Hesitation/Stuttering/Stalling - diagnosis and service - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Hesitation/Stuttering/Stalling - diagnosis and service

My 2008 Versys has been stuttering, hesitating and now even stalling. It's essentially unrideable now - barely got home the last time.

Hesitation and stalling happens less w/ more throttle and less load on the engine. Keeping 5k+rpms helps it not stall/hesitate.

I'd like to talk through the issues so I can better understand what's up w/ it.

Here's some info:

Nearly 34k miles on it, year round.

This symptom started in slight earlier this year and prompted me to change my air filter (which needed it). It resolved the issue.

More recently, I had some exhaust system issues which led to replacing the header pipes and muffler. Didn't have other service on the engine done.

Honestly, I've been pretty delinquent in my service, I'm actually not sure when the valve adjustment has been checked, though I did just re-clean and oil my BMC air filter, hoping that was going to resolve it (though it was early for needing to re-service, I considered that perhaps the new cotton airfilter needed more attention - clearly not the case as the symptoms are just as bad as before the air filter service - unless I put on too much oil or something and it's no good - not likely).

Here's my thinking:

I have bought new spark plugs and ignition coils to install thinking 1. spark plugs are probably due, 2. coils may have cracked/water gotten in there (an issue apparently?).
Perhaps the misfires from the air filter issue caused the plugs to dirty more quickly and exacerbated the issue?
Are spark plugs a likely culprit?
Are these symptoms consistent w/ ignition coil issues? (if not, what is?)

What I am hoping is not the case is that my valves are *very* out of adjustment. Could that cause this symptom? (if not, what symptom?)

Would riding my motorcycle in this situation increase the likelihood of a valve breaking? (I'll likely have to ride it to a shop at least to have the valves done.)

In any event, valve adjustments are overdue.

I'm planning to change the plugs and coils myself, and see how it rides, but imagine I should go for the valve adjustment too.

Valve adjustments seem like a pretty complex process - don't wanna get into that myself... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8UREinbn7k

How much does valve adjustment usually cost @ a dealer?
Seems like getting the shims for the adjustment can be tricky because you won't know what you need until the engine's all tore up - suppose the shop oughtta have all the sizes in stock and be able to charge post operation for parts, eh?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 02:16 PM
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Earlier this year, my '08 suddenly decided to run like crap (the day before, I had competed a nice 40 mile loop around the neighborhood with no issues). I went to pull out and it felt like it was running on one cylinder. I pulled the tank and the coil packs... gave them a good look-over, lubed the boots and reinstalled everything. Been running like a champ since then.

I figure one of the coil packs lost ground or something, so it's worth a look. I didn't see anything wrong but taking it apart and putting it back did the trick.

I did go to fleabay and pick up a couple of spare coils.... just in case....

'08 Versys.. Givi rear rack, JCW trunk and E21's, Givi shield, Madstad bracket, Speedy peg and mirror brackets, lowering kit, SC Seat, R1 Shock.. other stuff. '09 KLX250 setup for singletrack. 2011 Xterra, '80 CJ-7

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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That's encouraging
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 04:09 PM
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Start with the simple fixes. Inspect your battery with voltmeter, with key out, key on, and engine running. Check the battery connections. The negative terminal often gets corroded or becomes loose. Check your frame ground points.
Does your FI light come on when the bike stalls? Follow this post to check for fault codes from the ecu.
If you don't have any fault codes stored in memory, It could be your fuel pump. Can you hear the fuel pump pressurize when you turn the key on. Inspect the electrical connection to the fuel pump.
If everything else checks out, I would suspect the ignition coils. Good luck.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 07:48 PM
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You need to start with the obvious. Replace spark plugs and inspect ignition coils. Inspect and adjust valve clearances, and vacuum synch throttle bodies. Inspect vacuum hoses, flanges, grounds, etc.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-24-2016, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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Sweet thanks for the thoughts.

Hadn't figured the battery connection could cause this sort of behavior, but then I guess if the electrical is weak it could simply cause misfires too.

Haven't caught up on work enough to service the bike, but will get to it soon

Curious what experiences/thoughts folks have with valve clearances and all that
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