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1996 Ninja ZX6R Potential Problems - Thoughts/Ideas/Suggestions Welcome

  1. #1
    Member iloveboobs's Avatar
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    1996 Ninja ZX6R Potential Problems - Thoughts/Ideas/Suggestions Welcome

    Long story short:

    bike was running great until about a week ago, now throttle response is jerky under 4,000 rpm. As of this morning, it seems like hard throttle application produces weaker-than-normal acceleration and a crappy exhaust sound (sounds more like a long, high speed fart than the normal growl). I wouldn't say I'm mechanically inclined, but I can do some basic stuff and I have the manual. Any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions on how to get the bike running smoothly again would be appreciated.


    Long story long:

    I think my old Ninja is starting to have some problems, and I figured I'd turn to you guys for some suggestions. I've had the bike for about a month now, and shame on me, but I'm just now starting to get around to making sure that it's mechanically sound. As it just so happens, the bike is just now starting to show signs that it might have some problems.

    Two weeks ago, I started the bike, let it warm up, and took off. I immediately noticed that the engine sounded a little strange under 4000 rpm (the best I could describe it is it sounded more buzzy than its normal purr) and in that same rpm range the throttle felt relatively unresponsive. Anything above 4000 rpm, however, felt/sounded completely normal. After riding for about 2 or 3 minutes, the problem went away. At first, I thought I just needed to let the bike warm up for a longer period, so I tried letting the bike warm up well into the mid-range of the thermostat, but the strange sound/throttle response has just lasted longer and longer into my rides.

    So this morning I start the bike up (leaning on its kickstand) and the revs were way below normal, even with the choke fully on (in fact, I had to give it some gas to keep it from dying). Normally, it revs to about 2500-3000rpm with the choke fully on, today it was at just under 1000rpm. As the bike warms up, the revs come up a little, but then the exhaust starts making little popping noises every now and then (it sounded like the pops an exhaust will sometimes make if you come off the throttle quickly while decelerating).

    Well, I sit on the bike to get it back into the garage, and as soon as I straighten it up, the popping stops, the revs come up, and everything seems to be back to normal. I took it out for a quick ride, hoping all was well, but the jerky acceleration under 4000rpm was still there. To make matters worse, the bike didn't want to respond to hard acceleration. A hard throttle twist just produced weaker-than-normal acceleration and an exhaust noise that sounded more like a long fart than like its normal growl. Definitely not good.


    My thoughts:

    The owner cleaned the carbs about a week before I bought the bike, so for the moment, I am going to assume that the carbs are ok.

    First, I think I need to just make sure I take care of some basic maintenance before anything else, and in particular, I need to change the oil/oil filter (the oil is very close to the bottom line on the glass gauge, and it's dark as hell). Maybe pick up a new air filter. I was thinking about replacing the spark plugs, too, just because who knows how long it's been.

    Second, I've been filling the tank with premium gas (93 octane). After searching around today for some answers, I've read that this is apparently a bad idea. I'm going to switch back to using regular and run some seafoam through the tank.

    Third, I've read a lot about these bikes having fuel pump/filter/relay issues, so I will probably pick up all three and keep them handy if my first two ideas don't produce any results. And in the event I try to install a new fuel pump/filter, I will definitely take the time to re-clean the carbs.

    Finally, as odd as it might sound, I'm actually looking forward to doing a little wrench turning and getting to know my bike better. I just wish I had another bike that I could ride in the meantime.

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    Last edited by iloveboobs; 05-26-12 at 12:40 PM.

  2. #2
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    Sounds like its running on 3.

    Spray some water on the header pipes and see if it sizzles and evaporates at the same rate from each pipe.

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  3. #3
    Member iloveboobs's Avatar
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    Re: 1996 Ninja ZX6R Potential Problems - Thoughts/Ideas/Suggestions Welcome

    Thanks, Degsy, I'm pretty sure all four are firing, but I'm going to try that in the morning since it's such an easy test.

    I spent most of today running back and forth from Greater Boston Motorsports and Autozone buying a rear stand, an oil filter, an oil filter wrench, an oil pan, an awesome replacement fuel pump (http://www.autozone.com/autozone/acc...ntifier=732036), 4 qts of 10w-40 oil, and a ratchet set. Total bill was about $250, but fuck it, at least I'm not paying for labor and I'm learning about my bike.

    So first things first, I spent an hour (because I'm an inefficient noob) changing the oil. I drank three margaritas during the process, so I wasn't really able to take the bike out for a spin. That being said, it now idles better than ever and in neutral it revs like a motherfucker all the way up to redline without any lag or sputtering. I'll have to wait until morning when I'm sober, but at the moment, the bike is revving and sounding like it's good old self. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    If it still shits the bed under hard acceleration, I'll replace the fuel pump, relay, and filter (I ordered an OEM relay and filter from Ron Ayers for about $50).

    I also bought some seafoam which I'll run through the bike tomorrow, and I'll probably replace the spark plugs and air filter next weekend.

    Anyways, I was really happy with how the engine was running (and the throttle response) after the oil change. Here's hoping it carries through to on-road performance.

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    Last edited by iloveboobs; 05-26-12 at 09:05 PM.

  4. #4
    Member iloveboobs's Avatar
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    Re: 1996 Ninja ZX6R Potential Problems - Thoughts/Ideas/Suggestions Welcome

    Degsy, I think I read a few people making fun of your "accent" , so I'm assuming you're from the UK or Ireland. Any chance you know how to send a regular letter to the UK? Just address it and put a few extra stamps? Or are you really from the US and people just bust your balls? Thanks for the bike help and the letter help. - boobs

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  5. #5
    Lifer DaveZX6r's Avatar
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    Re: 1996 Ninja ZX6R Potential Problems - Thoughts/Ideas/Suggestions Welcome

    Cancel that relay order if you can I have one you can have for a couple beers if you want it. And you can get s generic emgo fuel filter for like 7 bucks or less at most bike shops. Its brand new in the box. I thought mine was toasted when chasing gremlins. I also have an it thermostat you can shoot your headers with if you want to borrow it. Also when you change you plugs you should check your wires for continuity etc. Go on zx6r.com and download the service manual to.

    Oh and my fiance is from whales she said an over seas stamp or three first class stamps will do.

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    Last edited by DaveZX6r; 05-26-12 at 10:30 PM.

  6. #6
    Lifer DaveZX6r's Avatar
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    Re: 1996 Ninja ZX6R Potential Problems - Thoughts/Ideas/Suggestions Welcome

    Also be careful with that new fuel pump the pump on our bikes only puts out about 5 psi so that it doesn't over power the float needles just make sure the autozone pump isn't too much stronger.

    I. Going to be on a ride tomorrow but if you have any questions email me.

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    Last edited by DaveZX6r; 05-26-12 at 10:26 PM.

  7. #7
    Member iloveboobs's Avatar
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    Re: 1996 Ninja ZX6R Potential Problems - Thoughts/Ideas/Suggestions Welcome

    Thanks for all the info, Dave. I figure I'll hang on to the relay since having a few spare parts around wouldn't hurt.

    So, yeah, I took the bike out for a short ride on Monday. The oil change didn't really improve anything. In fact, I now have to rev it pretty hard to get moving from a stand still. In first gear, acceleration is extremely jerky/erratic. Also, under hard acceleration, the engine sounds awful. It almost sounds like its hitting a rev limiter, but at mid-range revs.

    Degsy, I forgot to try the spray test - I was in a rush to make a 1pm showtime for Avengers. Amongst the spray test and some other tests, I'm definitely going to spend some time this weekend cleaning the carbs.

    Anyways, I'm pretty bummed that the bike is running like such crap, and the potential time/cost of fixing it is stressing me out a little, but it should be a good learning project.

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  8. #8
    Lifer
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    Re: 1996 Ninja ZX6R Potential Problems - Thoughts/Ideas/Suggestions Welcome

    An oil change doesn't really change much. Can't really inspect it based on color either, and 'dirty' clutch-chunked oil won't do much for the engine except shorten its life. Now if you told me the trans shifted better, that I'd buy. Degsy still sounds on the ball about running on 3 cylinders. That rev-limiter like sound is probably a lot of misfires. Did you replace the spark plugs? Or at least pull them and inspect them? Note which one came from what cylinder and put all 4 next to each other. They should look relatively uniform. The poorly running cylinder would like clearly different. Take a good picture if you can, just in case. There's plenty of good pictures on the web of how to 'read' spark plugs.

    Do you know what the gap should be and how to check?

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    nedirtriders.com

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    Sorry. Just saw the regular letter to the UK question.

    all international mail is $1.05 for a letter, except camada which i think is $0.88 How the hell did you know i was inthe postal business?

    Oh, and I talk normally, all you people talk funny.

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  10. #10
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    And your bike runs fine in neutral but fires on 3 when under load because you have a bad spark plug or coil.

    I think. :-).

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  11. #11
    Lifer DaveZX6r's Avatar
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    Re: 1996 Ninja ZX6R Potential Problems - Thoughts/Ideas/Suggestions Welcome

    /\ +1

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