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RSRBOB, Technician
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 1078
Experience:  Former Factory Service Rep, Dlr Line Tech, Service Manager, General Manager, Store Owner
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, Virago 250 (2006)...was stored while from previous

Customer Question

Customer: ***** *****
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: Virago 250 (2006)...was stored for a while from previous owner. Just bought the bike and rode it home after a jump start. Died on me after a couple miles right next to my house thankfully. Had a feeling that would happen. I have spark to both plugs and also get spark when no plugs are connected to the wires. A tried starting with starter fluid but no luck either. There is no compression issue since the bike ran fine for the couple miles Head light looks great after a charge (I charged the battery hoping it was issue). Battery seems fine after charge but not after 10 tries of starting. Voltage is above 13 after the charge but goes down to 9v after trying. I have spark (from the spark plug and wire test); the quality of the spark was "blue". I have air, the aircleaner looked clean (no nests or blockage from critters). The starter fluid in the air cleaner didn't yield anything good.
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Motorcycle
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 1 year ago.

Hi and thank you for your question.

There are 3 elements required to make an internal combustion engine run. They are, spark at the correct time, sufficient compression and fuel.

Since you have checked for spark through the wires, we can assume the ignition system is working, but the one question remains is it firing when it is supposed to (ignition timing)

You said you sprayed starter fluid in to the air cleaner, but that didn't help. My one question there would be what happens if you remove the air cleaner and spray it down the throat of the carb?

Last, you said it had compression, and assume it is ok since it ran for awhile. Since we appear to have the other 2, I suggest a compression test just to confirm.

The other point you made that jumps out at me is the battery. What you described could be 2 issues. 1st, the battery could be no good. If you have a volt meter, connect the leads across the battery and observe the voltage before cranking the bike and while cranking it in an attempt to start it. If the battery is in good condition, the voltage should be around 12.5 dcv with the key off, and should drop no lower than about 10.5dcv when cranking to start. If it drops down to 9, you need a new battery.

However, part 2 of that is the charging system. It is going to be easier to check this once the bike starts running.

If the bike has been sitting, the carb is going to need to be cleaned. If gas sits in a carb for more than 30 days, it is going to plug up the pilot jet. That is down the road a bit because we should be able to get the bike started on the choke and starter fluid for now.

Once we get it running, then we can analyze what is going on and chart a course to repair it.

My last question is, what made you suspect the bike was going to die? Did it start running bad? Making unusual noises? It sounds like something tipped you off as an indicator that it was about to quit.

Get back to me with those answers and we can go from there.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
1. I plan to do the starter fluid straight down the carburetor this weekend.
2. I really don't think its a compression issue as the bike had power up until it died
3. I'll re-check the battery voltage while cranking
4. Can the carb just clog up that instantly? The bike was running fine until it died...I'm almost certain its an electrical issue relating to the charging system or battery. Just a hunch.
5. I did measure the resistance between the electrode and the porcelain and the two spark plugs showed very different values which leaves me suspect. But they are producing spark on both. The value of the front spark plug was .1 Ohm and the rear was 4.1 Ohm. Both spark plug tips look normal.
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the additional information.

Starting with the last thing first, are the spark plugs the same designation? It sounds like one is a resistor spark plug and the other is not. If there is an "R" in the designation on one and not the other, that means 1 is a resistor plug. I have never done that test but if the plugs are the same, I would replace the one with the low resistance, unless they are not resistor plugs, then I would replace the other. You could shoot the moon and do both if you aren't sure. :) Usually I watch the way they spark to know if they are fouled or not.

Next, I am not saying it is a compression issue. What I am saying is something changed or happened to cause it to die. You didn't say what you felt or heard or saw leading up to the failure that tipped you off to know something was about to go wrong so I am covering all 3 bases.

"IF" you sucked debris up in a jet in the carb, it could cause a problem instantly. I was more eluding to the possibility if it had been sitting for awhile unused.

Check the charging and see what you get for DCV at the battery. None of these tests are going to hurt anything and all will give you valuable data to use now or in the future.

If you have to use starter fluid to get it started, that indicates a fuel supply problem. If you have a charging system problem, starter fluid isn't going to affect that. If you start out with a fully charged battery, it should start on full choke no throttle or full choke just BARELY cracked throttle. If you have to do much more than that, something is wrong.