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Old October 13th, 2019, 04:16 PM   #1
jcarbelbide
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Ninja 250 Problems Galore

Hi Ninjette! First time posting here. I have a problem with my Ninja that I can't solve.

For the past 3 months or so, I've been trying to get my Ninja 250 running again, but I'm running into a lot of issues. I'm a complete noob when it comes to this. This was my first bike, and my first real project I've worked on. It started with what seemed to be a carb issue. I let the bike sit for about a month, and it started having trouble with its idle revs. The idle revs would swing 1500 rpm, so I had to leave it at high RPMs or it would stall. It would also get stuck at high RPMs when I gave it throttle, and would eventually come back down slowly. The throttle cable was working properly. So I decided to try cleaning the jets. That didn't do anything. I then tried rebuilding the carbs. However, now the bike won't even start. I ordered another carb off of ebay to try, but I accidentally cracked it being too rough with a stripped screw. I'm not sure if the crack matters too much so I tried it anyway, but same problem as my original carb.

At this point, when I try to start the bike, I can hear it trying to start, but it doesn't fully start. I hear the electrical sounds, and I hear a small thump. I put my hand over the exhaust and I can feel stuff coming out. I don't really know what I could have messed up so bad that it won't even start. Could it be the floats? I had to bend the tabs to get the height correct but I might have messed that up.

Any ideas about what I can try? At this point, I might just take it to the mechanic, but I don't really want to give up either. Thanks!
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Old October 13th, 2019, 05:41 PM   #2
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MOTY - 2018, MOTM - Nov '17
Hi and welcome to Ninjette!

Can you fill us in on your bike’s previous maintenance and usage pattern before you let it sit for month?

What is total mileage?
Was it ridden daily?
Had valve-adjustment on schedule?
Any crashes or damage?

There are very few mechanics that know how to work on carbs and even fewer that knows how to do proper cleaning and refurb job. Do search here for “clean carbs ducatiman” to see threads with photos on what needs to be done.
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Old October 13th, 2019, 05:57 PM   #3
jcarbelbide
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Thanks for your reply. I bought the bike a little over a year ago. It had around 200 miles when I bought it (not a typo). The bike sat forever, and the previous owner bought it at an auction, cleaned it up, and sold it to me. He seemed to know what he was doing, as he had like 15 bikes in his garage he was working on, and did that as a side hustle. I don't know what he did to it, besides cleaning the carbs. I then let it sit for a month and when I tried to start it again, it was having the idling issue. I have no idea if he adjusted the valves. It has about 1000 miles now. I didn't ride it daily. It was about once a week, but now it never gets ridden since it doesn't start and has been having issues. No crashes or damage as far as I can tell.

Actually now that you mention it, I did fall over on it doing a u-turn when I was first learning. Maybe like a 5mph crash. Bike flew out from under me and broke a blinker. After that I recall that the next time I used it, I started noticing it acting a little weird, but nothing like it is now. I can't recall how weird it was acting. Can a small crash like that cause issues like the ones I described?

I've been reading about ducatiman actually, and I'm really impressed with what he does. I wish I found this forum before I started trying to fix all of this myself. Would have saved a lot of time and money. My first priority now is just to get the bike to start again. I have no idea what I did to make it not be able to start.
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Old October 14th, 2019, 06:58 AM   #4
jkv45
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MOTM - Jun '18, Oct '16
First thing to look at with a cycle with low miles that has been sitting is the gas and gas tank.

Did you completely drain the tank and look at the condition of the inside? Rust will plug up the screens and filters, so make sure the tank is in good condition and the gas is fresh. Use 87 without ethanol if it's available in your area.

Check the small fuel filter on the inside of the fuel line where it connects to the carb. You want it there, but it needs to be clean and in good condition.

The air filter needs to be clean and in good condition also. Be very careful not to over-oil a foam filter after cleaning.

Make sure the petcock is flowing fuel when a vacuum is applied, and not flowing when it's not.

Next is the carbs. Chances are they need a complete and thorough overhaul - not just some spraying with carb cleaner. That's where ducatiman comes in. It's worth investing some money in your Ninja due to the low miles if the rest of it is in good condition.

There's also an oil/filter change, coolant change, brake fluid change, chain adjustment and lube, and other maintenance items that need to be checked to make sure it's road worthy.

No matter how many miles are on them, or how good the tread is, tires need to be replaced after 5 years. Even though they may look good (chances are there are small cracks in the rubber), tires dry out and lose traction from age.

This page has a lot of Ninja-specific info that may help you - https://faq.ninja250.org/wiki/Ninja250_Howto
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Old October 14th, 2019, 09:17 AM   #5
jcarbelbide
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I emptied the gas tank and put in fresh fuel, though the fuel is probably about a month old now. I did put fuel stabilizer in it. I just used 87 gas from a nearby gas station that I would put in my car. Do you think it's worth replacing that? Would that stop it from starting?

I did check to make sure that there was gas coming out of the tank, but all I did was pull the tube going to the carb and check for gas. Gas came out, but it wasn't flowing from the petcock when I took out the tube. What's the best way to check if it flows with a vacuum? I'm not sure how to check for proper flow. Whats the best way to look at the condition of the inside? Flashlight from the top?

I'm not sure what you're referring to when you say the small fuel filter on the inside of the fuel line where it connects to the carb. I do have what looks like a filter on my DR650 but all I have on my ninja are two tubes that connect directly to the carb. I have attached a picture below.

I've never really touched the air filter, but it did seem to be intact and didn't seem dirty. I'll look into what it should look like.

I recently replaced the tires, so they're pretty new.

In terms of the carbs, I did a rebuild, and I think I probably messed up the floats. I bent the tabs so the floats met the 17mm requirement, but they felt different from before. They felt a lot lighter. I want to get the bike running again before sending my carbs to be overhauled. I read in another post that they were having similar problems to me, and a valve adjustment helped to get rid of the idling problem I was having before the bike stopped starting.


Grateful for all of the help. Thanks so much!

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Old October 14th, 2019, 10:09 AM   #6
DannoXYZ
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MOTY - 2018, MOTM - Nov '17
So did you test-ride bike before purchase? Or at least see it start and warm-up fully?

What is rust-condition of tank? Open up cap and shine flashlight in and look at bottom and sides of tank. Or better yet, post photo.

There is tiny inline filter inside fuel-hose just before carbs. It may be inside end of hose or it may be sitting in fuel-inlet pipe at carbs. It can get clogged with rust and prevent petrol flow.



Might also be good idea to remove petclock and check its filters on its inlet as well.

To test petcock's flow:

1. unplug fuel-hose from carbs and aim into cup

2. unplug smaller vacuum hose from petcock (2nd-one going inside towards carbs)

3. plug in spare vacuum hose to petcock's vacuum diaphragm port, 1-2 feet long should do

4. turn petcock to ON

5. apply vacuum to petcock's vacuum diaphragm port. Use vacuum gauge/tester or syringe. Some people say suck on hose gently (dangerous if diaphragm is torn, you may get petrol in mouth).

6. measure how much petrol flows out in 30-seconds when flow starts
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Old October 14th, 2019, 11:11 AM   #7
jcarbelbide
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I did test ride. I got the bike over a year ago at this point. The bike seemed to run fine when I got it. It started up with no issues and was not having the issues I've been seeing. I kept thinking it was a carb issue because a mechanic that looked at it said it was the carb, and it seemed to get a little better when I would ride it more frequently.

I'll provide a picture of the tank when I can.

Thanks for the picture of the filter. Never even knew, but I'll check for it. And thank you for all of the suggestions to check the petcock. I won't be able to do that until this weekend, but I will post back when I do.
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Old October 14th, 2019, 11:18 PM   #8
DannoXYZ
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MOTY - 2018, MOTM - Nov '17
It could very well be petcock. Do test of petcock as outlined above to verify it’s delivering adequate fuel-volume to carbs.

Also make note of whether vacuum is held by petcock. That is, once you apply vacuum, it flows petrol continuously, or if you have to keep applying more and more vacuum to keep flow going.

Last futzed with by DannoXYZ; October 15th, 2019 at 02:38 AM.
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Old November 12th, 2019, 09:27 AM   #9
LR44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcarbelbide View Post
Hi Ninjette! First time posting here. I have a problem with my Ninja that I can't solve.

For the past 3 months or so, I've been trying to get my Ninja 250 running again, but I'm running into a lot of issues. I'm a complete noob when it comes to this. This was my first bike, and my first real project I've worked on. It started with what seemed to be a carb issue. I let the bike sit for about a month, and it started having trouble with its idle revs. The idle revs would swing 1500 rpm, so I had to leave it at high RPMs or it would stall. It would also get stuck at high RPMs when I gave it throttle, and would eventually come back down slowly. The throttle cable was working properly. So I decided to try cleaning the jets. That didn't do anything. I then tried rebuilding the carbs. However, now the bike won't even start. I ordered another carb off of ebay to try, but I accidentally cracked it being too rough with a stripped screw. I'm not sure if the crack matters too much so I tried it anyway, but same problem as my original carb.

At this point, when I try to start the bike, I can hear it trying to start, but it doesn't fully start. I hear the electrical sounds, and I hear a small thump. I put my hand over the exhaust and I can feel stuff coming out. I don't really know what I could have messed up so bad that it won't even start. Could it be the floats? I had to bend the tabs to get the height correct but I might have messed that up.

Any ideas about what I can try? At this point, I might just take it to the mechanic, but I don't really want to give up either. Thanks!
For what it's worth, my bike tends to hunt for a stable idle immediately after startup (especially if its a cold day). Immediately after a cold start, I've seen the tach surge as high as 3500. For that reason, I usually stand by and reduce the choke until it stabilizes, which usually between 1200 and 1500 rpm. If I let it sit there for about 5 minutes, I can usually kill the choke and ride off without issue.
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Old November 17th, 2019, 10:25 PM   #10
RiderDonnie
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Ever figure out the problem to this? Sounds very similar problems with what I am currently going through!
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Old November 18th, 2019, 12:25 AM   #11
LR44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiderDonnie View Post
Ever figure out the problem to this? Sounds very similar problems with what I am currently going through!
It is possible that my bike is running a tad lean but I expect it has more to do with the cold weather than anything else.

Obviously, carb is responsible for the mixing of air and fuel; however, unlike the engine, it doesn't generate significant thermal energy on its own. When the gaskets, diaphragms, and other rubber components are subjected to cold temperatures, they stiffen considerably. Any change in the behavior in any of these components can have a noticeable effect on the performance of the bike as it would affect the air/fuel mixture, at least during startup when the engine hasn't had time to sufficiently warm the carb.

My suggestion is that if you have to start the bike at or below 40*F, give it half-choke before hitting the starter. It may rev like a banshee at first (mine does) but then back off the choke so that the bike's tach stays somewhere between 2000 to 3000 rpm. Let it sit there for a minimum of five minutes. At this point, make sure that you reduce the choke so that your engine settles near its normal idle rpm before riding off. If you kill the choke while you're riding and the engine starts bogging down, stop somewhere and reapply some of the choke. This nearly happened to me once but the temperature was around 15*F at the time (I have winter gear ).
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