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Discussion Starter #1
Hi. I’m not sure if this has been discussed in other threads so my apologies in advance.
My 2016 v9 has about 21k++ kilometres on it (13k++ miles) and it has been acting up since last week. It suddenly losses power when cruising but it doesn’t die or stops, it just losses power. On 3 occasions it started to jerk like the fuel is not flowing thru properly. So the more I squeeze the throttle, the more lost of power I can feel. I called up the local kawa dealer and they told me to bring the bike in but I’ve been talking to few my my friends and they told me that I have to flash my ecu since I’ve replaced the intake filter and slip on exhausts. But I’ve been using them for almost a year now without having to do any reflash and without any issues. So my question is that ; what is the best possibility of the issue and do I really have to reflash the ecu and can it be done on a stock ecu? Thanking you all in advance for the replies. Looking fwd to some solid solutions.
 

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My first response would be, if it worked properly prior to this problem, then the overall setup must be fine. Then the recent problem must be due to a recent change. Initially it sounds fuel related (there could possibly be other issues). Did this issue manifest with the most recent tank of fuel? Did you perhaps change something on the bike, where the problem showed up afterwards?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My first response would be, if it worked properly prior to this problem, then the overall setup must be fine. Then the recent problem must be due to a recent change. Initially it sounds fuel related (there could possibly be other issues). Did this issue manifest with the most recent tank of fuel? Did you perhaps change something on the bike, where the problem showed up afterwards?



Hi. It didn’t happen with the recent tank of fuel and no I didn’t change anything on the bike. I just added some spot lights but the problem occurred even before I installed the additional lights. FYI I’m using Ron97 Unleaded fuel and I’ve been using the same type of fuel since I got the bike 2 yrs ago.
 

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Shot in the dark here, but changing the exhaust and intake normally need either a fuel tuner or Ivan flash.....how many miles have you driven with those two mods? Could it be foul up from not having the fuel programmer installed as well?
Any evidence of the bike running too lean.... maybe white powdery stuff at the exhaust tips?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I had a similar experience, and what happened was the "Inlet air pressure sensor vacuum hose" had come loose that connects from above the engine to below. It might be worth checking if any hoses are hanging loose. See the post in this thread with pics:

https://www.vulcanforums.com/forums/49-vulcan-900/295186-fi-light-stays-2016-vulcan-900-custom-after-installing-big-3-a.html

Also if your FI light comes on then you can try checking the codes.
Hi. Apologies for the late reply. Was busy the whole week and just managed to bring the bike to the dealer today. Hoses were all in-tact and no signs of leaks anywhere. Will post an update of what happened today separately in the bottom later. TQ
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Shot in the dark here, but changing the exhaust and intake normally need either a fuel tuner or Ivan flash.....how many miles have you driven with those two mods? Could it be foul up from not having the fuel programmer installed as well?
Any evidence of the bike running too lean.... maybe white powdery stuff at the exhaust tips?
Hi. I guess it does need a fuel tuner but everyone i talked to(mechanic or dealer) told me that for this kind of bike we don't need a tuner unless its a superbike. I've not seen any white/black powdery stuff at the back of the exhaust tip.I've been riding with the air filter for the past 2 yrs and exhaust past few months and no issues then. It just started recently.So I'm honestly lost and confused as to what should i do. Let me give an update of what happened today separately. Thanks
 

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Hi guys. An update of what took place today at the authorised Kawa service centre.

1. The mechanic took out both stock spark plugs and one had sign of fuel and another was dry so he said it could be possibly something wrong with the cylinder or head but he is not 100% sure as maybe the engine oil was poured extra during my previous service by another mechanic thus making the engine oil to penetrate into the plug and a bit into the air filter.
2. Engine oil was replaced with Motul 300v FL Road 10W50(3.2 litres) as I replaced the filter as well.
3. Spark plugs were replaced with BRISK AOR10LGS
4. K&N air filter cleaned.
5. Petrol tank emptied and fuel pump cleaned. No traces of any debris or rust in the tank. Unable to clean the petrol filter as its built in the fuel pump.
6. No sign of dirt of excessive carbon at the throttle body but cleaned it anyway.
7. Tried running diagnostics but their cable was faulty and the ECU was unable to communicate with the pc. They only had 1 cable provided by the factory <facepalm>
8. Installed voltmeter and reading was showing 14.2v when engine is running so we can rule out the possibility of power issue.

So they told me to test it and come back to them in a week if the problem still persists for a diagnostic as they will get the new cables by then. Rode it back home, problem still there i.e jerking and lost of power. Feels like the engine is really working hard to go more than 130km/hr. Was totally disappointed that the change of spark plugs and engine oil didn't fix the problem. Mechanic said another possible problem could be the clutch plate so i might have to leave the bike there if i wanted it checked.

As for for the fuel tuner, unfortunately there is no one in Malaysia that carries Ivan flash software and most of the guys that do dyno testings and tune ups have never done for a vulcan900 before. Most of them have software for Vulcan650s but not for V9. How depressing is that. I have a very strong feeling that it needs tuning as there is a lot of backfire and loss of power but no one can do it here. I have a ride coming up next week and it won't be fun to ride with this condition so appreciate if anyone else can advise me what else or how can i tune up the bike. Appreciate it guys. Thank you....
 

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So, in other words, the mechanic at the dealer has no idea what the problem is either. He just replaces stuff at random just like a lot of other people do, he just replaces them with skills. I'm assuming you are not mechanically inclined. Do you know anyone else in the area (or another Kawasaki dealer) who DOES know what they are doing, who could take a look at your bike? If you take it somewhere else, be sure and let them know what has been done already, so they won't repeat that work. Make sure they have a working cable so they CAN talk to the ECU.

Couple of ideas - It could be as simple as dirty fuel injectors (one plug wet, one plug dry). For a time there were issues with the stock NGK plugs, I know because I had this issue with one plug, but you said the problem remained after changing the plugs. Fuel injector cleaner poured into the fuel tank (per instructions on the bottle) could address that. I wouldn't worry about an ECU flash for now, get the bike running properly first.

If you are mechanically inclined, you could remove the valve covers to check if anything is wrong in the valve train. Even if you can't remove them, you could just listen carefully while the engine is running, to see if you hear anything unusual. The V900 engine makes certain sounds that are normal. Kneeling beside the engine, I can hear the pistons going up and down at idle, and I can hear some light ticking coming from the valve train area on top of the cylinders (since this engine has overhead cams and 4 valves per cylinder). Anything more noisy than light ticking would be concerning, since this engine has what are basically solid lifter camshafts, which produce light ticking.
 

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Plugs from one cylinder wet and the other dry suggest a problem that is only affecting one cylinder.

As suggested, it could be a valve problem, though being intermittent, that seems unlikely to me.

Loose connection? Maybe.

Clogged fuel injector? Possibly.

It could be an ignition coil going bad. Sometimes they will start misfiring once they warm up but eventually fail as they deteriorate.


If you are not mechanically inclined, you really need to find another mechanic that actually knows what he is doing.

It's probably not related to the replacement filter/exhaust though it could be a result of buildup from running too lean for too long. What you call a backfire is probably "popping" caused by too lean a condition from the increased air flow. A true backfire is a very violent explosion out of the exhaust. You really do need a fuel controller or Ivan's reflash, but you can only get the reflash by sending the ECU to Ivan here in the US. He has to physically have the unit to do the update. With either a fuel controller or the reflash providing more fuel, you will find that the bike will run much better.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So, in other words, the mechanic at the dealer has no idea what the problem is either. He just replaces stuff at random just like a lot of other people do, he just replaces them with skills. I'm assuming you are not mechanically inclined. Do you know anyone else in the area (or another Kawasaki dealer) who DOES know what they are doing, who could take a look at your bike? If you take it somewhere else, be sure and let them know what has been done already, so they won't repeat that work. Make sure they have a working cable so they CAN talk to the ECU.

Couple of ideas - It could be as simple as dirty fuel injectors (one plug wet, one plug dry). For a time there were issues with the stock NGK plugs, I know because I had this issue with one plug, but you said the problem remained after changing the plugs. Fuel injector cleaner poured into the fuel tank (per instructions on the bottle) could address that. I wouldn't worry about an ECU flash for now, get the bike running properly first.

If you are mechanically inclined, you could remove the valve covers to check if anything is wrong in the valve train. Even if you can't remove them, you could just listen carefully while the engine is running, to see if you hear anything unusual. The V900 engine makes certain sounds that are normal. Kneeling beside the engine, I can hear the pistons going up and down at idle, and I can hear some light ticking coming from the valve train area on top of the cylinders (since this engine has overhead cams and 4 valves per cylinder). Anything more noisy than light ticking would be concerning, since this engine has what are basically solid lifter camshafts, which produce light ticking.

Hi. Thanks for the input. Yes you're right,i'm not a mechanical expert but i can go by and fix simple things. I'm planning to send the bike back to the HQ which is about 400kms away from my home for the guys there to check it. The ticking noise from the engine is normal at this point of time. Will keep everyone posted once they find out what's the problem and the fix.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Check your battery connections sounds like intermittent eletrical problem.
Hi. Connections are tight and fine. Checked and verified by the mechanic yesterday. batt is even showing good volt reading so i doubt its the electrical connections issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Plugs from one cylinder wet and the other dry suggest a problem that is only affecting one cylinder.

As suggested, it could be a valve problem, though being intermittent, that seems unlikely to me.

Loose connection? Maybe.

Clogged fuel injector? Possibly.

It could be an ignition coil going bad. Sometimes they will start misfiring once they warm up but eventually fail as they deteriorate.


If you are not mechanically inclined, you really need to find another mechanic that actually knows what he is doing.

It's probably not related to the replacement filter/exhaust though it could be a result of buildup from running too lean for too long. What you call a backfire is probably "popping" caused by too lean a condition from the increased air flow. A true backfire is a very violent explosion out of the exhaust. You really do need a fuel controller or Ivan's reflash, but you can only get the reflash by sending the ECU to Ivan here in the US. He has to physically have the unit to do the update. With either a fuel controller or the reflash providing more fuel, you will find that the bike will run much better.

Hi buddy. Yup i've decided that i will send the bike back to the local kawa HQ cum factory (its about 400kms away from my place) for the guys to have it thoroughly checked. I'm also having a feeling that its probably related to the valves as the mechanic said yesterday it could be it.

I've managed to get hold of a local guy that does dyno and tuning for sport bikes and he has done reflashs for v9's before so i'm going to see him next weekend and go for a reflash. Will update the status of the bike once i've done the reflash and if the issue still persists then i won't have any other choice than sending it back to the factory. Will keep everyone posted soon. TQ
 

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Is it possible to return the bike to stock? That would be a simple cost-effective troubleshoot, rather than run to the dyno $$$. Which you will be probably have to do anyway, but will perhaps a offer better clue to what's going on. Could be oxygen sensor or PAIR valve arguing with the mods. Does sound like a dirty air-filter with the stuttering at high rpm.
 

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What ever happened to basic compression testing? That basic test could tell you a lot about the condition of your cylinder, head, and valves. Is it too old fashioned now, like a SUN scope (both of which could tell you a lot)?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hi guys, some update today.

Brought my bike in to see another dealer that was recommended by the kawa factory service manager. This time the dealer was able to run the diagnostics and lo and behold...there were 3 error codes.

1. Failure Count = 3
2. Inlet Air Temp Sensor = 1
3. Sub throttle actuator failure = 9

The dealer then removed the air filter to check the throttle body and gave the bike some rev and the throttle valves didn't open until he gave a very high rev and only then they were open. Not sure if this is normal or they only open during high rev's / rpm's but the dealer said maybe the TPS sensor is faulty so he suggested to replace it. Should I ? Also i noticed that one of my exhaust pipe is turning yellow(the top one) just after the co2 sensor.

As for the 1st & 2nd error code, any idea what does it mean? Does these 2 errors have anything to do with my current issue?
 

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It would help to know if there is a specific meaning of "Failure Count". Failure count of what?

A couple suggestions/opinions...

While an Ivan's flash or fuel tuner may optimize performance, I believe neither will fix the actual problem that gives the symptoms. My suggestion is do not proceed down this path until the bike runs normally, normally as it had before the recent trouble started.

The other suggestion is to get a Kawasaki Service Manual (SM) for your bike and use the troubleshooting/diagnostic information. It will explain the fault codes and things to check.

Often you can find the SM on Internet for free download.
 

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The throttle body has 2 butterfly valve shafts. The mechanical throttle with butterfly valves that you control, and a second set of butterfly valves that the ECU controls (the sub throttle). The actuator for the sub throttle does not appear to be working correctly. The highest error code count is for this actuator, which the ECU uses to control it's opening and closing. Either it is bad, or the sub throttle shaft is sticking or freezing (after the bike warms up?). The interesting thing is both butterflies are on the same shaft, so what ever in happening to one cylinder should be happening to the other. However, that doesn't explain why one cylinder is starting to yellow an exhaust pipe, while the other cylinder is not, so there could be a secondary issue.

What I might recommend is the mechanic remove the throttle body and check for sub throttle shaft seizure. Recommend cleaning or whatever is needed to restore the free movement. If the sub throttle is found to freely move, then instead ask the mechanic to run electrical tests on the actuator. If it fails the tests, ask him to replace it.
 
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