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Old 07-07-2009, 05:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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ZX9R Misfire Issues......

Hello all,

I am a newbie here although I have been lurking for a little while. I am pretty new to bikes and about a year and a half ago I picked up a nice 1998 Zx9 with 17k on the clock. It was pretty flawless for the first year, but now I am having some major problems and don't know what I need to look at to fix it.

I started it one morning and noticed it smelled pretty rich and I was getting alot of smoke out of the exhaust. I figured it might need plugs so I pulled the tank/air cleaner assembly and low and behold, number 1 was black. All the other cylinders looked fine. I changed out the plugs and swapped coils for the heck of it between cylinders one and two. Same issue. Bought a set of used coils off ebay and still had the same issue in the same cylinder. I tried what I think is called an excitor.......also used from Ebay as the service manual said even with testing, it could still be bad. Same problem.

After all of that, a friend said it could be a carb with a stuck float or something. So, this weekend, I'd like to tear into the carbs and have a look around, hoping I might be able to fix this thing. How difficult is it on this bike and can I get carb rebuild kits anywhere? From what I have searched, it looks like I just dissasemble and clean them with some carb cleaner. I don't know a whole lot about bikes, but I am pretty good mechanically as I have fooled with cars almost all my life. I also prefer to fix it myself if possible. I'd also like to add I never beat the bike.....just a cruiser to me.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated as I miss my ZX9!

Thanks,

Tony
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes, it could be a stuck float in cylinder #1 and good idea, clean them first. See my gallery profile link below for how to remove '00-01 carbs, you'll definitely want to pick up a repair manual and here's some tips on giving her a tune-up.

15,000 miles should be the second valve adjustment interval, so check cylinder compression while you're at it. For more help, do a search on this site for ZX-9r compression test, ZX-9r fouling, etc. Chances are some of your repair journey has already been covered.

How did it run throughout the RPM prior to the fouling?
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Alright! Trading bikes for a while was fun.I'm ready for mine back. No, seriously, get off my bike. Ahh, what a privilege it is to have such a sweet ride.
At the track she's said to be outclassed, but on the street, she reigns unmatched. She's the only big-bore canyon carving hypermiler I know of. -- Picture gallery, K&N air filter, SuperTrapp Aluminum Racing Series exhaust (Made in USA), ZG touring shield, & otherwise stock.
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it.

The bike seemed to run ok prior to the fouling, but I never really ran it hard to be honest. It did have a slight dead spot off idle when cold, but nothing major.

I'll check compression this weekend while I have everything apart. It doesn't look too difficult to take the carbs off, but how much trouble is it to pull them apart and clean? The FSM also said something about draining the coolant before removing the carbs? Does that make sense? I was thinking I'd take them down and just clean with carb cleaner and reassemble, working with cylinder 1 first. Do I need gaskets or anything?

I'll do the searches when I have some time to read too!

Thanks!

Tony

Last edited by Rumblin70ss; 07-08-2009 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 07-08-2009, 03:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You're asking the right questions. The first time will always take longer, because you'll want to observe the proper tear down order and be sure the tank vent hoses are properly colored or marked before removal. If everything is properly identified, in stock condition, putting it back will be a snap.

Tip #1:do the compression test as you would for a car (warmed up), except here with the carbs off - they have a tendency to send fuel in at WOT which then shoots out the three open spark plug holes and all over the fairing and things. Just keep the intakes clear of anything that could be sucked in while performing the test. PSI should be 150+, mine were 180+, others say 200+.

There's nothing tricky to the carbs. They're standard CV downdraft. My intake hose clamps use an allen head (I have an allen head socket for this), but no special gaskets or fluid draining should be necessary, at least not on anything after 2000. To prevent gas spilling, drain the floats prior to opening them up as I described in my gallery profile Carb Removal Procedure.

While you're in there make a visual or written note of all jet numbers, their condition and whether or not you have notched jet needles or they have shim washers. The jet needle/venturi slide action should be consistent for all four carbs, i.e. they'll tweet a little as they go up and down when lifted with a finger.

Standard carb stuff.
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Alright! Trading bikes for a while was fun.I'm ready for mine back. No, seriously, get off my bike. Ahh, what a privilege it is to have such a sweet ride.
At the track she's said to be outclassed, but on the street, she reigns unmatched. She's the only big-bore canyon carving hypermiler I know of. -- Picture gallery, K&N air filter, SuperTrapp Aluminum Racing Series exhaust (Made in USA), ZG touring shield, & otherwise stock.
Science & OODA literate. ACA covered.
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:04 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks again for the response and tips. I saw the carb procedure and I assume it should be the same for 1998 to 2000 model years. I have a FSM and will take plenty of pictures. I am going to try and tackle this whole thing on Sunday. Hopefully it will just be a stuck float and I can get this thing back on the road. Once thats done, maybe I can tune her up a bit so that flat spot is gone. If you think of anything else before then, please let me know!

Thanks again for the help!

Tony
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Old 07-11-2009, 02:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well today was an interesting day.....

I pulled the bike down and did the compression test. All cylinders were about 185 within a pound or two so that was good. I also checked fire at the plug and that was good too.

I pulled the carbs off as a bank, but was unable to separate them. The phillips head screws just would not come out so I dissassembled and cleaned them as a bank. All the jets and needles were stock sizes which I suspected. I did not see the notches on the needles and they didn't have shims either. Everything looked to be factory stock.

Anyways, I got everything back together and it does the same thing. It smells unbelieveably rich, so I assume cylinder one is fouling again. It also starts lousy now so I must have messed something up. It used to fire right up, now you have to crank it and give it a little throttle. I assume the next thing to do is get another set of carbs and see if that helps as I am at a loss here.

One other problem I have, and this is how most of this started was when it does start, I get alot of smoke till it completely warms up. Looks blue to me. Once its warm, it all but goes away. I thought is might be the oil being contaminated, but I changed it and still have the problem. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Tony
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Old 07-12-2009, 12:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The messed up starting is probably due to minor movement between the carbs when they were taken off. That's common. Every time I pull mine, I hook them up the the carb synch tool and yep, they're all screwy again. And until I synch them, it starts hard just as you describe. And yes, perform maintenance on them as a group.

Now the bad. You'll probably need to check the float height and action. Yours should push the plunger shut at 13mm +/- 2mm. The worse, but I doubt it: the plunger isn't shutting fuel deliver to the float off and needs to be rebuilt.

One tip I'll pass on to you that I do, but I don't think many other ZX9 owners do; turn the fuel tap off prior to turning the bike off. Our carbs have a tendency, especially on hot days to trickle gas into the cylinders while parked. Sometimes , if I forget, I get a brief plume of blue and very rich smelling exhaust that clears within seconds. I reach over and turn the tap off between 1/4 mile and 200 yards before parking, then start her up prior to turning the tap to ON/RES. It definitely makes starting my bike easier.

If yours is still hard to start, check for an air leak around the carbs. I check this by running a small amount of water from a hose over the intake boots. You can do this with everything in place, when the engine is cold. Any drop in RPM could be indicative of an air leak.

As for continuous blue smoke, well that sounds like oil smoke. You'll have to check your oil level periodically to see if its going down quicker than you would expect. Some of it, if not all of it, is probably what you describe, fuel.
__________________
Alright! Trading bikes for a while was fun.I'm ready for mine back. No, seriously, get off my bike. Ahh, what a privilege it is to have such a sweet ride.
At the track she's said to be outclassed, but on the street, she reigns unmatched. She's the only big-bore canyon carving hypermiler I know of. -- Picture gallery, K&N air filter, SuperTrapp Aluminum Racing Series exhaust (Made in USA), ZG touring shield, & otherwise stock.
Science & OODA literate. ACA covered.
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Old 07-13-2009, 11:09 AM   #8 (permalink)
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That makes sense with the carb sync. I had thought maybe I did something wrong reassembling them. While I didn't follow every step, I was pretty close. When you goto sync the carbs, obviously the tank is off. How do you do this? Do you have the tank on a table with a line going to the pump or do you use some other method. Raw fuel is dangerous and I want to do this right.

I did check the float height and action, but the manual didn't seem to be to clear on how I needed to check the floats. I know it said 13mm +/- 2 but the only one that seemed to be correct was the number one carb, and thats the one I am having the most issues with. I basically set this one like the rest of them where they were a little lower in the bowl. I think this raises the fuel level if I am reading things right. Also, the needle could have been a little better, as the rubber had a little indentation mark on it, but they were all like that. Is there any place to get carb kits besides the dealer? I checked bikebandit and they wanted like $65.00 per carb. Thats crazy.

Turning the tap off is a good idea. I haven't done it before but I will start to do it. Honestly this bike has never really had issues until recently. It started first time every time as long as I rode it once a week. The smoke I am seeing lasts for awhile. I start the bike and I don't see any smoke for about the first minute. After that, I start seeing a little blue smoke and it always smells rich, but the inside of the tailpipe looks fine if that means anything. If I rev it I get a nice cloud. Once it fully warms up, all the smoke is gone, so I have no clue whats causing it. RIngs/valves should show up in compression tests and the guides would show a cloud when first started. I don't know if oil lever is changing as I haven't used the bike since all this started. Its been close to a year.

I'm in the process of getting another set of carbs to try. I figured it couldn't hurt as the parts alone will cost what a used set does. After that, I'll throw in a another set of plugs and see what happens. Keep the tips and info coming as I am learning quite a bit about this bike!


Thanks,

Tony
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You have a good chance at solving this, I can tell already. BTW, the processes for synching and float height are linked above. They're underlined. I try to put links in all my posts to backup or help show the concepts I discuss.

You are correct on linking the fuel tank with a longer fueling tube or small gas reservoir, but I do it with the exposed fuel line disconnected from the fuel tap. No BOOM yet. I put a rag in the tube loop to keep it from drooping and loop the my carb synch tool over the left grip handle, via zip tie. I'm curious what you'll find on your synchronization, if they're grossly off or if something is goofing the results up.

If you're trying to lean some of the mixture out using float height, you'll want the height to be closer to 15mm, causing the float to squeeze the plunger off 2 mm early. Although, that sounds drastic. Not sure why you're still getting so much fuel smell and smoke.

For reference, I just put up a pic of my spark plugs. I consider them to be an example of a healthy running engine. See if you plugs ever dry out.

Get on eBay and see if you can get a cheap set of used carbs there. Read the seller's description & rating carefully so you know what you're getting. Often the seller has little clue about carb models. A good price is under $100 shipped. Obviously lowball or skip.

Lastly, check the condition of the other vacuum stuff above the valve cover. Maybe you have a cracked, disconnected or clogged vacuum line that's compounding your problems, especially the float vacuum line coming from the front air RAM.
__________________
Alright! Trading bikes for a while was fun.I'm ready for mine back. No, seriously, get off my bike. Ahh, what a privilege it is to have such a sweet ride.
At the track she's said to be outclassed, but on the street, she reigns unmatched. She's the only big-bore canyon carving hypermiler I know of. -- Picture gallery, K&N air filter, SuperTrapp Aluminum Racing Series exhaust (Made in USA), ZG touring shield, & otherwise stock.
Science & OODA literate. ACA covered.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks again for the post. I somehow missed this yesterday. I have about five projects going and am trying to fix all of them so I am all over some days. Also didn't realize the syncing and float height tutorials were listed above. By reading that and your post, it definitely seems clearer on what I need to do here. Just trying to be safe.....I talked to a guy the other day and he told me to check for vaccuum leaks by spraying starter fluid around the base of the carbs.........

I borrowed a carb sync tool from my friend and amazingly its the same tool you have so I am good to go there. Most of my plugs look like yours except number one. I really want to try another set of carbs so that will be my next move which will take a few days. I'm working on buying one or more sets now. Do you know the difference between the different model years? Kawasaki has the same number but different letters after the carbs for different years.

I'm on a quest to fix this thing instead of taking it to someone with your help! I appreciate all the information!

Ill do some research into the float vaccuum line.......didn't see that anywhere but it sounds important!
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:18 PM   #11 (permalink)
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if its fouling/rich on number 1 then why bother with the rest of the carbs/buying another set of carbs... concentrate on #1 and why its rich....... float height, fuel level, bad needle/seat,pilot screw turned out to far, etc....
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:23 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by zaneyzrex View Post
if its fouling/rich on number 1 then why bother with the rest of the carbs/buying another set of carbs... concentrate on #1 and why its rich....... float height, fuel level, bad needle/seat,pilot screw turned out to far, etc....
Actually I tried all of that......still have the same issue. If I need parts, I'll still need another carb to get things from. I'm a newbie at this unfortunately.....
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:28 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Actually I tried all of that......still have the same issue. If I need parts, I'll still need another carb to get things from. I'm a newbie at this unfortunately.....
anything you will need should be replaceable on these carbs from the dealer or www.cheapcycleparts.com..... not sure if these carbs have the enrichener circuit that kicks in on decel or not to prevent popping thru the exhaust. if so could be a bad vacumn diaphram inside that or a missing o-ring under the cover....

Last edited by zaneyzrex; 07-14-2009 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:33 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by zaneyzrex View Post
anything you will need should be replaceable on these carbs..... not sure if these carbs have the enrichener circuit that kicks in on decel or not to prevent popping thru the exhaust. if so could be a bad vacumn diaphram inside that or a missing o-ring under the cover....
Don't have a clue...... do you know where I can get rebuild kits? Kawasaki wants $65.00 for a needle and seat..............

Last edited by Rumblin70ss; 07-14-2009 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:37 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Don't have a clue......where can I get rebuild kits? Any idea? Kawaski wants $65.00 for a needle and seat..............
ebay may have a kit for ya but not sure.......oh by the way WELCOME to new bikes w/ new technology....... i would rather have an old bike somedays.....
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:39 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Zany. True. $100 though is neither here nor there for the overall savings and timeliness of having all those spare parts.

Rumblin. CVKD 40 mm should be your carbs, but be sure they are for your model 9r, I think yours is a C (mine is E). Even though that model carb is the most common used on the 9r line, each model 9r (B,C,E,F) had its own jetting setup and probably wiring too.

Carb cleaner to test for a vacuum leak??? Why not go all the way and do it up right, using nitroglycerin? I like my idea of using a little water.
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Alright! Trading bikes for a while was fun.I'm ready for mine back. No, seriously, get off my bike. Ahh, what a privilege it is to have such a sweet ride.
At the track she's said to be outclassed, but on the street, she reigns unmatched. She's the only big-bore canyon carving hypermiler I know of. -- Picture gallery, K&N air filter, SuperTrapp Aluminum Racing Series exhaust (Made in USA), ZG touring shield, & otherwise stock.
Science & OODA literate. ACA covered.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:03 PM   #17 (permalink)
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ebay may have a kit for ya but not sure.......oh by the way WELCOME to new bikes w/ new technology....... i would rather have an old bike somedays.....
Thanks for the welcome! To me, this is all new as its my first bike and what a bike it is when it runs right!

Thanks,

Tony
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:08 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Zany. True. $100 though is neither here nor there for the overall savings and timeliness of having all those spare parts.

Rumblin. CVKD 40 mm should be your carbs, but be sure they are for your model 9r, I think yours is a C (mine is E). Even though that model carb is the most common used on the 9r line, each model 9r (B,C,E,F) had its own jetting setup and probably wiring too.

Carb cleaner to test for a vacuum leak??? Why not go all the way and do it up right, using nitroglycerin? I like my idea of using a little water.
Yea, the money doesn't mean much......I spent way more than that on insurance and letting it sit for a year. I like to think I am paying for an education this way.......

Those are my carbs. I just bought a set off a C2 with 3000 miles on them from an ebayer with 100% feedback. I can always swap jets if need be.

This guy wasn't using carb cleaner, but ether or starting fluid!!?? I told him to move it in the garage next time.................

Last edited by Rumblin70ss; 07-14-2009 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:10 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e1_ZX-9r View Post
Zany. True. $100 though is neither here nor there for the overall savings and timeliness of having all those spare parts.

Carb cleaner to test for a vacuum leak???
ya good point but i cant see him having a 100$ worth of bad parts in the #1 carb...

anyways as for carb cleaner... thats all ive ever used to check for vacumn leaks... just dont be stupid and youll never have a problem and IMHO youll find the leak way faster... cant really see water showing your the leak
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Old 07-19-2009, 04:02 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Carbs should be here this week......also got new plugs too. I'll let you all know how it goes once I get them set up and
put them on!
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