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1981 Not starting with stock solenoid/new battery and HHB CDI

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by tightdenimcrew, Jul 17, 2018.

  1. tightdenimcrew

    tightdenimcrew XS650 New Member

    Hey folks,

    Long time (four years?) lurker, first-time poster here. I'm having some really sluggish turn over with my starter and I'm not entirely sure what the issue is. I'll try to be as detailed as possible, here's what I'm running:

    1981 Special, running a new HHB CDI charging system (with the upgraded reg/rec)
    New battery, fully charged
    New gauges, headlight, taillight, homemade but properly crimped wiring harness (void of ground-outs), battery, stock starter solenoid and starter motor.

    Here's the issue I keep having: I have a new HHB CDI system installed, and have checked that and the wiring harness several times over, but I keep having trouble starting the bike with the stock starter solenoid/motor even on a freshly charged battery.

    I can get her to kick over on three or four kicks, but it takes a while for her to warm up and if I give it any throttle before she's ready, the bike dies on me. I also can't take it off a fully open choke. I DID have issues with an out of spec reg/rec, but I still seem to be having issues with the bike not starting properly even with the new up-to-par reg/rec, most notably not being able to reduce the choke from fully open.

    I haven't cleaned the carbs in a while, but I only put on maybe 100 miles since the last full breakdown and cleaning. That being said they *were* cleaned about two years ago. (I KNOW I NEED TO RIDE MORE). I know I should pull them apart, but I'm wondering if there's something else I'm missing here? Could this be a bad petcock that has a slow flow? Do I just need to pull the carbs off, you idiot?

    Any thoughts are appreciated.

    Ride on,

    -TDC
     
  2. tightdenimcrew

    tightdenimcrew XS650 New Member

    Here's the bike in my old garage, ya know, for fun:
    IMG_20161130_162934.jpg
     
  3. fredintoon

    fredintoon Fred Hill, S'toon. Top Contributor

    Hi TDC and good that you finally decided to post,
    sluggish E-start turn-over but good starts on the kicker means the starter motor is either screwed or starved for Amps.
    Check the starter's solenoid & big fat wires for good continuity and then see how she cranks on a car battery.
    Those other symptoms will most likely be fixed by thoroughly cleaning the carbs.
     
    tightdenimcrew likes this.
  4. tightdenimcrew

    tightdenimcrew XS650 New Member

    Thanks for the feedback Fred.

    I'll jump it tomorrow and report back. I'm assuming a little steel wool on the larger gauge wire terminals might help a connectivity issue? And if that doesn't change anything the root problem might be that starter motor? I'll do a little searching on starter motors.
     
  5. tightdenimcrew

    tightdenimcrew XS650 New Member

    Not to derail the starting issues, but are there known issues with the '81 vacuum petcock not allowing enough gas flow? I'm not running an inline filter as the tank/petcock already has a filter internally, but I'm wondering if that may be contributing to a sluggish start/fussy initial throttle.
     
  6. fredintoon

    fredintoon Fred Hill, S'toon. Top Contributor

    Hi TDC,
    check the petcock by starting the bike on the PRIME setting, which bypasses the vacuum system.
    I'm prejudiced agin vacuum petcocks so I'd convert or swap the vacuum petcock for a manual one.
    Remove your petcock to check if the filter/reserve tower is still atop it rather than laying in the bottom
    of the tank like mine was.
     
    robinc likes this.
  7. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    19,392
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    Apparently the single petcock is adequate. These bikes have been running around with them for 30+ years. Two years sitting is more than long enough to require a carb cleaning. The old gas is probably bad so I hope you changed that out. Sitting through one cold winter usually doesn't cause much trouble but sitting through a hot summer can.
     

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