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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,
So I bought a 1981 KZ550 over the summer, worked great and everything. However, once the weather would dip below about 60 degrees F it would have severe trouble starting. I checked the battery and it showed 12 volts. As I was trying to start it up, I could hear the engine fire every few seconds or so, but it didn't seem to catch on enough so the engine wouldn't start all the way up.

I talked to some people I work with about this and they mentioned something about early 80's bikes from Japan having starter gears that strip and this could explain my problem...however they didn't know much more than that. Any suggestions?

Thanks a bunch

-Tim
 

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Mostlikely is a weak battery. Even though it shows 12vts, I would have it checked by load testing it. Never heard of the starter problem and I worked on Kawasaki back in that day. Have you tried to jump it off of another battery? If you do, don't have the vehicle running when you do it, just hook up to the external battery and try cranking it.

Good luck!
 

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Why would the starter gear not work when it gets colder??. Some starters release as soon as motor fires to save the starter gear from getting thrashed.
I would give the choke area on the carb (carbs) a closer look. Maybe it's not closing properly... good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I did try jumping it off of my car battery, running and not running, neither worked. However I will try a freshly charged battery soon to see if that helps. Thanks.
 

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since this only happens below 60 degrees I'm pretty sure you can rule out a starter problem. If I remember right your bat can red 12 volts all day long, but if it does'nt have the amps to fire your out of luck. Used to have the same problem with my old 750 vulcan below 45 or so, changed plug wires and dropped in a new battery and problem solved. First I would check terminals/connections (battery, starter, coil and plugs) to be sure their clean and secure tough.
 

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You could try moving to Florida or Arizona, that may solve the cold weather starting problems...:lol: Ok, ok, I'm no help at all.
 

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Hi,
I have just replaced the starter clutch on my 550 c2 from 1981 and can tell you that this is a common problem. If it makes a noise but sounds like it is only firing occasionaly this is probably the problem. Buying the components new from a kawasaki dealer is quite chear (around £30). While the manual states that this can be replaced without removing the engine, I do not see how. It required a strip down, there's a fair amount of work involved so it can be expensive if you need to pay to have it done. Good luck.
 
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