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The information on these pages is accurate to the best of the author's knowledge. The author can assume no responsibility for the use or misuse of this information by the reader. The reader is expected to secure any other information needed from Service Manuals or other sources. It is up to the reader to determine his/her ability to make any modifications noted. If the reader does not feel qualified he/she should enlist professional help
Chet's PRAIRIE Pages
Kawasaki Prairie 650 ATV

By Chet Walters
Click any picture to see enlargement Click any underlined words for more information or a link to a product.

I find the Prairie floorboards just fine for mild riding and woods humping, but on those extreme off camber sliders they just are not adequate for safely distributing your weight as you need to.  They also get filled up with ice in the winter.  I took some two inch wide by " thick mild steel and made some brackets.  Mounted them to bolt on through the slots in the floorboards and bent them at a 45 angle.  To those, I welded some rebar with the ends bent slightly down.  The pic shows it best so click it.  They really help with sidewinding up hills, extreme speed sliders (the ones where yer butt needs to be on the inside fender) and keeping your feet on the boards in icy conditions.  Click here for a pic of what motivated me to make these little items. If you build a set, your materials may vary.  I normally use stuff that's lying around in the shop to make things (I'm cheap).

I've installed an ECM power pack from High Lifter.  There are other makes, but this one serves me well and was easy to install.  Fixes the "detune" that was built into the ignition at low RPM. No more hesitation and lots of power right off the block!  Finally able to get the front end light when I need it.  Had a Dynatek module on my Valkyrie, but took it off even after I started carrying my stock module with me for those times it failed (which was often).  Left me stranded. Won't even work now at all (nice paperweight). Hope theirs for the 650 is good (carry your old one with you), but I won't be getting one.  Didn't see enough improvement anyway. 

NOTE: - never ever ever use scotch locks to do any electrical splicing on any equipment that may be used outdoors.  I learned this long ago in my motorcycle career.  They corrode since they are dissimilar metals with most wire and will eventually fail.  You'll go slightly (or completely) NUTS trying to find the lost contact.  Always SOLDER splices and connections.

I've just (as of 09-20-04) installed an High Performance rectifier/regulator. This is a new item from Pro Comm and I usually like new "black box" goodies but.....  It died after about 8 months!  Bad idea!
DO NOT BUY ONE OF THESE.  THIS ONE WORKED FOR ABOUT 8 MONTHS AFTER WHICH  IT BEGAN TO FRY MY MAIN FUSE.  REPLACED IT WITH MY ORIGINAL OEM TO RESTORE MY BABY TO WORKING ORDER! It now rests in peace at the bottom of the Shenango River which I was near when it fried. I wisely had my stock rectifier with me at the time which the above blurb about the Dyna will show..  Early symptoms - hard starting - intermittent bad running...

Note, too, that in four wheel drive, your 650 quad will do front end wheelies in reverse so be careful! There's a coupla ways to disable the reverse rev limiter - this is my method.  Just (semi) permanently "press" the override button with a toggle switch.  Wires are easily accessible under the radiator fill body panel.  Just use a switch to bridge the YELLOW/BLACK and the BROWN wire which are in their own plug under the cover.  Leave the switch hidden there secured with a zip tie to the mud flap.  Click here for one of the reasons I did this (using a plow is a pain with the reverse rev limiter active).  Got a novice rider from time to time? Or you get spooked after one of those front end FWD wheelies!!  Just switch it back to the OEM override button anytime easily - no tools required!  See the pic for more....

NOTE: This mod does not affect the Belt Sensor or the reverse indicator light both of which still work just fine in case you have that safety concern.

COOLING SYSTEM (she used to run hot)
Best thing you can do is keep the radiator fins clean! Careful with the power washer, it can bend fins. If you stick the washer's tip inside the bar grille (upper plastic part) between the lowest "bars" you can get it pretty clean and it's a pretty straight shot so as not to bend the fins but again, careful. A needle nose nozzle for a regular hose from the hardware store or WalMart can be inserted in the honeycomb grill (lower metal part) for the lowest part of the rad (upper too if a power washer is unavailable or spooks ya). Drill some 5/8" holes in the honeycomb for access with car wash power washers or hose nozzle.

2003 650 lower rad shrouds are different and will fit on the 2002 four wheeler. It has a flange/flap on the back of it which deflects mud and stuff away from the bottom fins of the radiator. Problem is, there must be lots of folks that know about this since I couldn't get one (deep dark back order) so I made one. Just added little aluminum flange to my existing shroud in the back with leftover carpet edge. You can use an old piece of siding bent or even an inner tube from a bicycle tire (I couldn't use a tube since it wanted to get tangled in the winch cable so if you have a winch...). Like I said, I'm cheap!

I run the coolant additive Water Wetter mixed one ounce per quart of water & antifreeze (Prairie uses only two ounces) since I've used it in all my motorcycles and it works well as I have found over the years.  When mixing coolant with water for your radiator, USE DISTILLED WATER only. Get a tester and mix for your lowest expected temp minus 10. USE DISTILLED WATER!

Using muffler wrap on the front cylinder's exhaust pipe is kinda cheap. Tried two $6 packs of it but took it off. Looked like crap and I'm not fond of wrapping the pipe near the motor. Didn't help anyway since that's part of the cooling system, too (the exhaust pipe that is). One problem is the rad hose hose which routes itself right there next to the pipe. Helps if you zip tie the doggone hose away from the pipe (keep 'em loose enough not to restrict flow). I put some hardware store pipe insulation (split foam tubing) on the rad hose which helps keep it from absorbing heat from the pipe, but if you do, it gets beat up pretty good so check and replace as needed.  This indeed seems to help and is cheap.  I haven't heard my fan all season long (wonder if the fan switch still works...) and it used to run sometimes for five minutes after I shut off the machine!

Possible reasons for hot running: dirty rad fins - too much coolant - not enough coolant - lean fuel mixture - heat range of plugs too hot - stuck choke - carbs out of synch - fan switch bad - thermostat bad - hard water deposit buildup

'02 Kawasaki Prairie 650 CARB STUFF
If your choke was ever stuck, check your oil. If it smells like gas, then the stuck choke caused washdown on your cylinder walls. CHANGE IT! THE OIL! NOW! (your crumby petcock will do this too so make sure you store your Prairie with the petcock turned to off)

If yer fouling (especially rear) plugs and she runs like the reverse rev limiter is stuck on in all gears....... My very early 2002 650 choke cable sucked and was (I hear lots were) made poorly and caused binding plus the stock return spring was weakly inadequate. Bummer! If yer cheap like me, you can fix it kinda easy.  Just take apart your stock (stuck) choke at the carb, lube the crap out of the (especially rear) cables and stretch the plunger return springs to 1 times their length before re-assembly. Works great! But, even better, order KLR 650 dirt bike choke springs (16C063, 92081-1720 Called a SPRING PLUNGER) which will not need further maintenance. If ya have an '02, do it BEFORE ya get jammed up on a nice high climber and run outta power by surprise! My Prairie also had a problem with the idle adjust screw.  The locking spring was too long and the idle screw never contacted anything inside hence, no idle adjust at all.  Solution was to cut about one third off the spring.  Works dandy now!  Click the pic for details...

Synch your carbs!  On a six banger like my Valkyrie, this is a real job (as you can imagine), but on the V twin Prairie, it's a breeze.  I use a Carbtune for the job on both.... and here's a page on how to do it on the Prairie.

You can shim your stock needles for a buck using washers from Radio Shack! They are precision and cheap! Part #64-3022. Fuss with them 'til ya get it right.  I have not done this on the Prairie (my plugs look good) but I did do it on my Valkyrie.

HA!  Be careful where and when you store your quad.  Those little critters just LOVE snorkels..... Check the pic.

  • Moose fannypack on the bars (in that wasted space) which needed a little trickery to mount (see pic).
  • Moose tank saddle bags (see pic)  and yes, they do allow the shifter on the Prairie to work ok - fits in the space between the straps.
  • Moose fender bags (see pic)  on the left side for my rain gear and right side for my other stuff. Clears the gas cap.  Mount 'em with zip ties thru the floorboard (see pic).

Moose stuff can be found at MOOSE online or visit your dealer

The end caps are made of plastic!  Actually, they all are regardless of brand it seems.  For some reason (?) my "engage/disengage" end cap (PIC) stripped a group of teeth, hence winch slippage and uselessness.  Thot I might have to pay for a whole new winch (OUCH) but a call to WARN (XLENT COMPANY!) got me a part number for the end cap (36030) and a search on the web turned up Montana Jack's ATV Outpost and Supply.  Now Jack's is a class act.  Ordered the end cap online Friday night around 10PM Eastern and it arrived by Tuesday next at 10 AM Eastern and I was winching again by noon!  Instead of $300 for a new winch, it was $30 for end cap and shipping.  Whew!

A note:  The square nuts are held in place only by the plastic cap.  Once I did manage to dismount the rusty bugger, I welded the nuts onto the brackets (see pic) so the next time I mount or dismount, no problem with spinning hidden nuts.

Got a three way hitch from Cabella's for towing my lawn trailer, my "rig" trailer and, of course, towing all those poor poor "other" quads out of the woods.  This thing needs a little modification to work on the Prairie.  I added some weld beads on the bottom of the hitch before mounting it.  Put it on finger tight & straight and mark with a Sharpie where the Prairie's mount will mate at the bottom of the hitch.  Remove it and put some THICK weld beads along those lines on the hitch which will keep the thing centered.  Bolt it back on tight! Very nice. Handles a strap, pin and ball.  Click for a pic which shows hitch and also where the winch operator switch is mounted on the front fender. 

--You can extend your bars and make them very easy to grasp by adding OURY soft grips and Lockhart-Phillips grip ends. (PIC)

--For some reason, when I had all the bumpers and racks off her, she looked surprisingly like a chevy!  sooo.... (PIC)

--A cargo net (sold for motorcycles) fits rather well on top of the racks of the Prairie 650. (PIC)

--Body repair: The guy that invented zip ties should get the Nobel Prize.  Drill some strategically located holes (5/32 usually works but drill for your size ties). Stitch 'er up!  They remain flexible and do a fine job of closing those wounds! I like to use WILD colors on mine!  Oh, and drill little holes at the ends of each crack.  That keeps them from "running" and getting bigger.  Don't ask me why, but it works! (PIC)

--I use silicone lube gel (you can get it at Radio Shack) on all my electrical connections to keep them clean and corrosion free.  There is a liquid version at the Shack they call a Precision Oiler that's good for electrical stuff and such.

--Replaced both my plug caps with straight NGK caps I got at my Honda dealer. Just trim your plug wires a little to get a good end (clean tight braid) and "screw" the wires into the caps. I did this because the stock caps wanted to leak electricity when wet. To check for leaks, wait 'til dark and start her up. Mist with a spray bottle of water. If you see a light show, replace the caps. Plug wires also screw on the other end into the coils as well, so you can check them by unscrewing and trim as necessary & screw them back in.

--If you remove the top bolts on your rear rack and lift it enough to slip a regular old 3/8" nut under there as an extra spacer on each side it will make your rear rack perfectly level plus, it will raise the front enough so that your passenger (you shouldn't have a passenger, but we all know you do) has a good hand hold without scraping knuckles on the fender.  There's plenty of bolt there to handle the extra spacer.

She was a little worn, scratched and rusty racked.  Got the racks and all the other stuff powder coated Wrinkle Black ($300) and put on a camo cover ($100 on eBay)..  The wrinkled racks look really cool and they shed the mud & dirt excellently (water and mud beads up).  The wrinkle affords traction for the floorboards too.  It is not necessary to remove the racks to install the camo cover which fits like a glove covering everything except the lower mud flaps. It sheds mud & dirt quite nicely on the surface as well (water and mud beads up).  LOOKS GREAT!  Only drawbacks - mud collects in the rear fender pockets (not too badly and it washes out ok with a hose) and you can't get to the air cleaner without near total 10 minute removal of the cover, but while it's off you can throw it in the washing machine with your dirty riding togs!!! Click the series of pics below for details.

Well, that last ride when it was -02F just was too much.  Ordered a $60 windshield from Cabela's Sunday midnight and it arrived on Tuesday noon!  Awesome!  This is a nice unit and acts like a full fairing keeping you and your hands warm.  No more foggy goggles to try to see through!  No more frostbitten nose or ice caked mitts!  This thing even gathers the heat from the motor to keep you extra warm.  They claim 50mph max and I attained that in open country no sweat.  This shield is very flexible and mounts right to the Prairie mirror mounts (pop the little caps out).  Since this puppy will need removed and replaced often, I enhanced for ease the mounting system by making inch and a quarter long studs from cut off M10 x 1.25 stainless bolts and Loctited them.  Then I re-tapped some M10 x 1.50 wing nuts to 1.25 pitch (easier than finding 1.25 pitch wing nuts in a hurry).  Now, for an easy install, just set the shield on the studs and apply the wing nuts.  Easy off, too! Just remove the wing nuts and the shield sits there waiting for a lift off. No extra tools to carry and it's a one hand operation even with cold fingers!  No mud will get into the threads either when the shield's not on there.  Click pic for more information.

A note:  Yes, this shield does hamper "rough" riding since it limits your ability to lean forward on steep uphills and gets opaque pretty quick in the mud.  However, if yer riding in snow and freezing temps... my assessment is that this shield provides for MORE safety overall because your hands are not numb and your goggles are not foggy.


Get a length of strong 3/8" ID hose and some clamps.  Get some 3/8 OD hose too.  Assemble your oiler as shown.  Make sure you use a REGULATED air compressor.  It might be necessary to put the little split hose over the sleeve for a good fit on smaller cables. A locking tire chuck helps a bunch.  Run some PB'laster mixed with some motor oil to clean it out then fill with some chain oil or regular 30 weight oil for the second push.  Make sure that the other end of the cable will not spill dirt and grit in where you need it to be clean!  You might want to disconnect both ends of the cable and wrap the other end in a rag.  Click pic for a bigger view.

In Ohio, we can ride on secondary roads as long as the lights are on, we have a brake light and are licensed and insured.  There is no requirement for turn signals, but you can add them easy enough with some simple wiring, a few $2 - $5 parts and it will even have an indicator lamp if you so choose! Substitute LED lights for the 1156 and you're on your way! (see pic
NOTE: Some really good LED lights for signals can be found at Super Bright LED's (visit link).  If you use LED's, you'll have to add one 10 ohm wire wound resistor in parallel dumped to ground on each side so the flasher will flash.

If your Prairie goes into "Limp Home Mode" you can reset the belt sensor by doing this:

This stuff is behind the air duct to the torque coverter (by the petcock, see pic).
Unplug 2 pin conector going to belt switch (A). Unplug black conector and unplug white conector (B) beside it (white plug is a reset plug which has no wires conected to it from machine) Plug white reset plug into black plug & plug black plug into white. turn key to on for at least five seconds then turn off. plug everything back to stock. You are done.

If it keeps doing it, you may need to replace the belt, sensor, or other parts.  Click -> here <- for a page on what to test.

MY FAMILY!! 2002 Prairie 650 - 1999 Honda 300EX - 2003 Bombardier 90
And the newest member a 2005 Suzuki LT-Z400 makes a barn fulla four wheelers!

Special note:  I just received (01-08-05) a complete Team Suzuki graphics set for the Z4000 from Suzuki FREE!  Celebrating Doug's win of the 2004 ATV Pro GNC M/X Championship. (see pic1 and pic2)

CHEAP SECURITY!! Wireless Driveway Patrol motion sensor.  Only $20 or so for peace of mind at home or on the road. Got one in my barn (which is 300 feet from the house) and another to take with me for motel stays (lay it inside the Prairie's rear wheel and if she gets moved...... or put in under the cover of my GL1800 Gold Wing.).  Helps of you store the receiver next to your piece for even more piece of mind.  Get them at Harbor Freight Tools or elsewhere (search the net for Driveway Patrol).  


POORMAN'S KILL TETHER AND GOODBYE Z400 BLOB!! Well, the blob is ugly, the choke malfunctions, the kill switch is nearly impossible to throw with gloves on and it's prone to getting dirty and more..... So, we eliminate the blob. I've seen this on Z400 sites so I followed suit but I added a $4.00 poorman's tether and a $5.00 start button. The rest went. You will need to get a choke button to mount on the carb (big improvement on the OEM which breaks all the time), a new start switch (off an RM or whatever), and a trailer plug. It's all shown in the pics at left but to clarify:

Under the light/key cluster cover I cut back beyond the plugs that come from the clutch safety and the blob connector. There I connected the ORANGE wire which carries power to all of this stuff (keep the joint to the right handlebar so you will have a brake light) up to one side of my NC tether then the other side comes down to the ORANGE/WHITE you find nearby under there. For the start button, I connected BLACK/WHITE to one side and YELLOW/BLACK to the other. Since I also dumped the light switch for hi beams I twisted together the GRAY wire and the YELLOW wire and capped off the WHITE lo beam wire. I used a snip of bicycle inner tube to cover all the new wiring and very securely zip tied the trailer plug to the handle bar. For the "pull" part of of the poorman's tether, I chose to use stainless safety wire for strength. It has worked flawlessly because I left enough loose so that it will pull apart in any direction. Unplug that and the engine dies! The rest is gone and it all works dandy!

Click here for scrollable printable PIC1

Click here for scrollable printable PIC2

Click here for scrollable printable PIC3

Need we say more!

Got a farm trailer for local hops.  

For longer hauls, I use the bigger rig. Twenty feet by Eight feet Timberwolf. Inside is modified as living space with a fridge, AC, inflatable bed and what not.  I can get most of my toys in there, haul 'em where I want, park the toys in a tent and live in the trailer.  Sorry, haven't written this one up yet tho.....

Click each pic for a larger view.

I will send this seven year old (7 as of 2004) up a trail with his Bombardier 90 for scouting.  If he makes it up the hills and off the jumps, I just might follow him. MAYBE!  The pic at left shows him last year at six years old testing out the new extended swingarm and gas shock we installed on the 90. Many more pics of my fearless grandson can be found here.... Chris Jr.


Here's some more pics of Chris in action: PIC1 - PIC2 - PIC3

This kid gets around too - here's some fun pics of chris on vacation - PIC1 - PIC2 - PIC3

He's grown now and ran his bone stock Z400 for many a motocross finishing second behind a $15,000 souped up Yamaha most races.