Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Engine cranks but will not start - Honda VTR 250

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by scanlon, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. Hi everyone

    I'm a newbie rider. After a long fantasy of owning a bike (my dad had them for years) I finally took the plunge and bought one. I'd describe it as a bit of fun, more than a daily ride.

    I've had the bike for about a year, and I suspect the infrequency of recent usage may have something to do with the problem.

    Bike model: Honda VTR 250
    Age: 2003
    Kilometers: 35,000
    Other details: Battery lost charge about 3 weeks ago, and a bike friend brought over their charger, dropped it back in, and no problems since. Have been checking since to make sure it is holding charge ok & no issues. Plan to buy a new one with these current problems, but I know battery is not the issue as I re-charged it again to full, and still won't start.

    Bike started no worries last night, but this morning (cold) the engine cranked over well, but did not fire.

    Bike friend suggested pulling out the plugs and checking for spark through contact with external engine block & pressing start, and bike cranks but no spark. He thinks it may be the coil. Hopefully tomorrow I will find out what that means :oops:

    The fuel I am using is premium unleaded (98).
    Bike usage is about once a week or so, for trips of about 1.5 h return.

    Any advice on where to look next would be great - my technical friend is coming to have a look at it and it'd be great to have some advice on where to start.


  2. I'm sure you would have noticed it when you pulled the plugs out had it been an issue, but I was told by my bike mechanic that using 98 in my VTR250 might end up coating the plugs with the un-burned reside of the higher octane fuel.

    I may be wrong here, but if it's an issue with the coil then that will cause issues while riding, not just trying to start the bike. Have you tried roll starting it to see if it runs?
  3. may be a silly mistake that im sure alot of people have been caught out by but the kill switch on/off?
  4. The engine wouldn't turn over if the kill switch was on.

    If the spark plugs don't spark then just change them, they are about 10 bucks for a pair, then you'll know they aren't the problem if it still doesn't go.
  5. In my experience, they will. They will do everything but start. My spada has even fired once or twice with the kill switch on (don't ask)
  6. Did you check for spark in both cylinders?
    The bike has two coils, one for each cylinder, so if you have lost spark in both cylinders then it is unlikely to be a coil problem.
  7. lol, My bike doesn't do a thing when the kill switch is engaged, I think its better cause when nothing happens I remember the kill switch. If it turned over I'd keep trying and swearing haha.
  8. Turn up your idle. If it's only one cylinder you should be able to get it to run on the other.

    If you can't then the problem is not spark plugs, leads or coils. It's upstream of that.

  9. Doesn't this tell anyone anything? :?

    tried the choke?
  10. ok will try to incorporate everyone's responses (thanks!)

    Yes tried with choke fully out. Pushed the bike out to the sun to defrost it and still no luck 2 hours later :(

    Kill switch??!?!?! what the?

    Didn't check both sparkplugs - just the front one. Was a bit of a black wet residue which my friend suggested was from possibly (eep!) flooding the engine by trying to get it started. Could it possibly be the 98 octane issue as suggested above? I thought this was for older bikes, and didn't think 2003 would be considered 'old'?

    Haven't tried roll - starting as am on the flat!

    Idle - how do I adjust that?

    Thanks again for everyone's thoughts. I'd like to have some ability for at least the basics of motorcycle mechanics, rather than just waiting for someone to fix it for me :)
  11. yep i have a 99 model vtr and mine will also do everything but start when the kill switch is on. annoying when i have the helmet on the handelbar and it hits the kill switch, go to start up..huh? oh yeah....im getting used to it now.

    its the switch above the engine start button
  12. ziggy8> no, I had that switched on :)

    sorry i thought there was some other magical kill switch that i had accidentally triggered :p
  13. OK here's a clue. You may have flooded it. Honda's are notoriously rich, particularly at idle.

    Try this first. No choke. Hold the starter button and slowly wind open the throttle. It should clear any excess fuel and then fire.

    If it does, next time try no choke, or half choke (if you can).

    If it doesn't fire, then look at electical.
  14. I flooded my VTR250 when I had a bit of a tumble, so here's some general advice that will definitely work on your bike. Crank the throttle fully open and then start it (in neutral of course). If it's just a flooding issue, then it should fire up.
  15. Also, if you want a workshop manual to give you a bit of guidance in doing your own spanner work, PM me your email address and I'll send you on in .pdf.
  16. did you ever work it out?

    Im getting a similar problem with my Spada (going to try push starting her tomorrow)
  17. On warm humid days my old CBR250 would have similar trouble. To start it needed throttle, presumably to lean out the mixture. And it didn't like high octane fuels. And yeah, it would still crank with the killswitch off (unlike my R1 which just throws a warning light).
  18. ^ Is it normal to use a bit of throttle when starting? If I use just a tad the bike starts instantly (unless its cold). I'm talking about a tiny bit, will only rev to 4000 or less.

    Maybe try making it's own thread and give us some more details.

    Does it turn over properly?

    If it doesn't at all it may be the battery. Do the other electrics work?

    If it turns over slowly it may be the battery, or a badly grounded/damaged starter motor.

    If it turns over properly check obvious things first: Kill switch, choke, kickstand, immobiliser, fuel tap, full/good petrol.

    After all that check for spark.

    If there's no spark it could be the plugs, leads, maybe distributor.

    If there is spark could be fuel not reaching the engine, or a carbie problem.