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Cranks but doesn't fire: fuel expiration

Started by ssevy, June 10, 2022, 04:03:06 AM

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I just wanted to post a recent experience I had helping a friend get his 2000 Legend running after a year of storage. The engine is the same as ours, so the purpose of posting it here is to help someone in the future encountering a similar problem.

Okay, the symptom was the bike would crank, but not fire. Adding my booster pack to save wear on the sprag only made it crank faster, but still no firing.

Working under the (mistaken) assumption that my friend had drained the tank and refilled it with fresh fuel, I checked for air, fuel and spark, and noted an intermittent weak spark. He grabbed a continuity tester, as I thought the sidestand switch might be making a poor or random connection, but he unfortunately disconnected the wrong connector, which was wire tied to the side stand wire, and thus moved when I tugged near the switch. tested bad, and he ordered a new switch and some new venturi boots while he was at it. I pulled the carbs and cleaned them, and they were all pretty decent inside.
Once the parts arrived, I tested the new sidestand switch and noted the results, and this time tested the correct connector block on the old one, discovering it was perfectly fine.

Putting it all together, I again hooked up my booster pack so as not to wear the sprag, and cranked it briefly. No luck, so at this point I finally asked for confirmation that he had put in fresh fuel, and the answer was "some, but I didn't have much".

So, we drained the tank completely and then put in fresh fuel, and of course, it started right up. So, the moral to this story is to always drain and refill a bike with fresh fuel when it hasn't been run for a bit if it won't start.

The second thing to know is that an older battery which still cranks may still not be providing enough voltage to spin the starter and also provide a good strong spark. I've see this several times on these bikes, so don't assume just because it will crank that it is also firing.
I may not be big, but I'm slow.


Great advice Ssev. Fresh fuel before you tinker.
Ripper, woke up again.