Question about 1987 kawasaki ZL 1000 A1 Eliminator

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87 kawasaki not providing 100% of its power!!

My 87 kawasaki zl 600 has been, within the last year, tuned up with new spark plugs, wires, fuel lines, carbs & coolant flush...etc. now that i had just fixed the charging system, i'm trying to get the power that the bike should have to 100percent. right now it's running like the carb jets are gunked up and its not getting enough fuel. off and on it shows me it has the power it should, but then falls back to hesitation and lack of ''get up'' it ran fine, smooth and sounded good after warming up. but today i ran out of gas due to running rich? i dunno, it only had gone 90mi on a full tank. 3 gal shouldn't go that fast, yet i did warm it up 10-15 minutes before each ride, while idling at 1600-1800. after i switched to reserve tank, it has started to run like ****, knocking while at idle, which i have at 1400 now, even after filling up the tank with fresh gas and adding a second seafoam treatment in the tank. could this be what i think it is, just the bike trying to work out the **** that collected after sitting four years before i got it? please, anyone with any advice or suggestions as to the problem let me know what you think!!!!

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Hi and welcome to FixYa,

Initially, your description of " and on it shows me it has the power it should..." is significant as it indicates that it would not be a mechanical / engine problem.

Offhand, almost always, erratic performance and/or intermittent power could be: 1) electrical (least likely), 2) air/fuel mix (likely) and/or 3) carb (most likely).

Interesting though if as you posted, the bike has "". If it were so, then a possibility to consider is that the carbs need synchronization.

Preliminary checks:

  • at cold start, determine which cylinders heat up faster / slower using water spray;
  • determine the colors of the burns / tips of the sparkplugs at what cylinder;
  • loosen the drain screws of each carb and collect the fuel from the drain hose. Compare the quantity and quality amongst all 4 bowls.

Incidentally, is everything stock or aftermarket items installed such as free/open breathers air filters and/or exhaust system?

Good luck and thank you for asking FixYa.

Posted on Nov 18, 2009

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87 kawasaki isn't providing full power!!

Hi again and welcome back to FixYa,

Appreciate much the rating on your first post.

Yes on the carbs. At this point, perhaps your best move would be:
  • inspect the burn marks of each sparkplug. This would be your basis which carb needs closer attention; very light brown - lean (too much air / too little fuel) or very dark - rich (too much fuel / too little air);
  • carb pull down, full dis-assembly. All non-rubber parts must be soaked in carb cleaner;
  • a can of compressed air maybe used on the small holes;
  • for the age of the bike, special attention on hoses ends that may have splits, cracks or just plain loose (fuel & vacuum);
  • carb sync even just to check / make sure all are even.

Incidentally, there is a California version of this year/model. For emission control purposes, performance has been toned down. With so many attachments to the fuel lines and vacuums, it is possible that there is a leak somewhere.


Nov 18, 2009 | 1987 kawasaki ZL 1000 A1 Eliminator

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