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  #1  
Old 02-13-2010, 05:26 AM
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Default Cowling Buzz Resolved (Unexpected Culprit)

I own a relatively new '09 model with only 1400 miles on it, and the dreaded harmonic buzz emanating from the cowling area at around 4500rpm has been active on this bike for about half its life.

This kind of thing DRIVES ME CRAZY!

I have owned previous bikes with harmonic buzzing, and I've always been able to find and fix the source.

I almost gave up on finding the buzz on this Versys, but after a lot of effort I was successful.

The search process started as usual, trying to physically touch and thus quiet the offending piece while riding. Next, I tried revving the bike while parked to try and identify the buzz.

I could not find the buzz. Frustrating...

Next, I tried to be unorthodox, and applied Dynamat to the upper-inside of the gauge cowling, as well as the insides of the side-front cowlings. I went out and test rode the bike. Result, I wasted $20 on Dynamat.





So, the cowlings came off again. I started rapping lightly on the metal cowling/gauge frame with a rubber mallet. I could hear the instrument gauge unit buzzing lightly each time I did this. However, touching the gauges while rapping did not reduce the buzz.

This is an "AH-HA! I GOT YOU NOW, YOU LITTLE BASTARD!!" moment.

The buzz is coming from INSIDE the instrument gauge unit.

So, I removed the headlight to access removal of the gauge housing.





Then I removed the 9 screws on the back side of the gauge housing. Don't be afraid to do this. It is very easy and nothing falls apart or is difficult to put back together. No seals are broken either, so no worries.



I found 2 possible buzz sources inside the housing.

The first source is less likely, but I fixed it anyway; the white face of the gauges "floats" on top of the inner gauge body without really being very secure, even when it is sandwiched between the top and bottom of the gauge cases, so it still has a slight gap around most of its outer edge. I fixed this potential buzz source by minimally tack welding the white gauge-face edges to the inner gauge body using superglue. Easy, and I can easily use a razor to break the bond if I need to replace bulbs later.



The second possible buzz source was definitely causing most, if not all of the gauge buzzing. Looking at the picture below, you will see the two housings for the "Mode" and "Reset" micro-switches. The little "X"-looking pieces inside the round tube of the switch housing have too much free-play inside the round tubes. When the bike engine revs, the "X" pieces rattle against the inside of the round switch tubes.



So, I found the main buzz problem, but how did I fix it without affecting the performance of the two switches? That is the question.

The answer; with 2 small pieces of 1/4" heat-shrink tubing, slid between the "X" portion of the switch and the inner wall of the round switch housing. Looking at the picture below, you will see the top switch has the shrink tubing already installed, and the lower switch still needs to have the shrink tubing slid down into place. The shrink tubing must be cut short enough to allow the switches to function. If the shrink tubing is too tall it will limit switch function. Once the tubing was in place I heated it a little to keep it there. There is still enough play in the switch, but the "X" no longer rattles in the round switch housing.



So, I put the gauge unit back together, and tested the "Mode" and "Reset" switches before I installed the gauge unit. I reassembled everything else to the bike. A test ride revealed that I had indeed fixed the problem. No more buzzing, just the ability to enjoy the sound of the engine.

If you want to test this potential buzzing source on your bike, try holding these switches down simultaneously while riding and hearing the buzz. If the noise stops, you know how to fix it.

Last edited by E-nigma; 02-13-2010 at 12:35 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-13-2010, 09:00 AM
invisabiker invisabiker is offline
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wow great fix. i also found my rattle coming from inside the gauges. i was afraid of taking the gauges apart but i will be doing this mod today. thanks
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  #3  
Old 02-13-2010, 09:11 AM
mcrider mcrider is offline
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Wow...I think you and I live parallel lives. I did that very same thing a week a ago with my gauge. I used a few dabs of silicone to secure the faceplate but I missed your discovery about the buttons. I also tried the Dynamat, did not work for me either.

Another source of noise came from my right fairing. I cured it by placing a few strips of 5/16 inch thick foam between the fairing and the coolant tank. This allowed the 2 parts to compress enough to stop the noise from vibration.

Last edited by mcrider; 02-14-2010 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 02-13-2010, 12:05 PM
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E-n, totally brilliant! I've done various mods to the fairing and have manged to cut some of the buzzing down, but its still has something in there and this must be it. Great photo's and great info. -

Tx Machog
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Old 02-13-2010, 12:58 PM
mcampana mcampana is offline
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Now Kawasaki will see this, and use your idea on the 2011 Versys and you will not get on red cent!

Awesome work. This will give me something to do since its still snowing outside.
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Old 02-13-2010, 01:19 PM
invisabiker invisabiker is offline
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well not so fast. i took my gauges off today and installed the shrink tube. but when i would shake them the rattle was coming from behind the small screen. i held everything tight but it still had a rattle inside. i don't see anyway of getting behind the screen without removing the circuit board. any idea's before i put it back together ?
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Old 02-13-2010, 01:25 PM
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What small screen are you referring to, the LCD? I'm not sure what that rattle would be. Perhaps the white gauge face is creating the rattle. Is it secured with superglue or silicone?
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  #8  
Old 02-13-2010, 01:27 PM
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I have posted this before, no feedback from anyone, but a simple fix for mine was ultimately after lots of foam taping, a small nylon spacer wedged under the front surround headlight. That is where the howling comes from.
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Old 02-13-2010, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Element View Post
I have posted this before, no feedback from anyone, but a simple fix for mine was ultimately after lots of foam taping, a small nylon spacer wedged under the front surround headlight. That is where the howling comes from.
Where, specifically, is "under"?

I see a black plastic piece that surrounds the headlight. On the bottom, that piece snaps into another black plastic piece. Two tiny tabs hold it in place. Not sure where your spacer is going. Thanks.
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Old 02-13-2010, 05:31 PM
invisabiker invisabiker is offline
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yes the lcd screen. my rattle is inside.
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  #11  
Old 02-13-2010, 08:31 PM
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I read about a lot of buzzing, but my V has been silent in this regard.

Anyone else have a quiet one????

Maybe I'm just deaf in one ear and can't hear with the other...
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Old 02-13-2010, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bones View Post
Where, specifically, is "under"?

I see a black plastic piece that surrounds the headlight. On the bottom, that piece snaps into another black plastic piece. Two tiny tabs hold it in place. Not sure where your spacer is going. Thanks.
I'll take a pic tomorrow and post it. Basically it is wedged between the black cowl and the headlight surround. It was so simple that I couldn't explain it. Try holding down on the black cowl around the headlight and if that quiets the buzz, then wedge something between the two pieces. Foam tape didn't help, but the wedge did the trick.
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Old 02-14-2010, 02:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Element View Post
I'll take a pic tomorrow and post it. Basically it is wedged between the black cowl and the headlight surround. It was so simple that I couldn't explain it. Try holding down on the black cowl around the headlight and if that quiets the buzz, then wedge something between the two pieces. Foam tape didn't help, but the wedge did the trick.
Element,

Is this the area you are referring to?



If this is what you are referring to, your specific fix is actually pretty commonly done and talked about by Versys owners experiencing the buzzing. I also tried that fix, but it did not quiet the noise.

The parallel twin of the Versys seems to create a vibration/noise problem for many Versys owners. Your fix works some of the time for some of us.

I posted my fix because I had not yet heard of it, and because it actually worked for me. If it doesn't work for others, then there is probably another source of vibration that will also need addressing.

Last edited by E-nigma; 02-14-2010 at 03:08 AM.
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Element View Post
I'll take a pic tomorrow and post it. Basically it is wedged between the black cowl and the headlight surround. It was so simple that I couldn't explain it. Try holding down on the black cowl around the headlight and if that quiets the buzz, then wedge something between the two pieces. Foam tape didn't help, but the wedge did the trick.
That's exactly where my buzz was coming from until I fixed it by using a couple small pieces of thick high density foam tape between the headlight and the tab on the black cowl.
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:16 AM
DK35vince DK35vince is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bscott View Post
I read about a lot of buzzing, but my V has been silent in this regard.

Anyone else have a quiet one????

Maybe I'm just deaf in one ear and can't hear with the other...
I never noticed any buzzing on mine so far.
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  #16  
Old 02-14-2010, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by invisabiker View Post
well not so fast. i took my gauges off today and installed the shrink tube. but when i would shake them the rattle was coming from behind the small screen. i held everything tight but it still had a rattle inside. i don't see anyway of getting behind the screen without removing the circuit board. any idea's before i put it back together ?
I did the same thing Enigma did with zilch for results... What I found was the rattle was coming from the reostat that controls the tach...Short of desoldering the whole friggin board and having my wallet emptied by a few hundred I just buttoned it up and bought some ear plugs
And a side note: Took it to my Kaw dealer and Mr. Repair says if it ain't broke Mama Kaw ain't gonna fix it
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  #17  
Old 02-14-2010, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
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I did the same thing Enigma did with zilch for results... What I found was the rattle was coming from the reostat that controls the tach...
I believe it, and I am not really surprised.

From all the posts on this forum regarding the cowling buzz, there are numerous possible sources that are contributing, dependent on the bike.

Again, I am positive my specific fix worked for MY bike, as I rode it again yesterday for about 20 miles to confirm it.

I can't say I am looking forward to my tach's rheostat making noise in the future.

Hopefully my fix will work for SOMEONE, and I would really like to hear about it.
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Old 02-14-2010, 11:54 AM
mcrider mcrider is offline
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I used Enigma's cure for the dash buttons except I used a drinking straw instead........this is a sure-fire fix for the gauge buzzing, thanks Enigma for the solution!!
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Old 02-14-2010, 01:22 PM
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For the record, mine is a '07. model with close to 10,000km and I never felt anything in terms of buzzing or vibrations that would bother me. Nor am I keen to investigate.

Cheers.
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  #20  
Old 02-14-2010, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcrider View Post
I used Enigma's cure for the dash buttons except I used a drinking straw instead........this is a sure-fire fix for the gauge buzzing, thanks Enigma for the solution!!
I'm glad it worked.

I like your straw idea better than the shrink tube method. The straw would probably be less likely to cause issue with button function due to its smoother and more rigid surface.
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