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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2003 Kawasaki Ninja EX500. I dropped it after pulling into my driveway :rolleyes Gosh. At least there was no damage done except for a few scrapes on the bar extender/tip of the clutch handle! However, the oil light came on and remains on while the bike is running. From what I've read, I probably have an "air bubble" in my oil system. Now, I want to make sure I understand correctly what I'm supposed to do. From what I've read, the steps go like this:

1. Get to where the oil filter is. (How? What do I take off?)
2. Remove clamps and loosen the filter a little bit. (How much is a little bit?)
3. Start the motor.
4. Then, when oil begins to drip out... tighten the oil filter back on.

Is that all that needs to be done? Is there anything I should be careful of NOT doing while I fix this? Two people I talked to said that they didn't think attempting something like this would be good for the bike... having it running while the gasket is loosened that is. Thoughts?

Also, two other related questions: 1) Some other fluid spilled out while the bike was down. Antifreeze maybe? How do I go about checking that?! Don't know where it is :dunno 2) How do I check the oil level on this Kawi? The oil tank cover thing doesn't have a dipstick... I'm confused.

Any advice from someone who has done this/knows the process would be greatly appreciated! Want to do this right so I can go riding this weekend!! Haha :) Thank you, guys.

Here is a pic of where the oil goes...
 

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The oil filter is either inside the belly of the bike held on by the drain bolt, or in the front bottom of the engine. Im thinking it may be inside the bike because its an old design.

To check the oil level, stand the bike straight up (not on the kick stand) and look down at the bottom right side of the engine. There is a little piece of glass showing the oil level.
 

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This doesn't make any sense to me. When you change the oil you drain ALL the oil out, including that in the filter. Why don't you get an "air bubble" then?

KeS

+1 I don't get it.. I have dropped/wrecked many bikes over my 30 years and have never seen this?
 

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Kawasaki is the only bike that devops the air bubble in the oil system. I had it happen to my ZX6 during an oil change. To fix this problem place pan under the filter (the cylindrical object usually in front of the engine). Loosen until you have 1/8" gap between filter and engine case. Start engine. Oil will gush out the gap and make big mess. Tighten filter. Oil pressure light will go out. Do not run bike too long with oil light on or engine damage will occur. Since you have limited mechanical expertise having someone help with this issue could save you an engine overhaul.
 

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Also, two other related questions: 1) Some other fluid spilled out while the bike was down. Antifreeze maybe? How do I go about checking that?! Don't know where it is :dunno 2) How do I check the oil level on this Kawi? The oil tank cover thing doesn't have a dipstick... I'm confused.
1. The fluid that spilled out was probably gas. The gas cap has a vent in it to let air in, tip the bike over and it lets gas out. Did you smell it?

2. Check the oil using the sight glass on the side of the motor. I circled it in the picture. Must be check with bike off the center stand and sitting straight up. Have someone hold the bike up. This is how most motorcycles are.

Do you have an owner's manual? The oil check procedure is in there.
Download a service manual too. It can answer a lot of questions and give directions w/pictures.
 

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Sounds odd to me, A more logical solution would be to take the plugs out (make sure you battery is charged). Crank it over on the starter till you get oil preasure if you are worried about an airlock maybe crack the fill plug. Far more likely to get a air bubble in the coolant system than the oil IMO. Starting the bike with the oil filter cracked sounds like a good way of starving the big end and main bearings IMO.
 

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Sounds odd to me, A more logical solution would be to take the plugs out (make sure you battery is charged). Crank it over on the starter till you get oil preasure if you are worried about an airlock maybe crack the fill plug. Far more likely to get a air bubble in the coolant system than the oil IMO. Starting the bike with the oil filter cracked sounds like a good way of starving the big end and main bearings IMO.
Pulling the plugs will not help. Running the engine will not help either unless you alow the air to escape. This is done by loosening the filter and running the engine. You could loosen the filter and crank the engine without plugs and that will work as well
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Kawasaki is the only bike that devops the air bubble in the oil system. I had it happen to my ZX6 during an oil change. To fix this problem place pan under the filter (the cylindrical object usually in front of the engine). Loosen until you have 1/8" gap between filter and engine case. Start engine. Oil will gush out the gap and make big mess. Tighten filter. Oil pressure light will go out. Do not run bike too long with oil light on or engine damage will occur. Since you have limited mechanical expertise having someone help with this issue could save you an engine overhaul.
Hmmm, that's what I'm worried about. Destroying the engine. I've been warned by more than one person that doing something like this risks screwing your engine up. Should I just drain all the oil out and do a regular oil change? Would doing that get rid of the air bubble in the system? I'm a little nervous about starting the engine and ruining something...

1. The fluid that spilled out was probably gas. The gas cap has a vent in it to let air in, tip the bike over and it lets gas out. Did you smell it?

2. Check the oil using the sight glass on the side of the motor. I circled it in the picture. Must be check with bike off the center stand and sitting straight up. Have someone hold the bike up. This is how most motorcycles are.

Do you have an owner's manual? The oil check procedure is in there.
Download a service manual too. It can answer a lot of questions and give directions w/pictures.
1. I was too frustrated with the fact that I dropped it... didn't think to smell it.

2. Gotcha. Makes sense now, haha. I'm used to my moms old '81 Honda which has a dipstick to check the oil.

That's a great idea! I'll download a manual later and see what I can find. Will be helpful down the road also, I'm sure.
 

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Kawasaki is the only bike that devops the air bubble in the oil system. I had it happen to my ZX6 during an oil change. To fix this problem place pan under the filter (the cylindrical object usually in front of the engine). Loosen until you have 1/8" gap between filter and engine case. Start engine. Oil will gush out the gap and make big mess. Tighten filter. Oil pressure light will go out. Do not run bike too long with oil light on or engine damage will occur. Since you have limited mechanical expertise having someone help with this issue could save you an engine overhaul.
So you're saying you have to do this at every oil filter change? And if this is just an air bubble at the pressure sensor, why would engine damage occur?

I'm sorry, I've got to call BS on this. I've got 20K miles on my ZX-14 and never seen this. I've never heard about it. I can imagine that something of the sort *could* happen due to weird pressure sensor location on a specific model, but not Kawasaki-wide. And again, a bad sensor isn't going to destroy the engine. Not having OIL destroys the engine, the ability to have a dash indicator doesn't destroy the engine.

KeS
 

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This is not an air bubble, this is a case of lost oil pump prime. The oil pressure flow is not there. You can call BS all you want with your engine but I am trying to save the OP's engine from serious damage. You obviously have never experienced this so read and learn. Plenty of historical data on this problem with Kawasakis. Do a search something should come up
 

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I did do a search, nothing consistent came up. I asked the local bike shop guys today, one of whom owns a 636. None had heard of anything of the sort.

Your explanation of a "lost oil pump prime" makes no sense in conjunction with your "fix" of loosening the oil filter - if the oil pump had no prime, how would it pump oil out through the loosened filter anyway? And again, if the oil pump "loses prime" by laying on its side for a minute, how does it not happen for every single Kawasaki owner at every single oil change? Neither the owner's nor the shop manual makes any reference to what you're saying.

I'm perfectly willing to learn, but it has to be something that makes sense. So far your claim doesn't make sense, so I'm continuing to ask questions.

I'm concerned for the OP's engine as well, for quite another reason - he isn't familiar with checking oil in a sight glass, I don't see any in his picture, and I'm concerned about the quite basic issue of him not having sufficient oil in the sump in the first place.

KeS
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I did do a search, nothing consistent came up. I asked the local bike shop guys today, one of whom owns a 636. None had heard of anything of the sort.

Your explanation of a "lost oil pump prime" makes no sense in conjunction with your "fix" of loosening the oil filter - if the oil pump had no prime, how would it pump oil out through the loosened filter anyway? And again, if the oil pump "loses prime" by laying on its side for a minute, how does it not happen for every single Kawasaki owner at every single oil change? Neither the owner's nor the shop manual makes any reference to what you're saying.

I'm perfectly willing to learn, but it has to be something that makes sense. So far your claim doesn't make sense, so I'm continuing to ask questions.

I'm concerned for the OP's engine as well, for quite another reason - he isn't familiar with checking oil in a sight glass, I don't see any in his picture, and I'm concerned about the quite basic issue of him not having sufficient oil in the sump in the first place.

KeS
She, by the way :)

Here is one of the few threads that I found discussing what I thought is the problem and how to fix it... http://www.sportbikes.net/forums/zzr-600/358060-oil-light-wont-go-off-after-filter-change.html. Could I make sure there's enough oil in the system (according to the sight glass) and then do what they suggest?

Also, what do you mean by lost oil pump prime?
 

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She, by the way :)
Boy, I'm really making friends and influencing people in this thread! Sorry!

Here is one of the few threads that I found discussing what I thought is the problem and how to fix it... http://www.sportbikes.net/forums/zzr-600/358060-oil-light-wont-go-off-after-filter-change.html. Could I make sure there's enough oil in the system (according to the sight glass) and then do what they suggest?

Also, what do you mean by lost oil pump prime?
Yes, that seems to be what they are discussing. I'd check the actual oil level in the sight glass first, and make sure it's at least at the "low" mark (if the engine's cold, it won't necessarily be at the mid-level). If it isn't, top it up and try starting again before worrying about the oil pump thing. Let it run ten seconds or so with no throttle and see if the light goes out.

If the oil level is ok and it *doesn't* go out after that long, then I guess you have to try one of the approaches mentioned in that thread. I've never had or heard of that problem in thirty years of motorcycling, but clearly some other people have.

What they mean about the oil pump "losing prime" is that lots of hydraulic pumps rely on the fluid they are pumping to provide sealing and an incompressible medium to drive the pump. If you get air in there, the pump just spins without developing any pressure, so no new fluid gets in, and it can't drive the air out itself. It's a common issue with brand new or freshly rebuilt engines that don't have any oil/water/fuel in the pumps to start with; as I said I've never encountered it during routine maintenance or a momentary bike drop.

KeS
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Boy, I'm really making friends and influencing people in this thread! Sorry!
No worries, KeS! No harm done, lol.


Yes, that seems to be what they are discussing. I'd check the actual oil level in the sight glass first, and make sure it's at least at the "low" mark (if the engine's cold, it won't necessarily be at the mid-level). If it isn't, top it up and try starting again before worrying about the oil pump thing. Let it run ten seconds or so with no throttle and see if the light goes out.

If the oil level is ok and it *doesn't* go out after that long, then I guess you have to try one of the approaches mentioned in that thread. I've never had or heard of that problem in thirty years of motorcycling, but clearly some other people have.
Sounds good. I'll try that tomorrow and see what happens. Hopefully it'll be an easy fix!

What they mean about the oil pump "losing prime" is that lots of hydraulic pumps rely on the fluid they are pumping to provide sealing and an incompressible medium to drive the pump. If you get air in there, the pump just spins without developing any pressure, so no new fluid gets in, and it can't drive the air out itself. It's a common issue with brand new or freshly rebuilt engines that don't have any oil/water/fuel in the pumps to start with; as I said I've never encountered it during routine maintenance or a momentary bike drop.

KeS
Gotcha. Makes sense. Thanks for explaining that! :)
 

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So you're saying you have to do this at every oil filter change? And if this is just an air bubble at the pressure sensor, why would engine damage occur?

I'm sorry, I've got to call BS on this. I've got 20K miles on my ZX-14 and never seen this. I've never heard about it. I can imagine that something of the sort *could* happen due to weird pressure sensor location on a specific model, but not Kawasaki-wide. And again, a bad sensor isn't going to destroy the engine. Not having OIL destroys the engine, the ability to have a dash indicator doesn't destroy the engine.

KeS
iv got 18,000 miles on my Z1 and iv never encountered anything like this either.

oh and btw ashley I hope you know who this is, I had no idea you were on this forum! :banana

il be riding all day tomorrow, if you want il stop by and check it out for you, if you cant figure it out ride it over to my mechanics house and he will fix it for cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
iv got 18,000 miles on my Z1 and iv never encountered anything like this either.

oh and btw ashley I hope you know who this is, I had no idea you were on this forum! :banana

il be riding all day tomorrow, if you want il stop by and check it out for you, if you cant figure it out ride it over to my mechanics house and he will fix it for cheap.
Hey!! I know who you are :grinbounc haha. Yeah, I just joined!

If you're in the area, that'd be awesome if you could ride by and check it out :)
 

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This does not hapen on all oil changes. I left my bike with no oil and filter for 2 hours. During this time all the oil drained including the oil in the pump. At that time I did not know about this problem but with over 30 years of repairing all types of motors I realized that there was no oil pressure due to the oil lite being on. I removed the filter and it was dry. Next I removed the clutch basket and ran the oil pump with a electric drill trying to get the oil into the pump. No joy until I removed the filter and used the electric drill. Big mess. Replaced all the parts filled, with oil and no more problems. Same if your bike is laid down. The oil level moves away from the oil pickup and air is sucked into the oil pump. The easist way to release said air is to loosen the oil filter.
 
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