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Cold winter starting

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by mattb, May 12, 2010.

  1. I'm finding that the Hornet a pain to start in winter - the colder it gets, the longer I'm sitting there with the starter spinning, coaxing the the throttle ever so carefully in the balancing pointing between starting, and flooding. From what I've read this is typical of the model, not just of my bike. It's not so bad in the middle of the day, but it is bad on the 6.30am starts, or 2am attempts to leave work. And it's not a good scenario when it's my only transport to work!

    What tricks have people used for cranky cold starting? I store my bike on the footpath, so can't attach anything electronic to it overnight. I'm thinking of a couple of techniques. I could dowse the engine in warm water (what temp?). Though I'm thinking an easier and safer method might involve a battery-operated hair-dryer. I'm thinking if I could get to the air intake and give it a minute of warm (or hot?) air, that might help. Before I go buy one, has anybody else tried these methods, or could you suggest something else?


  2. Does the hornet run rich down low? My TRX does, & it was bloody hard to start yesterday.

    You could lean it out a bit, should make cold starting easier. Not too much mind, go in half turn or quarter turn increments on the mixture screw.

    Bear in mind, I haven't done this & I don't know if it will actually work, but in theory, it should.

    Then again, that would be the opposite of a choke, wouldn't it...

    Confused now. Maybe don't do that!
  3. you could try putting a weather protector on it
  4. MV, I'm happy to fit and tune a carb from scratch on my SR, but I'm damn scared of the Hornet! :)

    Thera, it has a good cover, and I was thinking of wrapping a woolen blanket around the engine - is that what you're talking about?
  5. I reckon you've got two or three issues with cold starting. Number one is the battery getting sluggish at low temperatures. This means a less vigorous spark, and it may also mean the fuel pump (electric?) may not be pumping fuel up as quickly. The obvious response is to use the very best battery you can afford, keep it well charged (I think you ride enough for that!) ensure your charging system is healthy( ie. reg-rec), and make sure the plugs are fresh and clean.
    A trickle charger is a good idea but it probably shouldn't be necessary in your case.
    The other issue is fuel not atomising well at low temperature. That's down to getting the jets as right as possible.
    Condensation is also a possibility, even inside the tank. So keep the tank topped up, and a bike cover (over the whole bike) won't do any harm.
  6. I believe that Paul's wife says the same thing :)
  7. But she doesn't have a start button instead it's a hand crank and blue additives.
  8. Yep... Nothing like an early morning blow job to get things started! (y)
  9. Have you tried parking the bike over a thick cardboard or wool carpet square before covering.
  10. I'd invest in a can of Start Ya Bastard, but then, I'm lazy.
  11. Rebranding (or competitor) for Aerostart?
    Good idea.
  12. Doesn't matter. It's all ether in a tin anyway. I just llike the name :grin:.
  13. It's been a while since a post on NR has given me a good old belly laugh. Blanket around the engine, wont do squat diddly to the way the bike starts. Its just that time of year and your battery is more than lightly the issue. Already had some through the shop this week. Click here
  14. Having spent too many years keeping my family's old heaps running in less than ideal conditions, I can confirm that a blanket over an engine on a cold night can improve things significantly if it's applied while the engine's hot and it's less than maybe 10 hours before the restart. Mind you, that's in an enclosed engine compartment and with the massive heat capacity of an iron cylinder block to keep the heat in.

    It can also be a bit embarrassing if you forget to remove the blanket and it's either ingested by the engine or catches fire on the exhaust manifold :oops:.
  15. The only time I had troubles with starting was with my ol 1100 Katana, she had K&N pods,so I used to give her a dose of Aerostart..she had no choice but to fire up after a gutful of that gear.
    I'm riding a GS500..if it's super cold..read around 5 degrees or lower...I give her full choke and no throttle. Any other time her first start is half choke and a blip of throttle if she wont fire on the choke alone.
  16. Unorthodox and flame worthy.....but a capful of acetone per tank of fuel helped on my old carbie bike.
  17. I've got a can of 'Start Ya Bastard' - no rider of shitty old crates can be without one. But I heard it can be bad for the engine - is that just some nay-saying rumour?

    The battery's actually pretty strong - it keeps spinning the starter at full pace no matter how long it takes to start the bike (expect once when I flooded it, but even then it managed to sink the knife after 10 mins of sitting), but I might check out what the volts are doing next time I'm not in a hurry to get to work.

    I read about leaving a sandwhich toaster going under the bike for 20 mins before leaving, but I can't do that out on the street.
  18. You could cook your brekky before you head off to work. Two birds with one stone :rofl:
  19. I believe that long term use can cause problems in diesels but the occasional squirt into the intake of a petrol engine is highly unlikely to hurt it. Use according to the instructions rather than trying to run the engine on nothing else for ten minutes at a time and I doubt if there'll be any problem. All it takes is enough to get each cylinder to fire a couple of times and then the engine should run unassisted.

    Notwithstanding that, though, it shouldn't be that hard to start in Australia's relatively benign climate. Maybe see if you can find a UK/Euro based Hornet forum and see how their bikes cope with their much more severe winters.
  20. If it's turning over fine, the battery's not the problem.

    It could be tuning, timing, (choke?), fuel supply... etc.
    Make sure your spark plugs are clean and have the correct gap. These things are not critical in good conditions, but in borderline conditions they matter more.