How hard should a DR350 be to kick without using the decompression lever?

Not that I intend to, but as I get this charity case DR back in shape I am wondering. When I got it the valves were waaaay out of adjustment, and I kind of figured after getting them back in spec it would be doable to kick with out the lever, but man I just don't feel comfortable putting enough force into the kick start arm to get it to crank over as it is. Setting it up to TDC with the decomp lever works fine (after I adjusted that too), and kicking down from there is easy, but anywhere else and it feels like I'm trying to pry a dumpster with a screwdriver.


Also, as I am waiting for a petcock and have no other handy way to get gasoline into the carb, I tried shooting a bit of starting fluid into the bike to at least hear it turn over. Nada. Good spark, and I figure fantastic compression due to the previously mentioned effort on kick. Ideas?


Here is the sad beast in question:



You can take a length of fuel line and a small funnel and fill the float bowl and fuel line with gas.... That will get you running in the driveway for a couple of minutes.

Without the de-comp, I couldn't kick mine.

To start, NO THROTTLE. Choke on. De-comp in, "click out" at TDC, kick, NO THROTTLE. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Once you get it started, a DR is a lot of fun. Enjoy!

Thanks for the advice Tnut. After a few more iterations of Repeat I cought a whiff of combustion, which was all I need to keep kick kick kickin' away. Fired up and sucked through its gas! It's a runner!

Now that you know the drill, you'll get better at it. The choke circuit in the carb ( really small passageway that can get easily plugged!) pulls fuel from the float bowl with the suction that is created BY LEAVING THE THROTTLE TOTALLY CLOSED. Open the throttle just a bit, and you defeat it... you will kick so many times the thing will reach normal operating temperature before it starts.

Now.... Are you replacing the vacuum activated petcock with another type? If so, remember to cap the vacuum spigot coming off your carb... Little caps available at auto parts stores for just such stuff.

Keep us posted!

Ah, that's good to know. It's still a bear to start, and I know the carb (though I've gone through it with cleaner) still needs new o-rings and adjustment. The part's are on the way, but in the meantime I'll verify the float height and idle settings as best I can. Petcock already replaced with a raptor version and vacuum port capped!

When you pull the carb apart, don't forget

A) to clean the little choke circuit back to the float bowl

B) replace the o-ring under the float needle seat in the carb body, and

C) clean the emulsion tube. When you pull the main jet out from below, this tube can be pushed out from above (pushed out through where the main jet was). This tube is the little brass colored tube that the throttle needle rides up and down in. In the sides of that tube are some REALLY small holes. Soak that bad boy in carb cleaner.

You should always use the decomp - some DR owners have reported cracked engine cases around the kick start shaft due to the added stress of not using the decomp lever.


Its not fun to kick through without using decomp.


Once your get your routine down with decomp its a piece of cake. 


Most important for my routine (93S) is as already stated: NO THROTTLE whatsoever.

Edited by Stasch

It lives! So there was quite a bit of drama once I got it truly started. Oil started seeping out of a couple of the cylinder head bolts, and upon investigation the cause was 2 holes  with threads stripped, and a third with a screw extractor broken off inside of it. Unfortunately the thread with the extractor was also one of the alignment dowel holes, which required extra effort to align and refurbish. I'm quite fortunate in that my father is both an avid motorcyclist and a talented machinist. Got it all back together and took it on its rebirth run around the block! Needs some tuning but seems strong!

good to hear.

happy riding

I Just joined the forum as I recently bought a very nice 1997 DR350S. I was searching for the recommended starting technique ,especially with regard to the de comp and saw this posted by Torque Nut:

To start, NO THROTTLE. Choke on. De-comp in, "click out" at TDC, kick, NO THROTTLE.


First off, I can easily kick it through without the de comp lever. Secondly, I don't understand what "kick out" means. So far I hsve not figured out the best routine for easy starting cold or hot and am looking for advcie.


Thank you.

I am getting to know my 1997 DR350 dirt model better. After checking the valves and finding the exhausts way too tight and the intakes off a little and then adjusting the decomp, which had no clearance, I am now able to engage the decomp lever, slowly depress the kicker and see and hear the decomp click out.Then, following advice here I was able to kick start it very easily. One thing I found after experimenting is that if I continue to slowly depress the kicker all the way down after the decomp clicks out, I get more of a bang for the buck when I then let it return and then kick it. Starts every time on the first kick after I do that.

Thanks for the info on this forum and special thanks to a member who PM'd me with advice. This bike really runs and handles well on the few 2 track gravel roads I have had it on. I'm really looking forward to some fun dual sporting with it.

Edited by fredz43

Thats interesting about the valves and the decomp, my 98 is still a bore to start after cleaning and adjusting the carb so ill give that a go.

I'm just selling my Yamaha It465, my Dr350 is a dream to start....... have a go starting  a cold It465, you'll never complain about a dr again....

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