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I have a 1975 Honda XL250 that I bought earlier this summer. Up until recently its been running great. It was leaking a little gas, but nothing too serious. When it started to get worse, I opened up the carb and cleaned it out. I figured the float needle wasn't seating properly. This largely solved my problem, although there is still a little bit of drippage. I need to get a carb kit and just haven't gotten around to it. So the cleaning of the carb took place on Monday. It wasn't starting, so being a relative noob, I thought it might have something to do with the carb flooding. After cleaning it I tried to start it again, but still no dice. Tested the spark, and it was sparking fine. Not really able to think of anything else I did some research and came across a post that said sometimes you may get spark on a test, but when it's back in the chamber it won't spark due to pressure or something along those lines. So I figured, my spark plug is dirty anyway, a new one will cost me $2, and at the very worst I have a new plug. Anyway, this ended up solving the problem. It started right up.

Since then, I rode it to class yesterday and just cruised around town later at night. It was working fine, but then when I was cruising I noticed I was losing some power on acceleration. It was sputtering if I accelerated hard and would make some popping noises. Not loud ones, but popping nonetheless. The idle wasn't very smooth this morning when I rode it to work and it actually died pulling up to the first light. Does anyone have any suggestions for troubleshooting or fixing this?

UPDATE: I set the idle a little higher and that seemed to help, but when I rode it back to work it was still giving me problems. I stopped off at the gas station to fill up, despite still having what I thought to be enough gas in the tank. Anyway, I filled up and now it idles and runs fine.

UPDATED UPDATE: So after getting home from work it sat for a bit and now I'm having very similar issues. Sometimes when I accelerate from a stop it will sputter and either come very close to dying, or just die. This is definitely not due to me shifting improperly. There's a lot of popping when I just rev it, and sometimes it has trouble idling.

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Im sure you did, but did you make sure you had the right spark plug? Some are 'hotter' or 'colder' then others. It may be that the fuel isnt igniting properly and flooding the engine –  MeltingDog Sep 13 '12 at 2:40
    
Well I haven't verified that it is the right spark plug. All I did was take the one that was in there and replace it with the exact same one. If the previous owner put the wrong plug in, then this is likely the wrong plug as well. I will verify that it is in fact the right one. –  Willem Ellis Sep 13 '12 at 16:21
    
Okay I verified that it is in fact the right plug. –  Willem Ellis Sep 13 '12 at 16:29
    
is there a lot of soot at the exit of the exhaust? my bike popped and had the same issues when it ran too rich. could be the carbs are needing tuned or the floats are sticking. –  Mauro Sep 15 '12 at 14:13
    
I have no smoke or anything coming out of the exhaust. I still need to order a carb kit for it so I can tune it up. We'll see if that fixes anything. –  Willem Ellis Sep 16 '12 at 1:56
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2 Answers

I need to get a carb kit and just haven't gotten around to it.

A carb kit for a 1975 Honda may be harder to find than you think. You'd better start searching for that now or maybe even a used carburetor, if you can find one.

My guess is the obvious one: Something did not seal when you worked on your carburetor.

Pull it apart again. You missed something, and it could be something very tiny like Over/Under tightening some part or getting gasket material in the way or not in the right spot.

If you know (or can find) anyone who is good at rebuilding carbs, it would be a big plus to get with them.

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If by "spark plug was dirty" you mean "black and sooty" then you're running rich and need to either lean out your mixture or double-check your air cleaner and make sure it's good. I know my old 73 CL125 would occasionally accumulate an impressive amount of dead leaves and pine needles around the screen of the air filter. Only took a few seconds to pop off the side panel and brush them off, and made a noticeable difference in sound and power (such as it was).

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