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Oil level window and other newbie question...

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  • Oil level window and other newbie question...

    Just got my first bike this week (1991 Katana 600), and learning from the ground up..

    I'll get the stupid question out of the way first.....
    On the left hand side of the bike near the tank... small metal bar inset in a hole in the fairing that you can twist clockwise 180 degrees, and counterclockwise... The guy who sold the bike to me said that it was to "turn the gas on and off" and that he turned it off (counterclockwise?)when the bike was sitting, then turned it on (clockwise?) when he was going to ride/left on while riding... but gave no reasons for doing this.. Picture attached shows this "mystery part" dead center... After reading the new katana owners FAQ's, I am wondering if that is the petcock valve? And if so, what should I be doing with it?

    Also, for someone completely new to bikes, are there any good diagrams you can recommend with names of parts so I stop referring to them like a typical girl such as "that shiny round thing near the front", or "the square metal thing that has funny lines in it", etc and can actually learn the correct terminology? Anything to help decrease the embarassment of new bike ownership would be greatly appreciated...

    Second question:
    Rode the bike the other day for the first time, easy stuff in a large parking lot, only up to 3rd gear, at low speed the bike started smoking and running really hot after about 30 minutes. Got off it, and there was no oil showing in the view window. I turned the bike off immediately, and today did an oil change, and put in a new oil filter. The oil that came out was really old, black and nasty... but there seemed to be at least 3 Liters of it.
    I put in 3.7 L along with the new filter as recommended, started it up and let it run for about 10 minutes. It definitely sounds nicer running, but I still can't see the oil level in the view window. Turned the bike off, sat there and stared at the window for a while, but no change. There are a couple millimeters of the new oil along the bottom of it, but that's it.... I don't think I should put more than the recommended amount of oil in, in the hopes of seeing it in the view window...

    What would cause this if low oil levels are not a factor? Should I dump more oil in? Stumped...

    Lauren
    Attached Files
    '91 Katana 600, my knight in shining armor, very well loved and going to be well used...sigpic

  • #2
    I am not being vulgar. That is your petcock. Welcome to bikes.

    Petcock is a selector knob of sorts. On a pre-98 Kat, I am unsure of the settings for it.

    Was the bike on the side stand or the center stand? Try looking at the sightglass while the bike is level. You are right not to overfill the oil. The crank will churn it into a froth that doesn't lubricate parts very well.
    Last edited by SKNL2; 05-17-2009, 09:48 PM.

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    • #3
      You will only be able to see the true oil level using the center stand, if there is one, or getting someone to hold the bike level. If they put the required oil amount its fine.

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      • #4
        And it takes about 4q . And you WON'T see oil in the window when the bike's running , s it's now circulating throughout the engine .
        Dude who told you that about the petcock was a douche , too . Froward is "reserve" , down is "on/off" (yes , it's BOTH , and I don't feel like getting into specifics right now ... ) , and back is "prime" . If you HAVE to use prime to keep it running , there's a problem with it .
        As for the rest of the terminology ..... if you wanna STUDY , go look at parts fiche from ronayers.com or Bikebandit or something . PITA , though . Repair manuals are nice , too . Or you can just ask and say "I'm a newb" , and get laughed at a little maybe , but still learn stuff in the process .
        I am a fluffy lil cuddly lovable bunny , dammit !



        Katrider's rally 2011 - md86

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        • #5
          Ok...so its the petcock, cool. Then my revised question is where do I want it/what position on a '91 ?

          The bike does not have a center stand... I had someone hold it upright on fairly level ground and the oil wasn't coming across the window at all...just a smidgen along the bottom of the glass... I did put in exactly 3.78 Liters...shouldn't I see something? Or is the view window level so sensitive that I need to set a darn level on the driveway to make sure the surface is 100% flat to see any oil coming across the window, accurate reading or not? It just seems like completely upright, on pretty level ground I should see something in that window...

          Lauren
          '91 Katana 600, my knight in shining armor, very well loved and going to be well used...sigpic

          Comment


          • #6
            Yes, the bar thingie is your petcock. There's supposed to be a pretty, black knob there. It has 3 positions: On, Res (Reserve) and Pri (Prime). On is the center position and that's where you want it normally. When positioned to Pri, fuel flows. In the On position, fuel only flows when the engine is turning. Res gives you access to the last gallon or so in the tank. Don't run the bike in Res unless you have to to get to the gas station. All the water and gunk (to use the technical term) in your tank is at the bottom and if you leave the petcock on Res then you're trying to burn that and you've got no emergency fuel to get you to the gas station if your fuel gauge is lying to you (which most of them do).

            As for the oil, I've got the 750 specs in front of me and (just as an example, your 600 probably has different numbers) the oil capacity is 3.6L if you don't change the filter and 3.9L if you do. (1/3L trapped in the filter!) Not sure which capacity you were looking at but you might want to check your numbers. In any case, with the engine on the centerstand the oil level should pretty much be right in the middle of the window. Fill until you've got that no matter what the measuring cup says. Just don't add oil too fast so that you go above the window after everything flows down into the pan!

            As for diagrams and part names, download (or just buy a copy of) the repair manual. (You definitely want a copy of that anyway if you're going to do your own work.) You can also check out the parts fiches on BikeBandit.com, AlphaSports.com or, for the official Suzuki part numbers, look here: http://www.mthollykawasaki.com/fiche_select.asp

            Welcome to KR and the wonderful world of motorcycles. They really are worth all the fuss and trouble. (The bikes that is. KR doesn't include fuss and trouble, just lots of sarcastic remarks and poking fun at each other. Oh, and some good info every now and then!) If you're new to riding or even if you just haven't ridden for a while, go get yourself into a MSF basic riders' course. Definitely worth your time!
            Wherever you go... There you are!

            17 Inch Wheel Conversion
            HID Projector Retrofit

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            • #7
              Up/down.

              If the bike is running, you will see a little oil coating the glass. If it is not running and the oil has had time to settle, you should see it in the glass. Rock the bike side-to-side a bit and you should see it. Add as needed to be between the Fill and Full marks.

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              • #8
                Welcome to the site, and the petcock should be in the down position when running(there should be a knob on it)

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                • #9
                  Ok, so forward meaning it is parallel to the ground and turned all the way counterclockwise is reserve, which is used just for emergencies? Maybe? Down (pointing vertically, 90 degrees clockwise from prior position?) is on/off (and when should it be set to that, most of the time?) and back meaning all the way clockwise but still parallel to ground? is prime, which should be/or should not be used to start it? Only if having problems starting? And if it has to be in that position to run, I have a problem?
                  '91 Katana 600, my knight in shining armor, very well loved and going to be well used...sigpic

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                  • #10
                    Pretty much. See? You can be taught.

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                    • #11
                      You've got it... In the On position there's a vacuum line coming from the right-most carb that turns on the fuel flow when the engine's turning. In Prime the only thing that's keeping the entire tank-full of gas from ending up in your engine and all over the ground is the float valves in the carbs. If they're right there's no problem. If they're not shutting off the flow into the carbs you've got a hazmat spill! Use Prime to fill the carbs after the bike has run out of gas or you've stored it over the winter.
                      Wherever you go... There you are!

                      17 Inch Wheel Conversion
                      HID Projector Retrofit

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ok..... Sounds like I need to add more oil, but slowly....

                        About the petcock, there is no knob on it...its bright shiny brassy colored metal, and pretty darn sharp actually.... How hard is it to find that part? The knob that is....

                        I will definitely have to see if the bike runs with the petcock in proper position... I was turning it all the way to prime (which I had been told was "fuel on") to run, then back to reserve to "turn the gas off" (which I was also told...) Geez....

                        So on what occassion would I use prime? Assuming that it will run in "on" just fine...

                        Oops.... You all are responding one step before me... Got it... Thanks!
                        Last edited by femmekat; 05-17-2009, 10:13 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
                        '91 Katana 600, my knight in shining armor, very well loved and going to be well used...sigpic

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                        • #13
                          Hit the websites listed above, ebay or your local dealer and you can order a new knob no problem. One of the advantages of the Kat is that there weren't many changes at all (practically none) from 89-97 and there were even a lot of parts in common between 600s and 750s. Makes for lots of aftermarket, used and NOS parts!

                          Correction: I may have mis-spoke. I just checked BikeBandit's website and they don't have a separate part number listed for the knob. You might have to look for a used part. If you've got a good internet connection (I don't) try http://www.mthollykawasaki.com/fiche_select.asp. They've got the official Suzuki parts fiches online so you'll be able to tell for sure if you can get just a new knob.
                          Last edited by Wild-Bill; 05-17-2009, 10:40 PM.
                          Wherever you go... There you are!

                          17 Inch Wheel Conversion
                          HID Projector Retrofit

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I don't know why no one has mentioned this yet, but here is a really good start for info on the petcock with a great visual for the positions of it. Definately check the wiki and do a search there as it does have lots of great info.

                            http://katriders.com/wiki/index.php5?title=Petcock

                            and here is a pictorial of a petcock rebuild I did, so you can see where, how, and what it is supposed to look like.

                            http://katriders.com/vb/showthread.php?t=96553


                            Edit to add:... I just remembered someone else on the site was saying they had to replace thier petcock due to an internal issue that could not be rebuilt. They may still have it, and if so you might want to check here by posting in the wanted section for the missing knob.

                            Welcome to KR!...

                            Krey
                            Last edited by Kreylyn; 05-18-2009, 06:20 PM.
                            93 750 Kat



                            Modified Swingarm, 5.5 GSXR Rear with 180/55 and 520 Chain, 750 to 600 Tail conversion, more to come. Long Term Project build thread http://katriders.com/vb/showthread.php?t=96736

                            "I've done this a thousand times before. What could possibly go wron.... Ooops!"

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                            • #15
                              I have a petcock knob, screw and short shaft it attaches to. Let me know if you still need it.

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