klr650 not starting

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by roadtripp, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. roadtripp

    roadtripp Been here awhile

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    Hey all, I just arrived in Colombia (currently halfway through my trip from Seattle to Ushuaia), and my '05 KLR 650 won't start. I just started troubleshooting it, so I'm still gathering info, but I figured in the meantime I'd list what I do know in the hopes that somebody smarter than me can point me in the right direction!

    So the trouble started back in Panama. I would be riding 60-80 kph, and occasionally feel a "stutter" in the engine where the engine would deliver zero power, and then pick back up. I stopped for gas at one point and when I tried to start the bike again, the starter would crank but the engine would not start. I began to pull the bike apart to check the spark plug, but before I got to it, I tried to start it one last time, and it fired right up. I was running late (I had to catch a sailboat to Colombia) so I figured I'd take a look at it later.

    The next 60 KM to the docks were difficult - the bike began to lose power suddenly, then rev back up, then lose power again. The only way to keep the bike running was to keep the throttle open and the RPMs high. I made it, though, and we packed up the bike and set sail for Colombia.

    Fast forward 2 weeks - I'm now in Colombia and the bike is unloaded and on dry ground again. I was able to start the bike at first (using the choke, I think) and it idled properly for about a minute, but when I gave it some throttle, it died. I haven't been able to start it since.

    Today I pulled out the spark plug and inspected it - it's covered in sooty black residue, which (I think) means it's running rich. I changed out the plug with a spare one that I'm carrying, and it still won't start. The air filter was a little dirty so I washed it out and now it's drying.

    SO... my question: where should I start looking? What's the next step?

    Thanks a million!
    #1
  2. moto-treks

    moto-treks Back Home

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    I’m not a KLR expert so I’m sure others will chime in but until then I would start checking the fuel delivery as it sounds as if you are not getting fuel to the carb.

    Is there a fuel filter? If so, check that as well as general fuel flow to the carburetor.
    #2
  3. elk311

    elk311 Been here awhile

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    Had a similar thing happen to me last August. Just died after making a right hand turn. Long story short, the wiring behind the front fairing (specifically the left turn signal) had a pin-hole sized break. Pin-hole would be a large description, I mean this thing was so small that I could barely see it. It was enough to create a jump between it and other wiring next to it. I heat shrinked and taped the wire and have had no problems since.

    That is the short version. The long version involved a lot of troubleshooting... Main fuse, kick-stand safety switch which I subsequently removed as a failure source that provided me nothing.

    Hope you find your "source". The fairings and stuff is really easy to remove it just takes a little time to search the wires.
    #3
  4. MotoBoss

    MotoBoss Bad Influence

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    Being a carburetor motorcycle there are very few causes that will make it run as you describe. Seems to be a fuel or fuel delivery problem. The spark plug will soot up with improper fuel delivery as it is running rich. Most likely the motor is starving for fuel caused by a broken or fouled vent line, jet, delivery line or part connected to the system (petcock, tank clogged) or something to that effect. Clogged jets are common with running low grade fuel and/or consistently running low fuel levels in your tank.

    If possible take a squirt bottle and "spray" fuel directly into the carb. If it will start and stay running while you apply fuel then it will be obviously a carburetor problem. Look at all the lines and connections to the carb. Replace the in-line fuel filter, if you have one, or install one if possible that way you can "see" you have fuel. Make sure all connections are tight and all lines are free from brakes, debris or splits. Disconnect the fuel line from the carb and turn the petcock on to assure you have fuel flowing from the tank/petcock. If not or weak delivery pull the line from the tank to assure it is the petcock and not a clogged tank. Check your tank vet as it can easily plug. Use carb cleaner, or similar, to clean the intake of the carb, Pull the bowl off the carb and make sure the float is working and clean. If you remove the carb blow cleaner through all the openings, jets and vents. Make sure your air/fuel mixture screw is set properly.

    If the problem persist then it may to be electrical of some nature. Check plug wires, coil and all power delivery wiring. Check wiring under seat and the harness for rub spots or poor connections.

    Just a few roadside examinations from experience and hopefully a little help. Good luck and keep us posted on how it goes.
    #4
  5. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

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    If you are lucky it might be something as simple as this.

    [​IMG]

    A little piece of grodoo that found its purpose in life. Plugging my main jet.
    #5
  6. BC Brian

    BC Brian Been here awhile

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    I would check to see if you have spark.
    A new plug isn't necessarily a good plug.
    Take your plug out , reconnect it to your plug wire and touch the plug end to something on your head.(head bold or something.) You should see spark coming from the electrode end of the plug when you crank it over. Easy to see if you are in a shaded area.
    If there is no spark, you pull back the rubber on the plug wire and hold the metal end real close to the ground point on the head and crank the bike over. You should see a spark jump to the ground point.

    If you have spark, then pour a small amount of gas into the spark plug hole(teaspoon), install the plug and wire, then try to start it. If it runs, even briefly, then you have a fuel supply problem.

    You are right, a black sooty plug means you are too rich, but that could be from running it with the enrichiner on.

    Good luck
    #6
  7. juames

    juames Have Fun, Don't Die!

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    With KLR's start with carb venting...they are know to have issues with that...

    First the carb vent that hangs down from the bottom of the carb...if there is a kink in it, or you have it route so the end is higher...water/fuel can sit in the low spot and the bike will do exactly what you are describing...

    Next check the tank vents...there is one under the front of the seat at the back of the tank...make sure not pinched...and also in the tank cap...there is venting thru it...can get blocked...take cap apart and see...

    If still having trouble...you might have a blocked jet...have to take carb a part and give a good cleaning...

    If none of the above...remove seat and tank...check all the wires...with the amount of vibrations the KLR makes...some times insulation on wires can be worn away causing a short...

    Other than that not sure what else it could be...KLR is a pretty simple bike...not to much that can go wrong with it...

    Hope all goes well...and enjoy your trip...when things get tough just remember...you cold be sitting in a cubicle back home...or worse!!

    [​IMG]
    #7
  8. MotoBoss

    MotoBoss Bad Influence

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    Hope all goes well...and enjoy your trip...when things get tough just remember...you cold be sitting in a cubicle back home...or worse!!

    [​IMG][/quote]


    WOW, Thank goodness for global warming!!
    #8
  9. roadtripp

    roadtripp Been here awhile

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    Thanks for all the replies. Fuel delivery from the tank seems good - I turned it over with the fuel line disconnected, and plenty of fuel spilled all over my hand :) I do have an inline fuel filter but I removed it for now and replaced it with my unmodified fuel line. So I'm reasonably sure that fuel is being delivered to the carb.

    I will go back to my hotel and check to see if I have spark or not right after this. I did the t-mod for the carburetor vent line, but I'll check to make sure that it's clean and free of kinks. If I do have a spark, I will try pouring a small amount of fuel into the spark plug hole and see if I get a bang :wink: If I do, then the next step would be to pull out the carb and clean it, perhaps?

    I don't know too much about electrical systems but I guess I can learn :) looking for worn insulation is easy enough, anyways.
    #9
  10. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp REMF

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    I'd pull that carb and clean it before you start messing with ignition/electrics.
    #10
  11. BC Brian

    BC Brian Been here awhile

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    Keep us posted
    Do you have a manual?
    If not, I can bring mine in to work tomorrow, scan the carb pages, and e-mail them to you?
    Let me know
    Brian
    #11
  12. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp REMF

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    You don't have to go to Ottawa to find that crap. Omaha, Nebraska. 15 below 0 F last night. More snow coming Wednesday. 20 below forecast for Thurs/Fri night.

    Attached Files:

    #12
  13. roadtripp

    roadtripp Been here awhile

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    I check the spark and it looks good. I pulled the carburetor and disassembled it and cleaned the major parts and pathways with carb cleaner, then reassembled it and put it back. I'm still unable to start it, and it's gotten dark here in colombia so I'm going to put off continuing this work until tomorrow.

    If it's important, the carb float bowl had a fair amount of gas in it. I'm not sure how much it was, or if the float sensor is adjusted properly - maybe I should look at that?

    This was the first time I'd ever taken apart a carb, and I am not entirely sure I cleaned it properly. I pulled off the float bowl, the main jet and the pilot jet needles, and sprayed cleaner through all the passageways that I could see. Should I take out the other needles and clean them as well?

    I haven't tried pouring gas directly into the cylinder yet - I'll try that tomorrow and report how it goes.

    And BC Brian, yes, I do have a manual - but thanks for the offer! What would be even more helpful is if somebody has a spanish-language manual in case I need to take the bike to a mechanic here :D
    #13
  14. BC Brian

    BC Brian Been here awhile

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    Chances are if you have spark, its a fuel problem, so I don't think I would bother pouring gas into the cylinder. You can try it, but it will probably run for a few seconds.
    Was your main jet clean? could you see through it end to end?
    black plugs make me think it might be getting to much fuel. When you crank it over and it won't start, are your plugs wet? If not, they probably are black from the choke being on.
    How is your compression. Maybe a valve stuck open? Its kind of hard to tell on a klr as i believe there is an automatic compression release.

    the fact that it started and ran when cold then stopped running (warm)makes me think maybe the enrichener could be staying on. I have never messed with one, but it might be worth looking into if the bike will start again cold then die, or if the plugs get wet when trying to start.

    there are lots of mechanic forums out there. I have used 4strokes .com for my hondas. They have a kawi section as well.
    #14
  15. subybaja

    subybaja Long timer

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    KLR650.net.

    How's your air cleaner? Caked solid? Nah, that would be too easy.

    You didn't break the crappy little plastic fitting where the 'choke' cable goes into the carb, did you?

    Are you sure that you got the diaphragm back in it's groove properly when you reassembled the carb? That wouldn't have caused the original problem, but it wouldn't help things now.
    #15
  16. Benjava

    Benjava ?

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    It's probably fuel like every one says. But I had similar symptoms. Cuttng out under load but would idle ok. Only happened when it was very hot. I replaced the coil and it has not happened since.
    #16
  17. rivercreep

    rivercreep Banned

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    1. A fuel delivery problem could be caused by several common things and I'll ABC the things I've thought of that can cause intermittant problems.

    a. sticky float/valve
    b. a small hole in your diaphram
    c. something residual in the bottom of your fuel bowl that keeps getting sucked up and then released once the bike shuts down. (although you've cleaned it already so I doubt this one).
    D. vacuum operated petcock is going bad and keeping fuel from the carb intermittantly.
    e. debri in fuel tank.

    2. One thing that steers me away from some of my suggestions however, is the sooty plug. (incorrect ratio of fuel = check needle wear and slide wear too!)
    I've had previous bikes act the same way and show a sooty plug by not burning off the gas (which will cause those deposits).

    a. your coil is going bad and not delivering enough charge at higher rpms, fouling out the plug to the point where it wont start untill the plug dries out.
    b. bad plug wire can do the same thing if it grounds out.
    c. bad plug
    d. any number of wiring/ground problems.

    3. hows your doohickey? timeing can always screw things up.
    4. how many miles since your last valve adj?
    #17
  18. roadtripp

    roadtripp Been here awhile

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    Good news! I brought it to a mechanic today, and together we disassembled the carburetor and cleaned it out again. He blew through one of the jets (I'm not sure which one it was) and cleaned out the float bowl, and presto - a working motorcycle! I'll keep a close eye on it for the next couple hundred miles, but I'm hopeful that this problem has been solved. I'm excited to continue my trip southward! Thanks to all your help, and thanks especially for helping me get over my fear of the carburetor - that thing always seemed very "spooky", but now that I've taken mine apart and put it back together, I feel like I have a better understanding of what exactly makes my bike tick. Onwards and upwards!
    #18
  19. BC Brian

    BC Brian Been here awhile

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    Glad you are back on the road
    Looking forward to reading more of you RR

    Brian
    #19
  20. locorider

    locorider Loco, pero no estúpido!

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    Does the KLR have a vacuum activated petcock? If there is a leak there, it may be intermitent too! Drain the carb and check for water in there! If so, drain the tank! Good luck Joe!
    #20