Q:Just getting caught up on some previous issues and read the question about the smoking 2008 Kawasaki Concours (“Dragon Smoke,” May). I had a similar issue on my 2009 Concours while working in California during the summer of 2014. When the bike sat for more than a day it would smoke from under the fairing for a few minutes when first started. It wasn’t a major issue, so I waited until the end of the riding season when I was back home in western New York to look at it further. While I initially thought it might be a leaking valve cover gasket, it turned out to be a slow drip from around the Crank Position Sensor at the front of the engine, with oil dripping onto the headers below.
I replaced the O-ring while doing the valve inspection and other service under the fairing, which took care of the problem. Unfortunately, the problem came back within a year, and rather than replace the O-ring again and end up with the same result I put some black RTV silicone around the seal. I don’t expect the problem to return. If Jack’s problem continues intermittently, he may want to look into this. DANIEL G. STAYNER YOUNGSTOWN, NY
A:Thanks for keeping me humble. Yes, if you see a whiff of smoke from inside the fairing when first starting your bike from cold, most likely engine oil (or coolant, but that stuff is stinky when burned) has dripped on the exhaust when the rubber seals cooled off, got hard again, and leaked. In the Concours 14’s case, it is the exhaust camshaft sensor O-ring that is most likely the culprit. As you say, a dab of high-temp silicone with a new O-ring will do the trick. It’s also worth a quick check to be sure the last tech fully tightened the valve cover bolts. On older bikes with cable-driven gauges, tachometer drives were usually the leakers.