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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, are there any suggestions as to what to clean or do when the engine has trouble starting up? Everytime I turn the bike off for awhile, which right now has been a couple of weeks because I have been changing stuff out. It seems to struggle turning on. I would like for it to fire up without much hesitation, I am not sure the maintenance history of the bike. Could the carbs be dirty, does this prevent carburated engines from firing up right away? Also the hoses next to the carb are kind of cracked might this be a culprit? Thanks, these forums are awesome I am glad my bike has a resource like this.



I'll post pics of my bike in my avatar for all to see soon.
 

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Is the problem specific to not firing or not turning over fast enough? Does the motor pop pop pop a few times then fires up or just turns over and over and over till it finially fires up. Or perhapse fires up but stumbles and eventually dies out.



Owen
 

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Could be one or a combination of several things.  Clean carbs is a must.  Clean air filter will help too.  New or fully charged battery and new or clean plugs.  If you haven't cleaned the carbs before I'd suggest reading through the pinned threads, and if your battery is of questionable age or quality start with a new one.  
 

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If you are going to do the carbs, then I would strongly suggest getting Larry's Carb Book before tearing into it. He has a lot of great info that will make your attempt successful.
 

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What model and year is your bike? Put that info in your signature.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It turns over and over until it finally fires up then I have to give it throttle until it warms up or it will die. I changed out the spark plugs and was trying to start it without the air filter because the previous owner had it rigged up with a old cone filter that was shoved into a 2 to 1 plastic tube that goes into the carbs, I haven't replaced it yet because I am unsure as of what to do with it. Maybe I can provide a pic because the plastic part looks stock but it definetly should not have the filter in it like that. The battery also dies really fast now especially since it just turns and turns for awhile when trying to start it so I will get an ew one and see if that helps. The bike is a 1981 gl 500. Would switching to individual air filter pods be a good replacement option?
 

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Roooben, I have found after parking for 5 days my bike struggles to start. I'm not absolutely certain what my problem is, but I think my carbs are not staying filled with gasoline, and it's taking way to long to get any fuel to them. It could be similar to your problem. You may wish to try this as an experiment to see if you got the same results I did today...starting my bike for the first time in 5 months. After your bike has been idle for a while, get it on the centre stand and place in neutral, remove the air cleaner and spray some carb cleaner down the intake. Maybe two seconds worth. Start you bike. If your bike starts immediately, then I'm thinking it's due to this alien fuel source being immediately present in the carbs. I was astonished that my bike started so quickly and effortlessly using this carb spray. Of course, this only confirms my suspicisions that I've got some sort of carb issue along the lines of "no gas stays in the carbs" and that the carb spray was really only a stop-gap measure to prevent a very long extended cranking which was worrisome on a number of fronts. If this doesn't work, then you've got another problem, probably fuel delivery in nature. The carbs on these bikes seem to be an area of concern, possibly due to age. I've read enough posts to realize you've got to have these carbs at 100% peak efficiency or else. Let us know if this works.
 

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Roooben, from everything that I have read (and seen), you will want to stay with the stock air box and inexpensive (read: not a K&N) filter. The fuel delivery system on these bbikes was deisigned to work together, and any part that is swapped or changed will alter efficiency and performance.



The air filter is inexpensive and easy to get. If the air box is in need of replacement, you can probably find one here or elsewhere with a little digging.





BTW Where in Texas are you?
 

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The most common reason for hard starting after a long storage is absence of fuel in the carbs. They dry up over time, and pretty quickly if exposed to any kind of draft, like if parked outside. This is particularly true of the GL's as they have a vacuum petcock that prevents the fuel from being replenished when stopped.

I use a trick to avoid running down the battery in these conditions.

I have a spare (clean!) bleeder hose that I connect to the discharge side of the vaccum valve. Before starting the bike, I blow in the tube creating a pressure on the back side of the vaccum diaphargm and pinch the hose for a few minutes with a small pair of vise grips. Putting pressure on the back side of the diaphragm has the same effect as creating vaccuum on the other side and opens the valve and lets the fuel flow to the carbs.

The bike always starts on the first try when I do this. The batteries on these bikes do not allow for repeated long starter uses so this saves the battery.

I also read an interesting suggestion here previously for a first start after a long storage. It was suggested to remove the plugs and turn over the motor on the starter to get the oil up into the heads and in the crank without putting any pressure on the crank bearings before they are oiled. Of course, this does not create any vaccum and will not prime the carbs regardless so you may still want to use my vacuum by pass trick.
 

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I have a 1982 GL500 and have the same problem. When it has been sitting for several weeks I have found that if I pull full choke and twist the throttle 10 times it will start on the carb that has the accelerator pump. I usually have to do that 4 or 5 times and then it keeps running. The person I bought this bike from said that after sitting all winter he would remove the 2 screws the carb sync gauges connect to and squirt a couple of squirts of gasoline in the manifold, replace the screws, and it would start right up. I have not needed to try that so I am not sure if it works but it sounds reasonable to me. Billrod
 

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These are typically stubborn in cold starts and long term sitting, but I do know that once the carbs are cleaned properly *insert via Larry* the hard start is not an issue any longer. Of course all the other things have to be right too, but get the carbs right, the other stuff will be much easier to sort out if you still have a problem. Definitely the new battery will help. Get a battery tender/charger too.



Joel in the Couve.
 

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I would second all the suggestions above. Perfectly clean carbs are a must! Replace the cracked hoses. No air leaks on the intake side is a must. Do the starter clean and the starter ground mod. Make sure your battery is in tip top shape. The AGM batteries are the naz. My GL can sit for a week at 20 degrees F and start right up. Full choke in neutral and don't touch the throttle or clutch. My bike didn't used to start very easy at all, even with my fingers crossed. The starter clean and ground mod made a huge difference. Iridium plugs helped too. I did the spark plug cap mod and replaced the main fuse with a blade fuse. I cleaned all the electrical connections on the bike and protected them from moisture and oxidation with dielectric grease. It all helps and is worth it when you touch the starter button and the engine springs to life.
 

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mr. softie,

Do you have the vacuum petcock or no. It sounds like it could be a problem even if it was working properly.
 

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mr. softie,

I think you have probably just solved the problem for most owners. Billrod
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I will try the starter clean but what is the ground mod? I couldn't find it in a search. A new battery and doing something about the air filter will be a must too. Thanks all
 

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Also could someone please tell me why there is two "off" sides on the starter switch.
emergency.....just flick it[either way]being in the vertical or horizontal position,it,l kill the engine.
 

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Also make sure that the choke butterflies are closing all the way when you pull the choke button out.
 
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