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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys, I'm new to the EX-500 and I'm having some trouble with mine. I picked up a 2009 with 25k miles on it that had been sitting for a while. The seller managed to get it running, but it would die below ~1400 RPM. The engine sounded fine given the time it had sat (and it was cold). Brought the bike home and had no luck getting it to start. So, I did the following:
  • Change all fluids
  • New battery
  • Remove and clean carb bowls and jets, adjust pilot to 2.5 turns (bike has FOG mod). The jets were grimy but not too clogged. All the seals were in good shape and nothing leaking. Needle valves seated well and were in good shape.
  • Replace spark plugs (old ones were fouled with carbon)
  • Adjust valve clearances (none were very far out of tolerance) and clean up valve cover gasket

I've still had no luck getting the bike to show signs of life. Turning it over with the airbox off, I see fuel coming up from the carbs and you can smell the gasoline in the air. I've checked that the spark plugs are indeed sparking blue. With everything assembled, I can feel the airbox sucking in air and can smell the smell of an engine. I'm waiting on a new compression tester, but everything feels normal when turning it over by hand. I've tried turning it over with the throttle in varying positions and make sure to give it time to avoid flooding, but nothing seems to make a difference. The petcock vac line is on the left carb and the PAIR vac line is on the right. I've also verified that the carb bowls are getting plenty of fuel. My best guess now is that the carbs may be flooding or the spark plugs are somehow not working right (assuming there is compression). The timing components all line up correctly (checked during valve adjustment).

I could have reassembled the carbs wrong, but this seems unlikely. Maybe the needle valves are in wrong or are not sealing right. I did make sure my idle screw was in enough to actually allow air through, and I didn't touch any other adjustments. I've tried starting with and without the choke.

Anyways, the only irregularity I've noticed is that there is occasionally a knock or thunk when turning the bike over. Since I am unfamiliar with these bikes, I have no idea if it is normal, catastrophic, or may offer insight into my problem. I'll post a video of turning it over. I think my battery or starter is also getting weak. You can hear the knock most clearly at 9 seconds into the video. I can feel it in the handlebars as well.

VIDEO:

Thank you all for any insights you have.
 

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Does sound like battery is weak, you have a bike specific charger of some sort? If it fails to start after fully charging, I'd go so far as to say your carbs may need further attention.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Does sound like battery is weak, you have a bike specific charger of some sort? If it fails to start after fully charging, I'd go so far as to say your carbs may need further attention.
yeah, the battery was a bit weak during that video. I do have a charger as well as a car battery I can use to jump it. Today I’m able to get it going briefly with starter fluid, but it dies a second or two later after revving up to around 5k. It smells very rich (could be lubricant in starter fluid). But I’m betting the carbs need more love. My full rebuild kit should arrive tomorrow... The engine sounds great when I can get it going :) thanks for the suggestions
 

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you've got fresh fuel in there, correct?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
you've got fresh fuel in there, correct?
Yes, but it may have mixed with some old (1-2yr) that I couldn’t get out of the system. I’ll flush it again when I pull the carbs tomorrow. Any tips for getting the tank fully emptied? Also, is there an easier way to remove the throttle cables from the carb assembly other than just opening up the housing on the handlebars to loosen them?
 

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a small amount of old fuel shouldn't cause any issues it depends on the amount of fresh fuel added. bear in mind potentially this is a issue most of us who winter store their bikes should face. but don't. true it usually has stabiliser in it but still not always.
there are cable adjusters on the carbs no need to touch the hand controls on the bars. they are easier to work on once the carbs are disconnected and in your hands if your going to strip the carbs for cleaning it is a good idea to fit a rail filter in there while the carbs are off.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey everyone, just wanted to give an update. I did a full rebuild and cleaning on the carbs. I got every last drop of old gas out of the tank and cleaned it out, then filled it up with fresh. I fit an inline filter and tidied up the hoses. The bike started up perfectly! My petcock is leaking (eaten by old gas) but everything else seems to be working perfectly. My next job will be carb sync and new tires.
 
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