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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I purchased a 1982 GS550 for $300. It was so cheap because it did not start, or even turn over. I have spent months repairing the bike and it now turns over. When I press the ignition button, the starting motor turns and the bike fires once about every 10 seconds. I have cleaned the carbs and tried starting fluid. The results are the same every time I try to start it. I have also kept a new battery on a tender to keep it fully charged. What do all of you advise me to do from this point? Any help is appreciated.
-Aidan
 

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I would hook a timing light to each plug wire one by one and check for a consistent flash while the engine is turning. That would indicate you have spark (or not.)
 

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You beat me to it Cmonstart, but yeah he could be getting spark but out of time, I guess if it's points
could be the condenser,but if eelectronic, I heard those sensors can be sensitive to heat or cold. In my
Sporty shop manual it says when engine quits it could be too much heat or cold at sensor and to have
a can of freon and a blow-drier, so I'm figuring do this backwards and see if you get a spark back.
 

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Ya, was going one step at a time. Honestly I don't know if that bike has points or an electronic system.

A compression test might be helpful too. If you don't have a tester you can take the plugs out and cover the plug hole with your thumb. Hold the throttle open and crank t he engine. There should be enough compression to force air past your thumb even with you trying to cover the hole.
 

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That's the 'DRY' test, putting a few tablespoons of oil in plug hole, if compression seems to increase some,
then it could be rings, if not valves. SlumLord told Tyler about Dan's Motorcycles' how to get a bike going,
lots of good info there. If there is spark but weak and timing is good, could be wires, if an old bike take coils
and put them in an oven on lowest setting for about 5 hours, I have brought magneto coils back to life doing
this. Dampness will kill a coil if not used much. what is condition of air cleaner? if dirty than engine is partly
choked, does starter 'basicly just do its job or does it seem to, you know, peel over like very little effort as
compared to being sluggish. If it IS a spark issue as he cleaned carbs an has a good battery, see if he can
get another coil, it takes time but I've done stuff like this, a coil can seem good when not hooked to a spark
plug you can get a good spark, inside the cylinder though, different story,

Just for the hell of it, put a bit of gas in plug hole, if she fires right over carb setting are probably off a bit, carb
can be clean but not properly adjusted, the ole 'gas in her plug hole tells a lot if she fires right over even if for a
few seconds.
 

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Dan's Motorcycle "Motorcycle Troubleshooting" I do like the timing light to check for spark much more than the standard spark checker. Harbor freight has them for not much more than a spark checker anyway.

As cheap as spark plugs are to buy, just get a set. My buddy has a Honda Dream that ran great, but the sparks were weak. It turns out that he used premium fuel plus some fuel additive from Amsoil and the plugs got ruined. Now it starts first kick
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all for your help. This is my first bike that I have worked on. I have cleaned the carbs and tuned them. I have checked for spark and it is consistent and strong. So you all think that I should check the timing of the spark? I found this youtube video titled "How to set ignition points - GS550" but this forum wont let me post links until I have posted 15 times. Is that the right thing to do? Also, I am shipping off to a military academy in just over 2 weeks and I will get very busy very fast. If you have any other suggestions that I could try, please let me know because it has been my goal to get her running before I leave. Once again, thanks for the help.
 

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I have an '83 GS550 and the issue when mine was doing this was that I had the plugs wired in reverse order. :-/

Does anyone know why a bike will only start initially if you crack open the bowl of the carb? It's almost like a vacuum is being created or something preventing fuel from passing through. After letting a tiny bit of fuel out of the bowl, it fires right up every time. (Yes, I have the choke fully open, too.)
 
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