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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

I've got a strange problem, that defies the logic of my basic understanding of small engines.

I've been riding this particular bike since 1996, and have dealt with all sorts of hiccups and little things, but this one totally stumps me.

The Local Kawasaki dealer won't even talk to me, just because the bike is so old, they won't touch it, so I turn to the internet.

I posted here because the engine/carbs of the ZL600 is basically the same as the ZX600.

Here's the problem:

When I start the bike in the morning, it runs like it always has -- no glitches, no loss of power, just normal.

I'll ride it somewhere, stopping to get lunch on the way, say 45 minutes to an hour. The bike starts just fine -- no choke, nothing weird required. I go to my destination, say, a friend's house where I hang out for a couple of hours.

When I go to head home, the bike will not start.

With the choke on, it will fire easily and run at 2k rpms for about 2 seconds, then it hesitates and then dies.

With the choke off, it idles roughly at about .5-1k rpms for about 20-30 seconds, and then dies.

If I touch the throttle at all during this time she dies.

If I don't have access to a battery charger, I don't push my luck, and bum a ride home. The next day I hitch a ride back to the bike, and she starts up just fine, as though nothing was ever wrong.

If I do have access to a battery charger, I have continued to try to start it, and some random attempt will start the bike just fine, as though nothing was ever wrong.

Then the whole thing happens again.

This has happened 5 times in a row without fail. Every time the bike sits for over an hour, it will not start. Every time it sits for under an hour, the bike will start. Every time it sits overnight, it will start.

This has happened when the temp. outside was cold, and when it was hot.

I have check the plugs -- no problem.
I've got a new battery.
The vacuum tubes appear in good shape, all connected with no obvious wearing or cracks.
I've tried using both PRI, ON and RES while riding, sitting, and starting. No difference.
There's no water in the carbs.
Even when it's not starting, there's fuel in the carbs (I've tried draining the bowls -- plenty of gas flow through, but still no starting).
I have full power while riding.

Has anybody heard of this before?
At first it sounds like a vapor lock, but wouldn't that affect me at my first short stop?
I don't have a fuel pump -- it's gravity fed.
I thought maybe I was flooding it somehow, but it does fire right up, it just won't stay running.

Any ideas would be great!
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