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First ZL 600. I love it, but its been nothing but problems! Please help?

Derek Jun 10, 2019

  1. Derek

    Derek New Member

    I got his bike 2 months ago, its a 1996 Kawasaki Eliminator ZL600. Engine runs great and, other than a clutch cable snapping a few days after buying it, it has had no issues and I've been loving it!!

    Then one day I accidentally left the key in the on position for a few hours while at work and killed the battery. I thought i could bump start it and get the battery running again but it would just start and only chug along at what i figured was idle speed. Any attempt to speed up would just make some bad rattling and chugging sounds and eventually kill the engine if I kept at it. In addition, I had no indication of any power, no lights, no clicks when hitting the starter, nothing.

    So first thing, I replaced the battery, made sure it was fully charged and checked and replaced a few fuses. Now I had power lighting up on my "dash" and could hear clicking but could not start it still. It would not start. I could however bump start it and it would run normally.

    But still just hear a clicking sound when hitting the starter button.

    So 2 or 3 days passed and I was about to bump start it and take it to a shop when I figured I would try to start it normally. Low and behold it started right up. What the ****? So I found it would sometimes now start right away, sometimes I would have to hit the starter button over and over to get it started, and a few times lately it just wont start again.

    To make things more interesting, I was just riding it home from a short trip recently and noticed the headlight was on when i was stopped and idle, but would turn off when I started speeding up and riding.

    I spent another two evenings trying to trace the cables, double check the fuses, making sure the battery is charged all the way, checked inside where the starter and kill switch are and everything seemed okay. Except I did find one line (#4) to the spark plug came out and seems had come loose from the spark plug cap so I put it back in and taped it up as good as I could.

    Now the bike won't start at all. Only clicking. Can still bump start it though.

    I'd love to know if anyone has any theories about what could be causing this. I'm pretty confident with bike repair but not at electrical and this is driving me crazy!
  2. Trojan441

    Trojan441 Well-Known Member

    The clicking sound in my experience is when he Battery doesn't have enough charge in it to turn the starter over! You need to start at the basics n' the cheapest way in is to first fully check that the Motorcycles wiring is up to the job, double check tye connections to the Starter Motor, clean with Electric Dialectic spray n tighten all the connections, apply grease if needed where necessary. Then re-do the Earths/Grounds. Then spectfically check the wiring to the coils is okay Red Green/Red Black & that the four connections R the right way round! Then replace the cheap bits of the ignition system, importantly replace the HT leads, one @ a time, when I did this I bought a length of HT Lead & cut to fit & I remember adding the odd inch or two to the leads as they the old ones seemed to tight a fit, replace spark plug caps & spark plugs; this shouldn't cost a lot and if you are going to dig deeper perhaps have the ignition coils checked to see if any damage has been done to them by leaving the switch in the "On " position! The ignition unit "Trigger" switch is a transisterised unit, so if it is not working properly it has to be replaced!

    Sounds like your HT set up (Leads) are shot anyway. Check your twist-grip/Throttle operation, then choke function. Then lubricate all the cables & pulley systems on your carb's n' when the bike is running spray the inlet manifolds/Airbox with starter fluid & check there are no air leaks.

    I once had a BMW cut out on me, intermittently, where a part of the wiring had chamfered through n' Earthed out against the frame. It took a week to find the fault!
  3. R. J.

    R. J. Supporting Member

    :hello: The starter solenoid may be going bad. You can by pass it by placing a screwdriver across the 2 posts while trying to start the bike. Buy an OEM one and not those cheap CHINA ones on E-bay. They don't even last a year. Also I'd replace all the spark plug wires. Buy a 5 foot length of 7 mm copper core spark plug wire.

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