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TOPIC: 1983 Kawasaki KZ550f does nothing when I try to start

1983 Kawasaki KZ550f does nothing when I try to start 17 Feb 2019 13:15 #798821

  • Chriss614
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Hello everyone, I picked up an 83 KZ550f really cheap to work on as a project. I am trying to get it started up to make sure there are no major issues before I pull the carbs for a rebuild.
Some background: The previous owner had it starting and idling fine 2 months before I got it and he told me it would bog out when you hit the gas which was probably because of the carbs. He did not have a battery in the bike so he would jump it from a car.
Current state: I picked up the bike and gave it a cleaning, I then pulled out all the internal brackets and stuff that hold the wiring and battery and cleaned the rust off and gave them a coat of paint for protection. I then purchased a new battery and had it charged up and then put it in. when I turn the key the lights turn on and I can honk the horn, turn on the headlight, etc. However, when I put it on run and press the button absolutely nothing happens. It doesn't try to crank or anything. I am pretty stumped as I am good with pretty much everything except electrical issues haha. Let me know what it might be and what steps I should take to diagnose the issue. Thanks in advance!

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1983 Kawasaki KZ550f does nothing when I try to start 17 Feb 2019 13:37 #798822

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Did you pull in the clutch before hitting the starter button?

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1983 Kawasaki KZ550f does nothing when I try to start 17 Feb 2019 14:28 #798830

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Yup here is the startup procedure I am doing:
1. Turn petcock to "on"
2. Pull out choke fully
3. Switch ignition to the fully vertical position where lights come on.
4. Shift into neutral and pull in the clutch
5. Switch to run position
6. Push in the run button

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1983 Kawasaki KZ550f does nothing when I try to start 17 Feb 2019 18:40 #798841

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Maybe a bad switch starter switch. Worth opening the control housing and cleaning up contacts up. Might also check the switch works with a multimeter, assuming it's possible.

Does the bike have a kickstarter?
1981 Kawasaki KZ1100A1
2018 Triumph Rocket 3
1977 Yamaha RD400
1980 Honda Express II
1983 KZ1100ltd

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1983 Kawasaki KZ550f does nothing when I try to start 18 Feb 2019 05:03 #798847

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Maybe try shorting the starter solenoid to make sure the starter motor works?

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1983 Kawasaki KZ550f does nothing when I try to start 18 Feb 2019 13:40 #798860

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I did try and put a screwdriver across the terminals on the starter solenoid and nothing happened. Does that mean my starter is bad?

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1983 Kawasaki KZ550f does nothing when I try to start 18 Feb 2019 14:07 #798862

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Looks like a bad starter motor or battery or battery negativ to the frame/engine case.
Try a jump start with a car battery.
Can you upload any pics of your starter motor/solenoid wiring please.

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Last edit: by Scirocco.

1983 Kawasaki KZ550f does nothing when I try to start 19 Feb 2019 06:57 #798875

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By Chriss614: I did try and put a screwdriver across the terminals on the starter solenoid and nothing happened. Does that mean my starter is bad?

Guessing you don't have a voltmeter, you should get an inexpensive multimeter. Radio Shack had some that were pretty low cost, around $10-15. Other discount or big box stores might have something if there isn't a radio shack or hobby town near you.
I use a VC97 digital multimeter ($30) & Ctek US 0.8 smart charger.

After getting the meter, first thing is to check the battery. After charging with a good motorcycle charger, the battery should be at least 12.6 VDC, but a good battery will be higher. Then check the voltage at the starter solenoid. There are youtube videos that instruct how to use a multimeter. easy stuff.
....

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Last edit: by martin_csr.

1983 Kawasaki KZ550f does nothing when I try to start 19 Feb 2019 13:08 #798893

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Scirocco wrote: Looks like a bad starter motor or battery or battery negativ to the frame/engine case.
Try a jump start with a car battery.
Can you upload any pics of your starter motor/solenoid wiring please.


I'll snap some pictures later and post them up.

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1983 Kawasaki KZ550f does nothing when I try to start 19 Feb 2019 13:09 #798894

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martin_csr wrote: By Chriss614: I did try and put a screwdriver across the terminals on the starter solenoid and nothing happened. Does that mean my starter is bad?

Guessing you don't have a voltmeter, you should get an inexpensive multimeter. Radio Shack had some that were pretty low cost, around $10-15. Other discount or big box stores might have something if there isn't a radio shack or hobby town near you.
I use a VC97 digital multimeter ($30) & Ctek US 0.8 smart charger.

After getting the meter, first thing is to check the battery. After charging with a good motorcycle charger, the battery should be at least 12.6 VDC, but a good battery will be higher. Then check the voltage at the starter solenoid. There are youtube videos that instruct how to use a multimeter. easy stuff.
....


I do have a voltemeter so I will give it a shot checking some wiring with it. Thanks!

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1983 Kawasaki KZ550f does nothing when I try to start 21 Feb 2019 20:29 #799032

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Attached are a couple pictures of the wiring. I'm pretty bad with wiring so I'm not sure if I got everything you where looking for. Let me know.
Attachments:

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1983 Kawasaki KZ550f does nothing when I try to start 24 Feb 2019 18:42 #799157

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Update: I decided to check if the starter was bad so I pulled it off the bike and hit it with jumpers derectly and it did spin so I'm pretty sure the starter is fine.

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1983 Kawasaki KZ550f does nothing when I try to start 25 Feb 2019 08:53 #799179

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I'd lay money that you ave ground issues...matter of fact, I've got 20$ right now for anyone who wants to take the bet. Clean up those lugs and terminals, check main batt ground also.

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1983 Kawasaki KZ550f does nothing when I try to start 25 Feb 2019 20:50 #799235

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Ground issues was actually my next guess. What all do I need to clean up to make sure my grounds are all good. Does the factory service manual list ground points?

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