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What is this starter sound?

3469 Views 46 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  JeffOYB
I have a 1979 custom 12k miles runs great. Its cold now. I've been getting weird sound from my starter. The sound comes and goes. It usually comes on after like a minute of trying to start. A hard start. I got the bike this fall. Never made the sound. Once it got below freezing and I didn't ride it for weeks at a time, it would make the sound during the longer times it took to start. Once it started, the sound would go away on warm restarts. But when cold some machinery definitely changes, and there's a very different bad sort of sound after a minute or so.

[REVISING TO ADD INFO ON THE HARD START: Whew, it took like 5 minutes of cranking to start this last time. I vary all the options. Is there a standard way to hard start in the cold? I try choke out, choke in, throttled a bit, twisted a couple times, no throttle. Sometimes it starts turning over with starter still engaged then it quits when I release the button. In the warm weather it often only takes like a 1/2 second to start -- touch the button, bang. So nice.]

Can you tell me what's happening with this sound? Here's a link to the Youtube....

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Hi again! It's sunny and 45degF now -- warm! So I'm trying to start 'er up. I've had battery in the house. It's cranking but hard starting per the before. I'll keep fussing. I have ZERO SKILLS! Zero idea about how to "drain and refill float bowls." Never saw such things! Also, no idea how to open my seat. I do notice that I can't see any way to spray starting fluid in. I guessed an opening might be under the seat. I will study this seat conundrum!
Thanks! I tried starting fluid after i figured out how to open the seat (well i knew there were 2 bolts thanks to you guys). And I also tried the trick of holding the throttle open, also thanks to you guys. And it started! Without a big jolt either so i'm thinking it was more the holding throttle open than the starting fluid. Took it for a nice toodle! THANKS!

I had put Stabil in the gas tank when it got cold in the fall and I was going to leave it sitting for a few months...

I downloaded the FSM and have used it for a minor thing.
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that's not gonna happen. oh well! i'll wing it and do what i can as needs arise.

my ignorant hunch is that now that Stabil is in the tank and I rode it for an hour today that the Stabil is now in the carbs.
haven't done much of anything. don't know this adjuster. i suppose the bike will die at some point. i'll probably get in a few repairs along the way. i don't have it to preserve it. i'll use it. hope to get a few years out of it. yes, it's abuse. I also have a wonderful huge old Ariens snowblower from the same period that i barely keep running. i also have bicycles older than the CX500 that i ride hard every day and put away wet and they keep working. i swap out parts as they wear out.
how easy is it to adjust valve gap and timing chain tension?

I've never cleaned a carb.

i'm concerned about slippery slope and making things worse.

i understand that you can keep your bikes running and mine will die. hopefully, as i said, i'll achieve my stated goal and get a few years out of it. i'm not interested in proper, full maintenance. but i can do some things. i can change oil. i've never been inclined to fiddle w a carb. it wd truly be best for me to have a bike w fuel injection. that's required nothing from me on any vehicle in past 20+ yrs. nice.
no time for a class. ... but i can work on anything on a bicycle. rarely have to.
Hi... I looked at the valve tappet pages. I saw two terms that I don't know. "In." and "Ex." ?""

For adjusting the chain it says rotate the shaft then loosen a nut. Sounds easy. there better not be any monkey biz involved w "rotate crankshaft" -- coz i dont know what or where it is.


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I've never been good with derailleurs. Valve adjustments are easy.
i can do low hanging fruit. easy maint with simple skills. i can use a feeler gauge.
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