First day as a Stromster, bike died...
Hi, folks. My intro thread is not as pleasant as I had imagined it would be- I`m equal parts confused, pissed off and frustrated, with a double helping of lost. A huge amount of facts and theories have crossed my path over the past 48 hours, and I don`t know what is relevant or what is just due to my mind spinning in circles, so I`m going to try to put it all down and it`s going to be long. Sorry about that, and anybody who gives up on reading what is probably going to be a very long post, I don`t blame you!
I just bought a 2008 650A with a little under 30K miles and a few battle scars. It ran fine on a short test ride, then ran fine for the first half hour of the trip home including a good bit of elevation change (probably 1500 ft overall climb) and outstanding acceleration on a particular freeway onramp that is very short and up about as steep a grade as is ever found on an interstate. I pulled into a gas station not noticing anything wrong until I stalled the bike trying to get going again. Started it right back up and stalled it again. Started one more time, idled it for a few seconds, attempted to rev it in neutral and it stalled. I did a quick check for electrical plugs that might have come undone, wiggled things around, even opened the fuel cap just in case, and kept getting the same result- it would start easily and idle just fine, but as soon as I opened the throttle it would bog and die. Called my wife to come back (she had just filled up at the same pump and left before I was ready to go), pushed the bike out of the way, and called the kid who had sold it to me to see if he had ever experienced anything similar. He told me he had not, but was on his way to my location and would take a look himself as apparently a somewhat experienced mechanic. Cool, very nice of him.
Really strange situation when he showed up. He arrived and went through mostly the same things I had done plus a couple other mysterious checks and went ahead starting it and stalling it over and over. At one point, it DID seem to clear up enough that he managed to ride it up the slope in the parking lot and back down, then it was back to stalling. He said "F*k, it jumped time!" I don`t know much about internal combustion engines, but I remember that it seems to me a rather bizarre conclusion to jump to given the situation. He told me the engine was shot and he couldn`t screw anybody over, got on his cell phone and I heard him telling somebody to bring the money. Then we went back to discussing exactly what I had done (just filled tank and reset trip OD) and he wanted to make sure I had used high octane. I had not, and I told him that. I do remember him telling me earlier that he always used premium gas and blahblah oil, but I disregarded that info because I was almost positive that all DLs were spec`d for 87. Well, maybe I was wrong about that, so I bought a bottle of octane booster and dumped in an unmeasured amount. We shook it the best we could, but it was not any better. At that point he seemed to change his mind about refunding my money (no idea what happened to the person who was supposedly on the way with it) and more or less told me I was on my own. Okay, end of that part of the story.
I left the bike there that night and drove home with my wife, went back yesterday morning with my pickup and brought it home. After taking care of my Monday chores and a good nap, I tried to start it once again. It started to turn over, then a loud clunk, and it stopped. Further attempts just gave me clicking. I did NOT like that clunk and started thinking back on the crazy kid`s mention of it having jumped time, but... maybe that had just been my imagination making too much of the regular solenoid and started noises? No way to back up and listen to it again. The battery was low for sure after all those starts and no running, so I hooked it up to a battery tender and started removing tupperware until I ran out of light. Made my lunch and got ready for work (graveyard shift), watched a few YouTube vids about tank removal and fuel filter replacement, then went to work and left the bike charging all night. This morning it is fully charged and pushing the starter just gives a minor clunk (nothing like what I think I heard yesterday) and that`s it. Congratulation, done with all the symptoms.
So now I`m at a loss, stuck between two completely different scenarios. On one hand, I had pretty much come to the conclusion that filling the tank must have stirred up some "tank crumbs" that were wreaking havoc with the fuel filter. How else would it have gone from awesome to crap instantly with the only difference being that I had filled the tank? On the other hand, it certainly has something preventing it from turning over now, and what the heck gave that kid the idea that the timing had jumped? One thing for sure, I`m not about to even invest $30 in a new fuel filter until I get the engine to crank over. I`m open to any suggestions from people in the know, but my main questions for now are about how timing works and what symptoms might occur if it is seriously off. Specifically, could it be POSSIBLE (leaving probabilities aside for now) that the bike jumped a tooth or a few teeth to cause the initial problem, then jumped some more to cause one of the cylinders to come up against the valves and stop? And although it`s kind of a moot point, could a half knowledgeable person with bad intentions somehow spot something that suggests an engine is on the verge of jumping time? Maybe knows that a cam chain tensioner isn`t working right or something? On a different note, what else could case the engine to suddenly not want to turn over? I`m going to try cranking it by hand, but pretty sure I need to remove at least one plug from each cylinder to do that, correct? And then it seems to me that turning the crank shaft CCW is actually forward, or do I have that part backwards?
Phew! I think that`s finally all for now. Congratulations and thank you to anybody who managed to read through my whole novel. Again, sorry to make it so long, I just wanted to be sure I didn`t skip anything that might be a helpful clue.