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Click below to see and hear the bike starting!
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You know I could lie to you at this point and tell you
that it started right up the first time, and you wouldn't be able to say
anything, but I can't do that...
The moment I've been waiting for...I actually tried to
start it...and...it cranked, and it cranked, but NOTHING.
- Bikes pretty much just need two things to run: GAS and a SPARK.
- How I checked for spark - Turn the bike off. Take out
one of the spark plugs. Plug it into the plug wire and rest it
against a metal part of the engine - don't rest it over the spark plug
hole (if the fuel vapor is pushed out and the spark is in the right
place...boom!). Turn the lights in your garage off and close the
garage door 90%. Crank the engine for about 2 seconds. Do
you see a clean, blue spark? I did.
- How I checked for gas - Turn the bike off. Take a
screwdriver and unscrew one of the drain plugs on the carbs about 1/4
turn. Did I see any gas? NO! Unscrew it a bit
more. Still No. There was only about
4" of gas in the tank, which as it turns out, isn't enough to force the air bubbles
in the fuel line through into the carbs! So...all I did was to
fill the gas tank about 1/2 full of gas and check the drain screws
again. 3 of the 4 dribbled gas.
This 3 of 4 was enough to see if it ran. So...I tried
again...SUCCESS! The bike started right up (but sounded a bit
"lumpy" because only 3 of 4 cylinders were firing. The
first thing I checked was the oil pressure light - I wanted to be sure the
oil pump and passageways were functioning. The light went off after
the obligatory 1 second - which meant at least that the oil was reaching
the top of the engine. I also glanced around to see if there were
any leaks of any kind - I'm happy to report that there weren't. I
didn't want to leave it running on 3 of 4 for too long, so I revved it a
bit to check that the throttle linkage and cables were functioning
correctly. The throttle had a little too much slack in it before it
opened the carb, so I adjusted that out a bit to correctly set the free
play (about 1/8"). I turned the bike off and approached carb 3,
which wasn't getting any gas.
Figuring out Carb 3
So...no gas in carb 3. I checked to make sure it should be
getting gas (check to see that the fuel hose coming from the gas tank was
hooked up correctly). On this bike, there are 2 fuel lines - 1 going
to in-between carbs 1 & 2, and the other between carbs 3 &
4. If the hose was plugged, both 3 & 4 would be fuel-starved,
which wasn't the case. I know from working on small lawnmower/snowblower
engines that sometimes the needle
valve gets stuck closed. So, I tapped carb 3's float
bowl lightly with the
butt end of a big screwdriver. I was hoping that this might knock
the needle out...it didn't.
I was nice that on these carbs, you can take the bowl off without
taking the carbs off the bike. After turning the fuel off, I was
able to slide the bowl "clamp" off and gently remove the
float. In fact, the needle valve was stuck. When I pulled it
out, a bit of gas dribbled out. I cleaned off the tip of the valve
and slid it back in and made sure it didn't stick again, it didn't.
I carefully put the float back in (which is a trick on these older
bikes...to hold the needle in without letting it fall, then put the float
in place to hold the needle, all without dropping the needle into the
endless supply of crevices on the bike!). I put the bowl back on,
turned the fuel back on and fired it up...again. SUCCESS! All
4 cylinders were now firing.