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No Spark, no start
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  (#1)
I'm a Rookie, How do I Wheelie?
 
Posts: 9
Join Date: September 30, 2008
Location: Arlington VA
No Spark, no start - February 10, 2009, 05:37 PM

Hello All,

I've got a 95 zx9r that won't start. It seems I do not get any spark at the plugs, but it has been a sort of twisted story to get to this point and that knowledge.

It's a used bike that I bought in September. It ran perfectly for me this fall, until I made the mistake of parking it with the choke on. I'm pretty sure now that flooded the engine but I didn't realize it at the time, and was the reason I couldn't start it the next time I went to ride. I was able to push start it. I tried to push start it again a few days later, this time with no success, and as I tried to push the bike back up my (steep) driveway, I dropped it on the left side. Bent the mirror and broke the clutch peg, but no other (obvious) damage. By this time I had read enough to suspect flooding, so the next step I took was to pull the plugs. Yep, they were black and wet, so it seemed like flooding had been the problem. I replaced the plugs, charged the battery and drained the float bowls. When I try to start it now, it cranks but won't start. I verified that I'm getting fuel in the carb, and that the battery was fully charged, so next I checked to make sure the plugs spark, but either they don't, or I am doing something wrong testing.

My questions:

1. Is there a tip sensor somewhere that has shut off my ignition circuit? I have the Haynes manual and I can find nothing there or on Google about one.

2. I tested for a spark by pulling the boot, putting a spare (new) plug in, grounding it on the frame and trying the igition. Is there something wrong with that process?

3. If flooding was the original problem, changing the plugs and draining the carbs should have fixed that, and the loss of spark is probably a result of me dropping the bike?

Any ideas, thoughts are appreciated. I realize that I made mistakes in handling the problems. Feel free to heckle me for them, I deserve it, but don't let that stop you from sending advice if you have it.
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February 10, 2009, 06:34 PM

First, thank you for including year make and model of your bike in your inquiry. It makes things so much easier.

Leaving the choke on after you shut it off will not flood the cylinders to the extent that it won't start next time. Once everything shuts off, gas stops flowing so long as the carb floats and their respective needles are clean and moving freely (float bowls fill, floats float, needle valves shut the flow of gas off so that the bowls do not over fill). I think we can eliminate this from the causal pathway.

Next, dropping the bike as you describe should have no adverse effects on the fuel or ignition systems per se. Keep in mind that you started having trouble before dropping the bike so I think we can also eliminate this from the causal pathway.

The test for spark that you describe works perfectly so long as you ground the plug properly. Make sure you touch the threaded portion firmly against the engine. No spark means you have an electrical problem.

Your electrical problems can stem from three basic sources: Ignition coil, key switch, and emergency kill switch. Dumb but important question: did you make sure the kill switch was in the on/run position? If not, some bikes will crank but deliver no spark to the plugs.

I have a '97 zx7r, and the key ignition switch is a bit tempermental. Sometimes when I turn it on, the bike will crank all day long but not spark. This has nearly made me panic a couple times until I figured out it is basically caused by a loose switch feeling its age and use. When this happens, I turn the key off and then back on, making sure to really push the key over into the on position, firmly against the stop. Bike usually fires right up with a good pop in the exhaust from all the unburnt fuel that squirted in there when I was all crank but no spark.

I may be wrong, but I don't think you have to worry about rotor/stator issues right now because the battery should send juice to the coil to give spark. I may be wrong about this though. It's possible that a bad generator system could starve the coil of the juice it needs to send spark to the plugs.

At this point I refer you to another member on here with a zx9r. Send dodge131 a pm, if he doesn't show up here in this thread soon.


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  (#3)
Life Begins at 150
 
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Location: RnR Cycles, Sterling ,VA
February 10, 2009, 06:48 PM

Orange shirt dude sounds intelligent. Do what he said first.
There is no tip-over switch. I would start by checking your ground when you are checking for spark
One more thing to try, if you do have spark, then put a teaspoon of oil in each cylinder (to restore compression) then install the plugs and try again. the Kawasaki will not crank with the rt. switch off.
if you still have no spark though, start with a manual. I can give you an electronic one if you do not have one.
Or bring it to RnR, we are getting busy, but our winter rates go to this Saturday.
Rick Beggs
RnR Cycles
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RnR Cycles
45700 Woodland Rd, #160
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703-433-9195
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  (#4)
I'm a Rookie, How do I Wheelie?
 
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February 11, 2009, 06:09 AM

Thanks for the tips gentlemen. I will recheck the spark with a close eye on the grounding of the plugs and the key switch.

I did have the engine switch on; the bike won't crank with it off (I tried it both ways).

If the problem is the key switch, what are my options for testing (to make sure that it is the problem, and the only one) and repair? From what I can tell, ignition/electrical problems are notoriously difficult to deal with, and made more so by my inexperience.

I do have both the Kawi manual and the Haynes, as well as a multimeter and compression test gauge. rnr, Good advice about the oil in the plug bores. I'll be doing that even though after testing it seems that compression isn't a problem.

I'm trying to avoid having it towed to a shop, since I am in no real rush (and don't have lots of extra $ laying about) but if it comes down to it, what would my options be to get it out to your shop? I imagine Arlington is a bit far to ask someone to pick it up and bring it out to you guys?

Last edited by kingfinny; February 11, 2009 at 06:12 AM..
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February 11, 2009, 06:22 AM

Fairfax Cycles 703-591-8556, they also have a tow service avaible. hope u get her fired up


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February 11, 2009, 08:21 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JWZelibor View Post
Fairfax Cycles 703-591-8556, they also have a tow service avaible. hope u get her fired up
i love this dude lol...everywhere i look....g/l with the bike....

as far as towing it....unless you can find someone that will help you out for free...i've found an extra buddy and a uhaul van to work quite nicely....and no one can beat those prices...

Last edited by Oneway; February 11, 2009 at 08:25 AM..
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February 11, 2009, 08:27 AM

We do have a free pickup service available also.


RnR Cycles
45700 Woodland Rd, #160
Sterling VA 20166
703-433-9195
571-277-0892
www.RnRCycles.com
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February 11, 2009, 09:37 AM

Testing the key lock is a PITA but can be done, and it's not the worst job. One way is to remove it from the bracket, disconnect the wiring harness, then by consulting with a wiring diagram, find the correct pins that are associated with the closed circuit for ignition and turn the key to the on position. If you have infinite resistance in that circuit with the key on, you know it's not closing properly.

If the key lock is the problem, I think you should be able to overcome with what I mentioned above. You may even have to hold it against the stop while cranking. Try wiggling the key around a little too when in the on position before cranking.


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  (#9)
I'm a Rookie, How do I Wheelie?
 
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February 11, 2009, 09:40 AM

Thanks. I'll give that a shot this afternoon.
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February 11, 2009, 10:40 AM

Rick and RNR are top notch wrenches over there so if you get stumped...I would take it there.

Just balancing out JW's response. All even now.
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Street Bonk Bum.....
 
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February 11, 2009, 10:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackHatch View Post
Rick and RNR are top notch wrenches over there so if you get stumped...I would take it there.

Just balancing out JW's response. All even now.

^ any update if ur got her to fire?


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  (#12)
I'm a Rookie, How do I Wheelie?
 
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February 11, 2009, 10:56 AM

I wish.

I'm sitting at work wishing I was in my garage. Worse yet is I probably won't have time to work on it until Thursday, and I'll miss the nice riding weather we have today.
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Street Bonk Bum.....
 
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February 11, 2009, 11:01 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by kingfinny View Post
I wish.

I'm sitting at work wishing I was in my garage. Worse yet is I probably won't have time to work on it until Thursday, and I'll miss the nice riding weather we have today.

that blows big time man, hopefully you figure it out before it gets cold again..


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February 11, 2009, 12:28 PM

^^ he means Saturday lol
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  (#15)
I'm a Rookie, How do I Wheelie?
 
Posts: 9
Join Date: September 30, 2008
Location: Arlington VA
February 12, 2009, 08:19 AM

Update:

I was able to get a feeble spark last night, after taking some of the advice from above. Still couldn't get it to start, but the battery was starting to die so I don't know for sure if it was that or something else. I guess now it's looking more and more like it's a case of bad gas clogging something in the carbs. Guess I'll get some starter fluid and carb cleaner today...

Thanks for the help everyone!
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