99 vstar 650 only starts when leaned to the right...? - Star Motorcycle Forums: Star Raider, V-Max, V-Star, Road-Star Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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99 vstar 650 only starts when leaned to the right...?

Hello all, and thank you in advance for any possible answers.

I recently bought a 1999 v star 650 classic with known issues (it was a bargain so i didnt mind) however now i'd like to get to the bottom of these issues, and dont know where to start because the symptoms are different than the results.

The seller claims he cleaned everything from the gas tank to the carbs, new fuel filter, sea foam added, the whole nine yards, says he set the float heights within +/-1mm, and i honestly believe him because he was a very...meticulous... guy, and had about 7 other bikes he was working on, seemed like he knew his stuff.

SO... for the issue. From a cold start the bike WILL NOT START WITH THE CHOKE ON AT ALL it must be pushed all the way in. It also will not start cold leaning on the kick stand, or even balanced by sitting on it.. it will only start if you tip the bike to the right, and not just a little, im talking it is on the verge of falling, only then will it start, and usually takes about 2-3 tries to get it to hold an idle, and even then it is weak, and will die again if you straighten it back up within the first 20-30 seconds. Once it is warmed up you can turn it on and off reliably with no issues on start up. Once the bike is started it runs...good, not great, but it works. Under load it is bogged down for the first 25% of the gear, only smoothing out after a few seconds of gurgling, but at the top half of each gear it runs great. at idle it is pretty similar, unless you ease on the gas it bogs down... Upon deceleration it backfires.

Short version:
1999 vstar 650 only starts with the choke completely off
only starts when leaned 35 degrees or more to the right and only the right
once started idle is weak and throttle bogs it down is brought on too quick
under load the first half of each gear is bogged down, while the top half of each gear runs smooth and sounds great
backfires when downshifting


This all sounds to me that it is running too RICH, but the exhaust does not smoke, and the spark plugs look fine... HELP
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 07:30 PM
KCW
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".....It also will not start cold leaning on the kick stand, or even balanced by sitting on it.. it will only start if you tip the bike to the right, and not just a little, im talking it is on the verge of falling....."

Im kinda wondering how you figured this out, it seems like a really odd thing to do when a bike wont start.

But yeah, if it starts with the choke off its flooding. Have you checked the air cleaner and the air passages to the carbs?

you might have a chipmunks winter food store in there or something?

Might also look up the tailpipe and make sure there is nothing blocking that.

I want to give the mechanic the benefit of the doubt, but if you cant find anything obvious then he must have messed up something with the carbs.... My only other thought is to check the compression on the engine. Does it have enough miles on the odo to think about the valves or rings losing compression?
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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Unfortunaly no chipmunks, and the exhaust flow seems correct. You did remind me of some things i forgot, it has a high flow k&n air filter just installed, and it only has 9k miles on it. I figured out the lean by wondering if it was an issue with the floats by attempting to trick the carbs into thinking there was more or less fuel in the bowl.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 07:51 PM
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the 650s also have a fuel pump, because the carbs are higher than the bottom of the fuel tank.

If the pump was not running though I would think it would be lean, not rich.

When I read your first post I was picturing someone on a bike, trying to start it... nothing..nothing..nothing.....
the bike falls over
then it starts!
YES! IT RUNS!
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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haha, well its not quite on its side, but i end up having to hit the start button while simultaneously holding on for dear life...hold it there for 20-30 seconds then slowly standing it back up and hope it holds the idle. Any idea if on the 99s the choke is an enricher or just a throttle advance? because that could possible rule the choke out of the equation...
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 08:39 PM
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the choke is designed to pump more gas than normal

I have been assuming a couple things:

the normal way to start the bike is to turn the tank level on
pull the choke all the way out
turn the ignition on (you should hear the fuel pump run for a few seconds)
make sure the kill switch is not set to kill, the kick stand is up, the bike is in neutral, pull the clutch in


and dont give it any throttle while cranking it.

When it fires you might need to burp the throttle just a bit, but not much

and once it starts you immediately push the choke back in one or two clicks, till it warms up.

some people twist the throttle while its cranking, that screws up the choke flow.

I have heard people say the bike will not start and run correctly if you take the intake plumbing off to the air cleaner.

Putting the high flow intake on would make the bike run lean if the carbs were not compensated, which again is the opposite of what you are seeing. Maybe the previous owner over compensated for the K&N air cleaner and opened the jets too far?

Last edited by KCW; 04-08-2017 at 08:44 PM.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 09:16 PM
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is it a california model, i think those have a tip over shut down valve, check the float levels yourself all you need is a 3/16 piece of aquarium hose a two minuets of your time, it's so simple i would start there, then make sure there's good flow coming out of the pump, just pull the carb inlet line and turn the key with a rag or container under the line to catch the fuel, also these bikes require that all the intake ducts are air tight, if the air box lifted up off the carbs the engine will hardly run, the engine needs all the restrictions of the air ducts and air cleaner because it kinda chokes the engine. with just the air filter element out the engine won't run right because it creates a restriction that makes the engine suck harder to pull the fuel in, but first thing first see if it has tip over shut off switch. you should be able to start it on the side stand as long as it's in neutral.. green light. these bikes DO NOT USE a choke when you pull the start knob out it does not choke the air into the carb it just adds a little extra fuel, that why you shouldn't open the throttle until it spins at least a couple revolutions if you open it early you'll reduce the suction and the extra fuel won't be pulled in correctly creating a too lean condition for the engine to start

dumb bikers don't get to be old bikers

Last edited by pauli466; 04-08-2017 at 09:25 PM.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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I dont think its the cali model, at least nothing in the VIN indicates that and im on the east coast. Ill try the hose tomorrow, and check the pump outlet as well and get back to you. I know its hard not to suggest the obvious stuff not knowing my abilities and knowledge but i attempt to start it properly, in neutral choke all the way out, gas on, kill switch on, no throttle (if i do try to blip the throttle after it turns over that only kills it). I've tried it with the OEM air cleaner, figuring it was rich i thought id try a high flow to even it out, but no luck.

Is there a reference i should be looking at when the hose fills with fuel to indicate if it is too full or too empty?
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 12:52 PM
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Im sure there is a stop watch / fill the beer can test

and for certain a pressure gauge test. I dont know the numbers off the top of my head.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-09-2017, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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I mean reference for putting the hose on the bowl drain, open the drain, the hose fills with fuel and there would be a point on the carb where the levels would equalize inside the carb and in the hose, not sure if I'm making sense, I don't think fuel delivery from the pump would be an issue if it's running rich...

What confuses me the most is the leaning to the right thing, with the bike leaned to the right I would be using gravity to have the floats resting (theoretically) in a higher than normal position, meaning there isn't enough fuel in the bowl to get them there normally, but that would cause it to run lean, not rich...

Am I over thinking this or can someone make sense of what Im finding? Haha
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