Motorcycle Fuel System Troubleshooting

Written by william machin
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Motorcycle Fuel System Troubleshooting
Make sure there is gasoline in the tank. (gas image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com)

Motorcycle fuel systems are not complex in terms of function or design. Fuel-flow from the gas tank is regulated by a petcock at the underside of the tank. One end of the fuel line connects to the petcock and, depending on the particular motorcycle, the other end connects to a carburettor or a fuel pump. Gas leaks along the fuel line suggest a faulty petcock or loose fuel line connection. Leaks at the base of a carburettor or on a fuel pump signify the need to replace that component. Troubleshooting other problems can be accomplished using a step-by-step procedure.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Nut driver
  • Rags
  • Glass jar

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Instructions

    Carburettor

  1. 1

    Park the motorcycle on the kickstand. Make sure there is gasoline in the gas tank. Troubleshooting requires at least one half-gallon of gas to generate pressure in the system. Add gasoline if necessary and turn the fuel petcock on the underside of the gas tank to the "Off" position.

  2. 2

    Place a rag on the engine, just below the area where the fuel line connects to the carburettor. If you have trouble locating this connection, trace the path of the fuel line, starting from the connection at the petcock. Follow the path of the fuel line to the point where it connects to the carburettor.

  3. 3

    Loosen the fuel line clamp counterclockwise using a nut driver. Hold a glass jar below the connection and pull the fuel line off the carburettor. Direct the end of the fuel line so any residual gas in the line drips into the jar.

  4. 4

    Hold the end of the line inside the jar with one hand. Slowly open the petcock and check to make sure gasoline flows through the line. If no gas flows into the jar, debris in the gas tank has clogged the line. Refer to the owner's manual for gas tank removal instructions and have the tank cleaned by a professional. If gas flows into the jar, turn the petcock to the "Off" position and proceed to the following step.

  5. 5

    Reattach the fuel line to the carburettor and tighten the clamp clockwise with the nut driver. Refer to the owner's manual for carburettor information and troubleshooting procedures. Repair the carburettor and include an in-line fuel filter with the reassembly.

    Fuel Pump

  1. 1

    Locate the discharge fuel line that connects between the fuel pump and the carburettor. Depending on the particular motorcycle, it may be necessary to remove a trim cover to access the discharge line. Refer to the owner's manual and use the appropriate tool to remove a trim cover.

  2. 2

    Place a rag below the fuel line connection at the carburettor. Loosen the fuel line clamp counterclockwise using a nut driver. Hold a glass jar under the connection and pull the fuel line off the carburettor. Direct any residual fuel in the line into the jar.

  3. 3

    Turn the fuel petcock to the "On" position. Hold the end of the fuel line in the jar with one hand.

  4. 4

    Turn the motorcycle ignition key to the "On" position. With the discharge line disconnected and the key on, the pump should push fuel into the jar. The absence of fuel-flow indicates the need to replace the fuel pump.

  5. 5

    Refer to the owner's manual for fuel pump information and additional troubleshooting procedures if given. Include a new fuel filter with any replacements.

Tips and warnings

  • Always refer to the owner's manual for recommended troubleshooting procedures with fuel systems.
  • If troubleshooting discloses good fuel flow, replace the fuel line and clamps.
  • The wrong gasket on a gas cap can inhibit fuel flow. Make sure the correct gas cap gasket is used.
  • Troubleshoot fuel systems in a well ventilated area.

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