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'95 DR350SE suddenly doesn't start

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I was almost the owner of a '95 DR350SE yesterday...had actually exchanged the funds and signed over the title...then it wouldn't start.

I recently found a DR350SE for sale, went to see the bike, rode the bike...looks to be in reasonably good condition for a 24 yr old bike with 9100 miles.  Slept on the decision, made an offer, offer accepted.  Go to pick up the bike and while I have the owner show me a thing or two, fire the bike up...starts right up...shut it off and complete the deal.  I go to take the bike home and it won't start.  We try for a good 30 minutes...nothing.  It acted like it might start a time or two but never did.  Biggest issue was keeping enough juice to turn the starter as the battery would die after 5-10 seconds of turning the motor.  Tried hooking the battery up to a charger...tried a new battery...all these things got us more time on the starter button but never got it to start. 

The owner was nice enough to give me back my money and says he will take it and have it checked out.  I told him I'm still interested in the bike but appreciate that he wants to hand over a running bike.

Is it normal for the starter to drain the battery so quickly?  Even when we installed a brand new battery it seemed to drain pretty quickly.

My first thoughts were that we may have flooded the carb.  After we had started it when he was showing me around the bike he was telling me at times he had had issues with the throttle returning to zero when released and turned it several times back and forth.  I want to say that the petcock was shut off when he was doing that but cannot say for certain. 

Other ideas to what may be the problem?

 

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If I were you I would look at something other than a dr350. They have a history behind them of being hard to start and having to do  primer kicks before you even attempt to start one. I owned one and got rid of it 6 months later. Never could get it to start right. Not worth fooling with. I think it was a design flaw from day one, with fuel system, maybe choke system. Been there, done that and never again. I have an old Yamaha tt500 thumper starts first or second kick every time.

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i wouldn't give up yet. if the owner can nail it down for you, go ahead and get it.

i also rode an XT500 for 6 years, as well as 3 DR350's for the last 9 years. i enjoy them both & recently got another XT500 to rescue.

 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, plugeye said:

i wouldn't give up yet. if the owner can nail it down for you, go ahead and get it.

i also rode an XT500 for 6 years, as well as 3 DR350's for the last 9 years. i enjoy them both & recently got another XT500 to rescue.

 

My DR-350SE as a quirk in the ignition switch that sometimes causes starting problems.  I could be that the key just needs to be switched back and forth a couple of times.  As far as the battery cranking life goes, my experience agrees with yours.  Best to crank it in short bursts.

Edited by GlennRay

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Posted (edited)

The starting procedure for a well tuned kicker dr350 with a cv carb is largely as follows:

 

Decompression lever in;

full throttle;

10 Kicks while keeping the lever in,

 

Throttle off,

decompression lever in,

kick it slowly until the lever pops out,

 

Kick over swiftly and it should fire.

 

 

If the bike is in poor running condition, or you're not sure if it's been spark plug is fowled, then you're better off bump starting it. Decompression lever in, then put it into second.

Edited by Foil

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3 minutes ago, Foil said:

The starting procedure for a well tuned kicker dr350 with a cv carb is largely as follows:

 

Decompression lever in;

full throttle;

10 Kicks while keeping the lever in,

 

Throttle off,

decompression lever in,

kick it slowly until the lever pops out,

 

Kick over swiftly and it should fire.

 

 

If the bike is in poor running condition, or you're not sure if it's been spark plug is fowled, then you're better off bump starting it. Decompression lever in, then put it into second.

well tuned and your kicking it 10 times?

its no throttle & 1 kick for most of us with well tuned carburetors.

 

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Thanks for responses!  I bought the bike and it’s running great...for now. 

The problem appears to be that it was flooded and had a fouled spark plug.  That and the bike had been sitting for some time.  

This bike is an ES so it doesn’t have a kick start...but thinking about adding one. Has anyone done so?

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, plugeye said:

well tuned and your kicking it 10 times?

its no throttle & 1 kick for most of us with well tuned carburetors.


 

Should've mentioned that I do this for a cold start. As in, sitting for more than a week in colder climates (which looks like that's what's happening in this particular case).

 

If it's been started within a couple of days or the weather is nearing 20c, it'll start within one or kicks 90% of the time.

 

However, assuming that an unknown bike is supposed to start within a couple of kicks. Well, good luck, considering the state of most carbs that I've put my hands on.

Edited by Foil

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Now that I've read the original post in a non diagonal fashion and got past the whole kicking conundrum, I have a couple of questions.

 

Have you checked for the basics? Like, does it have spark? Is there any fuel in the carb?

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12 hours ago, Foil said:

Should've mentioned that I do this for a cold start. As in, sitting for more than a week in colder climates (which looks like that's what's happening in this particular case).

 

If it's been started within a couple of days or the weather is nearing 20c, it'll start within one or kicks 90% of the time.

 

However, assuming that an unknown bike is supposed to start within a couple of kicks. Well, good luck, considering the state of most carbs that I've put my hands on.

mine can sit for multiple weeks in cold, still 1-2 kicks to start

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One day it starts, the next day it doesn't.  When it does run it is difficult to get it restarted after shutting engine off.

I mentioned above that I replaced the plug and that seemed to fix it...not so much. 

It is really strange.  I could go get on it today and as soon as I hit the start button it's running...or, I will completely kill the battery getting it to go.  It changes from one day to the next.  It's reminding me of my little Mini Enduro I had as a kid.  It would run one week and not the next.  I would take it apart and put it back together again...must have done so 2 dozen times reusing all the old gaskets and parts.  I was 12 and didn't know any better.:excuseme:

I ended up reusing the old spark plug.  I was checking the spark and with the new plug the spark seemed really weak.  I still had the old plug, tried it and it was a much stronger spark.  I put the old plug back in and boom! it started right up.  Rode it about 6 miles to get some non-ethanol gas and when I went to restart it and I was sure I was walking home.  It did finally restart by just laying on the starter and finally caught on.  I wonder if the spark thing was just a coincidence? 

The plug is coal black indicating that it is running too rich...

My plan of action is to rebuild the carburetor, check the valves...followed by replacing the coil if the first two don't fix it. 

Good plan? Bad plan?  Guess I could take it to someone who knew what they were doing but what fun is that?:wacko:

I'm dying to take it out on some near by unpaved roads but I certainly want it reliable before doing so.  Seems to run great when I can get it started...it just getting it started.

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Yeah, I always think it's best to just check the basics first. Carb off, give it a good clean and check the float level (I've found this to be the cause of many a problem), maybe replace the spark boot, since they're usually the original ones and then do some figuring out.

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Update...rebuilt carb and cleaned it up, put it back on and it ran but really rough and wouldn't idle.  The fuel/air jet was 3+ turns out when I took it off so I returned it to that setting against my better judgment.  Removed the carb and reset the fuel/air to 1.75 turns out...fired right up, idled well...I could kill it, it would fire up on the hit of the button...left for a few hours...tried again and it fired right up... wife and I went to meets some friends for dinner/drinks, got home and tried it...fired up!...I was a happy boy!

Next day...it fires up just as it had the day before in the morning.  That afternoon I'm ready to go take my first real ride...won't start.  I tried for about 15 minutes, said eff it, got on my Ducati and went for a ride.

Got home from that ride and try again...after about 2 minutes of trying it starts.  I went for a short ride near home.  Last two days it won't start.

 

I'm at a loss.  Looking for ideas of what to try next.

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On 5/7/2019 at 1:42 PM, rqa said:

Update...rebuilt carb and cleaned it up, put it back on and it ran but really rough and wouldn't idle.  The fuel/air jet was 3+ turns out when I took it off so I returned it to that setting against my better judgment.  Removed the carb and reset the fuel/air to 1.75 turns out...fired right up, idled well...I could kill it, it would fire up on the hit of the button...left for a few hours...tried again and it fired right up... wife and I went to meets some friends for dinner/drinks, got home and tried it...fired up!...I was a happy boy!

Next day...it fires up just as it had the day before in the morning.  That afternoon I'm ready to go take my first real ride...won't start.  I tried for about 15 minutes, said eff it, got on my Ducati and went for a ride.

Got home from that ride and try again...after about 2 minutes of trying it starts.  I went for a short ride near home.  Last two days it won't start.

 

I'm at a loss.  Looking for ideas of what to try next.

I still think it could be an anomaly in your ignition switch.  Try switching the key on and off a couple of times or twisting it a bit more when it doesn't want to start.

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I've determined the starting issue is caused by the fouling of the spark plugs.  Fresh spark plug...it starts 100% of the time.  Runs for an hour or so then becomes progressively more difficult to start to the point it won't start.  I was pretty stubborn is following this route because I've never experienced an engine fouling a plug so quickly.  It's 4 for 4 on starting with a new plug...I'll be sure to always carry a fresh plug and plug wrench if I venture too far from home.

So...why does it keep fouling the spark plug?

The petcock was replaced with a non-vacuum operated petcock...I am probably not diligent in shutting off the gas when not riding..I can fix that problem. Although the oil appears to be fresh on the dipstick I'm going to change the oil and see if gas is getting in the oil.   If that doesn't work, what is next?

Question...does anyone have a tool that will allow them to adjust the air/fuel mixture with the carb on the bike?  There is maybe a 1/4 inch gap between the starter and opening where the air/fuel mixture screw is located, maybe a 3/8 inch between the bottom of the screw and the starter housing.  I cannot even get a bit in there as it is too tall.  I hate having to pull the carb to adjust the screw. There has to be a better way.

 

 

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1 hour ago, rqa said:

I've determined the starting issue is caused by the fouling of the spark plugs.  Fresh spark plug...it starts 100% of the time.  Runs for an hour or so then becomes progressively more difficult to start to the point it won't start.  I was pretty stubborn is following this route because I've never experienced an engine fouling a plug so quickly.  It's 4 for 4 on starting with a new plug...I'll be sure to always carry a fresh plug and plug wrench if I venture too far from home.

So...why does it keep fouling the spark plug?

The petcock was replaced with a non-vacuum operated petcock...I am probably not diligent in shutting off the gas when not riding..I can fix that problem. Although the oil appears to be fresh on the dipstick I'm going to change the oil and see if gas is getting in the oil.   If that doesn't work, what is next?

Question...does anyone have a tool that will allow them to adjust the air/fuel mixture with the carb on the bike?  There is maybe a 1/4 inch gap between the starter and opening where the air/fuel mixture screw is located, maybe a 3/8 inch between the bottom of the screw and the starter housing.  I cannot even get a bit in there as it is too tall.  I hate having to pull the carb to adjust the screw. There has to be a better way.

 

 

definitely check for gas in the oil. you may not notice it in the oil tank, remove the timing hole inspection plug but be prepared for fuel gushing out. if its the petcock's problem, this will not foul spark plugs.

plug fouling is a problem with the carburetor. clean/ inspect/ and check the float height. the o-ring under the fuel valve is a known culprit.

you can buy an extended fuel screw from procycle or motolab, make sure you state its for the BST33 with electric-start.

Edited by plugeye

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4 hours ago, plugeye said:

definitely check for gas in the oil. you may not notice it in the oil tank, remove the timing hole inspection plug but be prepared for fuel gushing out. if its the petcock's problem, this will not foul spark plugs.

plug fouling is a problem with the carburetor. clean/ inspect/ and check the float height. the o-ring under the fuel valve is a known culprit.

you can buy an extended fuel screw from procycle or motolab, make sure you state its for the BST33 with electric-start.

Thanks for the fuel screw info.

I've cleaned, inspected, set the float height on the carb...several times.  That doesn't mean I haven't missed something.  That o-ring is tiny if we're talking about the same one.  being sure it is sitting right is a bugger.

If it is all right, should I see immediate results? Might it take a bit to burn everything off...thinking if the plug is fouled that the inside of the cylinder or head may be equally carboned up???  

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