Author Topic: Runs (almost) fine in neutral, no power in gear  (Read 333 times)

karmisol

  • ROV Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 10
  • Riders of Vision .net
Runs (almost) fine in neutral, no power in gear
« on: April 12, 2022, 12:11:42 AM »
Hey all! & thanks for a great forum!

Last year I got it running to the point that it passed the government inspection and became classed as a veteran bike (i.e no government inspections required anymore).
Part of the inspection is that the inspector rides the machine in order to verify that the brakes work. I.e it ran fine

Two weeks ago was my first test of the season. I don't have  a drivers license for it so I spent the ride on a parking lot training slow driving in first gear (part of the drivers-license test here).
Here I had only one issue with the machine once it got hot, every now and then when I held the clutch the engine started racing up to 4k but would come down to normal 1.5-2k as soon as I released the clutch.

Yesterday I tried the bike again, and it had almost no power at all. I couldn't get away from our 30 degree uphill parking lot without the engine dying - even when trying to keep the engine on a high RPM while releasing the clutch. It got slightly more power when playing with the choker but only enough to get a 1-2 meters up the parking-lot hill.

What I have done:
I replaced the fuel from last year and I checked the air filter which looks to be brand new (hadn't checked it since buying the bike last year). When checking the air filter I also looked down into the carburetor and it looked clean (but I have no idea if that says anything about anything)

As you might have figured out - this is my first bike and also my first project involving an engine of any kind.

fret not

  • Contributing Member
  • Visionary Expert
  • ****
  • Posts: 2524
  • Mike Lewis - Grass Valley CA
    • Michael Lewis Instruments
Re: Runs (almost) fine in neutral, no power in gear
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2022, 01:47:43 AM »
Welcome to the world of motors and mechanical things.  I think one must have the desire to ride in order to overcome the obstacles of "making it work".  I am not a mechanic but I have had some sort of 'motor thing' since I was a teenager, so I have some mechanical experience.  The desire to ride helps overcome some of the obstacles one finds.  Basically, if you want to ride you have to 'fix' the bike.  This is not rocket science but may as well be for some.  It helps to have some aptitude for mechanical things, and this can be learned.  You will find most of the information you need in the discussions on this site, so I suggest you become familiar with the site and the typical issues of this model of Yamaha.  There are plenty of discussion threads regarding the carburetor and the importance of keeping it clean (internally).  The XZ550 has some quirks, but mostly it is a very nice motorcycle.  If you are going to ride and enjoy this bike you are going to get an education because it will require your attention and effort.   
Retired, on the downhill slide. . . . . . . . still feels like going uphill!

fret not

  • Contributing Member
  • Visionary Expert
  • ****
  • Posts: 2524
  • Mike Lewis - Grass Valley CA
    • Michael Lewis Instruments
Re: Runs (almost) fine in neutral, no power in gear
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2022, 02:00:32 AM »
This is where we begin asking questions: Does the motor run smoothly?, Does it rev up?  Are the wheels free to turn? (wheel bearings, dragging brakes, etc.)
Is the ignition timing correct?  Valve clearances? 

Have you checked or changed the motor oil?  Is the cooling system filled?

Start filling in the blanks and we will go from there.
Retired, on the downhill slide. . . . . . . . still feels like going uphill!

karmisol

  • ROV Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 10
  • Riders of Vision .net
Re: Runs (almost) fine in neutral, no power in gear
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2022, 05:00:25 AM »
Thanks for your engaging message! I do look forward to learning all of this.

Does the motor run smoothly?
-Yes, to me it sounds like it runs fine, however I think I heard it backfire once while starting up

Does it rev up?
- Adding gas I have no problem going up to 6K RPM. Didnt try higher. Seems responsive and happy

Are the wheels free to turn?
- Yes, I can roll it myself when it is in neutral or the clutch is held

State of motor oil?
- Changed last year september. Not used a lot since then

State of cooling system?
Changed last year september. Not used a lot since then.
(This I will change as I have a bunch)

Is the ignition timing correct? Valve Clearance?
No idea, I will research these topics!

Thanks for your pointers. I'll come back once I have looked at the ignition timing and valve clearances.

jefferson

  • Contributing Member
  • ROV Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Keep them Rollin
Re: Runs (almost) fine in neutral, no power in gear
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2022, 10:26:22 AM »
Your running problems sound carb induced and this bike is know for this. It also might have a vacuum leak that caused it to rev up on it's own, or did you have the wheel turned sharply as the throttle cable can be routed wrong and cause an increase in rpm when you turn the handlebars.

First thing is to replace the gas which you mentioned and I would look for some no ethanol fuel and only run that if you can. The second thing I would do is run a tank mixed with Chevron techron fuel system cleaner. It will clean up any fuel residue that may be causing issues, but won't touch dirt. Since you lost power from one day to the next it points towards some dirt getting lodged in a jet which means a teardown and cleaning.
Good luck with your project and learning.

fret not

  • Contributing Member
  • Visionary Expert
  • ****
  • Posts: 2524
  • Mike Lewis - Grass Valley CA
    • Michael Lewis Instruments
Re: Runs (almost) fine in neutral, no power in gear
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2022, 10:54:42 PM »
As mentioned, check the routing of both clutch and throttle cables to make sure they are not interfering with anything, and functioning correctly.  If the cables are not a problem then next to check is for air leaks: cracked carb boot, gasket, throttle shaft seals, diaphragm in the fuel pump, .  .  .  .   :police:

Issues like this are not uncommon, especially for bikes that have had hit and miss upkeep by untrained hands.  This is a learning process.  My lazy approach has been to check the easy things first, then the most probable ones.  This is not rocket science, but it can be complicated.  As previously mentioned, the carburetors may need to be thoroughly cleaned.
Retired, on the downhill slide. . . . . . . . still feels like going uphill!

karmisol

  • ROV Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 10
  • Riders of Vision .net
Re: Runs (almost) fine in neutral, no power in gear
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2022, 02:40:55 PM »
A small update for you people!

I am amazing at dropping my bike...

I have now cleaned the carbs (which looked nice, nothing obviously wrong there). However after starting it had power enough for me to get confused and drop it....
After dropping it didn't start for the rest of the day.

Yesterday (week after) it started nicely but as I hurriedly tried to move it outside I dropped it again after which it didn't start for the rest of the day.
Looked at the spark plugs & verified that they still get power and changed the oil.

 The bike is still a bit hard to start (even when it starts) so I think my next checkup is valve adjustment - but for that I need some tools so next update will be in a while.

Btw. I have not checked the throttle cable but I am quite sure it is incorrectly routed as I have noticed exactly that issue.

fret not

  • Contributing Member
  • Visionary Expert
  • ****
  • Posts: 2524
  • Mike Lewis - Grass Valley CA
    • Michael Lewis Instruments
Re: Runs (almost) fine in neutral, no power in gear
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2022, 10:46:15 PM »
One very important point is that the battery must be well charged if you want the ignition system to work.  Hopefully you have a VOM (volt ohm meter) to check the battery and the charging system.  Also, tell us that you do have a repair manual (indispensable).  Check the links on Prophet Of Doom's postings, as he has made available various manuals etc. to download.  One step at a time, usually.
Retired, on the downhill slide. . . . . . . . still feels like going uphill!

SonnyT

  • ROV Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Re: Runs (almost) fine in neutral, no power in gear
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2022, 10:30:36 PM »
Probably most important is a FULLY charged battery and the Chevron or Berrymans B12, much stronger than instructions on can.

karmisol

  • ROV Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 10
  • Riders of Vision .net
Re: Runs (almost) fine in neutral, no power in gear
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2022, 01:47:17 AM »
Thanks! I have not checked the battery voltage but I have been trying to start until the battery runs out so...

Is there any way to make the machine less battery reliant (upgrade some power-hungry part, add a boost converter?) or should I just buy a stronger battery?'

ps. I did not understand the 'Chevron or Berrymans B12', maybe something well known in US?
« Last Edit: May 04, 2022, 01:49:07 AM by karmisol »

Walt_M.

  • Contributing Member
  • Visionary Grand Master
  • ****
  • Posts: 2625
  • Hold my beer and watch this!
Re: Runs (almost) fine in neutral, no power in gear
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2022, 10:41:22 AM »
The TCI needs 10.6 volts to fire the spark plugs while the starter will spin the engine well below 10 volts. Keeping the battery on a trickle charger is probably the simplest solution. I have considered a couple of other things, one would be a different ignition such as an Ignitech. I haven't tried one and haven't contacted them as to the firing voltage of their unit. The other would be to run 2 batteries with an isolator, one for ignition and the other for the starter.
Whale oil beef hooked!

jefferson

  • Contributing Member
  • ROV Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Keep them Rollin
Re: Runs (almost) fine in neutral, no power in gear
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2022, 11:37:00 AM »
The condition of the starter has alot to do with how much it drags down the voltage when energized. The seal in the nose of the starter leaks oil into the case and gums things up. If you haven't had the starter apart and cleaned things up along with replacing the seal it would be worth your while. The commutator and brushes need a nice shiny surface to work well.

SonnyT

  • ROV Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Re: Runs (almost) fine in neutral, no power in gear
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2022, 05:02:28 PM »
Chevron Techron and Berrymans B12 are fuel injector/carb cleaners.

karmisol

  • ROV Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 10
  • Riders of Vision .net
Re: Runs (almost) fine in neutral, no power in gear
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2022, 06:53:13 AM »
Hello again! I found one probable reason why it is not starting anymore.

In the attachment is a picture of the wire coming from the gas handle. When it is not being held - it is still on and does not touch the "idle adjustment screw".

I'm not sure how this happened as it has been touching before. Maybe it is after my carb-cleaning.
What confuses me is that I can't figure what the reason could be for the wire to be too tight now.

jefferson

  • Contributing Member
  • ROV Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Keep them Rollin
Re: Runs (almost) fine in neutral, no power in gear
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2022, 09:36:59 AM »
Do the throttle shafts move freely and completely with the cable taken off? You need to find out if it is a carb problem or throttle cable problem.

briandneville

  • ROV Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 71
  • Riders of Vision .net
Re: Runs (almost) fine in neutral, no power in gear
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2022, 10:10:35 AM »
is the cable hung up or not seated properly at the throttle (grip) end?  Sounds like something has 'shortened' the cable length.

How did it come to this?