Question about 1990 kawasaki ZZR 600

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I recently bought a 1990 Kawasaki ZZR600. I had heard the engines were unbreakable, so didn't really inspect it as closely as I should have: just checked there were no strange noises, or a lot of smoke. When I got home I ran the engine for about 15 minutes without switching on the fan (didn't know about it then) to bring it up to temperature so that I could check the engine better for a possible minor misfire. The temperature gauge was at normal when a load of coolant spewed out under pressure from an overflow hose at the rear of the bike. I then noticed that the oil, which I had told had been recently changed, could not be seen for a creamy film on the interior of the inspection glass. That seems like a head gasket? Is that the case? Did I cause it to blow, or did I buy it like that, and what's it likely to cost me? The guy I bought it off says the bike was fine.....naturally! Thanks

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If it has blown a head gasket its highly unlikely that the guy didn't know something was wrong. Check that the water overflow bottle has not been over filled. Its worth checking the radiator cap rubbers and spring pre-load as it could just be the cap leaking under pressure. Its not unusual to get a moisture build up in the crankcase if the bike has had lots of short runs and this will fowl the inspection glass. The fan has a thermostatic control and should cut in and out by itself.  Pull the plugs out and you should be able to tell if there is any water leaking back into a cylinder by there condition. If everything seems ok and its still doing the same thing then you will have to have the cooling system pressure tested to find internal leaks.

Posted on Dec 16, 2008

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Water in the oil means one of 3 things:

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Blown head gasket is the best you can hope for. And cracked or warped cylinder head is next most likely. A cracked engine block is least likely of the three. Have you noticed anything unusual, heard any noises? And has the car overheated really badly?

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To replace a blown head gasket requires a lot of labor on this vehicle. Its a v6, meaning you have 2 head gaskets to replace instead of just 1. It requires removing air cleaner, disconnecting battery, removing most of the accessories that are belt driven, removing the intake manifold, egr valve and tubing, exhaust manifold on both sides of engine, timing belt removal, valve covers, and a few smaller items. After removing everything on top of the engine, you'll have access to the cylinder head bolts. Removing them will allow you to lift off the cylinder heads. Before replacing the gaskets, you must send them to a machine shop to have the gasket surface milled true flat again. They must also be inspected for cracks (which will sometimes happen with blown head gaskets) which would render them useless.
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Okay well I got the bike about a week ago and when I went to change the oil it look like chocolate milk maybe lighter. What could it be??

Bad news mate, you bought a bike with a blown head cylinder gasket! You should have thoroughly checked the engine and electrical before you pay for it. That milky choco substance in your engine lubrication is your coolant that seeped into the engine block, that was cause by too much overheating or age.
You should bring that Ninja to your mechanic and have them replace the head/block gasket and do some machining/shaving on the head, be carefull on your speed and temperature it may cause a lot more damage in your piston and crankshaft.
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Ok so here is all the history of my car. It over heated to about 260-270, guessing really, blew the radiator. Changed the radiator, car continued to overheat, I then replaced the thermostat via six months...

I think you stated the "real issue" early in your description of the problem. You most likely have blown head gaskets! Especially if it has been reaching the temperatures you are describing - if it didn't have blown head gaskets or cracked or warped heads before, it does now! With combustion gasses get into the cooling system, the coolant temperature switch for the cooling fans will not work correctly. Your radiator fan will probably never come on until the head gasket problem is repaired. If you live in an area where you need to pass an emissions inspection, you are really going to be crying the blues when it comes time for inspection. Continuing to operate the engine with a blown head gasket not only causes severe engine damage from overheating, but also destroys the oxygen sensors and catalytic converters. So you will not only have to repair the head gasket problem just to stop your engine from overheating, but you will also have to replace your O2 Sensors and Catalytic Converters as well. Even if you don't have to pass inspection, you will be using twice as much fuel as you should because of the damage to the sensors and the catalyst caused by running antifreeze down the exhaust.

It could also be that the cooling fans not operating properly is the original problem. If so, this will also have to be fixed to keep it from destroying a high-dollar head gasket repair. However, it sounds to me like the damage has already been done if you are going through that much engine coolant. Trying to fix the radiator cooling fans without repairing a head gasket problem is futile.

....OR you can do like 90% of the people out there and just continue to run it until it plain won't run any more...then you can just paint "R.I.P." on the windshield and give it a decent burial!

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