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Motor won't start when temp is too cold


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I need some help. I have a 1998 Sportster LX which is new to me this season. It is also my first motor with a carb. The last few times I took it out it started right up, but the temp outside was above 80. The few times I tried to start it in the low 60's, it would just crank over. I know the carb needs to be rebuilt (can not get it to idle less than 1000 rpms, regardless of what I do with the adjustment screws). However, I would think it should still start. I tried pumping the throttle and not pumping the throttle and the carb is getting fuel. The one day I waited until it warmed up and the motor fired right up. My concern is I may not see the temp get into the 70 much and I want to winterize it.

Could the carb be the problew even though it is getting gas? Also, it has the 4150 Holley with electric choke and the choke is closed.

Thanks,

Brian

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double check the choke again. Try and check fuel pressure as well. Might have low fuel pressure. Try spraying a little carb cleaner in the carb and see if it starts cold that way.

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Thanks Medicdiver,

Just to add, I went home at lunch time and the air temp is 69 -70. The motor fired on the first crank. I will still pick up a can of cleaner and see if it starts cold. I'll try either tonight when the sun goes down or first thing in the morning. I am wondering if the damp air in the morning and at night my be contributing. When I have trouble it was in the morning and when the sun started to go down.

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Are you really sure it's a fuel problem? You said the carb is getting fuel. Any chance it's an ignition problem? Have you looked at the distributor cap? Condensation inside the cap would cause a no start problem like this too. If the cap & rotor are in good shape, then just spray some WD40 in there, then let it dry out.

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Bill,

I do not think it is a fuel problem, since the carb is loaded with fuel. However, the person I bought the boat from said he had the carb rebuilt in the beginning of the season and it was idling high ever since. I am going to rebuild it myself so I am sure it is right. If there was a problem I wasn't sure the carb was the problem when it is cold. I am leaning more to your thoughts about it being electrical. I took the distributor off the last time and cleaned off the connectors. At that time I did not see any moister. We it doesn't start it seems like it isn't getting any spark. That part was confusing me since it was only when it was cold. After I wrote the above reply it hit me it was only in the morning and the vening. The morning has "morning dew" and at night latly the temp is really dropping. I was planning on changing the cap, rotor and wires as my spring tune up. I'll try the WD-40 for now. I am assumming that will absorb any moisture if any?

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Yep, you got it, Brian. Rapid changes in temperature will cause condensation. WD40 is named that because it was the 40th recipe for a "water displacing" formula.

Spray it inside your cap, and in all the ignition wire boots at the cap & spark plugs. Also check your connections at the coil are clean. My guess is this will make your problems disappear.

Better yet, replace anything that doesn't look nice & knew. Once your ignition problems are over, try bumping the idle down at the carb. I'd be willing to bet the engine will idle better at that point.

Good luck.

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I have had the same problem with an older Skier recently. To get it started I have had to hold the choke open wile cranking. This is the cause of some embarrassment at the ramp so I will rebuild carb in off season.

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I need some help. I have a 1998 Sportster LX which is new to me this season. It is also my first motor with a carb. The last few times I took it out it started right up, but the temp outside was above 80. The few times I tried to start it in the low 60's, it would just crank over. I know the carb needs to be rebuilt (can not get it to idle less than 1000 rpms, regardless of what I do with the adjustment screws). However, I would think it should still start. I tried pumping the throttle and not pumping the throttle and the carb is getting fuel. The one day I waited until it warmed up and the motor fired right up. My concern is I may not see the temp get into the 70 much and I want to winterize it.

Could the carb be the problew even though it is getting gas? Also, it has the 4150 Holley with electric choke and the choke is closed.

Thanks,

Brian

The choke adjustment may be out of wack - loosen it up and adjust the electric choke until the butterfly is just cracked open. Once the engine is warm it should be open all the way, if not ( when its warm ) adjust the butterfly again so it is just at the wide open position. Otherwise try the idle enrichment solinoid. ( a valve inside the carb that takes care of rich / lean idle & idle speed )The rubber gets old and they leak causing it not to do its job.

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