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Steven Urban

1989 Kawasaki Bayou 220 - Won't Start

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First time using this forum.  Owned a Kawasaki dirt bike once, had no issues.  But I picked up this 4 wheeler at an auction.  They stated it ran, but only needed a battery.  Well I do not believe that was all true.

Some pictures are attached.  Not sure why, but the whole air filter stuff was removed.  They had some small thing inserted as a make shift air filter.

I purchased a battery to try this all out.  Waiting to return it and get the proper size, as it was too big for the battery box.  But here is my issue I had while the battery was connected.

1 - The lights on the steering column did not come on.  Not sure if they work or not.

2 - The starter solenoid seems to be bad.  I have a new one on order. 

3 - In the pick, there is another rusted part.  Not sure what that part is or what it is used for.

4 - What is the 12v rectifier?  square bodied part.

So when I hooked the battery up.  Pushing the start button did nothing.  Pulling the cord to try and pull start, it turned, but would never fire.  I have put in a new spark plug as well, it looked worn out.  With electric start, I crossed over the posts on the start solenoid, it turned over, but would never fire and start.

I have read a few other threads and it stated something about needed the neutral light on.  SOmething about a kill switch.

Any help would be appreciated.




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Hey @Steven Urban welcome to Quadcrazy. 
The second part you show in the picture is your starter circuit relay. It all starts from your neutral safety switch. It looks like its in bad shape but they still work in that condition. 
Anyway you should have 4 wires going into it. Light green, brown and two black ones. 
Here's how it works: the green wire runs down to the neutral safety switch on the left side of the engine right above the shifter.  
The brown wire is a 12v positive wire.  
The two black wires are what completes the start circuit when touched together. 
Here is where to start: take a jumper wire and jump the two black wires on the relay together and hit the start button. (Make sure the atv is in neutral) and see if it cranks.  
if so thats good.  
After that; 
Take  a tester and see if you have 12v+ on the  brown wire at the relay. If so then thats good. Now the green wire is simply a ground thats made when the atv is in neutral. That green wire has a device inside the engine that when clicked into neutral it grounds the green wire. So in essence the 12v brown on the relay and the green (ground) when put in neutral energizes the relay and brings the two black wires together and also brings on the neutral light.  If you have no ground from the green wire then put a jumper from green wire on the realy to a good ground. If that works then the neutral safety switch is bad. 

That starter circuit relay is an easy find if need be.  

Do some of these test first and lets see what you get.  


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@Frank Angerano  Havent had a chance to do much.  I dont have a garage.  I live in the country.  It has been raining.  Still waiting on the new starter solenoid.  Got a battery today.

So havent been able to test yet.  But what you posted, very good info to start with.

Once I can test it, I will post my results.

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Yes sir keep us posted and please ask any questions you may have! We will be more then happy to answer to the best we can! 
good luck ! 

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As far as a battery, everything I find on this 4 wheeler say this battery "Battery 12V 11AH YB10A-A2", is there  a huge difference in batteries?  Not easy finding that one.

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So I got a battery in.

1 - Doing nothing else but connecting the battery cables.  Nothing happens.

2 - I jump the 2 black wires.  Same thing, nothing happens.

Still waiting for the new starter solenoid to come in.  I gotta find my tester to see if 12v is coming off the solenoid.

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The  starter solenoid should have a 12+ power wire, maybe the white i cant remember.  

Have you jumped the two wires on the solenoid to see if the engine cranks ? Also some models had to have the brake lever pulled in.  Any dash lights ? 

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I jumped the 2 black wires.  No crank.  No neutral light.  No head lights.  No nothing.

Not sure when my new starter solenoid will arrive.  Starter solenoid has 3 wires, black, white and brown.

I found my volt tester, but it is bad.  So got to get a new one.  Cant check for 12v on any wires yet.

I even tried with clutch and brake levers pulled in.  Nothing, no sound of any kind.  Fuse is good on the solenoid.  But it must be toasted. 

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Ok the brown should be the hot 12+. Have you tried to jump the two bigger wires on the relay? The ones with the nuts on the relay ?

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I traced a similar issue on a Bayou once, and it turned out the solenoid was bad.  There is a white wire that comes out of the solenoid and it's the 12V+ that goes to the ignition switch (on a 98 anyway).  Somehow the solenoid was bad internally and not allowing power through to the white wire.  Replaced that and then I could hear the starter relay click, then traced it from there and had it turning over about an hour later.

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Jumping the 2 big nuts.  I did that the with a screw driver and it tries to turn over, but that is all it does.


Starter Solenoid
Post Battery Side 12.1 flucuates though
Post Out Side nothing registers
White 12.1
Brown 11.85
Black 11.85

New starter solenoid should arrive today at some point.

Rusted out thingy - not sure the name of it.  Relay.
Brown - 11.85
Black - 11.85
Green - nothing
Other Black - nothing

Edited by Steven Urban

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I doubt both bulbs on the dash are bad but you never know.  Pull and check the bulbs and the sockets that they sit in for rust.   

Rusted out thingy - not sure the name of it: neutral safety relay 

Brown - 11.85 (should have 12v+) 11.85 is ok

Black - 11.85 (good) once relay closes it sends that 11.85 through to the next black wire. 

Green - nothing take a continuity reading from the green wire on the relay to ground. If you don't have continuity then the green wire is not grounded. Put a jumper from black - on battery to that green wire.  The relay should click closed and dash lights should come on. 

Other Black - will get 11.85 after relay closes. 

Take the main black wire from the battery and trace it to where it bolts up to the frame and remove, clean the frame with sandpaper  and reconnect. You could have a dirty ground connection. 


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See picture, I am pointing to where the battery ground wire goes.  It is on the pull start area, with a screw.

Neutral Light
I swapped the bulbs around, seems 1 is bad.  The neutral light is on.  I have 1 working bulb...lol  Got a p/n to get another one?

Neutral Safety Relay
With key on.  Only 1 black wire has 11.85

Seems the relay closes, but doesnt send power to the other black wire.

Not sure how to take a continuity ready.  I am not great at electrical stuff like that.  I do good getting the volt reading.  Not sure this matters since the dash light does come on.

I can jump the 2 big posts on the starter and it will try to turn over, that is it.  Just wont fire up.


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Ok so that wire your pointing to should be the main ground to your battery? If so loosen it up or take it out and clean and put it back. Check and clean all grounds while ur at it.  
As far as the relay goes the contacts could not be making contact, those two black wires completes the push button circuit. Try again to jump them together and see if the push button works.   You may also want to take that push button control off of the handlebar and make sure its not full of water or corroded inside.  I would also identify the color wires on the push button and do a continuity test on the button to see that its working.   

Continuity testing: set your tester to the symbol that looks like a horse shoe or the symbol that looks like a volume control.  Either setting will work. Take the two leads of the tester and touch them together. The horseshoe  setting will show numbers the volume looking symbol will make the tester  ring.  Depending on the tester. 
So all you have to do now to do a continuity test is lets say you want to test a doorbell. You take the two test leads and put one on one screw of the door bell wire connection and the other lead on the other screw. Press the door bell and the tester will ring or show a reading. If so you have continuity! 

So treat the start button like a doorbell and test it.  

As far as the green wire on the relay, put a tester lead on the green wire and the other lead on the ground. Put the engine in gear and test.  You should not get a reading. Put the engine in neutral and you should get a reading. If so the neutral safety switch is working.    
I hope this make sense? 
Pics of a tester attached.  




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Nice Fluke! I use a 73 series 3 i've had for probably 15 years or so.  Can't properly diagnose without a good multimeter!

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