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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello: I have a 98 vt1100c that still starts easily and runs w/o missing a beat--if ridden regularly. Riding regularly isn't normally unusual as it's my only transportation. I've maintained it religiously throughout the years, and no, that doesn't mean "as the spirit moves me.

Last December it was stored garaged for about a month. I topped ogg the battery charge the day before I was putting it back in action. Getting it started was a real chore; I ran down the battery cranking it over, and then had to continue cranking it 15-20 seconds at a time for another hour with jumper cables to a car battery. During that time there was nasal evidence that I was flooding it. Once started, there were no further problems as I used it daily for the past year.

I had to put it back in storage again a month ago. I'm looking at needing to restart it again soon and I'm anticipating the same difficulty starting it. Can someone here make an educated guess as to why it's difficult after a month's storage and suggest what I might think about doing prior to the first start to make it easier. My limited mechanical knowledge makes me think that maybe the fuel evaporates from the tank to the cylinders and needs some time and cranking to start flowing again. I've read here in the past that you can trick the fuel pump into starting to pump fuel through the system by flicking the kill switch on an off several times with the key just on w/o cranking it over. Do I have that right? Is that something that might help with the initial post-storage start? Is there something else that might help? Thank you folks. Jon
 

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If you have to use jumper cables after it sits for more than a few days its time for a new battery. Your current battery isnt holding a charge. And when you ride daily it gets topped off daily, in storage it no longer gets charged, unless you have it hooked up to a charger/ batter tender.

long cranking times and hard starting even with a good battery in the bike would most likely indicate a fueling issue. If this is also the case its time for a carb cleaning/ retune.
 

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Are you cranking on the throttle when you are trying to start it? Don't use any throttle if you are. Bike should start easy after only a month. Yes, the pump wil run a little everytime you flip the kill switch on. If you do flood the engine, you need to hold the throttle wide open to start the bike. Don't pump the throttle.
 

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Whenever something like this comes along, I always have to go back to the big three:Compression, Ignition and fuel. I don't know if it's got a ton of miles and/or wear but if it does run and perform once it IS running it would be a fair guess that the compression is at least within the normal operating parameters. Wouldn't hurt to check it though.
You can smell flooding? Fuel is getting there. How old is it? I've learned the hard way that modern fuel has a surprisingly short storage life. A friend in the refinery business told me not to store fuel for more than six weeks nowdays. I tried to start a brush fire with a jug of fuel that had been stored for a couple of months. I was flabbergasted to discover that TWO MONTH OLD fuel was no longer even flammable! I poured it onto a paper towel and it wouldn't even light!
Ignition is easy enough to check. Pull the plug and hold it against the engine with a rag and crank. Watch for a good spark.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Whenever something like this comes along, I always have to go back to the big three:Compression, Ignition and fuel. I don't know if it's got a ton of miles and/or wear but if it does run and perform once it IS running it would be a fair guess that the compression is at least within the normal operating parameters. Wouldn't hurt to check it though.
You can smell flooding? Fuel is getting there. How old is it? I've learned the hard way that modern fuel has a surprisingly short storage life. A friend in the refinery business told me not to store fuel for more than six weeks nowdays. I tried to start a brush fire with a jug of fuel that had been stored for a couple of months. I was flabbergasted to discover that TWO MONTH OLD fuel was no longer even flammable! I poured it onto a paper towel and it wouldn't even light!
Ignition is easy enough to check. Pull the plug and hold it against the engine with a rag and crank. Watch for a good spark.
Thank you for the ideas so far, and I'm sorry I placed the thread in this General Discussion Forum. I had thought I clicked on Technical D.F. Now that I think about it, I put a new battery in the bike last August, so it may not be an issue this time. The bike does have a lot of miles (98K) but it seems that compression is prob w/i normal op parameters as it runs well w/plenty of power. Thanks to someone above for the tip to hold the throttle wide open if I flood it; I didn't know that.
 

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Just wondering if you could post what voltage your battery stabalises to after you charge it, before hitting start button and if it's consistent. Will help others narry down your options too.

I know from mine that if it's too low you'll never give it enough wham to get things going.
 

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Whenever something like this comes along, I always have to go back to the big three:Compression, Ignition and fuel. I don't know if it's got a ton of miles and/or wear but if it does run and perform once it IS running it would be a fair guess that the compression is at least within the normal operating parameters. Wouldn't hurt to check it though.
You can smell flooding? Fuel is getting there. How old is it? I've learned the hard way that modern fuel has a surprisingly short storage life. A friend in the refinery business told me not to store fuel for more than six weeks nowdays. I tried to start a brush fire with a jug of fuel that had been stored for a couple of months. I was flabbergasted to discover that TWO MONTH OLD fuel was no longer even flammable! I poured it onto a paper towel and it wouldn't even light!
Ignition is easy enough to check. Pull the plug and hold it against the engine with a rag and crank. Watch for a good spark.
Whoever told that gas goes bad after 6 weeks has their head up ther behind. Gas/ethanol will last much longer then that. If 2 month old gas didn't ignite, it was either not gas at all or very diluted gas. My bike starts after sitting several months at a time with no problem.
 

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Whoever told that gas goes bad after 6 weeks has their head up ther behind. Gas/ethanol will last much longer then that. If 2 month old gas didn't ignite, it was either not gas at all or very diluted gas. My bike starts after sitting several months at a time with no problem.
Well I don't have any real idea what the answer is. I did however experience it myself trying to start a trash fire. Pure gasoline which had been stored in a dark dry building and it was not even flammable? Of course there could have been any number of variables, how old was it when I bought it? Was it the bottom of the storage tank when I purchased it? Did the service station's tank have a leak and allow water in? On and on...

I guess when you cut through all the rhetoric, are you sure the fuel is good enough inside the carburetor to ignite?

I have a BSA Thunderbolt that sits way too long before I start it. I always tickle the carb and smell of the gas before I crank it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just wondering if you could post what voltage your battery stabalises to after you charge it, before hitting start button and if it's consistent. Will help others narry down your options too.

I know from mine that if it's too low you'll never give it enough wham to get things going.
I now wish I had checked the battery voltage at the time, but I didn't. There was enough of a charge that I was able to crank for 15 seconds, wait 30, then crank another 15 for probably 15 minutes. Then I had to hook up the jumper cables to the car bat. Again though, I did replace the bat in August well after my taking it out of storage experience.
 

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I now wish I had checked the battery voltage at the time, but I didn't. There was enough of a charge that I was able to crank for 15 seconds, wait 30, then crank another 15 for probably 15 minutes. Then I had to hook up the jumper cables to the car bat. Again though, I did replace the bat in August well after my taking it out of storage experience.
Are you giving the battery another charge?

Just wondering what your winter temperatures are at too.
 

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Jon if the battery cranks for as long as you describe, I'd say it is a pretty good battery. I feel that a truly defective battery wouldn't have made it nearly that far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Are you giving the battery another charge?

Just wondering what your winter temperatures are at too.
Good questions, I think. I could give my new in August battery, and now that you've mentioned it it prob will remove the bat and put a tender on it. The bike is stored in Portland, Oregon where the nighttime lows have been in the mid-thirties. They will be dropping into the high teens to mid-twenties over the next couple months--that's Fahrenheit.
 

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Good questions, I think. I could give my new in August battery, and now that you've mentioned it it prob will remove the bat and put a tender on it. The bike is stored in Portland, Oregon where the nighttime lows have been in the mid-thirties. They will be dropping into the high teens to mid-twenties over the next couple months--that's Fahrenheit.
Mm that is low! I'm just adding to the investigation jive of things...I'm really REALLY not so mechanically minded as to be leading up to a solution haha :D (just pretending to know what's what :p). These are some of the preliminary things the pro's kinda always want to get outa the way first.

Uh yeh, if you had the bike trying for that length of time, I reckons battery must be fine.
 

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Check to see if fuel is getting to the carb by opening the screw located on the fuel bowl. You should see gas draining out at the screw.

Do not twist the throttle and pull the choke out before you try starting the bike. When the bike starts push the chock back in slowly so it remains running smoothly. After it warms up push the chock off completely.

When storing the bike be sure you shut the fuel off with the petcock.
 

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From all that I`ve read so far ==>
The battery is probably a good one, if it`ll take 15 minutes of cranking like you stated...
BUT, I do NOT read "I choked it" anywhere...
In cold temps, even my regularly ridden Bike needs Choke to start easily...
NO THROTTLE, Just Choke...
Then after it fires off add throttle and ease off Choke, is my Cold weather starting technique...
Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Check to see if fuel is getting to the carb by opening the screw located on the fuel bowl. You should see gas draining out at the screw.

Do not twist the throttle and pull the choke out before you try starting the bike. When the bike starts push the chock back in slowly so it remains running smoothly. After it warms up push the chock off completely.

When storing the bike be sure you shut the fuel off with the petcock.
Up until your last sentence, that is the procedure I follow. I don't think I've ever turned off the petcock except when I remove the tank. I didn't think the fuel moves except when the engine is running.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
I have a '99 VT1100c and have the same issue when it sits for a while. I found that it starts much quicker when I hold the bike up right instead of on the side stand. Might have something to do with fuel flow. Not sure, but seems to work for me.
Yes sir, I was sitting in the saddle with it upright. And, Capt D: Yes, I choked it.

When it finally started it was very rough/missing (maybe even running on one cylinder--as it has sometimes when starting in cold temps for years now). I had to very carefully feather the throttle to keep it running until it was a little warm.

What is it about sitting for a while that would cause this. I mean the bike has 98K on it (I guess I have about 10x that). When I sit inactive for too long I have a hard time getting started, too. Perhaps that's the way I should look at it. If it takes a shot to ease my aches after sitting too long maybe the bike needs the equivalent of a bike shot; what would that be?
 

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Yes sir, I was sitting in the saddle with it upright. And, Capt D: Yes, I choked it.

When it finally started it was very rough/missing (maybe even running on one cylinder--as it has sometimes when starting in cold temps for years now). I had to very carefully feather the throttle to keep it running until it was a little warm.

What is it about sitting for a while that would cause this. I mean the bike has 98K on it (I guess I have about 10x that). When I sit inactive for too long I have a hard time getting started, too. Perhaps that's the way I should look at it. If it takes a shot to ease my aches after sitting too long maybe the bike needs the equivalent of a bike shot; what would that be?
Sounds like your carbs need a cleaning, either manual or adding Seafoam or B12 to the tank and letting it to remove the built up gum in the carbs. Sounds like a fuel supply issue and not the battery, but it wouldn't hurt to use a battery charger (not a tender) to bring your new battery up to full charge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sounds like your carbs need a cleaning, either manual or adding Seafoam or B12 to the tank and letting it to remove the built up gum in the carbs. Sounds like a fuel supply issue and not the battery, but it wouldn't hurt to use a battery charger (not a tender) to bring your new battery up to full charge.
I suspect you're right even though I run a few tanks of Seafoam mix through a couple of times a year.
 
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