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1995 Yamaha XT350 Cold and warm start drill.

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Hello, I have been looking online for these two drills to no avail to find any consistency with what shows the Clymer manual for example.

I have got this bike recently and I love riding it, its a craigslist buy and it has a few perks like 520 chain and heavier duty sprockets and super-trap exhaust. It sounds great!

I just downloaded today service and owners manual to read through.

I can see there is a decompression cable that clicks at some point and I am asuming that when the piston just passed TDC on the compression stroke?

Am I right on that? 

I have even seen people start these bikes with the side stand down, and the manual says there is a switch, and I can see there is one on my bike, but not sure if it is working cuz I have my self at the beginning (after what felt like a thousand kicks) started the bike.

Right now I am at the point where some times it starts at 4 kicks when cold, and some time at 30... Some times it gets flood and I have to open wide the throttle and it will start eventually.

Cold start is my main concern... So this is how I go about it... Please share your experience and knowledge. I shall thank you all in advance and wish you  happy ridings.

0.1- Always let the bike with petcock in off the previous day)

0.2- Temps in vancouver BC are not that cold, so I am doing this around 20*C

1- Ignition at ON.

2- Choke lever all the way out.

3- Petcock down to ON position.

4- Side stand off the ground. 

5- Make sure transmission is in NEUTRAL... I still pull the clutch just because its a good thing to do anyways, to hold to and jus in case the neutral slips. 

(here Clymer says gear engaged and clutch or neutral and no need for clutch)

6- Kill switch in RUN position.

7- Slowly push kick start lever down until the decompression cable snaps to reset.

8- Let kick start lever come back to top.

9- Give it my best kick. (Do not touch throttle) 

10- Repeat 7 till 9 until it starts.

11- If I smell fuel too strong I would think the engine is flooded and then I grab the throttle at WOT and push the choke in. Then start kicking kinda in a frantic way. 

Most of the time it would start in about 20 kick s after flooded with WOT. Then I pull choke half for like a minute.

With the regular cold start some times it works better than other, thats why I believe there should be something I am not doing right, the kicking maybe?

My fuel mixture screw is out 3 turns from lightly seat... It used to be 2.25 turns I moved it to 3 in hope for a better cold start capabilities.

Next for me is new battery (I must say the battery is not in the bike since its dead (9.7 volts after charging for days))

New spark plug just in case and new ignition wire.

If all this is to no avail I might take the carbs off and check the jets and clean what ever is plug if so... Also check fuel float height...

Once the bike starts it idles super smoothly and pulls strong. Thats why I believe there should be something wrong with my technic and would rather fix that than play with the carbs.

here is a picture of the bike, 

Thanks guys. 



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If the side stand switch is typical of Yamaha for the 90's. It should only not start or kill the engine if

1- kickstand down in gear= no start.

2-kickstand down while running and in gear =kills engine.

So you should be able to use the kickstand (down) as an aid in kick starting.

While I've not had a Xt350, I've had the dreaded "kick back" from the kick starter. Be careful it hurts, and can snap a bone!

Which leads me to a question, have you checked compression?

Oh, and add some seafoam to a tank of gas. Cheap and easy and may help !

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I just sold my '99 XT350 two weeks ago.  Until then (and hopefully for the new owner) I could reliably start it using the technique you describe. (Vancouver Island, so same temp range)

The only thing I did a bit differently was to stroke the kickstarter a few times (not just once) until I met FIRM resistance, then I kicked it smartly (and never had it bite me back).

NO throttle when COLD, a BIT of throttle when HOT was the magic for this one.

Kick stand down for me, in neutral, kill switch in the run position, a few kick strokes until hard, the firm kick...always started cold by thrid kick.  Only a couple of times when hot did I cuss it for not starting promptly.

As far as I know, the bike was stock - never had the carb apart as it just ran... (though when I removed the exhaust end cap to clean the spark arrestor I noticed a PO had cut it right off...

I hope you sort it out, it was a fun bike while I had it.  I only sold it because an opportunity was presented that allowed me to buy a bike with a magic button (and my hips are getting old...)


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Thanks for the responses guys. 

I guess I will try to keep perfecting my technic.

I don't believe there is any compression issues since the bike idles and runs super nicely once it starts.

I guess I could try the sea-foam... will look for it around.

When I did turn the fuel mixture screw I didn't notice any noticeable RPM changes. So I wonder if the carbs have been rejetted due to a supertrapp exhaust being installed?

New battery and spark plugs are for last night ride in to no avail in the cold start kicking results. I also leave the petcock off during the night just in case. Not sure if the gas in the carb bowl would evaporate and it would need to refill when I open it before starting? Would that happen right away or would it take a little time? I am using it pretty much every day so not much gas should be evaporated...

I still believe my technic is faulty but my main question for it is what is the decompression cable has to do with this whole drill? 

In my head I believe the decompression cable would snap into reset position when the compression stroke is done and the piston is in TDC right?

But as per Dave's opinion he just feels for the hard to turn part of the cycle, which should be once the decompression is over I believe?

Am I right when thinking the decompression cable resets into "zero" position when the compression stroke is over or is this relative to the kick start lever position?

I notice if you let the level go before it snaps to "zero" it still resets...

I think this is my main quarrel and I can not find this info accurately described anywhere.

Thanks for your opinions. I will keep the good spirits and try my best coping with this until mastered as you guys seam to have had already.

I still love the ride for sure... Nimble fast and great sound. 

I am reading the Clymer manual now front to back.  

Two wheels down!

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The kickstarter is way too tall for me to kick with the kickstand up when cold without having a heart attack. the only time the kick stand needs to be up is when it is in gear and you want to start it in gear. it is much easier to kick standing on the bike on the stand.


What I do is put the fuel on. stand down. choke out. 2 slow primer kicks. kicker should be basically at the top maybe an inch of play. No gas, kick hard. usually first kick or second itll go. if it sounds like it wants to go ill give it a little throttle.


When warm I give it a little gas, push it slow once all the way down to make sure the kicker is once again at the top. if it doesnt start on a couple kicks, or has been sitting more then 30 minutes, it wants choke again.


In my experience, never start the bike warm without first pushing the kicker down. it seems like when it is warm, it has more compression built up, and if the kicker is not at TDC, when you kick it wont go and will damn near break your foot.


That being said I dont have a decompression cable. yours may not do that

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Thanks for your answers guys. I have been following all your advice and the kick/start rate has increased dramatically. 3 kicks some times 4. 

I am not following the decompression cable position anymore just the feeling of the kick start foot. Kick soft till hard then maybe an inch more. Then jump with the right foot applying no pressure but resting on the kick starter and at max altitud of the jump shift my weight and I go down all force on the kick starter. 

Rest all the same. No throttle and choke out if cold but a little throttle and choke in if warm. 

So far so good. 

Now dealing with other issues so I must search answers or open a new post.

Thanx a lot to all for your help.

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