Kawasaki Motorcycle Forums banner

1 - 20 of 42 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, all. I am new to the list & need some opinions badly!
Just took delivery of a new Meanie (2004) today. As I was riding it home, I noticed a knocking coming from the area of the left side case or back cylinder. I would cruise along, say in 3rd gear, at about 2300-2500 RPM, and just applying a little throttle, the knock would start & then disappear at about the 3000 RPM level. The knock intensifies with the RPM level in any gear. I don't go over 3000 RPM due to the break-in period. At first, I thought something needed tightening, but after checking a lot of the bolts, they were fine. Any ideas?
Thanks much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,384 Posts
I have to agree with Qk on this one. Have the dealership make it right. Coould be as simple as the carbs are not sync'd or something else someone forgot to do before they gave it to you.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was just wondering of this was a normal noise (sure doesn't sound like it), or if I was bogging the bike. It's the 1600, so it's a feulie. The dealer told me that he had his "assistant" run the bike to pump up the lifters. I don't know what is entailed with that, but that might be part of the problem. But I assume from the replies that this is not the normal noise & the dealer will be called as soon as he opens tomorrow.
Regards
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
458 Posts
The Mean Streak/1600 Marauder is known to have some funny noises. They have been described as knocking/piston slap, etc. Try a search on here and you can look at some of the threads. Some say it's normal if it goes away at higher RPM, some say it's lean pre-ignition. Could be both depending on the bike I suppose and the the severity of the knock.

There is a possibilty that the idiots at the dealer put 87 octane in it to save a few pennies. This beast wants 90 minimum.

I never heard of pumping up the lifters as a seperate thing. That's just part of the bike running. They are hydraulic lifters. The guy is full of it. The set up mechanic should have taken the bike for a ride to see if everything was cool. Check to see if your throttle cables are tight going into the handlebar housing. They left mine loose.

I live where it's pretty hot, so mine is probably more prone to pre-ignition. Worse, the highest octane we can get is 91. I have an occasional knocking or similar sound if I twist the throttle and I am at the wrong rpm, but it goes away right away as the rpm comes up. This bike likes rpm's. Don't be afraid to go above 3000. If you baby it it won't break in right. Run it hard , the occasional excursion over 3000 won't hurt it. Just don't run it for long periods of time at the same rpm or run it at high rpm's for a long time.

If it's real bad I would take it back. If it roaches later at least you can say you took it in. Be a pain about the gas. Ask them to show you what they used to fill it. You have an extended warranty?

Good luck and let us know what happens. It could be of help to some of us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the info, Dave. I checked everything I could on the bike & no loose bolts, accessories, etc. I did gas it up with 93 octane-I don't know what the dealer used. No difference in the sound. I guess I expected it to sound like the VTX1800 I tested last month-no unusual sounds on that bike even from 30 MPH in 5th gear. I figured the Meanie would have enough torque at 2500 RPM to pull OK without balking. Maybe I was wrong. But I will be at the dealer's doorstep in the A.M. & have everything documented. I love the bike, so I want to keep it. I promise to keep the list informed as to what is going on.
Regards
 

·
AZ's Official Mechanic
Joined
·
5,201 Posts
so is it a KNOCK, PING, RATTLE, SLAP, CLATTER ?????? the can make some noise if the lifters are not pumped up but it will be a clatter/tick and not a KNOCK. good luck at the dealers. :wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
142 Posts
The Vulcans have always been known to be a rather noisy bike. Most of the time it is normal. It will scare the heck out of you if you have never ridden a Vulcan before. I would take it back to the dealership and have them look at it. Chances are that it is just the signature Kawy noises.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Took the bike to the dealer today. The owner of the small shop looked over the bike, checked the oil, idled it & then rode it up the steep hill to the street. His diagnosis was that it was "making normal internal engine sounds". We had a discussion about exactly what a "knock" is and isn't. I told him that the sound is like a moderate spark knock, but it does not happen under "no-load" cruising. But give it a little throttle & it starts knocking, and the speed of the knocking goes up perfectly with the RPM. It is a loud enough "knock" to be noticed readily, but is not transmited through the pegs or frame & is only heard from down below. The sound pitch is slightly lower pitched than moderate, almost akin to touching a baseball card edge to a running electric fan. Or like we used to do in the old days-attach a baseball card to a bicycle frame so it pokes into the spokes' path to make noise. The dealer says he doubts anything will go wrong, but essentially would have to wait for something to happen before Kaw will pay him to tear down the motor & fix it. If he finds nothing, no bucks. You can hear just a minimal hint of it at idle, almost like a slight piston slap of the older GM trucks that had that problem. The extent of my exposure to V-Twins is a Honda Spirit 1100 (dual crankpin) that never knocked & test drove a VTX 1800 that ran like a smooth sewing machine.

I may get a second opinion on this, but I read a previous post from someone who did just that and was told the same thing. Normal noise. I guess I have a difficult time believing that this is a normal noise that a Kawasaki V-Twin has to make. Upshot is that I will pay a Kaw mechanic at another dealer to take a look at it. If he gives it the thumbs-up, then I guess that will end the story. Then I will wear the full face helmet all the time so I don't have to listen to it!
Regards
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Another thing I forgot to mention is that the "knock" happens even when the bike is stone cold. It does not change when the bike heats up.

I appreciate all your support & ideas and will keep the list posted as to what I find out.
Regards
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
My dealer is waiting for the factory rep to call him back for the very same problem. My symptoms are exactly the same- pinging or knocking, only when under load. He thinks it's the lean factory settings, as I do, but he wants to see what the rep says first.

My 1600 has about 1100 miles on it.

I'll let y'all know, too.

BTW, Steve, there's a thread on this under the "cruiser" section as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
I just talked to my dealer/mechanic, who I've dealt with for 25 years. He just heard from the Kawasaki rep. He agrees that a) the pinging is the factory lean condition so it'll pass emissions, b) it does not harm the pistons (well, gosh, that's what I was always told), c) the bike likes the revs, so don't lug it, and d) I can fix it with a new pipe and some tuning.

Well, shoot. I can live with that. I would like to ditch the catalytic converter (a catalytic converter on a bike?!?)... i'm sure that would be worth at least 20 pounds, right?

Anyway, that's what I learned today. Just passing it on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the post.
My thoughts on this lean running stuff. If there is detonation to the extent of a knock, it is bad. The pistons are touted in the brochure as "lightweight". That probably translates to aluminum, not forged steel, which might stand up to this disadvantage a little better. The pistons in cars always suffered if you ran it in this condition for too long. A slight pimging is not too harnful in the long run, but to the extent of a knock, it is not good. That is, unless technology has magically created an engine that can withstand such extreme destructive conditions over the long haul.
I did track down the posts in the cruiser section & they seem to be similar to my problem. I can understand mechanical sounds as they relate to a particular engine configuration, and heck, it's part of the overal V-Twin experience. But a knock is just plain unacceptable.
I looked at the cat converter & it looks like you can remove it & weld plates to the inlets & outlets of the exhaust pipes. The stock pipes look great as they are. As you say, a cat on a bike is just plain stupid anyhow. It contributes to a lot of extra heat in the motor and exhaust.
Again, thanks for the informative posts on this matter. This is a really great list & I look forward to gaining and sharing info with you folks on this bike.
Regards
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
On another forum, an '04 Mean Streak owner says he cured the pinging by replacing the stock spark plugs with a set of plugs that are "one step hotter." (his quote) Apparently, this was without changing the factory ignition mapping.

Has anyone else tried this? Or, does it sound plausible?

I have emailed NGK with this question, but have not heard back from them yet.

I agree with you, Steve. Even though the dealer and the factory rep say this is normal and harmless, this excessively lean condition makes me nervous.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It sounds like an interesting solution. But on the other hand, it also sounds counter-intuitive. A hotter plug is recommended for use in cold weather per the manual, since the engine is running much cooler. I feel absolutely no engine heat on my rides now, since it is the 40's and 50's.
I have always understood that one needs to be careful with a hotter plug in warm & hot weather. They are used to ignite a more "stubborn" air-fuel mixture, such as on 2-stroke machines and perhaps a richer burning mixture. And they can do damage to the pistons if not used properly. But if we are burning real lean, it would seem that this could do more harm, since the cylinder temps are commensurately hotter as a result? Can we use him as the guinea pig? (only kidding)
I suppose the next level hotter plug might not be bad in temps under 50 degrees F. I may consider that.
Regards
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I decides to give the owner's manual another look regarding the spark plug issue. This time I read it more carefully! It does say, "For cold weather AND/OR low speed riding, a hotter spark shown in the table may be used for quicker warm-ups and MORE EFFICIENT ENGINE OPERATION.

It would make sense to first check the gap on the old plugs & then make sure they are clean, before embarking on a change. I may try it for awhile if the riding season here lasts more than another 1-2 weeks. They got snow in the northern part of the state last week, so we aren't far behind. It may have to wait until Spring. Is there a pharmaceutical drug available for Meanie withdrawal? :(
Regards
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
SteveA said:
It may have to wait until Spring. Is there a pharmaceutical drug available for Meanie withdrawal? :(
Regards
Well, I live in North Carolina. Basically, I ride all winter... Sometimes I might go two weeks without, but rarely longer than that. :wink:

Anyway, I wonder if mine has winter plugs in it. I think it sat for awhile in the dealership before I bought it.

Oh, I also emailed Power Commander with the same question. I imagine I'll hear back from both of them tomorrow; it will be interesting to see if their stories match. 8)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I don't think the plug is a "winter" plug per se, just the stock, general-use plug for what Kawasaki thinks is best for the majority of the bikes with respect for their locales. It gets cool in NC & even snows at times. So perhaps during your winter. the hotter plug might make a difference. It certainly seems to qualify per the manual.
Surfing around tonight, I stumbled onto an e-bay site where the guy sells all kinds of clocks. He even has a 1600 Mean Streak clock! Just plug in the key words "Kawasaki clock" in the generak search & you'll get a LOT of choices for practically every model. Pretty reasonable, too.
Regards
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
OK, I just heard back from NGK. Here's the text of the email, including my original description of the problem, and their reply:


"**** Contact Form & Tech Info Feedback ****

VehicleType: Motorcycle
Make: Kawasaki
Model: Mean Streak 1600
Year: 2004
Engine Type: Fuel Injected V-Twin

Comments: I just bought a brand new Suzuki Marauder 1600, which is actually a Kawasaki Mean Streak 1600. This bike makes an audible preignition "pinging" sound, that occurs only under load, when giving it gas. High octane gas does not solve it.

This is a well documented problem. The factory ignition map is apparently set lean on purpose, to beat federal emission standards. (darn Feds)

On a Kawasaki motorcycle forum, an '04 Mean Streak owner says he cured the pinging by replacing the stock NGK spark plugs with a set of plugs that are "one step hotter." (his quote) Apparently, this was without changing the factory ignition mapping.

I thought I would go to the source- NGK. Does this sound plausible? Does it make sense to you? If so, can you recommend which plugs to buy?

NGK's reply:

"Hello,

You would need to use a cooler spark plug in order to eliminate pre-ignition. The cooler spark plug for your application is the DPR7EA-9 stock number 5129. "


I'm going to try this and see what happens.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
meanie knocks

Last night, I took out all 4 plugs to examine them. The 2 right side plugs were gapped at a "tight" .030! The manual calls for .032-.036 gap. I regapped all at a precise .033. Of the left side plugs, 1 was gapped at a tight .033 & the other was a precise .033. All the plugs were carboned on their faces, flat black coloration on their faces and up the threads about 4 notches. The center electrode was normal on all plugs, with no deposits. The ground tips had tan deposits on them, but not excessively so. I went to the NGK site for a lesson in reading plugs. You might want to check out the site: http://www.densoiridium.com/howtoreadusedplugs.php
My plugs looked exactly like picture #2, except for the center & ground electrodes being like picture #1. I would almost like to say that it seems to running slightly rich, or the plug gap has something to do with the whole scheme. Haven't ridden it yet with the corrected plug gap. I was also doing some research on the Iridium plugs, and they look promising-a good, efficient flame front, minimal ignition power used & performance without having to rely on the old tech. All the car manufacturers are now offering them & some are now extending the tune-ups to 120,000 miles. They are 8.99 each for bikes. If the gap correction doesn't work, I may go that route. Stay conservative at this point & only use the hotter plug in cool weather. The colder plug may cause even more carbon buildup.
Regards & good riding!
 
1 - 20 of 42 Posts
Top