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rvf400 not turning over

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' at netrider.net.au started by newwalk, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. rvf400 turning over not firing

    My rvf400 seems to have an electrical problem as it doesn't seem to turn over properly. Only way to start it is to push start or jump start it. It makes the sound of the engine starting but doesnt tick over, ignite. If I keep trying to do this eventually it doesnt make the sound at all.
    I have read that the honda rectifier/regulator can be faulty but I had a look at it and there is no melted wires etc. However I did replace it with a new one and then jump started it with a car. It then worked for a short while but then again the same problem occurred.
    I then moved on to the assumption that there was a problem with the battery as I had no idea if or when it had been replaced, and maybe that was the problem. I bought a new battery put it in and jump started it. It then worked for a short while again and then the same thing happened again.. ](*,)
    There are some common things that happen which make me assume it is the same problem, firstly what I have stated above about it not being able to turn over. Secondly I am unsure if this completely unrelated or not but, when it is working and is about to stop working my indicators start acting up. The stop flashing and just stay solid. Again I am not sure if this is related or a separate issue.
    hahaha, no.. seriously :cry:

  2. The first thing I would suggest is stop buying new bits for the bike until you actually work out what new bit you need.

    Seems odd that things work for a bit whenyou replace stuff and then stop again, but here goes...

    If the bike won't turn over on its own but will turn over from a jump start off the car then sounds like your battery is flat. Since you have replaced the regulator and batttery presumably it is not these but just to make sure do re-check your battery terminals are clean and on tight. So what else works? Will lights come on, does your horn work? Does your horn work but sound like a bloodhound which is being strangled? Better still put a multi meter across the terminals and check your voltage. If you don't have a multi meter, you can buy one at Bunnings for about $10 and they are a worth while gizzmo.

    Can you please clarify what the bike is actually doing, when you hit the starter, that is, not
    If your battery is flat, since you have recently replaced it , sounds like your battery isn't charging. Can't be the regulator since you jst replaced that too, so next question would be how is the alternator? Hang in there. Don't go racing out to buy an alternator yet.

    If you have a multimeter, (you did buy one from Bunnings, didn't you?) what reading do you get across the battery when you rev the bike above idle? Failing using a multimeter and by no means as accurate, when you rev the bike from idle does the headlight increase in brightness. Yes means the alternator is probably working, no doesn't mean very much at all, which is why a mutimeter is more accurate.

    If your alternator is charging then you may have some sort of leakage which is flattening your battery. Do you have any add on devices (gps, heated grips, cappuccino machine that may be drawing current and flattening the battery while the bike is not running.

    If your battery wasn't flat sounds like a loose connection somewher in the starter circuit although unlikely if the bike will jump start, but check wires and fuses.

    If all else fails hang in their till the elecrical gurus like CJVFR, PatB or Brownyy come in whith more technical advice.

    Edit: All of the above was predicated on you saying it doesn't turn over properly. I assumed that meant that when you hit the starter, nothing happens.

    After re-reading your post it may mean that it does turn over but won't fire. If so most of what I have said (apart from multimeters being useful and stop buying bits till you know what is wrong) is not going to help much and the problem will be all to do with fuel, air and spark.

    Could you please clarify what actually happens when you hit the starter switch. Does it turn over and not fire or not turn over?
  3. oops... yeah sorry for the confusion thats my fault. It turns over but doesnt fire. The headlights all the electricals still turn on but it is like trying to start the bike with the killswitch on.
    Also another common problem is that, in the time that it does work in order to fire would need a small rev :oops:
    thanks for the help.
    ill stop buying things haha.
  4. OK back to basics. Is it getting fuel? Is it getting air? Does it have spark?

    You can check for fuel by cranking it over for a few seconds and then puulling the plugs and seeing what they look like. If they are wet, it is probably from fuel. While the plugs are out give them a good clean up anyway and check the gap is correct. f the plugs look dry after repeated attempts to start if may be possible you are not getting fuel.

    You can also try product like Start ya Bastard sprayed into the air intake
    or a small splash of virtually anything volatile - metho, acetone, vodka (OK I wouldn't use vodka) even fuel in the air filter. If that works and then cuts out it could be you are not getting fuel through. Check for kinked fuel lines, blocked breather on tank, you did top up with petrol didn't you?

    Air is a bit harder but check your filter doesn't have any small birds nest, spiders etc in it and while you are doing that try giving it a clean. Preferably blow it out with compressed air .. blowing from the inside out not the outside in.. or is you are too poor to afford air, try beating the filter with a stick to shake dust out. The good newws is this is the least likely cause of an issue.

    To check spark pull your spark plugs, put the plug on your tongue and crank the engine. OK I wouldn't do this but if you decide to let me know how it goes. Pull the plug, eath it by holding/temporary attaching it to the engine case, crank the engine and check if you get a good strong spark. You should be able to see this in daylight but if you can't try it in the dark when a spark will be obvious.

    If no spark it could be kill switch or kill switch wiring, battery flatish, dirty plugs, faulty coils, dodgy ingition leads.

    Taht should give you a few things to check and report back on.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Okay thanks for all the help. I will get to work on it ASAP and ill post the results. If there is anything else please let me know.
    Really thank you for your informative responses hope the problem can be solved.
  6. Some important things I forgot to add or emphasise.
    It actually does work for a period, maybe a few weeks, in between the things I have done.
    It initially starts normally and I always think that it is fixed haha, then it requires a bit of a rev to get it started, and then doesnt fire at all.
    Other information is that the last time when I had tried to fix it by changing the battery, and in between the last symptom of requiring a rev, also indicators not flashing and it not firing at all I had uni exams so it was a few weeks that the it was sitting in the garage.
    If any of that helps.
  7. Lack of indicators could indicate electrical issues which are also affecting ignition but usually these are different circuits.

    if you are going for long periods of time between trying to start the bike, it could simply be the carby fuel bowls have emptied and the bike has insufficient fuel to run. ( Try the start ya bastard)

    Step therough the processes i outlined above.
  8. Newwalk, not sure where you are located but if in sydney and want it fixed with minimal fuss to yourself, take it to Harley at RB Racing in Tarren Point. He's a pro at these machines and will get it sorted and keep you in the loop at the same time.
  9. I splashed some fuel into the air filter and it worked. The thing is I dont know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing but it did not cut out. So it kind of 1/2 fills the indication that there is a fuel problem.

    Lilley: Thanks if I get to the point where I really dont think I can fix it ill be sure to give them a call. Thank you.
  10. newwalk, if it does work when you splash fuel into the air filter (or spray brake cleaner/"start ya bastard") without hesitation, you might have a fueling issue.

    The fuel tap is vacuum controlled so have a look at the vacuum hose to see if there are any cuts/kinks that might cause vacuum issues to the fuel tap.

    In saying that, remove a spark plug and have a look at the spark plug. If it is slightly wet, you may have flooded the engine but that can also rule out fueling issue. I'd remove all the spark plugs, dry them out and put them back in. Give it another go and if it struggles to fire, then you might have a weak spark.

    Check for spark if you can. If it's a strong blue spark then they are good.

    Also check the recharge rate at the battery when the bike is idling. If the charge rate is too low, it won't start very easily (especially after your battery drains). Since you have already replaced the rectifier/regulator (R/R), it can also be the stator coil. Mine was fried, as well as the R/R.

    If electrical is all fine...hopefully this isn't your problem. With my VFR400 track bike (essentially the same bike) I had starting issues when I bought the bike. It would struggle to start and starter motor would just wind over constantly. The only way I managed to get it started first time around was using a squirt of brake cleaner (or "Start ya bastard") and then hold the throttle open until it was slightly warm. It would idle, but very rough. Starting issue turned out to be a valve clearance issue...it hadn't been checked and it had an unknown history. In my case, there was no clearance at the intake valve, which meant the intake valves were slightly open leaving no compression causing starting issues. The idling issue was due to the carbies, the pilot screws were set all wrong...gave the carbies a once over with correct pilot screw settings and now starts first time every time (with choke) and idles without issues.

    If you are not confident in doing any of the above, I would suggest you get it checked out by a mechanic.
  11. Thanks phongus,
    Will have a look into the kinks.
    Would I need the OEM spark plug sockets to remove the spark plugs? I didnt get the OEM tool kit when I bought the bike.
    I hope its not the last scenario in which case I may be inclined to get it checked by a mechanic, as I do only have limited mechanical knowledge, mainly cars.
    thanks for all the help
  12. Cars and bikes are pretty much the same. Bonus with bike, you can have the engine on your kitchen table.

    Regarding spark plug, you don't need the OEM tool, however you need a long socket of size I forget. I can find out for you when I get home. They are an odd and smaller plug hence the ridiculous price on them (last I checked $25 per plug). The front is a pain in the arse to get to, might need to remove the radiator retaining bolt and move it forward a little to get them out easier. In saying that, remove the radiator all together and give them a flush if they haven't been done ;).
  13. Ohhh okay good haha.
    I'll probably try to get this done when I have the time to do it all in one shot.
    Yeah I'll flush the radiator while im at it since all the fairings and stuff are off anyway.
    I was reading the Haynes manual and I think they also did say to remove the retaining bolt, not much space in there haha.
    Hopefully everything works out...
    Thanks for the help again.