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Problem getting bike running after 18 months

Guest John_Roberts

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Hi Everybody,

I have a Kawasaki ZZR 600 and was relocated abroad for about 18 months. Back now and my machine is looking great in the garage :D

Battery was dead so I decided to buy a new one. Popped it in but have had no joy in getting the bike going.


1. The bike starts perfectly with the choke on.

2. It runs well and won’t stop if I don’t lower the choke.

3. When I lower the choke down to off it cuts out.

4. If I lower the choke to about 30% and then try and rev up then it cuts out.

5. Any revving up cuts out.

I thought it was maybe to do with the fuel so I siphoned the tank and replaced the fuel. I then left it running for about 20 mins to clear out any old fuel. Problem is that it didn’t change anything and the above problem still occurs.

Does anyone have any ideas what I could try next.

Thank in advance for any replies.



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Hi John

Welcome to the forum mate!! Drop into Newbies and introduce yourself. :D

Unfortunately I can't help with the bike... My technical answer to everything is "Take it to a garage"... :lol: :lol:

Someone who knows a bit more should be a long to help soon though mate.

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Correct me if I'm wrong but I think the Kawasaki ZZR 600 uses carbs not fuel injection? From you saying you had to syphon out the old fuel I gather there was quite a bit of petrol left in the tank. Over a period of 18 months all the nasties in the petrol can gum up the insides of an engine so it's a good idea to give the carbs a good clean through. If you're not confident taking the carbs out and giving them a thorough going over the least you can do is run a couple of bottles of Redex (or similar) through (it's red and comes in a funny shaped bottle. You pour it in to the petrol tank and let it work it's powerful magic!).

There's a few other things you should do/check considering it's not been touched for so long:

- Change the oil and filter. Bad things can happen to oil if it's left for a long time. It can seperate/emulsify and you get a thick white layer of crap in it.

- Check/change the spark plugs. Take them out, check the gaps and give them a good scrub with a BRASS wire brush. Don't use a steel wire brush (because if any of it comes off and sticks to the spark plug it can introduce rust. Brass won't)

- If you have a cable-operated clutch check that it isn't sticking. The friction plates in the clutch can stick together if it's not used for a long time. Check it by putting it in gear and rocking it back and forth with the clutch IN. If it doesn't move the plates are stuck together. Fix it by putting a cable tie around the clutch lever for a few hours. That should seperate the plates again. If you have hydraulic brakes check the fluid isn't dark in colour. If it is, change it!

- Check the tyre pressure. If you didn't deflate the tyres before you left it then there might be cracks...get new ones!

- Clean and lube your chain

- Check the brakes

I know not all of that is to do with your problem, but they're only basic things so I thought I'd mention them. Like I said before, it sounds like a fuel problem in the carbs to me. You could also try some air intake carb cleaner. All you do is spray into the air filter and it'll take it through to the carbs and clean them without you taking anything off. It'll also clean your air filter too!

p.s. Hi, welcome!

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I would give it a basic service to start off with, oil/filter, air filter plugs and coolant and brake fluid (2 year life) and see how the old girl responds, you've drained the stale petrol which is a good start. once you have done all that we can start looking deeper..

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Thanks for the replies. I was hoping to just get it running to get to the garage for a service.

Strange thing is that with revs above 3.5k then I can rev up perfectly and ride around a little. Problem is that below that level it just cuts out. I also noticed that when running at 3.5 revs if I move the bike in any way (side to side or bounce up and down) the revs go down and it nearly cuts out...

Its about 1 mile to the garage, do you think I could leave the choke on so high whilst I slowly drive to the garage ?

Thanks again for your replies!

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Anyone think Redex actually does anything? Considering sticking some in my latest bike...


I think it works, but only to an extent. I've used it on my bike before and after rinsing a couple of bottles through the tank (over about 4 tank loads, not just on it's own) the bike seems to run smoother. That said there really is no replacement for getting your hands dirty and actually opening the carbs up for a good clean of the jets with dedicated carb cleaner spray. After running a couple of bottles of Redex through I decided I'd take the carbs apart anyway and there was still some residue left on the choke jets.

You might notice a difference so yes it's worth doing, and for the sake of a few quid you might as well.

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At the top of the page it reminded me of my problem previously where my main jet was blocked (hence could idle okay but once higher revs the bike would stutter / die).

But at the last update it sounds the opposite way round so maybe your idle jet....

Only way to rule it out is to... rule it out :D

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