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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought this 01 vlx a few weeks ago and I have spent a good number of long nights learning how to take it apart, got the carb and fuel tank cleaned, rebuilt etc at the local Honda. Before the service the issue was what seemed like rich idle or clogged fuel, as rusty sludge was everywhere from the tank to the carb. Now... I have put it all back where it belongs except the seat, turned it over in bursts of 5 seconds until the BRAND NEW DURALAST GOLD battery died... Any idea what would have changed from the old crap idle, throttle response etc, to not starting at all after a proper cleaning? Maybe because I used the old petcock? I don’t have thousands to spend replacing every little piece so any help in the right direction is appreciated as I am happy to replace anything that NEEDS to be replaced but I can’t spend 18 hours every Saturday trying to figure it out... felt I didn’t make this clear enough... turned over fine 10 plus times, seems like I’m missing spark or fuel.....
 

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Pull your plugs and see if they're wet or dry. I'd guess they're dry and you still have crud in a jet.
 

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2001 Valkyrie I/S
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drain the carb and see how much fuel is in the bowl, could also spray a little starting fluid in the intake and see if it tries to fire.
 

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'83 VT750C
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That’s the trouble with shops. You don’t know what work they did or how well they did it. Problem is, you can’t take it to them and say, “Now it doesn’t start at all!” They’ll just tell you nothing‘S wrong with their work. Pay them to fix the rest of your bike! 🙄

Like Ramie says, start at the cylinder and work your way back. If you don’t have starting fluid, pour a tablespoon of gas in each cylinder and see if it catches for a few seconds. Then figure out why the vacuum isn’t pulling the fuel through the ‘clean’ carburetors. Maybe drain the gas from the tank and try some compressed air to find out if a line or vent tube is blocked or not. Same with the carburetors. Their ‘cleaning’ probably consisted of opening the bowls and drenching the insides with spray cleaner. Maybe wiping off any sludge. Something could easily be lodged up inside one of the internal passages.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you to everyone, I would love unlimited advice, this is my first bike and it’s becoming a hobby to try and fix it, but I want to ride for Christ sake and I don’t have unlimited time - so it is very appreciated !!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Pull your plugs and see if they're wet or dry. I'd guess they're dry and you still have crud in a jet.
How can I tell if they are truly dry or wet? If they are even slightly wet then is that good enough? I'm sure they aren't spotless as I haven't even changed them since it had **** gas in it, which is probably a contributing issue.
 

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Just a matter of wet vs dry. Pull them and see. Post up pics of the plugs.
 

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1983 Honda vt750 Shadow
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Black is too rich. Check the air filter and tubing for obstruction to air flow. Don't over choke when cranking. If it is killing the battery jump the battery with a non running car battery so you have all the crank and spark power to see if that is what is needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Black is too rich. Check the air filter and tubing for obstruction to air flow. Don't over choke when cranking. If it is killing the battery jump the battery with a non running car battery so you have all the crank and spark power to see if that is what is needed.
I’m hazy on exactly how to position the choke, petcock when trying to start it - also the air filter could probably be changed, but besides that I don’t think there is any obstruction so any other idea? Should I see if I can get it started wit air filter off?
 

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1983 Honda vt750 Shadow
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My 1983 was very hard to start cold and I flooded it many times.
I richened up the carb low speed jet, - too much actually.
Now I crank for a few seconds and just add choke for a few seconds and then it starts with the choke off.
If yours is richer, that may be the sequence you need too.

Petcock ON. Take the air filter out to try. If you can't see light through it you should change it.
 

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2006 Shadow Aero 750
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If you dont have time to fix it you better find time to get it hauled back home. You are smart enough to find a group that has been right where you are now many, many times. Relax, enjoy learning and fixing your bike. Slowlane
 

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I'm in the same situation with my 96 1100 Ace. Went from running crappy before teardown, to not running after cleaning and reassembly. I think I have tracked the problem down to the fuel pump relay. You might want to check the fuel pump and fuel pump relay. I haven't worked with a VLX yet, but from what I've read, on most Shadows, the fuel pump only comes on for two seconds when the ignition is turned on, and this is supposed to prime the float bowls. If this isn't enough fuel and the engine doesn't start, you can crank and crank and it's not sending more fuel through until the ignition switch is cycled off and on again. A useful modification I've seen talked about, is to add a button that engages, or bypasses the fuel pump relay, and runs the fuel pump long enough to reliably fill the float bowls.

Here's another idea, if I stuck a fat stopper into my fuel cap opening, and pressurized the fuel tank with a few PSI of shop air, would this not push gas through the pump and filter, and prime my float bowls?

Back in the day, our fuel was gravity fed and we had "ticklers" to manually prime the float bowls. When your finger got wet, you were ready to kick her over.

A question for the forum, ... what the best way to introduce a bit of starting fluid into my Shadow's intake for a quick test? I hate squirting that nasty stuff into rubber air hoses. If I listen closely, I can hear the rubber screaming.
 

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'83 VT750C
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Ideally you would spray across the carb throat openings, but that’s under the tank. You shouldn’t be spraying enough that it would harm the plastics. It should stay in aerosol form long enough for the vacuum to suck it into the cylinders. If you’re really adverse to it, pull a spark plug from each cylinder and spray a little bit down the hole. Replace the plugs and try to start.

My father was in a hurry one day and the Shadow was harder to start than normal, even with the fluid, so he sprayed and sprayed and sprayed into the intake... Until it finally inhaled and caught. Blew out the head gasket on the front cylinder!

As for your plugs, if they get too dark and wet they’ll foul. New plugs are always best, but we used to just take a propane torch and flame around the bottom of the plug. Most of the wet and ‘black’ should burn off, and you have a plug that’s better to test with again.
 

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Ideally you would spray across the carb throat openings, but that’s under the tank. You shouldn’t be spraying enough that it would harm the plastics. It should stay in aerosol form long enough for the vacuum to suck it into the cylinders. If you’re really adverse to it, pull a spark plug from each cylinder and spray a little bit down the hole. Replace the plugs and try to start.

My father was in a hurry one day and the Shadow was harder to start than normal, even with the fluid, so he sprayed and sprayed and sprayed into the intake... Until it finally inhaled and caught. Blew out the head gasket on the front cylinder!
I do have the tank off and trying to test run from a tiny auxilary tank. I think I'll try feeding into the gas line tee that branches to the carbs, and totally bypass the fuel pump for my next try. I guess I can also pull the rubber air tubes off, and squirt some starting fluid right into the carbs if that doesn't go well.

There was a starting fluid story that I heard that also involved a father's bike, a Royal Enfield Bullet. The father was elderly and a son in law was getting the bike ready for sale. An interested buyer was due, within the hour. The Enfield had been sitting for some time and didn't want to start. Apparently not being well versed in the use of starting fluid, the son in law sprayed the juice into the air box intake, without removing the paper filter. The bike backfired, and the soaked filter burst into flames. By the time an extinguisher was retrieved, the airbox and seat and some small parts were ruined. The machine was sold very cheap.
 

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'83 VT750C
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I do have the tank off and trying to test run from a tiny auxilary tank. I think I'll try feeding into the gas line tee that branches to the carbs, and totally bypass the fuel pump for my next try. I guess I can also pull the rubber air tubes off, and squirt some starting fluid right into the carbs if that doesn't go well.
Yeah. Getting gas right into the pistons will prove if it'll want to run or not. Then you move back to the carburetors. I'm unfamiliar with your model, but could you pull the air filters off so you would have access directly to the carburetor intake? This won't hurt anything for testing purposes, unless it happens to inhale a kitten. Can you hear anything from the pump, directly wired?
 

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Yeah. Getting gas right into the pistons will prove if it'll want to run or not. Then you move back to the carburetors. I'm unfamiliar with your model, but could you pull the air filters off so you would have access directly to the carburetor intake? This won't hurt anything for testing purposes, unless it happens to inhale a kitten. Can you hear anything from the pump, directly wired?
My '96 1100 Ace has the airbox under the seat. Pulling the filter out reveals a metal mesh screen that guards the airbox exit from admitting large particles. From there, the air is routed through a flexible "rubber" tubular coupling, then through a steel tunnel that is part of the backbone of the frame, then through another rubber "Y" coupling to the individual carburetors. These diagrams will give you an idea.
294019



294018


With the seat and tank removed, I can slip a squirt hose into a gap between one of the rubber couplings, probably where it comes out of the tubular steel tunnel and enters the rubber "Y" at the top would be most convenient. With the bike fully assembled, that wouldn't be possible, and the spark plug would likely be the easiest opening.

Once I get things sorted out, I expect that with regular use the bike should be "Honda reliable", and this sort of fun will be a bad memory.

The fuel pump is clicking when I connect it directly to the battery. I need to run a flow test during my next session with the bike. If the pump is marginal, I might as well replace it now, before everything is back together. It will be a pain to replace if it is bad, the manual says I need to pull the rear wheel, drive shaft, and swing arm. At least one special tool is required. Very annoying, from my point of view, since, as I understand it, the only reason that the fuel pump is there at all, was so they could style the bike with a lower seat and gas tank. As a six footer, I'd happily sit higher and not have the additional complexity and unreliability that comes from all the additional plumbing and electrical connections.

The fuel pump relay is not working correctly, although I'm having a hard time understanding exactly how it is supposed to work. From what I found researching this component, it appears that it is electronic, not really a relay per se, and should close when the trigger input is grounded. It seems to me that Honda only connected the trigger to the ECU rear coil circuit because that circuit already has various safeties on it, like the Kill switch. I don't think that there is anyway that the fuel pump would utilize ignition pulses, for timing, because even with constant DC input, the fuel pump oscillates at a much lower frequency. It has its own internal contacts and mine is only pulsing at something like 6 clicks per second. That would equate to an engine speed of only 180 rpm, or 360 if it's wasted spark.

Sorry to the OP for flooding your VLX thread with VT1100C2 Ace info. Maybe some of this is helpful?
 

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'83 VT750C
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I would just pull the filter and squirt it in there. Let the engine breathe in the fumes, rather than a direct spray. Just give it some time to pull it through all of that intake piping. Sounds like you've done a bit more looking into the relay than I have. Mine died right when my one pump started going haywire, and dying itself. I would feel comfortable bypassing it, or maybe putting in an inline switch?
 
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