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  • Troubleshooting 101

    This was sent to me by a member in email

    Disclaimer: Any advice or technical information given here is to be used at your own risk. The author or KatRiders do not take any responsibility for damaged bikes, injuries, and/or further problems caused by do-it-yourself repairs. Please consult a professional mechanic if you do not feel comfortable or capable of working on your own bike. And always take the necessary safety precautions when working on your bike.

    Guess what? Your bike is dead. You're a bit panicked, and you're totally ****ed off, and you've come to us for help!

    It's a good start, but help us, help you.

    When an electrically started internal combustion engine doesn't start, it can be any one of a few problems. Your battery is dead, start relay is bad, You're not getting spark, and You're not getting fuel, without spark or fuel, you aren't going to get combustion, aka, get that engine running.

    Before you go through the trouble of checking all this stuff, make sure you check your fuses and the circuit breaker! Since every bike is wired a little differently, there's no way to tell you which fuse may be the culprit--Something that may seem unrelated, like the gauge cluster/cockpit lights fuse may be a part of the fuel pump or ignition circuit, so if you find any burnt fuses, replace them before you start wrenching.

    Make sure your kill switch is in the right position and/or functioning properly. Because you'd be surprised how many times this one will get ya

    So, when you thumb your starter, and the starter motor doesn't crank/nothing happens--something's up with your starter or your battery. A rapid "clicking" noise is a tell tale sign that your battery doesn't have enough juice to actually run the starter (and the starter motor takes up a lot of current, more than any other single function on the bike) and the clicking noise is the sound of your starter solenoid opening/closing. Luckily, this is fairly easy to fix: charge your battery overnight on a trickle charger and start it again; or, get a new battery. (If you got a new battery, and you've been riding regularly enough to keep it charged, and it's low on juice--then you may have a problem in your charging circuit, which is a whole 'nother set of problems.) Generally, a healthy 12V motorcycle battery should be metering about 12.5V-13.0V with the bike off, and 13.5-14.5 with the bike running at idle. (Some bikes are more sensitive to low voltage output, like the 675 and will not start when the battery is putting out less than 12.5V) Make sure you buy a multimeter, as it's one of those essential tools everyone should own.

    Now, a low battery isn't the only reason why your starter may or may not work. The starter motor itself could be burnt out or the solenoid could be faulty. If you suspect that your starter motor may be dying out, check your bike's service manual to see what the mfr's recommendation is for troubleshooting it.

    No spark. If there are no discernable issues with your starting system, and the bike will crank and crank and crank, but never fire up, it's time to check spark. The easiest way to check spark is to take the spark plugs out of their holes and ground them to the engine case, aka, hold them close to the case and look for a little spark to emit while you're thumbing the starter. (make sure you insulate your hands because you will shock yourself if you're holding the wrong part of the plug) Each cylinder's spark plugs should light up, so you should check all of them.

    The reasons for not having any spark will depend on your bike. Older bike with points and condensers may need a points adjustment or new pts/condenser or faulty ignition coils; a more modern bike with electronic ignition (basically everything made in the last 20 years) may have a short or require new ignition coils. the point is, if you establish that you have no spark on 1, 2, 3, or any amount of cylinders, you know you've got a problem that will require more research and trouble shooting.

    No fuel. Fuel may be the trickiest thing to figure out. Especially on carbed bikes with unknown or questionable jetting or a broken choke system. On a modern Fuel Injected bike, it's a little easier to isolate problems, but sometimes something exotic will really throw you for a loop.

    Anyway, the easy way to check for fuel is again, the spark plugs. If you've thumbed the starter a few times with no starting, and then pull the plugs and smell them, they should smell like gas or be damp with fuel (though sometimes, it's not that easy). If they are not, you might not be getting any fuel (or, alternately, not getting enough fuel). For carbed bikes, check for any kinks in the lines of the fuel delivery system, check flow from the petcock, you should get free flowing fuel from the Prime position and none from the On and Res positions without vacuum. Check that the vacuum line is connected as well as for cracks in the line that will keep the petcock diaphragm from opening to allow fuel flow. Check to see if you've got any varnish in your float bowls, idle and main jets. Make sure your float level is correct, your floats are not punctured, and your float valve is in good condition.

    Faulty Clutch switches or Kickstand sensors also can keep the bike from starting. A bad clutch switch will not detect when the clutch has been pulled in, which will keep the bike from starting. An easy way to troubleshoot this is to jumper over the terminals on the harness side of the clutch switch harness (aka, a paper clip into the terminals) and try starting it. If it starts, then your clutch switch is faulty and needs replacing, or if you aren't worried about starting your bike in gear sans clutch, you can permanently jumper over the wires. You can take the same approach with the kickstand switch: jumper over the terminals and try to start the bike. If the bike starts, you need a new kickstand switch.

    This is just a small taste of the possible troubleshooting you need to do when trying to get your bike to start. When you ask us questions, here's what we need to know:

    1. Fuses ok?
    3. Battery charged, tested?
    4. Starter sounds like?
    5. Got Spark?
    6. Got Fuel? Fuel Pump is priming?
    7. Sensors/switches working?


    and from there we can work it all out. Good luck!
    -Steve


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  • #2
    Sticky....
    http://www.7thgeardesigns.com
    http://www.lunchtimecigar.com
    '90 Suzuki 750 Kat

    "Shut up and drink your gin" - Fagin (Oliver Twist)
    "But, as is the usual scenario with a Harley it was off-line when it crashed," Schwantz added dryly.
    "You didn't hear what I meant to say" - my Son

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    • #3
      the article is so so long , i can't read to the end/......

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by anna1985beatufy View Post
        the article is so so long , i can't read to the end/......
        If you cant make it to the end.. well.. I suggest selling it now...
        http://www.7thgeardesigns.com
        http://www.lunchtimecigar.com
        '90 Suzuki 750 Kat

        "Shut up and drink your gin" - Fagin (Oliver Twist)
        "But, as is the usual scenario with a Harley it was off-line when it crashed," Schwantz added dryly.
        "You didn't hear what I meant to say" - my Son

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by anna1985beatufy View Post
          the article is so so long , i can't read to the end/......
          Originally posted by GSXFJim View Post
          If you cant make it to the end.. well.. I suggest selling it now...
          1992- project katfighter
          2005- GSXR750
          2001- TL1000R
          http://katriders.com/vb/showthread.php?t=111130
          www.lunchtimecigar.com



          KATRIDERS RALLY 2014 - cintidude04
          KATRIDERS RALLY 2015 - cintidude04
          KATRIDERS RALLY 2016 - cintidude04

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          • #6
            Definite sticky!
            sigpicLife throws you curves......enjoy the ones you get when riding.
            ------------------------------------------
            89 GSX750F(sold....sob)
            96 YZF 1000R

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by anna1985beatufy View Post
              the article is so so long , i can't read to the end/......
              Originally posted by GSXFJim View Post
              If you cant make it to the end.. well.. I suggest selling it now...
              A.D.D did not allow me to read all o.......
              Blood , its in you to give! http://www.blood.ca/

              Comment


              • #8
                What up katriders ,
                So I'm riding home from work from sc to ga and I go over a bump on i20 after the bump I start to feel all the cracks and bumps on the interstate. Im home I park my bike and my feet are flat on the ground. I'm 5'5 now . I couldn't do that before , kick out the kickstand I couldn't get it to lean.
                So how in the hell my bike drop 2 inches? I'm sure it has something to do with the rear suspension but i want to be sure. Can I still ride tell I get a new suspension and what happen

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Legion View Post
                  I'm sure it has something to do with the rear suspension but i want to be sure.
                  A few things could have happened...Broken coil spring on rear shock, broken frame etc.

                  Originally posted by Legion View Post
                  Can I still ride tell I get a new suspension and what happen
                  Your suspension could bind and you could die. Seriously.

                  PS- you should start your own thread for this issue...
                  Last edited by RobertTravis; 05-16-2016, 05:52 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    2006 suzuki gsx750f starts and run. Buy shuts off when I gas/throttle it

                    Hi, I have a 2006 suzuki gsx750f. This is my first bike. I just got a fuel tank for it. Hook it up. Starts up just fine. But as soon as I go to gas/throttle it. It shuts off. Can someone help please.

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