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Questioning my Sanity

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I read the hard start threads and the recommended procedures for starting the xr400. I still cant believe it should be this hard to start . I fought and fought with this, it a serious PITA. It seems to start for me if I put it in gear pull clutch in ,kick a couple times then release clutch ,kick it over partially in gear then pull clutch in again and kick over with full choke. Am I losing it ? Or is this an indication of something else that should be looked at?

This starting irritation has got me to the point where I am looking at breaking the bank and buying a KTM530exc. Maybe thats the way to go?

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I read the hard start threads and the recommended procedures for starting the xr400. I still cant believe it should be this hard to start . I fought and fought with this, it a serious PITA. It seems to start for me if I put it in gear pull clutch in ,kick a couple times then release clutch ,kick it over partially in gear then pull clutch in again and kick over with full choke. Am I losing it ? Or is this an indication of something else that should be looked at?

This starting irritation has got me to the point where I am looking at breaking the bank and buying a KTM530exc. Maybe thats the way to go?

I think you are just finding TDC that way.

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just get your self a pumper carb since the starting procedure involves:

Choke

squirt squirt

Kick 1-2 times

And thats for cold weather

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I read the hard start threads and the recommended procedures for starting the xr400. I still cant believe it should be this hard to start . I fought and fought with this, it a serious PITA. It seems to start for me if I put it in gear pull clutch in ,kick a couple times then release clutch ,kick it over partially in gear then pull clutch in again and kick over with full choke. Am I losing it ? Or is this an indication of something else that should be looked at?

This starting irritation has got me to the point where I am looking at breaking the bank and buying a KTM530exc. Maybe thats the way to go?

I think the xr4 is a pain in the ass to figure out how to start easily, not so much a pain to start, is your jetting correct, carb clean, gas fresh, are your valves adjusted correctly. If you give up the next guy who buys it will put in the time and figure it out and it will start easy for him. put in the time, once you get it dialed in is should start with a kick or two every time, stock carb or pumper. Honestly, it took me six months to get the jetting right on the stock carb then it was two kicks no matter what.:)

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Found this on Adv Rider, works better for me when the bike is cold. Once warmed it just wants to be kicked any old way:

"Page two has big error in starting instructions. When kicking the engine you should always start with the Exhaust valve open. With CDI ignitions you need lots of alternator spin before you get a good spark. If you start on Compression stroke you won't get a spark first time over. If you start on Power stroke, the kick ends way before Compression stroke. If you start on Exhaust stroke, you get good spark and kick ends just as comprression starts so you get an easy kick and flywheel does all the work on Compression. I have watched several people kick until they were exhausted then offer to start it and it lights on my first kick.

To find Exhaust stroke; pull decomp lever, rotate engine slow until your finger feels the cam open the exhaust valve. It really helps if you have the auto decomp piece of crap removed from the cam shaft. The auto decomp does not do anything if you always kick from the Exhaust stroke."

PS, anybody removed the auto decomp?

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Honestly, it took me six months to get the jetting right on the stock carb then it was two kicks no matter what.:)

Mine isn't quite that easy, but it's definitely not hard. I'm not sure why the OP is putting it gear and pulling the clutch...I don't see how this is doing anything different than kicking it in neutral. Sure, you're not going to have some gears meshing that otherwise would, eliminating some drag on the crankshaft, but it shouldn't be awful. Clean carb and proper jetting...there is plenty of info on TT about jetting, so do a search, play around with it a little bit to get it right, and you'll love your bike.

40 degree cold starts for me are typically 4-6 kicks with full choke, drop down to half choke, and occasionally, it dies and I have to kick it 2-3 times at half choke to restart it. Then I can slowly open the throttle to get the engine warmed up just a bit, drop the choke, and it's ready to go. Warm weather is a couple of kicks at half choke. If I'm riding on the street (like I usually am), I can just take off, but if I'm in dirt, I have to let it warm up for a couple minutes or it will bog bad if I crack the throttle - you tend to be a lot more judicious with throttle application on pavement.

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Thanks for the input all. I am going to do some more searching and a little more maintenance. There is probably a few things that have been over looked. :) Wasn't sure what the heck my weird starting procedure was truly doing but it must have been coincidence that it worked that many times it didn't yesterday by the way. By Far this bike is the hardest starting out of all gt80 yammy, xr75, rm100 ,xr200,kx250s,yz490,xr250kx250 i have had.

I have always wanted a xr400and this one was a good find for a 2000 didnt even have the paint rubbed off the frame above the pegs yet! I do like the ktm530exc though.

Looks like a good forum here!

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I think getting the bike to only start cold when it's in gear is a fluke. I can perhaps see that the action may be loosening some sticky clutch plates before trying to kick it over, but always start it in neutral, not in gear with the clutch lever pulled. There's the least amount of drag on a cold engine when in neutral.

Sorry you're having such a time with it, but it really is just a matter of tuning and technique.

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here's what I do. Get valve adjustments spot on. Then Turn the idle screw up one rotation, choke it, and kick it thru till compression stroke is felt. Then press slowly down till you feel a " knotch" and stop. This is when the piston crosses over top dead center. Raise the kick starter to the top and kick it hard.. Its rarely been more that 3 kicks for me.

note: If you rings are near srevice limit and/or valves leaking a little ( normal for near service limit time but still rideable). its amazing how much harder these xr's are to start. Mine was pretty hard. but when I went thru the engine,: rebore ,new piston/rings,had the valves laped and new gaskets. Wow ,, it is now starting a lot easier..:)

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Just to check. Do you have new gas in there if it was sitting for a while?

Mine is a little tough at first crack but doesn't take more than 4-5 kicks when it's real cold. But she's old and has a few miles on her.

I like the idea on the exhaust stroke. I'll have to try that one.

Good luck. Everyone is a little pissy right when they first wake up. The XR is no different.

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