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only starts with starter fluid


Tiggie
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spent last couple of days trying to get bike working with no joy.


will start no problem if I spray starter fluid into air intake, then engine dies once fluid has burned up. I have stripped and cleaned carbs more than once :| I can open float bowl drain and put petcock to prime and watch petrol pour out so I know carb is getting fuel.


Battery is fully charged and I'm getting a spark at both cylinders.


cant think of what else to try :crybaby:

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it blows my finger off the hole, haven't got a gauge at moment, will be picking one up asap.


plugs are completely dry which is making me think no fuel is getting past carb, though its been cleaned and then cleaned some more!

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going to try bumping tomorrow when its not pissing down with hale :roll:


I've been going through the service manual which keeps pointing to either the starter motor or starter clutch. Though if it will start ok with a squirt of easy-start that makes me think neither of them could be the problem.


cheers everyone for the advice so far, very much appreciated :D

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So fuel is getting into float bowl, but not into engine. This sugests a blocked pilot and/or main jet. Can you remove carb inlet bubber from air filter and try putting your hand over inlet. It should draw vacuum , suck your palm in and possibly unblock the jet. If it draws vacuum while turning over, you should see some fuel being drawn into the venturi, either from the main jet , over the needle or via the pilot jet, a hole in the venturi or throttle area. :mrgreen:

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If the engine is spinning it's obviously nothing to do with the part that spins it ie the starter.


Starter fluid is fueling the engine when it runs so not an ignition problem


Easiest way I can think of to check for fuel is to remove a plug lead and turn the engine over and remove a plug. You should have a wet plug.


Definately sounds like a fueling problem. 8-)

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will try that first thing in the morning Alan, cheers :cheers:


Col, that is such a simple and obvious way of checking the fueling, cant believe it never crossed my mind :oops:


will post results tomorrow



quick edit:

Have you tried using full choke? Maybe that will tell you if it's a main jet problem without taking it all apart again.


choke makes no difference whether on or off, (seems to be in working order as I checked it when I had the carbs off) cheers for suggestion though

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Just had to check that your motor was not a 2 stroke, thank god it’s not. Heads up, Starter fluid is not recommended for 2 stroke engines as there is no oil in it to lubricate the engine. Suzuki's at one time a day had a vacuum operated fuel tap Just a thought

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Is it single or twin carb? If it's a twin carb then it would be extremely unfortunate to have the same problem on both carbs..... :wink: How strong is the spark? You need a nice fat juicy spark to ignite the fuel/air mixture under compression......does the motor make any noise like it's even attempting to fire?

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Is it single or twin carb? If it's a twin carb then it would be extremely unfortunate to have the same problem on both carbs..... :wink: How strong is the spark? You need a nice fat juicy spark to ignite the fuel/air mixture under compression......does the motor make any noise like it's even attempting to fire?

Thats whats making me look at the fuel tap, sometimes there's a tiny strainer - filter built into them, it could be the cause of the problem.

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single carb, motor does chug a little.


I've had the petcock off and cleaned the filter though it looked fine. vacuum lines are all intact, there IS fuel in the carb bowls so I'm hoping its narrowed down to either the carb not working properly or as tango said the spark is too weak.


I cant do anything till morning as I dont have a garage & I've been told bringing it indoors is step 1 towards divorce proceedings :roll:


will try bump starting it tomorrow and megawatts suggestion to put hand over carb inlet and crank the engine, if no luck I'll nip to screwfix and pick up a compression gauge, as I said it does push my finger from the hole but I'd like a number to go with that.


I've just read that you can use a sparkplug with the ground electrode bent out straight to test spark, (http://www.dansmc.com/sparktester.JPG) looking for at least 1/4 inch jump. so will try that just to make sure spark is good enough.


i'm guessing it has to be either electrical or carb related. its a v-twin engine so I cant see something going wrong with both cylinders at the same time :?: :shock:

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single carb, motor does chug a little.


I've had the petcock off and cleaned the filter though it looked fine. vacuum lines are all intact, there IS fuel in the carb bowls so I'm hoping its narrowed down to either the carb not working properly or as tango said the spark is too weak.


I cant do anything till morning as I dont have a garage & I've been told bringing it indoors is step 1 towards divorce proceedings :roll:


will try bump starting it tomorrow and megawatts suggestion to put hand over carb inlet and crank the engine, if no luck I'll nip to screwfix and pick up a compression gauge, as I said it does push my finger from the hole but I'd like a number to go with that.


I've just read that you can use a sparkplug with the ground electrode bent out straight to test spark, (http://www.dansmc.com/sparktester.JPG) looking for at least 1/4 inch jump. so will try that just to make sure spark is good enough.

Best of luck, no fun at all trying to sort a motor outside this time of the year.

i'm guessing it has to be either electrical or carb related. its a v-twin engine so I cant see something going wrong with both cylinders at the same time :?: :shock:

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ok, did as you suggested alan, there was barely any suction at all. took the carb of and tried the same thing directly on the engines intake pipe with the same results, i'm guessing that means my compression is very low. I still need to pick up a gauge to get the numbers.


any ideas what could cause loss of compression in both cylinders? :cry:

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compression wont be that high in a little twin like that i would be looking at the carb again removing float bowl and have the jets out again to make sure they are clean and clear not onl to look through but also the holes in the side of them if there is any,and also if you keep using easy start to fire it up it will get to the point where it needs it every time try not to use it if possible

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As said above, forget about compression, it's very very unlikely to be that.


It's almost certain to be a blockage somewhere in the carb, check you can see through the jets, but don't poke wire or anything through to clear them, only used compressed air, and try blowing through any chanels you can see within the carb body, either an air line or a can of compreesed air is best for this.


Check the float level in the carbs is correct too, if the level is too low then this could also cause your problem.


Good luck getting it sorted :thumb:

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cheers guys, will give the carb another going over to be sure. everything does seem to point to the carb but the bloody thing looks clean to me!! http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-basic/atomic.gif

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