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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well, I am finally getting some time to write this . We finished up my rebuild a couple weeks ago and she is purring sweetly now....

Those of you that have been following this and those that are concerned with engine's losing a rod bearing....

First let me thank guys like ninja11zx, moko, and blainthemono, for all their help and expertise which made this MUCH smoother than it would have been. This forum is superb and that is why I am doing this write up so someone else can benefit from what I have learned.

I have posted two other threads about this rebuild that you can check out. I STILL have not managed to get pix up but if anyone needs them PM or email me and I will send them to you.

My bike I just bought a few months back after wanting an 11 since they first came out when I graduated college but couldnt afford insurance on one. I found a 1999 in my favorite deep maroon wine color and it was very well kept with only 2 owners and only 12800+ miles on her . Owner had all records and was very meticulous for the most part . She has a few scratches on the "passenger side" of the fairing from a non moving tip over in the garage which he touched up with OEM color touch paint. Other than that she was near perfect .

Owner had synthetic Mobil 1 motorcycle oil in her with only about 700 miles since last oil change . I rode the bike to and from my office for about a week or two with no issues . Whenever I checked the sight glass oil was at or very near the top. Finally got the chance to take a long ride out of town. Got on her (when thoroughly warmed up) once or twice to pass trucks and was loving the bike (all stock but for Heli Bars and Corbin saddle). When I gradually began to slow into a one light little town I could hear/feel a knocking from the motor. Came to a stop and sure enough she was knocking loudly. Trucked her back to my shop and found gold flakes in the still pristine oil.....sure sign of rod bearing destruction. Bike had sat for a day or two and strangely oil level was half way in the sight glass....Hmmm we thought didnt burn oil that we could smell or see at all and there were NO leakss. Got on line and learned of the dreaded rod bearing failures with these engines .

Did alot of research and reading and got familiar with the issue. My good friend is a certified Kawi/Honda/Harley mechanic as well as a grad of School of Automotive Machinists (high perf engine building school and CNC machining) and really knows engines. We decided to rebuild her.

Carefully disassembled everything in a couple days while carefully inspecting as we went. Here is what we found :

1. Cooling system was very rusty even though it had been cleaned flushed refilled in the last 3 years and only few K miles. Pipe on the back of engine outside was VERY corroded. Got used one on ebay for cheap.
2. Filter did GOOD job of catching the very small particles from the rod bearing. Was NOT #3 but #2 that failed and had not completely disintegrated. Very little verticle play actually but one of the rod bolt edges had moved slightly and began to gently touch the case just barely started leaving a mark......goood thing I didnt get on her when this was occurring , could have been much more destruction.
3. Only the #2 piston and rod needed replacement along with the crank (though the crank was not that far gone , could have been fixed , I still have it ) I was lucky and was able to buy a used crank rods off ebay for $160 in excellent shape (we checked its run out and measured every bit of it and the rods and they were all excellent.
4. The oil passage to the main end cap is not aligned in the center of the hole and this probably restricts oil flow.
5. The dealer that had last cleaned the carbs had wrongly installed the jets in the incorrect carbs (two outside carbs mains are same I think and two inside carbs are same....they had two big ones in carbs next to one another) causing carbon buildup on two pistons and chambers (nothing crazy).

After seeing this and the fact that this bike was well cared for had what appeared to be plenty of good oil had NOT immediately done any wheelies just prior to losing the bearing I honestly believe the problem is like some others have stated. There is NOT enough drain back from the head in these motors - the ONLY way for oil to drain from the head back to the bottom end is through the cam chain galley, there are no holes/passages for the oil to drain back other wise. Secondly there is a need for more oil capacity . Third , instead of oiling two rod journals with each oil passage from the main journals there should be only one IMHO (like other engine designs I have seen). The main cause I think for the failure in my engine was semi LOW OIL level most likely. What ?! you say , you said the oil level was at the top when you checked it before the ride.....

Well remember AFTER we got the bike home the level was mysteriously at halfway . With nothing burned or leaked what gives?

I have read threads now and have personally experienced this on my bike . you can fill the bike to the recommended level AND visually see the oil level at the top of the glass ....ride the bike , let it sit for a bit and check it and the level will still be at the top. BUT wait a day or two .....you would think the level would go up slightly as more oil eventually reaches the sump .....BUT NO! the level goes DOWN ....WTF?! no leaks has not been run whats up?

Our only guess is there is either some vacuum in the case that is pulling oil up into lines or somewhere , or that possibly there is a bit of air trapped in an area that releases or pops like a bubble over time and oil then fills the area showing less in the window. Not sure. I filled the bike with a bit more until it was topped up again..... I DO NOT want to run low on oil.

Given this , I currently have 4.2 qts of Amsoil full synthetic 10w40 four stroke motorcycle oil in her and EVERY time I check it after being run (in ten minutes or two days )the level is at the very top of the glass or more.

Part TWO next.......sorry for the book!!! :crazyloco
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Part TWO

And now for part 2....

We utilized Kawi head and main gaskets. We got some aftermarket paper stuff for all others besides the valve cover gasket .

We restricted oil flow to the balancer by inserting a set screw into its oiling passage hole and drilling it to a smaller diameter (this is in the other thread) as recommended by ninjazx11. This allows more oil for other areas where they are needed more.

We increased oil pressured via a washer on the relief valve per moko. This helps bring oil pressure back up (along with restriction aforementioned) after increasing flow else where.....

We ramped or chamfered all the oiling holes on the crank to allow better flow.

We ramped or chamfered the oiling hole passage that is offset on the main .

We used the largest clearance Kawi rod bearings we could (code blue). This allows the most possible oiling.

We did NOT use new bolts on the rods....Kawi and most folks recommend NOT reusing them but I was on a tight budget with this build AND several builders/experts said you can reuse them but measure them for excessive stretch if any stretches too much DONT reuse. Sure enough we had ONE bolt do this and didnt use it , all others were correctly installed with no issues. I dont THINK I will have a problem but ideally , replace them.

EVERYTHING in the motor looked great including the head and valves and springs (checked valves , all good, no adjust needed) clutch plates all looked great. All passages and tubes were carefully checked.

We thoroughly cleaned EVERY inch of the motor and oil cooler in the parts cleaners.

We used washers on the needles and have the screws turned out 2.25 turns in the carbs which fixed the dreaded stumble at 3500-4500 rpms. Thoroughly cleaned and synced carbs. New stock plugs.

I like some others dont think a modified oil pan is necessary . I looked into doing this as well as the mod routing oil from the cooler straight to the pick up in the pan. These cant hurt but I dont think they are necessary in a street motor and neither do most of the other experts .

At this point the bike is nearly flawless. Now all I have to do is RIDE. Oddly enough I injured my left foot just as we finished and have been on crutches for almost two f'n weeks :rant

The KEY to engine life here is to use good oil and PLENTY of it. IF you are buying a ZX11 check the oil for particles (expecially tiny gold ones) and be SURE to ALWAYS keep her full of oil . With these bikes , a bit too much is better than a bit too little.

I am sure I have forgotten stuff and will add but any and all feel free to comment.
 

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Sounds like a great project, and congrats on completing it. But have you heard of the saying "A picture is worth a thousand words"?

Something to consider.
 

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glad everything turned out ok. sounds like you guys did a excellent job on it. i am getting parts together to build 2 different 1195 engines for the dragbike. i might document it.
 

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Thanx for the props Shriker. :smile The full site glass with it dropping down after a few days has always puzzled me. Ive owned mine for going on 4 years now, and the site glass always remains the same when the engine is shut off...

It disappears when started and always returns and stays at the filled position. I had a slight oil leak on a lower feed line, but once tightened my oil level has always stayed were it has been...

Good job on the rebuild!! That engine will be purring sweetly for years to come...

Oh, I hit 60,000 miles this summer....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks again ninja11zx and Blaine.....

I WILL get some pix hosted and posted..... :runaway just been very busy.

She is looking and running nicely.....I have a bit of reserve in the back of my mind....she should be solid for years to come but you never know :rolleyes

Oh and I must add...DEFINITELY download the the Kawasaki Shop manual for these bikes, you can find it free online....we went by the book on every and ALL torque specs and capacities EXCEPT for oil , as mentioned before. Oh , we filled the cooling system with the premixed Honda stuff and used Honda bond on the motor to seal with in case anyone was wondering.
 
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