Hard to Start When Cold - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
1987 to 2007 Wrenching & Mods For maintaining, repair or modifications of Generation 1 KLR's. 2007 and earlier.

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post #1 of 17 Old 01-20-2015, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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Hard to Start When Cold

I bought an 06' KLR last fall and it would always take cranking the bike several times before it would finally catch and idle on choke even though the outside temp. was in the 60's or 70's. This may be characteristic of a big single but I'd crank several seconds and it would hit a couple times, crank a few more seconds and it'll hit a few more times, after doing this 6 or 7 times it'll stay running. Now that it's cold I've run the battery down before I can get it started. Once I get it running I have to leave it choked for 5 or 6 min. and then it's fine, starts right up later in the day. It seems like the longer it sits the harder it is to start. I cleaned the carb up when I did the Eagle Mike needle conversion but cleaning it didn't seem to help anything. It almost seems like the gas in the carb is evaporating and it's having to refill the float bowl before it'll fire. Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 17 Old 01-20-2015, 01:36 PM
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Could be exactly what you describe. How long are you letting it sit between uses?

By "cleaning" of the carb what was your process?

When was the last valve adjustment done or has it been done? If you don't know then they should be checked. Valves too tight = hard starting. I'm guessing that is your problem.

And lastly - Welcome to the Forum. Please post a little about yourself in the Introduction area.

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My Kaw Barn - 2004 KLR, 2006 Concours (sold), 1997 Bayou 400.

"It's a friggen motorcycle, it's not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The wind noise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you shit your pants every now and then. "

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post #3 of 17 Old 01-21-2015, 07:47 PM
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When I got mine from the PO I had similar issues. Running seafoam helped and then just tweaking the idle adjust and other minor things. Bike fires up with one push every time when its setup right, when it starts to take more I know its out of adjustment. Oh and after alot of wasted time....check the petcock.

Crash
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post #4 of 17 Old 01-21-2015, 11:38 PM
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Mine still fires at the touch of the button.
15k mi / valves still on first adjustment.

Forever and Override pretty much covered it. If the plug is clean and there's
a good spark, That leaves valves and fuel flow. Especially in warm weather.

Hope ya get nailed down soon,
Cheeeeeeeap

PS, I'd not think it's fuel if the bike runs good once started.
Weak spark at cranking rpms? idle jet clogged or a bad fit for the new needle. (it may have some weird jet kit from before your purchase)
Valves not opening far enough? A dirty plug? (glazing can conduct between the electrodes on the insulator) That would lead to a weaker zap.

This is my son, with whom I am well pleased." ----God

Last edited by CheapBassTurd; 01-21-2015 at 11:52 PM. Reason: addition
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post #5 of 17 Old 01-22-2015, 08:45 AM
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Check for air leaks between the carb and the head at idle. let the bike idle and squirt ether or gas on the intake manifold and listen for a change in idle speed.
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post #6 of 17 Old 01-23-2015, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies.

Now that it's cold I may not start the bike for a week or two.

When I cleaned the carb I didn't dip it, I removed the jets, blew carb cleaner through all the passages and then ran a small wire through all the passages. Then I reassembled it and adjusted it according to Eagle Mikes instructions. There was no change in the starting characteristics after going through the carb.

I did put in a new plug while I had the tank off.

Once the engines warmed up it idles and runs good.

The bike does have about 18k on it and I don't know if the valves have ever been adjusted. I'll try to check them this weekend. What should the clearances be?

I've read some posts about the petcock but I didn't see any mention about cold start issues. It makes sense, if the petcock isn't allowing gas to get to the carb and the carb is drying out after sitting it might take some cranking to fill the bowl. Is there a good test for the petcock? If I do need to replace it should I go back with a stock one or use one that doesn't require vacuum?

I'll also check the introduction area, I thought I had intoduced myself already but maybe not.
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post #7 of 17 Old 01-23-2015, 10:46 AM
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It would certainly be worth checking the valve clearances anyway if you don't know when or if they have been done.

You can get info for that here:

http://www.klr650.marknet.us/valves.html

As to the petcock myself I don't think that would be the problem. Fuel only will flow to the carb when you are cranking or running. So if the bike sits for a couple of weeks the carb bowl could just be low. There is a mod you can do to your petcock to eliminate the vacuum requirement. Google will help you with that. It's known as the "Hurricane Mod".

EagleMike also sells a manual petcock if that's the way you want to go.

http://www.eaglemike.com/Manual-Petc...LR650-mpcy.htm

Check the valve and let us know what you find.

.

My Kaw Barn - 2004 KLR, 2006 Concours (sold), 1997 Bayou 400.

"It's a friggen motorcycle, it's not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The wind noise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you shit your pants every now and then. "

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Last edited by klr4evr; 01-23-2015 at 10:51 AM.
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post #8 of 17 Old 01-23-2015, 11:52 AM
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How old is the gas in the tank? I had a no-start with a small Honda generator on fuel which was less than 2 months old. Got it to start by priming but not quite as sharp as usual. The KLR has faster cranking speed which will help with poorer fuel so might be a possible.
I agree that the petcock is not a likely culprit excepting for the possible of a vacuum leak. I assume that you have tried pinching off the vacuum hose to the intake? Other than that, the carb will be full of fuel from the previous running so no more fuel follow is required for normal starting interval.

+1 regarding checking the valve clearance. One is almost always best to start at the most basic and move on from there.

Compression, fuel, spark. The KLR's automatic compression release adds a variable which can be challenging. I can recall reading posts from some of the old guard here who recommend doing a compression test on your bike when it is running well as a reference. Knowing that your bike has "X" pounds of compression can be very helpful in interpretation because one is most often considering what has changed.

Not certain that any of this is useful in addressing your problem... :-)
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post #9 of 17 Old 03-01-2015, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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I finally got an opportunity to check my valve clearances. The exhaust valves are both so tight I can’t even get a .0015” feeler gauge between the cam and shims. The intake valves have a .003” and .005” clearance. It’s definitely time for a valve adjustment. I checked with the Cycle Nation dealer across the street from where I work and they tell me that don’t have any shims in stock, they’ll have to order them. I can’t believe a large cycle shop wouldn’t have shims, how can they service customer bikes? I’ll have to go across town to a small shop to get new shims. Hopefully I can get the shims replaced this week and see if it helps the cold start issue.
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post #10 of 17 Old 03-02-2015, 10:02 PM
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After 42 years of usage of that shim size on Kawasaki product, I find that absolutely asinine of any Kawasaki Dealership to Not Stock at Least 2 NEW shims of Every Available shim size, much less not having an exchange for $2.00-$5.00 per shim, drawer FULL!

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Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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