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I received a PM from a very intelligent member who tries to help others, and lives in India. He has asked me for advice in a area that I have some knowledge but feel there are many others on this forum that are much closer to a expert level so I am posting this thread with photos, as this is something that has rarely been discussed and I already have some really good photos.

Left cylinder intake;


Right cylinder intake


Left cylinder Underside of TB


Right cylinder Underside of TB



The question was, is this normal ? and what should be done next, as he has 28,000 miles on it.This is what I would do;
I would replace all vacuum lines
Do a valve shim check.

What is my take on the condition of the valves, to me it looks like possibly tight valves and combustion gases are coming back into the intake, possibly burn valve seat on the left cylinder. As to cleaning or anyone else opinion, the person I would put 99% faith in is Invader or Fasteddie or a number of other members including our other mod Gigitt .
 

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W/out anything to compare it to - to me it appears that it's been either 'backfiring', or the intake valves are so tight that they aren't fully closing (BUT I'm only guessing...) thus letting the 'burn' ALSO occur in the intake.
 

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To me it looks normal for a bike with that mileage and run on low detergent gas-needs a fuel cleaner run through it a few times to clean up the exhaust valves and a little contact cleaner on a rag will clean the intake throttle plates also due to the gas-if the valves (exhaust) were tight the exhaust valves would be almost white due to hot gases escaping
 

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My question would be how does the bike run? If it runs fine with no misfiring then I would perform normal maintenance and not worry. You will always get carbon on the back of the throttle plates and on the back sides of the valves. depending on the fuel used can make it more or less. There will always be some flow reversion in the intake due to cam timing. At the end of the exhaust stroke the intake stroke is starting so the intake valve and exhaust valve are both open and due to the residual pressure in the cylinder it will cause a small amount of reversion at the start at low rpm. At higher rpm the flow velocity is higher and the inertia of the intake flow will overcome the reversion and actually improves cylinder scavenging and filling. Depending on the amount of valve overlap and the rpm operated at can affect carbon build-up.
 

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My question would be how does the bike run? If it runs fine with no misfiring then I would perform normal maintenance and not worry. You will always get carbon on the back of the throttle plates and on the back sides of the valves. depending on the fuel used can make it more or less. There will always be some flow reversion in the intake due to cam timing. At the end of the exhaust stroke the intake stroke is starting so the intake valve and exhaust valve are both open and due to the residual pressure in the cylinder it will cause a small amount of reversion at the start at low rpm. At higher rpm the flow velocity is higher and the inertia of the intake flow will overcome the reversion and actually improves cylinder scavenging and filling. Depending on the amount of valve overlap and the rpm operated at can affect carbon build-up.[/QUOTE
]
this engine has no valve over lap-the tuning is to mild
 

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Hello and thank you all for the inputs. I'll answer as much I can best to my knowledge.

My Ninja 650 has seen only touring miles. I never use it in the city start stop traffic.

The distances I do are usually anywhere from 100-800 miles in a single day.

The weather here is mostly very hot 40*C+ (100*F+) and in summers the air is dry. Also my radiator fan comes on at any speed below 30 kmph.

Also I've done a lot of distances in the Himalayas at high altitude roads (10000-18000 ft) where the Ninja seems to be running ultra lean due to the adjustment it makes for low oxygen levels at those altitudes. Due to running lean the radiator fan comes on quite often.

However one area of concern that the airbox has oily dirt in it which seems to have come from the PCV. Can there be more oil vapour generated due to running hot or have a made a mistake and overfilled a bit ? Should I install an oil catch can in between the pcv and airbox ?

Lastly I've never used any injector or fuel additive to clean the engine as I didn't think they would work. Are there any non snake oil products that actually work ?


I
This is what I would do;
I would replace all vacuum lines
Do a valve shim check.

What is my take on the condition of the valves, to me it looks like possibly tight valves and combustion gases are coming back into the intake, possibly burn valve seat on the left cylinder. As to cleaning or anyone else opinion, the person I would put 99% faith in is Invader or Fasteddie or a number of other members including our other mod Gigitt .
The valve clearances were all in spec but on the tighter side. Two valves which were out of spec where just 0.1 mm to 0.2mm out on the tighter side.
If a valve seat is burned what's the remedy to that ?

W/out anything to compare it to - to me it appears that it's been either 'backfiring', or the intake valves are so tight that they aren't fully closing (BUT I'm only guessing...) thus letting the 'burn' ALSO occur in the intake.
I recently checked the valve clearances and it seems the valves are in spec and just two of them where out of range on the tighter side of clearance. I reshimmed all the clearances to the looser end of the clearance specified since all valves were running near the tighter side of clearance.

To me it looks normal for a bike with that mileage and run on low detergent gas-needs a fuel cleaner run through it a few times to clean up the exhaust valves and a little contact cleaner on a rag will clean the intake throttle plates also due to the gas-if the valves (exhaust) were tight the exhaust valves would be almost white due to hot gases escaping
The fuel here unfortunately is RON 91 or 87 Octane. Premium gasoline is hard to come by unless in a tier 1 city. However I don't think the Ninja needs a higher octane fuel due to its relatively low compression ratio.

My question would be how does the bike run? If it runs fine with no misfiring then I would perform normal maintenance and not worry. You will always get carbon on the back of the throttle plates and on the back sides of the valves. depending on the fuel used can make it more or less. There will always be some flow reversion in the intake due to cam timing. At the end of the exhaust stroke the intake stroke is starting so the intake valve and exhaust valve are both open and due to the residual pressure in the cylinder it will cause a small amount of reversion at the start at low rpm. At higher rpm the flow velocity is higher and the inertia of the intake flow will overcome the reversion and actually improves cylinder scavenging and filling. Depending on the amount of valve overlap and the rpm operated at can affect carbon build-up.
Yes the bike runs absolutely fine. It's just that this is the first teardown I've performed on the bike and since no one else in India has done this there is no cross reference data at all.

Hence the hesitation to dismantle the engine for inspection. However I wanted to be sure if the intake valves, seals, seats are fine as I don't have an idea how they're supposed to look.
 

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I still think your looking at a normal engine--don't even think of tearing it apart--fuel-- not higher octane 87 is fine although I find this engine runs better on 89 the amount of cleaners in the gas is the problem-have no idea what cleaners are available where you live so look for one that has polyetheramine(Techron) in it -as you said valves are fine in spec and if the bike does not burn a high amount of oil say 250ml per 1000k-leave it alone-no further testing needed-one of the hardest things these type of engines do is idle well if something is wrong - so if you have not touched the idle screw in a while and the bike idles fine put the tools away-don't want to stand on my soap box but in another life I was-is- a factory trained master Honda tech (motorcycles) and a southern USA court appointed expert in all manner of motorcycles I would testify in court cases did that work for 10+ years than moved on to the other 3 brands yes Kawasaki many schools still work on bikes 50 years later but when I want to retorations mainly retired now- I have seen 100's of engines torn down for nothing--so I'm backing up what I'm saying with this experience
 

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Nothing like Experience

I still think your looking at a normal engine--don't even think of tearing it apart--fuel-- not higher octane 87 is fine although I find this engine runs better on 89 the amount of cleaners in the gas is the problem-have no idea what cleaners are available where you live so look for one that has polyetheramine(Techron) in it -as you said valves are fine in spec and if the bike does not burn a high amount of oil say 250ml per 1000k-leave it alone-no further testing needed-one of the hardest things these type of engines do is idle well if something is wrong - so if you have not touched the idle screw in a while and the bike idles fine put the tools away-don't want to stand on my soap box but in another life I was-is- a factory trained master Honda tech (motorcycles) and a southern USA court appointed expert in all manner of motorcycles I would testify in court cases did that work for 10+ years than moved on to the other 3 brands yes Kawasaki many schools still work on bikes 50 years later but when I want to retorations mainly retired now- I have seen 100's of engines torn down for nothing--so I'm backing up what I'm saying with this experience
Like I said, someone on this forum has more experience than me. One of the reasons this forum is so great is the willingness to share knowledge and experience, my expertise is electrical power , specializing in drives and inverters, I still consult however it is stressful, triggering a scope is a field of it's own, dealing with over 6000 amp can be very costly if a mistake is made.
I will eventually create a How To thread with this thread info, for now it is stuck.And thanks to all so far that have stepped up to the plate:thumb::thumb::thumb:
 

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I still think your looking at a normal engine--don't even think of tearing it apart--fuel-- not higher octane 87 is fine although I find this engine runs better on 89 the amount of cleaners in the gas is the problem-have no idea what cleaners are available where you live so look for one that has polyetheramine(Techron) in it -as you said valves are fine in spec and if the bike does not burn a high amount of oil say 250ml per 1000k-leave it alone-no further testing needed-one of the hardest things these type of engines do is idle well if something is wrong - so if you have not touched the idle screw in a while and the bike idles fine put the tools away-don't want to stand on my soap box but in another life I was-is- a factory trained master Honda tech (motorcycles) and a southern USA court appointed expert in all manner of motorcycles I would testify in court cases did that work for 10+ years than moved on to the other 3 brands yes Kawasaki many schools still work on bikes 50 years later but when I want to retorations mainly retired now- I have seen 100's of engines torn down for nothing--so I'm backing up what I'm saying with this experience
Thank you so much for your inputs. I absolutely did not want to take apart the engine as it's Factory fit which I think will be much more robust than me taking it apart for a phantom reason and not have an equally good reassembly. I will post some more photos later.

Oil level reduces by 300ml over 8000-10000 kms which is my oil change interval with filter. I do not have to top up the oil in between. I'm using a 10W50 grade Motul 7100 Synthetic as the climate is 40+*C here.

I took the spark plug out and it seems quite normal. It's dry to touch and has nearly no carbon on it.


Currently my bike is nearly disassembled. There is a lot of hard baked on road gunk everywhere in places where one can't clean easily even with a pressure washer. Also several places I'm seeing some minor rust so will repaint those parts as preventive maintenance. Also will be re-greasing the axles, swingarm pivot and some more. :grin2:


Also is it advisable to install an oil catch can in between the airbox and the pcv, crankcase breather ? My airbox gets oily near the parts where these venting tubes connect.


Like I said, someone on this forum has more experience than me. One of the reasons this forum is so great is the willingness to share knowledge and experience, my expertise is electrical power , specializing in drives and inverters, I still consult however it is stressful, triggering a scope is a field of it's own, dealing with over 6000 amp can be very costly if a mistake is made.
I will eventually create a How To thread with this thread info, for now it is stuck.And thanks to all so far that have stepped up to the plate:thumb::thumb::thumb:
Yes this is the beauty of such forums is to have experienced people pitch in with on hands approach...

Kawasaki Trained Technicians here have absolutely no idea about this as mine is the first to see the 20000+ mile mark here.
 

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Keep your valve shims towards the looser side (you have already done this)

I cannot say if warn valve seats is causing one side to run hotter - I just dont know.
This is best tested by pressurising the inlet/exhausts when the valves are closed. - note cylinder leak down testing is not definitive to test valve seat issues but a would assume a fast leak would be valves and slow/med leaks would be rings.

It does look like LeftSide IS running hotter - as there is more darkness to TB and the plate is rusted more. Rust could also be from water contaminated fuel and heat on that side.

What are the piston tops like?
What are the cylinder walls like?
You can run a cheap borescope/endoscope in the spark plug hole to see.

I would be changing my oil 5000 km... with crap fuel you get more crap ring blowby into your oil. This thins the oil with fuel and untill it is burnt off you can have oil vapour pushed into your airbox. You dont need to put a catch can or breather on it... let the airbox and drain do it thing. just check the airbox drain for oil and drain more often. Putting on a catch can or breather has the potential of spitting out excessive oil onto you hot engine or rear tyre - also trher is harldy any room to do this when the pipe is 10cm long.

Keep you TB balanced every oil change - easy to check if you have some pigtails that you can reach without taking the tank off.
 

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I'm with motorboy, it is fine! What you are seeing are typical engine deposits. Give it a quick cleaning and put it back together. Use an injector cleaner on a semi-regular basis to keep the deposits in control, and ride it like you stole it!

Considering you are using a quality synthetic engine oil, unless you are regularly riding in dusty conditions, I wouldn't be changing the oil before 10,000km. If you are riding in dusty conditions, it is possible to add additional air filters onto the inlet stacks. UNI filters are commonly used for this. JDRocks has written about this on advrider, including the specific filters that fit. Also be sure to leave a film of oil on the inside of the airbox, after the air filter, so if dust gets past the stock air filter it will stick to the oil and you will see it.

Those are my thoughts, as a retired aircraft technician and lifelong motor head...
 

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A little oil in the PCV area is normal. I would expect a little more blowby than normal from riding in a hot climate all the time. Running at high altitude will actually cause it to run rich, not lean, especially if you don't have an O2 sensor (my US spec 2009 Versys doesn't have one, but I know all EU spec ones do have one, unsure about an India spec bike). Mine definitely runs a little rich as expected (exhaust outlet is a bit sooty, as are most vehicles at this elevation) as I live at 6000ft and ride anywhere from 5000-12,000ft.
 

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Keep your valve shims towards the looser side (you have already done this)

I cannot say if warn valve seats is causing one side to run hotter - I just dont know.
This is best tested by pressurising the inlet/exhausts when the valves are closed. - note cylinder leak down testing is not definitive to test valve seat issues but a would assume a fast leak would be valves and slow/med leaks would be rings.

It does look like LeftSide IS running hotter - as there is more darkness to TB and the plate is rusted more. Rust could also be from water contaminated fuel and heat on that side.

What are the piston tops like?
What are the cylinder walls like?
You can run a cheap borescope/endoscope in the spark plug hole to see.

I would be changing my oil 5000 km... with crap fuel you get more crap ring blowby into your oil. This thins the oil with fuel and untill it is burnt off you can have oil vapour pushed into your airbox. You dont need to put a catch can or breather on it... let the airbox and drain do it thing. just check the airbox drain for oil and drain more often. Putting on a catch can or breather has the potential of spitting out excessive oil onto you hot engine or rear tyre - also trher is harldy any room to do this when the pipe is 10cm long.

Keep you TB balanced every oil change - easy to check if you have some pigtails that you can reach without taking the tank off.
Hey thanks for the pointers. I have shimmed the valves on the looser end of the spec since its noticable they are getting tighter with use. Im happy that the vales were all in spec on the tighter limit except two which were just 0.01mm out of spec on the tighter side.

There is no rust on the throttle body plate it just seems to be carbon deposit. I cleaned the TB as well will post pics of that later. Also I should have balanced the throttle bodies sooner though since I can't remember the last odo reading I balanced them. I suppose TB balancing is supposed to be done every 10k miles.

I have ordered a cheap borescope of aliexpress some 10 days ago. I have to wait another 10-20 days till I get it due to the slow free shipping. Then ill be able to have peek inside the cylinders and also post some pics here for reference.

Oil changes I do anywhere between 6000-9000 kms depending on the kind of trip I've been on. If its been a high revving fast highway kind of trip I change the oil closer to the 6000 km mark. But on not so high paced trips (like avg speed below 40 mph) the oil lasts longer so I drain it later.

I'm with motorboy, it is fine! What you are seeing are typical engine deposits. Give it a quick cleaning and put it back together. Use an injector cleaner on a semi-regular basis to keep the deposits in control, and ride it like you stole it!

Considering you are using a quality synthetic engine oil, unless you are regularly riding in dusty conditions, I wouldn't be changing the oil before 10,000km. If you are riding in dusty conditions, it is possible to add additional air filters onto the inlet stacks. UNI filters are commonly used for this. JDRocks has written about this on advrider, including the specific filters that fit. Also be sure to leave a film of oil on the inside of the airbox, after the air filter, so if dust gets past the stock air filter it will stick to the oil and you will see it.

Those are my thoughts, as a retired aircraft technician and lifelong motor head...
Thank you for the inputs, what would you suggest to clean the intake ? We don't have cleaners like seafoam here but Liqui Moly has some presence with a wide range of products. Or is there any diy custom made solution that can clean the deposits safely ? I know not to use oven cleaner as they are bad for aluminum unless its specified to be used with aluminium.

My oil changes are usually after a rather long trip lasting about 20 days / 6000-9000 kms in a single go. The oil that comes out is good enough and in proper volume. I am on the stock air filter and there is absolutely no dust in the airbox after the filter. However there is an oily deposit nearby the port where the pcv hose connects.

A little oil in the PCV area is normal. I would expect a little more blowby than normal from riding in a hot climate all the time. Running at high altitude will actually cause it to run rich, not lean, especially if you don't have an O2 sensor (my US spec 2009 Versys doesn't have one, but I know all EU spec ones do have one, unsure about an India spec bike). Mine definitely runs a little rich as expected (exhaust outlet is a bit sooty, as are most vehicles at this elevation) as I live at 6000ft and ride anywhere from 5000-12,000ft.
The India model has an O2 sensor thus the bike goes into an ultra lean burn mode when anywhere above 8000ft. The max I have gone is till 19,000 ft during which the radiator fan wouldnt shut off unless I was doing at least 50 kmph.
 

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Thank you for the inputs, what would you suggest to clean the intake ? We don't have cleaners like seafoam here but Liqui Moly has some presence with a wide range of products. Or is there any diy custom made solution that can clean the deposits safely ? I know not to use oven cleaner as they are bad for aluminum unless its specified to be used with aluminium.
Liqui Moly has a product that should work:
Carburetor Housing Cleaner, item #3325 (or #1844 or #3918 depending on what is available in your area). You should be able to spray it on and use a rag to wipe off the deposits. Be cautious around painted items and protect them as most of these type of products will damage paint. Wear eye protection and gloves at a minimum.
 

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The India model has an O2 sensor thus the bike goes into an ultra lean burn mode when anywhere above 8000ft. The max I have gone is till 19,000 ft during which the radiator fan wouldnt shut off unless I was doing at least 50 kmph.
Interesting, I don't think US spec bikes have this. A lean burn mode would be nice for 8000+ ft.
 

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I finally procured a cheap endoscope and probed the engine and exhaust valves. Cylinder #2 has more deposits than Cylinder 1.

I'm still on the fence, wouldn't cleaning the valves and pistons be beneficial for long term ? I've googled a lot about this but I cannot find the info all together. My engine is running fine without oil consumption or loss of power.

What I'm not sure about is
- If I remove the valves do I need to install new valve seals or guides ?
- Would replacing valve oil seals be beneficial or is it unnecessary if they are working ok?
- Do I need to lap the valves after removing the inke carbon deposit on it ?

Cylinder #1 Deposits









Exhaust Valves have quite some deposit it seems.





Cylinder #2 looks alright, seems normal for this kind of carbon deposit





Not really sure what to do here since I don't have any reference on how much deposit is normal on this particular engine. :-/
 
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