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Old April 13th, 2014, 09:05 AM   #1
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Name: Chris
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The puzzling demise of my Oil Drain Plug Socket

Right. I know I'm not that gifted with mechanics, some might even say I have two left Hands. However, seening what happened to my poor Ninjette today I can'treally believe this could be of entirely my own wrongdoing.

A few days ago, during a ride, my engine just cut out right there in the middle of the street, no warning. I pull over, check that I didn't accidentally tap the cutoff, fuel was ok. So I powercycle it and try to start - nothing. The dash lights up but pressing the starter has no effect.
I check the oil level - seemed good at the time. Let it sit for a minute, then try starting again, and voila, the bike is running. Everything feels right, maybe the clutch a little vague under the foot but might be the imagination.

Today, I do a more thourough check on what might have happened. I saw that when the engine has been running for a short time, the oil level seems to drop rather low, so might as well do an oil change. The first one on this bike, the previous were done by the shop because of the warranty.

Loosening the drain screw and the filter cover requires some effort as usual, but finally they're off, I drain the oil and change the filter. Now I put back in the drain plug, but immediately sense something is wrong - there is no "resistance" anymore, the plug just turns around and around.

And when I check, I see that in the oil drain bucket there is a large metallic object - turns out this is half of my drain plug socket!

The socket must have split - perhaps already earlier (which might explain the suddenly low oil level, but I didn't see any oil spills), perhaps when loosening the plug, or even mybe when putting it back in? (did use a torque wrench, double-checked settings and used on the filter pan previously...)

Now I realize I haven't always taken care of the bike, have ridden in winter and with salt on the roads. However, I cannot explain how this might have happened at all. The bike is from 2010, so should be still in decent condition.

If i'd had used the torque wrench wrong, I would understand a split thread. But this?

I'm stumped, I really am. Naturally I don't want to see the fault with me but this I can't see where I might have f'ed it up...

Anyways, it doesn't seem to be the endof the world. The socket assembly looks like it can be detached from the engine and replaced, so that might make an interesting project. And in the meantime, I have a perfect excuse to get that SV650S for my riding needs...
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Old April 13th, 2014, 09:42 AM   #2
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That part is the oil screen cover. If you have never taken it off, then you have never cleaned the oil screen. The most important time to clean the screen is at the first oil change, but it is not necessary to clean it every oil change.

Just go to the Kawasaki dealer and order an oil screen cover, gasket, new drain plug and lots of plug gaskets. You will be back on the road in a week or so.

Castings can have flaws , but if it happens again, it's you.

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?.
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Old April 13th, 2014, 02:59 PM   #3
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also it's normal for the oil to show low after turning it off. Let is sit for a few minutes then check the level.

and buy a R6
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Old April 13th, 2014, 03:26 PM   #4
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Cheers for the advice guys, I'll go see for sourcing those parts then.

Usually I just would let a shop take care of things mechanical, but curiously motivated to try and fix this by myself!
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Old May 10th, 2014, 11:00 AM   #5
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As for the engine dying for seemingly no reason: a few of us have had that happen. It seems to have something to do with the tank forming a vacuum. It usually happens if you get the bike nice and warm and then let it sit for 15 minutes before getting back on and riding it hard. A few blocks later it'll stumble and die. It can happen even with plenty of fuel in the tank but is more likely to happen when you have 3/4 a tank or less. Other than the 10-15 minute cool-down situation, I've had it happen when riding into a cold front or sudden rain after a long warm up.
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