Newbie Fuel Intake Question (Help!!) (long) - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie Fuel Intake Question (Help!!) (long)

Hey guys, been browsing for a while and just joined.

I just purchased a 1988 VN750 as my first bike.

I saw the guy I bought it from ride it, it looked to be perfectly fine. I also got it inspected, and it passed easily. I got it home and parked it (with the handlebar lock).

Unbeknownst to me, a light on the back of the bike came on while it was in park and it was left on for 3-4 hours.

I came back to the bike and noticed it, tried starting it, and it started up fine. I was in the garage so I quickly shut it off. A few minutes later I tried again and it wouldn't start. The engine seemed to be turning over a little (RPM's would go up a tad), but it would never catch...in choke or not.


I checked the fuel intake (I think this is called the petcock?) and it was on reserve. There is still a little bit of gas in the tank that I can hear, but I will try refilling.


Here's the weird part:

I called the guy I bought it from, and he said to make sure not to turn the fuel intake into the 'on' position. He said that "it looks like it's on reserve, but it's not...that's just where you have to keep it", which sounded like complete horsecrap. I'm very ignorant when it comes to the mechanical stuff so I couldn't argue with him.

He claimed that if I kept it on the 'on' position, that the fuel would flood the carbs, and it may leak, causing a pretty nasty explosion if one of my spark plugs wasn't covered when I started it.


Is there any truth to this? Why would I have the reserve on instead of the on position? When should it be 'off'? Ever?


I should mention that the bike is NOT leaking



I'm wondering if it's:

a) Just a battery problem
b) Just out of gas
c) Flooded engine


I'm just nervous as to what I should do, especially about the fuel intake. Right now it's pointed to the left, on reserve (where he said I should keep it).


???

Last edited by thebeginning; 05-11-2011 at 11:31 PM.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 12:47 AM
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First off, if there is a problem with the petcock I would get a replacement or at least a rebuild kit. It'll just cause you headaches if it's not working right.

Some years the settings were:
PRI - Fuel flows with the engine on or off. Used for starting or priming the carbs.
ON - Fuel flows with the Engine on. Flow is activated by engine vacuum. (I think this is the setting to use when the bike is parked.)
RES - Fuel is drawn from the lowest part of the tank.

On my '03 the settings are:
OFF
ON
RES

The knob on my petcock has an arrow to show where it's set.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 10:11 AM
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Since it started and ran, look at the obvious first. Put 1 gallon of gas in it and see if it starts. This will rule out the position of the petcock.

If it has sat a couple of days since you tried starting, it will not be flooding now.

Even though there is some gas in the tank, the reserve pickup still may be sucking air. You can not run the tank completely out of gas, but you can run it to the point where the reserve pickup is in air.

See if that helps.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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Hey all, I put about 1.5 gallons of gas in the tank last night, and charged the battery (~10 hours on a 2amp battery charger).

Started up this morning just fine, and I took it for a 20 minute ride around the neighborhood

AGAIN, more weirdness:

I shut it off in my driveway for a few minutes, then climbed back on to turn it on. It wouldn't start. I tried in both choke and normal, but no dice. Clutch was down, kickstand was up, couldn't think of any other reason.

The exhaust (I'm assuming) made an extremely loud popping sound one of the times I was trying to start (I probably tried 10-15 times). Not sure if that's a big deal.



Another potential issue

When I got off the bike in my driveway, I noticed some steam or smoke coming from near the seat (perhaps just below it). It was just a small puff then I couldn't find the source.



Might the oil just need changing?

All this has got me a little worried and pretty frustrated...such is buying used bikes, I guess.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 01:09 PM
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The battery is under the seat. Could you have a bad connection? Make sure all the electrical connections are clean and tight. A warm engine shouldn't need any choke.

Run switch on, bike in neutral? Side stand switch can get stuck and keep the bike from cranking if it's not in neutral. Pull on the pin coming out of the switch and see if that helps.

I'm keepin' all the left over parts. I'm gonna use 'em to build another bike!
_____________________________________________
"Black Beauty"
1989 VN750 acquired December, 2008, 6,711 miles
Currently 23,298 miles

Old Blue
2001 Honda CMX250 Rebel acquired July, 2008

1987 VN750 project bike, acquired August, 2009, 33,000 miles and balancer sticking out of the case, currently awaiting attention and parts
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flitecontrol View Post
The battery is under the seat. Could you have a bad connection? Make sure all the electrical connections are clean and tight. A warm engine shouldn't need any choke.

Run switch on, bike in neutral? Side stand switch can get stuck and keep the bike from cranking if it's not in neutral. Pull on the pin coming out of the switch and see if that helps.
Yeah I had to remove the seat to charge the battery last night. I put the connections on nice and tight (and they're pretty clean), so I doubt it's that.

The run switch is on, petcock is on reserve (the guy I bought it from told me it had to be, but that's another topic)...I started the bike in 1st gear (clutch down), that's just how I've been taught. It started fine before like that.

Side stand switch was not engaged.


UPDATE

I went out after waiting 10 minutes and it started up again after a few tries. I rode it around for 5-10 minutes then parked it again, shut it off, then tried to start. No luck.


Is there a chance my oil needs changing and it's gumming up?


A friend told me I should start putting a little seafoam in the tank and just ride it some more to get it flowing again (it's only been lightly ridden for the past few months). Good idea?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 01:47 PM
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Sounds like you have a tired wet cell battery. Replace it ASAP with an AGM, this will likely solve the hard to start when hot thing.

Sounds like the PO might have messed with the petcock, the only reason it would leak gas is because the needle valve in the carb is stuck open.

I would definitely change the oil and filter.

Perhaps someone else can talk you through checking out the petcock to see if it is working the way it should for your bike.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knifemaker View Post
Sounds like you have a tired wet cell battery. Replace it ASAP with an AGM, this will likely solve the hard to start when hot thing.

Sounds like the PO might have messed with the petcock, the only reason it would leak gas is because the needle valve in the carb is stuck open.

I would definitely change the oil and filter.

Perhaps someone else can talk you through checking out the petcock to see if it is working the way it should for your bike.

KM
Yeah I'm thinking I may just have to take it into a place...I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to mechanics (trying to get better), so I really don't trust myself to do anything too internal.

I'll take it to get an oil and filter change...any idea of the cost of that?


As far as the battery replacement - the PO said it was a new battery. Maybe it's just a really crappy one? I'm willing to buy a new battery if I have to, I just hate to do it if it's not the problem.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 02:51 PM
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No offense here, but changing the oil and filter is the ONE thing you should do yourself..... especially on a used bike you just bought. It is not hard, and there are things you need to look for a shop might not.

Wet cell batteries need attention. On this bike they are a pain to get to. Even a relatively "new" one , if you believe the PO, can not provide the cranking power to start a hot motor. AGM batteries are "maintenance free".... And work better, do not leak acid onto your bikes junction box, and hold a charge longer.

I can not even tell you how much a shop would charge for an oil change, as I , and likely everyone else here does it themselves.

A drain pan, a filter wrench, a gallon jug of Rotella and a Walmart filter will cost you around 25 bucks. The pan and the wrench of course can be used again.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 06:06 PM
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Change the oil yourself. If you con't have a service manual, there is a downloadable on here on the forum. You can get an oil filter from Wal Mart.

I'm keepin' all the left over parts. I'm gonna use 'em to build another bike!
_____________________________________________
"Black Beauty"
1989 VN750 acquired December, 2008, 6,711 miles
Currently 23,298 miles

Old Blue
2001 Honda CMX250 Rebel acquired July, 2008

1987 VN750 project bike, acquired August, 2009, 33,000 miles and balancer sticking out of the case, currently awaiting attention and parts
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