Pinging Noise in a Kawasaki 350 S2A


Motorcycle Classics tech expert Keith Fellenstein
Editor's note: If you're having trouble with that old Suzuki, BSA or BMW, Keith Fellenstein is your guy. From motorcycle tuning tips to detailed motorcycle engine repair, he can draw from a wealth of experience to help guide you to success. Send questions to: Keith's Garage, Motorcycle Classics, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609, or send an e-mail with "Keith's Garage" as the subject.

Q: I recently purchased a 1973 Kawasaki 350 S2A triple. I'm using regular gasoline. The issue I'm having is a pinging noise coming from cylinder No. 3. This pinging noise is more noticeable at low rpm (below 2,000rpm). What could be causing this problem? — Mario/via email

A: I suppose there could be a carbon spike glowing and pre-igniting cylinder No. 3, but having it happen at idle makes me think it's something else, like a bearing rattle. Pinging usually occurs under moderate throttle while choosing a gear a little higher than conditions require. A mechanic's stethoscope, available at Harbor Freight or any auto parts store, is a handy tool for chasing down odd noises coming from your engine, but a long screwdriver held against the engine case with the other end pressed to your temple can give similar results. What you'll be listening for is the frequency of the sound. Is it every revolution or one in three? If you hear the sound on every revolution, then it's probably bearing related, but if you only hear it every one in three it would be specific to that cylinder.

7/26/2018 10:29:44 AM

93 octane fuel to stay away from alcohol, spark plug proper heat range, a 3 cylinder point and timing check. Check the cylinder nuts for proper torque, copper cyl gaskets can leak, a compression test on 3 compared to the other two cylinders, followed by a crank seal check and a cyl. leak down test. One of these should expose your ping problem... good luck..

7/26/2018 10:20:02 AM

A couple of things, use 93 octane fuel to stay away from alcohol that can make these bikes run hot and noisy..A little more info would be great however, first the obvious, make sure the proper heat range plug is installed, perform a check up on 3 cylinder point and condenser, gap and timing, also check the head gasket, those copper gaskets can leak with the low torque cylinder nuts making strange sounds. If all checks out ok, the next thing is a compression test on 3 compared to the other 2 cylinders. And finally a leak down test to check the outer crank seal for leakage. I suspect one of these tests will find your problem... good luck

7/26/2018 10:19:29 AM

I have one of these bikes!!

The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5.00 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $29.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $34.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter