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I have a ‘95, 3200 miles. Having a recurring problem. Bike will start and run fine, but after riding a while and at steady speed on the road, engine will die, just like the plug wire’s been pulled off. Bike will start right back up, but won’t take any throttle. After it cools down for awhile, will run ok fo a short time, then same thing.

The first time it happened I thought it may be crappy fuel, Had the carb rebuilt, fresh gas, same thing. Mechanic replaced air hoses on carb, both were clogged...happened again.

I’m no mechanic, but it seems like it’s an electrical thing, especially since the bike runs ok till it’s running steady on the road (hot?)...and when it dies, there’s no skipping, coughing.again it’s like the ignition key has been shut off....Doesn’t happen out in the woods, chugging through the mud...(thankfully...)again seems like when I’m at speed (well... what passes for speed on a TW ?) on the road.

My mechanic asked me to check the forum, see if anyone has had similar issues.

Help!

Thanks!

Dagman
Cape Cod, MA
 

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Give this man a cigar, and some help!

CDI?
 
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In addition to checking CDI, make sure gas cap is properly venting and make sure you don’t have a clogged petcock or other fuel restriction.

Also I’ve heard coils can show signs of failure as they get up to temp.
 

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I had this problem with my '01 for the whole 5 years that I owned it...except that it would happen if the engine was hot and I stalled it. Then it would crank and crank, but not start.
If I let it cool down for 10-20 minutes, it would start up again and perform fine until the next time this would happen.

....and it wouldn't happen EVERY time I stalled it. But when it did, I knew to just let her sit for a while and eventually things would be good again.

Never found out what the problem was....
I sold it at 45,000 km and it is still running today, with 53,000 on the clock.
 

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Sounds like the tank isn't venting creating a vacuum. If you had a fuel filter installed you could see if there was fuel there when it quits.
 
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One way that can help you figure out if it is the cap: Hold the throttle position when this normally occurs as you are riding for a while before the condition would normally happen (not sure how far you get before she dies), reach down and switch your fuel to off, and then you can let off the gas and get on the shoulder of the road. Shut off the bike, and then listen careful as you go to open the cap to see if you hear a little rush of air as you twist the cap. (you might want to put your head down near the cap to hear it, as it will be faint) That's one way to rule that problem out. I've normally experienced at least a brief moment of lean condition symptoms when this has happened to me (sputtering, or popping on decel). Also, if it happens to you again before you can do this test... simply popping the cap open a bit while it is still hot is enough that it would fire right back up and take throttle if the cap is the problem. The bouncing around in the woods is probably jarring it enough to allow venting.

Not that I think this is your problem, but if you suspect it is the CDI overheating (or associated feed like the position pickup off the stator) - take a spare spark plug with you. Next time it dies, before the engine can cool down pop the plug wire off and put the spare plug on it and hold the ground electrode against the oil check plug for the head and turn the engine over to see if it has spark while the bike is still hot. If it does, go back to looking for a fuel issue.
 

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When a coil fails, it does so when it's hot. If you measure the primary and secondary resistances, they can be normal at ambient temp, but will be way out of spec when the coil is hot, and that's when it fails. Just replace the coil and see how it runs, it's cheap enough.
 

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Electrical components can fail when they get hot. I've heard of very similar symptoms caused by both bad coils and bad CDI boxes. Trigger coil failures are a little less common but not unheard of. Coils are easy to test for primary/secondary resistance with an ohmmeter, CDI's, not so much. The dealer manual diagnosis is "replace with known good".

The tank not venting is a possibility also but as described above very easy to check/rule out. If that's the case, cracking the cap open should immediately fix the problem. If it doesn't, I'd venture it's electrical.
 

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In addition to checking CDI, make sure gas cap is properly venting and make sure you don’t have a clogged petcock or other fuel restriction.

Also I’ve heard coils can show signs of failure as they get up to temp.
I agree with the coil issue. I've seen it happen. If there's a CDI controller, that can cause a problem, too. A bad fuse (rarely but it happens) can also have a crack instead of being blown, and can separate when it warms up.
First guess is the coil, though. That gets the most power through it and warms up more repeatably. Most of the other things would fail and stay failed after a couple of times. Generally, anything with a solder joint can act like you are describing.
 

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Hi, had same problem for 2 years. Checked everything - elictric, air filter, tank, carb - but no result.
Solved the problem by accident - bought complete rebuild carb set and found that there is a small filter, that was installed inside the carburetor. That was the problem.
Replace it or just clean it.
 

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I know fuel issue elimination has been covered, but, when this happens could you crack open the drain screw at the bottom of the fuel bowl to see if fuel runs out of the drain tube?
If the %[email protected]&[email protected] screw head is not stripped from previous wrong, not right, incorrect size tool!
 
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