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Thread: TW200 Starting Issue

  1. #1
    Junior Member fatalbert's Avatar
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    TW200 Starting Issue

    I have a 2003 TW200 (actually belongs to my son-in-law that will not start unless you lay it down on the right side almost to the ground, and then it will fire up and start. Apparently the previous owner had the same problem and disclosed this. After the first time getting it to start using the tilt method, it will start later after stopping or the next day. It runs good while riding.

    Since I thought this should be an easy fix, I went to work on it since it bugged me. I checked the fuel out of the tank at the carb hose to make sure fuel is getting to the carb. The gas is good and it has always had this problem the first time you start it. Note that we always run the carb dry when it is put away.

    I figured it was a got level setting or a stuck/binding float that frees up when the bike is tilted to the right side.

    I opened the bowl drain and turned on the petcock to see if gas is getting to the carb and it is.

    I pulled the bowl off and checked the float setting and it is spot on to the specs and the float has no obstruction. It moves freely uo and down. Checked to verify that the float shuts off fuel when the float is lifted.

    Put it all back together and it still won't start the first time unless you lean it over.

    I Has anyone else seen this problem on their TW or have a suggestion on what to check. My feeling is that it is a fuel issue, but maybe it could be something else that leaning the bike over fixes.

    Thanks,
    Al

  2. #2
    Senior Member Leisure Time Larry's Avatar
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    Hi Al, welcome to the forum. Let's start with some common stuff. If I'm in your shoes, here is what I'm doing...

    Inspect: What shape is the air filter in? I'll make adjustments with cleaning and oiling if I see fit. I'm going to check the airbox in case any critters made a home in there that will obstruct air flow. I continue forward by looking at airbox to carb boot then the carb to engine manifold looking for cracks or holes and fit and how everything is sealing, as well as the general condition of the rubber. As with tires, these parts are recommended to be replaced every decade or so because of rubber breakdown and deterioration. Pulling the seat and the side covers, I'm looking at the condition, routing, sheathing, connections of the wiring and spark plug wire and boot. While I'm in there, I'm changing the 20 amp fuse and the spare, because an oxidation layer can cause some funky stuff, and it's just too cheap and easy to do not to do it. Tighten the battery connections.

    Easy, stupid stuff: Change the oil. Change the spark plug. Even if it's good. $5 for a new one, just change it. Eliminate it as a source of any problems. Then, even if I think the gas is fresh, I'm changing it for brand new stuff straight from the pump. I pour the old stuff into a gas can and then, if it still looks and smells good, it goes in my truck. Since the carb is probably suspect, when I put new, fresh gas in an empty tank, I'm going to add a bottle of Sea Foam, since it can work wonders, and might just work without a total carb breakdown and cleaning. The secret with an additive like Sea Foam is to run the bike and get it in and through the system, then let it sit, preferably overnight. Repeat. Repeat. With this though, don't run the bowl dry, leave it wet. Run the bike, shut it off with the key, turn the petcock off, let it sit. Do it again later. Again. Let it sit to work to breakdown the gunk, then run it through. Let it sit again.

    Worth noting: The stock TW carb is set very lean from factory to get that EPA and MPG rating, but most change that to make it start and run better. The pilot circuit screw is underneath towards the front of the bike. The stock setting is .95 turns out from a light seat, but most find going to around 2.5 turns out is the sweet spot. If it's never been touched, then it is hidden under a factory cover which can be removed by making a small hole, then turning in a small sheet metal screw to bite the cover, then pulling on the screw with pliers or vise-grips.

    Finally: A good carb cleaning with a full breakdown and cleaning of the body in a sonic bath with a solution of simple green. Inspect the internal parts and replace as necessary.

    I'm trying hard to think of why it would only start when laid over on its right side. Here are my quick possibles and what to check... 1) The petcock is on the left, so once you open the petcock and get fuel into the bowl, something with the float and valve might not be quite right and flood. When laid all the way over to the right, the fuel may not get down the petcock tube? Turn on petcock for 15 seconds to get fuel into the bowl then shut it off. Keeping the bike upright, see if it will start. 2) Old, thick oil and a weak battery may not be letting the engine crank quickly enough to start and leaning it over put all of the oil over, reducing the load in the bottom end enough to allow the engine to crank faster to start? Charge/change/jump battery and change oil. 3) There is a nest or something in the airbox that obstructs the intake tube, but leaning over moves the object, allowing airflow for the bike to start? Check airbox. 4) A wire or connection is grounding out or not connecting, but when the bike is laid over it hangs free or connects properly? Check wiring and connections.

    You'll want to check out our Stickies in the Technical Write Ups section... Technical Write-Ups

    You may want the Service Manual... https://tw200forum.com/forum/technica...r-manuals.html

    Before tearing apart the carb, get familiar with it here... https://tw200forum.com/forum/technica...ification.html

    If you do open it up, you may need this... https://tw200forum.com/forum/technica...tor-float.html

    Good luck. Let us know what you find.
    - Leisure Time Larry -
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Gastone165's Avatar
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    Turning off the fuel and draining the carburetor is a good thing. Next time you shut it down leave the gas turned off, the carb drain screw closed, and after a day or so check the carb drain to see if the carb now has fuel in it. Sometimes the petcock will slowly leak fuel and refill the carburetor. I had a previous motorcycle that had this very same starting problem. If gas was left in the carb for more then a few days it refused to start. I always made sure the carb was drained when I went to start it after a long period of being idle. For what ever reason it didnít like gas sitting it the carb. This worked well and I would turn on the gas at that time it always started right up. Iím currently replacing the petcock on my 2002 TW due to it very slowly seeps gas back into the bowl. Just maybe? Easy fix.
    littletommy, Badgerflorida and Ken like this.
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  5. #4
    Junior Member fatalbert's Avatar
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    All great suggestions that I will look into. I appreciate the technical input.
    Thanks
    Al
    littletommy, Badgerflorida and Ken like this.

  6. #5
    Junior Member fatalbert's Avatar
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    Just noticed that both of you are from Washington. That is my home state as well. The bike is out on the Pacific coast and I live in the Seattle area. I will dive into your suggestions as soon as I get back out their. I had not considered the leaking petcock possibility. The TW is a great bike for riding around the area and the big tires are good for riding the beaches. Thanks again!

  7. #6
    Senior Member SportsterDoc's Avatar
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    Inspect both ends of both battery cables.
    If there is a loose connection at the battery, leaning it may allow some battery movement, which may help with the connection.

    All good advice on the carb, but many "carb" problems are electrical.
    Badgerflorida likes this.
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  8. #7
    Senior Member Badgerflorida's Avatar
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    Wow this is a weird one. Lots of good advice here. Go after the free or cheap stuff first. Canít wait to hear what the culprit is. Since youíre only dealing with air, fuel and spark - seems to me fuel would be most affected by lean-angle. Cheers and good luck.
    admiral likes this.
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  9. #8
    Senior Member SportsterDoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badgerflorida View Post
    Wow this is a weird one. Lots of good advice here. Go after the free or cheap stuff first. Canít wait to hear what the culprit is. Since youíre only dealing with air, fuel and spark - seems to me fuel would be most affected by lean-angle. Cheers and good luck.
    Float level was one of my first thoughts, but it was already addressed by the OP.

    My guess may be wrong, but generally my focus is electrical, with some consideration for this clue: "After the first time getting it to start using the tilt method, it will start later after stopping or the next day."
    Badgerflorida likes this.
    2014 Honda CB1100
    2018 Yamaha XT250
    2016 Moto Guzzi V7 II
    2017 Yamaha TW200
    2012 Triumph Bonneville
    2002 H-D Sportster 1200 Sport
    2003 H-D Sportster 883
    1976 Honda CB750F
    1975 Honda CB360
    1970 Yamaha CT1
    1972 Yamaha CT2
    1972 Yamaha AT2/CT2
    1970 Honda SL350
    1970 Honda CL350
    1967 Honda CL160
    1967 Honda CB160
    1962 Honda CA110

  10. #9
    Senior Member Gastone165's Avatar
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    Just wondering, if the petcock seeps fuel which would be the same as leaving it on, and the float valve seeps a little, would that fill the carb to the point where it would cause starting problems? I would think it would. If the carb was filled to that point would leaning it way over to the right side allow enough fuel to drain out to allow it to start? Just wondering...
    admiral likes this.
    1972 Yamaha DT 175, 1974 Kawasaki 125, 1976 Suzuki TM 250, 1979 Yamaha 750, 1977 Husquvarna 360, 1979 Husquvarna 250, (2) 1980 Suzuki RM 400ís, 1971 Husquvarna 400, 1983 Honda V65 Magna, 1987 Suzuki 230 Quad, 1987 TW200, 1990 TW200, 1996 Honda XR 650, 1998 Yamaha 300 King Quad, 2000 Harley Davidson Heritage, 2006 Kawasaki KLX 250s, 2007 Arctic Cat 650 Quad, 2010 Polaris Sportsman 850 Quad, 2006 Yamaha Grizzly 660 Quad, 2002 TW200, 1995 TW200, 2008 TW200, 2016 TW200.

  11. #10
    Junior Member fatalbert's Avatar
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    I just replaced the battery and cleaned the cables prior to installing it. Most of the suggestions made here I had already looked into. I was hoping someone might say that this is a known problem caused by something that has already been figured out.

    Apparently the previous owner never figured it out and just used the tilt to the right and then pick it back upright to start it up.

    Besides the other suggestion that I have not tried yet I think I will check it for spark before leaning it over to confirm it is probably a fuel problem.

    It could be a while before I go back out to the ocean but I will keep you informed of what the status is. I am not one to give up on anything.
    grewen and Ken like this.

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