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Author Topic: New AVL Owner—Help!  (Read 1386 times)

RP McMurphy

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New AVL Owner—Help!
« on: August 16, 2013, 07:31:35 PM »
Hey everyone, new guy here. I got my 2008 AVL Deluxe about six months ago, and in that time, I’ve managed to kick it into life twice. Never even had a chance to ride!

So here’s where things get interesting—sometimes it feels like the Sprag Clutch is completely gone, and other times it kicks over just fine. Today I managed to get it going in a few minutes with the kick starter (bike had been sitting for a while, so not enough juice for the electric start). Kicking seems to take forever, and I’ve never been able to properly find top dead center—the decomp lever will go down, but it doesn’t seem to have a significant impact on starting the bike once I kick it through.

Weird bit—after I got it running today, there seems to be almost no juice left in the bike, even though the engine ran for a couple of minutes. Weirder still, now it doesn’t want to shift out of neutral (I thought I would try backing the bike up in gear to find TDC, put it neutral, and kick), but the neutral light doesn’t come on. Worked fine before I got the bike running.

So what’s the verdict? Anyone have some sage wisdom to pass along? I’ve been thinking I had to dig out the broken sprag for months, but after I got her running today, I wasn’t so sure. Now I don’t know. I’m the second owner, and she has about 6,000 miles on the clock, so no hope of warranty. I looked under the seat, and the green TCI box is installed, just not sure if that completely solved the sprag issue.

Any thoughts are appreciated!

boggy

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Re: New AVL Owner—Help!
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2013, 09:55:57 PM »
RP,
Easiest way to find TDC on your AVL is to slowly kick that lever until it feels REALLY tough. When you feel that, keep pushing SLOWLY through until it just gives way and feels easy. Stop pushing and let your lever back up to the start for the kick. Give it a kick making sure you go fully through. Thoroughly kicking through is more important than kicking hard.

You aren't kicking while decompressing are you?

Charging the battery and a fresh plug will only help matters. My AVL has a NGK BR8ES plug from any auto store, for reference.

Your clutch may be sticky from sitting but no neutral light might mean you have zero juice in that thing. That's a start and I'm sure there will be better ideas here shortly.
2007 AVL
2006 DRZ400SM

Arizoni

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Re: New AVL Owner—Help!
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2013, 11:05:17 PM »
RP:
Before you turn the key on, pull out the kick starter lever and pull in the clutch.  Slowly kick the lever thru a stroke.  You will feel the resistance get harder and suddenly it will kick freely.  This will break loose your sticky clutch plates.  It will help when you want to shift into first gear.

With the bike on the center stand you should be able to turn the rear wheel slightly if the transmission is in gear.  Working the shift lever and jostling the rear wheel a bit should allow you to find neutral if you already haven't.
The transmission really needs to be in neutral before you start the engine.
If your battery is dead or almost dead your neutral light might not light.

Like boggy say's, either with the compression release engaged or disengaged, with the clutch lever released, press the kickstarter down until you feel a lot of resistance. 
That's the piston coming up on the compression stroke.  When it reaches TDC it will suddenly be very easy to kick further down but this is the time to stop and to reset the kickstarter to the top of its stroke.

If the decompression lever was engaged, now is the time to disengage it.  The engine won't start with the lever engaged.

Turn on the ignition key and kick the kickstarter completely thru its stroke.  That should rotate the engine thru at least one complete cycle and hopefully it will start.
If not, find the TDC position again and give it another try.

About the sprag clutch:  If it is working, it will only engage when the electric start motor is energized.  If the motor starts spinning without turning the engine over, the sprag clutch is toast.  If the electric motor always cranks the engine (when the battery is charged), the sprag clutch is fine.  If the starter motor sometimes cranks the engine and sometimes just winds up without turning the engine, the sprag clutch is on the way to breaking.

Sometimes the neutral light switch can hang up so the light doesn't come on even if the transmission is in neutral.  Also, like boggy says, if the battery is almost dead the light wont work.
Jim
2011 G5 Deluxe
1999 Miata 10th Anniversary

RP McMurphy

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Re: New AVL Owner—Help!
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2013, 11:44:34 PM »
Hey All,

Thanks for the pointers. I did try kicking the bike through with the clutch lever pulled in, neutral light still not coming on. Now the headlight is coming on, so there's definitely juice (and remember, it had enough charge to start earlier today). Neutral light still won't come on however. Is there anyway that a busted sprag could lock up the transmission and fool the neutral light that the bike is in gear?

Also, every time I kick the starter, I usually hear a loud "clack" sound. Doesn't sound normal. From what I've been able to gather, it seems like sometimes the sprag is broken (kickstarting drags the whole transmission and sounds like a wind-up flashlight), and at other times the kicker is much lighter and the bike can be started (like this afternoon)

again, thanks for all the help!

tooseevee

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Re: New AVL Owner—Help!
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2013, 09:30:53 AM »
    Another thing to remember with the AVL when we're discussing finding TDC, etc., & finding the best place to kickstart at, etc., is that the "compression release" lever on the AVL is not actually a compression release in the old school sense.

            All the compression release lever on an AVL does is prevent the exhaust valve from closing IF it's open which it is NOT at TDC power stroke.. I found it useless very early on for finding that sweet spot for kick starting. I quit using it early on & just kick it now by what feels right.

            I only use the lever to kill the engine. I never shut it off with the key because early on I got that dreaded sprag noise a couple times. I almost never use the electric start. I have a dealer 3 hours away (+ I don't trust dealers in general) & I do not want to rebuild the sprag clutch. I'll save the ES for it dieing in traffic or some other horror show.

            I ditto the other guys on kicking through. More important than weight or muscles. Pretend (like in karate theory) that you want your foot to go "through" the pavement on that downstroke.  I still kick a harley & I'm 75 & weigh 140 pounds. Technique + tuning equals success (Sun Tzu sed that   :)).

        RP, you might find you need to do a complete "dealer prep tuneup" by the numbers to get your machine in shape. Plus that noise you're hearing is scary.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2013, 09:35:50 AM by tooseevee »
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Ice

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Re: New AVL Owner—Help!
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2013, 11:04:12 AM »
+1 to what he said.
 It's all about technique

 BTW H-D, my Asian trail bikes and our Bullets all require different kick over techniques.

 The sharp sudden kick of the trail bike or the build resistance and jump technique of the H-D are intuitive but not right for the Bullet.

 Edge the piston over TDC and stop, re engage the kicker pawl then and give a smooth push through to get the flywheels moving and let their inertia take it from there.  ;)

 Here's a link to a video that shows how little oomph is needed.
The video starts after the piston had already been edged past TDC.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPbEUXaI5cA

I can break it better,,,,at night, in the rain, on the trail,, 20 miles from nowhere.

REA #136

"TIMEX", the '06 Iron Barrel Military...it takes me everywhere I want to go... and some places I shouldn't.

RP McMurphy

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Re: New AVL Owner—Help!
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2013, 10:03:26 PM »
Update---

Alright chaps, just gave things another go. This time, I opened the tappet cover to see if the kickstart was moving things along. The answer-- sort of. Whenever the kicker gave a lot of resistance, the tappets would "breathe" (this was a cold engine, and the tappets did pass the thumb roll test with no vertical movement), and move up and down. Felt (and sounded) like the whole tranmission was moving along with it.

Occasionally however, it felt like the kicker lost all traction with the system, and sort of "slipped". No movement out of the tappets then. That has me a bit worried.

At this point, from all that I've read I'd be willing to wager that my sprag is toast, and that it occasionally it all gets jumbled around so that it does work. With the "slipping" kicker, I really hope nothing else has gone seriously wrong in the primary.

Can anyone point me to a good guide on how to get to the sprag on an AVL? At this point, I kinda want to just pull the damn thing out, and run kickstart only. No chance I could just go the back way through the electric  start motor, is there? Another thought-- could I leave the starter motor/motor housing in place to cover up the hole in the inner-primary cover?

Again, you guys are a tremendous help. Thank you!

RP McMurphy

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Re: New AVL Owner—Help!
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2013, 10:07:33 PM »
*Not sure if this helps, but here's a video of the poor bike running. Anyone hear anything odd? Sounds normal to my ears...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDOocQPlCYE

Arizoni

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Re: New AVL Owner—Help!
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2013, 12:50:25 AM »
Sounds pretty normal to me except for the barking sound it's making.

I'm not quite sure what to make of that.  ;)
Jim
2011 G5 Deluxe
1999 Miata 10th Anniversary

Ice

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Re: New AVL Owner—Help!
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2013, 01:07:45 AM »
Sound normal to what's left of my hearing.

Lets see if I can share some insight without insulting your intelligence or muddying the waters. Sometimes I am not good at this so my apologies in advance.

 The sprag is part of the electric start gear drive which is its own system separate from the clutch.

 In no particular order, possible causes for the kicker seeming to slip are faulty kicker pawl or spring, excessively worn clutch discs, clutch lever pulled partly in, clutch system adjusted to tight.

Several fellows have pulled the e start and pared a good 15 pounds or more pounds off the bikes weight as a result.

Here's a link to an on line parts diagram that will be of help.  http://www.hitchcocksmotorcycles.com/partsbooks/278/2005_Electra_(X)_


« Last Edit: August 18, 2013, 01:37:23 AM by Ice »
I can break it better,,,,at night, in the rain, on the trail,, 20 miles from nowhere.

REA #136

"TIMEX", the '06 Iron Barrel Military...it takes me everywhere I want to go... and some places I shouldn't.

RP McMurphy

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Re: New AVL Owner—Help!
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2013, 12:08:52 PM »
Arizoni-- yeah, the barking noise is a killer. Can't figure that one out at all  ;D

Ice-- thanks for the pointers, and all insults to my intelligence greatly appreciated. I really hope the clutch isn't locked up or worn to all get out. Was hoping that a disintegrating sprag could be the cause of it all, so that it would just be a one time fix. Guess we won't know till I get in there. We'll see.

As of yet, I haven't had the guts to open up the primary and go after that sprag-- will probably call a mechanic friend to help. Gonna take some time (just graduated from college, etc, etc). I'll keep you all updated.

Thanks again,
RP

Superchuck

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Re: New AVL Owner—Help!
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2013, 10:53:33 PM »
Congrats on the new bike, and congrats on taking the effort to give it some TLC!

I was under the impression that if you're only using your kick start, that has nothing to do with your sprag at all.  Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that a busted sprag, although potentially jamming up the system with broken teeth, etc, wouldn't be in use while kickstarting, and that it couldn't be the reason for the intermittent kickstart lever.

I also wouldn't pay any attention to a neutral light (or lack thereof).  Mine works about 5% of the time, and it's just coincidence if the finicky light decides to turn on or not.

That being said, I may have a lot of posts on here on the forums, but I'm still a beginner in a lot of things motorcycle.  For instance, it seems strange that this problem you're having is intermittent.  If it is a clutch tightness issue (clutch cable connected to the hand lever is too tight), could this maybe be aggravated by the handlebars being turned to the far right?  Not sure if the clutch lever is the same, but I know this can be a concern when setting the tightness of the throttle cable.  (turning the handlebars to its extents can put additional tightness on the throttle cable, which would be noticeable by the engine revving when you're not twisting the grip)  just wondering if that same thing could be at play with your clutch cable.

Either way, checking your cable tightness and maybe 'clutch throwout adjustment' could be simple things to check, even if to just eliminate them as problems.

Also, how is your electric starting?  You mentioned that the battery is low... if you don't have a battery tender, just try hooking it up to a car's battery with jumper cables to charge it a bit.  Make sure the car is turned OFF cause i've heard bad things can happens if it's on (overpowers your old fashioned bike electrics).  You could leave it hooked to the car's battery for a bit and see if that helps charge it, or you could just try electric-starting your bike while jumper-cabled to the car.  If it starts fine every time, then you know your sprag is OK.

Lastly, one thing that happened to me (embarassingly) is that the little bolt and nut on the bottom of your kickstart lever got loosened on mine and I didn't notice it.  Then when I'd kick it, it would sometimes work fine, then other times it would slip right down...  this was the metal kickstart arm slipping on where it connects to that round nub that protrudes out of your gearbox.  I'd have to pull it up again to try kicking again.  This only lasted a handful of kicks though til it was totally shot...  The little teeth on my kick-lever got sheared off and I had to replace it.  Luckily a generous forum member sent me his old one for simply the cost of shipping.  I'm guessing that's not your problem but it's at least something to check.

Lastly, I'd listen to Ice... he's got it narrowed down a bit and i'd guess that one of his suggestions are correct.  I type a lot but my actual know-how is fairly limited.  This AVL is my first bike, and I've never done anything mechanical or automotive before getting it three years ago.

Cheers,

chuck

RP McMurphy

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Re: New AVL Owner—Help!
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2013, 11:00:50 PM »
Thanks for the input.

I should clarify-- electric start has never worked. I used a battery tender to trickle charge the battery up a while back, but the motor just never caught even though I could hear the electric start spooling around. That's another reason I think the sprag might be going.

If the sprag isn't blown, and something else is locking up the transmission (I've seen posts where other users have put their full weight on the kickstart lever without it moving because of the sprag), then that'll be another whole adventure. >.<

Thanks for the input (I'll check the kickstarter nut)

RP

Arizoni

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Re: New AVL Owner—Help!
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2013, 04:45:30 PM »
Perhaps you already know this but the sprag clutch is a 1 way clutch that is located on the engines crankshaft.
When the electric starter motor starts running it turns a series of gears that turn the outside gear on the sprag clutch.

As the sprag clutch starts to turn, the sprags bind up against the crankshaft causing it to turn the crank and start the engine.

When the engine fires and speeds up, because the crankshaft is turning faster than the starter motor driven sprag clutch, the sprags release their grip and start to slip, allowing the starter motor and its gear train to come to a stop.

If the electric start motor is activeated and it just accelerates up with a whining sound, the sprag clutch is not locking up on the crankshaft.  Simply put, the sprag clutch is broken.

If the engine is started with the kick starter, the bike can be ridden but there is always the chance that further damage to the sprags will happen and if these start to break up the resulting pieces of hardened steel can cause mischief with the bearings and the duplex primary drive chain.

Another form of failure in a sprag clutch is when it fails to release its grip on the crankshaft.  Basically, the sprags have wedged in place.
If this happens, any movement of the crankshaft will result in the electric start drive gears and the electric starter motor turning.
If this happens and the kick starter is used to start the engine, the starter motor will make a whurrrrrr'ing sound even though the electric start button isn't pressed.

If this happens, the bike cannot be ridden without overspeeding the starter motor which can do great harm to it.
If the starter motor is removed the motors drive gears will still be turning and while they can do this for a while, their bearing surfaces were not designed for them to be running all the time.

The sprag clutches used on the old Iron Barrel and on the AVL were not up to the task of dealing with a big 500cc engine backfiring or its crankshaft rotating backwards as it comes up on compression after it is turned off.  The shock can cause the hardened sprags to break.
Royal Enfield made a new Green controller to help with this problem but  basically the whole electric start system is weak.

That's why many owners have decided to remove the sprag clutch, the start motor and its drive gear train.
 
The kick starter is a totally independent thing.
It drives the transmission shaft thru a ratchet style clutch.  If the ratchet pawl and teeth don't engage fully as it is depressed it can slip.
When it is not slipping it turns the transmission shaft which turns the clutch plates which turns the clutch housing (if the clutch lever is released).  As the clutch housing turns, the duplex primary chain turns the crankshaft.
It should start the engine even if the sprag clutch is broken.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 04:55:02 PM by Arizoni »
Jim
2011 G5 Deluxe
1999 Miata 10th Anniversary

boggy

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Re: New AVL Owner—Help!
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2013, 06:09:50 PM »
I ride my AVL everyday (that I can) and never in the morning and never at night will the e-start get enough speed to turn over the engine.  ONLY when I've been riding it for a while, and maybe get off it for an hour will that e-start turn my bike over so I might not assume that it's broken.  I'd only ever trust that fact if the battery was 100% charged and the e-start failed.

If you have not put in a new plug, you should at least try. It's cheap, and it's been the cause of my AVL not starting at least 90% of the time.  Few bucks, a minute to change.

Superchuck - that loose kicker bolt sounds crazy, but TOTALLY believable for the wild-world of Enfields. I could see myself fiddling with the bike for days only realizing that it's something like that.  That, is classic.
2007 AVL
2006 DRZ400SM