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2013 RMZ 250 - Trouble Starting/Dying

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I apologize ahead for the lengthy read, but in troubleshooting I figure the more info the better. Skim if you need to, second half of the message has the most detail I guess, but I would GREATLY appreciate any input on the issues I'll explain below. Regardless of the response though, I will continue to update just in case this can shine some light on future problems of any others who might find this thread. I have a 2013 RMZ 250 that I picked up early last summer. The only mods (that I'm aware of) are a 270 big bore kit and full yoshi exhaust. It's been a super solid bike with the exception of the kick back/hard start issue seen in a lot of the 2013 models.  

We'll quickly flash back to about 9 months ago: I'm not sure how much of the hard starting to attribute to the timing retard issue, but last summer I thought I was going to have to hoof it about 3 hours out of a trail system because the bike randomly died and then wouldn't start back for at least an hour after it died. I went through all of the starting procedures, making sure I was at TDC before kicking, rolling through a couple rotations between kicks to charge the stator, used hot start, didn't use hot start, pulled the choke out, didn't pull the choke out, numerous attempted bump starts.....everything in the world for a solid hour. It just sounded like it wasn't firing at all, and I had ZERO tools on me. (What an idiot.....I know) When hope was all but lost and the bike was about to get stashed in the woods and covered with brush, I gave her a kick and she fluttered. One more kick and she fired up. I then proceeded to scoot down the trail and get back to the truck as fast as possible. 

Since then, not only have I never traveled without tools when in the woods again, but this has never again happened—no random shut offs, no kicking my leg off for an hour, nothing. Everything has been fine apart from the standard finicky starts this model is known for. 

After a SUPER sloppy ride last fall, I figured this past winter would be the best time to go through and clean out and grease all of the electrical connections on top of the standard maintenance: checking valve clearances, replacing the timing chain, new wheels bearings, gears, greasing this and that.....all standard stuff. I came across a "closeout special" on a velocity stack at Rocky Mountain and just figured since I had the bike apart and had a few other things in my cart I'd try that out too. So other than throwing in that velocity stack, all other work done was just replacing worn components with new ones. The valves were in spec btw, in the middle of the range for the exhaust side and lower end for the intake side.  

I take the bike out a month ago for a first ride of the season and everything works great, runs buttery smooth, no start up issues, ton's of power.....it felt like a new bike. At the end of the day there's another little hiccup with the starting. It just sounds like it's not firing again. Go to bump start it down a hill and nothing. Kick kick kick, wiggle some wires around, kick, kick, FIRES UP! I head back to the truck and load up as that was the way I was headed anyway. 

In reading into some threads here and elsewhere I learned about the RMZ's having the different couplers. I went out and looked the bike over to find out mine had the lean coupler in it and had read that most people had better, smoother results out of the rich (gray) coupler. I went ahead and ordered the rich coupler, a spare lean coupler as well as a couple of CR8EIA-10 plugs (what the factory plug is for the bike) so I could put a fresh one in and have a spare on hand. I'm not sure when the last time the plug was changed, not since I've had it, but when changing the plug I found the old plug to be a CR8EIB-10 instead. So I switch out the plug, dump in the new gray coupler and go to fire the bike up............and NOTHING HAPPENED. Kicked on it and wiggled stuff around for about 15 minutes, then attempted 2 bump starts, kicked and wiggled again, then bumped once more. THEN it fires up. (the bike has great compression but just sounds like its not sparking) I ride it back to my driveway and it dies as I pull in. Kick kick kick, nothing. A few more kicks, nothing. I say to hell with it and put my lean coupler back in, kick kick kick wiggle wiggle, nothing. Disconnect the kill switch, kick kick kick FIRE. Holy shnikeys, maybe it's the kill switch??? Or maybe not, just a coincidence. While it's running I pull the lean coupler and just run it without one. I cover the electrical plug so no dirt gets into it and let it idle a bit. I then take the bike out, romp around in a field behind my house once she's warm and all goes great. It's feeling good, running good, great, smmoooooooth. I head back to the house and the bike just dies. Not like it's outta fuel, just dead. I pull the clutch in, bounce and the seat and let out on the clutch and she flutters back alive. Get back to my driveway and DUUuuuurrrr........she dies again. WTF. I get it to fire back up eventually, plug the kill switch back in while running just to see if the bike would die and it didn't, then say to hell with it for the evening, I had some more responsible things to be working on. Married = Home Renovations > Dirt Bike Tooling :( 

Wrapping up: I took the original coupler (a lean one) that was in the bike when I bought it and removed the wires and plugged up the holes so that it would act as the stock coupler would, just a cap for the plug. I get out the next morning and put modified coupler back in the now empty port, kick the bike a couple of times and she fires right up, idles smooth and great. Kill it and let it rest for a few minutes, go back and give it a kick and she fires right back up. I decide I'll take it to a nearby indoor track for a little testing. Testing is going well, hit about ten laps and then outta no where it dies on me again. Kick, kick, wiggle wiggle, kick and it fires up. Another WTF. I ride it for a couple of more laps and it dies again. Not like anything is clogging the fuel injection system, just one second firing, next second not. I push it back to my pit area and think, "if it ran fine the whole time i've had it up to just recently with the lean coupler, I'm just gonna put that bish back in." I put the lean coupler in, give it a couple of kicks and it fires up. Okay, lets see where this takes us. Go back out to the track, get ready to leave the lip of a table top....BAAAWwwwwwurrrrr. She dies, gives me a little buck, I land back on the seat sack first and roll off to the side of the track. Kick kick kick, nothing.....wiggle wiggle kick kick....nothing. Roll her back to my pit area, pull the tank, swap the plug with a new one just to see, put it back together, kick kick kick, nothing. Put stock coupler back in, kick kick kick nothing. I give up, split motos with my buddy and head back home. And here we are. 

My thoughts now are that this is an electrical issue and something has got to be shorting out somewhere. If that is what the general consensus is then I will feel a little better, if not, it will give me some new things to think about. For now, my thoughts are that I will do a CDI, stator, flywheel, wiring harness and plug cap/coil swap from a 2014, just to ditch all of those possible components that might have a short in them along with updating so the kick back/hard start problem would be remedied....WHENEVER the bike fires again. And that's just in hopes of a 2 birds 1 stone outcome, either way, the factory issues needs addressed. Sorry for the lengthy post and 5-10 minutes of life you'll never get back after reading, but thanks to all who made it this far and who might be able to help me find a solution to this issue. 

Edited by BOLT SPEEDMAN

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I highly suggest you borrow a volt meter and go over all of the electrical. Get a reading and make sure everything is good.

My 2008 RMZ450 had issues starting and I found out the condenser/ capacitor was dead!
That means it would not hold any charge from the stator and require 100s of kicks to start.
Got a used for $20, replaced it and voila. That fixed it.

My 450 also had a chronic problem of jumping timing. New cam chain fixed that.

Edited by Axel43

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On 4/5/2017 at 6:09 AM, BOLT SPEEDMAN said:

Thanks for the input @Axel43. I've got a multimeter, just haven't had the time to sit down and start plugging away. The condenser will definitely be the first thing I check out though. 


Any updates ?

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So I read the whole post just to get a good idea on the issue, to me personally, it sounds like a bad fuel pump, or the wiring has gone bad somewhere. I would guess probably rubbing in the frame somewhere. I would also check the connectors going into the ECU. I've read a couple threads where just one of the little pin connectors is just a little loose and they described what sounds like the same issues.

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1 hour ago, Axel43 said:


Any updates ?

Yes and no, progress has been made as far as ordering replacements (everything actually arrived today), but no wrenches have been spun or voltage read. I found a guy parting out a 2014 RMZ 250 and was able to grab all of the electrical goodies at a pretty amazing price. Since I already wanted to do the CDI and electrical updates needed to resolve the factory kick back issue, I went ahead and got the 2014 CDI, wiring harness, coil and cap assembly, stator and flywheel. Because of your input, I went ahead and had the condenser thrown in too. Even if my current issue doesn't lie within those components, when it does get figured out I'll at least not have to deal with the hard start issue anymore. I've been blowing through a kitchen renovation and should be tooling on the bike by Friday, I'll update as I get the components switched out. 

 

56 minutes ago, xMUDKINGx said:

So I read the whole post just to get a good idea on the issue, to me personally, it sounds like a bad fuel pump, or the wiring has gone bad somewhere. I would guess probably rubbing in the frame somewhere. I would also check the connectors going into the ECU. I've read a couple threads where just one of the little pin connectors is just a little loose and they described what sounds like the same issues.

Thanks for the input, I'm hoping that in switching out the entire harness and CDI it will save me the time and frustration that would've gone into actually hooking a meter up and testing all the wiring. Of course, I got lucky and found someone selling exactly what I needed when I needed it and before I had the time to tear it all down and begin diagnosing. Finger's crossed!

Edited by BOLT SPEEDMAN
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Popping in with an update:

I got all of the electrical stuff switched out over the weekend: CDI, wiring harness, plug cap and coil from a 2015; stator, flywheel and condenser from a 2014 (part numbers are the same between 14 and 15 on these) 

Once she was put together, not sure why, the transmission wouldn't shift and I had no clue what gear the bike was in. I removed the clutch basket to make sure there was nothing jamming the shift pawl and everything looked good. I was relieved to find no teeth missing from the gear on the back side of the clutch basket. I fiddled around and managed to get the transmission to switch into neutral. (tranny wound up being stuck in 1st). I've split cases and done full rebuilds before but am by no means a transmission expert.....so I believe I am going to drop her off at a dealer for some trouble shooting and diagnosis. I'm just praying that I luck out and it's something simple that will keep the engine from having to be torn down to break into the transmission.

The bright side: Since I got the bike in neutral I was able to give her a kick and see if the electrical switch was a success. Ole girl was ice cold and fired up in 2 kicks! It ran great! Idled super smooth. I went ahead and pulled the clutch and pushed down to see if it would go into gear and it did drop down into first, so I pulled out of the driveway and attempted to shift to second but it just stayed stuck in first. :( After some more wiggling I got it back into neutral and that's how she'll go to the shop. At least 1 win came from my efforts.......while another problem has been created. 

I know that this RMZ group is probably tired of hearing about tranny issues, but if anyone has some 2 cents on what my NEW problem could be then fire off!

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Today's Update: I'm an idiot. Not normally, but a lack of sleep can make anyone an idiot. 

Upon a closer look with rested eyes and a rested mind after work yesterday, I found out what my shifting issue was. For any that are reading this and thinking "shift lever", DING DING DING! We have a winner. When putting my shift lever back on after swapping the stator and flywheel I slid it back too far on the splines and it was getting caught on one of my stator cover bolts right before it reached to click out point for an upshift. :banghead:   In the midst of my weekend frustrations, I had looked at my shift lever to make sure it wasn't getting caught on my chain or anything close to the case and just didn't take a step back and look at the rest. The biggest relief, and biggest embarrassment....all rolled into one. 

To make sure that all was resolved and the solution was actually this easy, I gave her 2 kicks and she fired right up. Idled smooth as a baby's bottom. I took her for a little spin around the neighborhood and around a field behind my house and I couldn't have been happier!!!!  The electrical swap has seemed to have fixed the probable shorting issue on top of the factory hard start problem that had to do with the programming of the stock '13 CDI. I can't wait to get her out to the track. Everything feels soooo much better. Cold the bike has consistently started with 2 kicks and once warm it has been 1 kick every time so far—and they're fairly effortless kicks. 

Investment:
$175 - 2015 CDI, wiring harness, coil & plug, 3 factory efi couplers
$130 - 2014 Stator
 $90 - 2014 Fly Wheel and key
 $30 - 2014 Condenser

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5 hours ago, dadx said:

Have one doing same thing

I definitely recommend it. My bike has been absolutely perfect since switching everything out. Fires up first or second kick everytime. 

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