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My bike was stranded downtown. After much testing, it turned out to be a bad electronic ignition. I bought a Martek CDI one second hand, and the bike started up with jump and ran quite smooth at high revs, but wouldn't idle. Mechanic said plugs got fouled from ignition issues. Went home and got fresh ones, and charged battery for a while. Went to start it up and it would even fire. Battery ran dead, even with jump. Starter would 'sieze' and release, but not kick over engine enough to get it going.Help!I also noticed that the fuel filter was not filling with gas. Maybe fuel pump? Lots of spark now..Fuel starvation? I'll try running the fuel pump output into a jar to see how much pressure is there.
 

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dont have the answer, mike, but i am all ears as i have a 79 and this could happen to me...
 

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On the starter motor...

Did it actually turn the engine over, or what? Your description was a bit hard to follow. If the starter isn't turning the engine fast enough, that is obviously the problem. Try putting the bike in gear, and pulling it BACKWARD to turn the engine slightly in reverse. Not a whole lot. Sometimes this is enough to pop the starter clutch pawlsback in place.

I'm not sure on how you activate your fuel pump. I know on the 1200, you just place 12v onto the hot wire for the pump, and let her fly.

What do you mean it wouldn't idle? Was it a loping idle? (almost dies down, then revs up, then drops down again...) Did it run up really high, and then come down slowly? Did it just die? What do the plugs look like?

If it was a loping idle, check your coils for cracks, and continuity. This happened to me, and I thought it was fuel related, but no... a coil had cracked, and failed.

If it revs high, then drops slowly, you have a vacuume leak. Good luck tracking that down.

If it just dies, then reset the idle adjustment screw.

If the plugs are white after running at idle, it's lean. Black and it's rich. Tan, and it's spot on.

Other things to try:

Remove the fuel cap, and try running it that way. The vents may be blocked, and causing vapor lock.

Check your PCV system. If it's clogged up, all sorts of bad things are likely to happen.

Make sure your fuel filter is not clogged up with rust, or water.

Try running your bike off of an auxiliary tank hung high above the carbs, and hooked into the carbs, bypassing the pump. If it runs off of the aux tank, you know it's a problem somewhere between the tank and the carbs.

Finally, do not take this the wrong way, but are you sure that the petcock is inthe "on" position?
 

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Let me refresh the scenario. First, i put a rebuilt set of carbs on the bike. The bike was running great, but hard to start recently -- lots of cranking and pulling on throttle to get it to fire. Once it was started, it would run pretty good, apart from a little backfiring i attirbuted to leftover moisture from cleaning the tank. Then, last night, it just wouldn't turn over. I came back today and after testing the starter, coils, ballast resistor, etc. for continuity, found it to be the ignition unit not giving spark thru the coils to the plugs. So, replaced the ignition unit. Got it started after that, but timing was now off (with a new ignition module), as are carb adjustments, but i just adjusted the timing to get it as smooth as i could. It would run at 2000rpm+, but lower than that and it would die. I was told that the plugs would be fouled from all the hard starting with no firing, which was true. So now it has fresh plugs, new ignition module, but the starter won't turn engine sufficiently to get it to fire. 
 

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i also think you are right about fuel vents. When i pulled the fuel line off the petcock, it wouldn't run gas. Then i opened the gas cap and it gushed out.
 

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mag wrote:
i also think you are right about fuel vents. When i pulled the fuel line off the petcock, it wouldn't run gas. Then i opened the gas cap and it gushed out.
Yah, that's gonna be a BIG one... I'm not sure how the venting system on these bikes works, but check that out.

Your battery may just be too low to operate things properly, and the short amount of time the bike was running may not have brought the battery up to full. Also, if the bike was jumped from a running car / truck then there is a good chance it cooked the battery, or other electrics. The bikes electrics are not designed to handle that type of current.Toss the batteryit on a charger overnight, check the electrolyte level, and give it another try in the morning.
 

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I agree with you about jumping the bike from a car, though the battery was probably cooked already. In the end i had to have the bike trailered to my home.../forums/images/emoticons/shock.gif I already have it on the charger, and we'll see what happens in the morning. Thanks buddy.
 

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If the battery is good and the starter "catches", then the timing is off.
 

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With the old bikes that had the gas tank between your legs (not under seat)we use to take the gas line off the fuel pump and directly hook it up to gravity feed the carbs/carb to get homeand the bike would run forever that way, but you're on to something with the "Vent" problem, maybe need a new gas cap ?:baffled:
 

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Something to think about with the timing. If the timing is a little too far advanced it can fire the spark plug a little too early, preventing the starter from bringing the piston to TDC. This would prevent the starter from turning the engine.

Do a static timing by manually turning the engine to the "F" mark on the flywheel and turning the ignition plate until it's at the point that at the "F" mark you're right at the edge of continuity and no continuity. I think that with electronic ignition the ignition switch and kill switch have to be on.


Or do a dynamic timing with a timing light.
 

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Marco, static timing by checking spark or with ohmmeter? That's what i was told by a mechanic, just rotate the plate until i get a spark out the plug, grounded against the engine casing. I have a timing light, though i don't see how to do this without the bike running at idle if it won't start.
 

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mag wrote:
Marco, static timing by checking spark or with ohmmeter? That's what i was told by a mechanic, just rotate the plate until i get a spark out the plug, grounded against the engine casing. I have a timing light, though i don't see how to do this without the bike running at idle if it won't start.
Nope, static timing is where you connect the ohm meter (or a powered test light), one side to ground and the other to one of the wires going from the ignition unit to the coil. On your electronic ignition you should have 3 wires. One for power (probably red), one for the 1-2 coil (probably yellow), and one for the 3-4 coil (probably blue).

Turn the engine until the#1"F" mark is centered in the timing hole. Connect the ohm meter, one lead to ground, other lead to the 1-2 wire coming from the electronic ignition unit. Loosen the timing plate screws and turn it until it just starts to lose continuity or just starts to gain continuity (as seen with the ohm meter).

Do the same with the other side (using the #2 "F" mark). This side should be independantly adjustable via a sub-plate under one of the inductive pickups. You might have to play with it a bit to get the timing just right.

There has to be power supplied to the electronic ignition to do this so turn the ignition on and be sure the kill switch is on.

This will get you in the ballpark until you can do a dynamic test with a timing light.
 

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Hi Marco, I did everything you listed, except i only timed (with light, until it came on) on the 1-2 lead from ignition unit...doh. So, i only had spark on that side of the coils. I thought one coil (3-4) was shot, until i switched the 1-2/3-4 leads from the ignition unit, and got a spark on the other side. After reading your post, it all made sense. Can't just do static timing for one side, right?/forums/images/emoticons/emoticonsxtra/gunhead.gif If my 3-4 coil was totally shot, i wouldn't get any spark at all, right? Also, primary resistance for both coils was good. No matter -- there was a bare wire on the 1-2 coil that needed repairing anyway, so worth unbolting anyway. Does this all make sense?? 
 

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mag wrote:
Hi Marco, I did everything you listed, except i only timed (with light, until it came on) on the 1-2 lead from ignition unit...doh. So, i only had spark on that side of the coils. I thought one coil (3-4) was shot, until i switched the 1-2/3-4 leads from the ignition unit, and got a spark on the other side. After reading your post, it all made sense. Can't just do static timing for one side, right?/forums/images/emoticons/emoticonsxtra/gunhead.gif If my 3-4 coil was totally shot, i wouldn't get any spark at all, right? Also, primary resistance for both coils was good. No matter -- there was a bare wire on the 1-2 coil that needed repairing anyway, so worth unbolting anyway. Does this all make sense??
Yeah, pretty much makes sense. Like you said, if you swapped coil wires and now the other coil fires that means the coil is good.

One coil fires the front two cylinders, the other fires the rear two cylinders. Also to add to the confusion, the coils fire each time the piston goes to TDC weather its on top of thecompression stroke or on top of the exhaust stroke. It's a wasted-spark system. Otherwise you'd have to have 4 coils or one coil with an automotive typedistributer. A little different than what one might be used to with a car.

Anyway, here's a link to the manual for the Dyna electronic ignition unit.

http://www.dynaonline.com/english/instruct/DS1-3.pdf
 

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i just tested the coils again, and primary resistance is all good. It must be the ignition unit, eh? It was a used Martek one. When i first installed it without testing, on the side of the road, i fired the bike up and got it running, but it wouldn't idle and was very hard to get started. I must have only fired up two cylinders? Why would it have worked once, but now it won't fire the bike? Did i kill it? I did switch one of the leads with the red power cable to see if i had the wrong wires hooked up. Could i have fried it?
 

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Marco, just read the dyna installation instructions. I only had the power wire going to the switched 12 volts, not also spliced to the white/green wire at the winker relay. Guess i'll have to try this?? it seems like the exact same wiring installation, apart from colors, and the fact that there is no CDI box or ground wire.
 

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mag wrote:
Marco, just read the dyna installation instructions. I only had the power wire going to the switched 12 volts, not also spliced to the white/green wire at the winker relay. Guess i'll have to try this?? it seems like the exact same wiring installation, apart from colors, and the fact that there is no CDI box or ground wire.
It doesn't matter where the unit gets power - you could run it directly off the battery and it would still work (although you should run it off of something that turns off when the ignition is turned off). 12 volts is 12 volts. You don't need to run it off the winker relay as long as it's getting 12 volts somewhere.

I don't know if you fried anything, but if the ignition unit is not switching that could be the case. Test it by connecting the ohm meter as described earlier and rotate the engine. The unit should switch on and off as the engine rotates (as seen on the ohm meter). Do the same for the other side.

If it doesn't work, check to make sure that the unit is getting power and it has a good ground.

Another thing you might check for your problem is the ignition bypass diode. On my '77 the diodes are under the left cover... four of them together. The one with the yellow/red and black/brown wires is the one you're looking for. Replace it with one of the other diodes (the other diodes are for the neutral light, low beam, and high beam).
 

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thanks marco. Did you read my previous post about getting the bike running yesterday when i first installed the unit? I must have only been running on two cylinders, eh?I did check for resistance on the diodes, but didn't swap them. I have had a problem with my neutral light not going off completely, related?
 

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mag wrote:
thanks marco. Did you read my previous post about getting the bike running yesterday when i first installed the unit? I must have only been running on two cylinders, eh?I did check for resistance on the diodes, but didn't swap them. I have had a problem with my neutral light not going off completely, related?
The diodes should have continuity in one direction, butno continuity in the other direction (using an ohm meter). If they have no continuity in either direction or have continuity in both directions they are defective. Diodes let electricity flow in one direction, but not the other... sort of like an electronic check valve.

Yep, itcould have been running on two cylinders. But not being there I don't know.

If your electronic ignition unit checks good, then it's probably a wiring problem, and a matter of tracing the wires and making sure all the connectors are tight, and that there are no shorts to ground.

The first thing I did when rebuilding my bike was check the integrity of all the electrical connections. I ended up soldering, shrink-tubing,and wrapping many of the wires. Anything that I thought might chafe around corners etc, was wrapped with convoluted tubing and tied together to prevent shorts. I'm a retired aircraft mechanic and wire chafing was a constant problem with airplanes. Maybe I went overboard with my bike, but so far have had no electrical problems.
 

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when it's all hooked up, one side of the ignition-coil leads gives a very faint current through test light, while the other side stays on, and then pulses weaker/brighter. However, the weaker one is the one generating spark. When i remove the ground wire, both leads cause a bright signal to test light. This would indicate power through the ignition unit i assume. Could possibly be that i'm not getting good ground. I don't think it is wiring. It seems only one side of the unit is pulsing the coils -- when i switch it to the other coil wire, it generates spark at the plug. Before i switched the ignition lead with the power lead, i had broken off the ground wire's terminal ring connector and only had an oversized one to replace it with. Perhaps not enough ground? I'll never know if this unit ever worked properly though. My feeling is that it got my bike to fire, but only on two cylinders.
 
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