How to: Troubleshoot a bike that wont start - 600RR.net
Troubleshooting Having trouble with your bike? Common know issues or trobuleshooting questions here.

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post #1 of 59 (permalink) Old 09-29-2014, 02:56 AM Thread Starter
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How to: Troubleshoot a bike that wont start

I've been finding that an alarming amount of people are having trouble with bikes that won’t start and most of the threads consist of "My bike won’t start, help". It's extremely difficult to troubleshoot a bike with that little bit of info, but if you follow this guide, you can likely find the problem on your own, or at least get enough info to help us help you.

There are a number of things that can prevent a bike from starting. Almost all of them are electrical. Your first step will be to grab a manual. You will need it to complete the following troubleshooting steps. Your next step should be to develop a systematic approach to your troubleshooting and use known tests (service manual) to rule out possibilities. If you just start shooting in the dark, you may get lucky, but you may never find the answer. I’ve provided ways to test with and without special tools, in many instances here but to do things properly you will need to get a few things.
-Digital Multimeter, capable of testing resistance, voltage and continuity.
-Compression Tester
-Test wires w/alligator clips.

1. Power
This one should be obvious, but your headlights should come on, gauge cluster lights up and POSTs. If you find that none of these things happen, check your fuses. If your headlight fuse is either absent or blown, your bike won’t start. Charge/replace your battery. If you have a multimeter available test your battery for 12v. If it’s low, charge it. If its 0, replace.


2. Fuel Pump and Kill Switch
Is your kill switch set to the "RUN" (down) position? Turn the bike on and flip the switch off/on. You should hear your fuel pump prime. If you do, your kill switch works. Make sure to leave it in the "RUN" position for the rest of this guide. As soon as you turn your key to the "ON" position your fuel pump will make a short 3s whining sound if the kill switch is "on". This is your pump "priming" and sending fuel to your injectors. If this doesn't happen bypass your kill switch by disconnecting the white 7-pin connector on the right side of the bike near the frame (next to the red 2-pin connector). Using a piece of wire and two small alligator clips jump the pins for the White/Black & Black wires on the bike side of the connector (not the switch side). This will bypass your kill switch and should engage your fuel pump as long as your key is in the "ON" position.

If your fuel pump still doesn't prime, test your fuel pump relay (video below) and bench test your fuel pump. To do this, using two wires with alligator clips on both sides connect one to each of the pins inside of the brown connector on the bottom of the fuel pump. Green is ground, Brown is positive. Connect the green to the negative terminal on your battery (known good 12v power source), Brown to the positive terminal. Your fuel pump should prime. If it does not, replace. It's best to do this with the main fuel line coming from the fuel pump disconnected on the injector side and routed into a small container. Once the pump primes you should see a strong steady stream of fuel. If you do not, replace.

Note: Do NOT touch the two clips to each other, they will spark, and spark/fuel does not mix. This test is easiest when you have two people, with the fuel tank and battery removed from the bike completely.


3. Switches and Sensors
Okay, so your kill switch and fuel pump work fine but your bike still won’t start… what now? Your Bank Angle Sensor (BAS), Neutral Position Indicator and Kickstand sensor can all prevent your bike from starting.

To bypass your BAS remove the sensor located underneath your 3rd Eye Headlight and using a wire with alligator clips on each side, connect one clip to the pin for the green wire and the other to the Red/Blue wire on the harness side of the sensor.

Next you’ll need to disconnect your kickstand sensor. The connection can be found by tracing the harness going to your kick stand. All you need to do is disconnect it.

And your Neutral Position Indicator sensor will need to be tested using the method shown in the attached picture.

Once all 3 sensors are bypassed/tested, try to start the bike. Make sure you’re in neutral when you do this. If your bike starts, it’s all a matter of the process of elimination. Put each sensor back 1 at a time and try to start the bike after. When it fails, you know what your problem is. Replace.


4 Ignition, Fuel & Compression
Okay, still wont start? Now what…

There are three things required to make a motor run. Ignition (spark), Fueling and compression. We’ve already done a majority of the testing for fueling in step 2 so we will bypass that for now. Its still possible that your injectors are clogged, but I’ve never seen it happen.

To test ignition, remove each spark plug and visually inspect the electrode. If it’s wet, you fouled your plug and it will need to be replaced. One spark plug at a time, Connect the ignition coil (boot) to the plug and hold the grounding stripe to the frame and attempt to start your bike. Make sure you’re holding the very top of the boot and no part of your (gloved) hand is touching the spark plug itself. Your plug should immediately spark multiple times to the stripe. Hold the starter for about 1-3 seconds each so that you can make sure you get good spark. If you don’t get spark on any particular spark plug, try swapping out the ignition coil with the coil from a different cylinder. You can see where I’m going with this. Replace the ones that need it. If you don’t get spark from any coil, make sure your kill switch is still in the run position and make sure each of your main wiring harness connections for the coils and the primary harness connection are nice and clean/tight.

I like to test compression as I test spark for each cylinder. It’s easier not having to R&R spark plugs multiple times. A compression tester is $20 from Harbor Freight. Keep in mind this is a very cheaply built tester and the design is poor. This style tester has the check valve at the gauge instead at the end of a pressurized hose. Because of this design, the tester will add volume to the cylinder which means your readings will be significantly lower than what’s indicated in the manual. The manual indicates 178psi for each cylinder. These test kits will usually indicate around 120psi. To test compression, thread the tester into the plug hole using the appropriate adapter, hold the throttle at WOT and attempt to start the bike. Give it a chance to turn over a few times to build compression, and you should see the values on the gauge go up. Once it steadies up (usually around 3 complete cycles) you should have your results. You're looking for around a 10% uniformity between each of the cylinders. If your results are significantly below the expected values, take your bike to a shop, you will need motor work. Most likely a blown head gasket or piston rings. If you've gotten to this point, you've likely already seen issues with the bike overheating, losing coolant or other temperature related problems.


That should pretty much cover like 90% of all of the “My bike won’t start threads”. Questions or comments, let me know. Or if I missed anything.

Note: for some of the electrical connections (the female ones) you will need to use a small probe or solid copper wire stripped on each end to bridge the connection.

Always use insulated tools and a gloved have when touching wires.

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Last edited by Ldn; 09-30-2014 at 07:39 PM.
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post #2 of 59 (permalink) Old 09-29-2014, 08:20 AM
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Very informative and easy to undersatnd and follow steps thanks Ldn



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post #3 of 59 (permalink) Old 09-29-2014, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Moe. And thanks for my first sticky.

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post #4 of 59 (permalink) Old 09-29-2014, 06:58 PM
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I wish you were closer to me Ldn. One hell of a smart guy when it comes to bikes.
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post #5 of 59 (permalink) Old 09-29-2014, 07:09 PM
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Fantastic thread, thank you!
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post #6 of 59 (permalink) Old 09-29-2014, 08:27 PM
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Good stuff. Nice writeup.

Note: usually the testing instrument is called a "multimeter". An "ohmmeter" measures resistance. A "voltmeter" measures voltage. An "ammeter" measures current. A "multimeter" measures all three.
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post #7 of 59 (permalink) Old 09-29-2014, 08:54 PM
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There is a lot of confusion about kickstand switches.

They have nothing to do with the fuel pump.

If the side stand is down and the bike is in gear, it locks out the start button and ignition system.
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post #8 of 59 (permalink) Old 09-29-2014, 11:38 PM
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I wish you were closer to me Ldn. One hell of a smart guy when it comes to bikes.
People don't believe me when I tell them he is one of the best mechanics in town. Not only does great knowledge of bikes but he will never leave any job undone and unless he is satisfied. Great write up Armando, great idea to help with some troubleshoot.

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post #9 of 59 (permalink) Old 09-30-2014, 02:24 AM Thread Starter
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How to: Troubleshoot a bike that wont start

Quote:
Originally Posted by checksix View Post
Good stuff. Nice writeup.

Note: usually the testing instrument is called a "multimeter". An "ohmmeter" measures resistance. A "voltmeter" measures voltage. An "ammeter" measures current. A "multimeter" measures all three.

Guess I never really made that connection. Makes sense. I always just referred to them as if they were synonymous, I think it stems from the fact that I've never actually seen a device that only does one thing. They are all Multimeters.

I mean, yeah, I've used micro-ohmmeter a and milli-ohmmeters etc but never really had a use for one.

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Last edited by Ldn; 09-30-2014 at 02:26 AM.
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post #10 of 59 (permalink) Old 09-30-2014, 02:28 AM
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Don't get me started on meters... Lol.

For bikes though, a cheap and simple dmm is good enough
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post #11 of 59 (permalink) Old 09-30-2014, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by wibbly View Post
Don't get me started on meters... Lol.

For bikes though, a cheap and simple dmm is good enough
For those keeping track of acryonyms: DMM = digital multimeter

(as opposed to analog meter with needle, dials, and scales)
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post #12 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-26-2014, 01:51 PM
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Thanks for the great info




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post #13 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-22-2015, 01:23 AM
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Hello Fellow RR Enthusiasts not trying to be cocky or come off arrogant but this isn't my first rodeo with any of these repairs or steps IN trouble shooting this problem. And i wvirginia10850ent through every one multiple times now. So my question for this super sticky dead thread is why will it still not start ? All I get out of it is a big click out of the starter relay.

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post #14 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-22-2015, 02:11 AM Thread Starter
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That should pretty much cover like 90% of all of the “My bike won’t start threads”. Questions or comments, let me know. Or if I missed anything.
The thread wasn't meant to be an end-all be-all to troubleshooting threads. But, for your problem. The click, is it coming from the relay or the starter?

If it's coming from the starter, than there's a good chance it, or a gear in your starter clutch, needs to be replaced.

If it's coming from your relay, you need to take a second look at your battery and the relay. Put a meter on the battery and see what it reads with the key off, on and when you hit the starter. If it drop below 7ish when you try to start the bike I would replace the battery. Also, lookup the specs on your battery and determine the CCA it should be putting out and test it, if it's below the required amperage it will cause your relay to click. Charge it and test it again. If it still fails to put out the require amperage, replace it.

The tricky thing about batteries is that they can read +12v but fail a draw test. Also, a battery can seem like it's fully charged, or instantly charge when put on a charger, but that typically means a cell is dead.

Also, I've seen quite a few cheap batteries dead, brand new. So... test it. Don't just assume that it's good if it's new.

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post #15 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-22-2015, 02:33 AM
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Thanks for any help I advance

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post #16 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-23-2015, 09:34 AM
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Hi all...my bike "FI" not lit and fuel pump not priming when ignition key at ON.

Has anyone experienced this before...any ideas how to solved?

Tq

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post #17 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-23-2015, 10:06 AM
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Are your clocks showing any movement when you turn your key?



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post #18 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-23-2015, 11:09 AM
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Finally, somebody posted this!!


You forgot that it could be a shorted or bad ECM/ECU .. Swapping it out with a buddies is best way to figure out
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post #19 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-23-2015, 12:51 PM
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Finally, somebody posted this!!


You forgot that it could be a shorted or bad ECM/ECU .. Swapping it out with a buddies is best way to figure out
Or the best way to burn your buddy's ecu if that was not the problem! Hahahahaha



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post #20 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-23-2015, 08:02 PM
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Are your clocks showing any movement when you turn your key?
What sort of movement? It comes up normally, if that what you mean...along with other LED on the meter instrument. Just the FI not lit and no fuel pump sound. I've done all the troubleshooting steps according to the workshop manual and al, checks out fine.

Could any short/open circuit cause the ECU to burned?

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post #21 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-23-2015, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by qteter View Post
Finally, somebody posted this!!


You forgot that it could be a shorted or bad ECM/ECU .. Swapping it out with a buddies is best way to figure out
My friend's has a Japanese model, come with HISS, mine is the US/CANADA model(no HISS)..is the ECU compatible ?

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post #22 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-23-2015, 08:47 PM
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Plug and play? no... U need his coded keys and the hiss receiver, and presumably some changes to the harness

2009 cbr 600rr
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post #23 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-24-2015, 03:14 AM
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Plug and play? no... U need his coded keys and the hiss receiver, and presumably some changes to the harness
Okay..don't want to do that, as i'm afraid it could fry his ecu as well...how about if my ecu(no hiss) plug on his bike(with hiss)..

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post #24 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-24-2015, 06:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RudyCBR View Post
What sort of movement? It comes up normally, if that what you mean...along with other LED on the meter instrument. Just the FI not lit and no fuel pump sound. I've done all the troubleshooting steps according to the workshop manual and al, checks out fine.

Could any short/open circuit cause the ECU to burned?
OK... Try this...

Kill switch in OFF position...

Then you turn the key into ignition..

The turn the kill switch to RUN position...

If nothing happens, you might have a Kill switch problem



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post #25 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-25-2015, 12:11 AM
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OK... Try this...

Kill switch in OFF position...

Then you turn the key into ignition..

The turn the kill switch to RUN position...

If nothing happens, you might have a Kill switch problem
Yup..tried that, only the "Engine Stop relay" click, no FI lit up and no fuel pump priming. Also tried bypass the kill switch(by looping the black & black/white wires at the connector)...still nothing.

Found that there's one wire WHITE/BLACK(METER ILLUMI/TAIL) has melted in several places. I've traced the wire, and it goes into the black socket of the ECU.



Fixed the melted wire, and followed the PGM-FI symptoms troubleshooting.

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post #27 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-25-2015, 05:59 AM
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Any results on all the tests and after fixing the wire?

I believe there isn't enough power coming thru the relay, thus you can hear it clicking, but the engine won't move a bit.

Have you checked R/R ??

Have you checked battery ?? (Sillly question I know, but people tend to forget the basics)

Have you tried pushing the bike to start her?



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post #28 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-25-2015, 07:49 AM
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All the tests under diagnosis procedure #1 checks out fine. That leads me to diagnosis procedure #2 on page 6-42 i.e MIL CIRCUIT TROUBLESHOOTING, I did ground the White/Blue wire then turn the Ignition ON as instructed in the manual, and the MIL(FI) lit up and the manual suggest to replace the ECM.

Yes..Before fixed, the speedometer and fuel gauge still lit even the ignition key is off..have to disconnect the battery to turned them off, after fixed it gone as usual...

I think the power thru the relay is enough, as it can cranks steadily but wont fire up.

What is R/R?

Battery is healthy. Cranks very fast.

Yes, tried pushed her but to no avail.

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post #29 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-25-2015, 08:00 AM
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What is R/R?
Regulator/Rectifier
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post #30 of 59 (permalink) Old 03-25-2015, 10:07 AM
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Location: Madrid - Spain
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If you wanna check if its a battery issue without having to actually change the battery you can always jump-start your bike using your car's battery...

I did it more than once on my 03.... It will give the bike the impression that there's a battery and it's full...



Honda CBR600RR 2003 - Gone! (the blond)

Honda CBR600RR 2007 - On the road! (the brunette)
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