Another dreaded "it won't start" thread. - 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 13 Old 05-16-2017, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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Another dreaded "it won't start" thread.

I'll be as brief as I can and if anyone is willing to help, we can dive into more detail if needed. Timeframes are approximate. 1990 Tengai is what I'm working with.

Approx 2 years ago, my battery died after 2 weeks of riding. Charge, ride, dead after 2 weeks again. Replaced the battery only to have same issue. I attribute that problem now to the charging system (still undiagnosed). Let bike sit for about a year, then the battery was charged, fuel drained, carb disassembled, cleaned, and one part replaced in the carb... going off memory, it was a rubber diaphragm. Reassembled, no start or any sign of starting.

Here I am another year later, new battery again... I think the cheapo battery was no good due to sitting for too long. I had no idea there was such a thing as starting fluid... I used that this time to help isolate what the problem was. After cranking with and without choke several times with no luck, I realized my petcock was still closed... I know, dummy. I opened it up and the bike started and died several times.... throttling it would keep it going, but it would die once released. I got the bike to idle by itself once for about a minute until I throttled it up, and released it... only to have it die on me. I then realized a fuel leak on/around the carb... it's dripping from a few places so I can't pinpoint where it's coming from exactly.

All in all, I can't get this thing to run and I'm beyond frustrated. Why is the carb now leaking more than the current FBI? Is that due to flooding, or do I have a bigger issue? Now that I finally know it'll actually start when I use the starting fluid, I should be able to rule out the carb, correct? But with the leaking, I still wonder where my problem lies. Once I get this figured out, I'll move onto the charging system. I have a guy who can probably figure this out for me, but he likes to do extra work without asking then charging for it. I can physically do the work, I just need guidance on what's wrong with the bike, my approach, or both.

I'm sure there may be details I left out, hopefully more will come to light as this is discussed... too much time has passed between attempts to fix. Thanks for your help everyone, I miss being on this classic on a daily basis like I used to.

Last edited by rideitlikeyoustoleit; 05-16-2017 at 09:32 PM.
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post #2 of 13 Old 05-17-2017, 04:05 AM
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Not to blow you off, rideitlikeyoustoleit, but . . . chances are, sitting for so long, your carb has succumbed to dreaded ETHANOL POISONING; a function of our "GREEN GASOLINE."

Thus, you need to clean and adjust your carburetor: http://www.klrforum.com/how-tos-tech...-overhaul.html

Unclog jets, clean float valve and its seat, etc.

If you want to know what's going on, take a look here:

http://www.klrforum.com/how-tos-tech...ing-cvk40.html

Other possibilities: Your petcock innards have deteriorated and disintegrated, launching a stream of debris into your carb, honking it up.

Otherwise, you're in pretty good shape: You've got COMPRESSION, SPARK; two of the essential "musts" in the ENGINE-RUNNING TRINITY; you only need now . . . a COMBUSTIBLE MIXTURE. An overhauled carb should give you that third essential.

BTW, a voltage reading of your battery circuit while your engine is running might be useful in diagnosing your electrical power charging/storage system and circuitry; cleaning and tightening electrical contact points, particularly grounds, always good practice.
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post #3 of 13 Old 05-17-2017, 09:56 AM
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....and realize that 97% of all electrically related "no start" issues are due to a bad battery......doesn't matter how old it is nor what the voltage reading is (need to perform a load test). There may be nothing wrong with your charging system.

Sitting with ethanol contaminated fuel for more than a few weeks will undoubtably gum up your carb every time. Next time the bike is going to sit, drain the bowl.....takes 5 seconds. Sounds like the carb needs to be removed and completely cleaned. Be careful with the enricher nut and the diaphragm and make sure you put everything back in the right place.


Good luck,

Dave
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-18-2017, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Damocles View Post
Not to blow you off, rideitlikeyoustoleit, but . . . chances are, sitting for so long, your carb has succumbed to dreaded ETHANOL POISONING; a function of our "GREEN GASOLINE."


Other possibilities: Your petcock innards have deteriorated and disintegrated, launching a stream of debris into your carb, honking it up.

Otherwise, you're in pretty good shape: You've got COMPRESSION, SPARK; two of the essential "musts" in the ENGINE-RUNNING TRINITY; you only need now . . . a COMBUSTIBLE MIXTURE. An overhauled carb should give you that third essential.

BTW, a voltage reading of your battery circuit while your engine is running might be useful in diagnosing your electrical power charging/storage system and circuitry; cleaning and tightening electrical contact points, particularly grounds, always good practice.
Thank you for your help... I really didn't want to have to disassemble the carb again, but if it means getting back on the road again, that's what I'll do for starters. I do also believe that there may have been leaking fuel either from the filter (don't think that's possible since it seems to be a sealed unit?) or at the connection point on the line that feeds into the filter... perhaps there's an issue at the filter too?

I did some electrical testing in the very beginning when this all started happening.. everything seemed to check out fine, until I got to the point where I needed a test light, and I don't have one of those, so I just gave up.

... then again, I believe God has punished me for skipping class in carpentry trade school in high school when we learned basic electrical theory... electricity is the one trade I can't grasp. I fixed the hydraulics/pneumatics/flight controls, etc. on Hornets for 5 years when I was in the Navy, did heavy sheetmetal work on commercial planes for five years after that, and fix just about everything I put my hands on... with manuals and guidance from people like all of you... when it comes to electrical, I feel like I'm always shooting from the hip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
....and realize that 97% of all electrically related "no start" issues are due to a bad battery......doesn't matter how old it is nor what the voltage reading is (need to perform a load test). There may be nothing wrong with your charging system.

Sitting with ethanol contaminated fuel for more than a few weeks will undoubtably gum up your carb every time. Next time the bike is going to sit, drain the bowl.....takes 5 seconds. Sounds like the carb needs to be removed and completely cleaned. Be careful with the enricher nut and the diaphragm and make sure you put everything back in the right place.
Thank you for your reply too. I was under the assumption that my charging system was faulty based off the troubleshooting I did in accordance with the manual... again, my electrical skills aren't the greatest. My thought was, if I charge the battery and the bike starts up no problem, but dies 2 weeks later with normal riding, that the battery was OK (especially since it happened even after installing a new battery). Of course, getting the bike to start and stay running is number one... I can somewhat deal with it dying on me except for when I get stuck in random places... now that I think about it, there was one time when it died and I waited for my wife to pick me up... after about 20 minutes of waiting, I tried starting it again, successfully, but it certainly struggled to get that spark.

When my bike is working, it usually doesn't sit for very long except for the winter... for many years, I let it sit without touching it during the winter and it would start right up in the spring. Lucky? Probably. Terrible way to treat my bike? Probably. But it's likely why I'm in the situation I'm in now.

OK, enough rambling. I shall clean the carb sometime in the next few days. Thanks again for the pointers, I'll update with any success failure.
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post #5 of 13 Old 05-18-2017, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rideitlikeyoustoleit View Post
Thank you for your help... I really didn't want to have to disassemble the carb again, but if it means getting back on the road again, that's what I'll do for starters. I do also believe that there may have been leaking fuel either from the filter (don't think that's possible since it seems to be a sealed unit?) or at the connection point on the line that feeds into the filter... perhaps there's an issue at the filter too?

I did some electrical testing in the very beginning when this all started happening.. everything seemed to check out fine, until I got to the point where I needed a test light, and I don't have one of those, so I just gave up.

... then again, I believe God has punished me for skipping class in carpentry trade school in high school when we learned basic electrical theory... electricity is the one trade I can't grasp. I fixed the hydraulics/pneumatics/flight controls, etc. on Hornets for 5 years when I was in the Navy, did heavy sheetmetal work on commercial planes for five years after that, and fix just about everything I put my hands on... with manuals and guidance from people like all of you... when it comes to electrical, I feel like I'm always shooting from the hip.



Thank you for your reply too. I was under the assumption that my charging system was faulty based off the troubleshooting I did in accordance with the manual... again, my electrical skills aren't the greatest. My thought was, if I charge the battery and the bike starts up no problem, but dies 2 weeks later with normal riding, that the battery was OK (especially since it happened even after installing a new battery). Of course, getting the bike to start and stay running is number one... I can somewhat deal with it dying on me except for when I get stuck in random places... now that I think about it, there was one time when it died and I waited for my wife to pick me up... after about 20 minutes of waiting, I tried starting it again, successfully, but it certainly struggled to get that spark.

When my bike is working, it usually doesn't sit for very long except for the winter... for many years, I let it sit without touching it during the winter and it would start right up in the spring. Lucky? Probably. Terrible way to treat my bike? Probably. But it's likely why I'm in the situation I'm in now.

OK, enough rambling. I shall clean the carb sometime in the next few days. Thanks again for the pointers, I'll update with any success failure.

I feel like you are my long lost brother! I have rebuilt many bikes, cars, etc. and have no problem with mechanical repairs.....but electrical issues are like voodoo to me. I turn to some of the other guys here when the electrical stuff gets even slightly complicated. You may well have a charging system issue but just keep in mind that many, many times people think their battery is good and go to a whole bunch of work before coming back to it. .....as I said, it doesn't matter if it's new or if it shows decent voltage at rest. This seems to happen enough that it's worth mentioning.

Good luck with the carb clean; be careful, go slow and be patient and you should have no issues.

Oh, and I also let my bikes sit all winter (up to 9 at a time) with no issues. I run only non-ethanol fuel and remove the batteries and put them on maintenance chargers (except my new LiFePo's; no need). ...a shot of stabil or seafoam can't hurt and on the KLR's I drain the float bowl as it's so easy. Zero issues following this procedure for the last 20 years or so.

Cheers,
Dave
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-20-2017, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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Well, just like last time I broke down the carb, it looks pretty clean. The holes on the pilots/emulsifier tubes look clean (I can see right through. The ports on the carb itself seem to be clean as well. Granted, there may be something gummed up somewhere that I can't get a visual on, so I'll do my due diligence and clean it with carb cleaner since I have it on hand from last time.

The only places I see junk, though I don't think it would affect flow, are on the tip of the drain port screw and underneath the float bowl gasket... there's a reddish/brown residue.

Do I need a new float bowl gasket? When the bowl is taken off and I look at it from the side to get a profile view of the mating surface, I pretty much can't see the gasket... it seems flush with the surface of the bowl itself. I assume it should be raised a bit as to actually create a seal? I could be wrong, and would rather be so I don't have to waste money and time.
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post #7 of 13 Old 06-09-2017, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Gents,

Requesting your help again as I'm still without a starting bike. I've now rebuilt the petcock. There was an inline filter between the petcock and carb that I eliminated to rule that out. As stated, the carb was completely broken down and cleaned. I didn't soak it for 24 hours, but with a good scrubbing and manually cleaning out all ports and holes with some copper wire, I think it's pretty damn squeaky clean.

With starter fluid, motor choked, I'll get a quick start... will reach 2,000 rpm's and die right away. With that, I assume electrical circuit is OK? The spark plug is near brand new... I changed it probably a year or two ago, but with such little riding, I inspected it and it shows little to no signs of wear.

What am I missing??!!

Thanks again for any help.
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post #8 of 13 Old 06-10-2017, 10:03 AM
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rideit,
Sounds to me like you are not getting fuel into the float bowl and it is only running on the shot of ether, then dies.

Are you using a small remote fuel supply tank hanging from your handlebar, instead of removing/reinstalling your fuel tank. Can you open the drain screw and confirm fuel flow? The vacuum nipple at the top front of the carb would need to be capped.

Have you read the link with-in this thread, "Care & Feeding of the Keihin CVK40".
http://www.klrforum.com/how-tos-tech...ing-cvk40.html
Care & Feeding Of The Keihin Carb

With the pilot jet removed from up inside its tower, can aerosol carb cleaner spray evenly out thru the 3 small pilot outlets under the bottom edge of the throttle butterfly plate? Works best if we temporarily close the pilot mixture screw.

One usually has to use one strand of copper wire bent 90 degrees to poke back any rust crumbs (or Varnished fuel) and flush them back out thru the pilot jet Tower.

pdwestman
Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 84,000+ miles & counting
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post #9 of 13 Old 06-10-2017, 10:40 AM
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For a new mechanic this newly supplied video should be / could be of some assistance.

http://www.klrforum.com/598578-post19.html

pdwestman
Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 84,000+ miles & counting
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post #10 of 13 Old 06-10-2017, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdwestman View Post
For a new mechanic this newly supplied video should be / could be of some assistance.

http://www.klrforum.com/598578-post19.html
A new mechanic with an angle-meter, a float height gauge, a digital caliper, and a stack of tapered wood wedges, I reckon!

Clymer prescribes only a linear measuring device (like a scale or ruler) to physically measure float height.

Not knocking the video; only--our hypothetical "new mechanic" might be informed the carburetor interior appearance might be different from that of the video.

The carburetor innards on the video looked somewhat different from Generation 1 CVKs I have seen (i.e., round, vs. rectangular float, non-directional (AFAIK) float pin, etc.) but the functionality appears consistent.

Again, it's all good; not in favor of banning the video by any means!

Last edited by Damocles; 06-10-2017 at 05:41 PM.
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