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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Afternoon, everyone. Long post ahead.

Picked up a project '89 ex500 cheap from a guy who got a bad trade from it. The guy (who seemed reliable enough and high as hell) said the dude he traded his scooter with rode this '89 to him then he let it sit for 3 months.

Took it home, put in a new battery and the wiring started smoking! I hadn't seen that before. So I checked the fuses, opened the wiring harness and re-soldered a few connections, added some heat shrink, and taped it back up. The damn thing came without an ignition, so I wired an ON/OFF switch instead. Finally was able to get horn and tail light working by turning on the switch (and thankfully no smoking).

I replaced the starter solenoid relay ($50 rip-off from a nearby company) and was finally able to get it to turn over via the starter switch.

SO. Here's the problem. I could use the starter switch on the right handlebar for a few seconds at a time (10-15) to get it to turn over (once I cleaned the carbs). Replaced the spark plugs and it was still not starting. Motor turned over fine. Then suddenly, the starter chain that goes from the starter to the starter clutch would just spin violently, as if it was supposed to catch but didn't.

Dig some research and found it was the starter clutch. So I replaced that (and the flywheel since my dumb ass broke it pulling it off) and hooked her back up. The right handlebar switch was broken, so I bought a simple replacement. Once I got the battery charged again and the new switch in, I went to turn it over and NOTHING. One huge step backwards. What the hell happened? Did I blow this starter solenoid relay? The tail light dims slightly when I press the starter switch.

Additionally, there's no fuel getting to the spark plugs. I checked the valves to make sure they're moving correctly - which they seem to be.

I'm enjoying the hell out of getting this up and running again, but can't figure this part out. Definitely could use some expertise.

Thanks in advance, guys.
 

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Welcome! Where to begin? Is the replacement flywheel the same as the broken one? There are two designs and they are not interchangeable without modification. Newer ('94'-'09) can be modded to work in '87-'93 bikes, but not the other way around. Kill switch in the "on" position? Battery fully charged? Vacuum petcock still in place? It does take some cranking to get the petcock to open by vacuum and fuel to flow. Try it with starting fluid? Plugs have spark? Jump the starter by bypassing the solenoid and see what you get. Throwing all sort of things out there, as it could be anything at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Welcome! Where to begin? Is the replacement flywheel the same as the broken one? There are two designs and they are not interchangeable without modification. Newer ('94'-'09) can be modded to work in '87-'93 bikes, but not the other way around. Kill switch in the "on" position? Battery fully charged? Vacuum petcock still in place? It does take some cranking to get the petcock to open by vacuum and fuel to flow. Try it with starting fluid? Plugs have spark? Jump the starter by bypassing the solenoid and see what you get. Throwing all sort of things out there, as it could be anything at this point.
Thanks, po18guy!
  • The replacement flywheel is supposedly an upgraded one - one large metallic magnet versus the 6 or 8 black magnets glued to the side. Still fits with the alternator and all! Do you think a modification will still need to happen?
  • Kill switch is in the "ON" position
  • Battery is fully charged each time I have a go at starting it
  • I took the tank off of the bike and have been feeding gas directly into the carbs. Should I throw the tank back on for the vacuum tube running off the carb?
  • I've tried it by spraying starter fluid directly into both carbs, but to no avail
  • Both plugs are new and have spark, but no fuel is getting to the sparks
  • I've been bypassing the solenoid and the starter turns over and everything!
  • Any other ideas potentially?
 

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If you're getting a spark then it very much sounds like you are not getting fuel. You mentioned that you cleaned the carbs, but how thorough was that cleaning? What parts did you remove? What process/fluids did you use to clean the carbs?

It sounds like you didn't get them as clean as you need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you're getting a spark then it very much sounds like you are not getting fuel. You mentioned that you cleaned the carbs, but how thorough was that cleaning? What parts did you remove? What process/fluids did you use to clean the carbs?

It sounds like you didn't get them as clean as you need.
Hey, Davenay67 -

Thanks for the response. Well I thought I did a decent job, but it's possible I didn't! I'll pull them again and clean them again. Since these carbs aren't too gunked up (from what I can tell), I just use carb cleaner and compressed air. Sometimes I use a thin wire (I know there's a bunch of people who hate that). If they're super terrible I use a muriatic acid mix.
 

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Ducatiman is our resident carb expert, I'm a hack by comparison. :) Hopefully he will chime in soon.

When I clean carbs for any of my bikes, I start by pulling the pilot and main jets and thoroughly cleaning them, making sure every passageway is free and clear. Pilot jets are notorious for clogging very easily with ethanol fuel. I also make sure I can spray cleaner through each passageway on the carb body, and make sure that cleaner exits cleanly at the far end. It helps to know your specific carbs well to make sure which passageways are open-ended and should have cleaner exit from them, and to make sure you don't direct the stream of carb cleaner into your face!

Pay special attention to the air/fuel mixture screw to make sure fuel is getting into the float bowls. And make certain the float needle closes fully and doesn't flood the float bowls.

Apologies if any of this advice is old news to you....
 

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The bike, if it is going to run, will run for a minute or so if the float bowls are full. Tank off you have to manually fill the float bowls with a squirt bottle or similar. Also, the enricheners have to open to feed the overly-rich starting mixture into the intakes.
As to the flywheel, it can be confusing but does not have to be. Check one of the many flywheel threads here. "Upgraded" can mean all generation 2 flywheels, or it can mean the upgraded generation 1 flywheels that will work with 97-93 bikes. They look much the same - the difference being the number of ignition triggers around the outside perimeter of the flywheel. You could have spark which is not arriving at the correct time.

Post up some pics of what you have and it will help.
 
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