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Author Topic: Kickstarter - TDC not obvious sometimes. Why?  (Read 4972 times)

Kiwichick

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Kickstarter - TDC not obvious sometimes. Why?
« on: November 22, 2007, 07:35:12 PM »
OK, so I'm still a kickstarter in training.

Can someone tell me, sometimes when I am trying to find the compression stroke, and kick the kickstarter through a few times, there seems to me no difficulty - that is, I can kick it thorugh (ignition off) 5, 6 times, and don't find that hard point anywhere.  On these occasions, I usually start with electric start, no problem. She runs sweet, etc.

And then next time I try, TDC is as clear as the nose on my face - one kick through, and there is is, that hard as place which I use the decpm lever to get through.

What is the reason for those times when I don't feel the compression?  Has my baby got a problem?  (or have I??!)

Thanks
Biddy
(Sorry if this questions is unbelievably stupid to those of you that understand motors and know what you're doing!)

Thumper

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Re: Kickstarter - TDC not obvious sometimes. Why?
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2007, 09:35:47 PM »
OK, so I'm still a kickstarter in training.

Can someone tell me, sometimes when I am trying to find the compression stroke, and kick the kickstarter through a few times, there seems to me no difficulty - that is, I can kick it thorugh (ignition off) 5, 6 times, and don't find that hard point anywhere.  On these occasions, I usually start with electric start, no problem. She runs sweet, etc.

And then next time I try, TDC is as clear as the nose on my face - one kick through, and there is is, that hard as place which I use the decpm lever to get through.

What is the reason for those times when I don't feel the compression?  Has my baby got a problem?  (or have I??!)

Thanks
Biddy
(Sorry if this questions is unbelievably stupid to those of you that understand motors and know what you're doing!)

A couple of points to bear in mind (which you seem to be already familiar with):

1) The piston is at top dead center twice: Once on compression where the valves are closed, and once on the exhaust stroke where the exhaust valve is open and the piston just pushed the exhaust gases out. On our human end of things, we really only feel the engine at TDC compression. We feel it as resistance on the kickstart lever.

2) The Electra X decompression release lever does not work they way many decomp levers do. When you squeeze the decomp release lever on some singles the compression is released and you immediately feel the difference at the kickstart lever (e.g., it kicks thru with no further resistance). With the decomp lever on the Electra X it is a valve lifter and you (as you have probably experienced) have to apply downward pressure on the decomp lever as you press the kickstart lever slowly (and forcefully) through one TDC compression stroke. The decomp lever then goes all of the way down. While continuing to hold it down, you can now kick the engine through several cycles with no further resistance. The purpose of this is to break-free some slightly stuck clutch plates, it can lubricate via oil, and it can push some air/fuel mix thru; all of which serve to loosen things up a bit and prepare the engine for the real kickstart effort.
   At this point you really just do it all over again: you release the lever and press the kickstart lever through until it hits compression again. When it hits compression you once again press the decomp lever and continue to forcefully press the kickstart lever through the compression until the decomp lever kicks in, moves downward and releases the pressure. Release the decomp lever, let the kickstarter come back up and...THEN, FINALLY, you're ready to kickstart the engine.

It really only takes about 20 or 30 seconds to do all this.

NOW, in answer to your question: If your decompression release lever is not adjusted properly down at the square cam cover on the right side of the engine it can cause the symptoms you describe. If adjusted incorrectly it can affect valve clearance. If adjusted incorrectly it might be partially engaged when it shouldn't be (and partially engaged means its releaseing compression when it shouldnt)!

I have notes on the adjustement here in section 1 step 3:
http://members.verizon.net/allofusmorrows/RE_maintenance.htm

Matt
« Last Edit: November 22, 2007, 09:39:20 PM by Thumper »

Kiwichick

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Re: Kickstarter - TDC not obvious sometimes. Why?
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2007, 10:16:53 PM »
Thanks.  It's due for the 500km service, so I'll ask the guys to check this specifically - next time, I'll know the naes of things.

The dealer here in Auckland, Trevor, is a good bloke.  He's arranged my 500km service to be a slow affair, with me helping out, taking notes etc so I can begin to learn the basics.

And having you guys to ask questions of really helps!  Ta.
Biddy

indian48

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Re: Kickstarter - TDC not obvious sometimes. Why?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2007, 12:00:29 AM »
Even with one upward stroke of the piston not being the compression one, the next one is, and you should not be able to kick over the engine 5-6 times without feeling a hard point, if everything is the way it should be. I am curious to know more about this too, keep us posted!
This is why I prefer to stay away from the decomp lever by the way, its not any macho thing!
And while that is so, I also want to hear the reaction  to the Snidal recommendation you posted here, of keeping the decomp lever in use while using the ES, all the time till the bike fires and start running. What I can't figure out with that is that if the bike is to run on its own, compressed fuel air mix has to ignite, for that to happen, it has to compress in the first place, and for that to happen, both valves have to be fully closed! On the other hand, if you find that the bike starts with the decomp lever at work, then something about the real world does not gel with the fancy logic above, which means that however fancy, it is still wrong!
Can any one shed light on this too?!
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Thumper

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Re: Kickstarter - TDC not obvious sometimes. Why?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2007, 12:14:19 AM »
Even with one upward stroke of the piston not being the compression one, the next one is, and you should not be able to kick over the engine 5-6 times without feeling a hard point, if everything is the way it should be. I am curious to know more about this too, keep us posted!
This is why I prefer to stay away from the decomp lever by the way, its not any macho thing!
And while that is so, I also want to hear the reaction  to the Snidal recommendation you posted here, of keeping the decomp lever in use while using the ES, all the time till the bike fires and start running. What I can't figure out with that is that if the bike is to run on its own, compressed fuel air mix has to ignite, for that to happen, it has to compress in the first place, and for that to happen, both valves have to be fully closed! On the other hand, if you find that the bike starts with the decomp lever at work, then something about the real world does not gel with the fancy logic above, which means that however fancy, it is still wrong!
Can any one shed light on this too?!

I've never read up on Pete's technique. My own way of relieving pressure on the electric starter is to prepare to start the engine the same way that I would if I were kickstarting it. Namely, I kick it thru several times with the decomp lever engaged to prime the engine. Then I get it just past TDC compression, again using the decomp lever and kickstarter just as if I were going to kickstart it. At this point it's just past TDC and compression is relieved and I engage the electric start instead of giving it the mighty kick. The absence of back pressure on this initial stroke does for the starter system components the same thing that it does for my leg. Then, the momentum beyond that first stroke helps the starter for the few additional turns needed to fire. I use this technique in sub-freezing temperatures.

Matt
« Last Edit: November 23, 2007, 12:17:35 AM by Thumper »

indian48

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Re: Kickstarter - TDC not obvious sometimes. Why?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2007, 12:22:13 AM »
Should have done this first,,,checked the Snidal manual, and he does say that before the engine starts firing, the lever needs to be released,,,it is recommended to be used just to get it spinning without loading the battery to move past the hard TDC.
Apologies.
And Matt, your way of taking the load of the ES makes very good sense to me, and I shall use it every time I use the ES henceforth, thanks! I should have realized myself that what is good for my leg is also good for the ES system. Since I prefer to stay away from the decomp lever, this method makes better sense for me than the Snidal one.
This forum is amazingly good to get the most of the RE, and all of us get this wisdom for free! Now I think I begin to understand the philosophy behind the open source software movement, that does the same thing for software, much to the dislike of Microsoft etc.
All of us in the community and the host can stand up and take a bow!
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indian48

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Re: Kickstarter - TDC not obvious sometimes. Why?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2007, 12:48:00 AM »
Biddy,
With no disrespect intended, I trust that when you are able to kick over the engine with ease the way you state, it is not because you have the clutch lever pulled in.
If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing well

Kiwichick

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Re: Kickstarter - TDC not obvious sometimes. Why?
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2007, 01:50:15 AM »
No, not with clutch in!!!   Although I don't mind you asking, because it is highly likely I'll be that ignorant from time to time!!

I do kick it over with the clutch in until I feel the plates seperate, as described in several posts across this forum.

What I describe isn't the completely loose feeling like when the clutch is in.  It is stiffer than that, but sort of even in pressure, never hitting the hard compression stroke.

I need to make more observations, but I've noted:
1. I always can feel that compression stroke when I have been riding and then stopped, when I am fairly reliably able to kick it over now.  And have even managed this while sitting ON the bike ...
(Kiwichick pauses and waits for the applause to die down)
2. Clutch is always not engaged!
3. If I have the non-compression type kicking over, then start it with electric start, run a while (ie ride briefly) and then stop, then kicking will feel normal again.

Sounds like your concern, India48, about the decomp level getting sti\cuk has merit!

When it stops raining, I'll try it out - I'm interested to see whether just engaging/disengaging decomp lever might make it return to normal. Will keep you posted!
Biddy


indian48

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Re: Kickstarter - TDC not obvious sometimes. Why?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2007, 09:50:23 AM »
Take a bow KC, for the kickstart heroics!
And we are all ears for what the reason is for what you are experiencing,,,,only logical thing I see is the decomp lever issue,,but I don't know enough to be sure of that.
If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing well

Kiwichick

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Re: Kickstarter - TDC not obvious sometimes. Why?
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2007, 05:02:35 AM »
I just had my 500 k service, and the kichstarter/lack of compression is fixed.

Excuse my lack of appropriate terms, but here was the problem and solution:

Problem: excessive tightness in the valve - basically, the exhaust pushrod adjustment was too tight, and holding the exhaust valve open a bit - but this loosened up when warm, so the problem disappeared.

Solution:  Engine to TDC while engine warm.  Remove tappet cover at the base of the cylinder, RHS.  Inside, there are the two pushrod adjusters.  The exhaust (front) one, esp, should rotate freely (my guy was doing this with a cold engine - recommended for the AVL).  Mine was tight.   Now, loosened - TDC immediately apparent with the kickstarter.  My intake valve was fine - would rotate just, with fingers.


Yay.  Back to learning how to cold kickstart!
Biddy
« Last Edit: December 11, 2007, 10:18:05 PM by Kiwichick »

indian48

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Re: Kickstarter - TDC not obvious sometimes. Why?
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2007, 04:47:55 PM »
Great find, Biddy, I learnt something new about the bike today, and I had missed this in my reading of the Snidal materials.
Thnx!
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DaveG297

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Re: Kickstarter - TDC not obvious sometimes. Why?
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2007, 09:03:48 PM »
Tight valves will do it all the time.    My Bullet doesn't like to be kickstarted.  Neither do I and my wife just keeps doing it.   After all , I did buy one with an electric start.   That ampmeter can tell you more than just top dead center,,,,,,,,,,,it can tell you when you have a weak battery.      When it kicks back, it really ain't no fun for us old types.......dg

GreenMachine

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Re: Kickstarter - TDC not obvious sometimes. Why?
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2007, 09:38:01 PM »
Do it the same way thumper does it....During summer months and after a few minutes of riding (after filling up), I might use the leg (Gives people a kick outta watching me do it)...Sometimes I do it for the hell of it and other times I get lazy and use the electric..I have notice that if I don't have it at TDC, the battery/starter will not engage..When it was brand new, it would start TDC or not...Makes u wonder is the battery a bit low as the starter will only engage if I'm at TDC????  Just another question when I take it to the dealer end of the week...
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Kiwichick

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Re: Kickstarter - TDC not obvious sometimes. Why?
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2007, 10:26:02 PM »
In Pete Snidal's manual, he says that it is a hell of a drain on the battery having the ES get it to TDC to start.  He recommends holding the decmp level down at that half-way point while you get things spinning and then release it and the engine fires...

Maybe this would work for you, too...

Biddy

indian48

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Re: Kickstarter - TDC not obvious sometimes. Why?
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2007, 11:28:20 PM »
Another tip is to get the engine past the compression TDC as you would if you were kick starting it, and to fire the ES at that point, so that the battery can get things spinning with minimal drain.
If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing well