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Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.

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Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
Started at 03:20pm on the 20th February, 2018 by Adam
Adam Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
2007 Electra X. Had a load of corrosion in the tank, nicely cleaned out and tank lined with something I don’t know the name of. Carburettor super-sonic cleaned (don’t know the proper name for that either). New tap (includes filters). New fuel hose. Fresh fuel. Won’t start……….. New iridium plug. No start……. Battery good condition and fully charged. Something odd about cranking speed, upon engagement the starter motor stalls against compression but if I keep my thumb on the starter the motor will eventually (after a second or two) overcome compression and crank at normal speed. On one occasion the motor fired and ran for 5 – 6 seconds but cut out as I backed off the throttle. Losing the will to live (or a least the will to continue with RE ownership). Adam
Posted: 03:20pm 20th February, 2018
Adam Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
Forgot to mention, came across the same cranking problem on V-W Transporters water cooled boxers, late 80's. that turned out to be the ignition timing slightly advanced so, unbelievably, the premature ignition of the fuel was what prevented the engine from rotating. My electrical knowledge stopped way back when things started going solid state / electronic. Is there some sort of device in the Bullet that times the electrickery to the crankshaft? Adam
Posted: 03:31pm 20th February, 2018
papasmurf Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
Is the battery "in good condition" though. The symptoms your describe indicate it may well be the battery has a problem. Also the starter solenoid could be duff. (I have just replaced the one on my 2006 Electra X (ish) because upon inspection the old one had a loose in the solenoid threaded stud.)
Posted: 03:35pm 20th February, 2018
Alan R Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
Hi Adam------ you shouldn't be cranking against compression in the first place...I thought the Electra X had an automatic de-compressor ??........I'd sort that out first...
Posted: 03:52pm 20th February, 2018
stinkwheel Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
Probably wrong to assume that just because you've cleaned the carb and sealed the tank that it's all clear and clean. I've seen it take a couple of goes at a carb, even when i thought I'd been meticulous with it. It's easy to miss bits, especially very small drillings and "power jets" in the carb which can be to do with slow running.

Also double check it all went back together correctly. I've more than once "missed" the main jet with the carb needle the first time I tried to insert it and have later found I'd pushed it up out of place.

Does it have a kick start and will it go on that?

Yes, the ignition timing motch is on the rotor on the left end of the crank and is detected up by a hall effect sensor. The advance is electronic. It COULD advance, the flywheel could have spun, but it's keyed so it would have to destroy the woodroffe key to do so. Or the sensor could have moved/come loose. I suspect either case to be fairly unlikely.

Occums razer suggests it's a fuelling system fault since this is the last thing you touched since it was working normally.
Posted: 03:56pm 20th February, 2018
papasmurf Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
The Electra X still has a handlebar lever operated decompressor. I make sure the piston has gone over compression before I use the electric start because of the fragile starter sprag.
Posted: 03:57pm 20th February, 2018
stinkwheel Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
Oh, something occurrs to me that these may be one of the models with sprag clutch problems? Can anyone confirm that? You mention a funny noise when starting up, maybe like the sprag clutch slipping? Has your bike had a replacement ignition module fitted?
Posted: 04:04pm 20th February, 2018
Alan R Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
forgot to say}---- It's called "Ultrasonic Cleaning"......did you remove the diaphragm before cleaning ??-----The thin rubber might be split----always a good idea to change them or at least inspect for splits by gentle stretching....A loss of Vacuum will mean your fuel needle will not lift high enough....Starting/idling fuel circuits are the smallest size within the carb and thus prone to a full OR partial blockage giving rise to an unstable or weak mixture etc.............I hope you DIDN'T adjust the plug gap on your Iridium spark plug ??............They are pre-set at the factory and must be left alone...something the "Home Mechanic" finds hard to do !!

https://www.sparkplugs.co.uk/iridium-spark-plugs/
Posted: 04:05pm 20th February, 2018
ericpode Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
I can confirm the Electra X does not have an automatic de-comp. You have to do it yourself. In my humble opinion I think it bad practice to let the starter motor heave it over compression. When starting I always hold the valve lifter until the engine is spinning properly and only then let it go, keeping the starter motor running until the engine is running properly to reduce the chance of a backfire. Also in deference to the delicate sprag clutch I always switch off the ignition and pull the valve lifter at the same time to stop. While on the subject, am I the only one to find that plastic lever is incapable of lifting the exhaust valve and so fit a proper lever? Having said all that I agree that it may well be a fuel problem. Do not put all your faith in ultrasonic cleaners. I have been using one in my trade for the last 30 years and know they do not clear out holes and hidden crevices. There is no substitute for a good scrubbing brush and a poke with a wire!
Posted: 04:36pm 20th February, 2018
stinkwheel Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
"There is no substitute for a good scrubbing brush and a poke with a wire! "

A blast of solvent and blow through with compressed air?

I was always taught never to poke anything inside a carburettor or jet. One thing I found that works well for the home mechanic who has no access to a compressor is a butane lighter refill can, preferrably one with a selection of different nozzles built into the lid. Blast the jets through with this (inverted can, select the best fitting nozzle). It is similtaneously a very high pressure liquid gas (the liquid butane immediately tries to expand to 24 times its volume at room temperature) and a solvent.

Obvious precautions of using it in a well ventilated space to prevent inhalation, wearing gloves to prevent freezing of skin (it gets very cold) and keeping it well away from sources of ignition.
Posted: 04:47pm 20th February, 2018
ericpode Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
Brass wire will do no harm and can shift congealed crud that no air will shift. Last time I used an airline the jet was blasted out of my fingers into the garden never to be seen again :-(
Posted: 06:22pm 20th February, 2018
Adrian Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
Adam,

I would have another look at the battery. You say it's in good condition and fully charged, but how old is it? You might find a new Motobatt AGM battery will make a difference, after my Electra-X struggled through two normal lead-acid batteries, I fitted one and the transformation was immediate, I could use the E/S again. Yours might still hold a charge and chuck out enough power at 12V for a kick-start bike, but getting the Electra's E/S to work requires a VERY healthy battery.

A.
Posted: 10:42pm 20th February, 2018
Adam Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
Thanks for all the advice and information. I forgot to mention I'm running with an Amal Monobloc which has been blown through following ultrasonic clean (I like the lighter fluid idea). I will get battery load tested but bike refuses to start even when jumped off wife's MGB which has 6 month old battery and never refused to crank even during the recent cold snaps. I am tempted to resort to a quick tow round the block or even a whiff from the highly inflammable aerosol can (not the one mentioned above). Adam
Posted: 12:30pm 24th February, 2018
papasmurf Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
Adam be very careful with the inflammable spray:-
Posted: 02:10pm 24th February, 2018
Adam Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
I tried a whiff from the highly inflammable aerosol can to no avail. With the cr#p weather of late my enthusiasm has waned even further but I will resume my quest soon. Thanks again for all the help and advice, I am grateful. Adam
Posted: 09:24am 27th March, 2018
Adrian Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
Adam,

how long have you had the bike? Has it ever run properly for you?

I notice you haven't replied to stinkwheel's points about using the kick-start, or possible problems related to the sprag clutch. I assume the K/S lever is still fitted and that you have been trying it. Does the engine kick over freely in neutral, apart from compression? If not something in the starter gear train might be binding, the sprag clutches are notorious for failing with this model, often locking things up completely.

Meanwhile, what EXACTLY happened when using the MG battery, did the starter motor crank the engine over but without getting the engine to fire, or did it struggle to crank the engine over at all? Your mention of "something odd about cranking speed" makes me wonder.

I also have to say there are some duff NGK plugs out there (possibly copies), you might be better off fitting a Champion N3C and checking for a spark while kicking the engine over. Bad sparks can also be caused by the oem ignition coil and metal plug cap packing up, it might be worth checking these, too as the bike is 11 years old. Providing you are getting a decent spark at the right time then it **should** just be a case of putting the plug and plug cap back, tickling the Monobloc carb and booting the thing into life.

A.
Posted: 01:26pm 27th March, 2018
ric Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
Could as previously hinted at be a slipping sprag (just biding its time before completely failing).
Short of opening up the casework and physically checking it over it might be wise in the short term to only use the kick starter which would certainly remove the sprag from the problem list as being one of the reasons the bike won't start.
After I'd set mine up correctly I could during the summer months start it from cold by hand on the first push. These are not exactly highly strung engines and I appreciate me mentioning that is not helping you either

As already asked 'Has it ever run for you? The previous owner may have put the go faster [enter cynical Emoji here] Amal on the bike instead of sourcing the dedicated but more expensive dedicated Dellorto kit) or performed a simple cost mod on the original Ucal to boost performance, had some not unexpected problems and then sold them on to you along with the bike.
Posted: 02:47pm 27th March, 2018
Adrian Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
Adam hasn't said what size Monobloc is fitted, but I can't see why a properly set-up 1 3/16" 389 shouldn't be on the list of successful carb swaps for the original 29mm CV Mikarb. I still have the PHF32 Dellorto off my old Electra as well as the TM-36-31 Mikuni that replaced it.

More info is needed about this case.

A.
Posted: 10:53pm 27th March, 2018
Alan R Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
Hi guys-------- One of the things I enjoy about this forum is the consistent supply of oddities that crop up in conversation............earlier Stinkwheel mentioned Occam's Razor, a name I'd not come across before...so here it is then}-------------- https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor ------- Just thought I'd pop that in for interests sake...now back to the plot !!!
Posted: 12:17am 28th March, 2018
Alan R Subject: Electra X starting (not) Grrrr.
Hi guys--------I've just this moment been re-reading Adam's listings.........Go back to his very first one where he starts off with}--"2007 Electra X. Had a load of corrosion in the tank"...He then goes on to say}---"On one occasion the motor fired and ran for 5 – 6 seconds but cut out as I backed off the throttle."....... So fuel IS getting through, the engine HAS run for him at some time BUT only with the wider throttle openings....ie the jetting AFTER the idling circuit....Despite the use of "Supersonic cleaning" my guess is that the idling jet/circuit is still blocked....The poor starting technique he uses has given rise to a Red Herring in that the sprag might well be on its' way out now as well.........On the assumption that he still has a spark then the next logical thing to do is test-by-substitution ie}-- fit another carb that's KNOWN to work....At least that will give him a direction to follow for sure...
Posted: 12:38am 28th March, 2018

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