Question about 1986 Suzuki LS 650 Savage

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Where should the dial on the petcock be placed when the bike is off

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Run or reserve, never on prime

Posted on Mar 24, 2011


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Fuel tank petcock vacuum operated

What exactly is the problem with the petcock? If it is a vacuum operated petcock and it is no longer allowing fuel to the engine check the following:

First, did you work on the bike prior to the problem occuring, and was the bike running properly before this? On bikes I've owned with vacuum petcocks, the petcock has two rubber hoses attached to it. One is the vacuum line the other is the fuel line. On one of my bikes these hoses were nearly identical in size and I managed to swap them a couple times after having the tank off the bike. Simply double check that the hoses are connected properly. If they are not, the bike will run until the fuel is run out of the float bowls then die.

Second, do you have an inline fuel filter on the fuel line between the petcock and carb? If so check it to make sure it is not clogged.

Third, remove the tank and check the entire length of the vacuum line for the petcock. Is it kinked, pinched, cracked, cut, detached, etc.? Look for anything which would prevent the line from providing vacuum to the petcock.

Fouth, test the petcock to see if it is working properly. To do this you will need a handheld vacuum pump, such as a Mityvac (you may be able to get a free loaner from some autoparts stores). remove the vacuum line from your petcock and attach the vacuum pump to it. It should only take one or two pumps to create enough vacuum to open the petcock valve. If fuel begins to flow the petcock is good, if it doesn't you could have a clogged filter screen in the tank, but most likely the petcock's vacuum diaphram is damaged. The Baha is a Chinese made bike and it's possible the rubber parts in the fuel system are not compatible with the ethenal fuel blends here in the U.S. The dealers who sell these bikes are really hit and miss when it comes to being able to provide replacement parts. Even with the internet, it may take some work to locate a correct replacement petcock for the bike. On the bright side, if you are able to get a new petcock, they are very easy to replace.

Good luck!

Nov 29, 2013 | 2011 Bajaj Pulsar 150

1 Answer

Petcock where connecting to tank seems to be leaking, someone said to tap with mallet on dial and see if it seats or what can I do

Hi, If it won't seat properly anymore, Go and get a new one at your nearest bike shop. Don't hit it with a malot you can crack or damage the threads. Drain tank and remove valve/petcock carefully. Good luck.

Nov 14, 2012 | Motorcycles

1 Answer

95 softail classic started and was warming up and just died and wont start, will fire with starter fluid but thats it, will not keep running, has appr. 30,000 miles

If the bike will fire with starter fluid but won't run on it's own, I'd say you have a fuel problem. In 1996, Harley introduced a vacuum operated fuel petcock. I see that you say your bike is a '95 model but Harley has always been known for crossing over year models with certain parts. Say you bike was built in late '95 and they ran out of the "old" style petcock. They just switched to the "new" style at that time instead of making more "old" style parts. That's where the term "transition model year" came from. So, check your fuel petcock and the vacuum line running to it. Pull the fuel hose off the petcock and spin the engine. Watch for the fuel flow and determine whether it is sufficient. If not, replace the petcock. Personally, I went to a Pingle manual fuel petcock. Of course, you have to plug the vacuum hose as it's no longer used. But, that was the end of petcock problems on my bike. Just turn your fuel on and off manually, "old school" style.

Good Luck

Sep 13, 2011 | 2000 Harley Davidson FLSTC Heritage...

1 Answer

Having a problem everytime its humid out with my Harley. Around 80 to 90 degrees. I had carb rebuilt, replaced fuel line, replaced plugs and wires. Bike will drive for about 3 miles and start spitting...

Hmmm, strange. Two things to check. Since you didn't tell me what year or model bike you have, I'd check the petcock and the tank vent in the fuel cap. The fuel cap is simplest test. Ride the bike until it starts bucking and then loosen the fuel cap. In the case of a Softail with two caps, loosen the left side cap and see if this remedies the problem. Don't that the cap completely off as you may wind up with a lap full of gasoline. If your bike is a model later than 1996, your bike is probably equipped with a vacuum operated fuel petcock. Make sure the vacuum line is connected to the backside of the petcock and the backside of the carb. To test the petcock, pull the fuel line off the petcock, turn the igntion on and spin the engine with the starter. You should have a full flow of fuel from the petcock. If not, replace the petcock.

Good Luck

Aug 04, 2011 | Harley Davidson FXDL Dyna Low Rider...

1 Answer

I need to replace my Petcock valve on my 1980 Suzuki GS 750 L. I don't know how to replace it. I bought one off of a local bike store called Vicious Cycles Service and it doesn't look like any of...


Jun 25, 2011 | 1980 Suzuki GS 750 L

1 Answer

1981 yamaha 650 what position should the petcok b in? pri res oo on

Fuel petcock position depends entirely on what you're doing with your bike at the time.

In normal use, the fuel petcock should be set to the "on" position and left there. In that position, gasoline will be drawn from the tank only when the engine is running and generating vacuum. This prevents overfilling the carbs when the bike sits.

When you're riding the bike and it starts to sputter, it's time to move the petcock to the "reserve" position so that you can use the last few drops in the tank (on a 650 special, this was either .3 or .5 gallons--can't remember which off the top of my head) to nurse your bike to a gas station. Once you've filled the tank, move the petcock back to "on." The bike will still run fine if you keep the petcock in the reserve position, but when it starts to run low on gas--well, you won't have that emergency reserve to get yourself to the gas station.

If you've managed to run the bike out of gas completely, or if you are getting the bike ready for service after having drained the carbs for the winter, you'll need to move the petcock to the "prime" position for a few minutes. This by-passes the vacuum line cutoff mechanism and lets gasoline flow until the carb floats shut off the fuel valve (this is also how all older motorcycle fuel petcocks operated). A sticky float or poorly sealing float valve in the carb can, however, cause far too much gasoline to drain into the carbs (and into the crankcase, if you're particularly unlucky), which is why you should not leave the petcock in the prime position for an extended period of time.

Some Yamaha XS650 motorcycles (can't tell if that's the model you have) have a tank with two fuel petcocks, one on each side, to fuel each carb. If you have a tank with this setup, be aware that setting one fuel petcock to "prime" will affect both cylinders, as there's a crossover tube to equalize fuel levels between the carbs. Also, for reasons I could never figure out, on one XS650 I owned, moving either petcock to "prime" permitted fuel to flow on a gravity feed out of both petcocks simultaneously. I could never figure out exactly why it was doing that.

Jun 06, 2011 | Yamaha XS 650 G Motorcycles

2 Answers

About after a min of the bike running gas starts flowing into the air box, its alos getting into th oil

First check to see if the oil level in your crankcase is too high. If you have a vacuum petcock malfunction (hole in the diaphragm) or if the fuel petcock is left in the prime position and a float needle sticks, then you get you get gas running into the cylinders, past the rings, and into the oil.
When you start your motorcycle the oil/gas mixture has no place to go, the crankcase is too full, and the mixture exits through the crankcase breather into the air box where it will ruin a paper air filter. Always turn your fuel petcocks off when not driving. If the petcock diaphragms are bad rebuild the petcock with K&L rebuild kits or replace the fuel petcocks with new ones. If the float needles in the carburetors are bad or sticking, take the carburetors apart, clean them, and replace any worn or damaged parts You will have to change your gasoline saturated oil for it will no longer properly lubricate your motor.
Just a note: in 1983 brand new Honda's would fill there engines in gas. All the components were clean and new. This can happen to any machine in any condition at any time. When not riding always turn off the fuel vales never leave them in the prime position.

Mar 21, 2011 | 1982 Yamaha XS 400

1 Answer

I'm trying to find out were the dial should be for on off and reserve

When the dial (called a petcock) is pointed toward the back of the bike, it is in the "off" position. Turning it counter-clockwise to point up is "on," and turning it clockwise to down is "reserve."

Or if you are wondering where the petcock is located on the bike, it depends on the model, but it is usually located between the gas tank and engine/carburator, like this:

Jan 13, 2011 | Honda CBR 600 F Hurricane Motorcycles

1 Answer

Bike runs for a mile then stops

You didn't tell me what year Sportster we're dealing with. So, I'll cover a few general things to check.

If your bike is running for about a mile and then stopping and it does this repeatedly, It sounds like a fuel problem. Most likely it's either the petcock or the fuel tank vent system.

First, If your bike is made after 1996, it probably has the OEM vacuum operated petcock. These petcocks are designed to open when the engine is running and close when it stops. There is a small vacuum line that plugs into the backside of the petcock. When the engine is running, this line supplies the vacuum. Check the line and make sure that it hasn't come loose or cracked. It originates behind the carb and goes upwards underneath the tank to the VOES switch and it has a "Y" in the line that reduces the size and then runs to the backside of your petcock.

If it is intact, you'll need a hand vacuum pump to test the petcock for proper operation. Connect the vacuum pump to the rear of the petcock. Remove the fuel line from the petcock. Now, apply vacuum to the petcock with the pump. Fuel should flow from the petcock. If not, the petcock is either bad or the strainer in the tank is stopped up.

Remove the petcock from the tank. Place a large funnel under the petcock and direct the funnel into an empty gasoline can large enough to hold all the fuel in the tank. Loosen the petcock enough so that the fuel runs out at a rate that you can control. When empty, finish removing the petcock from the tank. Inspect and clean the screen. Now, on the back side of the petcock is a square plate held on by four screws. Remove the screws and remove the plate. Underneath the plate you'll find a diaphragm. Hold the diaphragm up to the a light and gently stretch it and look for holes. If you find a hole, you'll have to replace the diaphragm.

Look inside the petcock where the needle is for trash. At this point you should be able to blow back up through the petcock to check for obstructions. Reassemble petcock and reinstall in the tank.

I've seen these petcocks give a lot of trouble exactly like you're experiencing. I recommend that you replace the petcock with a manually operated petcock. The Pingle petcocks are very high quality units but a bit pricey. If you'd rather stick to an OEM type unit, purchase a petcock from the Harley shop for a 1995 or earlier model. This will be a manually operated petcock. Plug the vacuum hose that you'll no longer need. You'll have to get into the habit of turning the gas on and off whenever you get on or off the bike like the old timers did. But, they'll never let you down.

Now, remove the fuel cap. Wipe it down real well with a clean cloth. Now, make sure your friends are NOT around for this test or you'll never hear the end of it. Put the threaded end of the fuel cap up to your lips and try to **** and blow through the vent. If you cannot, the vent is bad and you're not getting gasoline to your carb due to a buildup of vacuum in the tank.

Good Luck

Jul 15, 2010 | 2000 Harley Davidson XL 1200 C Sportster...

1 Answer

General info: Fuel petcock and oil type.

Your bike has no fuel petcock. Use 15w50 in your engine and 90/130 in your differential. Haynes and Clymer both have manuals for the 1100 twins, one place to get either is here.

May 27, 2009 | 1998 BMW R 1100 RT (ABS)

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