Hi from AZ - having an issue - Honda Shadow Forums : Shadow Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-16-2019, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Mar 2019
Model: VT1100C
Year: 1989
Location: Green Valley, AZ
Posts: 40
Hi from AZ - having an issue

Hello, I stumbled upon a 1989 Honda Shadow 1100 at a yard sale last weekend for so cheap I couldn't pass it up. It is in fantastic shape and about 30k miles has some sort of slip on exhaust. Only issue that I was told about when I bought it was that it had been sitting for a couple of years so it didn't really run well and leaked gas out of the carb. I took the carbs out and cleaned up the jets with some carb cleaner and strand of thin copper wire. I found a sticky float and freed it up so I don't have an issue leaking gas anymore. I also changed the engine oil and rear end oil as well as topped off the coolant. I also drained all of the old gas and poured in a couple gallons of fresh gas and about 8 oz of seafoam. I had to buy a new battery and today I took it out for a spin. It started right up with choke and seemed to run ok, once I got it out on the road I could tell on cylinder was cutting in and out and it was spitting and sputtering. I got it going a constant 55 did a U turn and when accelerating there was still a cylinder cutting out. Almost died at a stop light and really had to feather the throttle to get up and going. Eventually did die at a stop and got it started back up fairly easily and made it home. The idle was kinda up and down so still not running right. I also noticed steam and water coming out of the coolant overflow hose and could hear bubbling as well as a little bit of white smoke and black smoke from the exhaust. I pulled the spark plugs and they are black and the rear cylinder plugs were kinda wet, so I'm going to say that is the cylinder that is cutting in and out.

I know I will probably have to copy this post in the technical forum eventually, but since I am new I have to post here. Also is it 3 threads or 3 posts before I can post over there?

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post #2 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-16-2019, 10:44 PM
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Did the carbs get synced with vacuum gauge? Float level correct? Spark plug wires in good shape? Those are the things I would look at after I got new spark plugs.

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post #3 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-16-2019, 10:56 PM
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Model: Vt750
Year: 1983
Location: Washington State
Posts: 10,400
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Welcome to the forum.
Are the rear plugs wet with fuel or coolant or oil?
Take the radiator cap off when cooled down and fill up to the top of the neck and start the engine. It should warm up and the coolant should expand and overflow gradually as it heats up. If it blasts out of there a head gasket is bad.


It is 3 threads with different titles.

Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window.
1983 750 Shadow
From the past=
1951 Cushman scooter
1962 Honda 305 Dream
1965 Honda 305 Dream
1971 Honda 175 scrambler
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post #4 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-17-2019, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Mar 2019
Model: VT1100C
Year: 1989
Location: Green Valley, AZ
Posts: 40
First of all I'm going off that the guy said it ran fine before he parked it and he seemed like an honest fellow. I haven't synced the carbs, I'm not sure how to do that. Spark plug wires are in good shape and the plugs smelled like they were wet with gas. I am also not sure how to properly set the float level, I understand it can be adjusted by bending the tab, but not sure what correct looks like. I did order new plugs so I will put those in, also I can check the coolant and see what happens.

Last edited by Magnaryder02; 03-17-2019 at 04:56 PM.
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post #5 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-17-2019, 01:50 PM
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Carb sync will give you a poor idle or performance just not up to specs, because one carb will be open a little more than the other. But it won't make the engine run OK then start dying. You still have a carb problem it sounds like. Do you have a manual for the bike?
Some floats are plastic and you can't adjust them unless there is a metal tab.


you can use a scale to sight across the tops of the floats when they hang gently touching against the needle valve.
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Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window.
1983 750 Shadow
From the past=
1951 Cushman scooter
1962 Honda 305 Dream
1965 Honda 305 Dream
1971 Honda 175 scrambler
swifty2014 is online now  
post #6 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-17-2019, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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Model: VT1100C
Year: 1989
Location: Green Valley, AZ
Posts: 40
So I went out today and started it up. Using choke to warm it up for a couple minutes the bike idled fine and started fine. Turned the choke off and the bike stayed running and idled fine although I have the idle scree set higher to help. Once the bike started to get warm I had to mess with throttle to keep it running.

On the coolant I opened the cap to the radiator and topped it off before running it. As the bike ran and warmed up the level dropped as the air was worked out of the system. I kept adding a little to keep it topped off eventually it leveled out. I could see the level drop as I revved the engine so the water pump seems to be working. Once the bike started to get really warm the coolant started to spill over just a little bit. So seems pretty normal.

I think what I need to do is tear the carbs down again and really give them a good c and thorough cleaning. All I did the first time was clean the jets, hoping I could toss some seafoam in the gas and let it do the rest.

1989 Shadow 1100
2006 KLR 650
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post #7 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-17-2019, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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Model: VT1100C
Year: 1989
Location: Green Valley, AZ
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So tore it apart again. Having a hard time getting the varnish off. I also decided to go ahead and order a carb kit from carbjetkits. That includes 168 and 42 jets and a shim. The jets in there are a 165 and 42. That is what their calculator suggested.

1989 Shadow 1100
2006 KLR 650
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post #8 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 09:10 AM
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Setting the float height is important to. I THINK your bike is 7mm. Even "close" doesn't work. I did a **** job setting mine. They were off by a mm. Tore carbs down again, set to 7mm as shop manual states (bought a guage on amazon) and there was a world of difference. Carbs have to be exactly right or...they're wrong. Bike will have a host of issues. Mine did. Once I did the carbs the third damn time, and synched them she runs excellent with no decell backfire etc. Good luck
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post #9 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-22-2019, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Model: VT1100C
Year: 1989
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So, not sure if I should start a new post in the technical forum, but for now I guess I'll keep this one going.

So my coolant issue seems to be taken care of, I think it just had some air in the system.

So I cleaned the carbs really thoroughly and installed the stage 1 jet kit which included a 168 jet, a 42 jet, and 1 shim. Bike is stock except for the exhaust which looks like a pair of slip ons. I also set the floats as close to 9.2mm as I could which is what my shop manual specifies. I used a metric ruler and eyeballed it as best as I could.

So it is running very similar except it idles much better, nice and smooth idle and I was able to turn the idle down and it will stay running. When accelerating it still spits and sputters and will eventually get up to speed, but when I give it more that about 1/4 to 1/3 throttle it bogs down. When accelerating from a stop it doesnt want to get going, but after idling for a little bit its better.

1989 Shadow 1100
2006 KLR 650
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post #10 of 58 (permalink) Old 03-22-2019, 09:36 PM
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Model: Vt750
Year: 1983
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Were the slide rubber diaphrams perfect and seated correctly?


Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window.
1983 750 Shadow
From the past=
1951 Cushman scooter
1962 Honda 305 Dream
1965 Honda 305 Dream
1971 Honda 175 scrambler
swifty2014 is online now  
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