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Steve, Motorcycle Mechanic
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 7019
Experience:  30+ yrs. experience, MMI, HD technician, HD early, engine rebuild/performance, bike builder, kit bike program manager, CCI 2001-2004
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Im have a 98 softail that i cant get started after winter,

Customer Question

im have a 98 softail that i cant get started after winter, it diesnt seem to be getting gas and the gas is on and i changed the battery and the sparkplugs seem ok, it just wont turn over even with starter fluid in the carb.....any advise???
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Motorcycle
Expert:  Steve replied 2 years ago.
your engine requires only 3 things to start and run:- spark- fuel- compression - you can test spark with a spark tester. - if the carb was left full of old fuel it has decomposed to a varnish like substance and clogged your jets. if this is the case, you can drain the old gas and add fresh fuel treated with SEAFOAM to clean up the fuel system, but I would remove the carb and remove the jets to clean them by hand.- your bike has a vacuum operated petcock which are known to fail over time. to determine if the petcock is working, attach a drain line to the petcock and drain the tank into a fuel can while cranking the engine with the starter. you should see a steady stream of fuel.- if the engine gas spark and fuel, you need to perform a compression test. I can help you interpret the results.- if you have no spark, it could be because of low voltage. to determine if your voltage is good, measure the battery voltage under the following conditions:- ignition OFF- ignition ON- with the start button depressed. let me know if you need more help.Steve