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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Its ALWAYS something...

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Author  [Modern View]
Lanse

11-06-2012 10:49:05
209.251.8.126



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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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sotxbill

11-07-2012 09:05:32
144.160.98.80



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to Lanse, 11-06-2012 10:49:05  
99 percent carbs and fuel...

my 2008 750 nighthawk has to have vaccum for the petcock to release fuel. So you might have the same style. Meaning you have fuel or carb problems.

newer models have removed the points so that unless the wires are really chewed up, your good, but you must have a great battery and great connections.



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ss55

11-07-2012 00:58:46
50.81.68.105



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to Lanse, 11-06-2012 10:49:05  
You may have discovered the reason most new motorcycles and snowmobiles now have fuel injection instead of carburators.

Does the bike only run with a lot of choke? Does it pop and snap out the exhaust? Does it die when you try to open the throttle? Early 1980's motorcycle carburators gum up really fast on today's gas and they don't tolerate six week old gas. The idle circuits have some really small holes that plug easily. If mine had gas left in the carbs (4 carbs) and it was not run every month it would have problems.

Many times fresh gas with some carb cleaner added will slowly open things up again after ideling a while and then riding a few miles until some power starts to come back. If it's really bad you may need to disassemble the carbs and clean them. They need new gasket kits every ten years or so anyway because the vacuum diaphrams above the slides get stiff.

You can reduce your problems by shutting off the gas when you are not running it. If it will sit a few weeks try letting it run with the gas shut off until the carbs are empty and the engine dies on it own (like is done with some two cylinder John Deeres). Always drain the gas tank and the carbs drains over winter. Take the battery out too or disconnect it and charge it every 4 to 6 weeks over the winter.

Are your carburators Kleins or Minkunis? Minkunis are not bad to work on, I've never had any Kleins. Figure $10 to $20 per carb kit from Dennis Kirk.com, Shade Tree, etc., more from a bike shop. $50 or more per carb to have a motorcycle shop rebuild your carbs if you remove, reinstall and resyncronize them yourself. $200 or more for a tuneup and adjust the valves on a two cylinder bike.

A Hannes or Honda service manual and a visit to a good website for your model of bike will explain it all in detail with good pictures. It's not difficult, from the other projects you have posted on YT, I think you would enjoy it.

Good luck.

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Stick welding

11-06-2012 19:38:01
96.53.210.246



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to Lanse, 11-06-2012 10:49:05  
See if your local Honda shop can test your stator and other ignition parts. That could cause the problem you're having. I had a 1986 CR 125 that a spring inside the flywheel cover broke and got behind the flywheel. The spring was to return the clutch but it wasn't really needed. I couldn't figure out why the bike was spitting and popping and had no power. It was at a race and I barely got it started before the race. After the race I noticed the big rubber plug where ignition wires used to go through on older models was blown out. I assume part of the spring blew that out and the other part got behind the flywheel destroying it and the rotor. $440 later for a new stator and flywheel and that's with a deal because the dealer felt bad for me. That was in 1989 and the bike had less than 10 hours on it. Hopefully your problem is a lot simpler and cheaper to fix.

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dave2

11-06-2012 16:31:02
139.139.35.17



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to Bud in WV, 11-06-2012 10:49:05  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

I didn't either... Somone on here gave the tip a couple years ago... They're half the price or less than ngk also



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Lanse

11-06-2012 16:22:18
209.251.8.126



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to Lanse, 11-06-2012 10:49:05  
Valves it is, I hope...

This thing made a LOT of valve noise. I guess it still would, if it would start...

I called a buddy of mine who has been in a few videos who is really good with engines, he said he'd come look at it this saturday for me. Im glad I re-did the roll bar on his truck for him last summer, I knew I'd need to call in that favor sometime lol.

He says its *probably* nothing too major from how I described it...

Lets hope he's right...

I meant to adjust the valves on this thing, I mean, 22k miles and its probably never been done.

I'll let it sit until we get to looking at it.

Either way, Im sure a valve adjustment can't hurt anything. Ill check for spark and gas tomorrow.

Thanks everyone! :)

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circus

11-06-2012 15:45:56
72.251.63.31



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to Lanse, 11-06-2012 10:49:05  
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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GUIDO

11-06-2012 15:21:54
71.168.202.245



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to Lanse, 11-06-2012 10:49:05  
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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Ted in NE-OH

11-06-2012 15:00:52
173.189.169.175



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to Lanse, 11-06-2012 10:49:05  
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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glennster

11-06-2012 14:30:19
75.57.134.154



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to Lanse, 11-06-2012 10:49:05  
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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MarkB_MI

11-06-2012 14:11:33
75.219.137.148



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to Lanse, 11-06-2012 10:49:05  
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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Mike M

11-06-2012 12:25:21
24.140.0.120



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to Lanse, 11-06-2012 10:49:05  
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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Mike M (RI)

11-06-2012 12:04:14
68.0.222.78



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to Lanse, 11-06-2012 10:49:05  
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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JMOR

11-06-2012 11:59:01
72.181.173.171



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to woodbutcher, 11-06-2012 10:49:05  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to seehave you checked valve clearance?



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dave2

11-06-2012 11:46:21
79.240.157.122



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to woodbutcher, 11-06-2012 10:49:05  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

I replaced a new ngk with the autolite......



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Tom in TN

11-06-2012 11:44:14
75.149.99.233



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to Lanse, 11-06-2012 10:49:05  
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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Kansas Cockshutt

11-06-2012 11:42:24
12.5.176.70



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to woodbutcher, 11-06-2012 10:49:05  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

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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dave2

11-06-2012 11:16:33
79.240.157.122



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to Lanse, 11-06-2012 10:49:05  
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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MI AC Parsons

11-06-2012 16:01:16
50.33.217.82



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to dave2, 11-06-2012 11:16:33  
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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MarkB_MI

11-06-2012 17:09:21
75.219.137.148



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to MI AC Parsons, 11-06-2012 16:01:16  
I don't know if Autolites are better than NGK, but I've had better luck with Autolites in my motorcycles. Three bikes: Harley Sportster, Yamaha Virago and Triumph Tiger all running the Autolites. Iridium plugs in the Triumph, the other two did just fine with the cheap variety.



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Lanse

11-06-2012 11:22:45
209.251.8.126



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to dave2, 11-06-2012 11:16:33  
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 :(



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504

11-06-2012 17:50:41
199.127.54.155



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 Re: Its ALWAYS something... in reply to Lanse, 11-06-2012 11:22:45  
Ever put points in it? Be sure to check the timing chain tensioner too.



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