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Old January 14th, 2016, 06:42 AM   #1
_Kyle_
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Default Kawasaki Prairie Issue (Carb?)

I picked up a 2004 Prairie for a pretty good price back in the Fall with plans on using for pushing snow in my driveway during the Winter and occasional riding in the off season. It's a nice setup and came with a plow and everything.

I went through before the first snow and changed all the fluids, added new fuel (it came almost empty), and changed the spark plug. The spark plug was black and dirty when I replaced it (more on this...)

The issue is now with the cold, it barely runs at all. Even at full choke, it struggles to stay idling and will stall if you let it sit. I'm thinking maybe the carb needs rebuilt or rejetted for the cold? I'm guessing the plug was the way it was because the PO always ran it full choke in the cold and just dealt with it - it ran fine when I had it going and it was 40-50 outside. Perhaps there are some other reason it refuses to run in the cold?
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Old January 14th, 2016, 07:19 AM   #2
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Does it run better after it's warmed up? If not then you probably need to clean the carb; it's common for a carbbed ATV to run crappy when cold, but it should even out when everything warms up. If it runs crappy all the time when cold, it's more likely you have some gunk that is restricting air/fuel flow.

Why it runs well when it's warmer....you got me; that's just my .02
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Old January 14th, 2016, 08:21 AM   #3
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Does it run better after it's warmed up? If not then you probably need to clean the carb; it's common for a carbbed ATV to run crappy when cold, but it should even out when everything warms up. If it runs crappy all the time when cold, it's more likely you have some gunk that is restricting air/fuel flow.

Why it runs well when it's warmer....you got me; that's just my .02
It runs like crap all the time. Even after clearing the driveway for a half hour or hour it barely runs even on full choke. No choke it wont even run. I removed the air filter just to check that it there was no noticable change. When I put the new plug in I gapped it according to the manual. I can't think of much else without tearing into the carb (which REALLY ISNT my thing at all). But there are no other fancy lights or warnings...just won't run.
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Old January 14th, 2016, 08:26 AM   #4
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Sounds like the carb is full of crap. It's running on the little bit of fuel the choke circuit is supplying...
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Old January 14th, 2016, 08:27 AM   #5
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It runs like crap all the time. Even after clearing the driveway for a half hour or hour it barely runs even on full choke. No choke it wont even run. I removed the air filter just to check that it there was no noticable change. When I put the new plug in I gapped it according to the manual. I can't think of much else without tearing into the carb (which REALLY ISNT my thing at all). But there are no other fancy lights or warnings...just won't run.
If the plug was that messed up when you took it out, it is possilby due to letting it sit for long peroids of time, then coupled with short heavy use (the PO could not have been very nice to it), would cause issues with it.

If it runs like crap all the time, I would say the carb definitely needs to be cleaned, corrosion can build up and restrict fuel flow. Again, I don't know why it runs like crap all the tie when it's cold out; I would guess that it has to do with the amount of air getting into the engine when it's cold vs warm. When it's cold out it'll draw in more air because it's denser the colder it is, so it's leaning out the air/fuel mixture even more; along with the restricted fuel flow from a dirty carb.

When it's warmer the air is less dense, and it could be just less dense enough to be able to run properly with the amount of fuel the engine is getting; 20 or so degrees colder and the air/fuel mixture is too lean to run properly.
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Old January 14th, 2016, 08:29 AM   #6
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Yep. Definitely a carb issue. I have fixed several utility quads this year for people and they were all carb issues. I have an ultrasonic cleaner. It works wonders for carbs.
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Old January 14th, 2016, 08:48 AM   #7
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My 3 wheeler used to do the same thing. Rebuilt the carb and runs great.
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Old January 14th, 2016, 09:29 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the responses. Sounds like I will need to take a look at it this weekend or drag my buddy over whose good with that kinda stuff. There's also a chance its plugged up from running the old fuel that was left in it too I reckon.
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Old January 14th, 2016, 10:03 AM   #9
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yeah with the crappy fuel now a days they get gummed up quick. I have taken carbs out and tried cleaning them with the normal method of carb cleaner and a blow gun. Put them back on and have the same problem. Once I bought that ultrasonic cleaner from harbor freight I don't even bother any more. Remove carb, disassemble, put in cleaner. Run it. Put it back together and its always worked. Get in all those tiny pilot ports that you just cant get into well.
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Old January 26th, 2016, 06:17 AM   #10
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Ended up tearing the carb apart and it didn't do anything to help. I'm leaning towards having to adjust the valves now...
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Old March 10th, 2016, 12:15 PM   #11
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Take the carb apart again and spray it down with carb cleaner, inside & out. Use compressed air to blow through all the passages real good. Now, go in the house and find a cooking pan that the carb will fit in and your wife will not kill you for using. Put the dismantled carb in it, fill with water, put on the stove and bring to a boil. Once boiling, adjust heat to prevent boil-over (makes wife even madder than using good pan) and let it boil about 10 min. At about the 7 min. point, you will see a scum form on top of the water. That is all the crap from the tiny passages that you can't get out with carb clean. Let the carb cool, blow out with compressed air really well again, reassemble and run.

Since I found this trick, I've revived about 20 quad, 3-wheeler & motorcycle carbs.
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