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Bike not starting after shipping (from QLD to VIC)

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by Sir Lancelot, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. Greetings y'all,

    I've got a 2002 Bonneville that I'd like to get going! Only trouble is, I keep flattening the battery with the attempt. Here's the breakdown:
    - Bike was shipped via truck from QLD to VIC, so lots of bumps.
    - It's not fuel injected, so I imagine the carburettor doesn't like all the bumps and such... guessing there's something i can do here to help
    - Last starting attempt before battery ran out of juice, it did "pop" twice as if the cylinders very briefly fired, so it may start
    - Apparently everything has been serviced on this bike, spark plugs included (although I've yet to check them)

    So I've a few questions if you're willing to help!!

    1. Is it typical to have bike-starting problems after a shipping a bike? Any suggestions with respect to priming the system?

    2. I have a proper motorcycle battery charger. Now there's a gap in my knowledge here, so forgive a potentially stupid question. Can I connect the battery charging unit to the wall, then the charging unit to the battery (as normal), then the battery to the bike, kinda like "jump starting via the charging unit"? I'm guessing this is a big fat "NO"!

    3. Can you jump start a bike using another bike? Is it worth doing? If so, presumably you should only do this from another bike - and not a car (too much current from a car battery)?

    4. This bike has a fuel tap showing "on, off, res". We've set the fuel to "on". Presumably this is ok.

    5. As an aside, I have another bike that has a "pri" setting on the fuel tap. When taking the fuel tank off, this setting does not allow fuel to come out. However the "on" setting does. However when the bike is running, the fuel tap has been set to "pri" - does this mean the fuel is pulled through by the engine pressure? When observing the fuel flow through the fuel filter, having the fuel tap set to "pri" shows a dripping stream of fuel, whereas "on" shows a solid stream of fuel. Which setting should i be using for riding?

    Any help hugely appreciated!
    Sir L.
  2. Oh and one more thing! The front brakes appear to be ON almost constantly. Now I believe that the brake pads and fluid are new. Not sure about the disc. In short, the motorcycle is impossibly difficult to push around in neutral, which suggests brakes are on (there's the usual hissing sound of pads against discs as you push it, but i've no way of measuring the clamping force). Currently there's far too much resistance from one of the brakes (front i think).

    Should I expect the pads to bed in after a ride or two? Or is there another way to back off the brake pads? Or should i be looking at another issue?

    Here's what I've found so far. Valid suggestions below?

    - Pull out spark plug & clean
    - Pull out spark plug. Connect to lead. Touch against cylinder to ground and check there is actually a spark.

    - Battery may be too small. Boost from car battery (don't run car, just use battery). Idea is more spark. Ok since both 12 volts.

    Also a suggestion to check all electrical connections are still made after the bouncing around on the truck...
  3. I'm no expert but the first thing I would be doing is syphoning the existing fuel out and putting fresh fuel in. Won't help your battery issue obviously but I understand that unleaded fuel deteriorates quite quickly. If the fuel in the tank is > 6 weeks old it may be a contributing factor to the bike not starting. And it's a cheap thing to correct :)
  4. Sure it's the same bike :LOL:
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Do a visual check on the amount of fuel in the tank. If low, set it to 'Res'.
  6. Thats the same that happened to me. Was gummed up plugs. As above, check em first.
  7. May have rattled loose a brake pad that is now not sitting in the caliper properly, might be why it's tight?
  8. Sounds like the fuel tap on your second bike is faulty. On a vacuum-operated fuel tap, the "ON" and "RESERVE" (if you have one) positions should not allow any fuel through unless there is suction being applied simultaneously, which is provided by a tube linking the fuel tap to one of the cylinders. Conversely, the PRIME setting should allow fuel to flow freely and fill the carbs; it's used to make starting the bike easier when there is no fuel in the carbs, either because you've been working on them or you ran out of petrol. (There may or may not be an "OFF" position.)

    In regards to your Bonneville, I'd verify that there is enough fuel in the carbs, that the fuel tap is functioning and that the engine isn't flooded. Then I'd probably ask the previous about his normal start up procedure and if he knows any reason the bike might not be starting now.
  9. Hi all, thanks for the replies. We got it going! Here's what worked:

    - Turns out the spark plugs had NOT been replaced, although we were told they were. A little hard to get to, much easier to get to with the tank lifted/removed, which is easy to do. Old spark plugs were very black and a little oily.

    - Empty tank, change the fuel (thanks the_Blacke - indeed a cheap thing to correct). I also drained a small amount of fuel from the float chamber of the carbs, and put a dash of metho in the tank to bond to any remaining water that may be present.

    - Hook it up to a big battery! After the bike battery failed to kick the bike over (although it did pop as if about to start), I jump started the bike on a 12v car battery, it kicked over furiously and after a bit of a warm up and 'clean out of the cobwebs', it's idling super smooth.

    - I'm not sure what 'res' does exactly, although I understand what reserve means - my observations is that when the petcock is set to 'res', without suction there is no flow. When set to 'on', there is petrol flow without suction. So why would I use 'res'? Does it also retract a petrol hose into the tank so that it can reach the bottom of the tank?
    (And yes jd, indeed a different bike!)

    jack_1313 - everything you wrote makes sense, and it's what I'd expect, although what I'm seeing is this when the bike is OFF:
    Yamaha: off/on/pri: on = flow, pri = no flow
    Triumph: off/on/res: on = flow, res = no flow

    Thanks for the tips all! Have not solved the brake problem yet, ran out of time. It's either not bed in yet, or VTRAffair is right and I need to check how it sits in the caliper.
  10. The tap on the Yamaha is definitely malfunctioning (or has been labelled incorrectly?). Not a huge problem as long as the carbs aren't also leaking fuel into the engine. The ON function takes fuel from the top of a vertical tube attached to the fuel tap. The RESERVE function simply takes fuel in from the base of the fuel tap, which is essentially the lowest part of the tank. The idea is that when you run out of fuel on ON, you have only used 2/3rds or whatever of the fuel in the tank, and you can switch to reserve to use the rest. On a vacuum operated tap, both ON and RESERVE should not allow fuel through without suction.