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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a '90 EX500 that's been a real pain. Wasn't starting and only acted like it wanted to start on starting fluid. Carb was an absolute mess so I sent it off to Ducatiman, he does fantastic work btw. Previous owner was rocking pod filters so I found an airbox and installed that. Have all hoses including crankcase breather. Now that it's all together it sounds better sounds like it's trying to catch more, even able to start it with starting fluid but it dies as soon as it attempts to idle. It does have a rough aftermarket petcock that's non-vaccum, might try that next.
Any other ideas?
 

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TURN IDLE UP?
 

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adequate valve clearances? spark plugs gapped, in good shape? plug caps/wires ok?
 

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Using the enrichener? Dump that petcock. They are junk. Get a K&L kit for the OEM petcock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
adequate valve clearances? spark plugs gapped, in good shape? plug caps/wires ok?
Brand new plugs with proper gap. The wires and caps look to be ok. Other than starting issues, I'm not really having any symptoms that point to valves. It's seeming to be ignition issue. Acting like it wants to start more with coils cold, gas smell, and small exhaust popping is pointing me towards ignition coils. Think I'll pick up a multimeter and test those.
 

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"able to start it with starting fluid"
Wouldn't that suggest spark is okay?

Or do you want to check entire ignition system at low rpm?

If yes, remove plugs, put them back in the plug wires, and ground the plugs to the cylinder head.
Turn on key, push starter button. Good blue spark at each plug? If not, then go get a multimeter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
"able to start it with starting fluid"
Wouldn't that suggest spark is okay?

Or do you want to check entire ignition system at low rpm?

If yes, remove plugs, put them back in the plug wires, and ground the plugs to the cylinder head.
Turn on key, push starter button. Good blue spark at each plug? If not, then go get a multimeter.
You're correct it's definitely getting some spark. I'll be the first to admit I have nowhere near the same amount of experience on bikes, but in some cases ether can bypass low spark. I was thinking ignition as like I mentioned it really only acts like it wants to start when coils are cold. After a few rounds of cranks, it doesn't do much even with starting fluid. The coils not producing well would cause all the unburned gas and tiny backfires, at least with cars.
 

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Quick thought...just reading back through cause I've been following this, but didn't have much to add.

You mentioned non-vacuum, non-oem petcock. You also said Duc refurbed your carbs, I assume nothing is wrong with them because his work is top notch, however...

Did you cap the vacuum port on the left side carb? Right one would be from the PAIR system provided that's still in there, but left leads to vacuum petcock, which you don't have.
 

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"I'll be the first to admit I have nowhere near the same amount of experience on bikes..."
Shouldn't matter; it appears you can pick up a wrench and do testing, that's what you need to do.

"I was thinking ..."
And you're capable of thinking, that's good, but at some point you have to do something! Oftentimes, a diagnostic test is not definitive;
so what? At least you get some clue as to where to concentrate your efforts.

"non-vacuum, non-oem petcock"
I've thrown a few of these units in the garbage. Doesn't matter if it's vacuum or not vacuum; does it allow fuel into the carbs?

What we know so far: you have an EX500 that doesn't run right, but has a perfect set of carbs.
Can you provide some additional background? Mileage, valve adjustments, compression or leakdown?
It's an internal combustion engine just like a car, so the same principles apply; you need 3 elements: compression, spark and fuel.
(some folks add exhaust, but it's rare to find a clogged muffler on one of these bikes)

So, do some testing that indicates whether you're getting sufficient amounts of
each of those elements, then let us know, you'll get it sorted, no doubt, cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quick thought...just reading back through cause I've been following this, but didn't have much to add.

You mentioned non-vacuum, non-oem petcock. You also said Duc refurbed your carbs, I assume nothing is wrong with them because his work is top notch, however...

Did you cap the vacuum port on the left side carb? Right one would be from the PAIR system provided that's still in there, but left leads to vacuum petcock, which you don't have.
Yep, I don't have PAIR so both are capped.
 

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hi. you say the bike has been a pain in what way, have you ever heard it running or did you get it as a non runner.
what exactly have you done to it so far. is the battery new and has it been drop tested for usefulness there is little info so far on the general condition of the bike, as a 1990 gen 1 it may not have run for long time and have unusual issues.
please expand a little on this the more we know the better the help may be.
 

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"A" coil can go bad. Both? Not likely, as I have an '87 and '89 and the coils are just fine. Have you messed with the flywheel (woodruff key), or cam timing at all? A '90 needs a gen2 cam chain tensioner. It could have jumped timing.

Compression test it, as mentioned. If OK, pull the tank and fill the carbs, including the line from the petcock to carbs. That is enough to run it for 30-45 seconds. If it starts and runs OK, you have a fuel supply problem. Are your intake boots cracked? 31 years is a long time.

Is the enrichener connected and opening correctly?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
hi. you say the bike has been a pain in what way, have you ever heard it running or did you get it as a non runner.
what exactly have you done to it so far. is the battery new and has it been drop tested for usefulness there is little info so far on the general condition of the bike, as a 1990 gen 1 it may not have run for long time and have unusual issues.
please expand a little on this the more we know the better the help may be.
I got it with the knowledge that it was going to need some work, primarily carbs. When I looked at it, it ran and was able to shift through the gears, but no doubt needed carb tune. I have not been able to get it running to that point since, and it has sat for a few months due to other obligations. I've changed the plugs, oil, battery is a year or so but I've had it on tender and it's tested as good. It originally had pod filters but I've put in a stock airbox and it has all hoses as far as I'm aware. Carb gets gas as well, seems almost rich.
 

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yeah the problem is with getting old bikes you can never assume anything is as it should be. so you have to check everything one at a time and eliminate probable causes one at a time in a methodical order.
as someone said earlier you need certain elements for it to run each one has to be correct or it won't run. you can solve the issue of poor running only when it starts and runs in the first place. the EX has a few issues in common the gen 1 has a few more than the newer gen 2 but some are the same.
a good place to start is the battery (which is why I mentioned it) 80% or so none starting issues are down to it as owners do not realise that if the cranking voltage drops below 11v (while cranking) there is insufficient power in the system to fire the plugs happens all the time yes my battery is good without testing it. ignoring the rest do this first. have you got a mulitimeter if so charge the battery to full. set the meter to DC volts 0-20v range put the probes across the battery terminal. and take a reading should be high 12volts or even 13v. then while the probes are on the battery try to start the bike on the starter take a reading while it's cranking if the volts drop below 11volts the battery is not good enough to start the bike it is worth doing this test even on a new battery as a faulty ones have been known. (had a couple of those myself) tell us what the reading are.
you have to start somewhere here is as good as any.
 

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I'm gonna go back to suspecting tight valve clearances causing your hard starting issue. If you lack prior service history (I believe that is the case here) its imperative to eliminate them on any "new to you" EX. "Tight valve syndrome" is quite common, I can't tell you how many I've personally experienced in servicing them.

Urge you to make the effort and assure clearances are correct. Until you eliminate it as a cause ....you very well could be chasing ghosts indefinitely.
 

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While you have the valve cover off, you can check cam timing as you adjust the valves. Two birds with one stone. Also, look at the cam chain tensioner. If the cap has a 10mm hex head bolt, it's junk. The gen2 units use a 12mm hex bolt.
 
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Brand new plugs with proper gap. The wires and caps look to be ok. Other than starting issues, I'm not really having any symptoms that point to valves. It's seeming to be ignition issue. Acting like it wants to start more with coils cold, gas smell, and small exhaust popping is pointing me towards ignition coils. Think I'll pick up a multimeter and test those.
Might be a good time to do the Coil Over Plug conversion. Easy upgrade and relatively inexpensive.
 
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