Spring Tune-Up on a Kawasaki Ninja

Spring is near! here are some tips to make your Kawasaki Ninja like new again!


There are two spark plugs on the Kawasaki Ninja, located in the engine, underneath the seat. The motorcycle’s spark plugs provide a spark inside the cylinder wall of the engine. Worn out plugs will certainly cause misfire; overheating and poor fuel economy are also signs of worn spark plugs.

1) Remove the seat by pressing the release tab on the seat assembly with your hand.

2) Remove the two bolts securing the gas tank to the frame, located underneath the front of the seat toward the handlebars.

3) Remove each bolt on the side of the gas tank that attaches it to the fairing, using a ratchet and socket.

4) Slide the vacuum hose and fuel hose off the gas tank with pliers. Slide the tank out of the way.

5) Locate the two spark plug wires. Remove the spark plug wires one at a time to avoid confusion, by pulling on the spark plug wire boot. (The boot is the end of the spark plug wire that attaches to the spark plug.)

6) Remove the spark plug with a spark plug socket, by turning the wrench counterclockwise.

7) Apply a small amount of anti-seize lubricant to the threads of the replacement spark plug, and insert the plug into the spark plug well in the engine. Tighten the spark plug to 20 foot-lbs. with a torque wrench.

8) Apply a small amount of dielectric grease to the tip of the spark plug, and attach the boot of the spark plug wire onto the tip of the spark plug.

9) Repeat these steps with the opposite spark plug.

10) Replace the gas tank in the reverse order.


If your Kawasaki motorcycle is having trouble starting or runs rough after a long period on inactivity, you may have a problem with the motorcycle’s carburetors. Most likely, the small jets and passages within the carburetor have become clogged by debris or buildup, preventing fuel from reaching the motor. This can be caused by debris in the fuel tank, or more often, from the degradation of fuel over time, which creates a sticky “goo” that clogs the jets. The only effective method to remove these clogs is to disassemble the carburetor and clean it out

1) Turn the fuel valve off and remove the drain screw from the carburetor’s float bowl with a screwdriver. Drain the remaining fuel in the float bowl into a container. Remove the carburetor from the motorcycle and place it on a clean, level work area.

2) Disassemble the carburetor. Use a screwdriver to remove the float bowl and top cover from the carburetor. Carefully remove the carburetor’s gaskets. Pull the diaphragm and spring out of the top of the carburetor. Remove the brass slide in the throttle valve, using a screwdriver to remove its mounting bolts, and pull the slide out of the carburetor. Place these in individual marked plastic bags to prevent loss.

3) Remove the jets from the lower portion of the carburetor with a small flat screwdriver. Clean each jet as you remove them, spraying the jet with carburetor cleaner and clearing the jet’s passages with compressed air. Place the jets in marked plastic bags.

4) Clear the passages in the carburetor with carburetor cleaner and compressed air. Spray the float bowl liberally with carburetor cleaner and clear any passages in the float bowl with compressed air.

5) Mix a solution of 1 part lemon juice to 6 parts water in a metal pot. Place the solution over a hot plate and heat to a gentle boil. Submerge the entire carburetor and float bowl into the solution and allow it to soak for 20 minutes.

6) Remove the carburetor and float bowl from the solution and rinse immediately with clean water. Scrub the carburetor with a toothbrush to remove any remaining debris or build up and rinse thoroughly. Dry the carburetor with compressed air, directing the air into the fuel passages to dislodge any trapped water and loosened debris.

7) Reassemble the carburetor and install it onto the motorcycle.

Extra tips:

*Add a fuel stabilizer into the fuel supply to prevent fuel degradation over long periods of storage.

*Add an inline fuel filter between the fuel tank and the carburetor to prevent debris or rust within the tank from fouling the carburetor.

*Mark and bag all parts as you remove them to keep from losing them.


Regular oil changes are an absolute requirement if you plan on riding your Kawasaki motorcycle for any length of time. The motorcycle’s oil lubricates the numerous moving components, reducing the build up of friction. This friction, however, forms heat that slowly begins to break down the oil. If left unchecked, the oil could reach a point where it no longer has any lubricating properties and allows the motor to burn itself out. Draining old oil and adding fresh oil prevents this from happening

1) Place an oil pan under the motor. Drain the oil from the motor, using a socket wrench to unscrew the drain plug from the bottom of the motor’s crankcase. Wipe the drain plug with a shop rag and reinsert it into the motor once the flow of oil has stopped.

2) Locate the oil filter. Late model Kawasaki motorcycles use a spin-on oil filter, which is usually mounted at the front of the motor. Use a cap-type oil filter wrench to loosen and remove the filter. Older models may use an in-engine filter element that is usually placed near the front sprocket. Remove the sprocket cover bolts with a screwdriver and pull the cover away. Unscrew the oil filter cover with a socket wrench and pull the cover and filter element off of the motor.

3) Insert or install a new oil filter. Spin-on filters should be hand-tightened until the filter is seated against the motor. Filter elements are slipped into the motor and secured in place by the filter cover. Reinstall the sprocket cover, tightening the mounting bolts with a screwdriver.

4) Remove the oil filler cap from the right side of the motor. Use a funnel to slowly pour in the oil to prevent air bubbles from forming. Screw the oil filler cap onto the motor once the oil has been filled and wipe away any spills with a shop rag.

Extra tips:

*Determine how much oil is needed by looking on the right side of the motor, where Kawasaki has imprinted the maximum oil capacity. Fill the motor to three quarters of the maximum capacity to prevent over-filling the motor and add oil as needed to raise the oil level.

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