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Old October 7th, 2021, 04:52 AM   #1
Narcillion
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Seized Engine at 1000 Miles

Hey guys, new rider here and an idiot who needs a lot of help.

Just bought a Kawasaki Ninja 400 2020 about a month ago, never ridden before and self taught. I bought the bike from one previous owner with 300 miles on it, no problems with the bike what so ever.

I was taking it on a road trip to my dad who I haven't seen in 10 years, I was 700 miles on the trip and while riding on the highway and I could no longer accelerate on the throttle, it felt like gas wasn't being fed to the engine. I dropped out from 6th gear into 4th when the engine shut off on me and coasted down to neutral. There was no juttering, noises, or anything note worthy as it happened. Just the engine shutting off.

I took it to a local bike shop in Omaha where the sales team there told me the engine was seized due to lack of oil, (which is my fault for not filling it but the bike just hit 1000 miles. I find it odd that the stock oil would run out that fast. And even if it did, any engine damage wouldn't be significant)

I was wondering what kind of options I had, possibilities for failed parts in the engine, or if I am being lied to for money. I am lacking funds, and the options I know of are engine replacement(cheapest) or having them fix it (as much as the bike costs).

This bike has been the only thing that has made me happy in the past few years, and as soon as I was starting to live again I got kicked in the balls due to my own failure. I really do not want to replace the bike. I don't normally reach out for help or do posts like this so I'm sorry if this is something to humor me but I would really appreciate an option that is viable. I can provide as many minute details as humanely possible if it helps one of you narrow it down.
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Old October 7th, 2021, 05:33 AM   #2
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Hi Sam, welcome to the board!

Running so low on oil that the pump sucks air will certainly cause major engine damage. Do you know for sure that the oil level was really very low when you had the problem? This would have made the oil pressure warning indicator come on, probably flashing on and off for a while first. (or could the shop have drained some to convince you?)

Is the engine really seized? This would mean that it won't turn if you try to start it or if you try to push start it.
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Old October 7th, 2021, 08:10 AM   #3
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If that was original oil in bike, engine wasn't broken in yet and rings not fully sealing. So would burn oil at faster rate than normal. Sounds terminal, probably needs new engine.

Best deal is to buy one of those insurance bikes that's been totaled and transfer engine over. Couple of people in my race group bought those dirt cheap. Had trashed bodywork and all, but you'd replace then with track fairings for racing anyway.

Keep eye on gauges! Overheating or any kind of red light means pull over immediately and figure out what's wrong. Fix it before continuing.

Yeah check oil & chain before every ride. I oil chain every other tank, ~500 miles.

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Old October 7th, 2021, 06:47 PM   #4
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Where could I find something like that and in what price range?

Also there was no warning signs before this, no flashing lights on the dash, no check engine light etc. I don't believe the oil was sabotaged in any way now, but there may have been an indicator problem. I have no idea how to prove that though. Also I asked the mechanic/sales guy handling my bike to just take a look at it and try and diagnose the bike, but he started to try and fix it without my permission, not sure if that has any grounds.
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Old October 7th, 2021, 07:57 PM   #5
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So you don't know if the engine is really seized? If you want to know what's really going on, it's going to take some effort to diagnose it yourself, or at least get a second opinion to confirm the shop's diagnosis.
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Old October 7th, 2021, 08:26 PM   #6
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what are chances petrol tank is empty?
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Old October 7th, 2021, 08:53 PM   #7
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what are chances petrol tank is empty?
Or the fuel pump failed. (etc.)
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Old October 7th, 2021, 11:15 PM   #8
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Did you know the previous owner? Why did they sell it after essentially only one or two tanks of gas? Kawi's typically have 1-yr warranties - when was this sold new?
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Old October 8th, 2021, 01:21 AM   #9
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His wife didn't want him driving a motorcycle anymore with their kid. And the warranty expired in may.
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Old October 8th, 2021, 01:29 AM   #10
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It is seized, just wanting to know if factors like a new engine, speed I was going, or the amount of oil left in it that might point to which part of the engine that may of broke.

But it seems pretty hopeless, probably will just get a used engine replacement. I don't wanna get rolled by the mechanics and sales team though.
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Old October 8th, 2021, 04:59 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Narcillion View Post
But it seems pretty hopeless, probably will just get a used engine replacement. I don't wanna get rolled by the mechanics and sales team though.
a DIY or having shop do the replacement? You have possession of the bike or remains at shop?
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Old October 8th, 2021, 01:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Narcillion View Post
It is seized, just wanting to know if factors like a new engine, speed I was going, or the amount of oil left in it that might point to which part of the engine that may of broke.

But it seems pretty hopeless, probably will just get a used engine replacement. I don't wanna get rolled by the mechanics and sales team though.
Whenever engines siezes from lack of oil, cylinders and rings are fried, crankshaft is scored on main and rod journals, cam lobes and buckets are scratched beyond repair and all oil passages plugged with bearing shrapnel. You're looking at $15-20k worth of machine-shop services to repair, or more. If it's even possible.

Swapping engines is easy. I've 250 swap in parking-lot of track in less than 2-hours to get teammate back to their next race. 400 maybe 3-4 hours max. Slightly more difficult because rear swingarm attaches to engine instead of frame.

Finding replacement engine at decent price is most difficult part. You can pay full-price for engine $3k+ and be on your way today. Crashed totaled 400s can be had for $500-1000. Look on usual sites: FB, eBay, craigslist, OfferUP, etc. SearchTempest.com is good for looking at multiple Craigslist locations. Good idea to set up automated searches on all of them .

Here's crashed & totaled auctions. All 400s look like they've got minimal damage, will probably go for $1000-1500. When one comes in that's been rolled off cliff with all bodywork ripped off and square wheels; it can be had for $500.
https://erepairables.com/salvage-car...e/vid-49347019

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Old October 8th, 2021, 01:28 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Narcillion View Post
while riding on the highway and I could no longer accelerate on the throttle, it felt like gas wasn't being fed to the engine. I dropped out from 6th gear into 4th when the engine shut off on me and coasted down to neutral. There was no juttering, noises, or anything note worthy as it happened. Just the engine shutting off.
When you went down to 4th gear and engine died, did you squeeze clutch and shifted down to neutral and coast to stop?

Or did did you just hold clutch in and coasted to stop?

Did you try to restart engine after that? What happened then?
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Old October 8th, 2021, 07:15 PM   #14
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At the shop 2 states away from me currently.
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Old October 8th, 2021, 07:18 PM   #15
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I held the clutch in to spam shift down from 6th, got to 4th before the engine died, and i continued to shift while holding the clutch in to neutral. Got to a stop, flipped engine switch off and on, tried to start but just clicking. Attempted a push start after that for about 10 feet but nothing. Just sounded like a starter issue.
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Old October 8th, 2021, 07:20 PM   #16
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What is the risk of getting an engine that's touched the ground? How stable are they to physical outside damage, how risky is this?

Also really appreciate the link and information!
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Old October 11th, 2021, 07:04 AM   #17
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You need to get the cycle back and confirm, absolutely, that the engine is seized. Did they prove to you that was the case?

Once you have it, let us know and someone here will walk you through some checks to confirm what you are dealing with before jumping into anything.

It is odd that at 1000 mi it would have run dry, and you wouldn't have gotten any indication or warning light.

There may be a better explanation.
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Old October 11th, 2021, 04:54 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Narcillion View Post
I held the clutch in to spam shift down from 6th, got to 4th before the engine died, and i continued to shift while holding the clutch in to neutral. Got to a stop, flipped engine switch off and on, tried to start but just clicking. Attempted a push start after that for about 10 feet but nothing. Just sounded like a starter issue.
This really sounds like electrical failure and it died due to lack of ignition. Could be caused by dead battery. Very well could be case depending upon how long it was sitting before you got it. Explains why you didn't get any warning-lights on dash for overheating coolant along with low oil-pressure.

Clicking starter-solenoid is also sign of dead-battery. Weak battery would at least give you low-spinning engine, wrr-wrr-wrr-wrr..

Another test is to put it in 1st-gear and bump-start it. That is, turn key ON, kill-switch ON, hold clutch in, push up to as fast as you can, hop on and release clutch. Your weight slamming down on bike will give tyre traction and releasing clutch will cause back-tyre to spin engine (instead of starter).

1. IF... your back-tyre locks up and drags, then yes, it may be seized engine.

2. OTHERWISE, bike may actually start if battery has just barely enough juice to power ignition-system.

3. BUT... if back-tyre spins engine, even without starting, you'll know engine's not seized.

I don't trust this shop, symptoms you're describing is NOT signs of seized engine. It would've given you flashing red lights about coolant overheating and low oil-pressure for at least 5-minutes before actually seizing.


Anecdote story, back in '86 when Honda's new VFR750F came out, it set numerous world-records. Afterwards, Honda didn't want those bikes falling into competitors hands, so they had engines destroyed. This was done by draining all oil from engines and running them WOT on dyno until they siezed. It took over 2-hours of running without oil for them to seize!

Another related story, I crashed my '86 VF500F early-on and cracked clutch-cover. All oil spilled out of quarter-sized hole. Being stupid teenager, I didn't know what oil-light meant and I just ignored it after starting up bike again. Drove it 30-minutes back to my parents' house with no oil. My dad scolded me and said I probably toasted my engine and he'd help be take it apart to repair. Once we got cases separated, measured main & rod-bearings and found they were all within spec with no wear!!! Crank and rod-journals were pristine and shiny! That was 35-yrs ago and that same engine is running fine in my bike today! Bottom-end anyway...

So... I suspect your engine's not seized. Just some basic electrical troubleshooting needed. Do you have AAA or towing-service with your insurance? Get your bike away from that shop immediately!
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Old October 11th, 2021, 05:03 PM   #19
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What is the risk of getting an engine that's touched the ground? How stable are they to physical outside damage, how risky is this?

Also really appreciate the link and information!
You're welcome! Unless bike was hit by car, it's extremely unlikely that engine is damaged. Most are single-vehicle crashes from rider mistake with just sliding on pavement. Lots of bodywork and frame surrounding engine that needs to be ground down and ripped off before engine is touched. Cost of replacing factory-bodywork is enough for insurance co. to total bike. So it's possible to pick up 100% fully-functional bike for next to nothing... if you don't mind it looking like apocalypse survivor!

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Old October 13th, 2021, 09:32 AM   #20
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I tried jump starting it by myself on the side of the highway a little bit but knew I couldn't do it alone. The rear tire was 100% not locked up or dragging, I don't see how it would be a dead battery since the dash seemed fine. I found out there was an oil light on, but no overheating signs or check engine/oil pressure for sure. I remember the whole time I was riding I would check the over heating indicator just as a habit and it never went about a third of the input.

The shop tried selling me a bike, then asking to buy the bike, and I am talking with them now to get an engine replacement from an insurance bike. I got matched with a sales guy who didn't know what he was talking about and got nervous when he was telling me that the engine was seized. He wouldn't tell me it was seized right away when he knew either because he didn't want to break the news, didn't know, or was lying to my face. I asked if I could go back and take a look and he said it was a safety hazard, when Tires Plus in my town lets me take a look under my car for oil changes.


How do I know if they might mess it up more man.
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Old October 13th, 2021, 11:35 AM   #21
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The rear tire was 100% not locked up or dragging...
If you're saying the engine was spinning with the clutch lever released, then it was not seized.

Quote:
The shop tried selling me a bike, then asking to buy the bike...
If they want to buy it, I doubt if the engine is seized. Admittedly I could be wrong, but I doubt if it's seized.

Quote:
I asked if I could go back and take a look and he said it was a safety hazard,
That's suspicious enough that I'd go there with a pickup truck or van or trailer and get the bike back immediately. And I wouldn't give them a lot of warning either... so they can't pull any tricks before you show up. If it was a safely hazard for you to go look at it, they could have easily rolled it to a place that was not a safety hazard.
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Old October 13th, 2021, 12:36 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Narcillion View Post
I tried jump starting it by myself on the side of the highway a little bit but knew I couldn't do it alone. The rear tire was 100% not locked up or dragging, I don't see how it would be a dead battery since the dash seemed fine. I found out there was an oil light on, but no overheating signs or check engine/oil pressure for sure. I remember the whole time I was riding I would check the over heating indicator just as a habit and it never went about a third of the input.
Ok, if you bump-start it and rear-tyre turned engine, it's definitely not seized. Low/dead battery can easily power LED dash, just 2-3w needed. ECU & ignition system needs another 50w. Starter on other hand, needs about 500-600w of power to spin engine. So it's possible to have dash work with pretty much dead battery.

Simple test is to measure battery-voltage with bike off. Then measure battery-voltage while cranking. Those numbers will tell you everything you need to know. Get used to troubleshooting with numbers, will save you tonnes of time, money and frustration in future. Shades of grey, not black & white, all-or-nothing.

Yeah, show up with truck and haul your bike away unannounced. They're trying to get your bike for nothing and sell it for profit after replacing battery. Maybe even visit local constable's station on way and tell them about this and have them ready to show up if you call for assistance.
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Old October 13th, 2021, 09:21 PM   #23
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Thanks guys for the information, input and guidance. I am going to get it towed back starting tomorrow. I will keep you all updated.
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