Tuesday, January 3, 2012

She's a bit temperamental

Separation anxiety in dogs is one thing, but in bikes too? She didn't pee on the garage floor or tear up my favorite pair of boots but she definitely showed her discontent this morning for me leaving her in the garage over the four day weekend.

I suited up and rolled her out of garage this morning to go to work and she wasn't going to have any part of it. I thumbed the starter and just as she was about to fire, I let go and that was that. the starter would spin but not engage. C'mon baby, don't be like that. Zuhzuhzuhzuhzuhzuhzuhzuhzuh ziiiiiiinnnnnnnnng, zuhzuhzuhzuhzuh ziiiiiiinnnnnnnnng, zuhzuhzuhzuhzuh ziiiiiiinnnnnnnnng. NOOOOoooooooooooooooo!!!

Maybe the mystical hamster is out of alignment, put her in gear, push, rock, push, clutch in aaaaaand zuhzuhzuhzuhzuh ziiiiiiinnnnnnnnng, zuhzuhzuh ziiiiiiinnnnnnnnng, zuh ziiiiiiinnnnnnnnng, ziiiiiiinnnnnnnnng.

%&*%#@#%*!   ^&*#$%@!  @#$#*&^@!  Bad Kitteh! Bad, bad, bad kitteh! Back in the garage you go and I'll take Max, how do you like that? And you can just sit here alone all day.

When I got home tonight I thought I'd go give her a scratch and see if she learned anything from her childish antics this morning and an extended time out. Well, at least the starter is engaging and trying to turn over but she still won't start.
What's the matter baby? Not feeling well? C'mon you can do it, let's go play. It's warm and dry out.

No? FFFFFFFFFFINE! I can only attribute it to the timing which is beyond my diagnostic ability as I don't know whether it is mechanical, electrical (no, I didn't let the smoke out) or computer ECU magic. So off to the vet she goes this weekend and my new year starts off with a repair bill. Yea!

She's a bit temperamental.

Stay tuned, it'll be a couple of weeks before I'll get the diagnosis.


  1. oops!

    I have had a battery fail on Mrs N's F650GS over Christmas and now the one on my R1150GS is going too...

    That means I have to ride the R1200GS but don't want to get her dirty with all the salt on the roads.

  2. Checked for loose connections at the battery? Main ground nice and tight? Fuses? What reading does a voltmeter get on the battery? Can you jump start her? If so, it could be the battery as Nikos says.

    Good luck, hope its something minor.


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  3. Troubadour:

    as DOM said, but did you try to jump start using battery cables connected to your car battery ? This would confirm the weak battery. Don't you have a battery tender ?

    hope it's something simple like the "engine kill switch", or side stand down

    Riding the Wet Coast

  4. I'm stumped. I checked her last night with kickstand both up and down thinking it might be the safety switch but the starter was engaging and she still wasn't even close to firing. A faulty neutral safety switch would give the same response as a kill button, wouldn't it? - nothing?
    The battery is just over a year old but I put it on the battery tender last night anyway, tried it again this morning and the starter isn't engaging again. I just get the telltale sound of a skipping starter.
    I think it may be the sprag clutch but I'm also afraid that she hiccuped and somehow messed the timing up because when the starter does engage she still won't start. Maybe the sprag clutch is worn enough that it will not engage at all. I'll push her up the hill tonight and try bump starting, if she starts I'll know the timing is still good. I do occasionally miss a good old fashion kickstarter.
    Keep the suggestions coming though, I need all the help I can get.

  5. you wrote:
    I just get the telltale sound of a skipping starter.
    I think it may be the sprag clutch but I'm also afraid that she hiccuped and somehow messed the timing up because when the starter does engage she still won't start.

    sprag clutch?

    When you say telltale sound of skipping starter...you're hearing the starter turning the engine over but it's not catching/igniting?

    If that's the case, on my URAL, it turned out to be loose relay involved with the starter, try checking them for nice/tight seat...perhaps unplug them, clean connectors, reseat and try again.

    you did check your spark plug cables for a tight connection too right?

  6. Charlie6, here is a thread I found on the sprag clutch: http://www.tigertriple.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=32421#32421

    The starter is spinning but not catching. When it does catch the motor turns but won't fire/start. I'll check the relays tonight then remove the tank and airbox to get to the spark plug wires/coils. Now that I think of it it was a cold, wet, miserable night when I parked her. I have more time than money so I hope it is as simple as a relay.

    Thanks for your help, I'll have more questions for you tonight.

  7. I hate it when my bike is ticked at me. Maybe you just need to give her a little wash & wax. Maybe wag a little gas can of high grade gas in front of her. Tell her you love her & that you are sorry you left, a nice little moto farkle might make her feel better. Good thing I have Motorcycle Man to figure this stuff out for me.

    Seriously thoughI hope that you figure this out & can ride together soon.

  8. Thanks Dar, some girls have all the luck, my motorcycle man is an hour away, has a giant Triumph sign on the front of his shop and charges me an hourly labour rate.
    Dom, I expect to replace the sprag clutch soon but that doesn't seem to be the problem as she wouldn't bump start, but somehow I knew she wouldn't. The battery is strong, fuses are good, the starter skips on occasion but it does engage making me think it is either fuel, spark or computer. I can hear the fuel pump and she has spark so I'm just chasing my tail now and it is something beyond my mechanical knowledge. I'll just have to take her in for a diagnostic to tell me what it is.

  9. If it spins and does not turn the motor that would indicate either a dirty or worn out solenoid. That's my guess. Remove, clean, and replace.... and good luck!

  10. I forgot to say that I had a Goldwing once that did the same thing. I had a mechanic buddy suggest that before I took it to the shop, try chaning the oil from dino to synthetic....I did and never had the problem again.

    Some people laugh at that, but it worked.

  11. Troubadour

    Just like a woman, you don't pay attention to her and she will make you pay.......

  12. I don't have any nifty advice for you. Most of expertise is what to do AFTER the bike is started.

    I do offer empathy.

    You know what's ironic? I was out on Elvira and coming back from Corvallis on Tuesday. It was around 11:30 AM and I was heading towards Albany on Hwy 34. Normally I would take Oakville or Riverside into town.

    I played with the idea of taking the Hwy 99 exit and doing a few cookies in your parking lot. Then I nixed the idea thinking it would be too pretentious or something.

    Now I'm doubly glad I didn't as it might have felt to you like I was rubbing it in even though I would have had no idea why the bike wasn't there.

    Knowing how hard core you are, I would have assumed you weren't at work.

  13. Another thought: Try moving the handlebars from side to side - -sometimes there are broken wires near the headstock.

  14. Ken, I'll check the solenoid, maybe that is affecting the intermittent skipping. I am running synthetic now as I change oil every 5k miles instead of 3k miles.

    Irondad, you're welcome to stop by and visit anytime but the last guy that "buzzed my office" on his bike ended up high-siding on some 'karma' in the middle of a curve and was laid up with 6 broken ribs, a broken collar bone, torn ligaments in both hands and had to have his wife wipe his butt for six weeks. You think a woman scorned is bad news, I advise not to mess with karma. Just sayin' ;)
    I've also been hooning Max for the week and probably for the next two weeks coming up, yeah baby!

  15. Troubadour

    Its funny, I was describing your problem to my hub and the first thing he said was check the selonoid. He then asked what type of oil you are running? Right away he said switch to synthetic. We have it in all of our bikes and the scooter. It made a huge difference in how they ran.

  16. Just got off the phone with the Triumph shop. The mechanic charged the battery, fiddled with a few things and when he eventually got the starter to catch she started and ran. Evidently a sensor was out and she needs a sprag clutch. So parts are a week out then another week labor and one hefty repair bill.
    Fortunately the battery is under warranty.


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