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Thread: Random Bike Stall - No Spark - Bump Start

  1. #1
    Senior Member tylermoney's Avatar
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    Random Bike Stall - No Spark - Bump Start

    So I had an odd experience yesterday afternoon. Lets start by giving a little detail of the bikes activities earlier in the weekend. Saturday I took her out all day trail riding at an adventure park. Had a couple of spills, but nothing too terrible—though I may have tweaked my bars and/or fender ... possible the forks? Hard to say. Didn't notice anything crazy riding on the street afterwords.

    Anywho, because there were some water crossings and some puddles/mud from recent rain, the bike got pretty dirty. I spent some time yesterday giving her a really nice wash, then cleaned and lubed up the chain. I let the bike sit for a while afterwords to allow the gear oil to really set in before taking her for a ride. This ride was intended to test to see if it was bars/fork/fender issues. I took the bike to a big parking lot and spent about 20-30 minutes practicing figure eights, sharp u-turns, u-turn into quick acceleration, circles turning, cornering, as well as stopping as fast as I could in as short a distance as possible at 25mph.

    After that, I went back on the main road to go through a few more sections I like to ride not too far from my house. At the next like when pulling in the clutch, the engine died completely. I was unable to get it to start back up. The electric start would kick, but the motor was not turning over. I had to wave a few folks around me, then push the bike up onto the sidewalk. I like it cool for a bit, and then tried again. Same thing. Waiting a bit more, then tried again. Same thing. Yes I did check the gas It had plenty. I was only at 51mi on my trip meter, so should've had 30-40 more miles before I had to go to reserve anyways.

    Luckily I was up on a hill, so threw the bike into 3rd gear, and bump started it—started immediately and felt good, went right back on the road then headed home immediately. Once parked, I gave it a minute, then started her back up again with the electric start. Did the same thing about 10min later. After the bike cooled, I pulled the spark plug, and it looked okay to me.

    I was thinking that maybe it was because I re-jetted, but didn't adjust the idle screw at all, and maybe it was too low and just died when I pulled the clutch in; however, It hadn't done that through all the other stuff I had just put it through, and also, that doesn't really explain it not starting right back up and seemingly getting no spark. Just odd that it died while riding. Maybe water got into something when I washed it, or maybe somehow I flooded the motor? I just take the pilot jet from the stock 31 to a 34. I rode it all weekend previously though without this issue.

    I guess I did have a few instances when after just starting it, it would idle for a few minutes, and then if I twisted the throttle, it would die. Then after starting it back up, no issue. I did also get stuck in the rain last weekend, and the bike got completely dumped on. It took a few tries to get the bike running properly after the rain stopped, but then didn't seem to have any issues.

    Anywho, sorry for the longer write-up, but I wanted to be as detailed as possible. Any thoughts on what could have caused the bike to shutdown entirely, then only restart from a bump? Overheat? Thanks all!
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Purple's Avatar
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    If you have a lead acid battery in there, you may have lost some fluid during the “dumps”. It does sound like a weak battery, where it has enough for a spark, or to turn over the motor, but not for both

    First thing to do would be to check the fluid levels in the battery – after that, it could be a number of things given that A: it’s had a few knocks, and B: you hit it with a hose

    I’ve said this before – there is absolutely nothing to indicate these bikes need cleaning in the manual …..
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    Senior Member tylermoney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Purple View Post
    If you have a lead acid battery in there, you may have lost some fluid during the “dumps”. It does sound like a weak battery, where it has enough for a spark, or to turn over the motor, but not for both

    First thing to do would be to check the fluid levels in the battery – after that, it could be a number of things given that A: it’s had a few knocks, and B: you hit it with a hose

    I’ve said this before – there is absolutely nothing to indicate these bikes need cleaning in the manual …..
    Well, I like getting it cleaned up personally

    I do have the stock led/acid battery, and it was down for a while on my first drop on a larger hill, so batter leak is certainly possible. Those also we're the ONLY times the bike has been down whilst off-roading either

    Still seems odd that the low battery would cause the bike to die mid ride, but to be fair, I ultimately know nothing
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    Senior Member RaZed1's Avatar
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    It not starting with the electric, but immediately starting on a bumpstart is a classic sign of low voltage/bad battery. The starter pulls the voltage down too low and the spark is weak/none. If you had a kicker, it'd probably be the same deal- fire right up on a kick, but not with the motor.

    As suggested check the water level in the battery and add distilled water if needed (or better yet, put a sealed battery in there). Once you do that, fire it up again and put a voltmeter across the battery with the engine at fast idle. Use the choke or just crank the idle up temporairly, or have someone hold the throttle for you. You're looking for 14+ volts. Low voltage, caused by not charging, can certainly have the motor crap out mid ride. If you're only seeing in the 12v range (or less), there is a problem with the bike's charging circuit and you are literally running out of electricity, which has more or less the same effect of running out of fuel. That said, I'd be surprised if you had an issue with the stator or rectifier on such a new bike, TW's aren't really known for issues with those either.

    I'd also drain the carb bowl into a clean, clear container and check for water. If any got into the fuel system it settles to the bottom of the bowl. There's a handy drain screw for this purpose. Rain or washing should not cause this, mine has been rained on and sank up to the seat and I never had issues with water getting into the fuel. Water in fuel often manifests as a "lean" condition as water displaces the fuel. If you find water in the carb bowl, I would remove and drain the tank completely, blow it out and let dry completely before refilling with fresh gas.

    While I don't think it's the issue, I would also remove the fuel screw plug and give it at least another 1/2 turn open given the 34 pilot. It not wanting to take throttle when starting is an indication of a lean condition- it's just barely idling, as soon as you open the throttle- which is an air control, not fuel- it goes too lean and flames out. Once the engine warms up more it may run better. Try pulling the choke a little, if suddenly it revs better, your pilot circuit is still too lean.
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  6. #5
    Senior Member tylermoney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaZed1 View Post
    It not starting with the electric, but immediately starting on a bumpstart is a classic sign of low voltage/bad battery. The starter pulls the voltage down too low and the spark is weak/none. If you had a kicker, it'd probably be the same deal- fire right up on a kick, but not with the motor.

    As suggested check the water level in the battery and add distilled water if needed (or better yet, put a sealed battery in there). Once you do that, fire it up again and put a voltmeter across the battery with the engine at fast idle. Use the choke or just crank the idle up temporairly, or have someone hold the throttle for you. You're looking for 14+ volts. Low voltage, caused by not charging, can certainly have the motor crap out mid ride. If you're only seeing in the 12v range (or less), there is a problem with the bike's charging circuit and you are literally running out of electricity, which has more or less the same effect of running out of fuel. That said, I'd be surprised if you had an issue with the stator or rectifier on such a new bike, TW's aren't really known for issues with those either.

    I'd also drain the carb bowl into a clean, clear container and check for water. If any got into the fuel system it settles to the bottom of the bowl. There's a handy drain screw for this purpose. Rain or washing should not cause this, mine has been rained on and sank up to the seat and I never had issues with water getting into the fuel. Water in fuel often manifests as a "lean" condition as water displaces the fuel. If you find water in the carb bowl, I would remove and drain the tank completely, blow it out and let dry completely before refilling with fresh gas.

    While I don't think it's the issue, I would also remove the fuel screw plug and give it at least another 1/2 turn open given the 34 pilot. It not wanting to take throttle when starting is an indication of a lean condition- it's just barely idling, as soon as you open the throttle- which is an air control, not fuel- it goes too lean and flames out. Once the engine warms up more it may run better. Try pulling the choke a little, if suddenly it revs better, your pilot circuit is still too lean.
    Thanks. I should be able to look into the battery issue later this week. I had already adjusted the fuel screw out previously. It's currently at 2.25x turns. I honestly don't think it's water, as that particular problem was something I noticed previous to this weekend, and it was only right after I started it—which a pretty light turn of the throttle. Once it warms for a bit, it does just fine, and the idle sounds decent in all cases IMO (also something I wasn't dealing with consistently). I'll be sure and note all of that though just in case I continue to experience issues.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member Darth's Avatar
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    You could have gotten a bit of water in the carb when it got rained on, or when you washed the bike.
    Water will sink in gasoline and form small or large(r) discreet "beads". Water & gas don't like each other and won't mix.
    The gas bead will just lay there or roll around if the bike moves.
    It can then be drawn into an orifice when the bike is trying to start or after it's running. It can block the passage way...no gas, no start, no run, no love!
    It might clear itself, stay blocked, or just run intermittently.

    Whether it starts/runs or not, you should drain the float bowl, trying to observe or catch any water in the fuel to ID the problem. Be sure to use a JIS screwdriver to avoid buggering the little drain screw at the bottom/left side of the carb. The driver in your tool kit is JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard), far superior to our Phillips system.

    Actually, what I would do then (regardless of finding water, or not) is drop the float bowl to check, drain & clean it thoroughly.
    Review the procedure before you start to avoid losing any parts...it's VERY easy to do!
    Inspect for any dirt, crud or crap while you're in there.

    Remember to check exploded parts diagrams to see where all the parts go and assembly sequences. They are on-line at Partzilla.com and a number of other suppliers of OE parts.
    Even better are the pro-quality photo images of all the disassembled carb parts posted on our Forum by member jbfla. "jb" is a helluva great guy and his images & carb info are invaluable!

    As a last resort, you might also remove and completely drain the tank, whether or not the carb shows water or solids.

    A good "nth degree" check is this:
    Get a Pyrex flat dish (cake pan) and a sheet of white paper.
    Place the paper flat on a bench or table with the Pryex dish on top.
    Drain into the dish.
    Let it settle then look for blobs of water or specs of crap.
    Check the float bowl & tank separately to isolate the source.

    Good luck and have fun!

    Damn, I need a beer...
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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darth View Post
    A good "nth degree" check is this:
    Get a Pyrex flat dish (cake pan) and a sheet of white paper.
    Place the paper flat on a bench or table with the Pryex dish on top.
    Drain into the dish.
    Let it settle then look for blobs of water or specs of crap.
    Check the float bowl & tank separately to isolate the source.
    .
    I use a clear plastic bottle. Take a sample. then hold it up on an angle. All the water should collect in the bottom where the side of the bottle meets the bottom.
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    Member Johnny Phoenix's Avatar
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    Check the carb vent tube as well. If that gets plugged or restricted, it will cause stalling and rough running in general. I have a Grizzly 450 ATV that all the sudden developed a starting and stalling issues, literally overnight. I removed, disassembled, and cleaned the carb with little improvement. Finally, in one of the few instances I was able get it running, I unplugged the vent tube and it miraculously ran perfect. The culprit? A solitary bee (yes, bee!) had built a nest in the vent tube end, sealing off the vent. You may see those "bee houses" with the assortment of small tubes stacked together for sale. Well, the vent tube diameter was suitable enough, so lesson learned.

    Also, there's a vent tube mod that helps prevent stalling if you do deeper water crossings.

    JP
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  10. #9
    Senior Member tylermoney's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice.

    So far this is where I have gotten:

    Last night I checked the battery levels, and it looked pretty low. See image: IMG_3718.jpeg

    All channels we're at or below the "low level" marker, so definitely lost some fluid out on the trails/paths. I filled with distilled water to the "top level" line, then through the battery on a charger to be sure it was at 100%. This morning checked the static battery voltage, and it was above 12, then I fired the bike up (started right up) and checked the voltage again, and it was at 14.2. Seems like the battery is good for now (I'll likely order a new one soon). Based on the image, did the battery look low enough to cause the problem I experienced?

    I haven't had a chance to ride it around yet, so if I continue to experience problems, then I'll check for water/etc. I'll likely just empty the float bowl later tonight when I get home and just check to ensure it doesn't have any water in there before riding anywhere to be safe.

    Stay tuned.
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  11. #10
    Super Moderator Purple's Avatar
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    Yes – that battery condition is only 50% operational – hopefully you’ve caught it in time

    The Gel mat batteries are a cheap option that will not leak when “upturned” – or you can go the whole hog and consider Lithium

    But for now, run it and see if it holds

    The other thing to consider is “where did the acid go” – hopefully down the breather pipe and exited near the swinging arm. As you hosed the bike off afterwards, there’s no harm done, but if the breather pipe was disconnected or missing, you’ll need to hose out the battery compartment …..
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