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Why is a Virago hard to start when cold? [CLOSED]

Posted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:19 am
by Michelle
Basically, my question is why is a Virago hard to start from cold on a cold wintery sort of a day?

I go out and try to start her up. I use full choke. Sometimes she will just flood as I can smell the petrol and so I'll leave her be for around 20 minutes, then try again. Most often she will fire up (eventually) but I dare not touch the throttle for a few moments. After she's warm, she will fire up first time, every time....... Until next day :D

Carbs are new and jetted properly and even balanced. Float levels checked. Plugs brand new and properly gapped, CDIs fully checked, tappets checked, no issues with the petrol. Not even a backfire while riding. Not even a pop while decelerating. She's as good as gold. Just a complete bitch to start from cold.

I'm told hard starting from cold is indicative of the Virago range. Is that true? And can it be fixed? :?

PS: Don't seem to have this issue in summer, only on days where the temp is less then 15 degrees celsius and the morning air might be a but misty.

Re: Why is a Virago hard to start when cold?

Posted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:55 am
by ViragoJoe
Michelle wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:19 am
Basically, my question is why is a Virago hard to start from cold on a cold wintery sort of a day?

I go out and try to start her up. I use full choke. Sometimes she will just flood as I can smell the petrol and so I'll leave her be for around 20 minutes, then try again. Most often she will fire up (eventually) but I dare not touch the throttle for a few moments. After she's warm, she will fire up first time, every time....... Until next day :D

Carbs are new and jetted properly and even balanced. Float levels checked. Plugs brand new and properly gapped, CDIs fully checked, tappets checked, no issues with the petrol. Not even a backfire while riding. Not even a pop while decelerating. She's as good as gold. Just a complete bitch to start from cold.

I'm told hard starting from cold is indicative of the Virago range. Is that true? And can it be fixed? :?

PS: Don't seem to have this issue in summer, only on days where the temp is less then 15 degrees celsius and the morning air might be a but misty.
Hi Michelle,
Fuel doesn't atomize as well in cold temperatures as it does in warm temperatures for most Carbureted engines. Our motorcycles fall into this category. They usually start extremely better in the summer where the fuel atomizes much easier. Based upon colder outside temperature, finding the sweet spot for the choke and throttle positioning can be a challenge at times in cold temperatures. Every bike is unique on to itself when finding that sweet spot.

15° Celsius (59°F) is still considered warm up here in Michigan. Now -5°C (23°F) is a different story.

"I go out and try to start her up. I use full choke." At 15°C. At that temperature try starting your bike without the choke, she may surprise you and start right up. Mostly, everyone goes for the choke first and adds to the hard starting condition. The choke may not have been needed. Or maybe just a wee bit of choke. Nope, most of us just go for the gusto :lol: You know, grabbing the salt shaker before we tasted the food. :o

Now when I start to have issues with starting my bike, due to the cold temperatures and riding season is over. I pull the battery and place it in the basement on a float charger until next riding season. Some folks think they are doing a disservice by not going out and starting their bikes. On the contrary, they are doing more harm than good. They are placing a harder load on the battery and starter to start the bike in colder temperatures. Their concern is that they want to charge the battery by running it for a few minutes. Trust me, they won't run the bike long enough to put back the power they just took out of it to start the bike. Worse for the battery in really cold temperatures for most don't place their batteries on a float charger.

Also, running the bike for short bursts in cold temperatures creates condensation in the engine. Not good to have water vapor sitting inside the engine all winter. To really dry it out, one would have to ride the bike for about 30 minutes. Since our bikes are air cooled not a good idea to let it idle that long to try to dry it out. Burning the fuel and causing the fuel level to decrease in the tank creating a bigger air pocket provides for rust due to condensation. Keep the tank as full as possible. Try using a fuel stabilizer that also has vaporizing qualities. They do make them, just hard to find.

In summary, the moral to the story is. When you are done riding for the season. Fill the tank with fuel treated with a fuel stabilizer, battery on a float charger and cover your bike with a breathable water resistant material, not plastic, for it will retain moisture and rust areas of your bike. Then leave her alone until next riding season. She'll be just fine napping all winter.

Just added Info.:
How To start a Motorcycle:
https://m.wikihow.com/Start-a-Motorcycle

Re: Why is a Virago hard to start when cold?

Posted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 5:41 pm
by Schu
Chelle my 95 XV1100 Vgo was the same way on cold days. It would start on one cylinder and idle for a minute or two before the second cylinder would kick in. It always started, but it always acted that way on a cold day.

That's one thing I do not miss. My new Yamaha V-twin is fuel injected and instantly starts at the push of the button regardless of the conditions. No choke or enrichener needed. Just push the button and BAM she fires up.

Hope you get yours sorted out so that you can deal with it.

Re: Why is a Virago hard to start when cold?

Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 5:47 am
by ViragoJoe
I found this article to be interesting:

Why fuel injection has replaced carburetors on motorcycles
https://www.revzilla.com/common-tread/w ... -injection

Re: Why is a Virago hard to start when cold?

Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:27 am
by geezyrider
Get a Beltran Battery Tender Junior. Install the wiring to your battery that has a plug on the end. Then keep the charger plugged into the bike when not riding. I found out that my XV535 was a Snolly Goster to start unless the battery had a full charge. And I ride all winter long in temps of 40's-50's. Once the battery reaches charge it only charges when it gets slightly low which is not very often, and therefor uses very little electricity.

Re: Why is a Virago hard to start when cold?

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:04 am
by ViragoJoe
More info. regarding Cold Start Conditions.

Virago Tech – Engine stalls using choke
Cold Start – Choke Problems
https://www.viragohelp.com/virago-owner ... ing-choke/