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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, I have a new (to me) 1981 Kz1100. I just bought it a few weeks ago, it was a good price and I had to pull the trigger "now". The bike had been running great (so I thought) however, since I live in Seattle, it hasn't really been good weather to try it out. I have been going over the things to do but now I noticed that #2 cylinder is not firing! It runs great, starts right up, I have driven it around the block and it's smooth! (I thought that the power was a trifle low but thought that I hadn't yet gotten it into the "power band" haha. Anyway, #2 was cold. I checked for spark and there seemed to be very good spark. The plug was fouled badly. I changed the plug (what was in there was a B7ES, which is hotter than the book (B8ES) When I fired it up, MAN...what a difference! It is freakin' hot now! So anyway, I checked the other plugs. The #1 is somewhat fouled, the #3 and #4 look great. I have attached a picture of the #1 and #2 plugs. What say, guys? I am going to check everything but any advice from the mountain of experience here is very welcome! Thanks, Kevin
 

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GHOSTRIDER
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Its amazing what new plugs do for an engine! :wink: Learning to "read" the plugs will tell you volumes about the carb tune. The plug on the right is definately carbon fould,the one on the left has been firing but its been struggling under a rich condition at low rpms. I change my plugs at least twice a year. Heres some info on plug reading and the chop process.This is a Sudco/Mikuni Tuning manual,4th edition. These pages apply to any plugs regardless of carb type.Click on the images to read. "Chow Choco" :wink:
 

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New sparkplug wires(what the Brits call high tension leads) along with new sparkplug caps(they screw onto the sparkplug wires) can greatly improve engine responce.

I believe 7mm sparkplug wires will fit the ignition coils, and should be available at most car performance shops.

If the spark is still weak, I'd suggest going to wiredgeorge motorcycle carburetors - Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Carburetor Sales, Rebuilding and Restoration - Home and read up on doing a ignition coil wiring bypass. A lot of riders at KZrider.com - Home have done this to their older Kawasaki's with great results.
 

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Navy Vet Search & Rescue
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That plug on the second pic appears to have a bit of shine on the porcelain so it may be getting a bit of oil in that cylinder also. Could be the start of a valve seal leak so you might want to watch the exhaust pipe on the left side for any signs of light smoke at startup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That plug on the second pic appears to have a bit of shine on the porcelain so it may be getting a bit of oil in that cylinder also. Could be the start of a valve seal leak so you might want to watch the exhaust pipe on the left side for any signs of light smoke at startup.
Thanks everyone for the responses. Yes, that plug definitely is shiny but I don't see any smoke to speak of. I am going to check the compression and voltage at the coils. The spark plug wires are already on my list, maybe new coils too. Is there any way to check the valve seals without openning the engine up? I plan on checking the valve clearance next as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hey, Zoro, that is the best spark plug chart I have ever seen. However, they suggest to: "hold the throttle open in an upper gear" until redline. Depending on the gear, that could be up to 150 mph! hmm, I'm going to have to think about it. :biggrin:
 

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Navy Vet Search & Rescue
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No way of knowing for a fact the seals are bad that I'm aware of short of tearing it down. IMO If a compression and leakdown test show good results and you have oil fouling, then it's most likely the seals. Normally when the seals start going bad you will get some smoke at startup but not during normal run.
 

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satyride
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Still original 2006 on a 11k mile Meanie

I just stopped the 93 octane rip off , and switched to 87, yes I have 9.4 Cr in my Meanie and cams too with 97.5 Cu In. Here is what I believe ..first I have NEVER had a pinging or detonation problem since new (140 miles at purchase in 2006)Even in hot Fl weather no unusual noises.I run 10-40R Mobile I change at about 6-7K miles, never a top off.PC3 just a bit rich,very slightly.If I get some bad gas or a bit of dirt ,it is immediately noticeable, I use Seafoam every 5th tank or so.My theory is this, the Meanie is a semi hemi head with 2 plugs firing to compensate for the curve of head squish area,and bore size. A top octane 93+ is a slower burner to prevent detonation(not more power) .I believe the regular 87 octane is better a faster burn. Mileage results are the same. Save the 30+ cents per gallon.I am at sea level 30.00 average all year except storms.Plugs are a nice tan after 10k+ miles, just re- gapped slightly and re -used. I keep 4 as spares for long hauls.
 

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Eddie Lawson is God!
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Now I'm gonna be the voice of dissent. Idle it much with the choke on? If you fire it up in the garage to hear it, you are making your own problems.
Every KZ1000J based motor is an oil burner. Every one. About carburetor jetting. Do you have a Kawasaki paper air filter in the stock airbox with a stock exhaust? A header with a baffle in it? All you need is as delivered jetting in the BS34s. (Don't believe me? Any permutation of that motor has the EXACT jetting. Even a KZ1000R with a Kerker KR pipe)

Now, with the motor dead cold, adjust the valves to .005-007 inches. put it back together and beat the [email protected]#$ out of it for 500 miles. Recheck the valves with the motor dead cold. REadjust to .005 STOP RUNNING THE BIKE ON THE SIDESTAND.
 

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GHOSTRIDER
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Hey, Zoro, that is the best spark plug chart I have ever seen. However, they suggest to: "hold the throttle open in an upper gear" until redline. Depending on the gear, that could be up to 150 mph! hmm, I'm going to have to think about it. :biggrin:
"Upper" not High gear. The idea I believe is to get a chop read under load. And StarGates right about the possibility of oil fouling. but when you run that bike for a bit, the oils burnt off and a new set of plugs(numbered and noted)installed, a clean read can be obtained. A good valve oil seal should allow some oil to seep by and lube the guides without dripping down the stem into the cylinder. That wet plug looked wet from fuel, or at least that was my first thought. Leak down and compression tests will give more info to determine exactly what the cause or causes are to #2 fouling out. A mechanic needs all the info there is on an engine to draw the best educated guess at a problem with a good measure of elimination with information. Much can be said for romping these engines as elr described. They need it periodically to blow and burn the carbon out! How many miles are on the engine?
 

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GHOSTRIDER
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Now I'm gonna be the voice of dissent. Idle it much with the choke on? If you fire it up in the garage to hear it, you are making your own problems.
Every KZ1000J based motor is an oil burner. Every one. About carburetor jetting. Do you have a Kawasaki paper air filter in the stock airbox with a stock exhaust? A header with a baffle in it? All you need is as delivered jetting in the BS34s. (Don't believe me? Any permutation of that motor has the EXACT jetting. Even a KZ1000R with a Kerker KR pipe)

Now, with the motor dead cold, adjust the valves to .005-007 inches. put it back together and beat the [email protected]#$ out of it for 500 miles. Recheck the valves with the motor dead cold. REadjust to .005 STOP RUNNING THE BIKE ON THE SIDESTAND.
At the risk of angering you and for the sake of those of us like myself with limited vocabularies,Mark. Can you maybe "break it down" and keep it metric? :lol: "permutation" Lost me for a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Now I'm gonna be the voice of dissent. Idle it much with the choke on? If you fire it up in the garage to hear it, you are making your own problems.
Every KZ1000J based motor is an oil burner. Every one. About carburetor jetting. Do you have a Kawasaki paper air filter in the stock airbox with a stock exhaust? A header with a baffle in it? All you need is as delivered jetting in the BS34s. (Don't believe me? Any permutation of that motor has the EXACT jetting. Even a KZ1000R with a Kerker KR pipe)

Now, with the motor dead cold, adjust the valves to .005-007 inches. put it back together and beat the [email protected]#$ out of it for 500 miles. Recheck the valves with the motor dead cold. REadjust to .005 STOP RUNNING THE BIKE ON THE SIDESTAND.
I am guilty...:oops: well, I did run the bike in the garage a few times (It's raining here, I ran the bike idling 1 time for 10 minutes and 1 time for 3 minutes I started it maybe 3 more times without actually taking it down the road) anyway, that's enuff of that. I have stock everything. The shop didn't have an airfilter so I am running what's in it, looks like a standard paper air filter, actually, it looks more like cloth that has been held together with wound wire, if that makes any sense. I did a compression test today, 1,2 &4 are at 140 PSI, #3 is 130. Didn't do a wet test. (Oh, BTW, I changed plugs and ran it for about 15 miles at moderate speeds. The #2 plug was black on the base of the threads but the center insulater was white.) Next is the valve adjustment. New thing: I am getting gas in the crankcase. I haven't left the petcock on prime would that be leaking? Thanks again for everyone's responses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
"Upper" not High gear. The idea I believe is to get a chop read under load. And StarGates right about the possibility of oil fouling. but when you run that bike for a bit, the oils burnt off and a new set of plugs(numbered and noted)installed, a clean read can be obtained. A good valve oil seal should allow some oil to seep by and lube the guides without dripping down the stem into the cylinder. That wet plug looked wet from fuel, or at least that was my first thought. Leak down and compression tests will give more info to determine exactly what the cause or causes are to #2 fouling out. A mechanic needs all the info there is on an engine to draw the best educated guess at a problem with a good measure of elimination with information. Much can be said for romping these engines as elr described. They need it periodically to blow and burn the carbon out! How many miles are on the engine?
I did a compression test (look above) I have never done a leakdown but am looking for a reason to buy a new tool, what can I learn? The engine has only 15K on it. I did understand that the spark plug test didn't need to be in top gear and I get why (redline in 1st would take a second or less) As far as the look of the plug: the insulator looked EXACTLY like a set of plugs that I fouled in my H2 years ago when I mistakenly put in plugs that were too cold. They fouled in just a few miles and lost spark completely. This was shiny but not wet, I even blew it off to try to dry. Anyway, thanks again for your response. I'm going to learn something here on this forum, if it kills me :)
 

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Navy Vet Search & Rescue
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Fuel in the oil. I'd be checking/rebuilding the petcock as it's the main culprit for the majority of it. The fuel also has to get past one or more float valves after leaving the petcock. That means you probably have one or more of the following problems. Float height adjustment off, stuck float, bad/stuck float valve or trash in the valve.
 

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Obfuscation Engineer
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elr658 , I'll abuse him if he'll let me :D . He is after all local .
chocohills , if you want to hear more about this in person PM me a #
I won't tell what I've heard unless you ask . I won't guess unless I have to to get to the truth . What I do have for you is 30 years plus of personal experience that is not only easy to get out of me but borders on a virtual cesspool of otherwise useless information .
I've owned at least one Gen III "J" engined KZ since '84 . I've owned 3 first gen and more than I can count gen II (1015cc) . I would be happy to offer enough info to make your head hurt :D
 

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Eddie Lawson is God!
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It's the #2 plug going bad???. Replace the fuel tap. Gasoline is going right through the holed diaphragm, right down the #2 intake manifold and fouling out #2. OBVIOUSLY Change oil and filter after you fix it and before you run it again.

PINGEL ENTERPRISE - Home of the worlds quickest motorcycle products! for a Pingel petcock.
And Beartooth Kawasaki for a stocker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's the #2 plug going bad???. Replace the fuel tap. Gasoline is going right through the holed diaphragm, right down the #2 intake manifold and fouling out #2. OBVIOUSLY Change oil and filter after you fix it and before you run it again.

Ok, but is stargate right by saying that the float valve would also have to be failing? I checked the petcock with 2 gallons of gas in the tank and left it on the bench, there was some gas but not much, I guess it is a very slow leak but over time it could explain what gas was found in the oil. (I discovered it by looking at the oil sight glass, it was completely blacked out! and then I smelled the oil...
Is it better to rebuild the original petcock , buy a new off-the-shelf vacuum petcock or replace with a totally manual one? Thanks again for the responses you guys are great.
 

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Navy Vet Search & Rescue
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If the diaphragm in the petock has a split/hole in it, then as elr mentioned it will suck gas down the vacuum line and cause the cylinder that the is connected to, to run rich and flood/foul the plug.

As for options of rebuild, replace, or switch to a manual it's really up to you. I tried rebuilding mine but never managed to get it to completely seal right. It always had at least a slight drip. Then I decided to buy a new one but didn't want to face the problems of another vacuum petock going bad so I installed a new manual petcock in mine.
 

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if you are getting fuel in crankcase, it can be fixed with three things.....go with a pingle fuel valve....nothing beats them...and put new fuel valves in your carbs...*** job.....and 3rd....run an inline filter in your line or lines....keeps out the crap that can goon up your newly installed fuel valves in your carbs..........fuel delivery problems solved......
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ahhh, OK, I get it, the gas is going down the vacuum line! I thought it was flowing down the main gas line when the engine was shut off. That makes perfect sense now. The engine has a tendency to race when on full choke which also makes sense now. Plus I believe the airfilter was saturated in gas, everything is coming together. I definitely will replace the petcock, most likely with a manual one, then on to the next challenge! Thanks everyone!
 
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