Newbie Needs Some Help...

Just purchased my first dual sport 87 xr600! The bike runs great but seems to be getting harder and harder to start everyday. Takes 30 or so kicks before it fires, and really wont start if it’s colder out (under 65). Does anyone have an idea of why it is becoming increasingly difficult to start? What do i need to do or replace to get this bike starting easier? I really don’t have much experience with these bikes or any bike for that matter and would appreciate some wise advice from a seasoned veteran.

Thanks for your help-

First check the simple stuff like spark to make sure it is good and strong. If that is OK and it feels like the compression is OK then I would guess that you may need to open up the carb and make sure everything is clean and jetted properly. Perhaps the choke is not operating and your 30 kicks are just priming the beast. I always open up a carb on any used bike that I buy just to check things out. I have found all kinds of strange things that have been done by other "mechanics" :cry:

check the valves...and then the carb.

Thanks for your help. Does anyone happen to know if you need a special socket for the spark plug or will a standard size spark plug socket work?

thanks again :cry:

Another possibility to toss out there- make sure the decompressor is fully disengaging.


also check the jetting!!! what elevation do you live at? where did the bike come from? what elev. is it jetted to run at? :cry:

I live at sea level in northern California, and the bikes lived around these parts all its life. I haven’t checked the jetting myself but the guy who i bought it from said it was jetted properly, and as i said before once it fires up in runs flawlessly. So i guess what im going to do know is replace the spark plug with an NGK iridium plug, clean the air filter and the carburetors, and check the jetting. I'll start with this and if it still wont start up then ill have to try something different. Does anyone have an answer to the spark plug question? How am i supposed to get it out of there? :cry:

I used the stock spark plug wrench and welded a bolt on the end of it to rise above the head and now it is real easy to change the plug. :cry:

So I did most of the stuff suggested, that is except for the jetting, And its real easy to start now, 4 kicks at most. but know instead of running nicely after it starts, its dieing after just a few seconds :cry: It may be because its so cold out tonight. I only tried it a few times because I didn’t want to wake the neighbors. I was wondering if anyone could explain to me how best to start the bike in terms of the decompressor, choke, and throttle. As I said before I have very little knowledge about this stuff and really appreciate any advice given. Ill try it again tomorrow and let you know how it goes.... thanks again for all the help

I am interested to find out as well. I am new to the xr600 and have the same issue as you do regarding hard starting. It will start and run for a few seconds and stall. It progressively runs longer with each start until finally it will idle. Once it warms up it will usually start on the second kick. I have totally cleaned the carbs replaced the rings and piston, set the carbs to factory specs, adjusted the valves and have checked to make sure the decomp is working correctly. Any help would be greatly appreciated. :cry:

Bike is running flawlessly now. Starts in just a few kicks cold, and runs strong once it fires up. Turns out that a bit of water had gotten in the carburetors, and that the plug was fowled. That’s it! Thanks for all the help. Hope to see you on the trails of nor-cal. :cry:

Also, had to adjust the decompressor a bit.

WELL we finally fixed my hard starting problem (thanks DAD).

Seems as though the previous owner had switched the carb bowls. When we had initially cleaned them we were very careful to put everything back the way we had found it. The plug looked lean and the bike would not start with any less than 50-100 kicks. So we took the bowls apart and realized that the carb bowls were switched. SOOOO we reassembled the carb, used the routine described in another thread about turning it over 8 times with the choke full on and the kill switch and decomp lever pulled and brought her up just past tdc and kicked her through. Needless to say she started on the first hard kick , and it runs great. What a relief. I did the happy dance a few times. Once she warmed up she started onthe first kick every time. Thanks to all. :cry:

Where in N.Cal you at? Crockett here! Heading up to Foresthill this weekend, Cow mountain the week after..

Let's ride!! :cry:

Roll it on, where ya been?? Miss my aloha shirt? :cry:

Im in Marin not too far away. Im not available for a few weekends, but ill let you know. Sounds good! (been looking for some other people to ride with) :cry:

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