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What a crappy day!

Two months ago I bought a 1990 ZX10 with 18k miles (picture attached), and paid $1700 from a dealer.

It ran fine when I test rode it, and again when I got it home.

Then January and February weather hit, it wouldn't start b/c of the old battery. I got a new battery and today when I got done charging the new battery and went to start it (first day over 40 degrees in along time),
it turns and turns over, without sounding like its even getting fuel... it just cranks.

After 3-5 seconds of trying to start, it starts making a clicking sound (not the sound of a bad battery). It will keep trying to start, but never sounds like it is getting fuel. Frustrating because it started fine 6 months ago.

Bad enough I bought it, got to ride it 2 miles tops, bought a new helmet and now it's already not running.

If anyone has any idea what it might be (although I'm sure it could be 100 things) I would appreciate it.

Also, if anyone from the St. Louis area knows of a good repair shop, I would appreciate it. Most online reviews of the major dealers rate them all pretty poorly, and some first hand advice on a good shop (even if a small one) would be great.

I have about 6 weeks to get it running and am hoping that will be possible.

Thanks anyone!
 

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I'd check the many and various electrical connections related to starting, like the battery cables from the Negative(-) and Positive(+) terminals,and ones going from the starter solenoid to the starter motor.Battery cables can corrode internally, but still look good, so check them too.

To check for spark(or lack of) put a new sparkplug attached to #1 or #4 sparkplug lead, rest it against the head of the engine, and then crank it over, if you have spark, it will be visable or you can hear it.

If no spark, you have an electrical problem(blown fuse,loose connection or corrosion in a connector(s)).

The auto parts stores and Wal-Mart sell gasoline additives that might help, some popular ones are Seafoam and Berryman's B-12. The Seafoam is a bit pricey with the Berryman's being a few dollars cheaper. Both do the same job, cleaning the crud from the fuel system.
 

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I have a 05 zzr600 and it was doing the same thing. Turned out to be a bad battery. It wouldn't hold a charge(6 mo old battery). It had enough juice to turn the engine a fiew times and then the clicking noise started. I changed the battery and it started right up.
 

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Insect Impact Analyst
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First off, how long was the bike sitting since the last ride? Second, did you put anything in the fuel to stabilize it? If not, it is more than likely the result of old gas gumming up the passages in the carburetors. Who knows how long it was sitting in the dealer, and you say you only rode it a couple of miles, so that's not enough to run it all through the tank.

Check the things mentioned above, but more than likely, you will need to drain out the old gas and clean the carburetors. As gas ages, it leaves deposits on the passageways in your carburetor (some as thin as a needle). When they get gummed up, gas doesn't flow as freely, and you don't get the right fuel/air mixture to let the bike start.

If you are somewhat mechanical, you should be able to take the carburetors out and clean them yourself. If you do, be very careful of the small parts, and be very careful of any of the rubber parts. They are easily damaged, and if you tear a diaphram, they can get VERY expensive. If you do not feel comfortable rebuilding the carbs, I would suggest having a mechanic do the work. It might cost a bit, but they have the tools and the knowledge (well some do) to get them cleaned out really good and get you back on the road.
 

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Little AL
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I don't know if your motorcycle has a starter solenoid but I've had this problem in cars and lawn tractors where the battery is fine but the starter solenoid is weak and won't permit the power to go though to the starter. $20.00 part in most cases. Good luck with it. :smile:
 

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There are 3 basic requirements for any engine:

Compression
Spark
Fuel

If it ran great 6 months ago chances are you can rule out compression.
Like a previous poster offered, pull #1 spark plug lead off and insert a spare spark plug (ground threaded portion to bile frame or bare metal portion of the bike), crank the bike over and look for spark. Make sure the battery is fully charged. If you do not have spark it is electrical. Check the kill switch (throttle side). I can not tell you how many people I have seen hit this switch by mistake and not realize it is in the off position (I never use it personally).

If you do have spark, investigate the fuel situation. Does the fuel smell like varnish (if so the fuel has turned - drain and flush the tank, change the fuel filter). I believe you said your bike was a 1990 (carburetor). With the choke full on the engine should eventually become flooded. (can you smell gas?) Check the plugs to see if they are wet. (wet plugs can also indicate no spark). If you don't smell gas it probably points to gummed up carbs.

You can try the following if you believe your carbs are fouled:

Turn the engine kill switch to the "off" position.
Make sure your fuel line valve is turned off. Pull off the fuel line to the carburetor header line. Spray carb cleaner into the line. Put the choke on full.
Seal off the air intake path to the carburetors (you can use Duct tape). With the air intakes sealed off, the suction created by the engine as you turn it over has no other option but to draw fuel (old Brigdes and Straton trick). The goal is to deliver carb cleaner into the fuel supply header line and have it travel through the carbs. Do it a few times. Let the bike sit over night so that the carb cleaner can do it work. (wet plugs and or evidence that the cylinders are wet is a good sign you are get the clearner through carbs.
Repeat the process in a day or two.
Put the bike back together.
Only put in a liter of fresh gas (you do not want a lot of weight in the tank if you have to lift it up to work on the bike)
Try starting it. (you may have to clean the plugs if they are wet or contaminated by the carb cleaner). Make sure that your battery is fully charged.

The clicking sound you are hearing is probably directly related to a low battery. The noise is probably the bendix gear extending and making contact with the starter ring gear. It does not take a lot of power to spin the starter motor and have the bendix gear extend, but once engaged the the starter does not have enough power to turn the motor over. A voltage drop fulls that causes the start solenoid to drop out. The process will repeat continually. If the starter were larger, or you had other load on the bike turned on. you would get the machine gunning solenoid relay chatter.

If nothing else this will keep you away from the TV for a night. ;)

Good luck, and let us know how you make out.

Spyglass
 

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Alien Test Subject
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When my 10 sets over the winter, it can be a bit hard to start. Often showing the same symptoms.

Did you turn the gas off over the winter? If so, did you drain the carbs?

The seals in my petcock have gone south over the years, so even in the 'off' position, it'll slowly drain into the carbs, and eventually into the cylinders. So I have to clean both the carbs and plugs at the beginning of the season.

Pull your plugs, and see if they are wet. You may just be flooded. Also, get a really good charge on the battery with a trickle-charger. A cold ZX-10 will drain a battery pretty quick.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It was really gummed up carbs. It is waiting for a couple of old gaskets from Kawasaki, but it should be good to go soon.

Thanks for everyones help!
 

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