What Do I Check When My Motorcycle Won't Start? - Page 2 - Honda Shadow Forums : Shadow Motorcycle Forum
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post #11 of 88 (permalink) Old 08-09-2007, 03:12 PM
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Been away from the forums for quite a while, but I have a problem that has left me baffled.

My bike ran fine all last summer. Over the winter I made sure to start it up and ride it around the block a couple of times a month. It was fine all winter.

Good weather came and the bike wouldn't start. I would wear the battery down trying to get it to start, charge the battery, and try again.

I finally got the bike to start on the first try after charging the battery and all seemed fine. After a couple of weeks, though, I wore the battery down trying to start the bike again. I thought maybe the battery was going dead. I took it to the local dealer, and they said the battery tested fine, just low on charge. I charged it again and the bike ran fine for a couple of weeks again.

I have found that when it won't start from the electric starter, I can pop-start it just fine. The starter will try and try and try with no success, but if I roll just a little way, not even very steep, put it in second and let go of the clutch, it roars to life instantly. Just this morning I filled up with gas (I love filling a tank with 2 1/2 gallons ) and was on a flat parking lot. It wouldn't start. I just pushed with my feet while sitting on it, let go of the clutch, and it started right away.

Any thoughts? Is it possible I am not charging the battery enough? The charger I have now is not automatic. You have to watch the needle and as it moves down (the needle indicates amp draw). I need to get one I can walk away from and not worry about... I have been setting it at 12v 2amp and charging for 2 hours (the manual says it will take between 2 and 12 and I am trying to play it safe).

Wassup said "If you press the starter button and the engine turns over, but does not start, then the problem is most likely NOT the battery." so I'm inclined to think it's not the battery, but the ease in which it pop-starts has me confused. If it was air, spark plugs, or fuel, then wouldn't pop-starting fail?

I am completely confused.

Edit to add:

I forgot to mention the bike is a 1988 Honda Shadow 800 VT800C

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post #12 of 88 (permalink) Old 08-10-2007, 02:51 PM
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OK, now she's running fine. Maybe the last batch of gas was bad...

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post #13 of 88 (permalink) Old 08-11-2007, 06:28 PM
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Just another starting problem question...

Hi folks, newbie here, but I searched and this appears to be the right thread to ask the question.

I am a new rider and recently bought a used 05 Shadow Spirit 750. I recently had a low speed introduction to soft shoulder and guard rail...luckily it appears the only damage was cosmetic (scrape on front right fork and fender, and paint scraped off by gravel on the bottom of the left side of the frame, by the kickstand).

Now I only mention the minor fall incase it could have led to this. I am not sure it did because I had only ridden the bike for a few miles before this happened.

Anyways, my problem: My bike starts just fine when in neutral. However, if I try to start in 1st gear, with the clutch engaged, the starter wont even attempt to fire. I do notice that the headlight seems to dim when I press the start button in so it seems something is happening.

Not a big deal I guess since starting in neutral works perfectly. However since I am still learning how to ride, I am still stalling alot when I am on an incline at a stop. Having to shift back to neutral instead of just starting back up is really not something I want to be doing.

Is there something I am overlooking? If not, is there something I can try to remedy the sitation myself?

Again, I dont think this is caused by my fall, but you never know. I just would have thought starting in neutral would at least show some signs of the same error.

Thanks in advance!
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post #14 of 88 (permalink) Old 08-12-2007, 12:41 PM
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well, i figured it out...thank god!

One of the 2 wires going into the clutch switch on the left handle bar was unplugged
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post #15 of 88 (permalink) Old 08-16-2007, 10:32 PM
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If you ride a Goldwing check the reverse button, if it is accidently bumped in the starter will not engage.

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post #16 of 88 (permalink) Old 08-20-2007, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by bearkatbiker
A fourth element is crucial as well.


Too much or too little air intake into the engine can cause a motorcycle not to fire. As vacuum sucks air through a carb it pulls fuel from the float bowl while the jets atomize it and then the mixture continues through to the combustion chamber. If there is an intake leak or other vacuum leak that is sucking air into the combustion chamber without fuel then the mixture is wrong and engine will sputter, run at an extremely high idle, or not run at all.

Causes for vacuum leaks
  • Poorly installed carb or intake manifold
  • Vacuum line disconnected or broken

Too little air would be a blockage or a super dirty air filter and should rarely occur but is something easy and simple to check if the bike is unknown to the mechanic.

Oh yeah and another cause that we see in this forum quiet often......critters making nests in the air box filling it up with all sorts of debris.
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post #17 of 88 (permalink) Old 02-06-2008, 07:45 AM
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1997+ VT1100-Fuel pump Flow test

Here is how you do a fuel pump test for a 1997+ Shadow 1100 not sure how much it relates to other model/year bikes. The pump runs off the coil power not ignition on so you won't see any delivery until it's started.

Directions for Fuel Delivery Test from Service Manual below:

The directions for a 97-2003 VT1100
Turn Ignition off
Disconnect the fuel cut--off relay connector (under the seat)
Check for battery voltage between the Black (+) terminal and ground. (-)
There should be battery voltage with the ignition switch ON
If there is no voltage, check for open circuit or loose connections in Black wire.

Check for continuity between the Black/Blue and ground, If there is continuity, faulty fuel cut-off relay.

If there is no continuity, short the Black and Black/Blue terminals at the relay connector with a suitable jumber wire.
Disconnect the fuel pump 2P (black) connector and check for battery voltage between the black/blue (+) and green (-) terminals with the ignition switch ON.
If there is battery voltage, faulty fuel pump.
If there is no battery voltage, check for open circuit or losse connection in the Black/Blue and greeen wires.

Discharge Volume inspection
Short the Black and Black/blue terminals with a suitable jumper wire.
Hold a beaker under the fuel line that goes to the carbs and turn on ignition. Wait 5 seconds should deliver about 28oz a minute - minimum.
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post #18 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 11:43 PM
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I had a problem like this on a 1980's Honda 500cc four and my current 2001 VLX. On the 500cc it would just stop but after some time I could start it again. The VLX would just not start. Nothing. The motor would not turn over, no lights, no horn nothing. In both cases the battery showed that it was fully charged. I used an electrical meter and found out that no power was reaching the starter switch. I pulled the left side cover and discovered that the problem was a lose electrical connection in both cases. The key was using service a manual and just running through the steps one at a time. In both cases I was lucky in that the problem was discovered in about a half an hour.
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post #19 of 88 (permalink) Old 04-24-2008, 09:26 AM
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First of all great post and great thread!

So, my bike will start. It just won't run. It's a 1998 750 ACE, and I've done the mod where you drill out the stock pipes a bit, and adjust the air/fuel mixture screws on both carbs. Sounded and ran great for the last few seasons, ran a little rough at the end of the year but I was too busy to worry about it.

Now, it will start, and idle, with the choke pulled out. If I apply any throttle at all, it stalls. If I push in the choke, it stalls.

The battery is new, the plugs are new, the ones that were in there seemed ok but were black and moist so I was probably running rich all this time right?

I drained the gas and put new gas in. I've tried adjusting the air/fuel mixtures down and the idle screw but to no improvement.

I suspect I'm just gummed up inside from running too rich for 2-3 seasons?

I'm a mechanical lightweight, so I can do some things, but not take the carbs off. Any suggestions for getting the bike running? I would give up and take it to the dealer, but the nearest dealer told me they're full of bikes that don't run, can't handle the load, and I should call back in June!!!

So, if anybody has any advice on getting my bike running, or if any of you are mechanically inclined and want to help, or can recommend a person or garage in the vicinity of Bergen County, NJ, I'd appreciate it.


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post #20 of 88 (permalink) Old 05-23-2008, 04:11 PM
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Cold start issue

Greetings everyone,

My 1987 VT700C has trouble starting when the temperature outside is anything less that balmy. I could not start the bike one evening a week ago or so, but the next day, when the temp was in the 70s it fired up instantly. This morning its breezy and chilly (by Los Angeles standards) and after several attempts the bike will not start.

I am totally new to the bike, and to motorcycling in general. Is this a normal thing with all bikes? Or a normal thing with older bikes? I can't always rely on the weather being perfect, even in southern California, I don't have a garage, so, what can I do?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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