Bike won't start when it's wet


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madmac742
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Bike won't start when it's wet

Postby madmac742 » Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:13 pm



I left my bike out in the rain for a couple of days and it would not start. This also happens when I spray the bike down with a pressure washer. When I let off of the starter button it tries to fire. Could this be the kill switch seal under the knob letting moisture in? How do you get the knob off without braking it?



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HALBUDD
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Re: Bike won't start when it's wet

Postby HALBUDD » Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:32 pm

I first would suggest that you dont use a pressure washer on your bike as it will force water in to places that will cause a lot of problems. There are also small drain holes at the base of your spark plugs you may want to pull the boots of and run a piece of wire thru them to clean them out. On the question about the button Im not sure I would have to look in my Honda manual to see if there is any info about it. You could get some contact cleaner and try it on the switch and see if it helps,if she sat in the rain and would not start you got water getting in to somewhere . best of luck.--------------------------Hal
A woman that can use tools is worth her weight in gold !!

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ct1500
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Re: Bike won't start when it's wet

Postby ct1500 » Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:33 pm

Before trying to repair all types of obscure primary wiring scenarios go the simple route first.

What is the mileage and have the spark plugs ever been changed.

Wet or not a release type start condition can usually be traced back to a weak battery, have it load tested for free at any of the stores.
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madmac742
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Re: Bike won't start when it's wet

Postby madmac742 » Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:37 pm

A little over 100,000 and original plugs. I will check the holes by the plugs.

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ct1500
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Re: Bike won't start when it's wet

Postby ct1500 » Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:11 pm

Park that puppy and treat it to some long overdue regular preventative maintenance (plugs, filters,fluids) for a start.
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madmac742
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Re: Bike won't start when it's wet

Postby madmac742 » Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:20 am

I keep everything up pretty well. Fluids always. Next month she is getting a full fork makeover with progessive springs. What is a great plug? The originals have been very good.

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Re: Bike won't start when it's wet

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:16 pm

I've never had any problems at all with the OEM-recommended NGK's that you can buy for pennies at NAPA. I change them every year.

That said, the symptoms you describe scream weak spark. When you press the starter, there is less voltage available for spark, because a ton of current is being used to crank the engine. As soon as you let up off the starter, the engine is still spinning, but you're no longer loading the battery down cranking the engine, so the spark brightens up.

Because it happens when the bike is wet, you need to be looking at the high tension (spark) wires. The low-voltage wires in the bike, carrying only 12 volts, have to have significant impairment (soaking wet, with a conductive contaminant, close to ground) in order to be affected by the wet. On the other hand, the high voltage spark-plug leads are just looking for alternate paths to ground, and by soaking them, you're offering them plenty.

First check the spark plug wells to make sure the drains are clear. If they are clear and water drains easily from the plug wells, the next thing to check is the wires and caps/boots themselves. In a darkened room, with the bike running, spray a light mist on and around the spark plug wires. Look for sparking - if you see any, that's your problem area.

madmac742
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Re: Bike won't start when it's wet

Postby madmac742 » Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:22 pm

That's a good idea. The wires are original. It did not seem to matter when we put jumper cables to it.

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Re: Bike won't start when it's wet

Postby lovat » Fri Sep 09, 2016 3:16 pm

There are also small drain holes at the base of your spark plugs you may want to pull the boots of and run a piece of wire thru them to clean them out.


I have this problem, when it rains, and I looked for these holes, but was unable to find them.
I pulled the plug wires off, and inspected the plug area, but did not find any holes.
Can you give me some direction on where to look, and what size they should be?

Thank you,
greg
'86 GL1200 Interstate
Northern Minnesota

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Re: Bike won't start when it's wet

Postby roadwanderer2 » Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:06 pm

if everything else is good, go to your local parts store and get a set of these for your bike..........http://www.ebay.com/itm/NGK-Spark-Plug- ... Qh&vxp=mtr

i had the same problem with my 1100. every time it rained, the bike was very hard to start up and when it did fire up it ran like crap until the wires dried out. found out that all the plug boots had cracks in them allowing the spark to arch against the cylinder heads down at the bottom of the plugs, but once i installed the new NGK spark plug boots, i haven't had a problem since and that was 2 years ago.

lovat, those holes are down at the bottom of the cylinder heads. your best bet is to use a flashlight to look down there once you have the plugs out of the heads. use a piece of wire or a narrow wire coat hanger. if there is a lot of "junk" down there, take care not to get any of it down inside the cylinder heads.

stuart.

madmac742
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Re: Bike won't start when it's wet

Postby madmac742 » Fri Sep 09, 2016 10:57 pm

madmac742 wrote:I left my bike out in the rain for a couple of days and it would not start. This also happens when I spray the bike down with a pressure washer. When I let off of the starter button it tries to fire. Could this be the kill switch seal under the knob letting moisture in? How do you get the knob off without braking it?


Mine did the same thing. I tried cleaning the switch and it didn't help. I had to replace the whole unit. My other switches were bad to.

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Re: Bike won't start when it's wet

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:27 pm

This thread has a picture that shows the location of the drain hole:

viewtopic.php?t=4826

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Re: Bike won't start when it's wet

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:28 pm

Also...start your bike up at night, then take a mister bottle filled with water and start spraying it around the spark plug leads and spark plugs. Look for sparks - if you see them, that's where your problem is located.

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Re: Bike won't start when it's wet

Postby FM-USA » Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:29 am

NIX the water spray.
Start the bike, wet your finger and start poking around. LITTLE more exciting that way. :twisted:
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Re: Bike won't start when it's wet

Postby roadwanderer2 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:45 am

FM-USA wrote:NIX the water spray.
Start the bike, wet your finger and start poking around. LITTLE more exciting that way. :twisted:



LOL.

stuart.




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