Would not start after trailering?

About a month ago my dad rode his '02 DRZ400S to go pick up his truck that had been serviced. Like always, he loaded the bike in the bed and brought it home. He pushed the bike into his garage and left it there for a week or so. When he brough it out, it refused to start. It would turn over as well as ever but would not hit. I will spare you the details of what he and I did over the next three weeks trying to trouble shoot it but it involved a carb clean and a new Ricky stator (there was a point in time when we weren't getting a spark) :thumbsup:

We finally gave up and took it to a good friend of ours that had more time working on bikes that both of us put together and doubled. He checked everything over again and couldn't see any reason for it to not start. So, as a last ditch effort he tried to push start it. It fired right up and all is well again.

DOUBLE :confused:

So, as best I can figure the ride in the back of the truck caused something to happen carb-wise. I have heard of and seen first hand where folks would trailer a bike to ride and it would be a b!tch to start. I guess I didn't realize that this was happening to us too.

Who out here has had that happen to them and what do you all think I could/should do to prevent it in the future?

For the record, I have trailered my KLR several times to far away campgrounds and riding areas and I have trailered this same DRZ several times too but this has never happened to me.

(and the easy answer is to not trailer but feel free to suggest it again :worthy:)


Check the oil for signs of it being fuel diluted. The bouncing in the bed of the truck can cause fuel to ooze into the carb throat and into the cylinder, where it squeezes past the rings and into the crankcase. Correction is to do an oil and filter change and check the petcock. It this is the cause, a small clamp on the fuel line to pich it closed will prevent it from happeneing again. That or switch to a manual petcock and always close it when not riding.

Good point. the stator change involved an oil change. i wasnt looking for fuel in there but i suppose i would have noticed the smell when i dropped the plug.

any other theories?


drain the float bowl ... then try it

the bowl was drained during the carb cleaning. but it still would not fire up until it was push started. it makes no sense. the starter was turning over fine. this has to have happened to someone else. :thumbsup:


Yes, I have a theory. It has nothing to do with trailering. This is a theory unique to single cylinder 4 strokes. The motor needs compression to start. For one reason or another a piece of dirt or carbon gets trapped on a valve seat, this holds the valve slightly open enough to reduce compression to make the motor hard to start. Once the motor eventually starts, the carbon particle gets pounded away and the motor runs perfect. With any multi cylinder motor, you would never know if this were to occur because it will just start on another cylinder and bring in the dead one very quickly.

I can't prove this theory, but I have had this situation happen more than once.

But wouldn't cranking the motor have the same effect?

garef - Yes, cranking does have the same affect but to a lesser extent. Cranking opens and close the valves very gently. When a motor is running, the combustion pressure adds greatly to the closing pressure on the valves helping to pound out any dirt or carbon. At least that is my theory. What I have found helpful to start a motor with these symptoms is to bump start (coast down a good steep hill) or jumper to an automotive battery. Anyting to spin the motor faster.

Whenever my Honda 250 Recon gets loaded in the truck and hauled it is always difficult to start. But it does start.

it's a mystery, wrappend in an enigma - i guess. well she's running fine now. i guess i'll just have to never trailer them again. :thumbsup:

thanks guys.


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