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Old 07-25-2008, 09:58 AM   #1
Ashley K
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Default Can't get bike to start + clutch problems

I just bought a 1982 Yamaha Maxim 550. I was told it ran great, but when the owner went over seas he put it in storage for a year or so. He knew the battery was dead, so we could not start the bike when we bought it.
I replaced the battery and spark plugs, and when I put the choke on and try and start it it starts to chug for a second, but it doesn't turn on. I also can't get the clutch to fully compress. I can wrestle it in enough to shift gears, but it feels like the cable just is seized or something.

I have no prior experience with motorcycles, and just got my license last month. If anyone can give me some advice it would be GREATLY appreciated. Please let me know if I've overlooked anything.

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Old 07-25-2008, 10:05 AM   #2

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Take it to the shop and have them clean out the carbs, lube the cables and do a general tune-up. It will cost you around $300.00 but will be worth it. Then you can sell that big lump and buy something that befits your beginner status, like a 250 dual-sport.
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Old 07-25-2008, 10:10 AM   #3
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Ashley, your carbs are full of gummed up gas, and they need to be cleaned. Some of the other guys can give you better advice on how to do it. As for the clutch, it's hard to say what might be happening. Things tend to get sticky when they are not used for a while, and it could well be that your clutch cable needs to be replaced.
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Old 07-25-2008, 10:38 AM   #4
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Ashley, did you spend less than $1000 for this bike? Hope so. Your bike needs the carbs cleaned as suggested. I'd replace the clutch cable. I'd, also, check the brake lines for dry rot. Old shaft drive Yamaha's are notorious for bending the 2nd gear shift dogs. If this has happend it will cost you more to fix it than the bike is worth. This is not a bad bike. Just interesting that you'd purchase such an old bike with no real experience. I wouldn't suggest holding onto it that long. You'd be better off with a mid 90's Honda VLX or Yamaha Virago 535. Find a small, family owned bike shop and build a relationship with them. They will treat you better than the big box style dealers you see today.
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:27 PM   #5
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Old 07-26-2008, 05:22 PM   #6
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Another thing you might want to do is just smell the gas in the fuel tank. Bad gas has a stinch to it and doesnt smell like regular gas.

All the advice given so far is good however before you pay someone to clean out the carbs, check for rust in the tank. If you can see it with a flash light and there is rust either look for a new tank or creem it. Although I would pay a professional to do the creem.

All it is is a sealant that coats the inside of your tank so as not to get any rust and or corrosion going back into the carbs after being cleaned.

But before all that I would take the bike to the dealer or technician and pay them to give you a complete estimate on what all of this is going to cost you. Frankly after you know what its going to cost you, it may or may not be worth it. Good luck Ashley.
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