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Mine is a '96 1500 and very similar if not the same. I would investigate the choke issue. In actuality, it is not a choke, but a fuel enricher. If the nut, you speak of, is broken, you might be getting a rich mixture when the bike is running. I would check that out first, before I went to something else.

The cold start problem............when you pull the choke out, I assume that the bike eventually starts, correct? If so, does it run at fast idle?

You might also check the bowl vent tube. It runs to a carbon cannister on some models and can give you fits. Try disconnecting it and running a hose, temporarily, to just down below the frame. See if the problem persists. A faulty cannister can sometimes increase the pressure in the bowl and cause the carb to run rich.

I am also wondering why the shop, that did the carb work, did not fix or at least inform you about the broken fuel enricher?
 

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The needle valve & seat isn't sealing & needs replaced, also the vacuum petcock isn't working properly. You need to put a new needle valve & seat in the carb, & at least remember to shut the petcock off every time you shut the motor off. Continued gas leaking in the oil will wash the bearings & you will have the rod & main bearings knock knock knocking on the junkyard door!

I agree .............needle and seat could be bad. Mine does not have a vacuum petcock.......I doubt if his does.
 
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