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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I am working on a engine rebuild after a failed piston.
Here is the link to the album of pictures but i have embedded the rest in this post Here


What happened was.....
I was traveling home from work and cruising a calm 150 mph.
Eventually she started to loose power. Came to a sputtering stop and it engine died.
Getting back to the shop and finding it failed a compression test on one of the cylinders.
Started to tear the bike down, strip everything off and drop the engine to find my problem


Exhaust side of piston got hot and melted to side of cylinder wall.

This is the piston that came out and was not cleaned.

Looking at the head and valves, you can definitely see what cylinder had failed.


We stamped and etched each piston with its corresponding cylinder it went in. Bought a new piston to replace the damaged one.
This is before we cleaned them

Cleaned the rest of cylinders and sent them to an outside house to repair and rechrome the block. The aluminum was mostly just a residue on wall but it did damage it a little bit. They cleaned it up and welded the damage then replated/rechromed the block


Got everything back and started the reassembly process.
I am following the Kawasaki service manual very closely.

We replaced all the wrist pin clips that we removed
We ordered and are replacing every gasket we touch.
Coated EVERYTHING with Molybdenum disulfide oil.
I even coated each individual piston ring before we put them on.

Even though it is not in this picture, i did not forget the oil stem that sticks into the head.
I torqued all the engine block bolts down to the values of the service manual and noticed the timing chain was getting tight and loose as i turned the engine over. Got scared and just ordered a new timing chain from Kawasaki.


Currently i am waiting on the chain but i have a few questions.
First thing, is there anything i am missing? Anything i should do or replace while i have everything torn down?

Second thing, before i start the engine..... I was debating on dumping regular motorcycle oil inside. Start and run the engine for about 10 minutes to rinse/filter the engine and dump that oil after that. Should i replace that oil with fresh oil to start my break in period or should i use "Break in oil"? Is that a good way to do things or not?

Next we are looking into "Why" it had a piston failure.
We sent out the injectors to be tested. Maybe it was a clogged or failed injector to create that lean situation but the reports came back all good.


There was a PowerCommander being used but the map was directly from their website. I had the correct map for the intake and exhaust on the bike also.

Any ideas why it failed? Anything i should look into or replace now?

Thanks for your help.
 

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Just guessing but what were/are your valve clearance values?
 

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Low oil level?
Inspect lower end?
Did you have the head checked?
You will need to split the case to install the timing chain.
Or remove the casting that is below the timing gear on the crank. Dremel will work.

cmg
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The valves have been checked and shimmed every year. Each time I took it in to get it checked, there was nothing that was eye raising. All valves didn't need much adjusted or have anything out of spec per the ZX12 service manual.
Since there was aluminum residue on the exhaust port, we recut and lapped the valves on the exhaust only.

Cmg? How would a low oil level create a lean situation in one cylinder? We had to remove the head to get to the block so yes, the head was inspected and worked on.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We all are pointing fingers at the power commander for creating a lean situation. Jus seems weird that it cleaned up everything in that one cylinder especial on the head compared to the other cylinders on the head.
We also though fuel pump/fuel regulator could have caused problems.

Besides what went wrong I'm still what should be done about the first start up? Break in oil? Dump the first oil right away or after 50 miles?

Plus if any of you have had to replace a common part on the ZX1200B 2003? I mean while I have everything open. This is the first engine I have ever had opened up and rebuilt.
 

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Looks to me you had issues with 2 cylinders....just that one gave out first. Pay close attention to that pic of the head off the bike......................

My question is why did you leave the motor in the bike? With damage like that you wanna check the mains and all the other fun stuff on the big end. Not only that, the motor is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much easier to work on off the bike...for big stuff.

Like the "cruising at a calm 150" shit....hahaha...lucky that bad boy didn't lock the rear end up at that speed.....crazy.
 

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On the break in.....well...there are several sides to that fence....

I know they make break in oil for a reason...and the shit is expensive. I know they have an additive to add to regular oil. I've seen some use standard oil. That being said.....

I would use break in oil and take it out for the first 500 miles with that. If the engine work is warranties, I'd probably not be too aweful easy on it, cause I've seen mixed reports about seating rings...whether to baby or beat, and this favors beat. Bikes that are gonna fail will fail within the first 100 miles if beat...and the bikes that are beat have reported higher power ratings compared to babied siblings.....not a massive amount but measurable.

I have seen regular oil work, and seen it cause immediate failure. The ratio is not favorable to regular oils. I've seen additives added to the oil, and seen it go good and bad too, but the bad wasn't the fault of the additive. It was the fault of particles in the engine that weren't properly cleaned out before the first start after an engine failure. I've seen it once, so the additives might be ok. Never seen it in a bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
What other cylinder do you see that failed? The number 4 cylinder just has a new spark plug in it. I just threw it in there before I took the picture. Nothing wrong with the old one. The number 3 cylinder does have that clean intake valve but everything else around it looked normal. Even the pistons all looked fine.

We left the engine on it so I wouldn't take up too much space in this guy's shop I was working on it. Plus I didn't want to tear everything apart when it just looked like the piston failure due to lean condition.

For the break in, I was thinking of starting it first with regular motorcycle oil to kinda rinse some of the contamination out of the bottom of the engine. Then fill her up with break in oil for the next 500 and back to normal oil for its life.
Does that sound like a good idea?
 

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If you are worried about getting the stuff out, running it with oil ain't the way to do it. It does not take much to get into the bearings and cook them. Check the old oil thru a coffee strainer for metal flakes and particles. If you see them, then running the motor is not a very good idea in my opinion and the engine should be disassembled and cleaned properly. It would suck to have done all that work you have and have big end issues from metal particles and shavings from the piston....

If you are clean and don't see anything serious in the oil, then yea, you might be ok. I dunno if I would waste the money on the reg oil before break in oil.... Just what I thinks on that....
 

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Oh...it looks to me like you had another exhaust valve getting hot. It's just a pic, so I could just be seeing things, but it i looks like you had 2 cylinders running lean...
 

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Everytime there is engine failure and oil get contaminated with metal shaving...you have to change oil pump. That tiny bit of metal gets back into engine and and its a receipt for another disaster
 
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