Monday, January 17, 2011

Kawasaki Prairie 700

Today I have a Kawasaki Prairie 700 in the shop.  I think this machine is about 10 years old now.  When it was new it was the flagship of the Kawasaki line with a big 700cc V twin engine with 4 valves per cylinder and overhead camshafts.  The owner of the machine thought that the pistons were "wore out", so he changed them but could not get the engine started after putting it back together.  I asked a few questions about the rebuild job and discovered that he did not know about setting the cam timing or adjusting the valve lash.

Setting the cam timing is pretty straight forward.  Take the valve covers off, loosen the cam chain tensioner and turn the crank to the timing mark for that cylinder.  Then simply rotate the cam shaft to where the timing marks line up with the top of the head.  Put the chain back on the cam and reinstall the chain tensioner.  Repeat for the other cylinder.  

The next step is setting the valve lash.  This involves inserting a feeler gauge between the rocker arm and the top of the valve stem and turning the threaded adjusting stud until there is a slight drag on the feeler gauge.  On most machine it is a quick and simple process, unfortunately on this Kawasaki the access is very limited.  The access cover on top of the head is very small and it is hard to get a feeler gauge into the correct spot, also the exhaust valves on the front cylinder are impossible to see, and hard to get your hands to.  This photo shows the screw driver on the adjuster and the feeler gauge set on the right.  That is as good a view as I could get.  I basically had to make the adjustments entirely by feel.  On the lower part of the photo you can see the small access opening for the intake valves.

Now I need to put the carbs back on fill up the fluids and see if it will start?  Hopefully the rest of the rebuld was done ok.


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