How to Troubleshoot a Kawasaki Prairie 650

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Although later versions of Kawasaki's Prairie ATV were still available as of January 2011, a more powerful 650cc version of the quad was only released in 2002 and 2003. Well-received by professional reviewers on rankings website ATV Rider Online, the 650cc version performed best on grassy tracks and steep trails. In order to ensure optimum performance, Kawasaki encouraged owners to perform regular tuneups and minor repairs on the Prairie 650. Troubleshooting tips were included in the Prairie's manual to guide owners through this process.

Things You'll Need

  • 30A fuse
  • Standard wrench
  • Solution of 1 tbsp. baking soda, 1 cup water
  • 12 volt battery charger
  • Unleaded gasoline
  • Spark plug wrench
  • Spark plug gap tool
  • NGK CR7E or DENSO U22ESR-N spark plugs
  • 12 volt, 12 ampere-hour battery
  • Battery charger

Starter Motor

  • Use the electric starter. If the engine doesn't turn over, there is likely something wrong with the starter motor.

  • Ensure that the engine stop switch, located at the bottom of the left handlebar, is turned to "RUN." Otherwise, the starter motor cannot operate.

  • Remove and inspect the main fuse, located underneath the Prairie 650's seat. If the connection at the center of the fuse is broken, the fuse has failed. Replace it with a new 30A fuse.

  • Operate the starter again. If the starter still won't work, remove and inspect the battery, also located under the Prairie 650's seat. Remove it by loosening the battery-holder bolts with a wrench. Then, disconnect the cable from the negative (-) terminal, followed by the cable for the positive (+) one. Finally, lift the battery out of its case without tilting it.

  • Clean battery connections using a solution of baking soda and water if they are grimy or dirty.

  • Tighten battery connections with a wrench if they are loose.

  • Charge the battery to 12.8 volts using a separately-powered battery charger.

  • Reinstall the battery. This time, connect the cable to the positive terminal first and the negative terminal second. Reinstall the battery holder and the seat.

  • Operate the starter. Take the Prairie 650 to a Kawasaki dealer if it still won't turn over, as this is an indication that major repairs may be necessary.

Engine Problems

  • Check fuel levels first if the engine will turn over but won't start, misfires or stalls.

  • Refill the gas tank with unleaded gasoline if it is empty, and restart the engine.

  • Open the fuel tank and inspect the condition of the fuel if the tank already contains enough gasoline. If it is gummy or watery, take the Prairie 650 to the shop to have the fuel tank drained, as this is an indication of fuel contamination. Refill with fresh fuel.

  • Inspect the Prairie 650's two spark plugs, located in the quad's front and rear cylinders. The front cylinder is located next to the front-left tire, while the rear cylinder is located on the right side of the quad between both tires.

  • Remove each spark plug by undoing the spark plug cap. Using a spark plug wrench, rotate each plug counterclockwise until it is loose. Gently pull it from the cylinder.

  • Examine the electrode-end of each spark plug. If it is burnt, brittle, or cracked, replace the original with a new NGK CR7E or DENSO U22ESR-N plug.

  • Set the spark plug gap between 0.7 and 0.8 mm (0.028 and 0.032 inches). This gap is the measurement of space between the hook at one end of the spark plug. To shorten the gap, gently push the spark plug against a firm surface. To make it larger, use a spark plug gap tool to pull the hook out wider.

  • Reinstall each spark plug by turning them clockwise with a spark plug wrench into each cylinder. Return the spark plug caps.

  • Operate the starter. If the engine continues to fail or have problems, take the Prairie 650 to the shop.

Overheating

  • Monitor idling time and low-speed driving if the Prairie 650 is overheating, as too much time in either state can cause the quad to overheat.

  • Ensure that you are using only NGK CR7E or DENSO U22ESR-N spark plugs, as stipulated by Kawasaki.

  • Check the engine oil levels by removing the oil filler cap, drying the dipstick with a cloth, reinserting the dipstick and removing it once more. Engine oil should make a mark between the two ticks on the dipstick. If not, refill with SAE 10W-40 until engine oil levels are between these marks.

  • Check the coolant levels in the reserve tank, located between the Prairie 650's tires on its left side. Coolant should reach the "F" line on the side of the transparent tank. If not, refill with fresh coolant. Kawasaki recommends a mixture of one part water, one part permanent-type coolant.

  • Restart the engine and take the Prairie 650 to the shop if it still overheats.

Tips & Warnings

  • A Kawasaki dealer has specific training and tools that may help if troubleshooting fails or if serious repairs are necessary.
  • Do not smoke while handling gasoline.
  • Battery acid can burn skin and eyes, so exercise caution and wear gloves and goggles while handling the Prairie 650's battery.

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References

  • Photo Credit steel wrench image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com
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