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First thought,,,having to press the starter switch several times to get it to work sounds like the switch needs cleaning. However if it works properly after the bike is at operating temp that points my thoughts elsewhere.

The starter relay,,,it is possible that it is going bad. Clean and lube the start switch before doing the below tests. Remove the cable from the relay that goes to the starter, connect volt gauge to this terminal of the starter relay. With the bike in a cold condition press the starter button and hold it just long enough to observe the volt meter. Also listen for the clicking sound from the relay, it should sound crisp and positive. It should jump to battery voltage as soon as you press the start switch. Do this several times just in case it is an intermittent issue. If the click sounds good but there is no/low/slow voltage then the relay is faulty and should be replaced.

It is also possible there are bad spots on the starter motor armature that are causing this problem. However it would be intermittent, work fine sometimes but fail other times. From what you have said i don’t think this is the problem. It is possible that the starter motor is going bad and causing it to draw more amps than the battery can supply. Hard to start cold and start ok when warm points to this.

Also you might want to check the resistance of your battery cables and the cable from the starter relay to the starter motor. Both ends of the cable need to be disconnected for these tests. You will need an ohm meter for this. With the short length of motorcycle cables the resistance should be zero or very close to it.

Diagnosing electrical issues is a big pain and takes time because there are so many variables. Do as much testing as you can before you replace any parts to try to narrow down the problem and not spend $$$ unnecessarily.

Eric


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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
First thought,,,having to press the starter switch several times to get it to work sounds like the switch needs cleaning. However if it works properly after the bike is at operating temp that points my thoughts elsewhere.

The starter relay,,,it is possible that it is going bad. Clean and lube the start switch before doing the below tests. Remove the cable from the relay that goes to the starter, connect volt gauge to this terminal of the starter relay. With the bike in a cold condition press the starter button and hold it just long enough to observe the volt meter. Also listen for the clicking sound from the relay, it should sound crisp and positive. It should jump to battery voltage as soon as you press the start switch. Do this several times just in case it is an intermittent issue. If the click sounds good but there is no/low/slow voltage then the relay is faulty and should be replaced.

It is also possible there are bad spots on the starter motor armature that are causing this problem. However it would be intermittent, work fine sometimes but fail other times. From what you have said i don’t think this is the problem. It is possible that the starter motor is going bad and causing it to draw more amps than the battery can supply. Hard to start cold and start ok when warm points to this.

Also you might want to check the resistance of your battery cables and the cable from the starter relay to the starter motor. Both ends of the cable need to be disconnected for these tests. You will need an ohm meter for this. With the short length of motorcycle cables the resistance should be zero or very close to it.

Diagnosing electrical issues is a big pain and takes time because there are so many variables. Do as much testing as you can before you replace any parts to try to narrow down the problem and not spend $$$ unnecessarily.

Eric


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Super appreciate all of this, Eric. Thank you. I'll look into it all and see what I come back with.
 

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Yeah, there’s a lot going on here! The other thing you could do with the car battery connected was check the voltage levels to compare with the ones you had from before. Yes, the headlight is supposed to go COMPLETELY off when the starter button is pressed, not dimmed to the point of being almost off. The only other thing I would be curious about is if you removed the spark plugs before trying the first start, just to see if it turns over easier without any compression. From what you say, the engine doesn’t even turn over at first.

Videos of what you‘re doing would help a lot, rather than keep us asking questions. If you don’t mind the ‘publicity’, the easiest thing is to make a YouTube account, upload the video there, and then post the link here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Yeah, there’s a lot going on here! The other thing you could do with the car battery connected was check the voltage levels to compare with the ones you had from before. Yes, the headlight is supposed to go COMPLETELY off when the starter button is pressed, not dimmed to the point of being almost off. The only other thing I would be curious about is if you removed the spark plugs before trying the first start, just to see if it turns over easier without any compression. From what you say, the engine doesn’t even turn over at first.

Videos of what you‘re doing would help a lot, rather than keep us asking questions. If you don’t mind the ‘publicity’, the easiest thing is to make a YouTube account, upload the video there, and then post the link here.
Okay, done.

So I'm not sure if this is deceiving or not - I've uploaded 2 videos. One is of the vehicle started, which was 10 days ago, and with slightly warmer weather. The second vehicle of the bike trying to start was recorded just now, and it's about 18° out - I've read that the cold has a negative effect on the battery and the bike starting so I'm not sure if I should repost another video when it's warmer, or if that's relevant. The bike is stored in an un-heated garage.

Trying to start the bike today - (also when I first attached the voltage meter it read 12.9, I hit the negative cable when turning the ignition and when I reconnected it I got the 12.6) You can hear me tinker a bit, I'm turning the petcock on, pulling the choke out and when I turn the ignition the battery drops.

The bike idling 10 days ago, slightly warmer weather, in neutral, choke closed, a minute or so after being started. I didn't rev it enough to stall, but you can hear the struggle and had I continued to give it throttle it would have died. I can record that too if that helps any.

Hope this helps. Can't say it enough how much I appreciate the help and support. Have never come across such helpful strangers.
 

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The demands for money come later… LOL! 😄

No, that was VERY helpful! Yes, Shadows in stock form are usually quite cold-blooded. They need a lot of encouragement. Some feedback from me on the first video is that the engine is turning over nicely (cranking, not starting), so no need to pull the plugs for a test, like I mentioned. In that cold, the battery seems to be doing pretty well, too (or was that jumped from the car?). After the first couple of attempts, you’re not quite holding down the starter long enough to give the engine a chance to ‘catch’. Once you start hearing the repeated ‘ba-duh-pa-ba-duh-pa‘ of it trying to fire, hold the starter down longer and try cracking the throttle just a TINY bit for around a second. Done properly, the engine should now start REALLY sounding like it wants to go. Feel the throttle out, and listen while you open and close it, to get it to finally start. An alternative is to spray a bit (don’t go overboard) of starting fluid (ether) around the air intake. This stuff ignites more easily than gas, so helps get the engine running faster. You don’t use too much because if a lot ignites at once, it can hurt your engine.

For the second video, yeah, it’s REALLY falling on it’s face when you try giving it a little throttle. I can’t remember if you’d said if you had opened the carbs up for a cleaning or not. At this stage, you could try running a bottle of Seafoam or another type of cleaner in your gas tank. With the engine running, try to hold it at the point where it’s stumbling, but still running, for a bit. Hopefully, the cleaner will be drawn through those particular passages and eventually clear away any buildup in there. I would keep the choke on for longer than a minute, though. It mostly depends on temperature.

The underlying reason is the engine isn’t getting as much fuel as it wants to run properly.
 

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One thing that helped my 1100's cold-start issues was to re-gap the plugs down to .028 (In hindsight, I believe the root cause was a low charging system output, battery never getting to full charge), it was just that much easier to get the plugs to fire with the narrower gap that it usually fired the 1st try. as opposed to 3 or 4 tries, then having to jump it. A combination of low voltage while cranking, a wider gap being just that much harder to get the spark to jump.

I eventually replaced the rectifier and stator, changing the gap made it work for most of a year in the meantime.( steady 14.2 voltage now unless stopped with brakelight on and turn signals going at idle, my idle is probably just too low, a 50 rpm increase gets it back in the green).

I've since realized it makes no sense to gap the plugs at the widest spec, the gap is only going to get wider as the plugs wear. (except maybe the Iridium or platinum ones, a much longer lasting material.) I did gap my Iridium plugs at .028 Wonder if mechanics always saying to gap them at the wider end of the spec was just to get you back in for a tune-up sooner?

won't cost anything but time to try and it has worked for me and others.
 

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...
If I go for a 20 minute ride, come home, shut her down completely and then go to restart - she starts right up...
This is enlightening. To me it sounds like battery is still struggling but may be due to cold plus I would hold the start button for another 2-3 seconds. I would use neutral so you dont need to hold the clutch in. Also try starting while sitting on the bike with stands up (in case there is a switch problem. Start Full choke NO throttle and I think you are doing that. Start buttons are often corroded so if there is no response from the button take it apart.

The "running" video sounds like your pilot jet may be partially plugged or A/F mixture screws not adjusted and a quick fix may not work. I would like you to try this: Start the engine as described but leave the choke full on then try revving to see the effect.

Last question is once the bike is warmed up after 20 minutes it starts well but does the engine run well then ie no problem with revving from idle?
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 · (Edited)
The demands for money come later… LOL! 😄

No, that was VERY helpful! Yes, Shadows in stock form are usually quite cold-blooded. They need a lot of encouragement. Some feedback from me on the first video is that the engine is turning over nicely (cranking, not starting), so no need to pull the plugs for a test, like I mentioned. In that cold, the battery seems to be doing pretty well, too (or was that jumped from the car?). After the first couple of attempts, you’re not quite holding down the starter long enough to give the engine a chance to ‘catch’. Once you start hearing the repeated ‘ba-duh-pa-ba-duh-pa‘ of it trying to fire, hold the starter down longer and try cracking the throttle just a TINY bit for around a second. Done properly, the engine should now start REALLY sounding like it wants to go. Feel the throttle out, and listen while you open and close it, to get it to finally start. An alternative is to spray a bit (don’t go overboard) of starting fluid (ether) around the air intake. This stuff ignites more easily than gas, so helps get the engine running faster. You don’t use too much because if a lot ignites at once, it can hurt your engine.

For the second video, yeah, it’s REALLY falling on it’s face when you try giving it a little throttle. I can’t remember if you’d said if you had opened the carbs up for a cleaning or not. At this stage, you could try running a bottle of Seafoam or another type of cleaner in your gas tank. With the engine running, try to hold it at the point where it’s stumbling, but still running, for a bit. Hopefully, the cleaner will be drawn through those particular passages and eventually clear away any buildup in there. I would keep the choke on for longer than a minute, though. It mostly depends on temperature.

The underlying reason is the engine isn’t getting as much fuel as it wants to run properly.
No worries, Troy. I make excellent baked goods.

I can't speak to when the last time any carb work/cleaning was done. I do have the invoice from the last time the bike was worked on back on July 1, 2021. I bought it in October. The invoice lists - forkseals and oil, oil change, new chain, spark plugs, and contact cleaner (doesn't mention where). It also received two new tires and front break flush and clean.

I did put half a bottle of seafoam in the last time I filled her up. I still have the other half I can throw in if it would be helpful. I just went outside and gave it a small steady throttle as suggested. I'll link some videos in the other posts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 · (Edited)
[/QUOTE]
One thing that helped my 1100's cold-start issues was to re-gap the plugs down to .028 (In hindsight, I believe the root cause was a low charging system output, battery never getting to full charge), it was just that much easier to get the plugs to fire with the narrower gap that it usually fired the 1st try. as opposed to 3 or 4 tries, then having to jump it. A combination of low voltage while cranking, a wider gap being just that much harder to get the spark to jump.

I eventually replaced the rectifier and stator, changing the gap made it work for most of a year in the meantime.( steady 14.2 voltage now unless stopped with brakelight on and turn signals going at idle, my idle is probably just too low, a 50 rpm increase gets it back in the green).

I've since realized it makes no sense to gap the plugs at the widest spec, the gap is only going to get wider as the plugs wear. (except maybe the Iridium or platinum ones, a much longer lasting material.) I did gap my Iridium plugs at .028 Wonder if mechanics always saying to gap them at the wider end of the spec was just to get you back in for a tune-up sooner?

won't cost anything but time to try and it has worked for me and others.
According to the previous owners invoices, the sparks were replaced last July. I haven't personally touched them, and don't know how much the bike was ridden between then and when I purchased it in October, so I'm not sure where they're at. I just got in 4 new NGK's and thought it might not hurt to switch them out before this coming riding season. I will definitely keep your .28 in mind. I appreciate it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
This is enlightening. To me it sounds like battery is still struggling but may be due to cold plus I would hold the start button for another 2-3 seconds. I would use neutral so you dont need to hold the clutch in. Also try starting while sitting on the bike with stands up (in case there is a switch problem. Start Full choke NO throttle and I think you are doing that. Starr buttons are often corroded so if there is no response from the button take it apart.

The "running" video sounds like your pilot jet may be partially plugged or A/F mixture screws not adjusted and a quick fix may not work. I would like you to try this: Start the engine as described but leave the choke full on then try revving to see the effect.

Last question is once the bike is warmed up after 20 minutes it starts well but does the engine run well then ie no problem with revving from idle?
I made quick videos of your suggestions. I started the bike, fully opened Choke, and then progressively opened the throttle slow and steady. This is what the bike sounds like:

This is the same process with the Choke closed, and I suppose the bike is a bit warmer at this point. Maybe that helps:

And after both of those. I completely shut the bike down and then restarted it - started right up.

It seems to run/sound a little better once warmed up, but still does the same thing when I hit 25mph and there's a noticeable different in torque. Almost feels like it jumps forward a bit, as if everything clicks into place the way I imagine it should run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
So, I briefly took apart the starter switch just to see if there was any obvious corrosion or rust. It seems to look fine in my non-expert opinion.
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I tried to start it while it was opened to see what happened. Nothing did. Closed it back up and screwed it back together and then tried to re-start it. Hit the button 10 times, no reaction at all. Hit the switch to off and then run again, tried to re-start it and then it started right up.
 

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You have to take the switch apart to see the sliding metal contacts and clean them.
 

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First video is correct for a for a fully open choke. Second video sounds perfect except for a stumble at second :31 but not sure if that was you letting throttle off. Third video sound like bike is starting and running well. I would do the start button as Swifty suggests and pull the spark plugs to examine (even if new) as that is fairly simple and post photo of the plugs. I also suggest do a video of a cold start because the warm start sound perfect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
First video id correct for a for a fully open choke. Second video sounds perfect except for a stumble at second :31 but not sure if that was you letting throttle off. Third video sound like bike is starting and running well. I would do the start button as Swifty suggests and pull the spark plugs to examine (even if new) as that is fairly simple and post photo of the plugs. I also suggest do a video of a cold start because the warm start sound perfect.
Hey,

Yes, you're correct, the Choke was fully opened there.

This is the cold start video, it was a number of posts up:

I just finished watching some switch videos on YouTube and doing some reading in the forums about cleaning them. I'll take Swifts advice for sure and get it done and see what happens.
 

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I’ve been known to do computer work for cookies! 😉

Well, the switch advice was more when you said ‘nothing happened’ when you pushed the button. Like NOTHING. And if that was the case after reassembly, it wouldn’t hurt to clean it up a bit. Your current plugs should be fine for only being a year old. Could you remove them and post pics of what the bottom part of them look like? You could also try @oldguy s’s gap advice to see if it helps. A cold engine runs fine on choke (extra fuel being provided), but once warm will not run quite right because that same amount of fuel is now too much. I caught that slight stumble in the second video as well, and it’ll be exaggerated when riding because the engine is demanding more fuel than at idle. Like you say, it suddenly ‘picks up’ at 25mph, probably when fuel starts flowing through the fast jets as well. Like @gdb069 says, the Seafoam was a Hail Mary measure. Think you’d be up to removing the carburetors and looking inside the bowls to see if the jets need cleaning? Do it carefully and you can just re-use the same gaskets, so no rebuild kit required. Like he also says, when everything is running right, it should start on choke only.
 

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...Yes, you're correct, the Choke was fully opened there.
This is the cold start video, it was a number of posts up:...
Yes I did see that video however your cranking was about 2 seconds and the engine likely requires 5 seconds for a cold start on a cold day. I would press the start for at least another 2-3 seconds.
 

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One thing that helped my 1100's cold-start issues was to re-gap the plugs down to .028 (In hindsight, I believe the root cause was a low charging system output, battery never getting to full charge), it was just that much easier to get the plugs to fire with the narrower gap that it usually fired the 1st try. as opposed to 3 or 4 tries, then having to jump it. A combination of low voltage while cranking, a wider gap being just that much harder to get the spark to jump.

I eventually replaced the rectifier and stator, changing the gap made it work for most of a year in the meantime.( steady 14.2 voltage now unless stopped with brakelight on and turn signals going at idle, my idle is probably just too low, a 50 rpm increase gets it back in the green).

I've since realized it makes no sense to gap the plugs at the widest spec, the gap is only going to get wider as the plugs wear. (except maybe the Iridium or platinum ones, a much longer lasting material.) I did gap my Iridium plugs at .028 Wonder if mechanics always saying to gap them at the wider end of the spec was just to get you back in for a tune-up sooner?

won't cost anything but time to try and it has worked for me and others.
I have been gapping plugs to the small side of the specs for over 35 years, and i use to be a paid mechanic but mostly just mechanic for myself. As you said as the plugs wear the gap gets wider. Unless its a race engine or you have done extensive testing gap to the small spec.

Eric


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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
Yes I did see that video however your cranking was about 2 seconds and the engine likely requires 5 seconds for a cold start on a cold day. I would press the start for at least another 2-3 seconds.
Yes, someone else also mentioned that I wasn't holding down the start button long enough after having posted that video the first time. Now I know 👍
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
I have been gapping plugs to the small side of the specs for over 35 years, and i use to be a paid mechanic but mostly just mechanic for myself. As you said as the plugs wear the gap gets wider. Unless its a race engine or you have done extensive testing gap to the small spec.

Eric


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Hey Eric,

I've changed spark plugs before on a moped, never a motorcycle. In your mechanic opinion, how important is it to use a torque wrench for it, meaning to provide the proper amount of torque value ? I've heard/read a lot of mixed reviews split down the middle with hand tightening vs using a digital torque wrench.
 
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