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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
as mentioned in another thread, i'm mechanically retarded, haven't worked on cars before, and this is my first bike. i'm assuming this is going to end in "take it to a shop," but thought i'd ask, just for my knowledge.

it's a 99 sv650, stored in my unheated garage during minnesota winters. i put stabil in a 3/4 full tank, ran it a little bit, but probably not as much as i should have. during the winter, i kept the bike hooked up to a battery tender jr 24x7, and every now and again, went out to try and start it just for kicks. i never was able to get it to go on cold days (20F or below), but when it did start, i'd let it idle for a while -- 15 minutes or more.

it's finally warm enough to melt the snow and keep the roads mostly dry. when it came to starting, the bike would idle pretty rough for about 10-15 minutes, then eventually die out when the idle started to hit 2.5k rpm or less. i dumped less than a 1/4 bottle of seafoam into the tank, think the floats might be stuck. we tapped on the float chamber to try and get the needle to move, dumped a little less directly into the carb, and kept trying to run the fuel through. we finally felt like it was idling pretty strong, ran the tank near empty, put in another 1/4 bottle of seafoam, and the bike started with no problems in the morning or leaving work. seemed like the bad gas from the winter was gone.

yesterday it got to around 30 overnight, and the bike wouldn't start. it was turning over, but after firing it 2 times for about 5-8 seconds each, lights went dim. threw it back on the tender, waited for a solid green, same thing. it'd kick for a bit, but never went all the way over.

bought a new battery, yt12a-bs, charged it over night, had a solid green this morning. the bike kicked for a while longer, still only firing it for 5-8 seconds. i started with the choke on, no throttle, and then tried a combination of no choke some throttle, a little choke and alternating throttle, but nothing worked. the temp this morning was a bit colder, around 24F when i went out to start it.

i'm dependent on the bike for commuting to and from my new job, so i need to get this sorted out quick. i'd like to learn what's wrong, and if i had the time, i'd be a little more patient in the process.

alright, so the question:
is there anything easy and relatively straight forward that i can and should try, or should i just eat it and bring it in to the shop?

i've got the MOM as a pdf, but again, pretty limited in my experience (and tools). i did manage to change the battery on my own, though :D

thanks for any input and suggestions.

-matt
 

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Without resorting to taking it to a shop...

- Drain the tank and put fresh fuel in. To drain, remove the fuel line from the fuel pump on the right side of the bike and apply vacuum to the petcock. Refill it with fresh gas. Don't put any additives in.

- Drain your bowls. If you look between the carbs you'll see a two brass allen bolts, one for each carb. Crack those open to drain whatever you have in the bowls. You'll probably need to remove the airbox. It will take a while to start again afterwards.

- If you still have the airbox off from the previous step, see if hte bike with start on ether (starting fluid). Sometimes getting it up and running, even briefly, will get things working right again.

On a separate note, buy and install an inline fuel filter in the fuel line running from the petcock to the fuel pump. It's very cheap insurance.
 

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Once a bike is set up for storage DO NOT start it unless you intend to ride. Short starting periods load the crankcase with moisture and unburned hydrocarbons.

The only other comment I can add is that a stored bike should have a full tank with stabilizer. Put the stabilizer in, shake it around to mix it, run for two minutes. That's it.

A partially full tank will "breathe" as temperatures change and can ingest a good bit of humidity that can condense and put water in the bottom of the tank.

OK, I lied. One more comment. If your fuel bowls are empty you can refill them by pulling a vacuum on the petcock vacuum line for a minute.
 

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For what it's worth, I've never been able to get my bike starting reliably at temperatures that low, and have never been able to figure out why. My coils check out good, there's nothing obviously wrong with the carbs, but trying to start at below-freezing temps will consistently result in fouled plugs.

My guess is that your plugs are fouled right now, which means you need to pull them out and clean them. Pulling that front plug is a big pain in the ass, so follow the instructions in the manual to the letter and maybe have a friend with more mechanical mojo help you.

To clean them, I spray with carb cleaner and wipe with a rag, then hit the gap between the electrodes with some fine sandpaper until they're shiny - then carb cleaner & rag again. If you have compressed air to blow them off after the sanding and cleaning that's best.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thanks for the feedback.

i have been able to get it to start, once below freezing, but the rest of the mornings it's been 32F+. over the last weekend, we pulled the airbox, dumped more seafoam (~cap full) directly into the carbs with it running, turned it off, started it, tapped on the float, and repeated a few times. whether it was that or the warmer temps, it is consistently starting now, al beit sometimes rougher than others.

i did pull the back plug, and that was surprisingly clean. haven't tackled the front, but have it on the list. i'll also check into the inline fuel filter. is that something i should just ask for at the local shop, or is there a specific make/model that i'll probably only be able to find online?

again, thanks for the feedback. looks like i'm mostly in the clear...for now :D
 
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