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Louie, Technician
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 12289
Experience:  25+ yrs. experience
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When I go to start it up, it will turn and turn and turn a

Customer Question

When I go to start it up, it will turn and turn and turn a bunch of times before it starts. Some times it won't start at all. When it does start I have to keep giving gas otherwise it will stall. I tried to adjust the idle ,at times it's fine but I'll be back to square 1 again trying to start it. Please help me. Thanks
JA: Has the vehicle turned into a gas hog? And how does it start -- same as usual?
Customer: Ya, by turning it over and over and at times the battery then has to be charged because of so much cranking
JA: What is the model/year of your motorcycle?
Customer: 2000 Polaris 500 sportsman
JA: Are you fixing your bike yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: Well 1- I checked for spark ... good 2nd checked if fuel filters are plugged... good. 3rd gas tank filters are clean 4th I replace the fuel pump last I replaced the carburetor but it backfires like crazy and was hard to start as well so I put the old one back
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: Ya tell me what the heck is going on and what should I look or do next
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Motorcycle
Expert:  Louie replied 9 months ago.

Hi, I’m Louie. Sorry you had to wait awhile but I’ll do my best to help.

Expert:  Louie replied 9 months ago.

Initially, have you drained tank and replaced with fresh fuel?
Could you please check and post back with the burn color of the spark plug tip?
And have you checked/ensured that the air box and filter are fitted correctly with no possibility of an air leak?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I did not drain the gas tank. However I did remove the filters inside and both are clean the gas tank was empty so I put in fresh gas. Right now the air box is out of place , when I put it in place it wants to bigger out
Expert:  Louie replied 9 months ago.

Can you try checking the spark plug burn color?

It would helps us narrow down suspects; lean, rich, air or vacuum leak.


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Ok I'll have to check it and get back to you tomorrow cause the bike is at my shop
Expert:  Louie replied 9 months ago.

I understand and would look forward to an update tomorrow or when able.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
No problem thanks so much
Expert:  Louie replied 9 months ago.


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi I'm back and I checked the spark plug and it looks ok . Not black and crispy just dark and gray.
Expert:  Louie replied 9 months ago.

Appreciate the update / information.

With fresh fuel and all others that have been tried/done, it would appear to still be a fuel delivery/starvation issue.

Let's go back to the basics, dis-assemble the carb (again if necessary). Soak and clean all metal parts using a solution similar to the product shown HERE.

In some instances, it may be necessary to use special cleaning brushes such as those featured HERE.

Of particular interest would be the bowl, float height and float needle & seat condition.

Please post back results / observations of the above once tried.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Ok, I have dumped all old fuel and put in new gas. I already had installed a new fuel filter and pump. Now I has installed a brand new carburetor and spark plug. I tied to start it up and it keeps cranking and cranking. It started up for a few minutes then stalled. Back to square one. What should I be looking for or replace.
Expert:  Louie replied 8 months ago.

Sorry to hear the lack of developments.

Let's consider "...spark plug...dark and gray..." and work on to make it light brown.

Consider / try:

  • • remove the spark plug;
  • - pour a small amount of raw fuel through the spark plug hole;
  • - re-install the spark plug and attempt to start;
  • • if still a no-go, then consider a compression check or better yet, a leak down test;
  • • if the Polaris would start/run, quickly but carefully spray starting fluid around the intake manifold/carb coupling to check for a possible vacuum leak;
  • • if the Polaris would start/run but eventually die, attempt to start again;
  • - but cover the carb mouth with the palm of your hand when attempting to start;
  • - feel if there is a strong suction;
  • - check if your palm would be wet with fuel;
  • - if no suction, then the above compression / leak down tests;
  • - if not wet with fuel, drain the carb bowl to determine fuel quality/quantity;
  • * if too little or none, then fuel is not reaching the carb from the fuel pump;
  • * if there is sufficient fuel inside the carb and there is suction but palm still dry, then back to an internal issue with the carb.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Ya , I tried that. It does has good suction and the palm of my hand was wet with fuel
Expert:  Louie replied 8 months ago.

The please have the compression or leak down test.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
How do I do that
Expert:  Louie replied 8 months ago.

For video insight, please click on compression check and leak down test

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
On YouTube
Expert:  Louie replied 8 months ago.

Yes please; click on the links above.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Let me ask you this question. When I went to pull the pull start at times it's hard to pull because of the compression that must mean that there is good compression right? Also I poured a little bit of gas in the spark and try to start it that way it will not start right away but I did however start out but then it stalled. Hopefully this can help you help me thanks
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Ok I got to start and it idles nice. When the engine is hot it starts with no problems. When it cools down I can't start it. Unless I squirt gas in the chamber
Expert:  Louie replied 8 months ago.

Ensure air box and filter are correctly in place with air entry only through the designated opening (no air leak).

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Ok finally! I went out and bought the best spark plug and boom started right up every time. Now when I put the airbox in place it wants to buy out when I take it out works beautifully. What Could it be?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I ment big out
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Bogg out
Expert:  Louie replied 8 months ago.

If have not been done, check the air/fuel mix adjustment screw. Try 1½ from fully in.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Ok. I've tried all adjustments starting from 11/2 turns. It will idle good at 21/2 to 3 turns. But at full throttle is Boggs and runs like crap. So removed the air box lid and it still does the same so I also removed the filter and still does the same. Sooo while it's running I covered half of the air intake and it runs so awesome but the minute I remove my hand it goes back to bogging. We've got to be close some how.
Expert:  Louie replied 8 months ago.

Install back the air box and filter. (Is it an original?)

For some reason, it would appear that the air filter is 'not enough' and/or too coarse.

Add a layer (or more) of generic filter foam/screen to 'further restrict' air intake something like the product shown HERE. This add-on air filter should be placed between the air box's entry slot and the original filter (not before the carb).

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
It's a K&N air filter withs cover.
Expert:  Louie replied 8 months ago.

If the old/original is still available, try it back (even if just for test purposes).

Otherwise, consider the above add-on filters.

If of interest, I use (when trying/needed) modded vacuum cleaner bags.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I bought the bike like that. Also the old carburetor was jetted. So maybe it worked with that. I don't have any filter but the k&n. I will try to find something
Expert:  Louie replied 8 months ago.

Yes please.

Incidentally, my wife reminded me that there was a time I used a layer or more disposable medical/dental face mask.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
How about filter fabric?
Expert:  Louie replied 8 months ago.

Actually any material that would 'further restrict' air intake/flow.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Ok I'll let you know tomorrow how I made out
Expert:  Louie replied 8 months ago.


Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Hi, I tried everything. All kinds of material and it just runs like shit. But when I remove the air box completely out it works good. Wondering if the needle has to be adjusted? I'm so tired of working on this. Lol
Expert:  Louie replied 8 months ago.

It can be tried raising the needle 1 notch at a time. If no clip notch, then inserting a small spacer/washer would also serve the same purpose.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Good morning Louie, well just wanted to thank you for your time and expertise. I just gave up. I dropped it off to the Polaris shop yesterday and they image going to look at it Monday. Will see what they can up with. I will definitely let you know what was wrong and what they did to fix the problem so that it could be useful in the future. Thanks again. Happy holidays.
Expert:  Louie replied 8 months ago.

Appreciate your kind understanding on the limitations of remote (not seeing) diagnosis.

Still, good luck and thank you too for the opportunity to exchange information.

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