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Discussion Starter #1
This thread will chronicle the events concerning my blown ZX14R engine, and what Kawasaki and the dealer do about it. Good or bad, I’ll let you all know how it goes. I have owned 16 bikes before this one, and I’ve ridden hundreds of thousands of miles, and never had a blown engine.
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I purchased my new ’12 ZX14R the end of March, 2013. I got a good deal on it as a leftover a few states away. I picked it up April 13th and made the 540 mile ride home. I stopped along the way to do my first oil change at 55 miles. New filter, oil, and crush washer. I was amazed at the junk that came out of the engine with the oil. My next oil change was at 550 miles, new filter and oil. Third oil change was at 2,400 miles, just before a long trip to Vermont.

I returned from Vermont on May 31 having put on another 1,100 trouble free miles. The Scottoiler kept the chain nicely lubed… really nice. The next day, June 1, I was riding with my son. He was on my VFR, and we were cruising up the highway at 70 MPH. I was in 6th gear and moved the throttle to ¾ for some extra speed. The engine had a strange feel, like it was missing on one cylinder and before I could say “What the F” BOOM! Huge cloud of smoke and oil trailing from the bike.

I hit the kill switch and pulled in the clutch. I was able to control the bike in spite of the oil everywhere and moved to the shoulder. I found oil covering the front of the engine and exhaust. Oil plug and filter were perfectly intact. I didn’t have a flashlight, but suspected a hole in the engine. Flatbed came and took my baby home.

At this point I have had the bike for 49 days… 3,600 miles… one payment. I called Kawasaki and they told me to take it to the local dealer and it would be evaluated and repaired. I was confident that everything would be OK.

June 5 I took the ZX to my local dealer in the back of the F150. After helping me unload it, the mechanic informed me that they were not planning to even look at the bike until August. They would be prioritizing tire changes, battery replacements, inspections, etc. in front of me. I objected, but he said I’d have to talk to the service manager the next day. They would have to tear the engine apart and order the parts and then put it all back together, so I’d probably get my bike back in October – 5 months away.

I talked to the service manager and told him that although I didn’t expect to be moved to the front of the line, I didn’t want to be continually pushed to the back. They did look at the bike the next day, and verified a hole in the upper front of the engine. He confirmed that Kawasaki would probably want them to rebuild the engine, and he didn’t know when that might happen.

I started doing research on the forums and found that this catastrophic engine failure isn’t uncommon. I read about multiple failures that seem just like mine. Apparently, the oil pump cover inside the engine leaks badly causing oil starvation to the bearings due to low oil pressure. The problem is so well know that Muzzy now sells a billet oil pump cover to correct the problem. From what I read, even that cover can leak. The problem is bad design of the pump housing, and the inability to seal it without RTV or an anaerobic sealer. Performance subject-matter experts on the ZX14 have written that oiling is the weak point of the ZX14 engine.

I found a forum member who’s engine had failed this way in Georgia. Kawasaki sent the dealer a new engine. I called the dealer and confirmed this. From failure to being back on the road was a few weeks. That is what I want… a fast and effective response from Kawasaki.

So I called Kawasaki again yesterday (June 11), explaining that I had discovered the fact that there is a well known design flaw and that I have 26 pages of information about it. The rep denied knowing anything about ZX14 engine failures, or Kawasaki ever sending out a replacement engine. He did listen well, and expressed that he was sorry for what happened. He took my phone number and said he’d escalate the issue and have someone call me.

So that is where I am today, waiting for a call from Kawasaki. I have confidence in Kawasaki and their ability to do the right thing. I love my Ninja and want it back ASAP. Luckily, I have other bikes to ride. I’ll be posting updates to this as things develop.
 

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i think changing your oil yourself on the first service is a no no dude..they do that for free.
make sure u keep dead quiet about that if i was you.hope u used a genuine kawasaki filter.
one other thing.while in warranty period i think you need it fully service by an approved dealer to keep the warranty in tact
 

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i think changing your oil yourself on the first service is a no no dude..they do that for free.
make sure u keep dead quiet about that if i was you.hope u used a genuine kawasaki filter.
one other thing.while in warranty period i think you need it fully service by an approved dealer to keep the warranty in tact
Nope, not in the US. According to US Law you can take a vehicle anywhere for service with no effect on the warranty. If you install aftermarket parts they have to prove that your parts caused the problem before denying coverage.
 

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He is also way past the initial breakin period with 3600 miles on it. Hope everything works out, i will be watching this thread.
I have got to say this is the first I've heard of this problem.
 

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...That sucks. I can imagine your dissapointment. There is always a risk for problems with a new model. kawasakiworld is a well known site. Perhaps you should contact kawasaki usa and tell them you posted your problem here. They probally would not want any bad publicity. Perhaps this could be to your benefit. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Latest news is this - Kawasaki says that they don't have any new engines. BS! What are they putting into the new bikes??? Even if they don't have one in their USA stock, get one here from Japan. I'm in the process of drafting a complaint to the NTSB about the safety issue of an engine exploding and dumping all it's oil right in front of the rear tire on a motorcycle and how they should investigate Kawasaki and Kawasaki's response to my issue. I could have been killed when this happened. I'm also sending a complaint to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office about Kawasaki and the dealer.

I have a friend who is an attorney that is giving me some good advice, at a minimum I may have to pull Kawasaki into small claims court... if they continue to piss me off I'll go the whole route of paying a Lawyer and suing in real court. It's a matter of principle now. I'm about to go balistic on the internet, social media, and in person. I'll join all the Hayabusa forums and post my ZX14 issue there, should keep some Suzuki owners from jumping ship and buying a $15,000 Kawasaki.

We have a big motorcycle rally called Thunder in the Valley next week, and I'm sure Kawi will be there. We have almost 200,000 people that attend and I'll protest in front of the Kawasaki area... maybe get in the local paper. It sucks that Kawasaki is making me do this.

I love my ZX14 and I just want it back. I want Kawasaki to stand behind their product and replace my defective engine in a timely manner. Is that too much to ask???
 

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I understand your anger at the situation but the people at the bike rally have no say in whether or not you get a new motor. They have no pull or anything. This is a corporate thing. Getting lawyers involved is your best bet at any sort of resolution, but I sure as hell wouldn't expect anything quickly.

As to the motors, it's perfectly reasonable that they wouldn't have any lying around. Japanese companies usually operate with a just-in-time inventory management system which means they have only enough stock on hand to satisfy current demand. If there's no demand for replacement motors then they aren't going to build replacement motors.

If this is a systemic problem then writing to the NTSB is also a VERY good thing to do. You're going along the right path, just don't let anger cloud your judgement.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Today’s update…
6/17 I called the dealer’s service manager and he says he will be starting the teardown next week. He had a pretty positive attitude about the project, so at least I have more confidence in them. He says that nobody from Kawasaki has contacted them about my bike.
I then called Kawasaki (again) and was told in no uncertain terms that they WILL NOT replace the engine or the bike. They flat out deny ANY knowledge of ZX14 engines having an issue, or that they EVER sent a replacement engine. He says it’s impossible to get a replacement engine because there is no part number for one… they simply do not exist. He says my only way to get the bike fixed is to have the engine rebuilt by a dealer. I can take it to any Kawasaki dealer, but they won’t tell me which one I should take it to. It’s up to me to decide that, they can give no recommendation. What great customer service…
I have filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, and with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Office of Defects Investigation. I did both of these because I have a consumer complaint, and I’m also concerned about the safety issue of having motor oil spray out in front of the rear tire… I’m not the only one this has happened to, and Kawasaki should do something about it before somebody gets hurt or killed.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Good update!
I have been talking to Kawasaki’s customer service throughout this process and have not been happy with all of the ‘no’ answers I’ve gotten. It seemed like Kawasaki was ignoring my problem and was just waiting for the dealer. Well, I was wrong. Kawasaki has been working behind the scenes, trying to get my issue resolved. The customer service reps probably didn’t know that.

I was called by my dealer yesterday to see if I could stop in and meet with them after work. When I arrived there was a Kawasaki Field Service Advisor there with my bike all torn down. He showed me what happened – rod hole in the case, all the debris and pieces that were in the oil pan, etc. We talked a lot about the plan to get it fixed.

He is trying very hard to get an engine shipped from Japan, but that is a long-shot. Most likely my dealer will get a bunch of parts and do a rebuild. Of course it would be easier on everyone (and better for me) to get the new engine. If we have to do the rebuild, I’d rather my local dealer do the work than send it out. They do good work and I trust them, but it will take longer.

After talking to the Field Service Advisor and seeing that they are serious about resolving this issue, my confidence in Kawasaki growing.

I’ll continue with updates, and I’ll post some pics of my engine soon.
 

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that is a good update. be nice to get that "crate" motor
 

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That's great news. I'm happy for you and I hope it's resolved quickly and, but most importantly, right.
 

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Latest update-
I received an e-mail from the Kawasaki Field Service Advisor that my new engine should arrive at my dealer tomorrow. I’ll be calling them to find out what their schedule is to get the new engine installed. So it looks like I won’t miss the whole summer of riding!
Since the Field Service Advisor has been involved, I’ve been confident that my dealer was going to get the parts and support that they needed. Although I’m confident that my dealer would have done a fine job with a rebuild, having a replacement engine makes it so much easier.

Here are some pics of the blown engine


 

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great news, i would be leary about a rebuild after a failure like that so im glad your getting a crate motor instead. to much gouging going on by all that metal flying around inside
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I got my 14 back! It was 5 ½ weeks total, so not bad after all.

Thursday, my dealer called and said the bike was ready to be picked up. I went after work and rode her home. I put 300 miles on over the weekend and she’s running great. Still in the ‘break-in’, but seems normal in the low rpms.

It looks like the dealer got everything right. All the body parts are fit together properly and nothing is loose. Chain tension is good and no leaks. The idle speed seems a bit high to me… it’s around 1,250 and I’d like to see it closer to 1,100.

Kawasaki really came through and did the right thing, and my dealer was great. The only real negative was that Kawasaki’s customer service kept making me feel like they we doing nothing and I was going to miss the whole summer of riding. The last guy I talked to there basically told me to ‘f-off’ in the nice way that customer service people do. They also lied to me (in my opinion). They really caused a lot of my stress in this situation.

So kudos to the folks at Kawasaki that worked behind the scenes and in the field, and kudos to Tom’s Cycle in Indiana, PA for getting it put back together and communicating with me so well. Thanks to all on the forums for your support!
 

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Sounds like a mini-nightmare.

Has anything been done to address the initial problem- leaking oil pump cover?

You dodged a bullet the first time she blew...............
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I don't know if Kawasaki has done anything about the leaky oil pump cover. All of the Kawasaki people I talked to deny that there is a problem.

I've been debating if I should buy the extended warranty or not. If I don't, I'll definately get the Muzzy billet oil pump cover... cheap insurance.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Did the Kawasaki Rep tell you the cause of the problem?
No, and I doubt they will. My opinion is that there is an oil pressure issue. It could also be that the bearing was just too tight from the factory. I hope that they figure it out and make some improvements for future engines, but when you look at the math it's still a VERY reliable engine.

Of the thousands of zx14's out there, I've only found 5 'stock' engines that blew (non-race related) documented on the internet (there may be more, idk). Same story, #3 rod through the block. So, although I feel there is a problem... it's a rare one. I found way more blown 'busa engine stories :)
 

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Don`t worry man the oil gushing out will help you slide smoother and faster.
 
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