Kickstarter problems after splitting an engine

“No fail” method to install Kawasaki triple kicker (Also known as “I don’t want to have to split the cases AGAIN”) Too many people are having trouble with their kickstarter when they re-assemble their triple engine after splitting the cases. They go to the trouble of completely “buttoning up” their engine and then when they try to use their kicker they realize “something went wrong” with the process they followed (the one in the manual) and the kicker doesn’t work.

If you follow these instructions, there is NO WAY you will have the engine back together without being assured the kicker will work the way it should. It also actually saves you some steps with engine dis-assembly and engine re-assembly.

The starting point for these instructions will be made with the assumption that you have your engine apart and the top of your engine (the part with the cylinders, crankshaft and tranny gears) is on a workbench with the engine studs facing you (up), you have your engine case sealer already applied (on the lower half) and are completely ready to put the halves together. It also assumes that your “stop bolt” for the kick pawl is tightened and in place because you do NOT need to back it out when you first split the engine (There is a step saved already – plus the kicker spring tension actually helps to separate the engine halves for you.) IF you did back out the stop bolt, tighten it back up now.

It is also assumed that you have your kickstart shaft correctly and completely assembled before you “drop” it in the upper case.

Place the kickshaft assembly in the upper engine case, being sure that the hole in the bearing bushing is over the dowel pin in the upper engine half, the spring tang is in the channel in the upper case and the kicker pawl (and gear) is rotated so it is up against the stop bolt. You will know if you have it right if the end of the spring that sits in the other groove on the back of the engine case is raised up from that groove. In other words, if you feel tension (resistance) when you try to pull that end of the spring down to get it in the groove in the upper engine half, you then know that you have it correct.

You are now ready to assemble the engine cases.  

If you can get your wife or someone else to help you at this point, that would help, but I have done the next step many times by myself.

Set the bottom half of the engine on the ends of the engine studs so it is ready to be slid down on the studs. Take a normal flat-bladed screwdriver (about 6” long blade) and reach in and locate that free end (tang) of the kicker spring with the end of the screwdriver - what you will want to end up doing is pulling that tang down with the end of the screwdriver into the groove for it that is in the upper case and HOLDING it there as you (or your helper) slides down the lower case to “trap” the tang between the 2 engine halves. Keep holding your screwdriver (and that end of the spring) down in the groove until the other engine half is about ¼” away from being together, then slide the screwdriver out. You should then have the end of the spring “trapped” between the engine halves and then you can slide the case all the way down. You may get some of the case sealer on the screwdriver but that’s not a big deal.

At this point, I usually put on one of the larger nuts for the crankcase area and one of the smaller nuts diagonally opposite it at the back of the engine to hold the halves together temporarily. Then I slide the kicker on the shaft and see if I have good tension on it and that it rotates all the way to the stop like it should and returns all the way back quickly. Then I check to make sure everything else feels right. I will spin the crankshaft to make sure it is not binding and spin both tranny shafts also. If nothing is binding, I put the rest of the nuts on and tighten. You do NOT need to do anything else. (Another step saved as you don’t have to “look in the window, rotate the shaft, and install the stop bolt”).