Kawasaki's motorcycles, like cars, require a source of electrical energy to create the spark necessary for internal combustion. This charge, however, will dwindle under the loads placed on it without constant replenishment, a task that the alternator is responsible for. Consisting of a revolving magnet passing through electrical fields to create current, the alternator can sometimes fail. Luckily, replacing it is easier than it seems.
Assemble the proper tools for the job; you should expect to use a set of metric hex and Allen-head sockets, and a set of combination wrenches in varying sizes, although some older Kawasaki models may used Phillips-head bolts that will require a screwdriver to remove.
A catch basin or container and a handful of clean towels or rags may be useful, since some oil will drain from the motor during the process. If you have access to a bike stand, or if your Kawasaki is equipped with a center stand, use it to provide additional stability.
Finally, arm yourself with a Kawasaki factory service manual. This is the most important tool you could have for your bike, as it is filled with in-depth maintenance techniques and will layout the exact process for removing the alternator from your exact model of motorcycle.
Removing the Alternator Cover
Locate the alternator on the left side of the motor (on most Kawasaki motorcycles), hidden behind the engine cover. This cover will need to be removed to gain access to the alternator; however, some models will require removal of the drive sprocket cover as well.
Note the lengths and locations of the engine cover bolts before you remove them, since some belong in specific places. Have a catch basin or bucket ready to catch any oil that might spill from the cover. Pull the cover free from the motor and follow the wiring from the bottom of the cover and disconnect it from the wiring harness.
On the inside of the cover is half of the alternator, a tightly wrapped ring of iron and wire called the "stator." The flywheel, the second half of the alternator, is on the end of the now exposed crankshaft.
Removing the Stator and Flywheel
Removing the stator from the engine cover is usually a simple matter, requiring the removal of a set of Allen-head bolts. Once the bolts are out, gently work the wiring and rubber gasket free from the cover and pull the whole stator assembly free.
The flywheel, on the other hand, can be tricky. While the flywheel is normally secured to the end of the crankshaft by a 10 mm X 40 mm hex-head bolt, Kawasaki sometimes uses a left-handed thread pattern to hold it in place against the rotation of the crankshaft. You can usually identify a left-hand threaded bolt by an "LH" marking on the top of the bolt's head. If you do not see this marking, refer to a service manual before attempting to remove the bolt. Additionally, the flywheel must be held securely to prevent rotation while removing the bolt. Kawasaki offers special tools to hold the flywheel in place, as well as the threaded pulling tool required to remove the flywheel after the bolt is removed.
- The Professional Motorcycle Repair Program; Professional Career Development Institute; 1995
- 2004 Kawasaki ZX6R Service Manual; Kawasaki Heavy Industries
- 2005 Kawasaki VN1600 Vulcan Mean Streak Service Manual; Kawasaki Heavy Industries
- Photo Credit Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
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