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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all,
I really need help. I hit a pothole(I live in boston) and now my volusia is having problems. Right after i hit the pothole my engine died. i got it going again but had to pull the choke all the way out. It dies in 1st gear unless the choke is out. she shifts up through the gears okay but it lugs bad in every gear and at any speed. I don't see anything broken or any fluid leaks. there is the sound of a rattle when I hit the starter button. The noise comes from the engine cover area. sorry I'm new to motorcycles. this area (https://www.amazon.com/Kuryakyn-8291-Deluxe-Inner-Primary/dp/B000GV4RGQ). I appreciate any advice. I have tools here at home so I can work on it. I have no money to take it in to the shop and can't work due to corona virus. Im so upset. This was the only thing keeping my going during these times. Thank you all so much,
Joseph

UPDATE: I decided to take it to a shop and they said that they have to replace the intake manifold. I must have hit that pothole hard lol. thank you to all that answered
 

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My kneejerk reaction is that maybe something happened to the floats in the carb?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My kneejerk reaction is that maybe something happened to the floats in the carb?
I checked the spark plugs and they were fine. I hope its a simple fix and not take the whole bike apart. Ill check into the floats in the carbs. Thank you bbqjoe
 

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I checked the spark plugs and they were fine. I hope its a simple fix and not take the whole bike apart. Ill check into the floats in the carbs. Thank you bbqjoe
I'm just guessing here.
Mine's a newer FI model.
 

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Hopefully you have a place to work on it. I think something to do with the carbs but first check the easy stuff like fuel lines, battery, check the carb is in the correct position. Take the tank off and have a good look around. You gotta start somewhere.
 

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The choke issue is less worrying to me than the rattle. Take the primary cover off and take a look at what's going on under there. If something is broken in there it could be an issue. Go slow, don't strip any bolts, check the manual (PDF is online) for exactly what to do.

If the bike runs with the choke on, things aren't hopeless. The issue is clearly in the fuel delivery. Remember, you need a proper ratio of air and fuel for the bike to run. The choke here is really an enricher: a real choke restricts, or chokes, the air intake on the carb to reduce the amount of air. An enricher adds extra fuel. The result is basically the same, but just something to remember.

My guess is that your air intake on the carb got knocked off a bit or one of the air hoses going to the air box got loose. Having to use the choke on a warm engine = you are getting too much air. Take the tank off and inspect the air intake all the way from the filter to the carb and also where the carb mounts to the intake manifold. If anything is loose or cracked, it should be cheap and quick to fix or replace it. I think this is the absolute most likely theory, but below are some others.

Theory number II: binding or stuck throttle cable. I had this happen for a different reason but basically if your throttle in the carb is stuck open due to a misadjusted cable, the bike won't run properly and will have a really hard time starting as it will have way too much air. Make sure the throttle grip snaps back quickly and without binding. When you take the tank off observe the action of both cables.

Theory number III: your exhaust got loosened or cracked. Check the exhaust header bolts and make sure the pipes are intact.

Theory number 4: you legitimately aren't getting enough fuel, while the amount of air is the same. I doubt this is the case as the bike runs through all the gears and revs, but if this is the case you might need to ensure the entire fuel delivery system is working correctly: take off the tank and set it up next to the bike, connect all the hoses (you will most likely need to get much longer hoses from an auto parts store; be careful going out, stay 6' away from people, wash your hands), disconnect the fuel line from the carb and put it into a container. Crank the bike and see if fuel flows into the container. If so, your fuel pump works and your fuel lines are OK. If it only trickles, check inside of tank, fuel lines, fuel pump. This will eventually kill your battery so make sure to keep it charged up with a trickle charger. Assuming it's not the lines or the pump, the problem might be with the carburetor. Watch a couple of videos on how to work with them in general (MC Garage is excellent), and specifically on this bike, then carefully take it off. Don't break things like I did: the funnel on the air intake side is secured with two screws that are glued in place don't strip them. The choke/enricher plunger is secured with plastic parts. Don't twist them off. Don't strip any screws, use a JIS screw driver if you can, not a Phillips. Don't use power tools. Once you take apart the carb, make sure the bowl needle and float work, take the opportunity to clean the jets, etc. Again, I doubt hitting a pothole would have broken something inside the carb, but be on the lookout. Note that once you put it back together it might take some cranking to get it to start again. This is normal, just keep your battery charged. Pay extra special attention to the idle mix screw.

It's not an electrical problem because it still runs and the choke helps. It's an air/fuel problem so look at that system. It'll be OK, if it runs, even only with the choke on, it doesn't sound like it'll be a bad repair. Good luck and keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The choke issue is less worrying to me than the rattle. Take the primary cover off and take a look at what's going on under there. If something is broken in there it could be an issue. Go slow, don't strip any bolts, check the manual (PDF is online) for exactly what to do.

If the bike runs with the choke on, things aren't hopeless. The issue is clearly in the fuel delivery. Remember, you need a proper ratio of air and fuel for the bike to run. The choke here is really an enricher: a real choke restricts, or chokes, the air intake on the carb to reduce the amount of air. An enricher adds extra fuel. The result is basically the same, but just something to remember.

My guess is that your air intake on the carb got knocked off a bit or one of the air hoses going to the air box got loose. Having to use the choke on a warm engine = you are getting too much air. Take the tank off and inspect the air intake all the way from the filter to the carb and also where the carb mounts to the intake manifold. If anything is loose or cracked, it should be cheap and quick to fix or replace it. I think this is the absolute most likely theory, but below are some others.

Theory number II: binding or stuck throttle cable. I had this happen for a different reason but basically if your throttle in the carb is stuck open due to a misadjusted cable, the bike won't run properly and will have a really hard time starting as it will have way too much air. Make sure the throttle grip snaps back quickly and without binding. When you take the tank off observe the action of both cables.

Theory number III: your exhaust got loosened or cracked. Check the exhaust header bolts and make sure the pipes are intact.

Theory number 4: you legitimately aren't getting enough fuel, while the amount of air is the same. I doubt this is the case as the bike runs through all the gears and revs, but if this is the case you might need to ensure the entire fuel delivery system is working correctly: take off the tank and set it up next to the bike, connect all the hoses (you will most likely need to get much longer hoses from an auto parts store; be careful going out, stay 6' away from people, wash your hands), disconnect the fuel line from the carb and put it into a container. Crank the bike and see if fuel flows into the container. If so, your fuel pump works and your fuel lines are OK. If it only trickles, check inside of tank, fuel lines, fuel pump. This will eventually kill your battery so make sure to keep it charged up with a trickle charger. Assuming it's not the lines or the pump, the problem might be with the carburetor. Watch a couple of videos on how to work with them in general (MC Garage is excellent), and specifically on this bike, then carefully take it off. Don't break things like I did: the funnel on the air intake side is secured with two screws that are glued in place don't strip them. The choke/enricher plunger is secured with plastic parts. Don't twist them off. Don't strip any screws, use a JIS screw driver if you can, not a Phillips. Don't use power tools. Once you take apart the carb, make sure the bowl needle and float work, take the opportunity to clean the jets, etc. Again, I doubt hitting a pothole would have broken something inside the carb, but be on the lookout. Note that once you put it back together it might take some cranking to get it to start again. This is normal, just keep your battery charged. Pay extra special attention to the idle mix screw.

It's not an electrical problem because it still runs and the choke helps. It's an air/fuel problem so look at that system. It'll be OK, if it runs, even only with the choke on, it doesn't sound like it'll be a bad repair. Good luck and keep us posted.
Thank you so much for your reply. I’ll definitely look at everything you mentioned. It’s been raining for 3 days here so I’ll check it out tomorrow. Do I need to drain the oil before I take the cover off?
 

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Thank you so much for your reply. I’ll definitely look at everything you mentioned. It’s been raining for 3 days here so I’ll check it out tomorrow. Do I need to drain the oil before I take the cover off?
You are very welcome. I hope it works out to be something simple.

I don’t believe you need to drain anything but tripe check the manual for the procedure so you are not missing something. Read all the way through reassembly as that’s bitten me before when it mentioned applying Loctite in the assembly section which means the original bolts also had loctite on them. Basically look out for stuff like that, go slow, take pictures and don’t lose any small parts. Highly recommend having gloves on so you don’t spend 20 minutes scrubbing crease from under your fingernails.
 

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A rattle only when using the starter/cranking the engine. is the hallmark of the starter clutch failing. It's kind of a rocks-in-a-clothes-dryer sort of sound. I wouldn't think hitting a pothole would suddenly aggravate this, but ehh, crazier things have happened. Starter clutch is bolted to the back of the flywheel, behind the stator cover. What normally happens is the ring bolted to the flywheel comes loose, and rattles about causing the 1-way clutch to slip, grab, and buck the ring around causing an unpleasant noise. Often just re-tightening/peening these bolts solves the problem, but sometimes the clutch ring is cracked at which point it should be replaced. Generally this will get worse until the starter starts "missing", or freewheeling without actually rotating the engine. You need to pull the flywheel to access the starter clutch. Some bikes can use a crow-foot style puller, others need a properly sized puller bolt threaded in to pop them loose off the crank. I don't remember which the 800 has.

A slight amount of rattle with the engine idling in neutral from the primary (clutch) cover is fairly normal. most bikes do it to some extent. It's the power pulses of the engine combined with gear lash to the clutch boss. If it goes away once you put it in gear- thus applying some torque to the primary and eliminating the back-and-forth lash, it's nothing to worry about. I mean if the noise is extreme that's different, but when I worked at the dealer complaints of rattles, whines, ect were fairly common from newer riders and were usually totally normal. Engines make a little noise, so do gears, transmissions, ect.

The running issue definitely sounds carb related. I tend to agree with the sticking float theory. If it still runs (poorly) there is at least some gas getting through. Drain the carburetor bowl (screw on bottom of bowl), and give the carb a few gentle raps- butt of a screwdriver or small ball peen hammer. Close the drain and try to restart, it'll have to crank for a bit until the bowl refills. If it runs better you found the problem but would suggest rebuilding the carb or at minimum replacing the float needle, since if it sticks once it probably will again.

If no change my next test would be to remove the fuel line from the carb, and rig it to drain into a clear container you can observe. Turn the fuel on and crank the engine (vacuum operated petcock). Fuel should freely come out of the hose almost immedately upon beginning to crank the engine. If not, or there's only a dribble, the vacuum petcock could have failed, or the vacuum line to it could have an issue. Again, seems unlikely hitting a sharp bump would suddenly cause an issue there, but would be my next place to look.

if that's fine, I would pull the carburetor off and remove the bowl. Check the float and needle freely move, while you're in there inspect/clean jets. On a nigh 15-20 year old bike it really wouldn't hurt to throw a rebuild kit at it. Rubber parts don't last forever, particularly with ethanol blend fuel, and old bowl gaskets often don't like to seal again once cracked loose after decades.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
A rattle only when using the starter/cranking the engine. is the hallmark of the starter clutch failing. It's kind of a rocks-in-a-clothes-dryer sort of sound. I wouldn't think hitting a pothole would suddenly aggravate this, but ehh, crazier things have happened. Starter clutch is bolted to the back of the flywheel, behind the stator cover. What normally happens is the ring bolted to the flywheel comes loose, and rattles about causing the 1-way clutch to slip, grab, and buck the ring around causing an unpleasant noise. Often just re-tightening/peening these bolts solves the problem, but sometimes the clutch ring is cracked at which point it should be replaced. Generally this will get worse until the starter starts "missing", or freewheeling without actually rotating the engine. You need to pull the flywheel to access the starter clutch. Some bikes can use a crow-foot style puller, others need a properly sized puller bolt threaded in to pop them loose off the crank. I don't remember which the 800 has.

A slight amount of rattle with the engine idling in neutral from the primary (clutch) cover is fairly normal. most bikes do it to some extent. It's the power pulses of the engine combined with gear lash to the clutch boss. If it goes away once you put it in gear- thus applying some torque to the primary and eliminating the back-and-forth lash, it's nothing to worry about. I mean if the noise is extreme that's different, but when I worked at the dealer complaints of rattles, whines, ect were fairly common from newer riders and were usually totally normal. Engines make a little noise, so do gears, transmissions, ect.

The running issue definitely sounds carb related. I tend to agree with the sticking float theory. If it still runs (poorly) there is at least some gas getting through. Drain the carburetor bowl (screw on bottom of bowl), and give the carb a few gentle raps- butt of a screwdriver or small ball peen hammer. Close the drain and try to restart, it'll have to crank for a bit until the bowl refills. If it runs better you found the problem but would suggest rebuilding the carb or at minimum replacing the float needle, since if it sticks once it probably will again.

If no change my next test would be to remove the fuel line from the carb, and rig it to drain into a clear container you can observe. Turn the fuel on and crank the engine (vacuum operated petcock). Fuel should freely come out of the hose almost immedately upon beginning to crank the engine. If not, or there's only a dribble, the vacuum petcock could have failed, or the vacuum line to it could have an issue. Again, seems unlikely hitting a sharp bump would suddenly cause an issue there, but would be my next place to look.

if that's fine, I would pull the carburetor off and remove the bowl. Check the float and needle freely move, while you're in there inspect/clean jets. On a nigh 15-20 year old bike it really wouldn't hurt to throw a rebuild kit at it. Rubber parts don't last forever, particularly with ethanol blend fuel, and old bowl gaskets often don't like to seal again once cracked loose after decades.
thank you so much for your reply. I decided to take it to a shop and they said that they have to replace the intake manifold. Im going to save your text in case i need it in the future. I know i have a long way to go to be able to work on my motorcycle and problem solve with confidence. gotta love being a new rider lol. i don't know what to look for . thank you again for your reply :)
 
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