Question about BMW Motorcycles

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Cold start difficulty

Much difficulty starting this bike when it is cold. I tickle the carbs for 2 seconds, push the electric starter button, engine spins but does not start. It takes 5 or 6 long start attempt to get the bike started, then it takes minutes before it will idle. Bike is a 1970 BMW R50/5 with only 16,000 miles. Bike is in excellent, unrestored condition. Once the bike starts and warms up there is no problem starting it again. Apparently the person I bought it from got it from the original owner. The person who sold it to me replaced the plugs with NGK plugs and a Chinese battery. I will restore this bike with all original parts. Where do I begin to tackle the cloud start issues?

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  • BMW Master
  • 57,723 Answers

Hi, Mark probably all it needs is a proper tune up otherwise the usual suspects are:
1. Enrichner system plugged, not properly functioning or improperly operated.
2. Fuel overflow.
3. Restricted fuel supply.
4. Gas cap and or fuel tank not venting properly.
5. Plugged slow jet or passages.
6. Inlet system air leak.
For more information about your issue please visit the websites below. Good luck and have nice day.
Just purchased 1970 BMW R50 5 Owned many motorcycles but this is my first...
BMW Repair Manual R50 5 R60 5 R75 5 Repro
BMW Motorcycle Parts Fiche OEM BMW Motorcycle Parts online 1970 present BMW¬rack=1

Btw, I’m available to help over the phone in case u need at

Posted on Jan 05, 2016


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  • 2 Answers


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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

  • 2336 Answers

SOURCE: Starter dragging problem

You added an extra ground but did nothing with the positive cable. It's time to replace that one, possibly using better quality cable then stock.

Posted on Nov 20, 2008

  • 29 Answers

SOURCE: Starter dragging problem

Two things come to mind, other than an internal problem with the starter. Diconnect the battery and take the small cover off the solenoid. pull the plunger and spring out and check the 2 internal contacts and the copper washer on the plunger for a badly burned or worn condition. Rebuild kits are available for some models. If not, you can dress up the contacts and the washer. Push the plunger in by hand and see that it hits both contacts at the same time.
Another possibility is the starter clutch. Usually when these fail the starter spins without turning the engine over, but I have seen them cause the symptom you described. Replacement involves removing the starter and dissasembly of the drive end of the starter, but since you were savvy enough to take the initial steps you mentioned, I know you can handle it.

Posted on Dec 25, 2008

  • 7 Answers

SOURCE: Engine cutting out when open throttle. YAMAHA NEOS 50cc MOPED

i had a simuler problem with my honda cr 250 moto-x bike it would start fine and you could keep it ticking over with the throttle(i have deliberatly unscrewed the tickover in case i come off,it will cut out) when i got on it,it would go for about 400-500 metres then splutter and die and not start again for around 5 mins. i immediatly knew it was a fueling problem. so after stripping the carb and giving it a good clean out i was baffled when i got back on and it still done the same. i then dismantled the fuel tap cleaned it all out and put it back together and tested it,it was very very slow so i unsrewed my fuel cap a little and was greated with the familur gush it should deliver. problem solved! the vent in my fuel cap had crystalised up,so the fuel was coming out but the air was not getting in,causing a vacuum and slowing down the flow and basically emptying the carb quicker than it can fill back up!!! clean your carb,fuel tap and any vents in your cap or tank. if this does not work then your bike must be over fueling or low on compression.

Posted on Sep 18, 2009

  • 4565 Answers

SOURCE: 2009 Dyna Super Glide Custom starting problems:

Does the start quit turning or does it continue to sound like it's turning? If the starter quits turning, I'd suspect the battery. Take it out and have it tested. Usually no charge for this service at most any auto parts house.

If the starter sounds like it's still turning but the engine isn't, that's an indication that the "starter clutch" is bad inside the starter. This is the "one way bearing" unit that turns the engine to start it but then freewheels when the engine starts. I've seen many of them go bad. If the bike is still under warranty, take it back to the dealer before the warranty runs out. At least have a documented complaint of the problem within the warranty period. That way, if the warranty runs out you may can still get it fixed under the warranty.

Posted on Oct 09, 2009

Testimonial: "Very informative and explained the possible issues in plain English very well. I will check your suggestions follow your advice. Thank You very much."

  • 4 Answers

SOURCE: Fault with electric start on my Suzuki GSF 250 Bandit

Check that the clutch is in, kick stand up, and neutral light ablaze. Then try your start button. When you had it running and hit the button, the starter engaged at a slower speed then the bike engine was turning, which led to the stall. The stall means your starter works. If the starter works when the engine is running then it is wiring. Check your kick stand wiring along with the clutch wires which plug in on the handlle bar or where the clutch cable enters the engine.

Posted on Oct 23, 2009

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'87 Yamaha ProV 50: Will cold start and idle well. After a full throttle 1-2 min run will begin & continue running very rough near idle. Will die without addtl throttle imput.

Hi Roderick:
I'm not familiar with your engine configuration, but on some of the older bikes, vibration eventually can cause a wire to break in the coil. When the engine is cold, the wires make contact and it runs, but as soon as it gets hot, the connection is broken or compromised and the spark quits or drives you crazy.
Since your bike runs when cold and quits when hot, I'd be looking for electrical rather than fuel problems.
Hope this helps.

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Difficulty starting cold engine 2002 yamaha roadstar

Yep, yamaha's must've been built in southern Japan. They are cold hearted, designed lean to meet EPA rules. What worked for me was going up 2 steps on the primary jets, one step on the main. I lost a hair of mileage, but the bike started better and gained mid range performance. Also, They don't use a conventional choke, like a butterfly valve that closes, rather they have an enrichment circuit. Be sure the cable actuating it is working freely, and replacing the O rings where the actuating piston goes into the carb helps too.

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I have a DRZ400S, when you try to crank it it will start as long as you hold the start button down release the button and it dies.. As long as I hold the button down the start button for electric star


I presume you mean that the engine fires whilst the starter is pressed and continues to fire so long as the starter motor is keep pressed. If the engine is firing it sounds as if the electrical side of the ignition is o.k. and you may have a fuel problem. If the bike has been lying for a while it could be the carb jets are partially blocked and the carb needs cleaning. If you've just bought it check to see if the idle screw hole is still blanked off. If the plug in the bottom of the carb has been removed it is likely someone has been messing and altered the slow running jet setting. Single cylinder bikes can be a swine to start if carburation has been tampered with. Thumper Talk is a good site foe information.
Hope this helps.

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Do you get anything at the push button? Might be worth checking the condition of the battery, the starter solenoid, the main fuse and the starter itself as this sounds like an electrical issue. See if you can get the battery tested 'under load' as the cold can make old batteries sluggish.

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Hi, Here is my problem with my BMW R1200C. I wanted to start the bike in a cold winter morning ( I had used the bike 2 days before without problems) but when I pushed the ignition button, the bike...

Hi T_mutis, it should be noted that in order to "PROPERLY" diagnosis any electric starter issue it is "IMPERATIVE" that you begin with a fully charged battery 12.5 volts or better and be able to pass a proper load test, and the usual suspects are:
1. Battery terminals have loose or corroded connections.
2. Battery cables faulty due corroded or broken internal wiring at the cable connector especially the "NEGATIVE" cable which needs to be checked at "BOTH" ends.
3. Battery voltage, 12.5 volts or better,to the main circuit breaker to the ignition switch to the security/ignition fuse to the TSM/TSSM module to the engine stop/run switch to the starter button to the starter relay to the green wire that connects to the starter solenoid has dropped more than 1/2 volt.
4. With a voltmeter connected to the battery, the ignition switch in the on position, the kill switch in the run position, the starter button depressed, starter engagement should not bring voltage below 8-9 volts.
If a lower voltage is produced a proper battery load test should be performed with a load tester to validate battery integrity or battery replacement.
5. Faulty starter relay, check continuity.
6. Faulty starter solenoid, check contact plate and shoes for excessive electrical erosion/etching, refurbish as necessary or invert contact plate and use the virgin backside. Check contact shoes for being loose. Replace solenoid if the negative function is still a final outcome.
7. Faulty starter, bench test starter with a 12-volt battery if negative function check, decontaminate and undercut armature commutator segments as necessary, check segments with an ohm-meter probe each one and the segment next to it for shorts. Have the armature tested with a growler and field coils, and brush plate with an ohm-meter for opens, shorts or grounds. Replace brushes if less than .438" It is generally cheaper to overhaul/refurbish a starter motor than buy a new one.
For more information about your issue, please visit the websites below. Good luck and have a nice day.
Starter solenoid relay
How to diagnose and recognise starter motor problems
1997 2004 BMW R850C R1200C Service Manual Moto Data Project
BMW Motorcycle Parts Fiche OEM BMW Motorcycle Parts online 1970 present BMW¬rack=1

Btw, I’m available to help over the phone in case u need at

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1 Answer

I can't get my 2007 Harley XL1200C to start in the cold

Since you didn't say anything about the engine not cranking over, I'm going to assume that the engine is turning over fine and everything else is as well. Some people do experience trouble getting their bike started on cold mornings because they are not familiar with how the enricher circuit works.

The enricher circuit works differently from the old fashioned "choke" found on older bikes. To get the enricher to work as it should, the throttle must be completely closed. A lot of people get ready to start their bikes and open the throttle just a bit. Do not do this with an enricher like your bike is equipped with. If you do, the air the engine draws in does not pass through the enricher passage but rather through the carb throat itself and then the mixture is too lean to get the bike to start.

The way I tell everyone to start the bike is first turn on the fuel at the petcock. If you're bike has the original petcock, it is vacuum operated and you don't have to turn it on, it'll turn itself on. Then, prime the carb by twisting the throttle grip two or three times. Then, turn the switch on and with the throttle completely closed, push the "start" button. The engine should fire right up. If not, twist the throttle one more time and try again. If it doesn't start up then, you may have a problem.

If you get the engine flooded and you smell gasoline strongly. Turn the throttle wide open, then push and hold the start button. Do not hold the button for over 15 seconds at a time under any circumstances or you may burn up the starter.

If this doesn't work, please repost and give me more information about what the bike is or is not doing.

Good Luck

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I have a 1981 Suzuki 750 motorcycle. Upon arriving home from work, I fire it up without any problems, take it for a nice ride, and come back home. If I try to start it immediately afterwards, it may...

It doesn't sound like a carb problem to me. If the bike will not turn over when pressing the starter button, the problem is electrical and tied to the starter solinoid, starter button, starter motor or wire connections.

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1 Answer

Fault with electric start on my Suzuki GSF 250 Bandit

Check that the clutch is in, kick stand up, and neutral light ablaze. Then try your start button. When you had it running and hit the button, the starter engaged at a slower speed then the bike engine was turning, which led to the stall. The stall means your starter works. If the starter works when the engine is running then it is wiring. Check your kick stand wiring along with the clutch wires which plug in on the handlle bar or where the clutch cable enters the engine.

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3 Answers

My bike wont start

I have the same problem and same model (2008 KTM Adventure 990 S) so injection, not carburator.
I didn't start the engine for three months. I bought a brand new battery. Lights, fuel pump and everything seemed to be ok at the first key turn. But when you try to turn it even more to definitely start the engine, ignition fails. I think the electric engine of the starter is not working properly.
I tried to start the engine driving down the slope and releasing the clutch in 2nd gear at aprox 30 km/h and it started successfully.
I left it idle until became hot (15 min aprox) and the turned it off.
however it didn't start again when trying the ignition button.
Any ideas?

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1 Answer

Starting and general running

The fuel system should just run directly to the carbs through filters. The starter though, sounds as though the cannot turn the engine over. And if it was push started and didn't run.....then I would guess there are internal engine issues. That is just a worst case prognosis. There are a few options otherwise. Try a new starter. Make sure the battery is fully charged. If that bike uses a coil system then the battery has to have a charge in order for the coils to keep the bike running.

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