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I was given a bike (1985 Yamaha AG200) and was dedicated to get the thing running so I can learn a bit more about how motors work. Its been sitting in a shed for about 20 years and the rats have got into it a bit.

What would be important things to check if I was to get it going again?

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To add on to Mikes answer: Next you'll probably find that the carb is full of varnish. (a thick sludge left behind when gasoline sits in a puddle for a long time). You'll probably end up having to disassemble and clean it out, you may need to by a carburetor rebuild kit. (probably)

Next, there's a good chance that the rodents have damaged the wiring. With the plug out where you can see the tip, but the threads touching the metal of the engine, you should see spark when you kick the engine over. (google it for a better description) You have to have spark for the engine to run.

Finally, whatever was wrong that caused the bike to be parked 20 years ago: is still wrong now. You'll have to find and fix it..

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Remove the spark plug. Squirt some oil into the cylinder,you can use regular motor oil but Liquid Wrench or equivilent would be better. Let it soak overnight.With the bike in neutral see if the motor will spin over using the kickstarter. If it won't turnover the motor is seized. At this point it is not worth repairing but could be a valuble learning tool. You can take it apart just to see how it works. If it turns over reinstall the plug and start checking the fuel lines,they are probably cracked so replace them first. Change the oil,add just enough fuel to see if it will start and crank away.

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