Kawasaki Zephyr 550 problems | Motorcycles catalog with specifications, pictures, ratings, reviews and discusssions

Kawasaki Zephyr 550 problems

17 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Kawasaki Zephyr 550 problems
Kawasaki Zephyr 550
Kawasaki Zephyr 550

Thread: Kawasaki Zephyr 550 problems

Newbie Join Date Mar 2011 Posts 2

Kawasaki Zephyr 550 problems

Re: Kawasaki Zephyr 550 problems

No Significant Other BTK Expert Join Date Jul 2008 Location Springfield Mo Posts 10,640

Re: Kawasaki Zephyr 550 problems

Re: Kawasaki Zephyr 550 problems

Re: Kawasaki Zephyr 550 problems

I have a 550 Zephyr too, buzzed like a hornet’s nest and held high throttle (still does a bit, but there’s a reason). I did the usual checks when riding a bit. The cables weren’t smooth, so clearly I needed to work there. I did the check to see if any of the clatter was primary drive chain noise by putting the bike in gear while running, holding the brakes, and easing out the clutch slightly.

This loads the drive, taking out most of the slapping noise of the primary chain and any clutch noise too. It took out some of the noise, but the buzz was still there. I will also mention something I didn’t have problems with, but heard of in the Eliminator Owners forum – sometimes there can be a distinct rattling type noise from the air injection pollution stuff if it isn’t assembled correctly.

On the Zephyr-Zone a number of riders said the buzzing was normal, all Kawasaki engines are noisy. But I don’t buy that – I had the same response on my KLX and ended up getting a new top end having to replace the cam chains (it has two). So I knew the path to take – manual tensioner. The tensioner malfunction can be intermittent and can affect running due to valve timing inconsistency.

I also had some ticking in the valves that I could hear whenever the tensioner took a break briefly to work (not too often). A maintenance tear down was in order – seat, tank, cam cover, and whatever else.

Due to past experience and the location of the buzzing, center of cylinders, I knew the cam chain tensioner was junk so I went about trying to buy one, but to no avail. Seems the predominant company didn’t make one and apparently by not answering my email about one, wasn’t too concerned. So at the goading of a few of the Zephyr-Zone members, I made my own – and five extra as well as some for the one guy’s 750s.

I now make and sell them for a variety of Kawasakis and have a few hundred scattered over roughly 17 countries. kind of fun. A couple of the 250 tensioners just went to Serbia and Thailand, but I digress. Last point on the manual tensioner, I have over 8000 miles on the tensioner in the Zephyr and have yet to need to adjust it.

They only need adjusted when there is light ticking when hot, I use a mechanic’s stethoscope to listen to it, and that is less often than the valves need checked by my bike.

I took off the tank to get to the carbs. I found the cables, which were stiff, were kinked at a near 90 degree bend, so I rerouted them. But first I took off the carbs to get to the tensioner as well as taking the time to check valve clearance. Carbs were reasonable condition, but visually the butterflies were out of sych (yes far enough you could see it).

Everything was reasonable, with two valves about a thou out of spec to the high side, which I didn’t change after a conversation with a few friends who were Kaw mechanics. It’s a cams out job and it isn’t worth doing for two valves out to the top – no problems with loose valves, it’s the tight ones and remember a thou is about 1/2 a human hair. I put in the tensioner and carbs.

Kawasaki Zephyr 550
Kawasaki Zephyr 550

Then I did a synchronization of the carbs. All was good and quiet. A little ticking at start up due to the manual tensioner which is adjusted for full operating temps, but quiet when warm.

No noise in acceleration. Only light primary clatter at idle. I still have a slightly high idle, but the new throttle cables are in the cabinet waiting for spring.

Summary:

– Listen and locate where your noise is coming from, consider a manual tensioner if the stock one is even remotely suspect.

– Check the valves for any tight valves and reshim as needed.


– Make sure the air injection set up is either put together right or blocked off properly.

– Make sure the carbs are proper and synchronized as well as cable routing right.

– Don’t worry about the primary rattle, that is the one thing that is normal.

I hope this helps a bit. If you think you need a tensioner PM or email me, like I said I make them – for about 1/2 the price of others.

Kawasaki Zephyr 550
Kawasaki Zephyr 550
Kawasaki Zephyr 550
Kawasaki Zephyr 550
Kawasaki Zephyr 550
Kawasaki Zephyr 550
Kawasaki Zephyr 550

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