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second chimp in space
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Why only Kawi? why wouldn't they just switched to whatever pumps everyone else is using and avoid the headache?


To the OP, the gas probably came out of the carburetor overflow tube. That's happened most times I've seen a carbed bike on the ground.
If it was the vent then you'd have problems with water in the gas if you left it out in the rain.
Coolant reservoir is probably in the inside right front fairing. It rarely leaks but it's a good idea to check the level anyway if it hasn't been done yet (with engine cold).
 

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sikk cylinders
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I have worked on bikes for quite some time and have encoutered this before. Although uncommon, not something you see everyday, it does happen! Loosening the oil filter, running the engine till the oil runs out behind the filter, and tightening the filter back up gets the oil psi going everytime.

BTW, I also had this happen on a 2007 GSXR 600. The bike was layed down, sat for a few months, then put back together. NO OIL PSI!!! After checking the obvious, due to the wreck, I did loosen the oil filter and ran the engine. Same thing! No oil flow at first but within 10 sec or so, oil flowed. Tightened the filter, light out, oil psi fine!
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Coolant reservoir is probably in the inside right front fairing. It rarely leaks but it's a good idea to check the level anyway if it hasn't been done yet (with engine cold).
You're right! Checked it this afternoon and it's inside the front fairing on the right. Fluid is on the low side, so I'll go pick up some coolant tomorrow and fill it up.

UPDATE: An oil change did the trick :banana Unsane125, thank you again for helping me with that!!

And thank you guys for all of your knowledge and help. I really appreciate it!
 

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second chimp in space
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You're right! Checked it this afternoon and it's inside the front fairing on the right. Fluid is on the low side, so I'll go pick up some coolant tomorrow and fill it up.

UPDATE: An oil change did the trick :banana Unsane125, thank you again for helping me with that!!

And thank you guys for all of your knowledge and help. I really appreciate it!
good news!

btw, the coolant should be around the low mark when the engine is cold. This is the overflow reservoir, when the engine warms up the coolant inside the radiator expands and overflows in there. If you fill it too much it might overflow the overflow and you'll have a steamy mess.
The only reason you have any coolant in there at all is so that when the engine cools down it doesn't suck air back in to the radiator.
 

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You're right! Checked it this afternoon and it's inside the front fairing on the right. Fluid is on the low side, so I'll go pick up some coolant tomorrow and fill it up.

UPDATE: An oil change did the trick :banana Unsane125, thank you again for helping me with that!!

And thank you guys for all of your knowledge and help. I really appreciate it!
no problem, haha, it was too cold at that early to ride yet anyway :).
 

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Pit Bike Legend
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Ok for those of you who haven't experienced this and dont understand why here's what's going on. Kevin was on the right track with the oil providing a seal. It acts just like a siphon. When you drop the bike and the motor keeps running the oil pickup sucks air and you lose that siphon effect. The pump now just spins air around. The reason you dont see this issue at oil change is because when you drain the oil you dont actually drain ALL the oil. The oil pump retains the oil that's trapped in it's vanes and that's enough to restart that siphon. I'm guessing the reason you dont see this on other bikes is that they use a different style pump. The reason Kawi doesn't change theirs is simple, it's a very rare problem that's easy to remedy, and the pump works just fine once primed. Why throw money at a problem that isn't really a problem?

I've never personally heard of loosening the oil filter to get it to prime again, but it's better than the alternatives. I once had a Toyota motor that had been sitting for a year or 2 that wouldn't prime. I had to pull the front of the motor apart to get to the actual pump then pack that with Vaseline so that it would pull a suction. Major PITA.
 

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Some machines (my old Warrior 4-wheeler) have a bleed screw at the top of the cylinder head. This is used after the oil change to confirm oil flow up to the head and valve train. That particular engine had a cartridge type oil filter instead of the screw on type, so loosening the filter wasn't an option.

Glad you got it sorted out. Some good info in this post for when I do the oil change on my ZZR.
 

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Some machines (my old Warrior 4-wheeler) have a bleed screw at the top of the cylinder head. This is used after the oil change to confirm oil flow up to the head and valve train. That particular engine had a cartridge type oil filter instead of the screw on type, so loosening the filter wasn't an option.

Glad you got it sorted out. Some good info in this post for when I do the oil change on my ZZR.
Should not make a difference. The principle is still the same. All you have to do is not tighten the cover for the filter and provide airflow path. The bleed screw is nice in this situation. I wonder why it is there as I never seen an oil bleed screw on any engine yet. Seems that that particular engine is prone to this problem.
 

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Ok for those of you who haven't experienced this and dont understand why here's what's going on. Kevin was on the right track with the oil providing a seal. It acts just like a siphon. When you drop the bike and the motor keeps running the oil pickup sucks air and you lose that siphon effect. The pump now just spins air around. The reason you dont see this issue at oil change is because when you drain the oil you dont actually drain ALL the oil. The oil pump retains the oil that's trapped in it's vanes and that's enough to restart that siphon. I'm guessing the reason you dont see this on other bikes is that they use a different style pump. The reason Kawi doesn't change theirs is simple, it's a very rare problem that's easy to remedy, and the pump works just fine once primed. Why throw money at a problem that isn't really a problem?

I've never personally heard of loosening the oil filter to get it to prime again, but it's better than the alternatives. I once had a Toyota motor that had been sitting for a year or 2 that wouldn't prime. I had to pull the front of the motor apart to get to the actual pump then pack that with Vaseline so that it would pull a suction. Major PITA.
Absolutely a common problem with brand new Kawasaki's. The oil filter loosening to aid in priming is the fastest and easiest way to fix this issue.
As for packing the oil pump with vaseline... beware of where the vaseline is going immediately after the oil pump... the oil filter. With this method you could, quite concievebly, block the oil filter and create a blown filter situation.
 

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I have worked on cars as a mechanic in the past and understand all the basic systems. While you could theoretically run out of oil at an extreme angle, (aircraft for example, or a sports car) it is nigh near impossible to do. First the engine gets some lubrication from splash. Splash will take care of pistons. Splash was the ONLY way cars were lubricated until full pressure lubrication came about in the late 1940's. Secondly all pumps are either end lobe (like the vanes used in power steering pumps) or 2 meshed gears (99% of all cars and motorcycles) UNLESS a spin on oil filter is speared; i.e. physically damaged or the oil level is more than 1 1/2 quarts low the gears inherently pick up the flow. They are submerged in the oil. When I change oil in my bike or car I prefill the filter so that pressure picks up immediately and so that the engine doesn't have to wait 3-10 seconds. It is the smart thing to do. But even if you don't do that ALL cars, bikes, etc. STILL pick up their prime, just a few seconds later. Those people those do not prefill the oil filter; guess what? THE PASSAGES ARE FILLED WITH AIR. If they didn't pick up their prime immediately, engines would be destroyed every day, left, right and center.
 

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Fixed oil system air lock on my Vulcan 500

I saw a lot of debate here, but not too much direct feedback from people who had fixed their problems. Ultimately this thread helped me out and kept me from damaging my engine. Here's what happened.

I bought a 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan 500 with 3000 miles. 7 year old bike, but running good. Had the guy I bought it from ride it 10 miles to my storage garage, then I started learning to ride for the first time. I was doing some practice and tipped it over. Not hard, but I had to pick it up off the ground. Rode for a few more minutes and put it away.

When I showed up to practice again, both the coolant temperature and oil pressure lights stayed on after starting. They were probably on while I was putting the bike away after I dropped it, but I was probably too shaken to notice. Thought it was purely electrical since both came on at the same time. I was thinking it was a shorted temp sensor wire. I rode it for a few minutes since it sounded ok and the engine felt hotter than it should have, so I shut down and looked for more info online. People talked about oil system airlocks, but no one explained why both lights would be on. One person alluded to the idea that both lights would go off if the oil system was fixed, but I couldn't find explanation or confirmation. That was enough to get me to accept that problem as a possibilty.

That's when I saw the trick with unscrewing the oil filter on this forum. Good explanation of the process. Some people here said it wasn't a great idea, but most thought it was fine. i couldn't see any harm in it myself, since I was full on oil and there was from my previous ride, obviously enough oil in the heads to run the engine for another minute or so at least.

So after marking it to make sure of how much to re-tighten, I loosened up the filter using both hands until I could turn it with one, then leveled my bike a tad with a piece of wood under the kickstand (no center stand on these), chocked the rear tire and started the bike, putting it into neutral. I held the handlebar with my left hand to be sure the bike wouldn't tip over on me and loosened the filter until I was pretty sure that the gasket was just separated from the engine and waited for a few seconds. No oil came out immediately so at that point I pretty much figured I was on the right track. Trickle, trickle, GLUG, GLUG. Screwed filter back tight, engine sound changed from smooth to really smooth. I looked back up and both lights were now off. Problem solved.

What I really want to know is why the temp light and oil light seem to be connected. When I get the repair manual I ordered in the mail, I'm going to try intentionally tripping the temp sensor, probably by pulling a wire to see if the warning light for the oil will come on when there is a problem with overheating. Can anyone speculate on why the temp light came on too even though it was an oil problem?

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to sum up the detailed explanation all in one place so that the next guy doesn't have to look as hard to piece together a complete answer to this question. Thanks for all the good info above I worked through all the posts and ended up with a good solution that got me back on the road and practicing instead of stuck in the garage!

:fixed
 

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Appleton, this is just a guess. I would think that with the lack of oil circulating becuase of the air bubble, that your motor was probably running hot. Sensor is most likely working just fine since it was indicating you were running the motor hot. You even said that it felt hotter than normal. Again this is just my guess. keep up the practice and keep on riding.
 

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I saw a lot of debate here, but not too much direct feedback from people who had fixed their problems. Ultimately this thread helped me out and kept me from damaging my engine. Here's what happened.

I bought a 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan 500 with 3000 miles. 7 year old bike, but running good. Had the guy I bought it from ride it 10 miles to my storage garage, then I started learning to ride for the first time. I was doing some practice and tipped it over. Not hard, but I had to pick it up off the ground. Rode for a few more minutes and put it away.

When I showed up to practice again, both the coolant temperature and oil pressure lights stayed on after starting. They were probably on while I was putting the bike away after I dropped it, but I was probably too shaken to notice. Thought it was purely electrical since both came on at the same time. I was thinking it was a shorted temp sensor wire. I rode it for a few minutes since it sounded ok and the engine felt hotter than it should have, so I shut down and looked for more info online. People talked about oil system airlocks, but no one explained why both lights would be on. One person alluded to the idea that both lights would go off if the oil system was fixed, but I couldn't find explanation or confirmation. That was enough to get me to accept that problem as a possibilty.

That's when I saw the trick with unscrewing the oil filter on this forum. Good explanation of the process. Some people here said it wasn't a great idea, but most thought it was fine. i couldn't see any harm in it myself, since I was full on oil and there was from my previous ride, obviously enough oil in the heads to run the engine for another minute or so at least.

So after marking it to make sure of how much to re-tighten, I loosened up the filter using both hands until I could turn it with one, then leveled my bike a tad with a piece of wood under the kickstand (no center stand on these), chocked the rear tire and started the bike, putting it into neutral. I held the handlebar with my left hand to be sure the bike wouldn't tip over on me and loosened the filter until I was pretty sure that the gasket was just separated from the engine and waited for a few seconds. No oil came out immediately so at that point I pretty much figured I was on the right track. Trickle, trickle, GLUG, GLUG. Screwed filter back tight, engine sound changed from smooth to really smooth. I looked back up and both lights were now off. Problem solved.

What I really want to know is why the temp light and oil light seem to be connected. When I get the repair manual I ordered in the mail, I'm going to try intentionally tripping the temp sensor, probably by pulling a wire to see if the warning light for the oil will come on when there is a problem with overheating. Can anyone speculate on why the temp light came on too even though it was an oil problem?

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to sum up the detailed explanation all in one place so that the next guy doesn't have to look as hard to piece together a complete answer to this question. Thanks for all the good info above I worked through all the posts and ended up with a good solution that got me back on the road and practicing instead of stuck in the garage!

:fixed
I would guess that you are on the right track in assuming that the oil and water temp may be connected to give an easier to see warning. Let us know how it turn out.
 

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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...
Lay down motorcycle on the opposite side and wait for a few minutes. After starting It again, the oil pressure light turns off. It worked for me.
 
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