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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2004 Vulcan 500. I had couple of issues with its signal lights about a month ago. I decided to install LED and I had to solve the problem by installing couple of resistors and the relay. I finally got it going.
Bike was running fine for about a week and all of a suddenly it doesn't run anymore.
It cranks good but doesn't stay running. I've checked both coils with voltmeter and they are fine. Both have same exact reading. The spark plugs are in great shape and the sparks are good.
At first I thought it could be gas related. So, I checked fuel tank for trash, tested petcock valve.
It is all functioning fine. The carburetor vacuum hose is doing its job. I tested it out.
It seems like to be an electrical issues somewhere.
Does it ring the bell of someone out there?
Thank you guys so much.
Abi Prates
 

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Takes spark and fuel to get a cylinder to fire. You stated you are getting spark, so fuel appears to be the issue. A simple test, remove air cleaner, spray starter fluid, carb cleaner of brake fluid into air inlet while you are trying to start the engine. Did it at least cough? Post back results.
 

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Dont know where to get starter fluid any longer and please dont do it please!

You state that it "cranks good but doent stay running."
So does it actually start and then die or does it not start at all?? Two separate things!
Two voltage readings would help -
voltage before you turn the key on,
voltage while you try to start it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Bike was running fine. Here is what happens... last week I turned it on for a warm up. I walked away from it for few minutes. When I came back bike was dead.
I tried to start it again and it never ran again. It cranks but doesn't run at all.
The battery is fully charged 14V. I have spark coming thru plugs. Coils ohm checked ok. I pulled the fuel hose from carburetor, set it inside a small pan, I started the bike up and gasoline comes right out. That indicates that my vacuum should be fine. I have not checked the voltage yet while trying to start it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Takes spark and fuel to get a cylinder to fire. You stated you are getting spark, so fuel appears to be the issue. A simple test, remove air cleaner, spray starter fluid, carb cleaner of brake fluid into air inlet while you are trying to start the engine. Did it at least cough? Post back results.
I have not done anything to it as this point. I will keep you posted. Thank you so much.
 

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Dont know where to get starter fluid any longer and please dont do it please!
Please help me understand this statement. You can buy starter fluid at any automotive parts store. Then you say, "don't do it". Starter fluid is a safe way to help diagnose fuel issues. I didn't say to run the bike on starting fluid, only see if it would cough. This would answer if it was a fuel issue, it's a diagnosis tool, you don't run your bike on it.

241578
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Here is the update on my vulcan 500.
Like I said before, bike was running fine with clean gas tank and fresh fuel.
I did a test by pulling air filter out and spraying some carb cleaner inside (couple of spray) and not difference.
I pulled tank out, spark plugs out and tested just the cables by itselves. I had spark on both. I plugged the spark plugs into the cables and no spark at the tip (electrode).
I cleaned the spark plugs and now I have spark on both. Could it have been just dirty spark plugs?
Tomorrow I am going to get new plugs and test it out.
Let me see your guys thoughts.
Thanks a lot.
Abi
 

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Sounds like you are on the right track. You earlier said you had spark, so I assumed you had tested at electrode. Plugs are cheap, replace then post results.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thing is at one point I remove one spark plug and I looked good to me. I actually checked spark at the end of the cable boot. I will let you know tomorrow with new plugs installed.
I appreciate you guys input. You guys are awesome. thank you.
 

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For future reference because there have been some confusing word choices on here -
When you push the start button that engages the starter and the engine CRANKS.
You cant get any cranking if the battery is low or dead.
Cranking means the engine is turning around before a start.

You cant have any vacuum unless the engine is running.
Unless your testing with a manual vacuum setup the petcock will not have a vacuum on it to open up and let fuel though it WITHOUT the engine running.

AND yes I don't not believe in starter fluid.
And have never used it.
Its something my grandpa would have said to use.
Doesn't really tell you anything or help you out AND could cause damage.
The kind of damage you'd post to AFV!!
 

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AND yes I don't not believe in starter fluid.
And have never used it.
Its something my grandpa would have said to use.
Doesn't really tell you anything or help you out AND could cause damage.
The kind of damage you'd post to AFV!!
Thanks for replying on your thoughts of starter fluid. Guess we agree to disagree on the topic.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I just put new spark plugs in and it started right up.
What I learned today is if spark plugs don't look too good, clean them up and make sure spark is coming thru electrode.
Also after I ohmed them they gave me different readings. Thing is I replaced them both including the boots.
I had the impression that if spark is coming thru cable and spark plugs don't look to bad, it should be no problem for the current to pass thru.... WRONG!
Again, thanks for all the suggestions. You all be safe.
 

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Also remember the correct gap on a spark plug. Too large and you will have weak or no spark. Too close and you won't have a large enough spark to properly ignite the fuel mixture. The vehicle manufacturer (or more directly, the engineers) determine what plug to use and what gap to set it at.

Another tip: Non-chlorinated brake cleaner is better for starting an engine that traditional ether (starting fluid). It's less volatile (explosive), but still does the job without as much risk of damaging engine internal parts. However, a properly tuned and running engine should have no need for such things. In Lesblank's post, the ending portion says it all... "Find out the answer, then fix the real problem." I do understand Lesblank's point of view of using it for a quick diagnostic tool, however, there are other ways to achieve the same results without as much risk of damaging the engine.

Another note for Abi: Most carb cleaner is (mostly) non-flammable. It does not work well as a starting type fluid.

Just a couple tips to (hopefully) broaden everyone's horizons a tiny bit...
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Great information. As far as the spark plugs, the recommendation for 1996 to 2009 is .024" - .028".
They come set as .025" so I just slipped them in.
I appreciate your guys suggestions.
You all be safe and God bless.
 
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