My bike doesn't want to turn over. It ran just fine last week, but something has changed. I have enough power with a new battery and I can hear the motorcycle trying to turn over. The exhaust pipe puts out some exhaust, but the engine won't take over. When this first happened, the bike ran for about 4 seconds and then it would die. Now, it won't turn over at all. I don't know what to diagnose as the problem. Tips? Thanks.

  • Did you get it sorted?
    – theUg
    Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 9:33

1 Answer 1


Your description was really vague, but here is some thoughts. From what I gather, engine does turn over (i.e. it actually spins), just does not start.

For the engine to start, you need two major ingredients: fuel and spark. Obvious first things is to check if fuel is in the tank, and pet-cock is open (if available). Spark can be checked by taking the spark plug out, putting electrode to the engine block with wire on (careful to stay insulated to avoid shock), and cranking the engine to see if spark appears. By the condition of the plug you can also see if the engine was flooded with fuel (that is why there is a pet-cock on carburetted engines).

If these obvious things check out, see if the fuel gets to the cylinders. Close the pet-cock, disconnect the hose, open the pet-cock, see if fuel goes through. Repeat the procedure down the line all the way to intake ports.

Those are basic engine no-start troubleshooting steps. Other than that, we need more information: how well was it working before, what is your experience with motorcycles, and how long have you owned it? Was it just out of storage (if that, was the fuel drained or stabilized?), or used regularly? Was it maintained well? Etc. etc.

  • 1
    Thanks for your response. Here are the answers to your questions and an update since my last post: How well was it working before? I rode it daily for about 6 months before I stored it for another 5 while I joined the Navy. Over the winter, I got it running and serviced. The bike was running fine until 3 weeks ago when it just wouldn't start. How long have I owned it? I've owned the bike since February 2011. What is my experience with motorcycles? I am not a mechanic, but I can do basic mechanical repair.
    – Rusty
    Commented May 3, 2012 at 17:16
  • Did you try any of the troubleshooting steps I offered above? And just to confirm unequivocally: engine spins by a starter, or when trying to push-start in gear, correct? Just does not fire up?
    – theUg
    Commented May 4, 2012 at 14:53
  • P.S. Check this question about 2001 Katana no start. After you do basic troubleshooting as per what I wrote, answer to that post contains more details on what to do next (checking and cleaning carburettors etc.).
    – theUg
    Commented May 4, 2012 at 15:03

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