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Discussion Starter #1
First I'd like to put a disclaimer out there letting you know I don't know much at all about motorcycle except how to ride one and change the oil. I just got my vulcan last week and it's been running great but then it got SUPER cold all of a sudden, I'm talking in the 20's. I tried to start it, it definitely is trying to start but I don't hear the engine "turn"(not sure if that's the proper word). I had the choke fully engaged and was not applying any throttle since I've read that's bad. Some guy saw me having troubles and happened to have some starter fluid so after probably 5 more attempts while he was spraying the stuff into my carb it finally started. That was a few nights ago. Since then I haven't even had time to try and ride it but tonight I just went to see if I could start it at all; same thing, it's trying to start but won't turn. I'm waiting about 10 seconds between tries and holding the switch for only a few seconds since I've already had that crazy loud boom happen to me before.

I'm guessing it's not my battery since it's trying to start my bike and it was replaced right before I got the bike. I've been reading around and will definitely be getting some iridium spark plugs and also I'll start using seafoam. Any suggestions as to why I'm having this issue are very welcome.

Also, I can't plug it in every night to a tender since I live in barracks and have no choice but to park it out in the lot every time.

Thanks fellow vulcan people!
 

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Not sure how much charging the battery is getting. How long and how often are your rides?

Cold weather saps a battery faster than when it's warm. Mine is also harder to start in cold weather. Seems every winter I have to re-learn the optimum amount of choke it needs. Once it warms up, does it idle around 1,100 rpm as it should? There is a small black knob on the left side below the tank that adjusts idle.
 

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Ok. Here is a couple of questions:

1) I take it there is fuel in the tank?
2) Check that the petcock is in the correct position?(try reserve)

It sounds like maybe old gas/old plugs/wires. Please keep us posted on what you find, and welcome to the group.:beerchug:
 

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Old Twistie Sticks Rider
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First, welcome, and thank you for your service... What they said and, I sure wish you had a way to use a tender or something to keep the battery topped off, cold weather requires about a full charge to start... One small thing I did was to put a toggle switch on my headlight so that it would not come on as I attempted to start it, and I could turn it off when not needed, remembering it should be on anytime you are on the road...
Good luck, and again thank you for your service, have a good one...Old Dog...

PS-PM sent...
 

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Our bikes are cold natured. Even mine requires a tries when the temps drop. I'm curious to know what type battery you have. Is it wet cell or AGM maintenance free? After I got my I found out real quick the wet cell batteries just have enough CCA to start in cold weather.
 

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So here is my hassle free approach that I learned about somewhere on the interwebz-

If it was running fine at a proper idle speed of around 1200 rpms when it was warm, I found that when it was cold my bike would just crank and crank without catching at full choke. I had a spark, could smell gas, and the battery was fine.

The trick for me was try starting it with no choke. As soon as you hear the engine catch just once- keep the starter button pressed and move the choke down to full. Starts right up every time. If you don't feel like holding the clutch and moving the choke at the same time with your left hand- just make sure it's in neutral and don't even bother holding the clutch.

Hopefully this will work for you.
 

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Hey Papa Smurf, That works for me too! Sometimes when it's real cold, it takes a lot of warm up time before she sounds normal again.
 

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Drive less, ride more...
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Not sure how much you know about motorcycle batteries--but what kind of battery is in your bike?

If it has screw caps on top that allow water adds, then you really should swap that for an AGM (sealed) battery. Do a search here for other threads on the subject. The following is a good example of battery info for our bike:

http://www.vn750.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14628&highlight=big+crank

Assuming your battery is an AGM (sealed) battery, you might wait until this weekend to try and start your bike (when the weather is warmer, like on saturday afternoon), and then take it for a good ride (say at least 30 minutes) to recharge the battery.

Past that...we don't have enough info thus far on your bike to diagnose your problem.

Try the above described procedure for starting your bike (but when it's warmer--on Sat afternoon) and let us know how it goes.

If your bike's battery needs a "jump" from another source--you can do so from a car or truck--but DO NOT have the car/truck running during the jump (just use the battery cables, instead--connect the bike negative cable to a good clean metal ground, and not to the battery)....!!!

I gather that your bike is parked outside most/all the time--if so, do you keep it covered, with one like (or similar to) the following (you really should--this bike can really rust badly if left exposed)?....:

http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com/1/4/63/7325/ITEM/Dowco-Guardian-Weatherall-Plus-Cover.aspx
 

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Linkmeister Supreme
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First I'd like to put a disclaimer out there letting you know I don't know much at all about motorcycle except how to ride one and change the oil. I just got my vulcan last week and it's been running great but then it got SUPER cold all of a sudden, I'm talking in the 20's. I tried to start it, it definitely is trying to start but I don't hear the engine "turn"(not sure if that's the proper word). I had the choke fully engaged and was not applying any throttle since I've read that's bad. Some guy saw me having troubles and happened to have some starter fluid so after probably 5 more attempts while he was spraying the stuff into my carb it finally started. That was a few nights ago. Since then I haven't even had time to try and ride it but tonight I just went to see if I could start it at all; same thing, it's trying to start but won't turn. I'm waiting about 10 seconds between tries and holding the switch for only a few seconds since I've already had that crazy loud boom happen to me before.I'm guessing it's not my battery since it's trying to start my bike and it was replaced right before I got the bike. I've been reading around and will definitely be getting some iridium spark plugs and also I'll start using seafoam. Any suggestions as to why I'm having this issue are very welcome.

Also, I can't plug it in every night to a tender since I live in barracks and have no choice but to park it out in the lot every time.

Thanks fellow vulcan people!
I`m guessing from your description of the "engine trying to start", and the "crazy loud boom" (backfire through the carb probably), that the engine is actually turning over, but the spark is not hot enough most of the time to ignite the fuel and for the engine to "catch" and run.

Your battery should be at least 12.5 volts between the terminals with the ignition switch off. Your charging system is working ok if the voltage rises to ~14.5 volts between 4-5K rpm engine speed.

If you still have a wet cell battery with caps on top to add distilled water, changing out to a Maintenance Free-AGM (also sometimes refered to as VRLA, - Valve Regulated Lead Acid), along with NGK Iridium DPR7EIX-9 plugs may solve the cold weather starts while following the above mentioned choke hints. Some have reported that Advance Auto has the plugs listed as P/N 7803, sometimes on sale for a savings of a couple of $ each.

This is the battery lance 328 recommends:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Deka-ETX15L-Powersports-AGM-Battery-100-NEW-/270282472155?cmd=ViewItem&pt=Other_Vehicle_Parts&hash=item3eee173adb

Similar MF-AGM batteries can usually be found locally. Make sure to double check physical dimensions of the battery case, as the first one I tried from NAPA was 1/2" too long even though it cross referenced to mine.
 

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Sparky!!!
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ok... one more piece of advice from an ex-barracks rat... take your battery out of the bike and plug it into a charger in your room... hide it in your wall locker if you must... even taking it out of your bike and leaving it in your room until you ride can make start ups easier since the battery didn't get cold... also an AGM battery works a lot better in the sub-freezing temps than a conventional lead-acid battery.

Get the AGM Battery... if you continue to have cold start problems try keeping the battery in your room until you ride... and see if that helps. Also fallow Smurf's post on cold weather starting... it works. 9 degrees out today and started up with half choke fallowing Smurf's start up procedures (although I started it with out reading his first... I was just taught to start any choke operated engine this way since I was a little kid.)
 

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Daily rider
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Some guy saw me having troubles and happened to have some starter fluid so after probably 5 more attempts while he was spraying the stuff into my carb it finally started.
Ouch! Starter fluid = not good. An absolute, nothing else in the universe works, thing to use for starting a motor - especially a bike. A small shot in a diesel tractor on very cold days does the trick, though. The trucks I used to drive had ether cans mounted with a button in the cab to squirt 'em. But, it was a measured shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the quick and very thorough responses. I finally took the seat off and checked out my battery, it is indeed the wet kind so my #1 goal right now will be to get a sealed maintenance free one soon!

To papa smurf: I tried that method but I think perhaps the other night when I tried starting it I wore the battery down a bit too much? The most success I had today was with manually holding the choke open but when it turned on I was too excited and let go of the choke so then it died and wouldn’t start up again. Tonight I took the battery out and will trickle it to try again this weekend (thanks slimvulcanrider for the suggestion). Unfortunately not tomorrow despite it’s perfect weather because I have a glorious 24 hour shift to pull. Also, I have that exact cover that you linked to (theauhawk), great minds think alike it seems.
 

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Ouch! Starter fluid = not good. An absolute, nothing else in the universe works, thing to use for starting a motor - especially a bike. A small shot in a diesel tractor on very cold days does the trick, though. The trucks I used to drive had ether cans mounted with a button in the cab to squirt 'em. But, it was a measured shot.
I think people just tend to use too much. However, starting fluid is very, very helpful in diagnosing problems. If you have an engine that is cranking but not catching a 1/2 second spray of starting fluid will take the place of the entire fuel system. If it catches momentarily with the starting fluid you can rule out compression and ignition. Its a very quick way of eliminating a lot of other possible issues.

-Robert
 
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