07 KLR Won't Start (Wits End) - 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 21 Old 02-17-2020, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 11
Unhappy 07 KLR Won't Start (Wits End)

Hi everyone,

Can't believe I'm still fighting with this bike, but I just got it back from my local garage and no improvement. For $200, they told me I need a new front tire. I agree. But the bike still doesn't start with the ignition button.

When I push the button, the engine turns but does not fire. No big backfires either, just some little hiccups.

- Battery is new and charged.
- Spark plug is new and clean (when I pull it I notice it's wet, but it still arcs when held to side of engine)
- Gas is new.
- Carburetor has been cleaned dozens of times (removed, completely dismantled, passage ways and jets blown out with carb cleaner and compressed air)
- Vacuum slide diaphragm is new.
- Air filter clean
- Valves in speck
- Timing is correct (at TDC, marks on the cams are flat and facing the right way.
- Kick stand switch disabled.
- Compression test done at garage (they say 165lbs, although I thought it was impossible to do a normal compression test because of KACR, and even then, 165 sounds high)

Starter fluid does not get it to start, either in fuel line or through airbox.

Bike can be push started, and once it's running it runs GREAT. Never had so much power and responsiveness.

What in the world am I missing? I've been around the world on this bike and cannot dream of replacing it. But I do need it to run.

Please help,
Eric Swoyer is offline  
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post #2 of 21 Old 02-17-2020, 01:13 PM
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foo's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Sacto
Posts: 55
Starter fluid does not get it to start, either in fuel line or through airbox.
If you have good compression and valve timing, then I'd think the only reason you wouldn't get it to start (even temporarily) on starter fluid is due to lack of spark.

Have you done a spark check?

Plug out, plug wire on, plug held against head for ground, spin the starter to see
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post #3 of 21 Old 02-17-2020, 01:52 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lander, Wyoming
Posts: 6,195
Eric Swoyer,
Unscrew the spark plug cap from the coil wire & hold its bare tip about 7-8mm away from valve cover Bolt, to check spark Strength.

The system needs more strength when under compression. Even a very weak system may spark 1mm at atmospheric pressure.

Have you checked ohms resistance of exciter coil & both sides of ignition coil? Did you record your readings, or did the shop?

A push start would increase the exciter coil AC Voltage output above what is achievable by the approximate 300rpm of the starter motor.

Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #4 of 21 Old 02-18-2020, 12:28 AM
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: South Australia
Posts: 14
Three maybe guesses.
Spark too weak.
Spark non-existent.
Short in the starting circuit.

If it runs OK when push started but won't fire from the elec button look for a short somewhere in the starting circuit. It may spark when the plug is out but earth out when re-installed. If starter fluid won't do it then the spark may be non-existent when the plug is installed.

Try hooking up a big car battery as if you were going to jump-start it. This may give enough oomph to get a spark. If this works the spark is too weak for some reason.

Some cars run an alternate wire which comes into play when the starter circuit is used. This handles battery voltage drop when cranking. No idea if the electro-trickery ignition system which runs a KLR does this but, if so, possibly something may be out of kilter there.

Hope that helps.
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post #5 of 21 Old 02-18-2020, 07:37 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Canada's Nortwest
Posts: 103
I would try replacing the spark plug and make sure it is gapped correctly.

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post #6 of 21 Old 02-19-2020, 03:17 AM
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Dorset in England
Posts: 9
Low fuel level in carb. ?
Maybe have a check on neutral switch wire?
Do you have switch on prop stand ?

Am thinking you need to look at what is different when you push start to when you electric start.

I am more ok with the KLR600 so may be barking up the wrong tree.
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post #7 of 21 Old 02-19-2020, 06:44 AM
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Location: Canada's Nortwest
Posts: 103
I wonder if the fuel shut-off diaphragm could have a hole in it.
Not enough vacuum to open it at cranking speed but push starting it
would create a bit more vacuum.

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post #8 of 21 Old 02-19-2020, 11:45 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Crozet, VA
Posts: 36
Eric ... you mentioned that you can roll start the bike. Once it is running/warm, can you stop and start with starter? Is this a cold start issue or does the issue remain when it is warm?

2014.5 KLR650
2004 XT225
2002 R1100S Boxer Cup Prep
2001 VFR800 - ongoing project, future guest bike
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post #9 of 21 Old 02-20-2020, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric Swoyer View Post
Starter fluid does not get it to start, either in fuel line or through airbox.
Bike can be push started, and once it's running it runs GREAT. Never had so much power and responsiveness.
The question RE if it restarts hot is a good one, though it sounds like it never starts except by pushing.

I am fighting a tenacious intermittent/no start issue and am wary of giving advice right now--I thought I had this licked (and I still think I do!) but I also think I may have just fried a CDI in testing That or my multimeter pooped the bed at the same time something else went wrong. Seems unlikely.

Anyway, the two differences I see between bump starting and using the button are
1. As mentioned, the engine could be spinning faster and making more voltage at the exciter coil = stronger spark
2. The Y/B wire from the starter relay won't be energized if you're bump starting--this wire is the rogue connection to the CDI added on later bikes, and it's only hot when cranking edit: Jury seems out on exactly what this wire DOES.
3. Your thumb isn't physically pushing down on the starter button.

1. If you haven't already, pop the tank and measure AC voltage from the exciter coil while cranking--same place you measure resistance of it when it's just sitting there per Clymer. Disconnect both connections from the stator cover, which can be found up near the CDI / coolant overflow, so there's no wackiness getting to the CDI. I haven't found a concrete number on correct, but internet sources suggest 55-60v AC when cranking. If you're seeing substantially less than that, your CDI will have issue getting enough ooomph to spark in the combustion chamber even if you see a spark in the garage when the plug is pulled.

2. Try pulling the y/b wire from the CDI and push the start button. I would be amazed if it mattered, but it is one of the few places the bike could know that you were starting it with its own power instead of a push.

3. Make very sure the bike is in neutral and jump the battery hot to the lug on the starter downstream of the relay, or simply jump the relay itself. Can't hurt.

Curious to know what you find. I am waiting on a CDI and I'm going to hopefully have my bike together, then I'll update my own thread. The perfect is the enemy of the good and I should have stopped when the damn thing ran instead of trying to improve stuff!

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Last edited by ldeikis; 02-22-2020 at 10:10 AM.
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post #10 of 21 Old 02-21-2020, 09:10 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
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. . . this wire is the rogue connection to the CDI added on later bikes, presumably to advance ignition a hair JUST while cranking.
When spark advance levers appeared on the steering columns of automobiles (yes, I'm THAT old!), in my memory, the spark was retarded upon starting (either hand-crank, or the more modern, "self-starter"). I'd welcome a correction to my already-proven unreliable memory, if I am in error (again!) this time.

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