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05 TTR230 hard starting, recent development

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Until the past month, my 2005 TTR230 has been easy to start.

Last month, before a desert trip, I noticed it wasn't starting, so I cleaned the carb, then put it back together, and it started fine.

I then took it to said desert trip, and it wouldn't start.  Even bump starting it, it wouldn't go.  I eventually had a friend tow, but it would fire, then die immediately.  Eventually, I started holding the throttle open and it kept running.   After it was warmed up, it idled fine, and it started fine.

Next day, same problem.  Took an excessive amount of effort to get it started. 

I did notice the spark was a little weak, so I changed the plug when I got home from the trip, but it was still kinda weak.

Today, I switch the battery out, the spark is much stronger, but it's still not starting cold.  ARGHHH

Mods:

  • Inline fuel filter between tank and carb
  • Airbox cut
  • #130 main jet
  • #38 pilot jet
  • Rewound stator

 

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Well, the valves were a little loose, but that didn't help. Even with newly adjusted valves, the bike wouldn't start.  I suspect the choke might be clogged as outlined in this thread: 

 

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I'd pull the carb again and hit all fuel circuits with cleaner and compressed air. Sounds like your pilot circuit/jet is clogged. Possibly a bit of gunk broke free after your last cleaning and is not stopping the flow of fuel.

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It was the starter circuit that was clogged.

While I'm an expert at cleaning the Keihin FCR-MX carbs, I never paid much attention while cleaning these TK carbs.  I completely overlooked the starter circuit.

The starter circuit has its own fuel supply in the float bowl, delivered to the choke plunger by its own dedicated pipe.

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