Reanimating a greybike rvf400 (nc35) – page 28 – barf – bay area riders forum m gastrocnemius medialis

Okay, so after sorting out the cable routing to my satisfaction I couldn’t think of anything else that would prevent trying to run her. I let Anthony know of the impending milestone and he said he had time to help out. While he was on his way down form SF I checked to make sure all systems would be go:

I futzed around with some extra parts that I can’t seem to place. Maybe someone can tell me where they go. They were in the same baggie from when I took off the radiator so you’d think it’d be a big enough clue but not for me. I’ll need help or more research.

The DIY fuel bottle has a carabiner that clips to the steamer. I trim the Tygon tubing to a good working length and slip it into the carb fuel tube. We unscrew the bottle from the lid and look inside. It doesn’t smell like gas. Oh yeah, I must have filled it with denatured alcohol just after I built it to check for leaks. I didn’t want to use gas as we’ve learnt that gas does not store well for long periods of time. Anthony dumps it out while I go to the garage and grab the gas can. The denatured alcohol has a strong and distinct odor. I unscrew the gas can and start to fill the bottle with the fuel. I’m skimp as I don’t think we need a whole lot of gas. Anthony says to fill’er up so I oblige. We both comment how the alcohol smell is still noticeable but pay no mind. I say not to worry as the gasoline ratio is far greater than any alcohol residue that remained in the bottle.

We partially screw the container back onto the hanging lid and leave it cracked open for venting. Okay this is it, crack open the lawnmower petcock and watch the fuel meander down the clear Tygon tubing and into the carbs. It looks clear like purified water. Glug, glug, it fills faster than I expected. A few air bubbles migrate up but that’s about it. Check for leaks. No leaks, drips or puddles on the ground. Yay! No drama is a good thing.

I turn to Anthony and double check that I’m not forgetting anything. The moment has arrived. Roll the cameras. Let’s do this. I insert the key in the ignition and turn it to ON – the dash lights up. Kill switch flicked from OFF to RUN. All systems are go. I hold my breath and push the starter button. The starter churns and the engine revs to a soft 1000rpm first try! OMG! Baby’s first breath! She’s alive!!! The revolutions softly fade to zero within 10 seconds. Like a newborn calf’s first steps – wobbly and unsteady. No problem. I try again and same thing happens. Being patient I try several more times but the same symptoms – engine starts and peaks to 1000 rpm, then drifts to sleep. Hmmm. Anthony says something ain’t right. I’m wanting to repeat but he says it’s useless.

Did I misconnect the throttle lines? he’s asks. Nope. Are all the hoses connected? Yup. Maybe you need to put the airbox and air filter on to restrict flow. I rummage thru the garage and come back with the parts. They easily mount with a #2 Phillips driver. I put in a new HiFlow air filter from the UK (BARF eBay coupon purchase ). Okay, she’s ready for another try.

We make a few more attempts but the results are the same. We try various settings: with and without choke, throttle cracked, tweaked, etc. All sots of permutations. In the end choke on and zero throttle is the only way she starts. Too bad she won’t idle

We pause to discuss. What the heck is wrong. Anthony says it’s gotta to be something simple and really obvious but nothing jumps to mind. I suggest that maybe there is an air leak. The bike starts and then slowly dies like a match burning out. I suggest we diagnose using some carb cleaner to search for leaks. Anthony agrees. Off comes the airbox and we focus on the infamous insulators. No leak there. Next focus on the three brass tubes near the base of the air funnels. Anthony starts the bike I spray. Whoa the engine revs higher then dies. Aha! Is it possible I failed to sufficiently clean the carbs? I was meticulous. I ran them through the ultrasonic cleaner several times and blew them out with dry nitrogen. Did I insert a wire to clean them out real good? Nope. Didn’t use any needles, wires or fishing line. Just acetone, sound waves and compressed gas. Maybe a major oversight. I was so confident I cleaned the carbs to pristine perfection. Now I had doubts. I can’t believe that I have to pull the carbs off and do a repeat cleaning.

We discuss further ideas. Why would carb cleaner on one of the 4 carbs cause the engine to run better? Sure it’s fuel for the engine but if only one cylinder were misfiring the engine should still idle albeit poorly. My engine runs smoothly but unsustained. Anthony suggests we check the bowls to see if they are filled. Good idea. Old hat at this I fetch the #2 Daiso phillips, loosen the clamps and pup the carbs off with the plastic mallet handle. I hold the carbs upright while Anthony unscrews each of the bowl bleeders. Out flows the fuel dripping onto the lid of my plastic garbage can. All four bowls check out. Then I smell it, there’s that alcohol smell again. I dip my fingers in it and smell. WTF! That’s not gas its denatured alcohol!!! How can that be, we emptied out the bottle and refilled it with….. uh oh. I pick up the red gas can, crack it open and sniff. OMG it’s alcohol! Genius filled it with alcohol way back when and failed to label the container (lab protocol 101).

Of course this explained the mystery of the crap idling. I was confident the engine would run no problem with gasoline. All we had to do was drain and add some. I have two gas cans in the garage one I know I took to Shell a few weeks ago and filled with Shell 91 octane, the other contained alcohol. Sheesh! Back to the garage and low an behold, the same gas can only this one…sniff, sniff…had the proper stench of dinosaur juice.