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Author Topic: started, died, won't start  (Read 1511 times)

miggsb

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started, died, won't start
« on: April 16, 2008, 12:57:43 AM »
2004 Classic Bullet with electric starter (ES), here in Connecticut. Ran flawlessly all last summer and fall. Stored it in an outdoor shed with trickle charger (and new battery) Took it out early April and it started up immediately and then sputtered to a stop and even though the ES worked fine and turned the engine over, it wouldnt even catch a spark again. Not a single sputter. I have little to no mechanical ability, the nearest dealer is an hour away and no other commercial dealer will touch it. I cleaned spark plug, which was fouled, and disconnected hose from gas tank to be sure fuel was flowing and it was. Any ideas what's going on, or what I should try next? Thanks!

luoma

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Re: started, died, won't start
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2008, 01:22:14 AM »
Start with the easy stuff first. My old dirt bikes would do that sometimes, and it often turned out to be a dead spark plug. See if you have spark first. Pull the plug, keep it connected, let it set so it is touching the head for grounding, then crank. If no spark, change the plug.

These are pretty simple machines. As long as you have spark and fuel, it should run unless there is a stuck valve or something.

Foggy_Auggie

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Re: started, died, won't start
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2008, 01:43:58 AM »
When the engine is cranked either by foot or ES - make sure the ammeter needle is kicking between negative range to "0" with engine revolution.  If the needle is steady there is a problem.

This will show if your points wire lead to the coil is still connected.  There is a splice connector behind the battery that is notorius for working loose.  Follow the black lead coming out of the distributor (after removing the battery) all the way to the coil.

This could also be the point plate itself slipping the point assembly where the points aren't opening.

Also rest the sparkplug against the head (DON'T hold it by hand) and kick the engine over and make sure a nice blue spark is present - do this in a garage or shade.

It will probably be something simple.
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Chuck D

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Re: started, died, won't start
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2008, 01:47:01 AM »
Miggsb, Hi and welcome to the forum. I'm new to this too. As others will no doubt weigh in, the three things you need are fuel, compression and spark. From what you wrote, the only thing that is reasonably certain is good compression, so we'll assume that for now. Next, as for fuel. Did you winterize your gas with a product such as Stabil? If not, the fuel may simply be stale. Also, along these lines, the carb may be clogged up with varnish and need to be cleaned out. Next, check for spark with a "known good" plug. One easy way is to install it in the HT cable and ground it against the engine (the cooling fins will do). Turn on ignition and press the starter button while holding the plug against the engine. You're looking for a blue spark. If it's red or yellow , further electrical troubleshooting ( which is beyond my experience at the moment,alas) will be needed. But I'm sure that there are others here who will gladly take up the ball at this point. Anyway, don't panic. If as you say, the bike was running flawlessly last fall, It's probably something pretty simple. By the way, while you're at it, get yourself the "BULLET SERVICE MANUAL" by Mr. Pete Snydal. Our host sells it. It will give you a pretty good basic understanding of your machine.  Chuck.
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LotusSevenMan

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Re: started, died, won't start
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2008, 06:40:24 AM »
As others say but it's gonna be fuel or spark. Old fuel can laquer up carb jets with the yellowy varnish so worth a look. It really isn't too difficult if required, but drain off old fuel first.
If removing the fuel pipe from the carb to drain down, check fuel flow is constant and that there's no tank rust blocking the tap/pipe. Swill it around a bit by shaking bike etc. Tank removal and turning upside down is best (just the tank!) but if you don't want the bother etc..................
Good luck!
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DireWolf

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Re: started, died, won't start
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2008, 03:46:15 PM »
Check your fuse, too.

miggsb

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Re: started, died, won't start
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2008, 08:42:01 PM »
Thanks to Chuck D, Foggy_Auggie, LotusSevenMan, DireWolf and luoma for your helpful suggestions. I tried 2 different BR8ES plugs outside the cylinder and both had tiny whitish sparks appear in the area around the base of the center electrode, but no spark between electrodes. I bought a new equivelant plug and it started right up. Any thoughts on what caused the problem with the old plugs? Thanks