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Old 12-28-2012, 09:18 PM   #1
Onward OP
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Location: Hudson Valley, NY
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1998 ZX6R - common issue signs death warrant

My wife and I go out for a ride a couple of weeks ago. She is leading, and we are round about ten miles from home (just got started). Oil light flickers, I freak and hit the kill switch and coast to the next intersection. While I wait for her to notice me missing from her rear view, I do a quick survey. Check the oil level, and it is good, but it is gray. No good. We call my father in law (who is awesome) he comes out with a trailer we load it up, take her home.

Bike history: Two previous owners, who did a grand total of 6,000 miles. (I doubled their mileage in maybe a year and a half) Then it sat for 2.5 years in a basement. Guy I work with kept telling me to buy the bike, back in 2005. I kept telling him no, it's not the bike I want. Finally I told him look if you want to sell it to me for $2500 I will take it. He says okay (who knew? listed for 5,000 at that time). After I pick up the bike, it is evident I should have actually looked at it first. Oil filter - original. At this point I conclude I will get my money's worth, beat the piss out of it, and buy the bike I want. I still decide to look at what are the common issues with the bike, and any note worthy information. Come to find out that what sounds like timing chain noise, is timing chain noise. The automatic cam chain tensioner tends to wear out, and the chain slaps.

Today: Tear the bike down, remove the right fairing (the left gets removed for oil changes, the right is never removed for maintenance) and there is a hole in the right side of the block. Look through that hole and can clearly see the timing chain. Finally get the head removed after removing everything in the way. No question as to why the head gasket was leaking. The timing chain not only wore through the exterior, but also wore through the interior, to the head bolt on the exhaust side.

I always expected a catastrophic failure. Regular maintenance , but flogged her every time I rode her. This result is really unsatisfying. Not to mention I will miss having a bike to beat on.

Moral to the story though, if you have this era bike, and you hear the timing chain slap, fix the tensioner. I did but obviously too late.
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:14 AM   #2
MODNROD
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I bet you're pissed at yourself for shutting it down when the light came on.
Now you'll never know what it sounds like to really cactus something up and have a rod let go at noise........
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Old 12-29-2012, 08:20 AM   #3
Mr.Goose
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My inner redneck would love to JB Weld along the inside of the hole to patch it up. Then get it all back together and keep running with a shit eating grin.

I bet it would keep together for awhile.
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Old 12-29-2012, 08:54 AM   #4
BigDave75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Goose View Post
My inner redneck would love to JB Weld along the inside of the hole to patch it up. Then get it all back together and keep running with a shit eating grin.

I bet it would keep together for awhile.
+1

Run it til the wheels fall off!
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:15 PM   #5
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If its just the head, pick up a used head and go nuts.
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:51 PM   #6
Jimmy the Heater
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Pics of the carnage?
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Old 12-29-2012, 03:33 PM   #7
baloneyskin daddy
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If its not near a combustion chamber I'd definitely give it a shot. Reuse the head gasket and everything.
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Old 12-29-2012, 03:40 PM   #8
Navin
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Or get it welded up.
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:36 PM   #9
JerryH
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Those darn cam chains. And Kawasaki in particular makes cam chain tensioners that are almost guaranteed to fail.
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Old 12-29-2012, 06:07 PM   #10
Onward OP
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Pictures

This is what my wife found after removing some pieces from the right side of the bike.



The block, and I am thinking the cause of the leaky head gasket. That head bolt was loose, clearly can't be torqued.



Head gasket



Cam chain guide on the exhaust side.

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Old 12-30-2012, 09:43 AM   #11
Nophix
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Luckily, a complete new engine assembly for those is pretty cheap. Otherwise, get the upper and call it a day.
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:07 PM   #12
Onward OP
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Not worth it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nophix View Post
Luckily, a complete new engine assembly for those is pretty cheap. Otherwise, get the upper and call it a day.
In theory could get a block, new even. New ones are round about $650. Still need to repair the head, replace the timing chain and the list goes on. So I am calling it scrap with some salable items.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:04 PM   #13
JerryH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onward View Post
In theory could get a block, new even. New ones are round about $650. Still need to repair the head, replace the timing chain and the list goes on. So I am calling it scrap with some salable items.
Have to agree, most Japanese bikes are not worth repairing if they have suffered internal engine damage. A used engine is about the only way to go (within financial reason) and you never know what kind of condition they are in.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:05 AM   #14
baloneyskin daddy
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Well I guess I was a little off on reusing the gasket.
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