Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps - Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R
 
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 2-17-2009, 9:59 AM Thread Starter
fog
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Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

Short explanation: The inside of the hard plastic caps accumulate crud the can short out the spark. This can cause rough running or failure to start. Every time you do any work on the bike: remove them disassemble and clean them and renew the wires or at least the connections.

The long Explanation, Warning engineering information can cause Drowsiness.
The ancient cylinder design of the EX engine dictates that the spark emanate form the center of the combustion chamber. In order to get it there, the plugs had to be located down deep in a well between the cams. This well is a perfect place for dirt and moisture to accumulate. Then because there is no cooling water at this point the metal around the plug runs very hot. Surround this with the large amount of cool metal and you have a recipe for condensation. Further exaggerating the situation we have two leaky coolant connections that drip coolant into the wells. Now K did drill a drain hole between the fins to help (a little) but it often gets plugged up.

The moisture boils off the base of the plug and the vapor condenses on the cool plastic cap and the plug insulator. This moisture forms a easier path for the electrons to ground than jumping the gap at the plug to make a spark. Misfire.
This issue is right up there with Pilot jets as a cause of trouble.
Kawasaki did make a feeble attempt to help this problem. at one of the engine design reviews they closed the end of the gallery between the cams. presumably to keep out the water. Of course this served to help keep the water in better. (the engineers at Kawasaki must be Democrats)

Fixes: Trash the whole plug lead from the coils and replace with a set of molded caps with copper wire. Clean them often certainly after any rain or washing. be sure the drain holes are open. blow the wells clean with compressed air at every opportunity.

You can add this feature to the long list of deficiencies that are designed into this engine. Like the Starter clutch, the water pump, The oval cylinders , etc, etc... And you can see why I have a dim view of this power plant.

FOG

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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 4-15-2009, 12:44 AM
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

So FOG, what needs to be done to optimize performance? I've done the airbox and valve adjustment, and installed a fuel filter Have yet to reset the screws after the airbox mod ( I had them already at 2.5) So what now? Carb sync, (no idea how) , set idle speed, (what are the ideal rpms), buy a new front tire, buy FOGbones (I'm broke) How else can I optimize performance and maximize the longevity of the bike? It's a good bike, but I want to maximize what it can do. Any ideas?
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 4-15-2009, 1:01 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

Read all the stuff in the How too section then call back.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 2-22-2011, 10:38 AM
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

I just want to make sure im understanding this. Your suggesting getting new spark plug caps?

There are 2 types of riders: Those who have dropped their bikes, and those who haven't dropped their bikes yet...
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 2-22-2011, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

Not at all, unless they are cracked, just clean the insides regularly.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 2-22-2011, 11:03 AM
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by FOG
Not at all, unless they are cracked, just clean the insides regularly.

FOG
What do you suggest cleaning them with?

There are 2 types of riders: Those who have dropped their bikes, and those who haven't dropped their bikes yet...
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 2-22-2011, 2:19 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

Carb Spray cleaner works well.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 2-23-2012, 3:36 AM
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

i have a 1990 ex500, can you send me a link to a set of molded caps with copper wire you wrote about i can purchase? or recommend. i think mine may be damaged.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 2-23-2012, 4:14 AM
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

hey fog, have you ever used NGK wires? theyre one piece, all soft rubber. do you think that just sticking a Q tip or something in there could clean them out?
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 2-23-2012, 6:52 AM
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by rommoto1
i have a 1990 ex500, can you send me a link to a set of molded caps with copper wire you wrote about i can purchase? or recommend. i think mine may be damaged.
Check this out on Ebay, and search out Item number: 260963092414 I got these and they are the real deal, and cheap too

Quote:
Originally Posted by rv93
hey fog, have you ever used NGK wires? theyre one piece, all soft rubber. do you think that just sticking a Q tip or something in there could clean them out?
Sounds like you need to get these too, and alos sounds like someone put cheap auto wires on your bike, got a pic of the wires your talking about?

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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 2-23-2012, 12:11 PM
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

good stuff.

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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 2-23-2012, 12:24 PM
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

Anyone have a photo on "clipping" the plug wires?

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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 2-23-2012, 1:11 PM
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by 00ninja
Anyone have a photo on "clipping" the plug wires?
you just cut/trim the ends once you remove them from the coils and boots

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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 2-23-2012, 1:18 PM
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostt
Quote:
Originally Posted by 00ninja
Anyone have a photo on "clipping" the plug wires?
you just cut/trim the ends once you remove them from the coils and boots
Okay. I'm good with the coil side then. But the boot end? The boots come off (the part covering the plugs)?

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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 2-23-2012, 1:23 PM
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by 00ninja
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostt
Quote:
Originally Posted by 00ninja
Anyone have a photo on "clipping" the plug wires?
you just cut/trim the ends once you remove them from the coils and boots
Okay. I'm good with the coil side then. But the boot end? The boots come off (the part covering the plugs)?
yup, at least mine did........... now you got me thinking, it's been too long since I did it, I'm pretty sure they do 99.9%
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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 2-23-2012, 1:53 PM
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

the boots themselvse also come apart, with a screwdriver into where the plug fit into

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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 2-23-2012, 1:56 PM
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostt
Quote:
Originally Posted by 00ninja
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostt
Quote:
Originally Posted by 00ninja
Anyone have a photo on "clipping" the plug wires?
you just cut/trim the ends once you remove them from the coils and boots
Okay. I'm good with the coil side then. But the boot end? The boots come off (the part covering the plugs)?
yup, at least mine did........... now you got me thinking, it's been too long since I did it, I'm pretty sure they do 99.9%
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostt
the boots themselvse also come apart, with a screwdriver into where the plug fit into
Great info! That really helps. I'll take a look at the state of my wires (when the weather gets a little warmer) and if they're in good shape, I'll snip the wires. If not, I'll get a new set like yours.

Cheers!

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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 2-23-2012, 2:12 PM
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

I haven't had any frequently recurring moisture problems with the plug connectors and decent plugs in place but....

What I have done with several higher mileage or aged bikes over the years, when in there doing a valve adjustment or plug check, is to clean them and then wax them with car wax. The theory is that it seals surface porosity that might hold moisture and create the electrical path to ground. I don't know that it helps but in theory it should. I'm reasonably sure it doesn't hurt. Make sure you buff completely, remove all of the cloudy wax residue, or you may create the problem, the porous surface, that you're intending to hinder. I've never had one that wouldn't start due to rain or washing with liberal amounts of water. Slower starting and an occasional stumble for a half minute, maybe. But never a failure to start.
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 2-23-2012, 2:24 PM
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by dad
I haven't had any frequently recurring moisture problems with the plug connectors and decent plugs in place but....

What I have done with several higher mileage or aged bikes over the years, when in there doing a valve adjustment or plug check, is to clean them and then wax them with car wax. The theory is that it seals surface porosity that might hold moisture and create the electrical path to ground. I don't know that it helps but in theory it should. I'm reasonably sure it doesn't hurt. Make sure you buff completely, remove all of the cloudy wax residue, or you may create the problem, the porous surface, that you're intending to hinder. I've never had one that wouldn't start due to rain or washing with liberal amounts of water. Slower starting and an occasional stumble for a half minute, maybe. But never a failure to start.
I use a dab of de-eletrictic grease , a dab will do ya'

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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 2-23-2012, 3:11 PM
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

ghostt, those are the wires i have. i got them about a month ago when i realized that mine were completely shot. bike would randomly misfire all the time.
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post #21 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-2-2013, 1:36 PM
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

Where did you get these wires from?
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post #22 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-3-2013, 9:17 PM
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Re: Cleaning the Spark Plug Caps

ebay. seller is lostnfound101. just search ex500 spark plug wires. pops right up
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