what's the trick to a cold start - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 14th, 2010, 9:03 pm Thread Starter
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what's the trick to a cold start

My garage lies other side of the wall behind our hearth in the TV room. On cold nights like this we always toast by the fire, and so the back side of the chimney knocks the chill off my bikes. So when I came out this morning, even though it was 17 degrees, Ocelot fired right up.

But after parking all day outside the office in 20 mph winds on a day which never exceeded 22 degrees that was one damn chilly brick. VERY reluctant to start. Round and round she went with just a weak cough now and then. Had to go back inside and let her dry out and let the battery rest. Then I went out and cranked the crap out of her. Took me maybe fifteen minutes to get on the road.

Now here's the deal: I am a lifelong rounder. Riding Season is a myth. This is Dull-Aware; not the Yukon. I am not going to walk to work. That means this type of behavior is entirely unacceptable. If she cannot start down to five degrees like all my other bikes, then she is gonna be out of here come Spring.

Luckily, Ocelot is a 1990 K75C with no ABS; so she has the giant battery, and it's brand new. Juice was not an issue. The brain enriched the mix, I know that because she smelled like a gas station. I know the "choke" lever is in good shape, because it sends the idle up.

I am thinking there has got to be a cold weather trick. I know with all my Hondas it was always full choke, absolutely zero throttle, and crank. Annie my R1200CLC beemer likewise wants me to not touch the throttle, but she wants me to stab the starter. Biffy my KLR wants full choke and crack the throttle at first cough. Had one bike, if it didn't catch on the first try, you turned the key off and walked around for a bit, because more cranking would just flood the thing. Had a kickstart R69 many many years ago that a Dane taught me the old country way: Light a newspaper, throw it under the pan, count to five, then start kicking. Idea was to warm up the air in the intake.

So I am looking for advice from a rounder up North. Some brick jockey from the land of cheese and skeeters, or some crazy Canuck from the land of taxes. What's the trick? How do you start the thing in the teens? Crack it open? Keep it shut? Stab? Crank?

And while we're at it, what's with the "choke" lever? I find there's a notch at about half way. What's the purpose of this notch?

Unmitigated risk aversion is the new Puritanism, complete with witch hunts, funny outfits, and solemn preachers thundering doom. The name of God is changed to Safety; the name of Satan is changed to Lawyer; but the object remains the same: to suck all the life out of life and make you live on the husk.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 14th, 2010, 10:41 pm
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I live in the Northeast. Always have, except for 12 years in Maryland, and I have ridden and worked on BMWs for thirty-odd years.

K-Bikes with L-Jetronic often resist starting in cold weather. Aside from proper tuning, there are three things you can try. The first is to not use the "choke". Just stab the starter button. Frequently they will fire right up. The other is to roll the throttle on and off, "tricking" the L-Jet into believing the motor is accelerating because the airflow meter is getting jiggled back and forth. Finally, I have found that boosting fuel pressure will give enough fuel to get a reluctant bike started.

You noted that the bike "smelled like a gas station". When one of these bikes doesn't get enough fuel to start, it simply goes into the exhaust. When cranked long enough, they'll even foul their plugs without giving any sign of starting.

The mid-point in the choke lever is to keep the motor running during warm up. Only K75s have this feature.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 14th, 2010, 10:53 pm
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You get snow out there? Maybe your bike is just not wanting to get dumped on slippery stuff.
The K75 tends to flood easily, especially during a muffed start up. I use full choke (actually, it's a fast idle, no choke function) no throttle, clutch in (for less tranny drag) If no go, then hold it WFO for a couple more cranks to lean it out. Always worked for me, but I drive the Jetta now if it gets below 40. Total wimp in my old age. I remember reading about some fluke the injection system had but I can't remember it now.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 15th, 2010, 10:57 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 54089093
The mid-point in the choke lever is to keep the motor running during warm up. Only K75s have this feature.
Where did you pick up this little tad of misinformation? All K75s, K100s, K1s and K1100s have it. They all use the exact same left hand handlebar assembly which includes the choke. Look up part number 32721457069.

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/partxref.do?part=32721457069

Cold starting, what works for me: One blip of the throttle before hitting the start button. No choke until the engine is running then use the choke until it warms up.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 15th, 2010, 11:43 am Thread Starter
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Does it get that cold in Seattle? Nineteen here this morning. Always thought of Seattle as more wet than frosty. Do you get the brittle air and black ice like we do on this side of the continent?

Unmitigated risk aversion is the new Puritanism, complete with witch hunts, funny outfits, and solemn preachers thundering doom. The name of God is changed to Safety; the name of Satan is changed to Lawyer; but the object remains the same: to suck all the life out of life and make you live on the husk.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 15th, 2010, 12:47 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocelot
Does it get that cold in Seattle? Nineteen here this morning. Always thought of Seattle as more wet than frosty. Do you get the brittle air and black ice like we do on this side of the continent?
It's usually not THAT cold here but it can get into the teens occasionally. (14 back in November of this year)

Black ice: unless we have a cold snap not so much in the city except on bridges but we get plenty of black ice in surrounding areas during the winter.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 15th, 2010, 3:43 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingDuck
Where did you pick up this little tad of misinformation? All K75s, K100s, K1s and K1100s have it. They all use the exact same left hand handlebar assembly which includes the choke. Look up part number 32721457069.

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/partxref.do?part=32721457069

Cold starting, what works for me: One blip of the throttle before hitting the start button. No choke until the engine is running then use the choke until it warms up.

My '88 K100RS SE has that detent and it works well for a set point during the rarm up period. My guess would be that the BMW engineers put that there so us American riders would have a point to set our chokes at that they determined to be the ideal point for most cold starts. (Crazy American riders with their "all or nothing" attitudes.... )

I live in Corvallis Oregon, just a few hours away from Seattle and yes it can get cold here. We have had snow, freezing rain, low teens for temperatures, and a tornado along with our more typical upper 30's to low 40's weather. (That has just been since the first of November.) We usually get a week or so where we sit in the 20's in January or February then get a warm snap that pushes us to the mid to upper 70's in February right after that cold spell. And that is just for the coastal side of the Cascades. When I ride to visit a friend of mine in Baker City, Oregon in January I will be riding in 20's in daylite, and low teens after sunset. I made a trip over to visit her in November (during our cold snap) and my K100RS started just fine with single digit weather using the same method FlyingDuck uses. Works great every time and my bike has 145k miles on it.

In that long story I guess I'm trying to establish that us riders in the Pacific Northwest do experience cold temps too and we do ride our bikes in that weather. And our bikes operate just like they should. Even on Oregon's 10% ethanol blend during the summer and closer to 17% with our winterized fuel. (My Honda bikes required aviation fuel belnded in during the winter to run.)

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 15th, 2010, 7:44 pm
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Sounds to me as if you are flooding the engine. Try holding the throttle wide open when you crank if it starts right up you choke is flooding the engine, and needs adjusting.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 16th, 2010, 6:00 pm
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And get a new Odyssey battery. Has lots of cranking power, more than OEM.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 17th, 2010, 1:00 am
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