kawasaki er5 engine f*cked?

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by tommyvdv, May 30, 2012.

  1. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    Hi
    Could anyone make an assessment based on the events that occurred with my friends kawasaki er5?

    dropped the bike while engine was on
    engine remained on
    rider turned engine off a couple of seconds after the drop
    we righted the bike and checked for leaks, it spat out some fluids while on the ground
    everything looked undamaged
    tried to start, starter works, engine goes round but sounds strange (flooded) and does not pick up

    I also noticed a rattle, not a consistent rattle, but like something is going round and getting stuck every X times the engine turns round.

    By the time we got to the dealer (truckloaded) starting was out of the question (maybe battery dead or cylinder fully flooded)

    I realize that making assumptions based on a few facts is hard and hardly accurate, but it might help me understand what is going on with this bike. I just can't get my head wrapped around the fact that this bike failed after being gently put down and picked up again.

    Thanks for your opinion!
    Kind regards
    #1
  2. buickid

    buickid Lets ride!

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    Did you check the oil after it was righted? If oil came out of the engine, it might have run dry. I suppose it could've hydrolocked the engine as well.
    #2
  3. R-A-M-O-N

    R-A-M-O-N Been here awhile

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    Also probably carbs flooded so you may have fuel in your oil, probably the air filter and the whole engine. Best to empty the carbs floats, empty the oil, check the air filter, check the plugs in case they fouled if overfueled. I dont think the coolant could get contaminated but maybe its worth changing it too.
    #3
  4. bete

    bete misguided adventurer

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    er5 is fool injected isn't it? should not flood or gas lock. bete.
    #4
  5. GreaseMonkey

    GreaseMonkey Preshrunk & Cottony

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    I am curious as to what you mean when you say the engine sounds "flooded"?

    Does it spin easier/faster than normal, or spin slower/harder than normal?

    As the saying goes, check the simple things first which would be all the electrical connections including ignition system, probably the easiest thing to damage would be an ignition terminal.

    If you have spark, and the plugs are clear and not dry and the engine truly does sound funny when it cranks then you need to do a compression test.
    #5
  6. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    the verdict of the mechanic is as follows:
    - engine flooded and kept flooding due to carb needle stuck
    - piston full of fuel could not ignite
    - cam chain (? distribution chain literally translated) skipped a tooth (or 2)
    - valves not in correct position and cilinder hit the valves

    6 out of 8 valves crooked.

    I know how an engine should work in theory, but i've not much experience with fiddling about with them.
    Other people said it's far fetched, but plausible.

    er5 is a carb engine. not injected.
    #6
  7. GreaseMonkey

    GreaseMonkey Preshrunk & Cottony

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    What the mechanic said is plausible, yet contradictory.

    If the timing chain skipped enough to bend the valves, there would not be enough compression for the engine to "flood" at all, since it would not run no matter how good or bad the carburetor was.

    How does he know exactly how many valves are bent, has he removed the head?

    Normally I would be suspicious of this scenario, however you mentioned the motor sounding different after the bike was picked up. Did the engine seem to spin a bit faster than normal when trying to start it? That is the classic symptom of valve train problems, since the valves are not sealing for whatever reason so the engine does not have any compression to work against so it spins faster. It usually sounds similar to how an engine sounds when you crank it with no spark plugs in.

    Anyway, as long as you trust the mechanic I hope your friend gets it repaired as quickly and as economically as possible.
    #7
  8. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    I don't really trust the guy enough to go out on a limb. We're getting another motorcycle to replace the er5.
    And i'm thinking about fixing it myself. Hopefully with help from experts like yourself on the far-off sideline :)

    The mechanic took the top off and exposed the inner workings. He showed me that the chain is kind of ok, but he wouldnt trust it. And the part is fairly cheap. The valves are bent but i didnt yet see them. The piston has marks of where the valves hit, but there doesnt seem to be any damage to the head. The piston rings on one cilinder seem worn. Can move the head around about 1mm inside the cilinder.

    That's all the info i have up until now.
    #8
  9. R-A-M-O-N

    R-A-M-O-N Been here awhile

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    If thats what happened then its really bad luck. I was sure about the flooding but the timing chain skipping a tooth its odd, at least i wouldnt expect it to happen in normal engine conditions, unless it was loose before the drop and the bike got a hell of a rev when falling.
    #9
  10. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    it didnt. It got revved in a way you would when you make a turn.
    Then it returned to idle and stayed that way until it was on its side. And then we shut it off..

    Maybe we should've let it run while we righted it.

    It was not dropped hard. More in a way that you would lay down an egg. The rider let the bike get away from 'er. The weight was too much too hold but she struggled to let it down softly. A couple of inches from the ground she couldnt cope and let it go. Her leg was between the bike and the ground. She crawled out and turned the engine off (key). We righted it and waited for a minute or so. Tried to start. Didnt work. Tried to push-start. Didnt pick up.

    I guess we damaged the engine by trying to start rather than dropping it.

    Still not completely sure about the way this flooding caused damage though.

    I'll be picking it and the parts up in the next couple of days and post some pics.
    #10
  11. ADV8

    ADV8 Taumarunui..Darwin..

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    Normally if a cylinder is hydraulic ed it will tweak the connecting rod as the piston comes up and the liquid (fuel in this case) can not be compressed.
    You would think if the cam chain jumped the sprocket either the exhaust valves (being chased by the piston at TDC) or the inlet valves (meeting the valves coming to TDC) would have been effected,inlet or exhaust,not both. (6 out of 8 valves)

    On a simple drop like that you would think a new noise might have been something simple like the generator cover taking a hit and the rotor/stator etc touching at rotation.
    #11
  12. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    I think what your mechanic says is possible. A complete hydrolocked cylinder will lock up the engine. I doubt laying on its side a short period of time would result in that. The engine apparently could turn over with just "some" gas in the cylinder. Engine compression could force it past the rings.

    The bent valves can only be caused by the bike being out of time. Skipping a tooth or two is not as common as some people think. It is possible if the chain or sprockets are worn, or if the tensioner slipped. If a ratchet type tensioner, teeth on the rack do wear, allowing slippage of the tensioner with enough force (starter). If oil pressured, laying on its side may have starved the tensioner for oil.

    I think, trying to start the bike with resistance on the pistons, caused the timing slippage which allowed the bent valves to occur. Kind of irresistible force meets immovable object kind of thing.

    I bent all four of mine in my thumper. It only takes a couple of crank revolutions. The damage you describe sounds expensive. $380 in parts and machine work on my single cylinder bike. That is 4 valves, head gasket and seals. I provided the labor. No other damage. You should replace your chain, if in doubt, head gasket at minimum and possibly the tensioner.
    #12
  13. trc.rhubarb

    trc.rhubarb ZoomSplat!

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    wouldn't the cam be driven off the crank? If the crank can't turn (from being hydrolocked), the cam cant turn and jump a tooth right?

    Seems a used head would be a lot cheaper if the cylinder and piston are in good shape already... seems a simple swap since the old head is off already right?

    If the valves bent from the drop I'd guess the tensioner failed and the cam jumped. If the cam jumped far enough, i can see all valves eventually binding between the intake and exhaust strokes.
    #13
  14. killme_quik

    killme_quik the street n00b

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    drain everything, and try to un-seize the engine
    #14
  15. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    I thought that was what I said. If not, it is what I meant. Some gas meant enough to fill a combustion chamber, not filling a cylinder.

    I suspect it takes a while to get a great deal of gas in the engine, if it is dribbling through a fuel jet, unless it lays there for a while.

    The rattle is your loose cam chain, either hitting the engine block or slipping on one of its sprockets. I am quite familiar with that sound.
    Don't know at what point you heard that, but you started bending valves when you did.

    Its a vertical twin. The pistons rise and fall together. One piston is coming up on exhaust, the other compression. One is going to spit out the gas, the other partially locked, but not enough to stop the engine. The fact the one piston has some lateral play supports that theory. If that piston got a running start, you could have broken a ring or a piston lan as the gas is forced through it.

    You have an interference engine and your valves bent right at the valve, cocking them at some angle, right? BTW the mechanic can detect that without taking off the head. You will have about 1/2" of valve clearance at the cams. The valves cannot recede back into their seats. The only way to bend valves is if the bike gets out of time. Once the head is off, the engine should turn

    If you have the typical Kaw automatic cam chain tensioner, it consist of square rod with grooves on the top. A spring pushes it into the cam chain guides to take up slack. It has a triangular pivoted lock that falls into a groove. The problem is over the years, the teeth round over and do not lock up well. Not that hard to get it to slip. Some replace with a manual screw type tensioner.

    I suspect your engine is toast, but it is going to take more inspection to be sure. If the rest of the engine is OK, find a used head.

    Not to set off any alarms but it is possible to damage rod and crank bearings, break pistons, rings or bend a rod. I am pondering that myself. Little damage to the piston top but the engine sure sounds noisier than I remember it. Maybe the valves are set on the loose side, but I wonder.
    #15
  16. jules083

    jules083 Long timer

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    That really sounds like a lot of damage considering what happened.

    Can a starter really make enough torque to bend a rod?

    I had my girlfriend's Ninja 250 fill a cylinder with gas, I just hit the start button not knowing and nothing happened. Pulled the plug, shot the gas out, changed oil, and on her way again.

    How many of us have dropped dirt bikes for way longer time, with harder falls, and never had a problem? I know I've done it. I've seen them lay on their sides for over a minute before someone picks them up, kick it through a few times and start it.
    #16
  17. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    Some starters can. A buddy hydrolocked his 1150gs in one of our stream crossings. Attempted to start the bike and stripped 18 teeth off his flywheel plus some internal damage to the engine. If the cylinders are completely filled, so the engine can't move, it is not near as likely.

    If the engine only has some fluid in the cylinder and the pistons are in a stroke position that allows a partial revolution the damage can be greater.

    You can un hydrolock an engine by putting the bike in gear and pushing it backwards for 2 rev of the engine. It will go through the exhaust stroke before coming back to the compression stroke. Beware though you run the risk of timing slippage. The engine crank will be pulling the cam chain from the side with slack in it.
    #17
  18. ADV8

    ADV8 Taumarunui..Darwin..

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    It depends how much fluid is in the chamber.
    If it was enough that it tried to stop the piston when the con rod was at right angles to the crank throw then maybe not.
    The danger is when it is just enough fluid that the piston can come close to but not go over top dead centre.

    In the ADV spirit,when you drop your bike the priority is to leave it lying there and get a picture. :lol3
    #18
  19. FixerDave

    FixerDave KLR650 - XR200R

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    Hard to say if it's just the starter or the other cylinders firing. My father bent a rod on a Chev V8. Parked in a massive rainstorm with no hood (lost due to moose, but that's another story). He went to start it and it went BANG. Would not turn over at all after that. The theory was that it let water in through the air-filter cap bolt. He sent me back to the hotel to and drove there to pick me up in a few hours.

    Yeah, same engine. He pulled the plugs, hand-cranked the engine backwards until it stopped, and then hit the starter until it went bang. He repeated this over and over, noting that the engine made it a wee bit farther each attempt. Eventually, it turned all the way over, making a horrible racket in the process. He put the plugs back in and fired it up. We drove from Alberta back home to BC with it like that. The noise died down fairly quickly and after that it ran fine, other than low compression on one cylinder. Eventually, he pulled it apart and found one connecting rod bent like an 'S' with one side machined off. So, yes, starters can actually generate a lot of force and connecting rods can bend.

    As for the original post... a hydro-locked cylinder could shock the engine enough to make it skip on the timing chain, if it was already worn enough. Thus, plausible diagnosis... and very bad luck.

    David...

    P.S. Yes, I have a lot of respect for my late father's mechanical abilities.
    #19
  20. tommyvdv

    tommyvdv Been here awhile

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    The bike has been safely stashed for a while now. fuel tank has still quite some fuel in it. i've heard that its better to keep it that way to keep rust out. I've moved the cilinders halfway and poured some oil in em for the same reason. I'll start thoroughly cleaning all that I can reach (head cover and valves are off) and trying to asses the damage.

    parts I know I'll need to replace:
    - intake valves
    - outlet valves
    - cam chain
    - piston rings (right piston can be moved noticeably by hand)
    - cam chain tensioner
    - ...

    I'll start adding pictures as cleaning comes along and probably start asking for shallow assessment by then.
    #20