Clogged Jet and Petcock Issue? - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-12-2013, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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Question Clogged Jet and Petcock Issue?

Today my wife and I and some friends took a little trip down to Daytona. We went I-95 on the way down (SUCKS with no windshield!!!) and then came back US1. We were basically running between 65-75 the whole trip. We filled up before we left and as we were coming back I noticed I was getting really low on fuel and was thinking I need to stop at the next station. But I only had gone 115 miles on the tank so I figured I had a little more since I usually go around 130 before filling up and have never had to go to reserve.

WRONG! She started coughing and sputtering so I pulled over to a side road. I figured I would just switch to reserve and go to the next station that was less than a mile away. Wrong again. I switched to reserve and no crank. Tried and tried but no luck. I switched to off thinking something was just wrong with the petcock, no luck. So my buddy went on up to the gas station and bought a small can and some gas and brought it back to me. I dumped it in the tank, put the petcock on run and was good to go.

Now, I have two issues. I can't crank the bike up at all without giving it some throttle. And after a bit the idle drops and it stalls. My thought is that I probably got some crap from the tank in the carbs and it's clogging something, right?

The other issue is with the petcock. Why did reserve not work? When I got home I moved it to reserve and it cranked up fine, with me giving it some throttle. But any thoughts on why it will work off of reserve but not when it seems like it should? Could there be something wrong in the petcock so that reserve is acting like normal run and vice versa?

I really don't want to pull the carbs off but I have been contemplating doing an ear shave. If I have to pull the carbs to clean them I might as well re-jet them and pull off all the emissions crap while I'm in there I guess.

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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-12-2013, 10:11 PM
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Couple things come to mind: 1.) POOGS and 2.) Hot start problem. A rider should be able to switch to reserve w/o needing to stop the bike unless circumstances demand it. I can't recall ever stopping to switch to reserve before continuing on. I hope others will chime in soon.

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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-12-2013, 11:21 PM
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I too like Blaz thought maybe POOGS, but doubt that to the fact you went appx 115 miles (you mentioned about 130 usually before switching). From what I'v read poogs usually happens at around 1/2 tank. I had on a couple ocassions almost the same thing happen to my me on my 04. I always set my trip odo to 0 when I fuel up as I learned that at about 120 miles I am going to get that little surprise of a cough,sputter or whatever that says switch to res NOW! I found that after the motor did shut down that it would not fire right back up, after switching to res. I would crank it over for about say 5 secs then wait about a minute and crank it again for about 5 secs and wait again and usually about the 3rd or 4th try it would fire off. Think it takes a few minutes to replace the dry bowls and fuel lines that are dry and get the air out also.

You might try flushing the drain bowls (easy to do and get to) if you think you may have picked up some small trash in there. Wolfie swears he blows his out backwards often and that works as well. And there is always seafoam!

I do not think you have a PC problem. If the bike runs in the res position it should be getting fuel thru the lower inlet tube which is what the res is.

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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-12-2013, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by romeobravo172 View Post
I too like Blaz thought maybe POOGS, but doubt that to the fact you went appx 115 miles (you mentioned about 130 usually before switching). From what I'v read poogs usually happens at around 1/2 tank. I had on a couple ocassions almost the same thing happen to my me on my 04. I always set my trip odo to 0 when I fuel up as I learned that at about 120 miles I am going to get that little surprise of a cough,sputter or whatever that says switch to res NOW! I found that after the motor did shut down that it would not fire right back up, after switching to res. I would crank it over for about say 5 secs then wait about a minute and crank it again for about 5 secs and wait again and usually about the 3rd or 4th try it would fire off. Think it takes a few minutes to replace the dry bowls and fuel lines that are dry and get the air out also.

You might try flushing the drain bowls (easy to do and get to) if you think you may have picked up some small trash in there. Wolfie swears he blows his out backwards often and that works as well. And there is always seafoam!

I do not think you have a PC problem. If the bike runs in the res position it should be getting fuel thru the lower inlet tube which is what the res is.
Basically, when the tank runs dry and you let the motor die before switching to reserve, all the lines and the carbs are dry. So, the rider ends up having to prime the carbs off the reserve side to get the bike started again. I suggest practice locating the petcock while you ride to help avoid this scenario. If the rider can switch to reserve before the motor dies, it should pick back up and keep running.

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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-13-2013, 12:04 AM
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if you do have to get into the carbs i would shave the ears.most vulcan's love them

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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-13-2013, 12:41 AM
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I agree.... I have gone dry twice... both times it took a bit to get it to start after switching to reserve. Plus... maybe there is a rust particle in the reserve portion on the petcock.... my original petcock had not filter for the reserve...

As far as the idle dropping and it dying.... try the blow back and Seafoam trick.

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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-13-2013, 01:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deviate View Post
Today my wife and I and some friends took a little trip down to Daytona. We went I-95 on the way down (SUCKS with no windshield!!!) and then came back US1. We were basically running between 65-75 the whole trip. We filled up before we left and as we were coming back I noticed I was getting really low on fuel and was thinking I need to stop at the next station. But I only had gone 115 miles on the tank so I figured I had a little more since I usually go around 130 before filling up and have never had to go to reserve.

WRONG! She started coughing and sputtering so I pulled over to a side road. I figured I would just switch to reserve and go to the next station that was less than a mile away. Wrong again. I switched to reserve and no crank. Tried and tried but no luck. I switched to off thinking something was just wrong with the petcock, no luck. So my buddy went on up to the gas station and bought a small can and some gas and brought it back to me. I dumped it in the tank, put the petcock on run and was good to go.

Now, I have two issues. I can't crank the bike up at all without giving it some throttle. And after a bit the idle drops and it stalls. My thought is that I probably got some crap from the tank in the carbs and it's clogging something, right?

The other issue is with the petcock. Why did reserve not work? When I got home I moved it to reserve and it cranked up fine, with me giving it some throttle. But any thoughts on why it will work off of reserve but not when it seems like it should? Could there be something wrong in the petcock so that reserve is acting like normal run and vice versa?

I really don't want to pull the carbs off but I have been contemplating doing an ear shave. If I have to pull the carbs to clean them I might as well re-jet them and pull off all the emissions crap while I'm in there I guess.
Glad you got the bike running again and got home ok with the wife.

Several times you use the term that the engine would, or would not, "crank" or "crank up".
To me that means the starter motor would not crank the engine over. In your situation that seems illogical.
Just running out of gas should not affect the electrical system of the starter motor.

I think what you are actually trying to say is that even though the starter cranked the engine over, it would not start and run.
Is that correct?

I had a similar experince with running out of gas and the petcock "RES"(erve) function not working.

As a rule I refuel before I have switch to reserve, but mistakenly thought I could make one more commute to work and fuel up on the way home one day last summer.

I have run on the reserve position purposely several times when the tank's fuel level was between 1/4 and Full, just to be sure it was functional and there was not any water or debris sitting down there waiting to plug the reserve pickup tube when I needed it.

On the day previously mentioned I believe the gas gauge was probably closer to 1/8 rather than 1/4 full when I fired the bike up after work, about 4 or 5 pm. It is about 6-7 miles to the card lock station where I usually fuel up. It was warm enough ride in a T-shirt and jeans, but not really hot, perhaps 70-75*F.

I had ridden about 2 miles when the engine began to lose power. It took a few seconds of the engine stumbling before I really believed I needed to switch to reserve and rotated the fuel valve/petcock lever ahead. The engine continued to stumble as I coaxed it on down a slight grade wondering how long it was going to take for the reserve gas to get to the carbs. The Vulcan had stumbled and coasted about another mile before I had to pull over and park on the side of the road.

Here is a question for the carb gurus out there. Should there be enough vacuum developed in the engine, to keep the petcock operational, when the bike is stumbling along at 15-20 mph in 5th gear and the clutch still engaged so the rear tire is keeping the engine turning over?

Seems like it should be enough vacuum to me, but the reserve function did not work on that day.


I then opened the tank and rocked the bike side to side to determine how much gas was still in there. It seemed there was enough that the bike should start, but would not on either RUN or RESERVE. I QUIT CRANKING BEFORE RUNNING THE BATTERY DOWN, as that would have just caused another problem. After an hour or so, I finally got a gallon of gas to pour in to the tank and the engine fired right up and would run in either RUN or RES position.

I still do not know why RES would not pick up fuel when the fuel level got down to where I really needed it to work.

First thing I need to do is some re-testing by switching the fuel from RUN to OFF on a deserted road at 30 mph with plenty of gas in the tank and riding for a mile, more or less, until it starts to stumble. Then switch to RES to find out how long it takes for my engine to regain power. 3 or 4 similar repetitions should be enough to discover at least if it consistent.

Then if needed I will empty the tank and take it off so I can remove the petcock and examine it for any damage, dirt or corrosion I guess. (Also noticed earlier a little bit of paint chipped off the bottom of the tank right next to the petcock. Will be a good opportunity to fix that little problem too )

If I leave the house now with less than a 1/4 tank of gas, I throw a 1 gallon plastic jug of gas in my saddlebag. It fits perfectly. I don't trust the "Bad Girl" not to strand me again until I figure out why she did the first time.

EDIT: OK. Four more guys have posted since I began this long winded piece. It seems from their experience that I may have just given up cranking the starter too soon when the petcock was set on RES(erve).

One winter I ran the carbs dry after pouring Seafoam in the gas. IIRC, in the spring I cranked the engine over for 30 seconds (timed) with a new MF-AGM battery, then let the starter cool for a minute or so before cranking the starter again. I think the engine started within 5 or 10 seconds during that second try.

In the event I do run the battery down, I do carry a set of light weight homemade jumper cables at all times.
Made from 10 feet of 16 GA lamp cord and a pair of battery charger clamps.
Weighs less than a pound, and rolls up small enough to carry in my pocket, but usually rides in the saddlebag.
Got the idea from Gadjet's fix it pages here:
http://www.gadgetjq.com/cheapcable.htm

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Last edited by OlHossCanada; 01-13-2013 at 01:50 AM.
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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-13-2013, 08:17 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys!

If I had been riding by myself I would have probably tried to reach up and switch to RES while riding, but with my wife on the back and it being dark I figured I'd just pull off to the side. I'll know better next time.

OlHoss, you are correct. When I was saying crank I meant the starter would crank but the engine wouldn't fire up. Maybe I didn't try it long enough. Being in the dark on a side road I didn't want to chance running down the battery and having bigger problems. I may play with that some more too like you were saying with switching to off and letting it run dry and then trying it with RES to see how long it takes.

I do run SeaFoam in my gas every 3 or 4 tankfuls to keep things clean. I'll give the flushing the bowls and "blowback" a try...maybe after church today.

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Leave it to me to NOT be fond of something then end up banging it.
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post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-13-2013, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, well I can only drain the bowl on the left side. The drain screw on the right side appears to be stripped...that's not good. *sigh* Anyway, i drained the left side and blew back up through there. Fired her up and rode a little and everything seemed fine.

I turned the petcock to off and rode until she sputtered and switched to RES. After a moment's hesitation she picked right back up and away I went. So that makes me feel better about the petcock working correctly. I swtiched back to RUN and cruised back home.

I sat in the road in front of my house for a bit in neutral just to see what would happen and there were no problems. Turned around in the culdesac and got ready to pull into the driveway and just sat there a second. Slowly the idle drops..like you can hear it slowing down...and then it just stalls. After that, trying to crank back up I have to give it some throttle to get it fire up again and hold the throttle to get it to run. I can let out the clutch and take off no problem and it runs fine. But it doesn't give me a very warm, fuzzy feeling about stopping and expecting the bike to just idle normally.

Quote:
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Leave it to me to NOT be fond of something then end up banging it.
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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 09:36 AM Thread Starter
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Ok...new info fresh in this morning. I cranked the bike up for the trip into work and it cranked and idled fine. Rode in the 25+ miles with no issues and the bike felt like it was pulling as hard as ever. I get to work and start making my way toward the parking garage and I have to go over 6 speed bumps: 4 are really speed mounds and 2 are more jarring bumps. Well I go over the first bump, no problems and then over the first two mounds, still no problems. Then I hit the second of the bumps and things start sounding funny...

The engine kind of bogged and when I pulled in the clutch to coast a little it stalled. I cranked right back up giving it some throttle and made it the rest of the way to the garage and got parked, but the bike ran like crap the whole way. Now, when I turned it off and got off, I could smell gas. Smells like it is coming from the right exhaust.

Does that sound like a stuck float? Could that explain the stalling and the idle slowing down until it just dies? Basically because it is just flooding itself out? Still makes me think it could be some crap that got to the carb because of the running out of gas and switching to RES. But it is just keeping the float from closing like it should. I sure wish I could get that right drain screw to open up so I could drain that bowl and blow up in there to see if it fixes it.

Quote:
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