View Full Version : Hard Starting

17th December 2004, 13:14
Two weeks ago I added some gas stabilizer, put the Battery Tender on, pumped the tires up to 40psi and parked the bike figuring that it wouldn't be long before we get our first good snow. This morning when I got up it was a balmy 32 degrees and the sky was clear so I decided to ride to work. I turned on the fuel, pulled out the choke, gave the throttle a couple of twists and went to start the bike. It took a good ten or twelve tries before the engine finally started. I was just wondering why it took so many tries to get the bike to start after sitting for only two weeks.

I am also wondering how hard it will be to start the bike after it sits for two or three months once the snow and salt start to fly.

My bike is in an unheated garage but I don't think the temp really ever drops below freezing.


17th December 2004, 13:39
Every spring it takes usually takes only two tries to fire up the bike. Did you drain the Carb? If not did you run the engine long enough to get the stabilizer into the carb?

17th December 2004, 14:17
No I didn't drain the carb and I think that I rode the bike enough (a few laps through my subdivision) to get the fuel stabilized gas into the carbs. However I also filled the tank just prior to putting the bike away so the gas in the bike is only two weeks old.

I bought the bike in May 2004 and two weeks is the longest that the bike has sat since I got it. I did notice that even after sitting a week it does take a few tries to get the bike to start.

I wonder if the colder temps have anything to do with it. Aslo I probably could use some new spark plugs (bike and plugs have 9000 miles).

17th December 2004, 14:22
I got home last night from a one month trip, (was only supposed to be gone 2 weeks), and the Sporty didn't get any "prep" before I left.

She was a bit cranky this morning getting started. I lay it off to the fuel.

I usually add stabilizer when I have to leave home...this time I didn't and she let me know about it.

I put her away for a 5 month trip to Africa earlier this year and took care to properly store her. When I got back she fired immediately. Gotta be the fuel.

Ride Safe.


17th December 2004, 14:29
I think something is up with your fuel stabilizer, let mine sit for a hair longer in unheated garage down to zero degrees a couple days, and I hit the chocke, pumped 3 times and pretty much as soon as I hit the starter the engine was running.

Phil R
17th December 2004, 14:36
Now that winter has arrived in upstate NY my bike is a little stubborn when starting. I give it 3 rolls on the throttle and pull out the enricher. Sometimes it turns over a few times before starting...sometimes it stalls and I hit the starter again. I think that it is the cold temperature affecting the fuel. I put stabilizer in every tank of gas once the temps get around and below freezing.I also keep it plugged in to a battery tender even though I ride at least once a week.

17th December 2004, 18:53
Hey SC,don't worry about the hard starts when it's cold.I have the same bike as yours and as long as you keep the tender on it when your not riding and your tank full with the right amount of stabilizer you will be fine.Mine sometimes takes four or five times as well in this weather.Especially if your garage is not heated.Sometimes it's colder in the unheated garage then outside.If you have'nt changed your plugs since the five thousand service on your bike,change them now as well as your airfilter.Try twisting the throttle twice and pull the enrichener out only about halfway and see if that helps.

17th December 2004, 19:34
My bike also sits in an unheated garage with stabilized fuel in the tank and a battery charger, & it still takes a few cranks to get it started on the ocasional cold day when I take it our over the winter. I leave the fuel petcock off, so I think it's partially the fact that the float bowls need to refill & the bike my just be cold blooded. It still always starts & it takes a while to warm up, but it's exactly how I expect a bike to work in freezing weather.

17th December 2004, 20:13
Thanks guys.

I wasn't really worried I was just wondering if other people are experiencing the same thing.

As far as spark plugs they were not changed during the 5000 miles service. They are the same plugs that the bike was delivered with.

I plan on changing plugs, clean the air filter and all fluids as well as getting the bike Dyno tuned come the spring since I don't forsee doing too much more riding until spring arrives.

Thanks again.

17th December 2004, 20:26
When it is below 45 mine does not like to start. But after it starts and warms up it is fine. It has stablizer and some time sits 7 to 10 days between rides.

19th December 2004, 14:24
I used to go through hell with my old '72 Sporster on cold winter mornings. It was kick start only , so when I got home at night I would drain a quart of oil to keep in the house overnight. I'd get up early and turn a flood light on the cases to help warm up the remaining oil. After all that, it would start after a few kicks. Lotta work, but for the ride, I was willin'.

19th December 2004, 15:01
I'm a little concerned here. I NEVER have to roll the throttle and doing so in cold weather may increase the odds of flooding. Remember, the fuel needs to be vaporized before it fires. Ergo, dumping cold wet gas into the cylinders could be counter productive. I pull the choke out full and let the carb do what it's designed to do. I regularly start up in cold weather with no problems. It's also a good idea to check the plugs. If you're running rich, it could potentially slow the vaporization process.

As concerns gas. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Todays mixes will gum things up much quicker than you would believe. A good stabilizer is a must if you're storing beyond three weeks.

19th December 2004, 15:27
I'm running a 74 XLCH 1000+.20 over 10.1 comp, 60wt Castrol Racing Oil. I've never used the stabil stuff so I have no opinion there. I have an unheated garage and I'll start the bike a couple times a week in the snow bound season. I find the bike will start every time so long as I don't flood it right off. MY ROUTINE:.....Full choke, 2-3 primer kicks (thats a bitch in itself)....Ign on, no throtttle, full kick thru and she'll start everytime......Well, most the time. The cold weather and thick oil slows the turn-over process....kick or elec start....doesn't matter....That means it'll likely have to spin a few more dozen times before it'll fire up....that's when you appreciate an electric start....cold days and those HOTHOT summer days! I would as a matter of routine do the following before putting up you ride: 1) Check and adjust the points and timing.....POINTS WEAR during the riding season and that means harder starting!! THIS DEFINITELY AFFECTS YOU IF YOUR RUNNING A MAGNETO. Probably won't matter to you guys with the breakerless electronic ignitions...but checking your timing on those bikes couldn't hurt. Do Check your batterys.....I actually buy a new one every year, year and half. I have the smaller size one and their cheap enough. A battery tender is only as good as your battery...if you got a dead cell...you probably won't notice when its warm out...but you will when it gets cold.......Well now that I wrote all this........watch, I'll go outside today and the sumbitch won't start....Hrdly

19th December 2004, 15:37
I'll go outside today and the sumbitch won't start....Hrdly

Now that would be funny! :laugh I didn't factor in oil viscosity. I use Mobil 1 15w50 so it's not really a concern for me. However, you guys with the ironheads and straight 60w have a little more of a problem.

19th December 2004, 15:48
well hrdly , did it start? mine did , with the kicker only and its only 10* out here right now

elecrtic wouldn't spin it fast enuff

19th December 2004, 16:00
Didn't go outside yet......takes a little longer to get going on a Sunday morning these days......might have something to do with turning 50yrs old........my wife would argue that I'm just damn lazy!! Somethings never change..... :smackh PS....Mine is kick only too.....the bike that is..

19th December 2004, 16:09
I turn 40 next month and I've always been hard starting too (read lazy) but if its something I want done theres no stopping me

mines a xlch too but someone before me added the button

19th December 2004, 16:17
AHHHH 40.....yes those were the days......why I could do 20 pullups, 200 situps....kick over my 68 Magneto XLCH stroker sporty with one kick.....and pee without having to shake it more then once....cause it won't stop dripping........AHHHH 40... :clap

19th December 2004, 16:21
ya I know what ya mean , I can do 2 pullups, 20 sittups, kick over my 72 xlch in one beer , and the peeing thing, their only spots it'll dry soon enuff

19th December 2004, 17:23
OK, well maybe I added an extra zero on those numbers.....and that's another thing......the memory gets foggy.....wait, what the hell was I saying.... :help1

20th December 2004, 00:12
The fuel will not go bad in two weeks. Fuel by itself last for 3 months. With Stabilizer, it last up to half a year.

Do you guys ride your bikes every day? My brother and I only rode ours on the weekends and both of them would take a while to start. Have to crank on it for about 10 seconds, let off, then crank it once more and she'll fire right up.

I, too, often wondered why it started so hard until I was told the carburetor sucks gas in under vacuum, not from gravity. Over a week, it loses all the vacuum.

20th December 2004, 00:49
the carb sucks gas in under vacuum into the motor not from the tank. the gas gets to the carb by gravity

the gas flows from the tank to the float bowl by gravity then from the float bowl to the pistons it is forced in by vacuum