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Say Something I'm Giving up on You

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Say Something I'm Giving up on You

PostAuthor: Crystal » Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:51 pm

First post, been lurking for a while and I've only gotten this far thanks to you all.

Learned to ride (and I use the term loosely) 2 years ago, bought this 1984 virago xv1000 california gold for $800 so wasn't expecting much. It ran and shifted OK but kept dying at stoplights, and would crank all day but refused to start again. As a new rider I was terrified enough without THAT drama so I set about checking the carbs.

Then I learned what a pain in the %$# it is to pull those accursed things. I am lucky to have a blacksmith father in law who bent a 10mm wrench for me at almost 90 degrees--whoever designed those inner intake boot bolts is a heluva sadist. And if you'd told me then I'd be doing it 3 more times, each time with a new problem, I'd have set the thing on fire and laughed like Tom Waits watching the orange and red.

Anyway the first time I disassembled the carbs (I have never unlinked them), I cleaned them well, taking care not to get carb cleaner on the diaphragms or needle tip. They were pretty clean already but I noticed the pilot screws were set WAY loose, as in almost all the way out. I reset them to 2.5 turns per these forums, put them back on the bike with a new battery and all was well at idle. But as soon as I applied the throttle, it would consistently die.

So I yanked them again and redid the cleaning, checking the floats in hot water, making sure they move right, checked the choke operation, checked the diaphragms were springing like they should, had a friend watch me do the rebuild in case I'd messed it up, swore for 6 hours while I put them back on the bike, and started it up. It idled great, no more dying!

And then fuel began pouring out of the carburetor vent tube on the right side, blowing a hole in my (admittedly premature) celebration.

Deciding I was clearly useless at this, I trailered the bike to the honda dealer, who told me he wanted $1400 in parts to start and he wasn't sure that would fix it. I said to give me all my bike pieces in a box and I came to pick it up. I did pay him $250 for his time and to soak the carbs in the ultrasonic bath and rebuild them.

I traced the vacuum lines and discovered the little emissions pod on the bike's left side had not been bypassed correctly; one of the vacuum lines was not capped (maybe it came back from the shop that way). I fixed that per the non-factory-approved instructions and I'm pretty confident I did that right.

Per the mechanic's recommendation, I put in a new OEM air filter, new air hoses (the "L" shaped ones that attach to the frame), new intake boots and O rings (I nearly crapped myself when I almost lost that o-ring down into the engine), re-attached the carbs over 3 or 4 weekends and voila! I can apply throttle and it doesn't die! I sent a triumph video to my husband and shut it down for the night.

Next day I get my gear on and go out for a road test, and fuel pours out that %$^#ing front vent tube again. I read around here that with a little gentle persuasion with a hammer you can un-stick a float, and I thought, surely, with my luck on this bike, that's not gonna work. But it did. No more fuel coming down the vent tube.

Not trusting in success anymore, I watched it run on the center stand for about 10 min, it smelled bad of fuel but I thought maybe it was just from the spills earlier. No more leaks. I pulled it out of the garage, aired up the back tire, and then I see fuel dripping from the front cylinder exhaust pipe. I think the wallpaper peeled with my screaming.

Instantly I shut off the bike, drained the oil (which of course stinks of fuel) and pulled the front spark plug which is dry fouled. I suspect the front cylinder wasn't firing but I am an architect and WAY out of my element here. I don't think it's the fuel pump giving too much pressure or something, or BOTH carburetors would be leaking out the vent tubes,right? Not just the front one? I also don't think I have a stuck float or else it would be leaking from the vent tube, not the exhaust, right?

So, after I change the oil and filter and install new plugs, how do I avoid re-fouling them with this same fuel problem? Could the fouling have come from running it with the stuck float? What else could cause fuel to spray right through the engine unburned?

I've owned a bike for 2 years almost, but only ridden it for 2 days. I love riding behind my husband on his bike, but I really wanna ride beside him instead.

Thanks in advance everyone.

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Re: Say Something I'm Giving up on You

PostAuthor: nanno » Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:15 am

The item I haven't read on your list is a set of decent fuel filters with paper elements. Oh and you don't have to bend that poor 10mm wrench, but it helps. If you install a set of M6-allen bolts you can get at the bolts a lot easier, even with the stock carb installed. The blockage most likely comes from rust/debris coming down from your tank, so filters should help. Unfortunately you will have to remove the carbs once more to clean out the float chambers, take out the floats and flush the float-valve-seats with brake-clean/carb-cleaner to remove the small rust particles.

Also if that solves the issue, be prepared to swap out the filters after an initial 200-300 miles, as A LOT of rust will come down from the tank, especially when you go on reserve.

(I totally understand your aggravation though... The first two or three years with my TR1 (Euro XV920R) were a constant uphill struggle.)

P.S.: We're not really good at giving up overhere. Consider it your very personal lesson in Zen or stubborn-ness. It's a point of view thing. :cl: - Nanno's accumulated findings (and blatant show-off) - infos on my TR1's, my performance and reliability mods and a bit of show-casing of the stainless steel exhausts I build (My blog -
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Re: Say Something I'm Giving up on You

PostAuthor: Flyingdog » Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:57 am

:yup: :yup: :yup: Specially the tip about replacing the intake boots bolts with allen heads. Did that bout 20 yrs. ago after removing the carbs for the first time for routine maintenance. People don't like to hear it, but owning a bike, ya just gotta buckle down and "Embrace the Sux". No gett'n around it. Least ya got an excuse to use colorful & creative language.
$1400 for "parts"? What the hell is he smok'n? Kinda don't like Yamaha's, I suspect. Possibly a trainee. Sure sounds like all Crystal's problems stems from float issues. New float needles, seats and "pivot pins" would go alongs ways I would suspect, as I can't see a float set-up correctly, going south that often. I don't recall, atm, if the 84' has the screens attached to the float seats. Know the 85' does, for obvious reasons, but if they do, good place to check to make sure they're clean, while you're in the carbs. Those float pins/seats and pivot pins have to be absolutely spot on to work. Specially that needle's shock pin. They can stick, sometimes, and really screws with final float settings vs actual float/fuel level in use. Oh..and the float pontoons should be on the same plain to each other. Sometimes that's easily missed, as people have a tendency to check float level on "one" side only. That's why the clear tube method is as important, if not more so, to get that accurate level. Preferably done on the bench.
Last edited by Flyingdog on Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Say Something I'm Giving up on You

PostAuthor: bstig60 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:28 am

There should already be a fuel filter on the bike... It is hidden behind a cover plate just above the rear exhaust. That's the one you should replace..... ... -xv1000l-n
"It´s a friggen motorcycle, it´s not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The wind noise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you s**t your pants every now and then. "

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