Electrical/Wiring Issue - Need Help! - Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-7-2019, 6:16 PM Thread Starter
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Electrical/Wiring Issue - Need Help!

Hello all! I would appreciate some expert advice because I am new to motorcycles. I bought a 2005 ex 500 about a month ago with only 5000 miles. It had obviously been laid over at some point, but the owner said that he had bough it from a dealer who said the only problem was bad. After that, I proceeded to make the mistake of letting my diesel mechanic roommate convince me that it was a problem with the starter, which lead to a whole bunch of other problems (pulled the starter out, causing the gear on the flywheel chain to slip off, requiring us to drain the oil and open the flywheel cover, which meant we needed a new gasket, etc.), before we finally replaced the right part and got everything put back together.



Theoretically, the bike should have worked at this point, but the engine still wouldn't turn over (the starter motor did run though). I called my roommate out again and he figured that the pistons had just gotten sticky while the bike sat in storage. His recommendation was to get some starter fluid. So I ran to the nearest gas station to grab some starter fluid. While I was gone, my roommate tried to start my bike. He won't be touching it again anytime soon. I wasn't there, but this is what he claims happened:


The seat was off of the bike. He was running the starter motor on and off, letting it cool down before he tried to start it again. He says that the engine turned over, ran for about two seconds, then died. At the same time that the engine died, the negative terminal on the battery started sparking. He got the wires disconnected from the battery before anything caught on fire. The negative wire was hottest, but the starter solenoid and positive wire were also warm. By this time I was back. Any attempt to reconnect the wires to the battery terminals caused sparking on the negative terminal. All the fuses are fine, so I assume that a wire connection or switch shorted out somewhere.


I need to get a multimeter so I can check for current to try and find the short, but if y'all have any recommendations on where to start looking I would greatly appreciate them!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-8-2019, 5:59 AM
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He obviously kept on cranking it so much it heated up battery cables and/or starter cables and melted insulation and you've got bare cables shorting.

1. Remove ALL battery AND starter cables.

2. Inspect them end to end 360-degrees all around

3. Find bare spots, trim away melted insulation that's raised above normal

4. Slide heat-shrink tubing over melted section and heat with lighter to tighten wrap (do not use electrical tape, it will unravel at most unfortunate time).

5. Inspect rest of harness for any melted spots.

6. Measure resistance between +positive and -negative terminals of starter. What is this reading?

6. Re-install all cables, but do not connect to battery. Use multimeter to measure resistance of +positive battery cable-end to chassis-ground. Do NOT connect battery if you measure anything other than infinite-resistance/open-circuit.



To fix, you must ascertain condition of engine in non-destructive manner:

1. Remove spark plugs, post pictures of them here

2. Remove small cap in flywheel cover on left side and spin engine by hand with socket wrench. Does it spin 720-degrees without major restriction at any point?

3. Drop borescope through spark-plug hole and inspect condition of bores and valves

4. Most likely your carbs will need complete refurb &:restoration by ducatiman. Completely ignore all advice from roommate on DIY home-cleaning of carbs, it's as likely as hunting unicorn for dinner

5. Worse-case scenario, you by used known-good engine for $400-500 and swap it in. Takes couple hours to couple days max, depending upon your toolbox.

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 10-8-2019 at 8:13 PM.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-8-2019, 6:10 PM
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In DannoXYZ's #2 instructions. He doesn't mean remove the entire cover.


Just unscrew the large cap in the center.


Then crank the engine over by rotating this bolt.
Be advised:
Rotate it CLOCKWISE ONLY
.

2006 Ninja500R Purchased new July 2006; 0 miles. Miles as of January 2019; 102,137. It's a GO bike, not a SHOW bike.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-9-2019, 4:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the clarification!

I completely removed the battery and starter cables, but I couldn't find any melted spots. Same with the harness, though I only looked at the parts I could see and felt around the parts I couldn't.

Again, I don't currently have access to a multimeter, but I will post the readings as soon as I get one.

The engine did turn over, but I don't have a spark plug wrench, and none of the auto stores in town have an 18mm thin-wall deep socket, so I'm going to have to order on online in order to check those.

The lack of melted wiring is confusing though.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-9-2019, 5:28 PM
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Could be starter is melted now. When facing heavy-loads, DC motors will draw more current. Could be possible engine is partially seized and requires lots more torque to turn. This would send extremely high current through starter and motor-windings could be fried, causing short. In addition to previous tests:

1. So measure resistance across terminals of starter-motor to see if it's fried.
2. Also measure resistance across inlet and outlet of starter-solenoid. It too could be fried and shorted.

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 10-9-2019 at 5:47 PM.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-10-2019, 7:16 PM Thread Starter
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I'm pretty sure the solenoid is shot. The starter motor blowing out would make a lot of sense. If the engine is seized, what would the required fix be?

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-10-2019, 9:05 PM
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Could be any number of causes:

1. First step is spinning it by hand to feel for tightness and difficulty spinning

2. If it moves, but stiffly, spray PB-Blaster down spark-plug holes and soak for 1/2-day and try again. If this doesnít free it up, could be bottom-end, rod & crank bearings

3. check cam-timing and verify itís correct.

4. Might want to do compression-test

5. If still stuck after soak and cam-timing check, thereís more serious issues and some disassembly needed for further inspection.

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 10-10-2019 at 9:21 PM.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 1:26 AM Thread Starter
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Okay, thank you so much for your help! I'll post an update when I get the spark plugs out.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-12-2019, 12:47 AM
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Be sure to clean out all the debris and gunk with compressed air BEFORE removing the spark plugs, so any tiny rocks/gunk doesn't fall into the engine. This may save some headache down the line.

Also looks like you've got some good leads going so I'll just throw my newbie 2 cents in. I had a bad solenoid and very similar symptoms; the bike negative terminal would spark as soon as it was connected and the bike would immediately try to turnover with no key in and kill switch set to OFF. I got a cheapo replacement solenoid off Amazon and other than the polarity being reversed (installed it backwards to solve that problem) it's been trouble free.

Best of luck!
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-17-2019, 6:25 PM Thread Starter
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So the carbs are definitely dirty, and they both smell like unburned gasoline, so I assume that means they're both not sparking/burning gas in the carbs.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-17-2019, 6:31 PM
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Those plugs look like the engine is running rich. But the carbs are supposed to smell like unburned gas.

2006 Ninja500R Purchased new July 2006; 0 miles. Miles as of January 2019; 102,137. It's a GO bike, not a SHOW bike.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-18-2019, 1:38 AM Thread Starter
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Okay. They still need replaced though, correct?

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-18-2019, 2:23 AM
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Usually plugs don't go bad too quickly. I typically just clean them with wire-brush and check gap. Then re-gap if necessary.

Save your money for really problematic areas like carb cleaning and maybe even new engine.

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 10-18-2019 at 3:16 AM.
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