I wish I was riding right now
My previous rides were all pre-owned: 81 Suzuki GS 450. 95 Yamaha Virago 750. 01 HD Superglide. 07 Suzuki SV650S. About a year ago, I bought a 2007 Vstar 1100 midnight custom with around 15,400 miles. I've only ridden around 200 miles in the past year, because I am struggling to get it running right. If it were running right, I'd be riding more than 2,000 miles per year.
I really like everything about the bike, except the most important thing: it's not running right. The bike came with Vance & Hines Classic II exhaust. The airbox is stock. The only thing I've added: LED light pods (with relay) that light up when I brake. The only thing I've changed: I bypassed the AIS, which drastically improved the exhaust popping. I learned how to remove carburetors with this bike, so that is something new to me.
When cold, the bike sometimes starts, but it's a weak start that almost doesn't happen. Typically, after warming up maybe 30 seconds on full or partial choke, the engine just quits. It won't start again after that. I discovered that the engine will continue to sputter and warm up if the spark plugs are brand-new.
I've discovered that while the rear cylinder & exhaust is getting hot after start-up, the front cylinder & exhaust is room temp. Also, the upper exhaust pipe is exhausting warm exhaust, while the lower exhaust pipe (that exhausts the front cylinder) is spitting out a mist of gasoline. After the motor dies, or I shut it off, a few drops of gas drip from joints in the lower exhaust. So, that gas in the cold exhaust pipe seems to be the best clue to what is wrong with the bike.
I'm hoping this forum can offer advice about what I need to do to get my bike back on the road!
Here is what I've tried during the past year:
I've read the Vstar 1100 wiki as well as many forum posts. I completely drained the old gas, twice. Once, I refilled with fresh 87 octane from Shell. The next time, I refilled with fresh 89 octane "rec fuel" (no ethanol). I've always used the correct amount of Stabil in every tank. Except this past week: I used 8 oz. of Sea Foam when filling up the rec fuel. I installed a new fuel filter. I removed the carburetors, removed the pilot, needle, and main jets from the carbs (I didn't remove or touch the float bowl assembly), I cleaned those 6 jets with gumout and compressed air. I reinstalled the jets into the carbs.
I've installed new spark plugs twice. Installing new spark plugs seems to be the most beneficial task: The bike seems to run better for a few rides with brand-new spark plugs, until the same problem returns. I've kept the 1-year-old battery maintained.
Thank you for reading my long introduction. What do you think I need to do to get this bike running well?