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2001 Kawasaki Prairie 400 2X4 Restore

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Hi All,

I acquired a 2001 Kawasaki Prairie 400 2X4 in really rough shape. Here are some photos of it on the trailer after arriving home..... It had been sitting in a yard dismantled for years...  Good Project..... Supposedly it had drive shaft and swing arm problems but the engine was good.... We will see.....

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Edited by Venom

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It needed quite a few parts that had become missing.. I found an old 98 Kawasaki Prairie 400 2X4 on Craigslist that was part of a 2 ATV bundle. The prairie needed engine work and the Suzuki 250 was in incredibly rough shape. In the end I bought both for $150... So now this is what's sitting at my house... Since I got the first one for free I am into all three of these for $150 so far...

KVF400Dlot (5).jpg

KVF400Dlot (6).jpg

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Ok, the 2001 in general is in much better shape than the 1998. And from doing an inventory on matching parts it looks like I should have most of the needed parts to restore the 2001. First thing is to get the Service manual and get them into the workshop and make the 2001 a rolling chassis..

Once both prairies were in the shop I could see the 2001 needed the rear drive shaft and swing arm. 

After taking the drive shaft and swing arm off the 1998 I saw that the swing arm bearings bearings are really just about non existent. The bearings and races were worn to the point of about to damage to the swing arm but had not yet. I stuck the bearings in a parts washer and they fell apart as the dirt and grease were the only things holding them togfether. I ordered the All Balls 28-1059 Swing Arm Bearing Kit off Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 While Amazon says this is not the right kit.. The All Ballz site says it is the right kit.
I used a Blind Bearing remover tool to get out the races, got it cleaned up and made my own bearing race installation tool. 
The All Balls kit comes with extra parts that do not show up in the service manual.. Where are these placed during assembly? If they used to be on this ATV... They disintegrated along time ago...lol

I contacted All Balls about the extra parts and they sent this email:

After some research it looks like we included those for a different model that this kit fits. So for your machine you will not use those extra pieces. I apologize for the confusion and if you have any other questions just let us know!

Thank You
Brad Peters
Customer Service Rep.
Arrowhead Powersports
Phone: 515-402-8000 Ext. 5126

Once I got that email I installed the Swing Arm and everything else to have a rolling Chassis.... I rolled it outside and pressure washed the crap out of it... Pictures of it clean and the home made bearing race installation tool. 

KVF400Drolling .jpg


Edited by Venom

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Got the radiator fan sensor wires repaired to factory and took the fan and lower radiator hose off the 1998. Thoroughly cleaned the radiator from the 2001 and got it all installed. The upper radiator hose on the 2001 has a T fitting near the engine where as the 1998 does not. I cut the hose at the appropriate points and it became a 2001 hose.


KVF400Dradiator (14).jpg

Edited by Venom

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Slowly restoring this 2001 Kawasaki PRAIRIE KVF400-D. Finally got to the point to try and start it. It turns over fine and has great compression. I am not getting any spark. I started testing all the ignition components and wiring. I found that the CDI box is not passing 12 volts to the coil. All the other CDI box inputs and outputs are working correctly. Since the CDI box is not passing 12 volts to the coil of course I can't test the coil yet. So , I spent the last two days reading all over the internet.. I found an incredible amount of posts about this problem ( CDI Box not supplying 12 volts to the coil ) and not one solution.. No one ever says if it was fixed or not. Is the CDI box bad? That is the way I am leaning but it could be some safety thing stopping the 12V out to the coil. I have the service manual and it has a chart of the pin outs from the CDI and shows you what the readings on your meter should be when touching all the different pin out combinations.. The CDI Box seems to test ok, but is not passing 12 volts to the coil. A new CDI box is around $400 and a used one has been impossible to find so far...  ( Only got 1 CDI box between the two Prairies )

  Ok, So I modified a cheap  No Name CDI Box to help troubleshoot the KV400F. It is not as picky as the factory CDI Box and let the KVF400 run although crappy. Which let me find the hairline crack in the bottom of the coil. ( Coil had tested fine with the ohm meter. ) Once I replaced the coil it ran smooth at idle and a little above but the carburetor needs a rebuild definitely. Using my cheap modified CDI Unit allowed me to troubleshoot easily. Along with the crack in the coil I was able to find one ground that was not great. After fixing that ground and putting on the new coil the factory CDI box would let the engine start and it would run the same as with the cheap CDI BOX. So the next step is to rebuild the Carburetor. Also except for a newer model fuse holder the battery compartment is back to factory condition.

KVF400Done (11).JPG

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It's running great now!!!   I took apart the carburetor and soaked the parts in break cleaner.. Blew everything out with air and reassembled it. I was surprised what good condition all of the gaskets and parts were in. I cleaned out the gas tank and put on a new fuel filter.  I added Berryman B-12 Chemtool to my gas as well as Sta-Bil.  It started after about 3 seconds and idled like new.. nice smooth power all the way up... I had changed the oil and filter and will change it again soon.  I replaced the rear end gear oil, should I say cleaned out some sludge and filled it with gear oil. I looked at the front brakes and they were metal on metal. I got some new semi metallic brake pads and caliper rebuild kits as they were frozen.. The master cylinder is shot too. I bought this master cylinder    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N1JWGJK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I had used one before and it worked great and you can't beat the price at $17. The only downfall is that the factory rubber boot cannot be used.

Once the calipers and master cylinder were off I blew out the brake lines, put in some new brake fluid and blew it out.. I installed the master cylinder and filled it with brake fluid and let it come out the lines until it was clean.

Once I got the calipers apart I was surprised what good condition all the seals were in.. I used the rebuild kits anyway. And for those that don't know this tip. The easiest way to get the piston out of the caliper is with compressed air and a blow gun. make sure the pressure is set low. put a piece of carboard in front of the piston and keep your fingers out of the way. you can hurt your self badly , that piston comes out fast and hard like guillotine if you have to much pressure. insert the blowgun into the hose fitting and gently release some air. It will come out very easily.

Once I got everything reassembled with the new brake pads I bled the system with a brake bleeding tool. It went smoothly and the front brakes work perfectly.




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Next I did the rear brakes or let me say... I took off the rear drum and the brakes looked like new. Then I realized The rear brake cable from the handlebars was broken somewhere inside and the pedal cable had broken at the pedal.. This must have happened early on and they only had front brakes..

I was able to use the pedal cable from the 1998 and bought a new cable for the front.. Got them installed and adjusted. Rear brakes work great...


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I started putting the Prairie back together. I lucked out.. Between the two Prairies , at least one had a good part if the other did not.. I installed the factory head lights and they worked but swapped them out for some bright led headlights. Now that everything works perfectly I can do some cosmetic things like sand and paint the rims...etc... I was very luck that no engine work was involved and it runs great... My next project needs and engine rebuild ... I will start posting.. That one I will need help with.... :)

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