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Troubleshooting Guide

This is a simple trouble shooting list. It is meant simply as a rough guide to assist the troubleshooting for some of the more common problems.

Engine Doesn’t Start, Starting Difficulty:
Starter motor not rotating:
Starter lockout switch or neutral switch trouble
Starter motor trouble
Battery voltage low
Starter relays not contacting or operating
Starter button not contacting
Wiring open or shorted
Ignition switch trouble
Engine stop switch trouble
Main fuse blown

Starter motor rotating but engine doesn’t turn over:
Starter motor clutch trouble

Engine won’t turn over:
Valve seizure
Valve lifter seizure
Cylinder, piston seizure
Crankshaft seizure
Connecting rod small end seizure
Connecting rod big end seizure
Transmission gear or bearing seizure
Camshaft seizure
Starter idle gear seizure


No fuel flow:
No fuel in fuel tank
Fuel tap vacuum hose clogged
Fuel tank air vent obstructed
Fuel tap clogged
Fuel line clogged
Float valve clogged

Engine flooded:
Fuel level in carburetor float bowl too high
Float valve worn or stuck open
Starting technique faulty (When flooded, crank the engine with the throttle fully opened to allow more air to reach the engine.)


No spark; spark weak:
Battery voltage low
Spark plug dirty, broken, or maladjusted
Spark plug cap or high tension wiring trouble
Spark plug cap not in good contact
Spark plug incorrect
IC igniter trouble
Neutral, starter lockout, or sidestand switch trouble
Crankshaft sensor trouble
Ignition coil trouble
Ignition or engine stop switch shorted
Wiring shorted or open
Main fuse blown


Compression Low:
Spark plug loose
Cylinder head not sufficiently tightened down
No valve clearance
Cylinder, piston worn
Piston ring bad (worn, weak, broken, or sticking)
Piston ring/groove clearance excessive
Cylinder head gasket damaged
Cylinder head warped
Valve spring broken or weak
Valve not seating properly (valve bent, worn, or carbon accumulation on the seating surface)


Fuel/air mixture incorrect:
Pilot screw or idle adjusting screw maladjusted
Pilot jet or air bleed hole clogged
Air cleaner clogged, poorly sealed, element missing
Starter jet clogged


Poor Running at Low Speed:
Spark weak:
Battery voltage low
Spark plug dirty, broken, or maladjusted
Spark plug cap or high tension wiring trouble
Spark plug cap shorted or not in good contact
Spark plug incorrect
IC igniter trouble
Crankshaft sensor trouble
Ignition coil trouble

Fuel/air mixture incorrect:
Pilot screw maladjusted
Pilot jet, or air passage clogged
Air bleed pipe bleed holes clogged
Pilot passage clogged
Air cleaner clogged, poorly sealed, or element missing
Choke plunger stuck open
Fuel level in carburetor float bowl too high or too low
Fuel tank air vent obstructed
Carburetor holder loose
Air cleaner duct loose


Compression low:
Spark plug loose
Cylinder head not sufficiently tightened
No valve clearance
Cylinder, piston worn
Piston ring bad (worn, weak, broken, or sticking)
Piston ring/groove clearance excessive
Cylinder head warped
Cylinder head gasket damaged
Valve spring broken or weak
Valve not seating properly (valve bent, worn, or carbon accumulation on the seating surface)


Other:
IC igniter trouble
Carburetor not synchronizing
Vacuum piston doesn’t slide smoothly
Engine oil viscosity too high
Drive train trouble
Brake dragging


Poor Running or No Power at High Speed:
Firing incorrect:
Spark plug dirty, broken, or maladjusted
Spark plug cap shorted or not in good contact
Spark plug incorrect
IC igniter trouble (see IC Igniter (problem solved....for now))
Crankshaft sensor trouble
Ignition coil trouble

Fuel/air mixture incorrect:
Choke plunger stuck open
Main jet clogged or wrong size
Jet needle or needle jet worn
Air jet clogged
Fuel level in carburetor float bowl too high or too low
Bleed holes of needle jet holder or needle jet clogged
Air cleaner clogged, poorly sealed, or missing
Air cleaner duct poorly sealed
Water or foreign matter in fuel
Fuel to carburetor insufficient
Fuel tank air vent obstructed
Carburetor holder loose
Fuel tap clogged
Fuel line clogged

Compression low:
Spark plug loose
Cylinder head not sufficiently tightened down
No valve clearance
Cylinder, piston worn
Piston ring bad (worn, weak, broken, or sticking)
Piston ring/groove clearance excessive
Cylinder head gasket damaged
Cylinder head warped
Valve spring broken or weak
Valve not seating properly (valve bent, worn, or carbon accumulation on the seating surface.)


Knocking:
Carbon built up in combustion chamber
Fuel poor quality or incorrect
Spark plug incorrect
IC igniter trouble


Miscellaneous:
Throttle valve won’t fully open
Vacuum piston doesn’t slide smoothly
Brake dragging
Clutch slipping
Overheating
Engine oil level too high
Engine oil viscosity too high
Drive train trouble


Overheating:
Firing incorrect:
Spark plug dirty, broken, or maladjusted
Spark plug incorrect
IC Igniter trouble


Fuel/air mixture incorrect:
Main jet clogged or wrong size
Fuel level in carburetor float bowl too low
Carburetor holder loose
Air cleaner poorly sealed, or missing
Air cleaner duct poorly sealed
Air cleaner clogged


Compression high:
Carbon built up in combustion chamber


Engine load faulty:
Clutch slipping
Engine oil level too high
Engine oil viscosity too high
Drive train trouble
Brake dragging


Lubrication inadequate:
Engine oil level too low
Engine oil poor quality or incorrect


Coolant incorrect:
Coolant level too low
Coolant deteriorated


Cooling system component incorrect:
Radiator fin damaged
Thermostat trouble
Radiator cap trouble
Radiator fan switch trouble
Fan relay trouble
Fan motor broken
Fan blade damaged
Water pump not turning
Water pump impeller damaged



Over Cooling:
Cooling system component incorrect:
Radiator fan switch trouble
Thermostat trouble

Gauge incorrect:
Water temperature gauge broken
Water temperature sensor broken


Clutch Operation Faulty:
Clutch slipping:
Friction plate worn or warped
Steel plate worn or warped
Clutch inner cable trouble
No clutch lever play
Clutch spring broken or weak
Clutch release mechanism trouble
Clutch hub or housing unevenly worn


Clutch not disengaging properly:
Clutch plate warped or too rough
Clutch spring compression uneven
Engine oil deteriorated
Engine oil viscosity too high
Engine oil level too high
Clutch housing frozen on drive shaft
Clutch release mechanism trouble
Clutch hub spline damaged
Clutch friction plate installed wrong
Clutch lever play excessive
Clutch hub nut loose


Gear Shifting Faulty:
Doesn’t go into gear; shift pedal doesn’t return:
Clutch not disengaging
Shift fork bent or seized
Gear stuck on the shaft
Shift return spring weak or broken
Shift return spring pin loose
Pawl spring broken
Shift mechanism arm broken
Shift pawl broken


Jumps out of gear:
Shift fork EAR worn
Gear groove worn
Gear dogs and/or dog holes worn
Shift drum groove worn
Neutral positioning pin spring weak or broken
Shift fork guide pin worn
Drive shaft, output shaft, and/or gear splines worn


Overshifts:
Neutral positioning lever spring weak or broken
Pawl spring broken


Abnormal Engine Noise:
Knocking:
IC igniter trouble

Carbon built up in combustion chamber
Fuel poor quality or incorrect
Spark plug incorrect
Overheating


Piston slap:
Cylinder/piston clearance excessive
Cylinder, piston worn
Connecting rod bent
Piston pin, piston pin hole worn


Valve noise:
Valve clearance incorrect
Valve spring broken or weak
Camshaft bearing worn


Other noise:
Connecting rod small end clearance excessive
Connecting rod big end clearance excessive
Piston ring worn, broken, or stuck
Piston seizure, damage
Piston ring groove worn
Piston ring/groove clearance excessive
Cylinder head gasket leaking
Exhaust pipe leaking at cylinder head connection
Crankshaft runout excessive
Engine mounts loose
Crankshaft bearing worn
Camshaft chain tensioner trouble
Camshaft chain, sprocket, guide worn
Alternator rotor loose
Primary gear worn or broken


Abnormal Drive Train Noise:
Clutch noise:
Weak or damaged damper
Clutch housing/friction plate clearance excessive
Clutch housing gear worn


Transmission noise:
Bearings worn
Transmission gears worn or chipped
Metal chips jammed in gear teeth
Engine oil insufficient


Drive line noise:
Drive chain adjusted improperly
Drive chain worn
Rear and/or engine sprocket worn
Chain lubrication insufficient
Rear wheel misaligned


Abnormal Frame Noise:
Front fork noise:
Oil insufficient or too thin
Spring weak or broken

Rear shock absorber noise:
Shock absorber damaged


Disc brake noise:
Pad installed incorrectly
Pad surface glazed
Disc warped
Caliper trouble


Other noise:
Bracket, nut, bolt, etc. not properly mounted or tightened


Oil Pressure Warning Light Goes On:
Engine oil pump damaged
Engine oil screen clogged
Engine oil level too low
Engine oil viscosity too low
Camshaft bearing worn
Crankshaft bearings worn
Oil pressure switch damaged
Wiring faulty
Relief valve stuck open
O-ring at the oil passage in the crankcase damaged
Engine oil filter clogged


Exhaust Smokes Excessively:
White smoke:
Piston oil ring worn
Cylinder worn
Valve oil seal damaged
Valve guide worn
Engine oil level too high

Black smoke:
Air cleaner clogged
Main jet too large or fallen off
Choke plunger stuck open
Fuel level in carburetor float bowl too high

Brown smoke:
Main jet too small
Fuel level in carburetor float bowl too low
Air cleaner duct loose
Air cleaner poorly sealed or missing


Handling and/or Stability Unsatisfactory:
Handlebar hard to turn:
Cable routing incorrect
Hose routing incorrect
Wiring routing incorrect
Steering stem locknut too tight
Steering stem bearing damaged
Steering stem bearing lubrication inadequate
Steering stem bent
Tire air pressure too low


Handlebar shakes or excessively vibrates:
Tire worn
Swingarm pivot bearings worn
Rim warped, or tire not balanced
Wheel bearing worn
Handlebar clamp bolts loose
Steering stem head nut loose
Front/rear axle runout too large


Handlebar pulls to one side:
Frame bent
Wheel misalignment
Swingarm bent or twisted
Steering maladjusted
Front fork bent
Right and left front fork oil level uneven


Shock absorption unsatisfactory:
(Too hard)
Front fork oil excessive
Front fork oil viscosity too high
Rear shock absorber adjustment too hard
Tire air pressure too high
Front fork bent
(Too soft)
Front fork oil insufficient and/or leaking
Front fork oil viscosity too low
Front fork, rear shock absorber spring weak
Rear shock absorber oil leaking
Rear shock absorber adjustment too soft
Tire air pressure too low

Brake Doesn’t Hold:
Air in the brake line
Pad or disc worn
Brake fluid leakage
Disc warped
Contaminated pad
Brake fluid deteriorated
Primary or secondary cup damaged
Master cylinder scratched inside


Battery Trouble: (also see Motorcycle Battery & Battery Charging Tips)
Battery discharged:
Battery faulty (e.g., plates sulphated, shorted through sedimentation, electrolyte insufficient)
Battery cables making poor contact
Load excessive (e.g., bulb of excessive wattage)
Ignition switch trouble
Alternator trouble
Wiring faulty
Regulator/rectifier trouble

Battery overcharged:
Regulator/rectifier trouble
Battery faulty




Other Miscellaneous


Sudden unexplained lose of power:
Out of gas
Snorkel clogged with Gummy Bears (seriously) See 8000 rpm and will not rev further


Bike riding erratically:
Crazy nut operating the throttle and clutch (just joking)
 

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4,247 Posts
Holy Crap!!! That is awesome Blue!!! I was gunna pull you up and say you missed the Gummy Bears, but you haven't!!
I'm making this a Sticky!!
 

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Premium Member
Joined
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4,247 Posts
Yep, sounds electrical. Would they have a kickstand sensor back in 96?
 

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1,458 Posts
Check the clutch safety disengage and also the run kill switch. Ive seen it a few times where the switch is bad and ppl check and check and check only to bring it to the shoo and we fix it in 5 minutes and send them on their way
 

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1,458 Posts
Troubleshooting Guide This is a simple trouble shooting list. It is meant simply as a rough guide to assist the troubleshooting for some of the more common problems. Engine Doesn’t Start, Starting Difficulty: Starter motor not rotating: Starter lockout switch or neutral switch trouble Starter motor trouble Battery voltage low Starter relays not contacting or operating Starter button not contacting Wiring open or shorted Ignition switch trouble Engine stop switch trouble Main fuse blown Starter motor rotating but engine doesn’t turn over: Starter motor clutch trouble Engine won’t turn over: Valve seizure Valve lifter seizure Cylinder, piston seizure Crankshaft seizure Connecting rod small end seizure Connecting rod big end seizure Transmission gear or bearing seizure Camshaft seizure Starter idle gear seizure No fuel flow: No fuel in fuel tank Fuel tap vacuum hose clogged Fuel tank air vent obstructed Fuel tap clogged Fuel line clogged Float valve clogged Engine flooded: Fuel level in carburetor float bowl too high Float valve worn or stuck open Starting technique faulty (When flooded, crank the engine with the throttle fully opened to allow more air to reach the engine.) No spark; spark weak: Battery voltage low Spark plug dirty, broken, or maladjusted Spark plug cap or high tension wiring trouble Spark plug cap not in good contact Spark plug incorrect IC igniter trouble Neutral, starter lockout, or sidestand switch trouble Crankshaft sensor trouble Ignition coil trouble Ignition or engine stop switch shorted Wiring shorted or open Main fuse blown Compression Low: Spark plug loose Cylinder head not sufficiently tightened down No valve clearance Cylinder, piston worn Piston ring bad (worn, weak, broken, or sticking) Piston ring/groove clearance excessive Cylinder head gasket damaged Cylinder head warped Valve spring broken or weak Valve not seating properly (valve bent, worn, or carbon accumulation on the seating surface) Fuel/air mixture incorrect: Pilot screw or idle adjusting screw maladjusted Pilot jet or air bleed hole clogged Air cleaner clogged, poorly sealed, element missing Starter jet clogged Poor Running at Low Speed: Spark weak: Battery voltage low Spark plug dirty, broken, or maladjusted Spark plug cap or high tension wiring trouble Spark plug cap shorted or not in good contact Spark plug incorrect IC igniter trouble Crankshaft sensor trouble Ignition coil trouble Fuel/air mixture incorrect: Pilot screw maladjusted Pilot jet, or air passage clogged Air bleed pipe bleed holes clogged Pilot passage clogged Air cleaner clogged, poorly sealed, or element missing Choke plunger stuck open Fuel level in carburetor float bowl too high or too low Fuel tank air vent obstructed Carburetor holder loose Air cleaner duct loose Compression low: Spark plug loose Cylinder head not sufficiently tightened No valve clearance Cylinder, piston worn Piston ring bad (worn, weak, broken, or sticking) Piston ring/groove clearance excessive Cylinder head warped Cylinder head gasket damaged Valve spring broken or weak Valve not seating properly (valve bent, worn, or carbon accumulation on the seating surface) Other: IC igniter trouble Carburetor not synchronizing Vacuum piston doesn’t slide smoothly Engine oil viscosity too high Drive train trouble Brake dragging Poor Running or No Power at High Speed: Firing incorrect: Spark plug dirty, broken, or maladjusted Spark plug cap shorted or not in good contact Spark plug incorrect IC igniter trouble (see IC Igniter (problem solved....for now)) Crankshaft sensor trouble Ignition coil trouble Fuel/air mixture incorrect: Choke plunger stuck open Main jet clogged or wrong size Jet needle or needle jet worn Air jet clogged Fuel level in carburetor float bowl too high or too low Bleed holes of needle jet holder or needle jet clogged Air cleaner clogged, poorly sealed, or missing Air cleaner duct poorly sealed Water or foreign matter in fuel Fuel to carburetor insufficient Fuel tank air vent obstructed Carburetor holder loose Fuel tap clogged Fuel line clogged Compression low: Spark plug loose Cylinder head not sufficiently tightened down No valve clearance Cylinder, piston worn Piston ring bad (worn, weak, broken, or sticking) Piston ring/groove clearance excessive Cylinder head gasket damaged Cylinder head warped Valve spring broken or weak Valve not seating properly (valve bent, worn, or carbon accumulation on the seating surface.) Knocking: Carbon built up in combustion chamber Fuel poor quality or incorrect Spark plug incorrect IC igniter trouble Miscellaneous: Throttle valve won’t fully open Vacuum piston doesn’t slide smoothly Brake dragging Clutch slipping Overheating Engine oil level too high Engine oil viscosity too high Drive train trouble Overheating: Firing incorrect: Spark plug dirty, broken, or maladjusted Spark plug incorrect IC Igniter trouble Fuel/air mixture incorrect: Main jet clogged or wrong size Fuel level in carburetor float bowl too low Carburetor holder loose Air cleaner poorly sealed, or missing Air cleaner duct poorly sealed Air cleaner clogged Compression high: Carbon built up in combustion chamber Engine load faulty: Clutch slipping Engine oil level too high Engine oil viscosity too high Drive train trouble Brake dragging Lubrication inadequate: Engine oil level too low Engine oil poor quality or incorrect Coolant incorrect: Coolant level too low Coolant deteriorated Cooling system component incorrect: Radiator fin damaged Thermostat trouble Radiator cap trouble Radiator fan switch trouble Fan relay trouble Fan motor broken Fan blade damaged Water pump not turning Water pump impeller damaged Over Cooling: Cooling system component incorrect: Radiator fan switch trouble Thermostat trouble Gauge incorrect: Water temperature gauge broken Water temperature sensor broken Clutch Operation Faulty: Clutch slipping: Friction plate worn or warped Steel plate worn or warped Clutch inner cable trouble No clutch lever play Clutch spring broken or weak Clutch release mechanism trouble Clutch hub or housing unevenly worn Clutch not disengaging properly: Clutch plate warped or too rough Clutch spring compression uneven Engine oil deteriorated Engine oil viscosity too high Engine oil level too high Clutch housing frozen on drive shaft Clutch release mechanism trouble Clutch hub spline damaged Clutch friction plate installed wrong Clutch lever play excessive Clutch hub nut loose Gear Shifting Faulty: Doesn’t go into gear; shift pedal doesn’t return: Clutch not disengaging Shift fork bent or seized Gear stuck on the shaft Shift return spring weak or broken Shift return spring pin loose Pawl spring broken Shift mechanism arm broken Shift pawl broken Jumps out of gear: Shift fork EAR worn Gear groove worn Gear dogs and/or dog holes worn Shift drum groove worn Neutral positioning pin spring weak or broken Shift fork guide pin worn Drive shaft, output shaft, and/or gear splines worn Overshifts: Neutral positioning lever spring weak or broken Pawl spring broken Abnormal Engine Noise: Knocking: IC igniter trouble Carbon built up in combustion chamber Fuel poor quality or incorrect Spark plug incorrect Overheating Piston slap: Cylinder/piston clearance excessive Cylinder, piston worn Connecting rod bent Piston pin, piston pin hole worn Valve noise: Valve clearance incorrect Valve spring broken or weak Camshaft bearing worn Other noise: Connecting rod small end clearance excessive Connecting rod big end clearance excessive Piston ring worn, broken, or stuck Piston seizure, damage Piston ring groove worn Piston ring/groove clearance excessive Cylinder head gasket leaking Exhaust pipe leaking at cylinder head connection Crankshaft runout excessive Engine mounts loose Crankshaft bearing worn Camshaft chain tensioner trouble Camshaft chain, sprocket, guide worn Alternator rotor loose Primary gear worn or broken Abnormal Drive Train Noise: Clutch noise: Weak or damaged damper Clutch housing/friction plate clearance excessive Clutch housing gear worn Transmission noise: Bearings worn Transmission gears worn or chipped Metal chips jammed in gear teeth Engine oil insufficient Drive line noise: Drive chain adjusted improperly Drive chain worn Rear and/or engine sprocket worn Chain lubrication insufficient Rear wheel misaligned Abnormal Frame Noise: Front fork noise: Oil insufficient or too thin Spring weak or broken Rear shock absorber noise: Shock absorber damaged Disc brake noise: Pad installed incorrectly Pad surface glazed Disc warped Caliper trouble Other noise: Bracket, nut, bolt, etc. not properly mounted or tightened Oil Pressure Warning Light Goes On: Engine oil pump damaged Engine oil screen clogged Engine oil level too low Engine oil viscosity too low Camshaft bearing worn Crankshaft bearings worn Oil pressure switch damaged Wiring faulty Relief valve stuck open O-ring at the oil passage in the crankcase damaged Engine oil filter clogged Exhaust Smokes Excessively: White smoke: Piston oil ring worn Cylinder worn Valve oil seal damaged Valve guide worn Engine oil level too high Black smoke: Air cleaner clogged Main jet too large or fallen off Choke plunger stuck open Fuel level in carburetor float bowl too high Brown smoke: Main jet too small Fuel level in carburetor float bowl too low Air cleaner duct loose Air cleaner poorly sealed or missing Handling and/or Stability Unsatisfactory: Handlebar hard to turn: Cable routing incorrect Hose routing incorrect Wiring routing incorrect Steering stem locknut too tight Steering stem bearing damaged Steering stem bearing lubrication inadequate Steering stem bent Tire air pressure too low Handlebar shakes or excessively vibrates: Tire worn Swingarm pivot bearings worn Rim warped, or tire not balanced Wheel bearing worn Handlebar clamp bolts loose Steering stem head nut loose Front/rear axle runout too large Handlebar pulls to one side: Frame bent Wheel misalignment Swingarm bent or twisted Steering maladjusted Front fork bent Right and left front fork oil level uneven Shock absorption unsatisfactory: (Too hard) Front fork oil excessive Front fork oil viscosity too high Rear shock absorber adjustment too hard Tire air pressure too high Front fork bent (Too soft) Front fork oil insufficient and/or leaking Front fork oil viscosity too low Front fork, rear shock absorber spring weak Rear shock absorber oil leaking Rear shock absorber adjustment too soft Tire air pressure too low Brake Doesn’t Hold: Air in the brake line Pad or disc worn Brake fluid leakage Disc warped Contaminated pad Brake fluid deteriorated Primary or secondary cup damaged Master cylinder scratched inside Battery Trouble: (also see Motorcycle Battery & Battery Charging Tips) Battery discharged: Battery faulty (e.g., plates sulphated, shorted through sedimentation, electrolyte insufficient) Battery cables making poor contact Load excessive (e.g., bulb of excessive wattage) Ignition switch trouble Alternator trouble Wiring faulty Regulator/rectifier trouble Battery overcharged: Regulator/rectifier trouble Battery faulty Other Miscellaneous Sudden unexplained lose of power: Out of gas Snorkel clogged with Gummy Bears (seriously) See 8000 rpm and will not rev further Bike riding erratically: Crazy nut operating the throttle and clutch (just joking)
always love when you chime in ghost. You give people sooooo much working knowledge. Thanks for your input
 
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