Question about 2003 Harley Davidson FXST Softail Standard

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My 2003 softail won't start or idle without using choke or throttle, runs fine at speed with throttle but letting off throttle kills it every time. thought about idle mixture screw, but I come from a mindset that it is never the carb. any ideas. P.S. I've never had a bike less than twenty years old, so I am not familliar with this stock carb. thanks, Tim

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Sounds like the carbs idle circuit are clogged from sitting or bad fuel . Try Some carb cleaner in it an see what it does after a tank fuel . Or take to a Harley shop to let a tech check the carbs an maybe give it a tune-up.

Posted on Oct 08, 2010

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My 2003 1450cc fuel injected Harley Davidson softail won't idle.. Starts every time and runs fine but once you let off the throttle it dies.. please help?!?!


This could be an intake leak, fuel injector leak, oil sumping issue or the IAC is not working correctly or TPS not reading correctly. It could also be a cable misalignment issue. Check oil level if lower than normal you could have a sumping issue so if you have loss of power you have a sumping issue, to check for intake leak pull air filter off and spray either soapy water at intake seals or starting fluid at seals if there is a change in idle change seals, with air filter off cycle ignition 5 or 6 times and watch to see if the injectors are leaking. After that open throttle plate and turn ignition on and watch to see if the IAC pintle is moving if not replace stepper motor.

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I've got a 1985 honda vf500c. It runs perfect when it is moving, but when I come to a stop and pull in the clutch, the engine takes a few seconds before returning to idle speeds and will stall if I don't...


More than likely, the idle (pilot) jet is partially clogged. This is common when it will idle fine with the choke on, but won't idle without it. Sometimes a fuel treatment will clean the carburator, but not usually successful in cleaning the idle jet. Usually it requires removing the carburator bowl and and cleaning with the use of a gauge wire. The idle jet is usually recessed (next to the main jet).

A good video to show a generic carburator rebuild can be found at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exa467_eoXw The guy goes through a pretty detailed description while going throught the process. The carburator will not look exactly like yours, but it will be similar internally.

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Bike has been sitting for only 2 months. Will start with choke on, running around 3500-4500 rpms. Once I take the choke off, it immediately dies. Also when it is running with the choke on, a slight roll...


This is probably a blocked idle jet in the carb, caused by standing and fuel gumming the jets up. The jet that the choke uses will allow it to run, but go to normal running and the idle jet is failing. You MIGHT get away with emptying the tank and getting some (expensive) fuel antifreeze (This is ethol alchohol they use in race cars) run through the bike. It might just melt the gumk and clean things out. If it doesn't, then its probably carb off and strip time :-(

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My BMW R1100RT is difficult to start. Must use full choke, give full throttle once and then hit the start button. It then starts just when I let go of the start button. Often it refuses to start and then...


The choke actually just opens the throttle bodies a little (the bike is fuel injected). Try using putting on the 'choke', then pressing the start button, but dont touch the throttle. Does it start ok? Also, when started, if you use the 'choke' does it increase the engine speed? If it does not, then you need to set it up correctly.
Let us know how you get on.

Sep 06, 2010 | 1998 BMW R 1100 RT (ABS)

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Will start with some amonut of choke on, but will ...


Carby carby carby!
Give the carby a flush with some Carby Cleaner. (retail 400g aerosol can)
Check condition and clamping of inlet manifold for cracks, warping or air leaks.
Reset Slide Needle one notch down.
Turn air mixture screw fully in and back out one and one half turns and try idling now.
When you get engine idling turn the air mixture screw in or out to the highest revs without use of throttle. Reset idle to optimum speed with throttle stop or idle screw.
Cheers.

May 19, 2010 | 2001 Yamaha SR 125

1 Answer

Bike wont kick start or idle , it will coast


first drain the carby, then set your air mixture screw 2 turns out, from the fully turned in position. The starting proceedure is as follows, when the engine is COLD, turn on fuel, pull on the choke fully, and kick the engine over. DO NOT use any throttle, when the engine is cold, and the choke is on. Remember Choke on, NO throttle.
When warm, no choke, and a little throttle when kicking.

May 12, 2010 | 2003 kawasaki KX 125

2 Answers

Mighty lite 26ss starts fine, but needs half choke for a long time. Runs for 10-15 mins. and seems to starve out. Acts like an air leak at carb or downstream. Any ideas?


I fixed one of these with the same problem yesterday. Theonly thing I've found wrong with this little saw is the carbs are terriblyadjusted from the factory and the mixture screws have a 'proprietary' head.they're a flat-topped cylinder with a notch in the side.

fortunately, there is a way to turn them. The insulation on a blue solderlesselectrical terminal will grip the outside of the mixture screws enough to movethem. you use the big end of the insulation you stick the wire into. doesn'tmatter what kind of terminal it is. splices work the best because theinsulation is long enough that you can grab on to it, but I just pulled theinsulation off a spade terminal and used pliers to turn it, as I didn't haveany splices.

I pulled both mixture screws out and cut a slot across the top with a smallfile so I can turn them with a flat head screwdriver. if you do this, only pullout one at a time, they need to go back in the respective seat they came fromor they won't seat properly.

I also took a file and cut an access notch in the air cleaner housing so Icould adjust the high mix while the trimmer was running. takes 10 seconds witha coarse round file, but a chainsaw file takes forever.

To set your mixtures, screw both mixture screws all the way in until theylightly seat. DON'T tighten them way down, just lightly seated.
now, look at where the notch is pointed and turn them out 1 1/4 turns. turningthem out (counterclockwise) makes the mixture richer. turning them in(clockwise) makes the mixture leaner.

now, screw the idle in a full turn so it idles very high (you'll turn this backout later, but this takes some of the frustration out of tuning the carb). You maywant to take the string head off, as it will 'run' at idle now.prime the trimmer (10 pushes if you haven't tried to startit earlier, 2-3 if you did. you can't over-prime, though, you're just removingair bubbles from the fuel pump)

put it on full choke, grab the throttle with your left hand and pull the recoiluntil it tries to start. if this takes 10+ pulls, turn the low speed jetout(richer, counterclockwise) 1/16 to 1/8 turn. you want to work in smallincrements, or you'll waste a bunch of time overshooting where you want to be.

once you get it to bump over full choke, back the choke off a bit. if you'requick you can usually do this while thetrimmer is trying to run fully choked. most likely you're still going to belean on the high mixture, so having the throttle pulled may kill the saw. if itseems like it's dying when the throttle is pulled, but not at idle, then you needto turn out the high speed mixture screw.Concentrate on getting the low speed jet set so it will idlewith the choke off and the throttle off first. Once you get it so it will idle unattended, you can startbacking the idle speed down. From there, you can adjust the low speed jet whilethe saw is idling. Start by turning it leaner in small 1/16 turn incrementsuntil the speed picks up. If this kills the saw before the idle picks up, youhad it a bit too lean to start. if you get the idle to pick up, richen up themixture 1/16 turn. You want to be just richer than where the speed picks up. Ifthe saw died before it picked up, richen it up 1/2 a turn and start it again. Leanit out as before until the speed picks up, then richen it up a bit. This may sound time consuming, but you can stick ascrewdriver on the idle screw and gently turn it in continuously, so itactually goes pretty quickly once you get the saw to idle.Now that you have it idling nicely, you can adjust the highspeed jet. Start by 'blipping' the throttle. If the trimmer bogs down, richenthe high mixture. Now, if you're WAY rich, it will behave similarly, but with thistrimmer, that's pretty unlikely if you're starting at 1 1/4 turns. One way youcan tell if you're way lean or way rich is with the choke. If it will run fullthrottle with the choke part way on or if it picks up faster with the choke partway on, you know it's too lean. The choke richens the mixture up to compensatefor the gas condensating in the throttle bore when the saw is cold. If thechoke kills it, you're too rich.if it will run, then you can adjust the high speed similarlyto the idle. A leaner mixture will have more power and spin a higher RPM to apoint, but it will also run MUCH hotter and an excessively lean mixture willseize the piston. So, you're going to want to err on the rich side. You'lldefinitely be able to hear the rpm change, a way rich mixture will be almost 1/2the speed of the proper mixture, and a too lean mixture will sound like thetrimmer is going to fly apart at the seams. Once you get the high mixture to the point that you can grabthe throttle and the saw will pick up to max speed in less than a second, thenyou're ready to cut something. You may need to adjust the mixture leaner for abit more power if it bogs down in normal grass trimming, or if it is running througheverything including big weeds without changing speed, you should probablyrichen it up. This is NOT a big trimmer, it SHOULD bog down a bit if you loadit up.A final note about this trimmer, I never could get it to acceleratesmoothly from idle to high speed. It lags for about 1/4 second just above idlethen it picks up as it should. It runs fine once it gets past that hesitation,you can vary the throttle to be delicate around things, ect, but if you let itidle, it does hesitate when you pull the throttle again.I was pretty surprised how well it ran once I tuned itthough, this one is my boss's and he's got a 3-blade cutting head on it that'sa lot heavier than the string head and it will spin it just fine. It will cutdown saplings to maybe 5/8".Good luck!

Jun 26, 2009 | Homelite Mighty Lite Lawn Trimmer

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