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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm getting a '94 Ninja 500 back on the road after it sat for (embarassing number of) years.

This forum is awesome, and I've got most systems running. Big thank you to all the contributors.

What I think is my last issue issue is getting fuel into the carbs.

Tank and petcock are fine. I already tested flow with tank removed and sucking on the vacuum line.

Just in case the vacuum from the carb is faulty, I hooked up some hose and tried getting fuel directly down the fuel line, bypassing the tank. Nothing flows.

I disconnected and tested the hose from the fuel tank and the carbs. All clear, no pinch.

I have the carbs still bolted together, but the tops and bottom of one carb removed - floats, jets, diaphragm, etc. - and I've been generous with the carb cleaner.

With everything still open and disconnected, I still can't get fuel to flow from the fuel line through the fuel rail (the pipe between the carbs where the fuel line from the tank connects). I tested hooking up a clean piece of hose to the rail and blowing, and nothing goes through.

Is there something I have to do - like the vacuum on the petcock - to get fuel to flow from the fuel rail into the disassembled carbs? Or am I looking at a clogged fuel rail?

Note: Following some guidance from another post... I only have one of the two carbs disassembled. Does that make a difference? I assume fuel should still flow to the side that's open.
 

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So if vacuum is applied to the petcock, does fuel flow out of the fuel line? I don't think I understand exactly how you tested this.
 

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as I see it you have one or two issues (or both) either the fuel rail is blocked with debris or have furred up completely with being stood (it should be full flow through this) or both float valves are stuck/glued shut that is stopping fuel entering the carbs. you are going to have to strip both carbs and separate them to clean everything out. and I mean everything jets ports and all those little pathways carb cleaner won't cut it. it needs a proper job doing. get a service kit that does both carbs as you will need both and make sure you replace all the O rings on the rails.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So if vacuum is applied to the petcock, does fuel flow out of the fuel line? I don't think I understand exactly how you tested this.
Fuel flows out the line when vacuum applied. Sorry if my original message was not clear enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
as I see it you have one or two issues (or both) either the fuel rail is blocked with debris or have furred up completely with being stood (it should be full flow through this) or both float valves are stuck/glued shut that is stopping fuel entering the carbs. you are going to have to strip both carbs and separate them to clean everything out. and I mean everything jets ports and all those little pathways carb cleaner won't cut it. it needs a proper job doing. get a service kit that does both carbs as you will need both and make sure you replace all the O rings on the rails.
Yorkie - Thanks, pretty much what I was expecting. I've already done most of the work removing the jets and getting the ports cleaned up. Jets and float valves were in pretty good shape. Just one jet being stubborn.

I was hoping to avoid separating the two carbs since I'm not finding any posts on how to do that. Oh well - I'll pay close attention to the pictures in the service manual. And put in an order now for those O-rings.
 

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hi. what no thread on splitting and servicing the carbs. are you sure. I will have a look later. I thought there was one somewhere. anyhow it is not that hard to split them take out the 4 screws on both joining rails and ease them apart. don't lose the little light spring that sits between the plates on the throttle linkage as they come apart.
as an afterthought it's a good idea to swap out the screws for allen bolts I do it as a matter of course I know @ducatiman does also but you don't have to just makes any future work on them easier those JIS screws can strip out real quick (not everyone has the correct JIS screwdriver) .
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
hi. what no thread on splitting and servicing the carbs. are you sure. I will have a look later. I thought there was one somewhere. anyhow it is not that hard to split them take out the 4 screws on both joining rails and ease them apart. don't lose the little light spring that sits between the plates on the throttle linkage as they come apart.
as an afterthought it's a good idea to swap out the screws for allen bolts I do it as a matter of course I know @ducatiman does also but you don't have to just makes any future work on them easier those JIS screws can strip out real quick (not everyone has the correct JIS screwdriver) .
I mis-spoke, There are some posts on splitting the carbs, but none I've found have the fully-illustrated baby-steps for dummies sequence I seem to require.

I'm probably paranoid from past work on different rusted out things. I worry that extracting the fuel and throttle rails will be a chore. So far, the carbs have been pretty easy to take apart. I haven't had to resort to any simulated-Japanese profanity. I will check the diagrams for that little light spring you mention before starting.

As for the screws... as soon as I noticed a bit of screwdriver play on the first one, I broke out the vise-grips. With the full-size vise-grip, there is just enough clearance on all the screws to get a grip for the initial break. This could be the justification I need to buy that smaller model.

For getting the jets out... I went through the bottom of my tool box for the biggest slotted screwdriver that best fit in the hole. There are a few posts about grinding down the sides to make it narrow enough to fit. I went a step further. I used a metal file and flattened out the sides and tip until it fit snugly in the slot of one of the exposed jets. Everything came out beautifully, and I'm labeling that screwdriver "FOR CARB JETS - DO NOT USE TO PRY, CHISEL, SCRAPE OR STAB".
 

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spray WD40 into all 4 rail entrances into the body, allow to penetrate. After removing all rail and choke bracket screws, rails and associated poop, progressively aggressive effort at careful prying them apart will spilt them. I doubt a video or pics will really aid nor be necessary with physical separation process.
Account for the easily lost, expensive needle jets prior to ANY further action. One in each carb, some fall out, go missing, some stick due to periferal varnish...there is no rule on this phenomena. In any event, make sure both there.
More important to plan on your cleaning methods you'll employ. Spray can and a toothbrush? (please say no) Dunk method? Ultrasonic? Blasting? Compressed air?

You've done this before? "Carbs are easy" we've seen that commonly posted in forums. I call BS on that general, ignorant statement. The process differs all according to their condition and depth of your intent. A full, legit restoration radically differs from poking wire into the (still installed) main and pilot jets and calling it a day.

Also suggest you have FULL carb kits with ALL orings./seals/float valves in hand. Avoid the temptation to use their brass tuning components enclosed...stick with your factory correct items....specifically main, pilot jets, pilot screws and needles. The junk in the kits are notoriously known for differing spec errors.

I'm done now...nose to grindstone... to work on #82 today.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
ducatiman - thank you for the advice and well-placed concern. It's kind of a fun project for me, and I understand the risks and potential $$$ if I mess up.

On the WD-40: you don't recommend something more severe like a penetrating fluid or bolt-out spray?

I have not done a carb before. I'm getting a fair amount of on-site guidance from a neighbour who races carts and rebuilds engines and carbs himself. I've come to the forum for specific questions on the EX-500 unit.

I've read a whole lot of your posts on the topic and wrote down a lot of notes. You do amazing work.

I have a nice big work surface and lots of bins to keep parts ordered and separate. No hurry - I'm taking my time.

So far so good. I've done a lot of work on bicycles, and it kind of feels the same. Throttle and choke cables come off just like brake and derailleurs cables. Tiny little screws and bits that fall all over the place, just like old-school bicycle needle bearings and such. Understood that the carb stuff is a lot more delicate and has fluids that can catch fire, burn and go boom.

I'm spraying, dunking and have compressed air ( cans and an oil-less compressor). I don't have access to the more serious cleaning equipment.

I'm optimistic because, as I said in an earlier post, the jets and other innards seem to be in surprisingly good shape, floats moving nicely, tiny little side holes on the jets clear, hardly any build-up on the needles. So it's kind of surprising that the fuel rail is clogged. That's why I was asking earlier if there's a vacuum or some other trigger that affects the flow.

Assuming I can get the fuel rail cleared, I'll be testing like I did at the start, pouring fuel down the hose and making sure it gets through nicely to both carbs.

If all else fails, I have found a local carb rebuild outfit that can do an ultrasonic clean for me. I'm in the Toronto area.

Success or failure, I'll post the results - if only for others to learn from my mistakes.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Quick update: ducatiman's advice for splitting the carbs was was spot-on. I sprayed down the ends of the rails with WD40 a few times over a couple of days. I went at it tonight and the first carb pulled off with just a bit of effort and wiggling - and loosening up a screw on the throttle linkage that connects the two sides. A couple of springs flew out as predicted.

Fuel rail was disgustingly clogged. I'm surprised that the vast majority of the carb cleaning instructions and videos out there don't include this step.

For anyone like me who hasn't dealt with gone-to-sh*t fuel that's been left too long: think of the worst, thickest ear wax you've ever had. Make it a slightly darker shade of brown. The fuel rail was full of it. Got the majority out with a soft wooden skewer. I'm leaving the rail and the carbs to soak and I'll be back at it next week.

Thanksgiving weekend for us Canadians, so I'll be out with the family. We have to get that harvest in earlier in these cold northern climates.
 

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"and loosening up a screw on the throttle linkage that connects the two sides"

keep in mind, that is the synch adjust screw

Judging by your description of rail clog, I'd pay special attention to the float system, assuring cleanliness followed by careful adjustment.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Sync adjust screw.... that was my guess. I would have preferred to avoid it, but I could not see any way around it to pull the two carbs apart.

I assumed that it's the designer's way of insisting that if you are going to pull them apart, you are going to re-sync them.
 

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To retain existing synch is doable, but the spring requires compression for reinstall. Checking synch after split absolutely mandatory under all circumstances, in any and all cases.
 

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Fuel rails weren't a problem before ethanol infused gas. The ethanol corrodes the aluminum fuel rails. I keep wondering if there's a plastic rail from another bike that will retrofit. Maybe that's one for the carb master @ ducatiman.
 

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Fuel rails weren't a problem before ethanol infused gas. The ethanol corrodes the aluminum fuel rails. I keep wondering if there's a plastic rail from another bike that will retrofit. Maybe that's one for the carb master @ ducatiman.
Not sure of the differences but the suzuki gs500 carbs I just rebuilt had a plastic fuel rail with rubber end seals. Might just be a matter of trial and error with existing plastic rails.
 

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The first gen Concours has plastic rails, and that was designed back when wheels were still made of stone, so they've been in use a long time. Four cylinder bikes will have rails that are too short, but the gs500 ones sound promising. I imagine there's an application somewhere that will work.
 

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I imagine that cleaning the existing metal rails, and then simply keeping the gas fresh will prevent the problem from happening again....
 

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Aggressive cleaning inside the rail should be SOP. AFA substituting a plastic version from another model.....the OEM rigid design intended for reliability throughout the service life of the carbs. Perfectly reliable as is, provided the actual plastic inlet barb is never stressed, somehow split or cracked. Rare, but does occur. I've got 2 or 3 failed, leaking examples marked and bunked away.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
After long soaks and thorough cleaning of everything, finally getting to re-assembly.

Forgot to thank yorkie as well on the last post for all his advice.

dalemac's carb rebuild doc has been a great help, but misses a couple of things I have the Kawasaki repair manuals to double-check the parts. If you don't have that, there are great free diagrams at Ronnie's and other on-line parts shops. Part numbers below are from those diagrams.

Second carb was dirtier than the first, and the float valve (16030) needed some persuasion before it came out. Definitely a goner.

The most prominent omissions from dalemac's doc:
  • diagram shows that pilot jet (16014) requires rubber o-ring and washer before spring. dalemac only mentions the o-ring.
  • Adjust the floats after re-installing and before closing the bottom. It's critical! 17 mm. ducatiman comes through again in this post. Lots of youtube videos as well.
  • If you've read all the posts in this thread, you might have learned something about cleaning the fuel rail.
On the top side, the diaphragm is not snapping into place, so I'm taking a break to do some more reading and grab some food. I found two suggestions in the posts:
Maybe I'll feel ambitious enough after supper to go try that. Otherwise, tomorrow. I think. My track record so far makes that doubtful.
 
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