcheapo carburetor. The Chinese aluminum alloy they use actually dissolves in pump gasoline in a matter of a few months because the brass and steel alloys they use are not electrically neutral with the aluminum and the entire thing turns into a battery and eats itself away once gasoline is introduced to the equation. Real cool when they park one next to the natural gas water heater and burn down the house in the middle of the night when the gasoline starts running out. I had one guy that was so dumb that he tried to sue the carburetor manufacturer when it dumped fuel all over the garage floor and that fuel got tracked by the dog into the house on the carpet. He failed to prove his case after spending thousands for a misguided attorney. Just avoid the non-OEM carburetors and save yourself a ton of grief. When one shows up in my shop, the standard practice is to add $300 to the bill for EPA disposal fees, then charge for a new OEM type carburetor and the labor to boot.

There is a form of a fuel filter on the fuel petcock where it inserts into the fuel tank. That valve and the two tubes with fine screens should be removed and cleaned every few years, or far more often if you use pump gas and let it set for a couple weeks without using enough to add fresh from the pump fuel.

To correct the fuel problems use an additive like PRI-G, and/or buy fuel from a wholesale bulk plant or marina that sells fuel with no alcohol. I do both. All pump gasoline sold by automotive gas stations is now oxygenated fuel with at least 10% alcohol. The alcohol is the source of the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks for a very detailed post. It was very informative.

One thing i would like to note is that when i went to drain the bowl on the carb, while the carb was still on the bike, it had nothing in it. It was completley dry. Could this be a pump issue, not getting gas to the carb or could it still be a dirty carb. Thanks for any input. And yes i am 33 with 2 girls, so i surely know the pinch of money :). Thanks again.
 

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If the carb bowl was empty, I would suspect a fuel supply issue. Make sure to check that the gas cap is venting properly. This seems to have the symptom of working fine for a short amount of time, and then the bike dying out due to lack of fuel. Just remove the cap (assuming your tank isn't completely full) and give it a shot. If it doesn't work, move on.

Another thing you could do is remove the fuel supply line from your carb at the tank petcock, and turn it to on. You should have a nice stream of fuel. (Catch it with a container so it doesn't pour on the ground or your atv). If it trickles out slowly, the on/off valve is likely partly clogged.

Failing those, then yes it is very likely the carb causing you issues, and should be cleaned well. A carb kit is cheap, contains all the seals and gaskets you will need, and if you have a Clymer manual or something similar, it is very doable for a first timer.

I have the mentality that if you haven't ever done it, then this is the time to learn. No offense at all to RCW, but that is how you learn, but doing it.

Rob D
 

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If there is no fuel in the fuel bowl, and the fuel valve is on, then check to be sure fuel is flowing from the tank hose to the carburetor as outlined above. If so, then you have a stuck float valve in the carburetor itself. If not, then it is either the petcock valve on the tank or the two small filter screens inside the tank that are reached by removing that fuel valve.

Removing that valve is a messy job unless you remove the tank and drain it first.

The float valve in the carburetor is a snap to clean, but does require removing the carburetor. Then while you have it off, remove everything and clean it completely. Do not bend the float assembly and 99.99% of the time the float will not need any adjustment when you put it back together. Also, when removing the pilot air screw, screw it in to lightly bottom and count the turns it takes to do so. Then when you put it back together you set it at lightly bottomed and back the screw out the number of turns you counted before you removed it.

Take a look at the parts diagrams on Kawasaki.com to get an idea of the relationship and order of the carburetor parts and the fuel tank and petcock assembly.

By the way, the suggestion that you get a manual and try this yourself is an excellent idea. Just be cautious to keep any fuel from running into the vacuum diaphragm chamber, and do not work with an open flame or resistance heater anywhere in the room when you start fooling with the gasoline.
 
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