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How to Troubleshoot the Kawasaki 220 Bayou

by Brianna Collins

Kawasaki first debuted its Bayou utility quad in 1985. Designed for rugged durability, the make lasted for 15 years and featured a number of different trims each year. The Bayou 220 was first released in 1989 and lasted until 2000. Like any vehicle, and especially after years of riding, the Bayou 220 could experience problems in running or starting. Kawasaki offered a number of troubleshooting options in the Bayou 220 owner's manual, laid out according to the particular problem experienced.

Starter Motor Won't Rotate

Step 1

Ensure that the stop motor switch is turned to "on," or the Bayou's starter won't operate.

Step 2

Inspect the fuse on the starter relay, accessed under the Bayou's seat. If the filament looks out of place, it may have blown. Replace it with a 20A fuse.

Step 3

Inspect the battery connections. Tighten if they are loose or otherwise not making contact.

Step 4

Charge the battery to 12 volts by removing the battery from the Bayou and connecting to a separate plug-in battery charger, as recommended in the owner's manual.

Step 5

Replace the battery if it is damaged.

Try the starter again. If it still won't work, take it to a Kawasaki dealer for repairs.

Engine Won't Start

Step 1

Ensure that there is fuel in the gas tank. If not, refill with unleaded gasoline.

Step 2

Ensure that the fuel tap switch is turned to "on." This is a switch located beside the drain screw and drain hose in the Bayou's fuel system.

Step 3

Inspect the gasoline in the tank. If it appears watery or gummy, drain the fuel tank by removing one of the fuel lines. Loosen the clamp on the side of the hose that connects to the fuel tank and allow fuel to drain into a separate container. Reconnect the fuel line and refill with fresh gasoline. If you don't feel comfortable performing this repair, take the Bayou to the shop to have the fuel drained.

Step 4

Remove the spark plug caps and spark plugs on each cylinder with a spark plug wrench. If they appear dark brown or black, clean with a water and baking powder solution. Reinstall the spark plugs.

Step 5

Replace with an NGK D8EA spark plug if the original is damaged.

Restart the engine. Take it to a Yamaha dealer for inspection if it still won't start.

Engine Stalls

Step 1

Ensure that the gas tank is clean and that there are adequate levels of fuel.

Step 2

Leave the choke on for only short periods of time when operating the Kawasaki Bayou.

Step 3

Check the air cleaner, located under the Bayou's seat. Loosen the clamp screw, remove the mounting, and pull the air cleaner out of its housing. Look inside. If dirt is present, clean thoroughly with a damp cloth and reinstall.

Step 4

Ensure that the Bayou is not overloaded with more than 800 pounds of weight, as this can cause the ATV to stall and the engine to overheat.

Step 5

Check engine oil by opening the hood, removing the oil dipstick, drying with a cloth, reinserting, and removing once more. If engine oil levels are lower than the lowest tick, refill with SAE 10W30, 10W40, 10W50, 20W40, or 20W50 viscosity oil so that engine oil levels are between both ticks.

Step 6

Remove the spark plug and replace with an NGK D8EA if it looks damaged.

Restart the engine. Take the Bayou 220 to the shop if the engine still stalls.

Engine Doesn't Have Power

Step 1

Check the compression levels by operating the starter and using a compression gauge for the single cylinder. If compression level is significantly less than 140 pounds for any cylinder, bring the Bayou 220 in for repairs.

Step 2

Remove and inspect the spark plug. If it is damaged, replace with an NGK D8EA plug.

Step 3

Ensure that SAE 10W30, 10W40,10W50, 20W40, or 20W50 engine oil has been used. If not, empty oil tank and refill with correct oil.

Step 4

Check the choke. Turn it off if it's been left on.

Restart the engine. Take your vehicle in for repairs if the engine still does not have power.


  • If troubleshooting fails, only a qualified Kawasaki mechanic with the proper tools and training should attempt more serious repairs on the Bayou 220.


  • Do not smoke while inspecting the fuel system and handling fuel, as fumes could ignite.
  • Exercise caution when handling battery fluid and acid. Wear gloves and eye protection to avoid burns.

Items you will need

  • Gasoline (unleaded)
  • Spark plug wrench
  • NGK D8EA spark plug
  • Compression gauge
  • 12 volt, 12 ampere-hour battery
  • SAE 10W30, 10W40,10W50, 20W40, or 20W50 engine oil

About the Author

Brianna has been writing professionally since 2009. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and is excited to be part of a community that contributes to the free sharing of information and ideas.

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Photo Credits

  • antique oil can image by studio vision1 from