D.I.Y - Spark Plugs - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 240 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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D.I.Y - Spark Plugs

Well, I noticed a drop in fuel economy on my beloved and I noticed power seemed to be a touch off as well. I looked into the motorcycle owner's manual and found out that the required interval for spark plugs happens to be 7,500 miles. With 6,300 on the clock, I decided to tackle the job on a beautiful, warm Friday afternoon - the temps all week have been at a high of about 37F-44F and a low of 19F-22F, and Friday the temps got into the 60s

So, for anyone that might be interested, I decided to to a step-by-step photo journal of the whole process.

First, a few tools:
1. 4mm Allen wrench - this took care of the bolts holding the windshield and the fairing on.
2. 3/8" drive 8mm socket - this was for the acorn nuts that the windscreen bolts screw into (I used a 1/4" drive socket but I should have used a 3/8" drive just to rreduce the amount of tools I had sitting out).
3. 3/8" drive 5mm hex-head socket - this was used to remove the bolts holding the air box on the throttle body.
4. 3/8" drive 10mm socket - this is to remove the bolts holding the fuel tank in place.
5. 4" long 3/8" drive extension - you'll see why in the pictures.
6. 3/8" drive ratchet
7. 3/8" drive torque wrench - one that will accurately read 11 lb-ft to properly torque the spark plugs. Or, do like me, and torque spark plugs to 15 lb-ft, which is as low as a 0-75 lb-ft deflecting beam torque wrench will accurately indicate.

Also, the spark plugs in question are NGK CR9EIA-9 6289 Iridium spark plugs.

Last but not least - gasoline weighs in as much as 6.5 lbs (http://www.santacruzpl.org/readyref/...gasoline.shtml), so when you know you're going to be doing the job, make sure you run the bike as close to empty as possible. That said, please don't run so low that you run out of gasoline in the middle of nowhere, as an engine shutdown due to lack of fuel casualty can lead to such things as a temper control meltdown, a lacerated dignity, or even, in more extreme cases, a motorcycle implosion due to kicking, punching, and screaming at the closest inanimate object available.


Now, onto the surgery!

First, I removed the windshield so it would be out of the way. This was done using the 4mm allen wrench and the 8mm socket:


Then, I removed the bolts for the left and right cowling. All bolts are 4mm hex-head bolts, and removed using the 4mm allen wrench:






After I removed the cowling, I noticed that one of the rubber grommets popped off with the cowling, so I reinstalled it on the fuel tank:


I also removed the black plastic covers that sit below the tank and the cowling. There are 3 rubber grommets holding it in place (red) and 1 philips-head screw (green):


For my next trick, I removed the bolts retaining the fuel tank. There are two bolts, and they are 10mm:


Unfortunately, I did not get any pictures of the tank removal itself, however, the process is fairly straightforward.

To remove the tank, I lifted up on the back end of the tank. As I did, it pivoted on a pair of rubber mounts on the front end of the tank, which are located roughly as shown underneath the tank:


After removing the tank, I bungeed the tank to a ladder to keep it supported, up and out of the way, and still leave the lines connected to the tank and the bike:


So, with that out of the way, it was on to the next step.

Again, I didn't think to get pictures for this part. You will see the exposed air box, with a cover panel that is held in place by a rubber hose and 4 philips-head screws. The rubber hose connects to a sensor mounted on the front of the airbox. I removed the hose, unscrewed the screws holding the cover panel in place.

I also removed the air filter, held in place with a single philips-head screw:

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post #2 of 240 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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At this point I also moved the sensor mounted on the front of the airbox out of the way and proceeded to remove the airbox. Once you remove the airbox cover and look inside, you'll see 4 hex-head bolts:



These are all 5mm hex-head bolts, and I used the 5mm hex-head socket to remove them.

The airbox itself is fairly simply to remove, but there is a rubber hose that connects the airbox to the engine and transmission casing that I didn't notice until I had removed the airbox


Also, as suggested by Machog:
Quote:
One tip I would add, take a clean rag and stuff it in the throttle bodies after you take the air-filter off, stop any stray nuts or crap going down there.
So, once the airbox is removed, stuff a couple of rags into the throttle body for a little extra insurance.

Once the airbox was removed, it exposed the spark plugs for what I thought would be an easy remove and install:


However, this is what I wound up using to remove the plugs:


The only 3/8" drive extension I had was 6" long, and it didn't give me enough clearance to use the 3/8" drive ratchet. This is the reason why I suggest using a 4" long 3/8" drive extension.

I removed the wire connecting each coil to the electrical system, pulled each coil and spark plug individually.

Prior to installing each spark plug, I used anti-seize, the way that my old man taught me


Here's what the old spark plugs looked like compared to the new ones:


Not bad, but definitely wearing. I installed the new spark plugs, tightened each one to 15 lb-ft, and buttoneed everything back up.

Well, everything went back together in the reverse order of how it came apart ( I can't believe it! ) and I fired the bike up to ensure that she was in good working order. No problems, no issues, but I noticed something:

The bike was snappy. And she warmed up MUCH quicker as well.

I'll let you know how she rides after I take her out again - the temps are in the 60s again today


The moral of the story?

If the bike has over 6K miles on it, she seems a bit down on performance, and the spark plugs haven't been changed, it might be something worth looking into.
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post #3 of 240 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 02:14 PM
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Excellent post dude. Thanks.
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post #4 of 240 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Excellent post dude. Thanks.
And thank you

Just trying to help build up the knowledge base.
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post #5 of 240 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 02:35 PM
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Thanks for this post. It will come in handy at some point, no doubt.

Given the amount of time it looks like is involved in this procedure, is there anything else to do while you're in there, besides the air filter? Also, are there any spark plugs specified for the Versys with longer than a 6K life? With my ST I have about 50,000 miles and only changed the plugs twice.


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post #6 of 240 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 02:40 PM
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Question

Realistically... how often sould the sparks be changed?
The manual say at 7,500... this seems low to me... any thoughts?


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post #7 of 240 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by amir_zwara View Post
Realistically... how often sould the sparks be changed?
The manual say at 7,500... this seems low to me... any thoughts?
When I pulled the "7,500 mile" spark plugs at 6,300 miles, they seemed a bit worn to me. I really don't know of any other spark plugs that would work in this application, and given the amount of time it takes to change the plugs, I'm kinda leery of experimenting.

As amir asked, anyone have any thoughts on this?
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post #8 of 240 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 04:44 PM
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Very nice DIY. I like the colored arrows...
The spark plugs are already a bit visually worn at the ground electrode, resulting in a gap bigger than recommended 0.8 - 0.9 mm and an ground electrode edge that is not as sharp for a harder to produce spark. 7500 miles seems a bit low, which is why I was wondering if somebody had mentioned that the Versys engine can be started with the IAP sensor hose unhooked from the left TB... I can't check mine now as it's stored for winter.
Proper spark plug tightening torque is 11 ft-lbs (15 N-m). The insulator of the spark plug may break if the wrench is inclined during tightening. Also, anti-seize compound should not be used, as it will decrease the amount of friction between the threads. The lowered friction causes the spark plug to be turned too far into the cylinder head. This increases the likelihood of pulling or stripping the threads in the cylinder head. Over-tightening of a spark plug can cause stretching of the spark plug shell and could allow blowby to pass through the gasket seal between the shell and insulator. Over-tightening also results in extremely difficult removal.
I'm switching to Denso's Iridium Power IU27D spark plugs with 0.4 mm diameter iridium center electrode and inconel taper cut ground electrode, instead of NGK's 0.7 mm iridium center electrode and nickel taper cut ground electrode.
http://www.globaldenso.com/PLUG/power/features.html

IU27 (Denso #5363) is more available than IU27D. It's the same plug with removable 'nut' on threaded connector, and is the correct replacement for NGK's CR9EIA-9:
http://www.globaldenso.com/PLUG/cros...e/1037_08.html
http://www.globaldenso.com/PLUG/pnch..._dp/index.html
http://motors.shop.ebay.com/_Car-Tru...dZm270Q2el1313
They're also the original plugs in Suzuki's Hayabusa and B King 1340:
http://www.globaldenso.com/PLUG/topics/2007/10_1.html
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post #9 of 240 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I just finished riding the bike around for about 15 - 20 miles and had absolutely no issues whatsoever.

The bike rode nice and smooth; power delivery was silky smooth after the spark plug change and I've had no issues whatsoever.

Oh, and speaking of anti-seize on the spark plugs as well as proper torque...
while I do understand the concern, especially since the Versy uses an aluminum head, I don't believe that 4 lb-ft will make an incredibly huge difference. Before I was sent off to Auburn University I was working in the submarine community and anti-seize compounds were a big discussion when it came to all types of threaded fasteners. However, it seemed to have the biggest impact when it came to high-torque applications instead of low torque applications. For all I know, I'm completely wrong; however, I've used anti-seize on spark plug threads for years now and I've never had a problem with a single one yet.

I had the same results in the aluminum head of the 3RZ-FE 2.7L 4-banger under the hood of the Tacoma I once owned as I ded with the aluminum heads on the 2.7L V-6 that resided under the hood of a 2003 Dodge Intrepid. I've used anti-seize on spark plugs going into Fords, GM products, and no less than 3 Mopar trucks. I've also used the stuff on spark plugs going into a 1999 Dodge Neon with no trouble.

I understand the concern here and if someone doesn't feel comfortable using anti-seize on the threads of their spark plugs then I recommend not using the stuff. I've had no problems when I've used it though.


By the way, thanks for the input on the other choice available for spark plugs, invader. I know 7,500 seems low but that's what Maw Kaw says, so I'm just going to go with that for now. I'm looking forward to seeing how the Densos work out for you.
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post #10 of 240 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 05:34 PM
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Ozyran... Can you do me a big favor and see if the engine starts with the inlet pressure sensor hose unhooked from the left TB, with the TB hose fitting sealed if you can? I think someone noticed that it does start and run like this, although a bit erratically and with the 'FI' indicator lit. Codes can then be erased by disconnecting battery for a bit.
If it does start like this, it's firing at every TDC since it doesn't have a cam position sensor, which would account for the relatively low spark plug life. The IAP sensor signal is in fact part one of the fuel injection system inputs...
Come to think of it, you could try with the IAP sensor itself disconnected, instead of the hose. This would have the 'FI' indicator lit as soon as your turn the key on. Either way, 'FI' indicator will be off after it's hooked back up, even if you don't erase the ECU's memory.
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post #11 of 240 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 06:50 PM
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Nice write up! Great pics & good info on the plug options!






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post #12 of 240 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 07:38 PM
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Excellent write up thanks.

Couple of questions, you did the whole thing with the 3 tank connections still in place correct? When I did the air-filter I took them all off and one was a real bugger to take off.

One tip I would add, take a clean rag and stuff it in the throttle bodies after you take the air-filter off, stop any stray nuts or crap going down there.

This is on my list, my V has 13k miles on it with the original plugs-still runs great, but its a fun project. Might even try the alternative plugs suggested.

Machog


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post #13 of 240 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by invader View Post
Ozyran... Can you do me a big favor and see if the engine starts with the inlet pressure sensor hose unhooked from the left TB, with the TB hose fitting sealed if you can? I think someone noticed that it does start and run like this, although a bit erratically and with the 'FI' indicator lit. Codes can then be erased by disconnecting battery for a bit.
If it does start like this, it's firing at every TDC since it doesn't have a cam position sensor, which would account for the relatively low spark plug life. The IAP sensor signal is in fact part one of the fuel injection system inputs...
Come to think of it, you could try with the IAP sensor itself disconnected, instead of the hose. This would have the 'FI' indicator lit as soon as your turn the key on. Either way, 'FI' indicator will be off after it's hooked back up, even if you don't erase the ECU's memory.
I'll see what I can do, no promises though

The inlet pressure hose - is that the vacuum hose that connects to the front of the throttle body?

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Originally Posted by Bear on a bicycle View Post
Nice write up! Great pics & good info on the plug options!


Thank you sir!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Machog View Post
Excellent write up thanks.

Couple of questions, you did the whole thing with the 3 tank connections still in place correct? When I did the air-filter I took them all off and one was a real bugger to take off.

One tip I would add, take a clean rag and stuff it in the throttle bodies after you take the air-filter off, stop any stray nuts or crap going down there.

This is on my list, my V has 13k miles on it with the original plugs-still runs great, but its a fun project. Might even try the alternative plugs suggested.

Machog
Ah, good call on the throttle body. I didn't think about it when I was working, but that would have been a huge pain in the butt - especially if something dropped in there!

And yes, I did the job with the hoses still attached. I'm a little lazy when it comes to hoses and wires - if I don't have to remove them, I try not too
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I'll see what I can do, no promises though

The inlet pressure hose - is that the vacuum hose that connects to the front of the throttle body?
Yes it is. You can also disable the IAP by disconnecting it at the wire plug in, up in the left cowling. That may be harder to reach though... I'm pretty sure it will still start, meaning that spark plugs ignite every time piston reaches TDC rather than at every second TDC between compression and power stroke, having only the crankshaft position sensor input to regulate ignition timing. There's no camshaft position sensor, and the IAP sensor is an input for the fuel system.
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Yes it is. You can also disable the IAP by disconnecting it at the wire plug in, up in the left cowling. That may be harder to reach though... I'm pretty sure it will still start, meaning that spark plugs ignite every time piston reaches TDC rather than at every second TDC between compression and power stroke, having only the crankshaft position sensor input to regulate ignition timing. There's no camshaft position sensor, and the IAP sensor is an input for the fuel system.
Okay, thanks - I'll keep you posted.
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post #16 of 240 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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Ozyran... Can you do me a big favor and see if the engine starts with the inlet pressure sensor hose unhooked from the left TB, with the TB hose fitting sealed if you can? I think someone noticed that it does start and run like this, although a bit erratically and with the 'FI' indicator lit.
Well, I did what you said with the exception of sealing the fitting. Like you said, the bike ran erratically and the FI indicator was lit.
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post #17 of 240 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 10:41 AM
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Excellent post and I love the ladder Idea.Very well done ,and a big thanks for taking the time to do this

AMA EAA STN
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post #18 of 240 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 11:35 AM
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Well, I did what you said with the exception of sealing the fitting. Like you said, the bike ran erratically and the FI indicator was lit.
Thanks ozyran. So it didn't just run, but engine could also be started like this? Some thought that it relied on the IAP sensor pulse from the left cyclinder to determine firing sequence, in conjunction with the crankshaft position sensor and instead of with a camshaft position sensor. The IAP sensor is only listed as one the the fuel system inputs in the repair manual, and you just proved it... So, the spark plugs have to fire at every TDC. That's twice the normal frequency, causing the spark plugs to wear out faster.
Now I wonder about the fuel injection sequence... Ah I think I found the answer: "Depending on the application, the injectors in an electronic fuel injection system may be fired simultaneously, in groups or even one at a time. The simplest configuration is to fire all of the injectors at the same time. With this method, each injector is fired once every crankshaft revolution, which results in two shots of fuel per combustion cycle. This method is used generally on single or dual throttle body injection systems... Unlike simultaneous and grouped injection, sequential fuel injection systems require a cylinder identification signal to initiate injector sequence or pulse to open the injector."
http://www.auto-facts.org/electronic...injection.html
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post #19 of 240 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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Excellent post and I love the ladder Idea.Very well done ,and a big thanks for taking the time to do this
Thank you and you're welcome!

I kinda figured since I was a little leery of doing this job, that I might find a few others that feel a bit overwhelmed doing a job that is this in depth, so I thought I'd let us all know it's not that bad, but it will take some time to get the job done right.

Thanks for the input on the ladder idea. I figure a slightly taller ladder - one you can park the bike under - would enable the tank to be suspended higher and out of the way while we're working on it.

Quote:
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Thanks ozyran. So it didn't just run, but engine could also be started like this? Some thought that it relied on the IAP sensor pulse from the left cyclinder to determine firing sequence, in conjunction with the crankshaft position sensor and instead of with a camshaft position sensor. The IAP sensor is only listed as one the the fuel system inputs in the repair manual, and you just proved it... So, the spark plugs have to fire at every TDC. That's twice the normal frequency, causing the spark plugs to wear out faster.
Well, that certainly makes sense, although I can't understand why they'd engineer it that way.

I also experimented a little bit - while the bike was running, I played around with the vacuum line and the fitting it goes onto - the bike idled high (~2400 rpm) with the hose removed, and the idle dropped below normal when I reconnected it and then returned to normal idle speed.
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post #20 of 240 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 03:57 PM
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Yeah that's normal. The high idle was caused by a vacuum leak at the fitting on the TB... These are the symptoms you'd get if the hose split open or fell off the fitting.
The Versys doesn't have the most advanced electronic FI system available, not sequential, not Drive By Wire, and far from direct injection... It is pretty basic which accounts for its low cost, and fuel economy that is not outstanding.
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