Help!!! VTX is Sick - Idles Rough - Missing - Runs Hot - Loss of Power
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Thread: Help!!! VTX is Sick - Idles Rough - Missing - Runs Hot - Loss of Power

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    Junior Member justinpowell1988's Avatar
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    Default Help!!! VTX is Sick - Idles Rough - Missing - Runs Hot - Loss of Power

    Ok I posted this up on the VTXCafe. Im kinda new to the VTXOA, but I need some help, grab your ....

    PLEASE READ THE WHOLE POST, I KNOW ITS LONG BUT THE INFO SHOULD HELP.

    • I dont need to hear "check the ECM wires". This issue is beyond the obvious disconnected wire. If it is a wire and/or the ECM its not that obvious.


    Ok I think the most important thing to note is that all of the problems are intermittent, they come and go with no apparent correlation. When I bought the bike it had 30,000 miles and was bone stock besides slip on exhaust, engine lighting, and alarm.

    Some days it runs perfect, absolutely perfect. And some days it doesn't. And I cant figure out why. You win if you can help.

    The Symptoms:

    • Idles rough, not terrible just uneven. The exhaust hits a rhythm for a few beats then misses.
    • Engine vibrates more (the girls love it, I dont), its not convulsing just like its out of sync and slightly unbalanced.
    • Engine feels like its missing, or weak has weak spark.
    • Runs hot shortly after the idle starts acting up. Temp light doesnt pop on, just noticeably hotter. Fan pops on constantly at lights.
    • Take off isn't smooth, doesn't bog down, more like its fighting to move, lacks power.
    • Each gear feels shorter, it bogs down at the bottom of the gear and I have to shift earlier than I normally would.
    • The top end lacks power. Doesnt bog down, slowly fights to increase speed.
    • The symptoms almost seem like a burnt or stuck exhaust valve (to give you an idea, dont think this is the problem).
    • It always starts easy, doesn't need choke (since scar), never dies. Just doesn't run right.


    The Intermittent Part
    :

    • One day it will purr like kitten and ride like a raped ape, and then one day I will start it up bad,right away the idle is off.
    • It goes away on its own sometimes, other times Ill try to fix the problem. Dozen times I thought I fixed it, but it always comes back.


    I Have Tried:

    • Checked ECM and surrounding wires. Because its intermittent electrical seems likely. All wires were plugged in, no corrosion.
    • The wires to the ECM were kinked, straightening them out didnt help at all.
    • The basics like different brands gas, oil, plugs, Seafoam, etc.
    • I installed new vacuum lines, vent line, spark plugs, etc.
    • Scar to tune the carb, with Decap (when it runs good its great, when its bad its the same as always).
    • Changed to HK exhaust and installed new crush gaskets.
    • Rerouted the crankcase vent hose with a filter. Carb was sucking a quart of oil vapor a month.
    • Valve adjustment (mechanic was recommended from a here).
    • I changed the coolant and burped the system.
    • Battery is new, connections are tight.


    Things I Noticed That May (or may not) Be Relevant:

    • When I bought the bike it had an alarm system and engine LED's that no longer worked. I have removed the extra wiring.
    • The ECM wires were all intact but were all kinked too. Straightened them out, no change.
    • The spark plugs look ok (lean but Scar shouldve fixed it). Changing plugs didnt help, I tried 3 different brands.
    • The whole engine gets very, very hot. Feels like the Front Left and Right Rear plug areas aren't as hot as the opposite sides.
    • The bike still has the Paired Valve System.
    • The flow from the front cylinder seems much stronger than the rear but, both cylinders feel equally hot.
    • A little coolant leaks from the overflow when its turned off after running hot. Temp light has never come on.


    My Thoughts:

    • The intermittent, come & go behavior of the problem makes it unlikely to be anything adjustable, or mechanical failure because some days its perfect.
    • Most likely culprit is the wiring,ignition system, or ECM itself. But thats a big area to troubleshoot.
    • Plausible that its fuel blockage or the air quaility making the difference, seems like that would make is run rough, but not uneven (if that makes sense).
    • The paired valve system could be faulty causing some of the symptoms.


    Im at my wits end, if I cant figure out exactly what it is then I am debating just replacing the whole wiring harness and ignition system and hoping for the best....

    At this point any feedback, ideas, help would be much appreciated . Whether Im way off or on the right track, Im open to any and all help.

    Thanks in advance guys

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    Senior Member RandyHut's Avatar
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    I would Check the Grounds, Battery terminals and ECM wires again. tug on the ECM wires and make sure they are not broken.
    2005 VTX-1300R PAIR done, Stock FURY Pipes, Decapped Airbox, K&N Filter, #210 Main Jet, #58 Pilot Scar Mod with 1 shims, AF @1.875 turns. 10 Min AF Adjuster, All Balls, Nylon Shock Bushings, 1800F Risers, Avon Front w/Dyna Beads 205/70/15 Grabber UHP rear w/Airsoft Pellets, J&P $40 Passenger Floor Boards, LED Red Run/Stop Lights in Yellow lens, Rotella T6 Synthetic 5-40w Ultimate Seats! Headlight Relay

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    I would take a look at the bundle of ground wires bolted to the front bolt of the front coil. Take the bolt out and clean up all so it's good contact throughout.
    The only time I had an issue like yours (bogging down, feeling weak) I cleaned up that and it took care of it.


    You get an "A" for typing out your post...nice job.
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    Senior Member heffly's Avatar
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    If you can use a meter. I would start ohming out the throttle position sensor , ig coils.

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    I had a Ford f150 super crew with the 5.4 V8.

    On mornings that there was a lot of moisture in the air the thing would run like crap. if it was raining, getting home from work was going to be a long trip...

    Problem was one of the coils. There are 8 of them. one on each plug.

    The plastic housing would crack and the spark would short out via the moisture in the air.

    Had to remove the fuel rail that went over the top of the coil to replace it.

    I wonder if maybe a coil may have cracked and if its a moist day the coil might be shorting out but on dry days it may be just fine.

    Do you hear any snapping like an arc?

    Could you park it in the garage on a day it is running poorly and take the seat off and close the garage door and look for something arcing.

    You have tried a whole lot of stuff to find the issue.

    Good luck!!

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    Senior Member Tommys04C's Avatar
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    You were amazingly thorough However, I would check you piston return springs, muffler bearings and flux capacitor. VTX's seem too run as described when these things are out of whack. I'm sure I'm missing more obvious solutions.











    Sorry, I couldn't resist. I'm an Asshat sometimes. I hope the VTX gurus offer better advise than me. Good luck in finding the solution to you problem.

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    Senior Member campman84's Avatar
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    will lay money on coil
    as a after thought not enough concrete in the heads
    campman
    always go camping in jan. no bugs,scream kids - yu get the best camp sites and the ladies always snuggle up to you

    06 vtx 1300c mainly stock - Hard Krome K2 - darkside (hyro-edge 205/70/15)

  9. #8
    Senior Member Gsebring's Avatar
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    Altho I don't have a 1300, I would have to start with all your ground connections should be cleaned especially the one on the front coil.

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    Senior Member kf4ocj's Avatar
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    sounds like a ground problem to me and I would lean more to the charging system

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    Default Plug and coil wires

    Justin, along the lines klapool brought up.

    Can you see anything "weather" related when this happens? Specifically humidity, or impending rain?

    I had a 1990 ford ranger. When the weather got to mild humidity, it would run like crap, rough, gutless. But when it was raining out it ran fine. It seemed like a cylinder was gone. But the way it ran, it was obvious it was not the same cylinder. And the intermittent nature of it pointed away from a mechanical issue.

    Cleaned all the ignition moving parts, dis cap, rotor, spark plugs. Nothing helped. So then tried the spark plug wires and replaced them all including the coil wire. That was when the problem went away. The issue was the wire from the coil, it was corroded on the end that connected to the coil.

    Had that truck for 18 years, and about every 5 years she would do the same thing. Replacing the spark plug wires fixed it every time.

    See if there is subtle change in the weather around the time this happens. Could be the wires.
    Last edited by Slope; 05-15-2011 at 03:04 PM.

  12. #11
    Pope "papa" of the VTXOA Chicago-Spike's Avatar
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    You can knock the cooling part out of the problem. Your bike WILL run hot, especially if you are letting it sit at idle and not riding. The fan WILL and SHOULD come on. Especially at stoplights. Reason being, there is no forward movement therefore no air is going through the radiator so the fan kicks on to pull air through te radiator. All that is normal

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    Junior Member justinpowell1988's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poison View Post
    I would take a look at the bundle of ground wires bolted to the front bolt of the front coil. Take the bolt out and clean up all so it's good contact throughout.
    The only time I had an issue like yours (bogging down, feeling weak) I cleaned up that and it took care of it.
    You get an "A" for typing out your post...nice job.
    Ok this sounds like a good place to start. Im going to be installing block off plates and adding a shim to the scar mod. So this would be good time to start looking at all this stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by klapool View Post
    I had a Ford f150 super crew with the 5.4 V8. On mornings that there was a lot of moisture in the air the thing would run like crap. if it was raining, getting home from work was going to be a long trip...

    Problem was one of the coils. There are 8 of them. one on each plug.

    The plastic housing would crack and the spark would short out via the moisture in the air.

    Had to remove the fuel rail that went over the top of the coil to replace it.

    I wonder if maybe a coil may have cracked and if its a moist day the coil might be shorting out but on dry days it may be just fine.

    Do you hear any snapping like an arc?

    Could you park it in the garage on a day it is running poorly and take the seat off and close the garage door and look for something arcing.

    You have tried a whole lot of stuff to find the issue.

    Good luck!!
    Havent heard any snapping or arching but there are enough issues pointing to the coils to justify replacing them. The plug wires Im going to replace too. I will try inspecting the coils and wires.

    Quote Originally Posted by campman84 View Post
    will lay money on coil
    as a after thought not enough concrete in the heads
    Just replace them? Im not great with electrical systems so I wouldnt know how to test them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gsebring View Post
    Altho I don't have a 1300, I would have to start with all your ground connections should be cleaned especially the one on the front coil.
    Is there any reason you guys suggest the front coil? If anything I suspected the rear coil?


    Quote Originally Posted by Slope View Post
    Justin, along the lines klapool brought up.

    Can you see anything "weather" related when this happens? Specifically humidity, or impending rain?

    I had a 1990 ford ranger. When the weather got to mild humidity, it would run like crap, rough, gutless. But when it was raining out it ran fine. It seemed like a cylinder was gone. But the way it ran, it was obvious it was not the same cylinder. And the intermittent nature of it pointed away from a mechanical issue.

    Cleaned all the ignition moving parts, dis cap, rotor, spark plugs. Nothing helped. So then tried the spark plug wires and replaced them all including the coil wire. That was when the problem went away. The issue was the wire from the coil, it was corroded on the end that connected to the coil.

    Had that truck for 18 years, and about every 5 years she would do the same thing. Replacing the spark plug wires fixed it every time.

    See if there is subtle change in the weather around the time this happens. Could be the wires.
    I have tried to pin this down but I cant find anything consistent. However humidity changes in Florida alot. I know it seems to never run well in the cold but Florida is usually warm anyways.

    The spark plug wires need replacing. Should I order OEM or just pick up some wires designed for carbureted engines at the local autoparts store?

  14. #13
    Junior Member justinpowell1988's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tommys04C View Post
    You were amazingly thorough However, I would check you piston return springs, muffler bearings and flux capacitor. VTX's seem too run as described when these things are out of whack. I'm sure I'm missing more obvious solutions.

    Sorry, I couldn't resist. I'm an Asshat sometimes. I hope the VTX gurus offer better advise than me. Good luck in finding the solution to you problem.
    I guess I wasnt that detailed with the post. I forgot to mention...

    • The piston return spring are brand new, there made of Adamantium with a lifetime guarantee to never fail.
    • The muffler bearings were repacked when i installed the HK pipes.

    However the flux capacitor is a nice catch, I forgot the 05 is the first year they started installing those. I checked it with a meter a while back and it read 1.21 Gigawatts? But now that I think about it, even when I break 88 miles per hour I still end up late to work? So it could be defective, maybe I should upgrade to the cold fusion version...

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    Junior Member justinpowell1988's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicago-Spike View Post
    You can knock the cooling part out of the problem. Your bike WILL run hot, especially if you are letting it sit at idle and not riding. The fan WILL and SHOULD come on. Especially at stoplights. Reason being, there is no forward movement therefore no air is going through the radiator so the fan kicks on to pull air through te radiator. All that is normal
    Well I know the fan serves a purpose... What gets me is the intermittent part. One day fan will only pop occasionally at a longer light and everything feels normal. Then when all the other issues kick in the engine feels hotter and the fan pops on almost instantly when I stop.

    Florida's ambient temperature has been fairly consistent and and I ride the same routes, hit the same lights etc. So I figured it wasnt normal for the cooling system to change that much.

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    I think you answered your own problem. You said the wires to the ecm were kinked and you straightened them out, most likely you broke a wire inside the insulation and sometimes it has good contact and other times it doesn't. The only way I can see to find the wire is to pull each individual wire on the far side of the kink from the connector, and see if a wire comes loose, if the wires insulation is in the pin also, you will have trouble doing even that...

    Good luck, and let me know what you find.

    Dan

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    Pope "papa" of the VTXOA Chicago-Spike's Avatar
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    The fan is only a symptom of the problem. The engine isn't running right, so it's running hotter and the fan is coming on to cool it down more often.

    What I'm saying is, look at something other than the fan, that is working as it should

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    Junior Member justinpowell1988's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willdc View Post
    I think you answered your own problem. You said the wires to the ecm were kinked and you straightened them out, most likely you broke a wire inside the insulation and sometimes it has good contact and other times it doesn't. The only way I can see to find the wire is to pull each individual wire on the far side of the kink from the connector, and see if a wire comes loose, if the wires insulation is in the pin also, you will have trouble doing even that...

    Good luck, and let me know what you find.

    Dan
    I thought about this... Its very possible. I pulled and non came loose but like you said if the insulation is in the pin that would be hard...

    Dumb question. How do I remove the ECM wires from the pin connecter to inspect them?
    "Before you judge someone you should walk a mile in there shoes. That way when you do judge them, you will be a mile away and have their shoes."

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    Senior Member dangrousdan's Avatar
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    Look at the symptoms next if you sell, your resale should be higher. It has turned into some sort of HD, according to some peoples assessment of HD.

    I own a 07 Road King too that I am very Happy with.
    Last edited by dangrousdan; 05-16-2011 at 03:11 PM.
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    I'm sorry to inform you that your bike is dieing and only has hours to days left. Fortunatly for you I operate a hospice house for dieing motorcycles. I try to make them feel comfortable in their last days on earth.

    You can bring your bike to me and I will take care of it until it dies. Simply drop off the bike and sign the title over to me. For a small fee I can come and transport your motorcycle to my care facility.

  21. #20
    Glennok
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    Could be sucking some crud into one of your jets too.

  22. #21
    Senior Member jrchristian's Avatar
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    Default Engine Running Bad

    The thing that stands out to me is "it's running hot when it happens". A lean condition will cause the engine to run hot. I would go back to the carb and run some carb cleaner through it. Generaly a ignition problem, loose connection at battery or charging problem will cause a backfire. This was not mentioned so I assume it is not a issue. Also wiring issue will not cause a overheat problem. I think I would go back to the air fuel mixture. Hope this helps

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    Junior Member justinpowell1988's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spin View Post
    I'm sorry to inform you that your bike is dieing and only has hours to days left. Fortunatly for you I operate a hospice house for dieing motorcycles. I try to make them feel comfortable in their last days on earth.

    You can bring your bike to me and I will take care of it until it dies. Simply drop off the bike and sign the title over to me. For a small fee I can come and transport your motorcycle to my care facility.
    I would man. It sounds like a great thing you do. However I spent all my money on some experimental treatments, and I dont have insurance.
    "Before you judge someone you should walk a mile in there shoes. That way when you do judge them, you will be a mile away and have their shoes."

  24. #23
    Junior Member justinpowell1988's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrchristian View Post
    The thing that stands out to me is "it's running hot when it happens". A lean condition will cause the engine to run hot. I would go back to the carb and run some carb cleaner through it. Generaly a ignition problem, loose connection at battery or charging problem will cause a backfire. This was not mentioned so I assume it is not a issue. Also wiring issue will not cause a overheat problem. I think I would go back to the air fuel mixture. Hope this helps
    I guess what I thought the eletrical system or spark issues could have been causing it to misfire. The detonation of fuel would make it run hot (I believe), and it would mimic a ping in a car. My engine isnt pinging but I did notice higher octane seems to help. Since higher octane burns slower that would make sense. Less detonation=Less heat.
    "Before you judge someone you should walk a mile in there shoes. That way when you do judge them, you will be a mile away and have their shoes."

  25. #24
    Seasoned Member VTX1300cnME's Avatar
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    I know you said you burped the coolant system when you changed it, but are you certain you have all the air out of it?

    I realize the fan is just a symptom, but if the engine isn't cooling properly and is overheating, some of the described symptoms will occur.

    I'm not saying that's the problem, but something else to double check.

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  26. #25
    Senior Member jrchristian's Avatar
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    Default VTX Issues

    Detonation is caused by late spark which is usually related to timing or too much air in the cylinder causing the air fuel ratio to be off. Using higher octane fuel will help on a lean issue because it burns hotter ie: less fuel to fire. I belive if you get the air fuel ratio correct the higher octane will result in more power. Hope this shed more light for you.

  27. #26
    Senior Member dangrousdan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrchristian View Post
    Detonation is caused by late spark which is usually related to timing or too much air in the cylinder causing the air fuel ratio to be off. Using higher octane fuel will help on a lean issue because it burns hotter ie: less fuel to fire. I belive if you get the air fuel ratio correct the higher octane will result in more power. Hope this shed more light for you.
    Detonation is early ignition, before spark, it is also called pre-ignition in a spark-ignition engine it describes the event where the air/fuel mixture in the cylinder ignites before the spark plug fires. Pre-ignition is initiated by an ignition source other than the spark, such as hot spots in the combustion chamber, a spark plug that runs too hot for the application, or carbon deposits in the combustion chamber heated to incandescence by previous engine combustion events.
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