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So I took my bike (2003 800 classic) out for the first time since I got it plated (still have my learners and have to have a class 6 rider around at all times). We did a 40 mile ride, stopped for lunch and headed home. This ride had a lot of firsts for me, including one I didn’t expect. As we were headed home, riding down the highway at 120kmh, my bike coughed and the engine died - much like if you run out of gas. I was able to easily pull over on the shoulder. She started right back up again, but the same thing happened about 10km further down the highway. That time I was able to start it while I was still coasting and continue home without trouble.
Not wanting to bring my bike in unless it’s definitely needed, I poked around online and saw that some bikes had a loose connection to the battery making it lose power. I popped the seat off and checked the battery - it looked clean and the wires were secure, and none of the tubes etc in that area looked pinched or bent weird. (I’m a newb though so I could be out to lunch?)

I just had my bike inspection pass 3 days before this happened, any ideas as to what could be wrong with my bike?
 

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This is going to sound really sarcastic, but did you switch the fuel valve to reserve? The symptoms you describe sound like running low on fuel.
 

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This is going to sound really sarcastic, but did you switch the fuel valve to reserve? The symptoms you describe sound like running low on fuel.
That was the first thing I checked the first time it happened haha. Had filled my tank right before leaving and at that point had gone less than 60 miles. Still had tons of gas, and my pet Cock was in the right position. It was the first thing that came to mind as I had done that during a motorcycle safety course haha
 

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Does it have the stock, unmodified airbox on the bike? I would check your vacuum lines to the petcock, check for sediment in your tank and the carb bowl, perhaps the petcock or fuel line is restricted. Could also be a good idea to check the float height perhaps?

I don't recall my bike making a coughing noise when I have run out of gas in the past, more just an intermittent loss of power then suddenly no power. I practiced how to switch the petcock to reserve on the fly after the first time...
 

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You might try adding some Seafoam to the gas (about 1 ounce per gallon) as an easy initial step -- might help, or might loosen debris enough that it clogs and won't restart, so you may want to stay close to home for a little while.
 

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Recently had a similar experience. '01 Nomad 1500. Noticed it wasn't cranking as strong or as quick. Checked the battery, all looked good, used a phillips screwdriver to check connection and couldn't budge the screws.....figured all was good. A few days later died on the highway at 70, coasted to the side of the road. Turned the key off, back on and it fired right up. Got it home with a few more "hiccups" or "coughs", but didn't die. Next day I took a socket to the battery connections, took all the wires off & cleaned with electrical cleaner. Tightened all back up and it's cranking strong again....no more issues with coughs, hiccups, etc.

Suggest you at least loosen then re-tighten battery connections.
 

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You might want to take a look at the fuel filter. They have been known to cause intermittent problems.
@Rob9876 had a good suggestion with the Seafoam. It's a simple application and it just might do the trick.

Long ago I found that troubleshooting fuel problems can be frustrating. That's what got me into rebuilding carbs. I got pretty good at it. I discovered that it was simpler to just go ahead and rebuild a carb if it was suspect.

What makes a carb suspect?

If it's been sitting for six months or more.

You notice corrosion in the fuel (tank)

Bad fuel

Has never been rebuilt and is 3-5 yrs old or older

Chronic fuel issues

The need to keep changing the fuel filter

I know that you said you're not mechanically inclined. I am not suggesting that you attempt to rebuild the carbs. However, I think you might want to consider having them done at a shop or by someone you know that is skilled in such things. If I were nearby I'd do it for you. If you have someone you know do it just make sure they know how to sync carbs.

So many times I run into people that try hard to avoid rebuilding their carbs. Truth is; it isn't really that big of a deal. And if your bike qualifies as 'suspect', rebuilding them gives you a piece of mind knowing that the carbs are clean and efficient.
 

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1. How many miles on it?
2. Have you noticed any surging, backfires, hesitations while driving along?
3. Any smell of gas when riding or parked?

Got to drill down, folks.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Does it have the stock, unmodified airbox on the bike? I would check your vacuum lines to the petcock, check for sediment in your tank and the carb bowl, perhaps the petcock or fuel line is restricted. Could also be a good idea to check the float height perhaps?

I don't recall my bike making a coughing noise when I have run out of gas in the past, more just an intermittent loss of power then suddenly no power. I practiced how to switch the petcock to reserve on the fly after the first time...
Everything is stock except the mufflers I believe. I will check those out thanks 🙂
 
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