Stuck in Idaho with a problem - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-02-2015, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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Stuck in Idaho with a problem

I am on an 8 day trip through Eastern Washington, Oregon, and Idaho on my 2009 Versys 650. The bike has 7500 miles on it.

It has been over 100 degrees much of the time. This afternoon the engine began losing power, but returned to running normally. Several times. Then it quit and would turn over but not start. I could not get it to jump start down the hill either.

All fluids looked ok except the oil seemed to be low. We added a quart of oil (it may now be overfilled) and it started. I rode the last 20 miles without problems.

Could the low oil have been the problem? Not sure what to do tomorrow. Desolate road ahead.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-02-2015, 11:36 PM
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 03:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveTheTengaiGuy View Post
I am on an 8 day trip through Eastern Washington, Oregon, and Idaho on my 2009 Versys 650. The bike has 7500 miles on it.

It has been over 100 degrees much of the time. This afternoon the engine began losing power, but returned to running normally. Several times. Then it quit and would turn over but not start. I could not get it to jump start down the hill either.

All fluids looked ok except the oil seemed to be low. We added a quart of oil (it may now be overfilled) and it started. I rode the last 20 miles without problems.

Could the low oil have been the problem? Not sure what to do tomorrow. Desolate road ahead.
I don't think so. Just a wild ass guess, fuel issue, maybe fuel pump. Did you just refuel. What was the fuel level?

I would get the oil level down to max as overfull can cause oil to be blown into the airbox. Just drain some oil using the drain plug.

To diagnose a fuel issue in a no start situation you can use some starting fluid. If the bike won't fire and then does with a little starting fluid = fuel issue. No effect = probably spark.

Last edited by waltermitty; 08-03-2015 at 03:55 AM.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 06:08 AM
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I agree. Adjust you oil level down to max. What type and grade of oil is it, just out of curiosity?... In those extreme temperatures, it may well have been a fuel vapor lock problem, which subsided once it cooled down. Try also using premium gasoline if you haven't already. If you have a radiator guard on, consider removing it for travelling in extreme heat.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 07:35 AM
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I'm thinking bad fuel. Try to run the fuel level down before adding more. If you're at any sort of altitude, remember that less octane is required as the altitude increases.

Higher octane does nothing to clean or otherwise improve a bad fuel situation. At worst, it creates carbon if used in an engine that is designed for a lower octane fuel.

You might want to check/change your spark plugs.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by kballowe View Post
I'm thinking bad fuel. Try to run the fuel level down before adding more. If you're at any sort of altitude, remember that less octane is required as the altitude increases.

Higher octane does nothing to clean or otherwise improve a bad fuel situation. At worst, it creates carbon if used in an engine that is designed for a lower octane fuel.

You might want to check/change your spark plugs.
I was more concerned about a potentially poorer vapor lock index with lower quality gasoline, particularly ethanol blends... Octane level that happens to be too low in substandard or 'bad' gasoline, or with an ethanol blend after phase separation can in fact cause pre-ignition and overheating.

Good point jdrocks... I did almost mention synthetic W-50 grade oil as a better choice for such infernal conditions.

7500 miles is still low for a 2009, but you're overdue for a coolant change if you haven't already.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 09:13 AM
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Oil - correct level and if you're running +104f temps, use a xxw-50 weight oil. Contrary to what people want to think...a conventional oil at 50 weight has the same operating temp protection as a synthetic 50 weight (sorry guys, go visit Bob Is The Oil Guy)...

I'm going with vapor lock, fuel pump, and or bad gas...No need (and I wouldn't) run premium, super, high octane, gas....Use what the owners manual states (87+ RON) and use a name brand (this part can be debated...I stick with name brands...)

As mentioned above, check your plugs...especially after experiencing the issue you just had.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by invader View Post
I was more concerned about a potentially poorer vapor lock index with lower quality gasoline, particularly ethanol blends... Octane level that happens to be too low in substandard or 'bad' gasoline, or with an ethanol blend after phase separation can in fact cause pre-ignition and overheating.

Good point jdrocks... I did almost mention synthetic W-50 grade oil as a better choice for such infernal conditions.

7500 miles is still low for a 2009, but you're overdue for a coolant change if you haven't already.

Respectfully - I would be more concerned about the (typically) higher percentage of ethanol used to raise the octane level of the "premium" gasoline which may exacerbate any "phase separation"
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 10:08 AM
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Sounds like you're out of gas...

2008 Versys 650

Been riding 8 or 9 years, and have owned 8 or 9 bikes; its an addiction I can't quit...
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 10:53 AM
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Possibly a plugged fuel filter or plugged tank vent?

Did it start running normally after you opened the tank to check for fuel? If so, opening the lid might 'break the vacuum' and allow fuel to flow again. Plugged fuel filter is typically a "looses power at higher throttle, but idles and goes at low throttle normally" type of issue...you just can't flow enough fuel for the higher demand.

You should always run the proper oil level, but a bit overfull or underfull should not cause the engine to loose power. If you don't see foam in the sight glass, it's not full enough to let the crank slap the oil and should not be an issue.

Ethanol is actually your friend in high heat situations as it has a lower vapor pressure than regular gas...so less likely to boil / cause "vapor lock" (really talking about cavitation of the fuel pump inlet here, as the classic 'vapor lock' went away when fuel injected engines came out). I run E85 (85% ethanol) in my car... need the 105 octane to support the turbo +12.5:1 CR, and it's run fine at 115F+, and have run my V on 10% ethanol through several summers of 100+ heat.

Whatever is happening, sounds like something choking off your fuel supply.

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 11:58 AM
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I'm going with fuel or something related to fueling/venting.

What were the last things touched prior to trip? Any maintenance or mods involving lifting the tank?

FWIW I've run my Versys in the south and northwest in August temps day after day with no special prep.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 03:10 PM
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I've never had a 'hot-weather' problem w/ any of my three Vs, which are operated in HIGH temps, mostly.

BUT you said you have an '09. IF it was a CA model it came w/ a charcoal-canister on the left side of the engine, and (...I removed mine...) IF it was removed and the lines under the tank were incorrectly routed, your tank will NOT vent to atmosphere as it should. The first pic shows the "red" line blocked off; the second shows it blocked as well as the other lines under the CA tanks; and the third shows the three nipples.
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Last edited by fasteddiecopeman; 08-03-2015 at 03:14 PM.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 04:38 PM
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Check all battery and ground connections.
Weakness in any will give batchit crazy symptoms.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 06:01 PM
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From the title of the thread. I thought you were out of butter and sour cream....

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-14-2015, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies!

i did get the bike started and it ran the last 20 miles to the motel. In the morning I poked around and discovered the positive side lead on the battery was loose.

A friend had recently helped install some wiring for a gps and we must not have tightened the lead well enough after we were done. An unexpected 6 miles of road construction with lots of washboard shortly before the problem showed up probably contributed.

We rode another 1300 miles or so without a single problem. That bike runs like a watch.

Lots of good info in the posts.
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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-14-2015, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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You nailed it.
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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-14-2015, 09:00 PM
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Right on... We thought you had passed away in that heat.
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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-15-2015, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texrider View Post
Check all battery and ground connections.
Weakness in any will give batchit crazy symptoms.
DING... DING... DING... We have a winner!!!!
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-20-2015, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by genehil View Post
DING... DING... DING... We have a winner!!!! textrider
I was reading the post going down and came to that reply
Told myself "Useless piece of information"


Now I feel like an idiot !!!

Karmha man ... Always comes back to bite you in the "..." !


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