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Its ALWAYS something...

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Lanse
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Joined: 21 Jul 2007
Posts: 4728
Location: Brookville, OH

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:49 am    Post subject: Its ALWAYS something... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Hey guys, hope everyones been having a good week...

Anyway, my Honda Shadow (VT500, circa 1983) seems to have stopped leaking gas which I am very thankful for. Thats the good news, bad news is that its also stopped running.

Actually, its gotten really hard to start over the last month or so actually thats the reason why I stopped riding it to work, I can't really trust it to start.

It cranks and cranks, and it makes this weird "popping" noise like its firing, but it won't actually "take" and start up. The popping noise isnt loud like a backfire, but its defiantly there...

Sometimes its just temperamental. Yesterday AM I decided I wanted to go for a ride, and went to fire the bike up. Pushed it outside and it wouldn't start. Let it sit for a few hours and then I tried again just for the heck of it, was a little hard starting but it fired right up.

Went to start it today, wouldn't start.

Grrrr....

Also worth noting is that when it DOES start, it doesn't run 100% right. There is that popping sound again especially in the higher RPMS, 6k and up although I rarely take it that high.

It is still present at any RPM over 2k, but its random and sporadic, over 6k it is regular and rhythmic.

Bonus information: The last owner thought he could get more power out of the bike by wallowing out the jets with a drill bit. Didn't work and he sold the bike cheap (to me, wooohooo) because it wouldn't run right. I replaced the jets and it ran perfectly for a while, but who knows what else may have been screwed up. Also, it has been re-wired. I don't know by who or how well it was done, but most of the electrical fixtures are original, just with new wires running to them.

I am NOT a mechanic nor do I claim to be, but IMHO if I had to guess its a spark problem. What should I check? Coils? What do you guys think? It also has a brand new battery and that didn't help. It will usually start with starter fluid...

Any advice is appreciated... Thanks in advance...
 
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dave2
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Joined: 05 Feb 2006
Posts: 13550
Location: Kutzberg, Germany 1972 IHC 423 (German). 2.5 Liter 3cyl direct injection diesel 42HP

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:16 am    Post subject: Re: Its ALWAYS something... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Could be anything but........ My quad wasn't starting the best.. Cross referenced the plug to an autolite and have lived happily ever after...........
 
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Lanse
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Joined: 21 Jul 2007
Posts: 4728
Location: Brookville, OH

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:22 am    Post subject: Re: Its ALWAYS something... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Hmmm, yeah...

Glad you got yours straightened out, I put NGK plugs in mine and it
ran a little better, but this was when I first got it. I cleaned the plugs
and re-installed them this AM and that didnt help. I dont think its
the spark plugs Sad
 
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Kansas Cockshutt
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Joined: 10 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:42 am    Post subject: Re: Its ALWAYS something... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Lanse wrote:
(quoted from post at 12:22:45 11/06/12) Hmmm, yeah...

Glad you got yours straightened out, I put NGK plugs in mine and it
ran a little better, but this was when I first got it. I cleaned the plugs
and re-installed them this AM and that didnt help. I dont think its
the spark plugs Sad


I'd love to help you out. I will try again.

Next time it is hard to start perform the following:
Do your carbs have bowl drains? Loosen and make sure you get a good flow through them, you will need to catch the fuel in a container and be careful so you don't start yourself on fire. If your carbs are full and you get a good flow of fuel- should fill up a small jar after the bowls empty... this will rule out the petcpock, filter in tank/fuel lines/float and needle. If you have no bowl drains, then pull the fuel line off at the carb and re-test. then...

Pull a spark plug and make sure the plug is moist/wet/ gas smell. This will tell you if gas is getting through the carb....

Then hook the spark plug up to a spark tester and see if you get a good strong spark. Be careful here because you have gas vapors all around at this point, use your common sense and don't have the exposed spark right next to the vapors at the spark plug hole. This will rule out the electrical system.

Finally, if all these check out, you have a timing or compression issue. We can address that later if it is the issue.

Good luck.
 
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Tom in TN
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Joined: 05 Mar 2009
Posts: 2749
Location: Middle Tennessee

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:44 am    Post subject: Re: Its ALWAYS something... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Lanse,

My son's first bike was a Honda 100cc street bike. It drove me absolutely nuts intermittently refusing to start. After way too much time, effort, and expense, I found a stripped wire that led to the points that was intermittently shorting out to the cover over the points. On more than one occasion I was ready to throw the bike away and buy him a new one, but I finally found the bad wire.

Might not have anything at all to do with your problem, but 1/4 inch of black electrical tape made my life much better.

Tom in TN
 
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dave2
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Joined: 05 Feb 2006
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Location: Kutzberg, Germany 1972 IHC 423 (German). 2.5 Liter 3cyl direct injection diesel 42HP

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:46 am    Post subject: Re: Its ALWAYS something... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Lanse wrote:
(quoted from post at 12:22:45 11/06/12) Hmmm, yeah...

Glad you got yours straightened out, I put NGK plugs in mine and it
ran a little better, but this was when I first got it. I cleaned the plugs
and re-installed them this AM and that didnt help. I dont think its
the spark plugs Sad


I replaced a new ngk with the autolite......
 
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JMOR
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Joined: 13 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:59 am    Post subject: Re: Its ALWAYS something... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Lanse wrote:
(quoted from post at 14:49:05 11/06/12) Hey guys, hope everyones been having a good week...

Anyway, my Honda Shadow (VT500, circa 1983) seems to have stopped leaking gas which I am very thankful for. Thats the good news, bad news is that its also stopped running.

Actually, its gotten really hard to start over the last month or so actually thats the reason why I stopped riding it to work, I can't really trust it to start.

It cranks and cranks, and it makes this weird "popping" noise like its firing, but it won't actually "take" and start up. The popping noise isnt loud like a backfire, but its defiantly there...

Sometimes its just temperamental. Yesterday AM I decided I wanted to go for a ride, and went to fire the bike up. Pushed it outside and it wouldn't start. Let it sit for a few hours and then I tried again just for the heck of it, was a little hard starting but it fired right up.

Went to start it today, wouldn't start.

Grrrr....

Also worth noting is that when it DOES start, it doesn't run 100% right. There is that popping sound again especially in the higher RPMS, 6k and up although I rarely take it that high.

It is still present at any RPM over 2k, but its random and sporadic, over 6k it is regular and rhythmic.

Bonus information: The last owner thought he could get more power out of the bike by wallowing out the jets with a drill bit. Didn't work and he sold the bike cheap (to me, wooohooo) because it wouldn't run right. I replaced the jets and it ran perfectly for a while, but who knows what else may have been screwed up. Also, it has been re-wired. I don't know by who or how well it was done, but most of the electrical fixtures are original, just with new wires running to them.

I am NOT a mechanic nor do I claim to be, but IMHO if I had to guess its a spark problem. What should I check? Coils? What do you guys think? It also has a brand new battery and that didn't help. It will usually start with starter fluid...

Any advice is appreciated... Thanks in advance...
have you checked valve clearance?
 
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Mike M (RI)
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Its ALWAYS something... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Lanse...just a thought...is the gasoline fresh? I've seen today's gasolines break down and become "stale" fairly quickly. Sometimes it only takes a couple of months to go bad & start causing all kinds of hard starting problems, along with rough running if it does happen to start. Just a thought, thats all.
 
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Mike M
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Its ALWAYS something... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Keep a fire ext. handy as in your hand, I had one doing that and used ether and the darn thing caught fire !!

I was able to keep blowing on it to keep the flames out luckily. I was only 10 feet from an ext. but figured if I ran to get it the whole thing would of burst into flames and the building along with it.
 
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MarkB_MI
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Its ALWAYS something... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Once you get it started, feel the exhaust pipes. Both pipes should immediately warm up; if one isn't, then you know that cylinder is missing.

Does the bike have adjustable valves? If so, better check your valve clearances; you might have a valve that's not closing, which is very bad and can cause bigger problems if it's not corrected.

If you are able to narrow it down to a single cylinder, then you can probably figure out the problem from there. If the cylinder will hit if you give its carb SMALL shot of ether, then it's not getting fuel

Fresh plugs never hurt anything, either.
 
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glennster
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Joined: 14 Aug 2007
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Location: illinois

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Its ALWAYS something... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

like the other guys said, check your valves. i suspect the valve adjuster may have come out or just loosened up. there is a lock nut and a short stud in the rocker arm that is the adjuster. iirc the fuel tank needs to come off to get to the valve adjusters.
 
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Ted in NE-OH
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Its ALWAYS something... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I took an Amtrak train ride in August , Cleveland to Chicago and then to San Francisco and return. Gone two weeks. Parked in Amtrak parking lot in Cleveland and when I returned the car (97 Dodge Intrepid) was not there, it had been stolen. Never did get it back. Yep it is always something.
 
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guido
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Its ALWAYS something... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Hello Lanse,
If it starts with a shot of gas in the carb, you may think it is a gas delivery problem.
BUT......If you have a bad spark, extra gas will get it started. You need to check the spark reaching your plug. Take an old plug, gap it at twice the normal gap, see of you get a good arc across it.
Valves out of adjustment will have the same symptons you describe. I'm betting on the valves!
Guido.
 
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circus
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Its ALWAYS something... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Gas leaks never stop on their own. Gunk, rust or flakes off a misguided owners applied tank lining. Fuel filter? Carbs?
 
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MI AC Parsons
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 4:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Its ALWAYS something... Reply to specific post Reply with quote

dave2, didn't realize autolites were better plugs.
I've got a quad that is my thermometer >43 degrees
runs great, <43 degrees, won't start. thanks
 
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