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Bike doesn't start in cold weather

Discussion in 'XJ Technical Chat' started by Joshua Olkowski, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. jayrodoh

    jayrodoh YimYam Premium Member

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    It's possible, heat can cause things to expand and compromised coil wires to short/go open. Only way to tell for sure is run through the FSM test procedures cold and once again after you warm it up. The faulty part will read differently for the tests.
     
  2. XJ550H

    XJ550H Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    test spec
    * 2000+ rpms: 14.2 volts up to about 14.8 volts, with a maximum of 14.8 volts (all models except XJ700-X and XJ7 l50-X)

    heat is caused by current draw you need to make sure ALL your grounds are clean and tight.
    motor ground, frame ground from motor ground
    frame ground at the ignition coil
    and battery connection.

    you need to do the same to the positive connections as well.

    clean the copper rings with an hard art eraser then spray the crap off with electronic cleaner.
    measure the brushes, check the brush holder

    then ohm out the charging system if you post your results we can help you better.

    are you running any extra electronics on the bike?
     
  3. Polock

    Polock Well-Known Member

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    take two aspirin and call in the morning
     
  4. Joshua Olkowski

    Joshua Olkowski Member

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    Where are the grounds located?
     
  5. XJ550H

    XJ550H Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    negitive battery terminal (ground) follow wire to motor bolted to motor (ground) follow small wire up to battery box lower left corner screw is where this ground is attached to frame.
    go to ignition coils you will see a black wire with ring terminal attached to the mounting bolt (ground) the4re may be 2 one on each coil.
     
  6. Chitwood

    Chitwood Active Member

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    Heat=resistance
     
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  7. Joshua Olkowski

    Joshua Olkowski Member

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    Ok, I'll look for these. Thanks.
     
  8. Joshua Olkowski

    Joshua Olkowski Member

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    My 81 550 Seca won't start on cold weather mornings/evenings. Turns over fine but won't start even with the choke on. This morning in particular was 47 degrees and the battery was fully charged up. No start. The bike starts perfectly every other time. If it doesn't start in the morning I'll try in the afternoon and it starts right up. I thought it might not be getting enogh gas so I put the petcock on PRI and that didn't work. One evening I had a friend help me push start and after about 3 attempts it almost worked and then I just pressed the starter and it fired right up. Anybody have any ideas? It has brand new plugs. I have to admit I don't use the recommended oil. I use 20w-50 and it's suppose to be 20w-40 and I heard oil viscosity can be a factor. Also, the PO had changed the jets from the original stock 112.5 to 115 and I had changed them back to the stock 112.5 during my last carb rebuild. Maybe he was onto something and I should change it back? The bike does pop a little when I slow down and I heard that can be due to a lean condition which could also be the reason for not starting. If it is due to a lean condition would it help to just open the pilot screws a bit and/or change the jets back to the 115's? Thanks
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  9. XJ550H

    XJ550H Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    http://xjbikes.wikidot.com/carb-specs

    pull the headlight fuse to stop headlight from coming on.
    the xj550 do not like the colder weather, a shot of starter fluid should do the trick shoot it into the air box. but 47 degrees is not that cold
    it may be time to get new ignition coils have you replaced the spark plug caps?

    20w 40 oil change to that

    the pilot jet is what starts the bike not the main jet. main jet comes into play around 2 to 3k rpm
    set the choke do not touch the throttle at all when starting the bike

    when the main jets were changed was the Main jet NEEDLE matched to the jet?

    did you get the enrichment wells in the carb bowls clear when you cleaned the carbs? how about the tubes that go into the wells?
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
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  10. XJ550H

    XJ550H Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    cold blooded at first - then pops warmed up

    when the bike starts how does it act?
    you go for a ride and the idle stays with in spec? or does the idle end up climbing up?
    a vacuum leak will make the bike hard to start is your vacuum hose new and vacuum line?
    does 15 minutes out in the sunshine make it start?

    do a voltage drop test see what the voltage drops to when pressing starter button
     
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  11. k-moe

    k-moe Pie, Bacon, Burbon. Moderator Premium Member

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    Please, please, please stop making a new thread for every problem. That makes it really difficult to give you the best help.

    5535606
    All about the same bike, and many without responses about what you did after recieving advice.
    We covered this problem before. Please get back to us about what you do from this point on in this thread.
     
  12. Jetfixer

    Jetfixer Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like your fuel enrichment circuit is possibly gummed up . Short of pulling carbs and float bowls to clean out jet try this . Give your carb a "HOT SHOT" drain all 4 float bowls, prop tank up and pull fuel line off of petcock . Obtain a large meat baster , fill with a 50/50 of acetone and Berrymans B12 carb cleaner squirt this one the fuel line several times , let this sit for about 30 minutes. Drain all 4 float bowls, put fuel line back on petcock , set to PRI set chock to on see if bike starts better , one other item set to full chock make sure cable is fully pulling up plungers on carbs. It is possible this could be a cause of hard starting .
     
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  13. Joshua Olkowski

    Joshua Olkowski Member

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    Thnnk
    Thanks for the advice but I don't want to have to pull the headlight fuse or spray starter fluid every morning or whenever I'm stranded to start the bike but I agree, 47 degrees is not that cold and it's interesting that you mentioned the coils. I haven't replaced the caps but two of them accidentally came off from me pulling them off the plugs too hard and when I looked inside it was brown and rusty so I'm not sure if I should just replace the wires and caps or the whole coil. As far as the carbs the main jet needle was not matched. I didn't know you had to do that. I'm also not familiar with what enrichment wells are or the tubes that go into the wells I simply opened them up and cleaned the crap out of everything and put it back together. Took me two days.
     
  14. Joshua Olkowski

    Joshua Olkowski Member

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    The bike sounds pretty dam good when it starts. Idles nice after when I'm out on a ride. Idle does not continue to climb up. I checked for vacuum leaks a while ago and that hasn't been a problem but I haven't tried starting the bike after 15 minutes in the sun just later in the afternoon and it starts up nice. Could you explain the voltage drop test? Thanks.
     
  15. Joshua Olkowski

    Joshua Olkowski Member

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    Sorry about that. I thought that's how this forum works. New problem new thread. I will stay on here for now on.
     
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  16. Joshua Olkowski

    Joshua Olkowski Member

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    Thanks for the advice.
     
  17. Joshua Olkowski

    Joshua Olkowski Member

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    My other problem on my bike which may be related is the weak charging problem. Here's what happens: when I first start the bike and ride it the bike charges up to 14.7 volts just fine. HOWEVER, after riding for maybe 15 minutes the charging starts to get weaker and weaker to the point where it can't charge past 12.5volts at 3000+rpms. After my ride today I measured the charging voltage and at idle it measures around 12.11volts which is fine but it still won't go past 12.5volts when I rev it to 3000+rpms. Keep in mind, however, that there have been instances the bike has NOT been able to start in the cold weather on a fully charged up battery and other times it has started just fine in the afternoon on a basically weak battery. The more I think about it I'm wondering if the coils are to blame. I looked at them today and cleaned the heck out of the ground connections and what not and nothing has changed. This has been the main problem with this bike since I bought it a year ago. I have changed the brushes, regulator, the slip rings on the alternator coil are smooth I've cleaned all the connections, changed to a blade style fuse box and host of other things. Any input would be great. Thanks.
     
  18. Jetfixer

    Jetfixer Well-Known Member

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    Relax your charging system is working, if you rode for 2 hrs and your bike quit and battery went flat then yes it would be a problem . Look if your charging system put out 14 volts constant you end up boiling your battery. The charging system will shed some of this voltage so battery stays around 12 to 13 volts. Your problem of hard to start when temp is low is carb related it is NOT CHARGING PROBLEM....you are shot gunning a problem that does not exist.
     
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  19. Joshua Olkowski

    Joshua Olkowski Member

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    Could you point me to some literature that explains that? I honestly want to believe you but what's contradictory is that nothing in all the literature I have read says what you're saying. If something literally said, "when you first ride your bike your charging system will be charging at 14.5volts and then after a while will gradually lower down to 12.5volts" then I could relax but all the literature I have read in the manuals and everywhere else simply says that at 3000+rpms you should be reading a charging voltage of 14.5volts, that's it.
    As far as the carbs I'm going to try your HOT SHOT technique but keep in mind I don't have a problem with starting MOST of the time. It just seems when it's on the colder side out that it doesn't want to start. I don't have a garage so my bike is outside all the time. All I can do is cover it.
    I'm also a bit curious about the whole ignition coil assembly, wires, and plug caps. I didn't know there was a resistor in the plug caps and that those can get old and need replaced. I have noticed that when I first ride my bike it has a lot of zip but after about 15 minutes of riding it starts to become sluggish. This was also one of the reasons I was questioning the charging output. It's not night and day but I do notice a difference. So, I"m questioning the resistors in the plug caps as XJ550H suggested. In the past year (and before my carb rebuild) I had situations where I wasn't getting any spark on a fully charged battery. I also read this today in the XJ parts catalog:

    Voltage at coil positive input terminal (the red wire with the white tracer stripe) with the engine running: 12+V This measurement should be taken at the back of the connector shell (stick the volt meter probe in thru the back of the connector) and the battery negative terminal. Compare this reading with the measured battery voltage (voltmeter connected between the battery negative and the battery positive terminals). Any significant difference or lack of voltage indicates corroded or broken connections in-between the fusebox and the ignition coils, and reduced voltage at the coil input will result in reduced coil output (at the spark plugs). Although reduced voltage input (and thus less coil output voltage) may not significantly affect engine performance once the engine is warmed up, it can and will result in "hard start" situations when the engine is cold and/or when the choke system is engaged (since richer fuel mixtures require a much stronger spark to create ignition of the fuel mixture).

    In any case, like I said the bike starts 9 out of 10 times and I only notice hard starting in colder weather. Thanks for your help.
     
  20. XJ550H

    XJ550H Well-Known Member Premium Member

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