Spark plug appearance????????? - ZX Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-13-2017, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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Spark plug appearance?????????

Can anyone tell me possible causes of a spark plug looking clean? I have 3 cylinders that when I pull the plugs out after allowing the bike to reach operating temp look normal. The 4th cylinder plug looks clean on the outside near the threads, and kinda glossy black just on the electrode in the middle. I had originally jetted my bike, and after letting it sit a year and a half I had to clean the carbs to get it just to idle. After tinkering with the carb settings numerous times I decided to go back to the normal factory main jet. Left my pilot screws out 2.5 turns. And my needles are shimmed with one washer. I can get the bike to idle after synchronizing, but sometimes I get a backfire along with low idle. I pulled the plugs, and all looked normal except one cylinder which does not have any black carbon or anything at all really except for in the middle of the plug on the electrode. Could this be valves on that cylinder? I adjusted the valves at like 6000 miles, and have had no problem until the bike sat so long. Any insight would be appreciated.

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-13-2017, 05:43 PM
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Since you've been tinkering with the carbs I would say the glossy black is a fuel wet carbon fouled plug causing your backfire.
glossy black could also be oil fouled plug.
Can you post a pic?

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-13-2017, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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Trying to post a pic now
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-13-2017, 06:03 PM
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Trying to post a pic now
http://www.zxforums.com/forums/gener...ting-help.html

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-13-2017, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-13-2017, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-13-2017, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 07:22 PM
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I would pull the carbs again and check all settings/jets/levels. Check rubber boots for cracks, indications of an air leak. I'm just guessing, but the 3 black plugs look to rich, and the clean one looks like correct jetting.

Shakhova warned that a 50-gigaton -- that is, 50-billion-ton -- "burp" of methane from thawing Arctic permafrost beneath the ESAS is "highly possible at any time."

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 07:37 PM
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If you're talking about the "clean" plug , it's ok but still looks running rich
It's the all black plug that's messed up
Have you done a compression check?

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 11:11 PM
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To be honest, I'd rather have my plugs look like the one on the left rather than the one on the right which looks dangerously lean to me.

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 05:04 AM
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I pull the plugs out after allowing the bike to reach operating temp look normal.
And you need to do a WOT test to read the plugs properly.
Although it appears you have an issue at idle

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 07:06 PM
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To be honest, I'd rather have my plugs look like the one on the left rather than the one on the right which looks dangerously lean to me.

Granted right, better a fouled plug then a piston with a hole in it. :) However, IMHO, the electrode area is dark and black, with splashes of black on the seat, which indicates some richness. The plugs should be a nice tan color including the electrode. Im leaning towards what EZ is thinking, an idle issue, and a WOT test will tell much more.

Dog, I have to ask.... plugs are the same heat range, correct?

Shakhova warned that a 50-gigaton -- that is, 50-billion-ton -- "burp" of methane from thawing Arctic permafrost beneath the ESAS is "highly possible at any time."

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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 06:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the feedback so far. As stated earlier in the thread I did go back to factory 155 main jets for testing purposes. I did do a valve clearance adjust, and haven't checked since I did that which has been almost 2000 miles. The only thing left in the carbs different from factory specs are pilot screw are 2.5 turns out(should be 2 I believe for factory), and I have one washer on the needles. I did go back thru the carbs, and check float bowls heights which were correct. I did notice with the carbs off that three of the cylinders valves are completely closed, and the last cylinder that the plug that looks clean still was in has the valves open some which could just be from where the engine stopped? I am going to take off the valve cover, and check clearances again. Should I go back to all factory settings at this point to get a base line spark plug reading at WOT after checking clearances then adjust from there? I am running a more open exhaust than the original factory, so I thought richening the carbs up a little would be best at this point? Blaine I do have all the same plugs, but I am buying new ones to do my testing with.

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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 08:35 AM
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2 turns on the AS and shim under the needles are perfect as it helps to eliminate some surging around 3500 RPM; so, I would leave that alone for your test.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-17-2017, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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finally getting around to check my valves clearances finally. Would needing to go up a size from like 2.35mm to 2.45mm be a big deal as far as getting the machine to idle well. I measured clearances with a feeler gauge, and would be going up that much be too tight for the valves? Should I even be needing to adjust my valves being that it was done on like 3000 miles ago. The only reason I am checking is because I want to get this bike running like it was previously. It would idle great before I let it sit for over a year. Should I just put in my new spark plugs with my adjusted carbs and see what happens at this point?????????

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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-17-2017, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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ok I put my bike back together today after the carbs sitting resembled for a couple of weeks. So, after starting it briefly on choke it dies shortly there after. Took it off choke, and let it sit then turned off the gas. After awhile it would fire up. Cylinders 3 and 4 did flood and get fuel at the carberator opening where the air box mounts up. I got it started a few more time with the idle turned up higher. However, when the carb on the 3rd cylinder is sitting and the engine is not running there is fuel coming out of the needle base where the needle enter the carb body but none of the other carbs are doing this? Cylinder 1 and 2 are definetly rich someone because the new spark plugs are black. Cylinder 3 and 4 are clean except the center is black slightly. I am not sure what do to at this point. I have the float bowls set to 17mm which should be stock. The main jet is 155. Pilot jet is stock. Pilot screws are set at 2 1/2 turns out. All needs have one plastic shim on them. I checked spark and it seems to be strong on all cylinders. Valve clearances seem to be in spec after rechecking them today. The may be a little loose, but nothing really out of spec. Any ideas, things to go over???????????

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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 06:05 PM
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If all the carbs are set the same and the plugs look different, something is amiss and the most common problem with carbureted machines that have sat idle for long periods is clogged idle passages. You also need to replace all the gaskets and rubber parts in the carbs and make sure the pilot circuits are clear.

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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 07:36 PM
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When you are looking down the throats of the carbs, just before the slider, are some small holes. Make sure these are clear of obstruction as well...... You can have your floats, jets and needles all up to snuff, but if these are restricted they can cause issues. Sound s to me that it looks like another carb tear down. ......

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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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Yes I am going to tear them down again. Hammerhead I am going to replace things as you suggested, I have been considering it. With a vehicle this age that has sat a lot its something that just needs to be done. Blaine I am aware of the small holes just before the slider as I have read here in the forums about them. I checked all my floats, jets, air screw etc before I reinstalled them on Saturday. I did eventually get the bike to run after I almost gave up. I had to choke the bike for a considerable while to get it to fire up but the carbs were bone dry at this point from sitting. It did run on choke but did pretty quickly. After some time like I posted above I pulled it back in the garage took off the air box, and looked at plugs. I also checked spark with a inline spark checker. After that it fired up and ran with my gas valve off. It seems that when I have the gas valve on which I have ran to a hangable remote tank that I bought online is when it seems to want to flood. Cylinder 1, and 2 are black and look like they are running rich. Cylinders 3, and 4 look clean except the tip of the bracket that goes over the center conducter on the plug which is slightly black. This is only after the bike ran for just a few minutes. So, tear down, clean, rebuild, check floats settings etc again maybe even new needles??????? Then try them out again to see what happens. I have small brush style, and needle style carb cleaner tools along with carb cleaner to spray thru along with compressed air from my compressor so I thought they were all clear but maybe the fuel filter is dirty or something I guess I will have to try pumping fuel into a container to see what may settle. Hope to get this bike going again very soon. Thanks for all the suggestions.

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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 03:20 AM
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I did my carbs a while back and come to find out the old berryman chem dip is crap now days... I ended up using the pine sol method..you can google it... worked pretty good.. still have to do a little brushing to get them clean... make sure to take out the float needle seats...the brass seats that the needle seals to... there is a cavity behind them that gets full of gunk and will cause nightmares... I learned the hard way years ago, do it right the first time is better than doing it several times 90%... do a full bore cleaning on the carbs, replace needles and seats and gaskets... replace fuel lines, fuel filter and dump tank and flush it out really good.. do it all at once and be done with that part of the diagnosis... after that if it still runs odd, you know to look else where than dirty fuel/carbs... also, a plug reading from it only running a few minutes with choke isn't worth anything... google plug readings and try some youtube vids.. unless you can get it running up to temp, and higher rpms, the plugs are gong to be all over the place.. ohm your plug wires to check resistance, and try the inline plug wire checker that you can see the spark to see if they all are same color and firing .. eliminate one thing at a time is best way to find culprit... but my money is still on fuel system dirty... clean it all at once and move on to the next thing...

good luck..

Johnny
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