'83 XL600 hard too start

When it's cold it's a pita to start, kick and kick for ever.

If I have enough wind and stamina I get her to fire up and she'll smoke out the back yard for a few minutes, and I mean clouds of smoke too hide a semi in.

After she's warmed up she starts back up fine, no more smoke and hauls ass like she's supposed to.


My kid going around the yard once it's been warmed up.

It sounds like the valve seals are bad.  Sometimes they can foul the plug but, after it's run and blown out the oil it should be okay.  I had a problem with the pick up coil wires under the tank on my XR600.  They were full of dirt and really loose.  I had to kick the thing until I didn't feel like living anymore and still there was only a slight chance it would fire up if it was cold.  Once it started it was fine as long as you didn't let it cool down.  It was an ass pain.  After disassembling the connector and polishing up the pins inside, I crushed down the female side connectors just a little and reassembled the wires into the plastic connectors.  Now, it starts first or second kick every time hot or cold.

Edited by Psycho78

I was thinking today after what I said earlier...  Have you checked the valve clearances?  I'm not sure if it's the same as mine but, if so, they a .004 intake and .005 exhaust as far as I can remember.  Also, make sure your decompression is set up correctly.  Either one of those things can drop the compression just enough to make it VERY hard to start!

Good luck, I hope you figure it out!

ok thanks. I'll go check those out.

Get an Iradium plug also , it'll help with the extra oil your burning till you fix the seals.  Is your choke working ?

jjktmtider is right, iridium plug will do it some good.   Also, speaking of the choke... If I use mine, the bike will start really hard, if at all.  That doesn't mean that you don't need yours, all bikes are different.  if you usually use the choke and it helps, then by all means continue to use it.  I only use mine for running it in the late fall and on the ice.  If it's warmer than about 50 degrees, I don't use mine at all.  In the summer I usually kick mine over once or twice (since I fixed the connection for the pick-up coil) and it fires right up and idles perfectly.

Good luck with it, I hope this has been at least somewhat helpful.  

One more thing I just thought of...  I had a little trouble starting my 600 when I first bought it and then even when I got it started it would sometimes stall and wouldn't want to re-start.  I took the float bowls off the carbs. and they were full of this weird orangey brown flaky stuff.  I'm not sure what it was but after cleaning that out and flushing the tank with some fresh gas it started much easier and ran better.

That "weird orangey brown flaky stuff" is dried gasoline, also known as varnish.


I bought an '81 XR500R to bomb around on for now and I'm going to over haul the XL600.

Cool, I just rebuilt my XR600R due to a broken shift shaft.  It would shift down but not up.  Total pita!  It made the bike useless so it had to be done.  The piston, crank and cam were in excellent condition so I just did new bearings, seals, rings and gaskets and of course the shift shaft.  It only took me a few days.  I stripped the engine in one night then ordered everything I needed.  While I waited for parts I cleaned up the engine inside and out and scraped all gaskets.  The head bolts had been over tightened and two of the holes were starting to strip out so I put thread inserts in all of them.  Then when the parts came in I put the cases back together and the next day, finished the job.  Very simple engines!  I put it back in the frame and it started first kick.

By the way, the flaky crap in the tank was some sort of plant material.  The tank had been purchased used and the guy who owned the bike before me just threw it on there and filled it with gas.  He didn't even check it.  I think after buying that tank, it never ran again... until I bought it.  That's part of the reason I got the bike for $100.  Wouldn't run and broken shift shaft.  It was pretty much useless at that point.

Good Luck with the rebuild, feel free to message me if you need any info. on the engine.  I just did one of these so, assembly, torque specs, etc. are still fresh in my mind.

 when you've got a poorly running or not been running for awhile, bike. TOW the dang thing! Or find a HILL!  

Edited by MindBlower

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