1999 VFR800 hard start when cold. What should I check??

Discussion in 'Mechanics Garage' started by ONE PUNCH, Jan 17, 2020.

  1. ONE PUNCH

    ONE PUNCH New Member

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    Hi everyone! This is my first post. My apologies if this topic has already been covered. Anyway, on to the issue.

    I purchased my VFR used about 6 months ago from a dealer. It now has 56,600 miles.
    When I try to start my bike cold it takes 2 or 3 attempts to successfully get it started.
    1ST attempt: I hit the starter button, it cranks for about 2 seconds, starts up but almost immediately stalls.
    2ND attempt: I hit the starter button, it cranks for <1 second, starts up, but again, stalls.
    3RD attempt: I hit the starter button, it cranks for <1 second, starts up and stays running, RPM's increase because choke is on; a few seconds later I turn the choke off and bike idles normally - runs fine.

    Interestingly, the bike starts up perfectly on the first time when the engine is warm/hot. It only takes 2-3 attempts to start when the engine is cold.

    Any help/advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks.:thumbs:
     
  2. raYzerman

    raYzerman Insider

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    With a new-to-me bike I change the spark plugs, don't know condition or mileage of what's in there. Time for new ones.
    I'd next do an adjustment of the starter valves ensuring they are correct, and after that's done, set the idle. See what improvement that makes.
    BTW, it's not a choke......
     
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  3. Captain 80s

    Captain 80s Member

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    Correct, but Honda did use the "choke" symbol on the switch
    [​IMG]
     
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  4. ONE PUNCH

    ONE PUNCH New Member

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    Thanks. :) My bad, I forgot to mention I did change the spark plugs with new NGK copper plugs. The old spark plugs that came out looked good enough to reuse but I replaced them anyway. I will say the spark plugs I removed may have been the original ones because it was EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to pull out the spark plug boots; the spark plugs themselves were easy.

    Pardon my ignorance, but how do I go about adjusting the starter valves? I'm not very mechanically inclined. I know how to change oil, coolant, and spark plugs, but I've never adjusted starter valves before.
     
  5. Terry Smith

    Terry Smith Member

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    You'll need some vacuum gauge type devices to adjust the starter valves. There are four vacuum tubes parked on stubs either side of the airbox, these connect to the gauges. The adjusters are located between the right frame spar and airbox, one is fixed and the other three get adjusted relative to the fixed one. This is a case for reading the manual as unlike other bikes I'm familiar with, there is a prescribed offset for two of the valves. If you have the tools it is only a 20 minute job.
     
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  6. raYzerman

    raYzerman Insider

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    What Terry says..... 20 minutes? He's good. Easy enough, but maybe there's someone near who can help, where are you located?
     
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  7. squirrelman#1

    squirrelman#1 New Member

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    your symptoms don't suggest that anything much is wrong, and starter valve synch is no job for someone who isn't mechanically inclined or lacking good tools.
     
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  8. ONE PUNCH

    ONE PUNCH New Member

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    I'm from Tulare, California.
     
  9. fink

    fink Member

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    From what you are saying I would be looking at checking the valve clearances after having done the std plugs filter checks.
     
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  10. GreginDenver

    GreginDenver New Member

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    When somebody purchases a 21 year-old motorcycle it is reasonable to believe they are saying one of the following:
    1. I know I'm purchasing a 21 year-old motorcycle, no worries, I know how to wrench on old machines, I'm prepared to work this bike back to just about Honda Factory Specifications so it will start when I press the button.
    2. I know I'm purchasing a 21 year-old motorcycle, no worries, I'm totally made-out-of-money and I'm prepared to throw lots of money at dealership shop-time until this bike's near perfect.

    Which of these two is you?

    If neither is you, that's okay, there is an alternative form of motorcycle ownership available to you. Simply purchase a much newer motorcycle. When you purchase a nearly new motorcycle you can enjoy the "maintenance honeymoon" phase of its lifespan. At 21 years old the 5th Generation VFR800 is well past its maintenance honeymoon.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
  11. ONE PUNCH

    ONE PUNCH New Member

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    Thanks. Interestingly, I did try to have the valves checked by some local bike shops, without much success.
    The first shop asked me what engine my bike had. When I told them it is a V4 they refused and said they don't work on those engines.
    The guy at a second shop told me "I really don't want to do it; it's a pain in the neck. The engine sounds fine, just keep riding it and don't worry about it."
    I know my local Honda motorcycle dealer will do it, their prices seem reasonable, but their customer reviews are questionable, at best. I can't say I trust them.
    Nevertheless, I recently found another local shop that is knowledgeable and trustworthy. I'm going to ask them about a valve check soon.
     
  12. fink

    fink Member

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    Why not download a manual and do it yourself? After all its clearances your checking.

    If they are out of spec then you can go and get a shop to do it if you don't feel confident enough.

    I seem to come across a lot of this on forums in the USA, "shops" refusing to work on bikes, or do specific jobs, or not doing simple jobs properly. Is it a common thing.
     
  13. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader New Member

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    On youtube there are loads of motorcycle valve videos, might give you an idea of whats involved. When I did mine I found the tearing it all down to get to the valves the biggest job.
    Mine hardly ever starts on the first attemp from cold and thats with the valves and TB sync.
     
  14. raYzerman

    raYzerman Insider

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    If you're mechanically inclined, follow the manual and all will be good. Take pics and remember where stuff goes and it's not that hard on any bike. The V4 is a little challenging on the front head, but doable, take your time. Changing a thermostat would be a worse job to me, but again, just gotta dig in and do it. Just order up all the o-rings you need first... I like new o-rings since it's 20 years old....
     
  15. Terry Smith

    Terry Smith Member

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