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FJRF011: Fast Starter Syndrome


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#21 BwanaDik

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 08:08 AM

I've experienced this phenomenon twice in 90k miles. Both times I had come home from a multi-day ride and parked the FJR for a week or more. The first time I don't remember the weather, but the second time it happened I had been riding in heavy rain all day and put in in the garage wet.


This is exactly what happened to me. Long hard multiday ride and then parked for an extended period. Has happened twice in 45,000 miles. WOT and a long run of the starter and it finally coughed and started. Some smoke and fuel smell. I vote for the leaky injectors. Similar problem on wifey's BMW car was traced to leaky injector.

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#22 03HiYoSilver

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 09:36 AM

Once in 50k. Couple of years ago, nice weather and believe it was after a short start up. Tried wide open throttle after smelling gas, but it didn't start. Went into self diagnostic function 30-31 to cycle ignition coils-spark plugs. Heard a slight "woof" with one coil. Then it started???


Wow, this is a good one to keep an eye on. Thanks for sharing this new train of thought.

#23 mcatrophy

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 12:53 PM

... Tried wide open throttle after smelling gas, but it didn't start. ...

How long did you try for? On my '06 I once started it then stopped it (probably forgotten to kiss SWMBO goodbye). Went to start it again after a few minutes, Cussing myself because I knew this might happen.

I used the WTO technique, but it took what seemed like a couple of minutes of continuous cranking before it coughed and spluttered, ran on a couple of cylinders before finally racing healthily.

It went against my instincts to have the starter motor running for so long, but that's what it took, and it worked.

(And the battery was still good when I sold the bike after four and a half years.)

So maybe you didn't try for long enough?

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#24 Behmer

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 05:18 PM

Here I thought I had the only bike that would do this. I would say I've had this happen about 10 times since new. Like others it happens after sitting for at least a week or more. Last summer I ended figuring out a little more about the problem (at least with my bike). If I disconnected the fuel pump the bike would want to start. Plug the fuel pump back in and it would just crank again. My fix to get it to start was to hold the starter button in and then turn the key on. Got it to go that way. Took a little to get it cleaned out though. I think for me it must be an injector leaking fuel when the fuel pump is energized. Towards the end of last year I ran a few tanks of gas with Yamaha's Ring Free and the one time I tried to start it up this winter (after sitting for two months) to my surprise it popped right off. I think I'll run a few tanks a year with Ring Free and see if it happens again. Bikes got 130+ thousand on it.
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#25 03HiYoSilver

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 06:15 PM

Here I thought I had the only bike that would do this. I would say I've had this happen about 10 times since new. Like others it happens after sitting for at least a week or more. Last summer I ended figuring out a little more about the problem (at least with my bike). If I disconnected the fuel pump the bike would want to start. Plug the fuel pump back in and it would just crank again. My fix to get it to start was to hold the starter button in and then turn the key on. Got it to go that way. Took a little to get it cleaned out though. I think for me it must be an injector leaking fuel when the fuel pump is energized. Towards the end of last year I ran a few tanks of gas with Yamaha's Ring Free and the one time I tried to start it up this winter (after sitting for two months) to my surprise it popped right off. I think I'll run a few tanks a year with Ring Free and see if it happens again. Bikes got 130+ thousand on it.


Nice Diagnosis...Thanks for Sharing!

#26 ShinyPartsUp

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 07:35 PM

FWIW I parked my 2006 FJR on September 16, 2010 with a full tank and Stabil (2 ounces). I started the bike in the garage for a couple minutes in December and shut it down, Next time was today. Started right up. Battery was in the bike and had been on a charger. Gas was Summer Blend from early September. Just a data point for folks.
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#27 FJRMaineiac

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 05:41 AM

I didn't have the 'fast starter' symptoms that Iggy posted, but I did have a hard start problem this spring. My '04 is always stored in a relatively warm environment through the winter, and this spring it got a new battery (I am giving one of those "Tru-Gel" batteries a try - I'll post my thoughts in another thread as I get some experience with it).

After it would start on the first several tries, I decided to pull the side covers off to look for any air obstructions. I have an industrious chipmunk in my yard that loves to pack my airbox with acorns in the fall. I thought I had already removed them all, but I decided to double check anyway. Airbox looked good, as did the air filter.

I used the ignition on / off cycle (to ensure the fuel rail was fully pressurized), the throttle cycling and WFO throttle methods again and it finally started. I was expecting it to run rough (perhaps indicating that it was time for new spark plugs again, but I just changed them last spring). To my surprise, it ran as smoothly as it did last fall. My thoughts are that after it sets for an extended period of time, there just isn't enough fuel getting to the cylinders when you first try to start it. The throttle cycling and WFO eventually get that magic amount into the cylinders for it to touch off. I wish I could find a more scientific (repeatable, reliable) method to make sure it doesn't happen again, but at least for now, this method *seems* to work.
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#28 FJRMaineiac

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 05:52 PM

So I purchased a new set of spark plugs but haven't installed them yet. I got to thinking that this is still the same tank of gas that I put it away with last fall, and even with gas stabilizer, it may be going bad. Could this be a case of the ethanol causing problems? The bike was stored in a relatively warm, stable environment all winter. Still, I can't think of anything else that has changed since last season.

Thoughts?
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#29 Fred W

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 02:53 AM

I got to thinking that this is still the same tank of gas that I put it away with last fall, and even with gas stabilizer, it may be going bad. Could this be a case of the ethanol causing problems? The bike was stored in a relatively warm, stable environment all winter. Still, I can't think of anything else that has changed since last season.

Thoughts?


Unless the gas was marginal when you pumped it in there last fall, I don't really think it should be causing any problems for you now. I have multiple vehicles that get laid up each year for the winter doldrums. The most I ever do is full the tanks to the top (to minimize air space that might facilitate condensation) and usually add a fuel stabilizer or (this year) SeaFoam. Then just keep the batteries charged and NOT touch the starter button until I intend on actually riding it.

On fuel injected bikes the fuel in the rail never drains back or evaporates. I know that I am just one data point, but each of my 3 fuel injected bikes started up this spring just like I had ridden them the day before. That was after ~ 3 months of down time (this year). Same story in previous years. In roughly 3 decades of the same routine I've never had stale fuel cause a no start issue. YMMV

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#30 FJRMaineiac

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 08:38 AM

Hmm. Maybe my problem is just temperature related. Each time I have had difficulty starting it this season (and now that I think about it - late last season), the thermometer was south of 40 degrees. This morning, temps were warm (60's) and it started up as normal. Might have to invest in a block heater for my scoot ;)
Just my opinion, but its the only one I've got.
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#31 Behmer

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 01:52 PM

Had it happen again last Saturday. Bike had been sitting for 10 days since last being used after the IBR. Hit the starter and it fires for a split second then dies and then just cranks over. Turn the key off - hold in the starter button - turn the key on and it starts to run, although poorly, until it can clean itself out. Sure seems like an injector sticks open and floods it out. I'll run another dose of cleaner through it. It's been about 20000 since it last had any.
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#32 SkooterG

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 09:41 PM

Had it happen again last Saturday. Bike had been sitting for 10 days since last being used after the IBR. Hit the starter and it fires for a split second then dies and then just cranks over. Turn the key off - hold in the starter button - turn the key on and it starts to run, although poorly, until it can clean itself out. Sure seems like an injector sticks open and floods it out. I'll run another dose of cleaner through it. It's been about 20000 since it last had any.

It's just pissed off at you for running the shit out of it for 11 days! :lol:
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#33 AuburnFJR

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 06:13 AM

My '06 has done it twice now. Once last year and once this year. Both times, bike had been sitting about 2 weeks since last ridden, half full tank. Didn't put Sta-bil in because I knew I would be riding again soon. When I do put Sta-bil in, it has always started right up.

Both times, WFO throttle to start. Took about 20 seconds to catch and then sputtered until it cleaned out in a few seconds. Didn't notice any difference in starter speed either time.

Could be a leaky injector, but I have to wonder if the shitty 10% blend fuel has something to do with it too. Possibly wearing fuel system componets. When I put the frankentank II on the bike, I swapped over the fuel pump, the assembly was very clean as was the inside of the stock tank.

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#34 Blue Crab

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 11:17 AM

I had a similar issue with my Ducati and it turned out to be the fuel pump relays.

I'd go to start the bike and she would just keep turning over... no ignition. Eventually, the bike would start. I was told that the fuel injectors could be leaking fuel into the cylinders thus flooding the engine.

Then, one day, when I turned the key, I realized that I didn't hear the whir of the fuel pump. And, sure enough, fast starter and no ignition. I turned the key on and off several times (relays were clicking, but no fuel pump whir) until I finally heard the pump whirring away... hit the starter and bam! Started right up. My guess is, that in the past, the contacts would eventually engage due to the vibration of the starter.

So, I replaced both fuel pump relays and haven't had the problem since.

Could be the same issue with the FJR. Always listen for the whir of the fuel pump before hitting the starter.

Edited by Blue Crab, 21 July 2011 - 11:19 AM.

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#35 supertankerm60a3

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 08:42 PM

I had this same issue today. I left for two weeks in the Philippines then was knocked flat for another 2 weeks when I got home with Dengue Fever. Silver was not happy with the 4 weeks of neglect. It took over ten minutes to get it to start. I had to alternate between long cranks with alternating throttle positions and cycling the key off and on to get the fuel moving. It did have an odd sound to its cranking that sounded like it was suffering from low compression. after it started though everything got back to normal after a few seconds of running.

Edited by supertankerm60a3, 23 October 2011 - 08:56 PM.


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#36 Colin24

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 12:59 PM

Issue Shorthand Name: "Fast Starter Syndrome"

Symptoms: (some or all)

  • Bike won't start
  • Bike has sat for a period of time (perhaps days or weeks)
  • Hit the starter and in the first 1/2 a second it just doesn't sound quite right.....and after a couple seconds not a hint the bike firing.
  • Starter seems a slightly higher pitch.
  • Starter seems to spin a little faster than usual.
Cause: Unknown


Okay. this is interesting as it happened to me just last week. Here's my scenario.

  • The bike had sat for 2-3 weeks in a heated garage (temps ranged from +5c to +15c)
  • Pressing the starter and the bike turned over as usual for maybe a half second
  • Suddenly the pitched change and the starter was spinning much faster.
  • The behaviour of the bike was very much like the starter was not even engaging the engine. The usual pronounced "chuffing" that occurs when a bike is starting was almost gone. But there was still a faint hint of it.
  • I had my Dad try starting the bike and I went around to the back and put my hand over both exhausts. There was virtually no air pressure coming out the exhaust. And in fact I could feel a slight suction, then a slight pressure (and I do mean slight) in both directions as the starter was spinning.
  • I Gave up on the bike. Worked on some other stuff in the shop came back and tried again one last time about 15 minutes later. It fired up without a problem.

To my mind this has nothing to do with sticking valves or flooding. If it was related to a sticky valve the bike should have still started on 3 out of 4 cylinders. If it was flooded you would either get hyrdaulic lock on one cylinder and nothing would move. Or the bike would just be stubborn to start (but still turn over at the same rate and with the usual chuffing).

First a bit of background.

The starter clutch on motorcycles is of a "slipper" clutch designed. (Dunno if that is the techinical term). While designs may differ usually involves two surfaces/gears joined with ball/roller bearings and a sloped surface. The whole thing works such that if one shaft spins faster than the other (the engine spins faster than the starter) then the ball rolls to the deep end of the slope and nothing happens. If the other shaft spins faster it forces the ball into the narrow end of the sloped surface (wedging it in) causing the slower shaft to engine the normally faster moving shaft. This is why on a motorcycle you can thumb the starter when the engine is running and do no damage. (On a car there is an actual gear that has to engage, and if you hit the starter when engine is running you get grinding noises, not good).


So here is my guess that I made at the time, and it still seerms to fit.

I think in these cases (or at least mine) the balls or roller bearings for whatever reasons were not "wedging" in. Effectively meaning the starter motor was not engaging the engine.

I think in my case there was just enough friction to cause the engine to slightly engage but as the compression of the cylinder built up it overpowered the slipper clutch before it could turn it over, the crank then rolled backwards with the residual compression (same effect when turning the crank by hand). This is where the slight suction\pressure cycle was being generated at the rear exhaust.

And the reason why the slipper starter clutch did not engage? I dunno! I am guessing anything from lack of oil cause it sat a bit. Or maybe too slippery an oil (Although the oil I am running is approvied for wet clutch motorcycles). Or possibly the metal parts (ball, wedge and I think there is a spring in there) are getting worn and polished with age (the bike does have 178,000 km -- 110,000 miles).

All the above is my $0.02, IMHO, pure conjecture, etc etc etc. Especially since the problem happened only once and I haven't had a chance to pull anything apart and inspect anything.

- Colin

#37 McRuss

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 08:11 AM

I had this happen three times on my '04, each time after it had set for two weeks or more without starting. Found as others that just holding the starter button down until it starts to sputter and fart and finally runs.

BUT....it just happened to my '09AE after it sat for two days! It has always been a quick starter but Tuesday morning, at 28 degrees (shouldn't be a factor, has started just fine in cold before) it went into Fast Starter Syndrome. Battery is only a year old and it held until it started. So now what? Length of time sitting was not a factor, must be something else involved here. And none of the suggested reasons apply to the '09AE.

AHA! I went back and read the posts more closely. Someone mentioned starting and stopping without a warm up. I did that! I did the Trooper Mod on Saturday and started it up, then shut it off. That might have caused flooding.

Edited by McRuss, 28 December 2011 - 08:41 AM.

Accidentally traded the 2004 for a 2009 AE!

#38 txvoyager

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 09:56 AM

I returned from my 48Plus! Ride on the 27th of May and have not touched the bike until today due to a HS graduation and a family vacation.

She has NEVER failed to start immediately, before this last ride or during. This morning when I went to start her up, the pump seemed to sound normal, as did the starter, but no start. Plugs are fine. Everything else seemed normal, but just she just turned and turned...

Found this thread and tried the start while moving throttle position suggestions here and eventually she fired. Running normally. No weird smells, exhaust or uneven running. Let her warm up to 3 bars and turned her off. Started immediately upon retry.

Just wanted to add another FJR's experience with this issue and to say a heartfelt Thank You for the information in this forum. The depth of info and assistance here continues to amaze me.

Most important lesson learned? Never let her sit long enough to ever have this issue again. She does love to run...

Again, Thanks...

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#39 Graham Downunder

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 11:57 PM

After having reading the above posts I have to say there are probably several different causes for similar problems .
Fuel pump not presurising the system correctly ( cycling key shoud fix this )
poor quality fuel (E10?) can affect any engine ( injectore cleaner and better fuel )
Fuel injectors leaking fuel into cylinder and removeing oil on the cylinder walls ( injector cleaner ,better fuel, maybe some top end lubricant like Morleys added to fuel occasionally may help )

One thing that no one has discussed is a dirty set of contacts in the starter button .This is not that uncommon on Vstroms and other bikes . I believe you get erratic voltage drain because of high frequency contact /no contact caused by the switch. This can play tricks on the computer and relays . Unfortunatly it very hard to test this happening as it may only happen a few times in a bikes life . Solution is to inspect and clean the contacts in the switch .I have to say I found slight signs of arcing on my Vstrom ,cleaned the contacts and the bike has started better since . Probably do the fjr tommorrow .

#40 BikerGeek99

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 07:18 AM

Had this happen to me yesterday.

Scenario: the last 2 times the bike was run, it was for maybe 30 seconds, definitely not long enough to really warm up, then it sat for a week in the garage.

When I hit the starter yesterday (I did hear the fuel thingy make its noise), it initially caught - BRIEFLY - then did the fast starter thing. I was pissed and in a hurry, so I just pushed it aside and, for good measure, hooked up the battery tender and left it for a half-hour or so.

After making sure the battery had a full charge, I did the WFO and hold the starter process. After a couple of tries, I could see the exhaust gasses passing out of the garage. Once she finally fired, I had to keep the revs in the 2000 - 2500 range to keep 'er running. After warming up, and a quick ride behind the WallyWorld close by, she was fine.

For good measure I'm gonna toss in some Sea Foam for a tank or two.

My suspicion is that after the two times of only being run for a few seconds, an injector leaked a bit of fuel and flooded it. But what the hell do I know...

Oh - the bike is an '04 with 85,000 miles on it.
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