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starting trouble this morning. new fuel seems to give bike more response??

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by samtastic, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. Re: 1990 Honda Spada (35,000km)

    hey all,
    two general inquires here...

    This weekend involved a bit of boozing and lugging some heavy objects about (on different days), so - up until this morning - I hadn't ridden my bike since Thursday (4 days w/ out riding). She was almost empty (put her on Reserve this morning) also.

    Could this have had something to do with the difficult start? It took me 30 mins of pushing and trying to start her (choke applied - it was chilly in Melbourne this morning, coolest morning in a while). She might briefly splutter into life, and then conk out (if i wasn't quick enough to apply some heavy throttle)... but most of the time the starter would kick over (sounding normal, pretty sure it's not a battery issue), but she'd fail to ignite - and i don't think I flooded her, was careful to apply only a little throttle on first starting attempt.

    I've recently (all in the last 6 months) had the carbies cleaned, the valves checked, sparks upped to a larger size, changed the oil/filter and changed the air filter. There doesn't seems to be a crack in the intake manifolds either.

    Anyway, on my ride, I noticed that she felt kind of gutless - not normal. I filled her up (Caltex Vortex 95 - always at the same servo on Lygon St) and then she felt a lot more responsive.... is this possible? It it possible that the fuel had lost some of its umph* (the nearly-empty tank had petrol in her from 19 days ago - I keep a log of when I fill her up)... or am I imagining this?

    Late last winter/spring I was having problems starting her (at this point I had only had the valves done). But since having the rest of the work done, she has been well-behaved, though it has also been summer. In general, she seems to be difficult whenever it's cold....

    ... I'm running out of cash. And I dont want to catch trains all winter : (

    any advice/words of wisdom is appreciated : )


    * I've never heard of this being a problem with cars... but motor bikes seem to be lot more particular in general, so it's just a thought i had...
  2. also my brakes have become audibly noisy (squealing). Is this a dead giveaway that i need to drain the brake lines? And is it likely to affect their performance?

  3. So to clarify, it's running fine now?

    Anyway, how old is the battery? If you have a multimeter you can check to see if something is drawing current with the ignition switched off, but it's probably just an old battery getting a bit incontinent. A fresh battery will cope better with cold weather starts too.

    Out of curiosity, and not related to your problem - what do you mean by 'check the valves' and 'larger spark plugs'. I assume that the first one means that the valve clearances were checked, but I'm at a loss to think of how or why you would fit larger spark plugs.
  4. Check your brake pads for wear, it could be metal to metal, & give them a good clean. If it's metal to metal, replace the pads, if they're just dirty, a clean should fix them up.

    It's a good idea to replace your brake fluid every year or so has it been done recently? Do a Google search on brake fluid change, it's not hard, but there are a few things to be aware of.

    With your petrol problem, number 1, you're are wasting your money on Vortex unless your bike has been tuned for it.

    Number 2, fuel can go stale quickly, depending on the additives in it, that could very well be your problem, although a ~20 year old bike with a carburetor will be hard to start on cold mornings anyway.

    Hope that helps.
  5. water in your tank.

    the petrol was sitting on top of it and putting it on reserve got access to the water. Your twenty minutes of trying to start it pumped most out, but it still run rough until you put fresh petrol in.

    Put a bit of metho (100ml) in and once the bike is warmed up take it for a ride and switch to reserve and ride for a bit. That should clear the tank.

    Make sure you put it back to "on".
  6. It's running fine now (I'm going to try and cold start it again tonight once the temperature has cooled down). The battery is less than 4 months old. I had to replace it a while back as the regulator died on me and took the battery with it (which was only a new battery also). The starter motor sounds fine (I don't have a multimeter - but Im studying electronics at TAFE as part of an audio engineering course, i could see if my lecturer does. There aren't specific multimeters for bikes are there?)

    As for the valves, yes I meant they were checked and adjusted. Sorry, should have been clearer. And the larger sparks were the mechanic's idea. He worked out that we could put slightly larger ones in there than I had at the time, hoping that a stronger spark would help with my starting problems (and all summer I had no problems).

    Thanks for the brake pad advice, will have to have a look/clean them. And the metho idea sounds like it could be worth a shot too. There's no chance of me ****ing anything up by popping a little metho in the tank, is there?

    cheers again : )
  7. well it's hit 9pm here and it's cooled down. started her up first time, no problems : )

    (full choke, a little throttle, then open the throttle up once she had ignited)

    so maybe fuel was the problem.

    tomorrow morning is looking pretty average (grey, early drizzle). So that'll be a good test also.

    will keep you posted : )
  8. No matter, if it's still starting fine and the battery is new it seems ibast was right (again).

    There are automotive mulitmeters that can do specific engine-related things, but a cheap 'normal' one is fine for most things and very handy.

    No worries about the valves (I was being a bit pedantic), but I'm still lost on the larger spark plug. Maybe he meant they were iridium, or that your old plugs were too short. :-k