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Discussion Starter #1
...and I'm not sure what to look at first.

I rode it to work and back as recently as last Thursday (in fact, Monday through Thursday). That's a 30-minute trip each way through local traffic (about 12 miles). No sign of the problem I had today, though it was not exactly problem free, more on this in a moment.

Today, I started the bike and noticed it seemed to be idling a bit low while warming up. I figured it was just due to the cold weather we've around here had lately (it was down to the upper 30s on Thursday, and highs in the mid- to low 40s through today, dropping to the 30s at night). I revved the engine a bit with the throttle and took off.

With every traffic light or stop sign I pulled up to, though, the engine kept dropping revs when I pulled in the clutch to the point where it was about to stall out. I had to keep revving the engine to prevent it from dying. I suppose I should have headed home at this point (I was only about a mile and a half away) but I still thought it might be just a matter of a cold engine.

Finally while idling at another traffic light another mile away, the bike stalled out. I started the engine again (which took a few tries) and adjusted the engine idle higher to see if that would help. It did, but only for another mile or so (another 2-3 traffic lights). Now the engine doesn't turn over either.

I was rather at a loss as to what to do right there, so I pushed it over to the the side and parked it on a side street and took the bus/train in to work.

Okay, you who are smarter folks than I am about this stuff are surely wondering, "So what'd you do to this bike last week, putz?"

About 3 weeks ago I put in TOC MCCTs on this bike to see if it would quell the ticking noise I heard from the right side of the engine. Unfortunately it didn't, unless it's that I didn't put the MCCTs on quite right. I can't rule that out because last Thursday, my engine suddenly made an all new noise, a really loud clanking. And when I pulled over to look for any obvious reasons why, I found one: I hadn't tightened the lock nuts on the MCCTs with Loc-Tite, they had both vibrated loose and my MCCTs were now loose enough to hand turn! Not having a wrench with me (plus to get at the one on the right side I'd have to remove the coolant reservoir which would also need a 10mm nut driver), I did my best to hand twist the MCCTs down more and the lock nuts too. That worked for a few miles and they rattled loose again.

The worst part was that I was stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on a highway by this time, with long stretches of it (by time) with no shoulder. (I was only going 10 miles on the highway in distance, but it took me an hour.) So I rode a fairly long time with whatever the MCCTs are supposed to be tightening down, not tightened down.

The irony is that I was taking an unfamiliar route (I normally don't take rush hour highways in NYC for just this reason) because I was getting to the first session of a Continuing Ed class I've enrolled in... On motorcycle maintenance, where starting with the 3rd session we'll be learning hands-on how to take apart and maintain various aspects of our own bikes.

Saturday morning, I used the proper tools to tighten both MCCTs down properly (I think), but it was pouring rain so I couldn't take the bike for a test ride. Still, the engine idled normally on the center stand in my garage, and sounded like it was back to normal.

So, not sure if my futzing around with the MCCTs are a contributing factor to my engine problem this morning but the timing certainly doesn't seem coincidental.

Any suggestions on what I should do? I'm at a loss. I can take the bus/train home tonight and drive back to where my bike is with a buddy, but what should I bring with me and then do to try to get my bike running again?
 

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Actually it does sound like a timing problem. With the cam chain tensioners loose it may have caused the time to retard a little and since it won't turn over at all now it may have jumped time altogether. My next suggestion is get it home, don't try to work on it in the parking area. At home you at will ALL your tools available. Also check back frequently or PM lance328 for more info.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have no way of getting it home without riding it back, I have no hitch/trailer... Arrgh. Any kind of field triage I could do here (i.e., bringing tools or equipment with me)?

For that matter if my engine timing is indeed thrown off, what am I going to do about it? :( I could literally bring all my tools, it's not like I have a ton of them, just a set of ratcheting metric nuts and drivers, various sized wrenches and screwdrivers and some vise grip pliers.

If long term, I'll have to bring the bike in to a mechanic to fix because the engine will need some kind of dissassembly (something I am definitely not up to doing), I guess I'll give 'em a call and ask for their truck. :( :(
 

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Simple Solutions
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I have no way of getting it home without riding it back, I have no hitch/trailer... Arrgh. Any kind of field triage I could do here (i.e., bringing tools or equipment with me)?

For that matter if my engine timing is indeed thrown off, what am I going to do about it? :( I could literally bring all my tools, it's not like I have a ton of them, just a set of ratcheting metric nuts and drivers, various sized wrenches and screwdrivers and some vise grip pliers.

If long term, I'll have to bring the bike in to a mechanic to fix because the engine will need some kind of dissassembly (something I am definitely not up to doing), I guess I'll give 'em a call and ask for their truck. :( :(
I think u have 2 separate issues here, bring the tools to get the mcct tight, i don't know your cct's but shouldnt there be a double nut preventing it from backing out???

It would have gotten really noisy if it skipped a tooth...

next i think i would look in the direction of grounds and connections tageting the ignition and safty switches ...
U created a lot of difffrent vibrations and vibrations can make electrical conections fail at certain frequences...
also take a can of seafoam and throw some in the tank ...

and in terms of if u need a mechanic well lets get the bike home where we can all look at it ...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think u have 2 separate issues here, bring the tools to get the mcct tight, i don't know your cct's but shouldnt there be a double nut preventing it from backing out???

It would have gotten really noisy if it skipped a tooth...
There is a lock nut for the MCCTs but they came loose on Thursday, and I rode the bike like that for over an hour. Presumably they got progressively looser and I only noticed it reaching that critical point then. It did get really noisy, but the engine didn't show any signs of wanting to stall or anything. I tightened them back down when I got home and they should be OK now (I think).

next i think i would look in the direction of grounds and connections tageting the ignition and safty switches ...
U created a lot of difffrent vibrations and vibrations can make electrical conections fail at certain frequences...
also take a can of seafoam and throw some in the tank ...
My revs were definitely dropping; after my first stallout I turned the idle to near max, it settled around a stoplight idle of 1K for a mile or so and then stalled out anyway. So it doesn't seem electrical to me (but what do I know? Or rather, all I know is that I really don't know, you know?).

On the other hand, I do have lots of Seafoam, so sure why not :)
 

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If you need to go ahead and make the call for the truck. As for timing, I going by experience on my Honda 360 when it jumped time. Seebeeare very well could be correct as it is possible for it to be electrical. Let's try to avoid the stealership. There are too many experienced people here to start throwing much-needed-funds-for-priorities at the stealerships feet. Hang in there, were with you all the way.
 

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Straight roads are evil
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Check the battery. It started idling low, you had to keep it rev'd to run, then it died and wouldn't crank? Classic signs of a dying battery. If you have no trailer, bumpstart the bike (helps to have someone else push), keep it rev'd at 5k at stoplights, you should be able to ride it home.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Check the battery. It started idling low, you had to keep it rev'd to run, then it died and wouldn't crank? Classic signs of a dying battery. If you have no trailer, bumpstart the bike (helps to have someone else push), keep it rev'd at 5k at stoplights, you should be able to ride it home.
Oh no. Not just dying battery then but possibly the dreaded stator problem?
It's a MF battery I dropped in just last year and have kept on a tender (well, not lately, sinced I"ve been riding it almost every day). It is a 1994 bike and I did do Something Bad. Yikes.

I've never done the bumpstart either. I know in principle that I need to:

- put the bike in gear
- get it moving at a "reasonable speed" (i.e., rolling downhill) with the clutch pulled in
- pop the clutch out fast to engage the engine

And hope I'm moving fast enough so the engine starts instead of me getting a bunch of engine braking that may or may not cause me to dump the bike.

How exciting!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
BTW if it is the battery, can't I jump start the bike by connecting it to a car battery (without the car engine running)? I've done that before, many times, on a scooter I used to ride that had a bad battery before I figured out that was the problem and got a new one.

I even have a portable car battery jump starter and air compressor, so if it's the battery maybe I can remove the seat, hook up the terminals, start the bike, put on the throttle lock to keep it revving on the centerstand while I put the seat back on, and try to ride home? Then put it on the tender all night and see what it looks like tomorrow, while I look in the Verses for details on how to measure my stator.
 

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Good idea. Lets start there first. IMHO I am leary of bump starts. Besides given the cold nature of our bikes, a bump start (especially in NY weather at this time of year) is very difficult, not impossible, just very difficult.
 

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My revs were definitely dropping; after my first stallout I turned the idle to near max, it settled around a stoplight idle of 1K for a mile or so and then stalled out anyway. So it doesn't seem electrical to me (but what do I know? Or rather, all I know is that I really don't know, you know?).

On the other hand, I do have lots of Seafoam, so sure why not :)
gas or electric will cause this to happen if i were to guess u lost one hole (cyl) and at that point A u could have foulded a plug ect ... raising the rpms just allowed the bike to run still missin and acting up on the other will have drastic effects to the running of the bike... i leaned for electrical cause it sounds like u were just in the carbs ... if u can get in there with some carb clean just to be sure...

any short or hiccup in any of the safty switches ignition, kickstand, on off, clutch can cause a hesitstion in the spark thus leading to a miss and a rough spot in idle ... put a lttle graphite on the key and work the ig switch next step would be to take it apart and check the contacts ..

not eliminating the idea of fuel but putinng it behind us at the moment (seafoam is workin its magic)

next double check all grounds and lets check for spark at each plug also note color for these plugs as well
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Oh crap, I just remembered another factor that could be contributing to my bike's problem if it is indeed a dead battery: on top of the cold, wet weather we've been having lately, or obviously because of it, I've also got a set of heated hand grips I've been running in the ON position for the past week.

So, memo to self: when I jump start my bike, turn off the hand grip heaters...
 

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Ok. Then let's go with what Seebeeare is suggesting. With the extra draw on the electrical system, loose MCCT's, and 1k idle with the idle adjust wide open you may not have been getting enough juice from the stator to maintain the battery. You need at least 2500 rpm for the battery. I am still going to be concerned about the timing due to the loose MCCT's, however lets put that on a back burner due to the fact you did not say if the bike started coughing, sputtering, and backfiring.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I am still going to be concerned about the timing due to the loose MCCT's, however lets put that on a back burner due to the fact you did not say if the bike started coughing, sputtering, and backfiring.
No, no backfiring or sputtering while riding at speed, though it does look like my fuel mileage totally sucks. I've used up over half my tank, close to 3/4 of it, to go just 45 miles or so. Usually I get no worse than 90 miles between fill-ups (2.5 gallons), though I suppose that full hour in stop and go traffic didn't help my mileage any more than it did in terms of draining battery juice for the heated grips (I certainly wasn't at 2,500 RPMs for much of that).
 

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Oh crap, I just remembered another factor that could be contributing to my bike's problem if it is indeed a dead battery: on top of the cold, wet weather we've been having lately, or obviously because of it, I've also got a set of heated hand grips I've been running in the ON position for the past week.

So, memo to self: when I jump start my bike, turn off the hand grip heaters...
after connections tesed and a charged batt lets do a charging sytem test and batt load test in adiquit voltage to coils will cause issues... test volts with grips on and off and test voltage an off idle and 4k... our ignition sytem takes more juice then our starter...
 

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My fuel mileage drops during thewinter due to letting the bike warm up when it gets cold. I also noticed during the winter months the bike does't get as hot when riding, barely gets past the second hash mark on temp guage. Are you filling up as soon as you turn on the reserve, a little after, or are you running your tank as low as possible before a fill-up?
 

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did you get it home yet. if not and you try bump start it get it into second gear, might have to get her rolling a good bit to do this. remember to choke it and turn off all electrical parts and get her moving a good bit when you dump the clutch. might take a couple tries to. at least its cool out, I tried to do mine on a 95 degree day, not fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yeah I just got it home. It started up without a jump start after I turned off the hand heaters. It did stall out once, when after 2 miles or so I experimented at a stop sign to see if I could lower the revs normally to idle -- nope, kaput. I was lucky that the battery otherwise had just enough juice to turn the engine over again on the 2nd or 3rd try.

I noticed something else I screwed up on my bike. When I got home the engine was way, way hot -- almost to the red. And a nice little dripping trail of coolant fluid was visible on my driveway as I parked it: my coolant hose was trailing loose. Not the end that's on the coolant reservoir, but the other end. Drat.

I looked in the Clymer book when I went inside my house and it doesn't indicate where the other end of the hose is supposed to go. As if it were supposed to dangle loose? But that can't be right?
 

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You can take the jumper cables. Let the car alternator charge up the bat for a short time 10 or 15 minutes. Also take the tools to tighten down the mccts. And try to start the bike. Ride it home if it sounds okay. Check charging system and check the chain tensioners.
 

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Love My Baby
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I noticed something else I screwed up on my bike. When I got home the engine was way, way hot -- almost to the red. And a nice little dripping trail of coolant fluid was visible on my driveway as I parked it: my coolant hose was trailing loose. Not the end that's on the coolant reservoir, but the other end. Drat.

I looked in the Clymer book when I went inside my house and it doesn't indicate where the other end of the hose is supposed to go. As if it were supposed to dangle loose? But that can't be right?
Yes my friend, there is a coolant overflow hose comming off the top of the reservoir and it dangles open ended toward the bottom of the bike on the right side. You should also have a gas tank vent tube that dangles open ended toward the bottom of the bike on the left side, and if you have a wet-cell battery (the type you're supposed to check monthly and fill with distilled water) then you should also have a battery vent tube somewhere between the other two hoses.
 
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