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Old April 11th, 2019, 03:24 AM   #1
Bando909
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Name: Tyler
Location: Chicago IL
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Motorcycle(s): 2004 Ninja 250, 1986 Kawasaki 454 LTD, 2008 KLR 650, 2006 Triumph Sprint ST

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Smile Hello From Chicago

So hello everyone,

Recently I acquired a 2004 Ninja 250, Bought it one the north side of the city for $400 non running. So I went ahead and did some things since the bike had 16,000 miles and probably no maintenance was ever done to the bike.

However I do have one issue that is baffling to me,

The bike will start cold no problem, however once it just gets above the second white temperature line and enters into the big space on the temperature gauge the bike just drops idle and stalls out. Having a really hard time with this and the strange thing was the bike ran beautifully yesterday.

So here's what I did so far.

- New Engine Oil and filter, cleaned oil screen as there was some decent debris in it Oil level is just below the upper tick mark when bike is level and both tires on the ground. The previous owner filled way too much oil into the bike and it was pushing it into the airbox. So once I changed it the problem has since stopped.
- New Coolant, Flushed with distilled water then added Engine Ice
- New Spark Plugs
- Tightened chain and oiled it as it was very loose
- Tire Pressure and tread ok
- Just cleaned carburetors and installed a brand new rebuild kit as it was very dirty. So new Pilot Jet, Main Jet, Air fuel mixture screws, Needles, float bowl gaskets, and new screws for the diaphragm and float bowls. I also checked the rubber in the diaphragms and their are no rips or tears, Float Heights are at 17mm so in spec. Air fuel screws are at 2 3/4 turns out and the bike was very happy zooming along yesterday.
- Benched Synced Carburetors
- New OEM airbox boots, both were very hard and one was deformed so I replaced it. I did split the airbox however so I'm not sure if that gasket would cause a problem.
- New Air filter
- Valve clearance check, I set the Intake valves to .005 and Exhaust to .006 Inches. All checked out when I just was in there. However when I first did it All the valves were extremely tight so make me believe no service was ever done to them.
- Inline fuel filter as the gas tank was nasty inside, Probably at least a year old gas so I rinsed it out as best I could and put new gas and a fuel filter in.
- Checked ignition coils for spark by grounding the spark plugs to the frame of the bike and both have good spark.
- Cleaned Cam Chain tensioner, Used brake cleaner and synthetic grease on the ball bearings, heard the click when I unloosened the screw then re-tightened it.
- Checked timing. Both the EX and IN lines on T2 lined up on the head of the engine 33 chain rivets in between which checked out and I believe is ok.
-New Battery

I'm at a loss right now and I cant seem to pin point the problem. I would like to think at this point its a vacuum leak somewhere or that the valves are messed up possibly from not being adjusted ever. I have the intake boots for the carburetors on the way to replace those with new clamps next to see if that could be the issue but I would like to know if anyone would have a suggestion on what else to check next.

However when I did clean and reinstalled the cam chain tensioner the bike wasn't wanting to turn over almost like something was holding the starter motor back from spinning. Also made a bang sound, Eventually it did stop so I just thought the chain tensioner wasn't seated right and that eventually it snapped into position and the bike did ride after that happened. So I don't think anything of it but it's just a thought. I also checked the valves and timing after that and it was spot on still.

Thank you

Tyler
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Old April 11th, 2019, 03:50 AM   #2
tgold
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Bando909! Glad to have you aboard...
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Old April 11th, 2019, 04:40 AM   #3
Bando909
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Edit. When my fuel petcock is set to ON it is free flowing and the diaphragm does not stop the fuel flow. If correct shouldn't ON or RESERVE be vacuum operated? Maybe I'm getting too much fuel flow? Just a thought searching through the forum here

Thanks!
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Old April 11th, 2019, 06:53 AM   #4
CaliGrrl
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Welcome to the board! Your petcock should not freeflow, regardless of what else is happening.
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Old April 11th, 2019, 07:10 AM   #5
dodgerdad
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Welcome!

My only advice is to check the boots (and clamps tension) between the head and carb. It's a long shot but they could have a leak that only presents itself when the rubber is heated and softened.

Keep us posted. Good luck.
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Old April 11th, 2019, 07:19 AM   #6
Triple Jim
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Welcome to the board Tyler!

You're correct that the petcock should automatically turn off when you stop the engine, but it does not regulate fuel flow when the engine is running, so it can't cause too much fuel to flow.

Since your stalling is after warmup, I would suspect that the starter plungers are not returning to their seats, so they're supplying fuel after you return the starter lever to the warm-run position.

If you had very dirty carbs, they may still have clogs in some of the tiny internal passages. It's tricky to really get everything clean.

Also I don't know what carb kit you installed, but in my experience if jets really need replacement, they need to be replaced with authentic original type jets to be accurate. Ducatiman can comment on this as it applies to our 250s, but with the Kaw triples I'm familiar with, there is no "carb kit" that supplies the correct jets, so all kits are sources of carb trouble.

I don't mean to discourage you from doing your own carb work, and I don't mean to try to sell you anything, but Ducatiman here is a professional carb guy with lots of Ninja 250 experience. Here's a thread in the product review section about his work. I added a couple posts at the end of it yesterday.

https://www.ninjette.org/forums/showthread.php?t=239678
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Old April 11th, 2019, 08:08 PM   #7
Bando909
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Name: Tyler
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Thank you all for the replies!

I took the petcock apart and it was very badly oxidized in between the rubber diaphragm and the o ring near the handle was half missing. So I ordered a rebuild kit for it and I will clean the metal housing as best as I can and put it back together hopefully that will stop the free flow and possible vacuum leak if possible from the vacuum hose. The vacuum hose seemed to have some gas in it so it could very well be a possibility.

As for the carburetor rebuild kit, I bought it from sledpartsguy off eBay. I have bought stuff from him before and everything I've gotten so far has worked wonderfully. It includes all the hardware needed minus the carburetor body itself and the diaphragm, spring, plastic needle holder, and the float. Starter plunger as you mean for the choke? I went ahead and removed the choke slider and made sure to spray the passages in the diaphragms on top. With the diaphragm out of the body of the carburetors. However if we're talking about the ones where the float bowls are I may have missed those and I'll probably need to go back through them and respray them down with carburetor cleaner and compressed air. It could very easily be a clogged passageway and the bike stalls out. It's just strange that the bike was running great Tuesday idled fine was able to rev up no problem no matter where the throttle was held open. And would always drop back down to 1,300 rpm. Like I said I will double check what you all have mentioned, no stone left unturned.

If not I'll will talk to Gordon and see what he can do, seems he's very very good with carbs
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Old April 11th, 2019, 09:17 PM   #8
Bando909
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Edit, now that I think about it when I pulled the carburetors off the second time in one of the bowls I noticed some white material that I've never seen before. Now that I think about it after I took the petcock off the bike and noticed how oxidized the petcock is it's seems likely that maybe some oxidation made it's way down past the fuel filter and into the carburetors. And it could have easily clogged one of the passageways causing the bike not to idle.
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Old April 11th, 2019, 11:48 PM   #9
Bando909
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So Edit**

So I took the carbs back off the bike and cleaned out every single passage I could find. I hooked up an external fuel tank since I disassembled the petcock so I ruled that out as a problem. Was doing the same thing would hover at 3,000 when the bike was warm I managed to get the temperature to the middle of the temperature gauge. So I took some carburetor cleaner and shot it around, I also capped the fuel vacuum port with a cap from my emmisions delete kit off my 454 ltd so I know that cap is fine. I believe the culprit is the left intake boot on the carburetor side. Seems I shoot carb cleaner around that boot and then the idle will jump in about 500 RPM. Also if the bike is about to die and I shoot carburetor cleaner at the boot the bike will catch itself for a second before stalling. I have completely bottomed out the clamps as tight as they will go. I have those boots arriving tomorrow. So hopefully that will solve it. Fingers crossed, if not it's for sure a vacuum leak somewhere.
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Old April 12th, 2019, 06:09 AM   #10
dodgerdad
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Sounds like you may have tracked it down. Let us know how it goes with the new boots.
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Old April 12th, 2019, 08:18 PM   #11
Bando909
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Name: Tyler
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Alright so new boots and clamps installed. Bike is running much better. It actually holds an idle around 1,500 rpm. However I still see some fluctuation now it's between 1-2,000. Then synced the carburetors while hot to about equal if not very close to psi wise. When I pulled the left plug it was soot covered and the right just a tad better. I set the screws in a quarter turn to 2.5 turns out instead of the 2.75 I had before. I may need to check the psi on the carburetors again because since I changed the air/fuel screw it may affect the carburetors differently? So we'll see its definitely better. Revs up no problem at any throttle input at 2.5 turns. If their is a vacuum leak still which could be a possibility due to the idle still fluctuating between 1 and 2,000 what would be next? I did order some 3/16 Vacuum hose, so maybe swapping the 5 vacuum hoses on the carburetors? Also would have splitting the air box cause this issue? I have seen oil leak out of it at the front of the box where the split is and drip onto the rubber tube coming out of the crankcase under the carburetors. I know its venting from High rpms but it should be collecting in the tube that runs back out of the air box on the right side of the bike just behind the clutch cable. And it is and I've emptied it before. But I'm most certain when you let off the throttle it should snap to a idle you set at when its warm not still move upwards or downwards. I did cap the vacuum port for the petcock so I know its not getting air there as well as the other vacuum port on the other side. My friends 454 also has some fluctuation in idle when warm as well but now its about on par where the 250 is at. Seems any rubber component can be the culprit in this case.

Also It will start when hot so that's awesome

Anyway thoughts please?

Thanks again for the support
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Old April 13th, 2019, 05:09 AM   #12
Bando909
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Update

The boots definitely had a good effect on the bike, I'm able from a cold start with half choke on for about a couple of minutes warm the bike up to get it to idle. As the bike warms up the idle increases and ends up between 1,000 and 1,500 RPM. Seems once it hits 3,000 RPM the tac needle really takes off. But so far quarter, half, 3/4 and full throttle and it will rev up the tac and come back to rest between 1,000 and 1,500. I closed the gap on the carburetor sync so now the bike somehow even at 500 rpm will still idle when cold. I played with the idle a bit so that it ill be at the correct idle when warm. I'm still uncertain if there's a vacuum leak somewhere else or not, but I will find out later today once I rebuild the petcock and ride the bike a bit if it will ride fine which ultimately what matters. If it rides anything like it did a few days ago or better It will be a whole lot better, For a 250 I'm impressed how much it throws you back if you hammer down. Will definitely be worth the $700 total I've spent so far, will be my 4th bike I've saved from scrap. Hopefully later today it will run well and be all good. Fingers Crossed

Also Side Note

Got a compression tester and the compression cold was

Left Cylinder 160-170psi
Right Cylinder 170-180psi

Accordingly as long as I'm above 139 I should be ok. So was happy to see that the piston rings were fine.
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Old April 14th, 2019, 06:20 AM   #13
Bando909
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Alright so here's what I got now

Was able to ride the bike today. Petcock rebuild was a fail. So I'm not sure where I went wrong but I know those springs seems sometimes they don't put enough tension on the back of the diaphragm to allow it to close the fuel flow. However the body inside the petcock is so oxidated that that may be why it won't allow it to make a vacuum seal. Not sure much else to do besides trying to get a replacement.

It's much better at Idling but still has some fluctuation, minor compared to before. I checked the battery and it still when running is in spec at 12.6v I assume the stator and regulator are working as the battery level jumps up when the bike is at higher rpm however it's reading 14.4v at the upper rev range. Not sure if this is normal as Ninja Wiki reported 13.8v max so maybe the regulator is going out. Wanted some opinions on that.

Ignition coils are in spec. 14 ohms on primary 2.8 on secondary for both.

Going to check spark plug gap next see if maybe NGK sent me a plug that wasn't gap-ed correctly.

The bike seemed really snappy once it hit 4,000 rpm. Almost too snappy, like wasn't a smooth transition. Also looked at the color of the plugs and wondering if at 2.75 turns its running too lean still as I believe there was some white in the inside of the ground electrode. Set it back another 1/4 turn to 3 turns out. Will see if that helps the ride. Idle wise it seemed to, still able to rev up in the garage but unfortunately I couldn't ride it after the adjustment as it started to Freezing rain :/ Also going to run a warm compression test to see if I'm still getting above 140 psi. To rule out piston ring failure or head gasket leak. Getting closer, I'll get it yet.

However just for thought, Should the idle ever move once it's warmed up? I don't believe so but just wanted to double check to be sure. If not where do your idles constantly stay at? I'm trying to shoot for 1,300 RPM, Dead on in the middle of 1 and 1.5
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Old April 14th, 2019, 06:16 PM   #14
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Old April 16th, 2019, 05:05 AM   #15
Bando909
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Smile

FINALLY

Tied some loose ends. Spark plug gap incorrect, too small so got it to spec. Took some propane around the vacuum ports, sure as hell petcock line was sucking it in and the rpm jumped. went ahead and checked all the vacuum lines by separating the carburetors. No choice but to do so to get the lines in the middle. The smaller lines I did not replace because I didn't have a thin enough line to fit but I did cap one end and blew air through the other to make sure I wasn't loosing air. Thankfully not, Replaced the other 3 lines and checked the decel diaphragm on the left carburetor. and it was spotless. Put it back together and it was still doing it. So I happened to glance down at the throttle and it was slowly returning. It wasn't snapping back so sure enough the throttle was slightly cracked cracking the butterflies open a slight bit and raised the idle just a bit. So I lubricated the cables and readjusted the return cable and now it snaps closed. Idle is solid red hot at 1,400 and it you rev it up and comes back down to rest right at 1,400 no fluctuation at all. Yahoo, now to see how it rides and if so fine tune the air fuel screws if too lean or rich still. But glad I finally nailed it.

Thanks for all your inputs
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Old April 16th, 2019, 06:42 AM   #16
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Sweet!
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Old May 10th, 2019, 11:12 AM   #17
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Old June 2nd, 2019, 03:11 PM   #18
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