Have you changed the plugs? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
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Have you changed the plugs?

I just changed the plugs on the Versys. I decided to put in the NGK Iridium super-plugs which I have used for some time on all my bikes. They just don't seem to wear out.
This is the first fuel-injected bike I have owned and the first time I have worked on a modern bike as my last bike was a 1990's Yamaha Superten 750 twin.
First job take the tank off. Refer to the workshop manual. "Using a pump pump out all the petrol from the tank that you can". There is a nice snap-release petrol union in the line below the tank but no means of isolating the petrol so everything still left in the tank (it says in the manual you cant get it all out with a pump) has to run out.
Put rags in place to soak up all the petrol which will run uncontrolled once you separate the petrol union. NOT impressed!
Remove tank. I decided to put the Workmate portable bench alongside the bike and lifted the tank across onto it with the fortunately quite long hose still attached so I avoided the petrol bath.
Disconnect all the plugs and sockets, breather pipes, air-valve?? and connecting hoses. It is a solid resin pipe to the pump mounted underneath and attached to the tank, so no easy installation of a tap seems possible.
Take the top off the airbox and remove the 4 screws taking care not to drop them down into the butterfly throttle inlets which are beside them. Remove airbox, forcing it out past tight nests of wiring, connectors etc, and find out there is another breather hose underneath to release.
The stick ignition-coils which are down the plug holes on top of the spark plugs can now be released. Very tight, so I replaced with a smear of copperslip on the rubber seal. Now remove the plugs only to find they are exactly the same top quality NGK plugs I then replaced them with. Full marks to Kawasaki. Mind you, it is such a diabolical job it was certainly kind of them to minimise the number of times you need to do it. After 4600 miles there was no wear at all, the electrode gap was the same as new and the nice light brown plugs showed perfect fuelling. I now have 2 perfect spares but God help me that I ever have to change them by the roadside.
The 2 air inlet scoops are right on top of the engine so MUST be getting warm air, and they are positioned facing forward and will get a lot of water in in monsoon conditions. The airbox is surprisingly small which probably effects the engines bottom-end.
There is an ďair-valve" connecting the air-box to the rocker box with electrical operation. Donít know how that works, must read up on it.

All this to change the plugs which I could do in 5 minutes on my Superten. I won't admit how long it took me.

I just hope I donít ever break down electrically far from civilisation. Even though I am an engineer I wouldnít know how to even start. I will be inhibited to take it to the sort of remote places I took the Superten to, some of which I would probably have died and rotted before being found.
To be honest I am very disheartened by the staggering complexity of this thing. I always knew that an electronic fuel-injected bike would not be user servicable in the way that all my previous bikes have been but I was unprepared for this. The only thing in its favour in my eyes is the 65 mpg which I cannot knock. Other than that the "progress" has been backwards. I have held off changing to a fuel-injected bike for years because of this.

A bit sad.
Ted.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 10:24 AM
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Hi Ted,

You are right about the trouble to change the V plugs.
IMO,Most important is to correctly torque the sucker(s).
Good thing Kawasaki included the spark plug opener in the bike's tool bag.

Also, have cleaned and lub the air filter while doing the plug change.

I do wish I could use another petrol container beside the OEM petrol tank. The fuel connection is rather unique. That way, could have the engine running while tweaking and tinkering.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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You can stlee, just put it to one side like I did. Not sure about all the plug connectors though.
Ted.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 01:40 PM
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I hope you don't run into trouble by using copperslip on high tension parts. It's an antiseize compound that's loaded with copper, and is liable to cause a short circuit. The proper stuff to use is silicone dielectric grease.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 02:00 PM
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Just so you'll feel better: changing out the plug on the anti-deluvian KLR is no picnic, EITHER!
Ed
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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I used copperslip because anything else I felt was likely to be degraded with the heat of the cylinder head and could make the siezing-in worse. It is the outside of a rubber sealing-sleeve in contact with the hole in the cylinder head so not involved in the electrical path.
Ted.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 12:51 AM
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It aint so bad, Ted. I actually enjoy working on my Versys... The COP's (coil over plug) are easy to remove if you break the bond first by rotating them before pulling them up. I disconnected the fuel line and removed the tank when it was nearly full, with only a few drops leaking. Keep the hose up somehow to prevent dumping the gas that's in it. It may help to open gas cap and shut it back first to release any pressure. The valve collecting air from the airbox to the valve cover is for the PAIR (Pulsed Air Induction Reed) valve. It introduces air in the exhaust ports just past the exhaust valves during decelleration to reduce emissions and to protect the catalytic converter. It's often disabled as I did to prevent backfiring with low restriction aftermarket muffler. Spark plug replacement is recommended at every 7500 miles... I may try upgrading to Denso's Iridium power plugs as some already have.

Last edited by invader; 03-19-2009 at 12:55 AM.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 01:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted99uk View Post
Other than that the "progress" has been backwards. I have held off changing to a fuel-injected bike for years because of this.

A bit sad.
Ted.
I disagree 200%. Fuel Injected bikes hardly ever, if every need any work what so ever. The old carburetor bikes needed work almost once a year. I wouldn't worry about the FI or the complexity of the modern Japanese bikes because they are almost bulletproof as far as reliability. I have been riding Japanese bikes since 1976 and worked on them for a living from 1981 to about 1991. I will take a 2009 model of anything over anything that was offered in the 80s (in regards to reliability). The plugs you changed probably wouldn't have needed changed for 20,000+ miles BTW.

ST1300, Versys, SV650S
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 06:15 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gti20vturbo View Post
I disagree 200%. Fuel Injected bikes hardly ever, if every need any work what so ever. The old carburetor bikes needed work almost once a year. I wouldn't worry about the FI or the complexity of the modern Japanese bikes because they are almost bulletproof as far as reliability. I have been riding Japanese bikes since 1976 and worked on them for a living from 1981 to about 1991. I will take a 2009 model of anything over anything that was offered in the 80s (in regards to reliability). The plugs you changed probably wouldn't have needed changed for 20,000+ miles BTW.
Reassuring words, thanks.
I only changed the plugs because I had the old ones out by then and I wanted a set of spares.
My concern is NOT one of reliability, but when the inevitable happens even if it is after a squillion miles I won't be able to fix it, and if I am miles from no-where which I often am, I am well stuck.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 06:30 AM
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I changed mine just because it is still under warranty and the book said to...the old plugs showed some wear, but not too bad. I used the Denso plugs and noticed (I think) a slight improvement in performance. It was a time consuming project, but wasn't to bad following these instructions ( http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...67&postcount=1 ), but I removed the gas tank. Make sure you have hex wrenches that reach all the way into the airbox. The one that comes in the toolkit is barely long enough. The only problem that I ran into was that I kept dropping one of the airbox screws and it was a real pain to retrieve it without removing the airbox...my hands just barely fit into the back of the airbox.

Steve

I bought a motorcycle because my wife said that I couldn't! Now I have two and she still says I can't have another one!
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Sounds like a challenge to me!

Now I have four!
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
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I have a telescopic magnetic probe, small tip but very powerful. It is worth its weight in gold. It even saved me a crancase strip down once.
Ted.
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 10:51 AM
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Now that you mention it I do to, but didn't even think about that when I was trying to fish that damn screw out.

Steve

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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 01:30 PM
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Be very careful with these 10mm plugs. Always use antiseize compound. The proper stuff is sold by Champion for spark plugs only, and is available from aviation suppliers.
Put a piece of rubber hose over the insulator and use it to screw the plug in until it seats on the gasket. If it binds up on the way in, STOP! Remove the plug and run a thread chaser or tap in to clean up the thread. Never use a wrench unless the plug can be inserted all the way with finger pressure only.

Use a short handled wrench. I made a special socket for the racebikes with a 4 inch crossbar just to avoid overtightening. When tightening, you'll feel the gasket compress, and then the torque required will increase. Never tighten more than 1/8 turn past this point.

It's good to use some silicone dielectric grease on the plug boot. This will prevent the boot from bonding to the plug insulator and tearing the next time it's removed. Available from Ford parts as WA-10.

Last edited by onewizard; 10-01-2018 at 02:18 PM.
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 01:56 PM
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[QUOTE=ttpete;29351]Be very careful with these 10mm plugs. Always use antiseize compound. The proper stuff is sold by Champion for spark plugs only, and is available from aviation suppliers.

As specified by Champion about their spark plug anti-seize compound: "Apply sparingly to second and third threads. Do not contact electrodes as it could short out the plug. Do not apply to shielding barrel threads."

Last edited by onewizard; 10-01-2018 at 02:18 PM.
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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The NGK plug specifies on the box a set amount of turn after it contacts the washer face, not a torque figure. It wasn't very tight when it reached that turn, I would have gone a bit further.
Ted.
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post #16 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 08:02 PM
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I'll be doing the iol and plugs tomorrow... ths will be the first plug change I've done on the V, and I have a bit over 9k miles... hopefully it will go over smoothly.


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post #17 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 08:30 PM
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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. Using more anti-seize compound decreases the amount of friction between the threads, which can cause the spark plug to be turned too far into the cylinder head, and increases the likelyhood 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. It can also make it difficult to remove...
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post #18 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-20-2009, 05:33 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by invader View Post
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. Using more anti-seize compound decreases the amount of friction between the threads, which can cause the spark plug to be turned too far into the cylinder head, and increases the likelyhood 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. It can also make it difficult to remove...
Thats why NGK specify turns not torque I guess. They design the washer to give the correct amount of compression. Thinking about it, that won't work if you remove it and refit it unless you fit a new washer which I don't know if you can buy?
Ted.
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post #19 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-20-2009, 06:26 AM
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The washer will still be functional if the spark plug hasn't been over-torqued...
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post #20 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-20-2009, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
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Yes it will work but how can you use the same "number of turns" method when it has already been compressed. I don't reckon it will spring back out again.
Ted.
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