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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone, I have an 01 Vulcan 1500 and was riding it right after the temps rose. I took it out on 3 different occasions and went through one full tank.

The problem I'm having now is the bike just won't start.
It was hard to start on previous occasions and one time, I killed the battery trying to start it.. had to get a boost and then it fired right up.

It seems to happen first thing in the morning. After running a while, it started right up.

A few days ago, I tried to start it and after trying for about 15 minutes or so, it finally started - and ran rough for a few minutes, belching out black smoke etc. I had to keep on the throttle or it would die immediately.

It got running, and seemed to be ok, so I took it for an hour long cruise.. it eventually began to respond normally and wouldn't threaten to stall.

The next day, I tried starting it again and it cranked, stumbled - but wouldn't start. Hooked up cables to my car and it cranked over real good but only stumbled and wouldn't start.

I should mention that I've been playing with the idle adjustment over the past year to keep it from stalling.. with the choke out all the way.. it just wouldn't idle if I pushed in the choke, unless I cranked up the idle..

Have I fouled something up by running it like that? Does something need cleaning?

I should also mention that I took out all of the spark plugs and they look normal.. I even checked for spark at all 4 plug wires and there is a spark.. it looks pretty small, but I'm not sure what qualifies as a weak spark... I got a jolt from one of them so I'm assuming that means it's working normally...

I added 3/4 of a bottle of Seafoam into the tank and added the rest to the oil as well.. that didn't help.

I tried spraying 'sure fire' starting fluid into the intake.. but it just stumbles - no start...

I would really appreciate some advice on this issue.. thanks in advance!!

Dex
 

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First of all, the black smoke coming out the exhaust indicates that it is getting TOO much gas.

When you checked the spark, was it strong, thick and blue? Or was it a yellow spark? You should get a thick blue spark. White or yellow means it's a weaker spark. This could cause some of the symptoms that you describe.

What type of bike is this? You say it's a 2001 vulcan, but no mention of what kind (800, 1500, etc). There are a lot of things that can cause these symptoms, but I think I would first focus finding out how strong the spark truly is.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you Stickboy! I appreciate the response! I'm going to have to double check.. I'll do that now and get back!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
well.. this is embarrassing.. after replacing the plugs, she started right up.. =)

the issue i have now is that it won't idle with the choke in.. and the idle adjustment makes no difference now.. any idea what might be causing this?

Thanks again guys!!!!
 

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Quality of gas in the tank? some of the alcohol mixes don't combust well in smaller engines like lawn mowers,and leaf blowers.

I'd add a can of Seafoam (pricey) or Berrymans B-12 to what you've got. Check the mix ratio's before adding.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks Mike.. i've added the seafoam and drove it around for a while.. although it runs good, it's running rich.. I can smell it. Do you think someone is stuck open where the idle adjustment is concerned.. i cannot idle with the choke off, and the idle adjustment does nothing... gas is premium... Thanks again!
 

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A 1500N2 is fuel injected. Is yours fuel injected? Does it have an FI light on the speedometer? Is it on when the bike is running?
Have to establish this before going any farther with diagnosis.

My personal opinion only... I would never pour Seafoam in the oil. Its lubrication properties are.....zero!

Also, starting fluid is for 50 year old Cummins diesels with no compression, not motorcycles. Put it in the trash can as it can cause engine damage, backfires, fires, singed eyebrows and worse. If it will not start on gasoline, it needs repairs.

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If it is an FI bike, it could be a fuel injector that's dirty and not closing properly. You will probably need to take it out for a fairly long ride with Seafoam in the gas before you start noticing things getting better. Running some Seafoam through it may help. If it doesn't, then there is likely something more serious wrong. FI can be a pain to track down since there are very few mechanical adjustments that you can do.

As for the Seafoam in the oil, it is good for cleaning out the crankcase and such, but you definitely don't want to do more than probably a 10-minute ride on it. Like sfair said, it lowers the lubrication properties of your oil and can cause more serious issues. Provided oil is changed regularly and you don't have excessive miles on the engine, you really shouldn't need to worry about Seafoam in the oil.
 
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