Author Topic: 2006 Bullet 500 ES Not Starting  (Read 415 times)

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onedeepthought

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on: February 08, 2021, 07:23:04 pm
Hello All,

I have a 2006 Royal Enfield Bullet ES. This motorcycle has an electric ignition system (coming from distributor to a little box thing).
I was riding one night when I noticed that the instrument cluster lights were a bit brighter than they normally were. I did not think anything of it and headed out on my journey. While I was switching lanes I noticed that the turn signals were blinking very fast, almost staying on as a light that doesn't flash (from instrument cluster light). I continued riding and experienced a backfire and then another one shortly after, I pulled over and killed the engine to see what was going on. Since then I have been unable to get the bike to start.

I have checked a few different things:
  • Engine has compression( if I try to kick the engine over I feel resistance - I am assuming this a good enough test for compression)
  • I have changed out the ignition coil ( I installed a new lucas 12v coil)
  • I have installed a new spark plug, I am getting spark (although it does seem a little weak)
  • Cleaned out the carb.
  • checked for any leaks on the intake hose - none
  • Battery has been charged and sits at 13v fully charged after starting a few times was at 12.6v
  • I have tried starting it both with the kick and the electric start, both give me the same result.
  • Upon inspection of the components I found that the connectors for my regulator seemed had melted plastic ( i think one of those may need to be replaced, but I was thinking that the bike should be able to start without those (since they are used for charging right?)

I was thinking it may be the electric box for the ignition but I do not know what role it plays.
I have attempted to start it but have been unsuccessful. I am unsure what to check next?

Any pointers would be helpful. I am the third owner of the bike so have no idea what was done to it before.

Thanks in advance.


Adrian II

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Reply #1 on: February 08, 2021, 07:46:04 pm
Sounds like your reg/rectifier needs replacing, if it fails it can interfere with other electrics too. Try starting with the reg/rectifier temporarily disconnected.

If your Bullet has been converted to electronic ignition most replacements for the points are TCI (Transistorized Contact-less Ignition, the little black box performs the contact breaker function electronically, using signal relayed from a magnetic trigger fitted in place of the old contact breaker points. Most TCIs also control the advance/retard electronically too, though there is an Indian electronic ignition which still uses the mechanical auto-advance unit which sits behind where the points used to be.

Some home market Indian Bullets were fitted with CDI (Capacitor Discharge Ignition), but this is a completely different arrangement and should not be confused with aftermarket systems on the 500 cast iron Bullet.

The headlight on this year of Bullet runs independently of the rest of the electrics, it has its own half of the alternator stator and runs on regulated AC, when the engine is running.

A.
Grumpy Brit still seeking 500 AVL Bullet perfection! Will let you know if I get anywhere near...


onedeepthought

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Reply #2 on: February 08, 2021, 08:19:51 pm
Hey Adrian,

I believe the system fitted to this bike is a TCI I am attaching photos of the box. There is a sensor (two wires coming out and spins with the distributor) where the points should be. I think the manufacturer is eureka? Might be stock.

I tried starting without the regulator plugged in and was not able to get it started.

Would that mean there is an issue with the TCI unit? the spark is coming consistently on time, it just seems to get weaker over time.

what else should i check?

thanks



Adrian II

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Reply #3 on: February 09, 2021, 01:54:50 pm
The Eureka is the Indian after-market accessory version I referred to, it still uses the mechanical auto-advance unit, so its only function is to replicate the old points action electronically. From what I've heard, they're pretty reliable, but you could get a points plate assembly fairly cheaply to re-fit in place of the TCI trigger, since you said you have replaced most of the other ignition components. New plug cap too? The points assembly is a copy of the Lucas 4CA fitted to Later (1965-on) BSA C15 and B40 models, so you could even try a British bike spares specialist as well as RE suppliers. Roughly where are you located?

You mentioned that you cleaned the carb and checked for air leaks, are the fuel hose/petcock/gas tank cap breather hole all clear?

Also be aware that there are some duff/pirate NGK branded plugs around, another member here swapped to Champion after all sorts of problems, which promptly vanished. You might want to try an N4C in there if you don't already have one. Again, if you're using a suppressor spark plug cap with a resistor spark plug, that will weaken the spark. Use either a resistor plug and a plain spark plug cap, or a non-resistor plug with a suppressor plug cap.

A.
Grumpy Brit still seeking 500 AVL Bullet perfection! Will let you know if I get anywhere near...


mrunderhill1975a

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Reply #4 on: February 09, 2021, 06:19:17 pm
Electronic ignitions are very sensitive to volts and amp variations.  In my case with a 2004, which was similar to yours, I replaced everything with no good result.  Then Kevin Mahoney suggested I check the ground wire attachment behind the battery, I scoffed, but when I checked it, there was green mushrooms on that connection.  Used wire brush to get through the paint down to bare metal, since then the problem not returned. So, I suggest you check that and any other ground connections you can find.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2021, 06:37:14 pm by mrunderhill1975a »


onedeepthought

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Reply #5 on: February 09, 2021, 11:18:08 pm
The Eureka is the Indian after-market accessory version I referred to, it still uses the mechanical auto-advance unit, so its only function is to replicate the old points action electronically. From what I've heard, they're pretty reliable, but you could get a points plate assembly fairly cheaply to re-fit in place of the TCI trigger, since you said you have replaced most of the other ignition components. New plug cap too? The points assembly is a copy of the Lucas 4CA fitted to Later (1965-on) BSA C15 and B40 models, so you could even try a British bike spares specialist as well as RE suppliers. Roughly where are you located?

You mentioned that you cleaned the carb and checked for air leaks, are the fuel hose/petcock/gas tank cap breather hole all clear?

Also be aware that there are some duff/pirate NGK branded plugs around, another member here swapped to Champion after all sorts of problems, which promptly vanished. You might want to try an N4C in there if you don't already have one. Again, if you're using a suppressor spark plug cap with a resistor spark plug, that will weaken the spark. Use either a resistor plug and a plain spark plug cap, or a non-resistor plug with a suppressor plug cap.

A.

I live in Los Angeles, CA in the United states.
I checked the petcock, fuel seems to be flowing. Even Gas tank cap breaker hole seems fine.

Electronic ignitions are very sensitive to volts and amp variations.  In my case with a 2004, which was similar to yours, I replaced everything with no good result.  Then Kevin Mahoney suggested I check the ground wire attachment behind the battery, I scoffed, but when I checked it, there was green mushrooms on that connection.  Used wire brush to get through the paint down to bare metal, since then the problem not returned. So, I suggest you check that and any other ground connections you can find.

I checked the grounds, no corrosion, a bit of rust back there on the frame, I cleaned it as best but could not get all of it off.

Here is what I have found since yesterday:

I get spark to my spark plug very intermittently, sometimes i get it sometimes the sparkplug does not fire. However, when I put an inline tester in between it is firing consistently. The new test spark plug is without a resistor.
What I have noticed is that my ammeter does show slight discharge when I put the key into on position. Is this normal? I was thinking this was for the neutral light and brake light. I will attach a photo below.

I checked my right hand switch wire loom (going from the switch/green connector) for continuity to see if any of the wires melted and joined. However I am not sure if I did it right. I just put one pin into the wire and went into each, I did this for all. The red/yellow wire was beeping back for all of them except the , and so did a few others. is this normal behavior?


Thank you for your suggestions.



AzCal Retred

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Reply #6 on: February 10, 2021, 03:17:18 am
The Snidal Manual has wiring diagrams, find the ones closest to your bike and go from there.
You might try disconnecting the kill switch wires if you have the headlight out, I believe it grounds around the points, might possibly have a high resistance leak to ground adversely affecting the coil circuit operation.
Sparking when a test gap is introduced may indicate a weak ignition coil. The additional air gap allows the charge to build up a bit more before it jumps the gap. What are your coil primary & secondary ohm readings?
Personally I prefer points on the Bullet. The whole idea of owning a Bullet is to experience motorcycling's Neolithic past. Points simplify the troubleshooting process. Electro-gizzys are great, but the stock Bullet points ignition is adequate for the application and is simpler to troubleshoot: Points clean & dry?...Check. Voltage to points?...Check. Spark at plug when points break open?...If Yes - you're done. If No, bad capacitor, coil on a holiday, spark plug mystery failure or plug wire has fallen off...as I found out one day after a 1/4 mile push.
The intake rubber from the carb to the head spigot if infamous for cracking & diluting the charge, which can affect starting. Cut a 1 3/8" piece of 1 1/4" fiber reinforced radiator hose and get two appropriate sized stainless steel hose clamps and put paid to that failure mechanism permanently.
Get a Snidal manual and dig in to the basics. If it's relatively stock, has enough compression to push your thumb off of the spark plug hole when kicking over with the throttle open, has a clean carb full of fuel & spark at the right time it HAS to run. Just methodically make those things happen.


The Pete Snidal Motorcycle Manuals
http://www.enfield.20m.com/bullet1.htm


Hitchcocks can have this stuff to you in 4-6 days most times.

https://accessories.hitchcocksmotorcycles.com/2155?qty=1&continue_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.hitchcocksmotorcycles.com%2Fpartsbook-pages%2F1825
PART No. 144146 ; £77.00 ; C/B PLATE, CAM AND AUTOADVANCE UNIT ASSY, 500, 535 AND 350cc AFTER 06/98

https://accessories.hitchcocksmotorcycles.com/accessory-shop/Spark-Plug-Cap/1686
PART No. 142586 ; £3.30
SPARK PLUG CAP NGK (RED)

https://accessories.hitchcocksmotorcycles.com/accessory-shop/Coil-PVL/18674
PART No. 92025 ; £43.50
COIL WITH BRACKET, 12v (PVL)

PART No. 90154 ; £10.80 ; STARTER MOTOR BLANK
If you have removed the starter motor and do not want to go to the expense and effort of changing the chaincase, then this is a simple to fit alloy plug that seals the hole that is left behind.

  - OR -

https://accessories.hitchcocksmotorcycles.com/accessory-shop/ignition/34789   ;D ;D ;D
PART No. 90158 ; £539.00
ELECTRIC STARTER UPGRADE KIT (ALTON)
The Electric Starter Upgrade kit (Alton), exclusive to Hitchcocks Motorcycles, has been developed to alleviate the problem of sprag clutch failure on electric start Bullet and Electra X engines. This kit, which has taken four years in development and testing, comprises a replacement idler gear; a replacement driving gear; an improved starter solenoid; and a set of improved electrical leads to provide maximum current transfer.
Many owners of pre-EFI electric start Bullet and Electra X engines have experienced repeated and expensive failures of the one-way sprag clutch bearing and gears. While the sprag clutch bearing itself is a satisfactory item, they are easily damaged when forced to run ‘backwards’ by an engine ‘kick-back’. Engine ‘kick-back’ may be caused by any number of factors and is difficult to eliminate entirely. The bearing and gears needed for these repairs are amongst the most expensive single items in these engines and with labour costs repair bills run into hundreds of pounds. Even after repair the sprag clutch is liable to fail again (and again!) at any time.
The Alton upgrade kit includes an idler gear incorporating a cush drive arrangement with 6 shock absorbing buffers. The buffers cushion the effects of an engine ‘kick-back’ to safeguard against sprag clutch failure.
This upgrade kit will not only help protect against sprag clutch failure from engine ‘kick-back’ but the upgrade kit will also help with starting in general as a result of a number of other improvements incorporated in the kit components.
Please note: the Electric Starter Upgrade kit does not include the sprag clutch assembly - which is still required.


A brace of 1999 Bullets: 1 Red Deluxe, 1 Green Standard. Also, 1 wee orphan 1956 Fire Arrow project.


mrunderhill1975a

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Reply #7 on: February 11, 2021, 12:13:45 am
The electronic ignition will show very little deflection of the ammeter, points ignitions will show a large deflection when points open.  I can't remember if you checked your coil with an ohm meter.  Resistance between  the Pos terminal and negative terminal of the coil should be about 3-4 Ohms. The resistance between positive terminal and spark wire on the coil should be really high (7 or 8 Kilo Ohms).  Also check to see if you have power to the coil on the positive wire.  If  there is an intermittent short circuit  on the positive side of the coil, you would get an intermittent spark as you describe.  If that positive wire is rubbed some insulation off at some place between the handlebar switch and the coil, every time the short touches, no power to coil, and no spark.  Look for shorts where the wire loom rubs on the headset near the front of fuel tank. 

Also look for places where the neg wire from the coil goes into the "distributor".  If that is chafed on cover, vibrations would cause intermittent short and  spark.

From your descriptions, an intermittent short when wires vibrate against the metal frame would be suspect.  I have attached a wire diagram for a 2004 bullet which should be somewhat similar to your bike.  The diagram shows points contact breaker, your electronic unit would be in place of the contact breaker.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2021, 12:24:38 am by mrunderhill1975a »


axman88

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Reply #8 on: February 11, 2021, 01:18:05 am
My guess is that the regulator failed and is passing power to ground, and that power draw is sufficient to reduce energy available to the ignition, such that the engine won't start and you don't get reliable spark.

If the regulator / rectifier is still connected, I would suggest disconnecting that component, and see if you get reliable spark.  Without the rectifier in the circuit, you will get NO charging.  With the regulator in attached, but the rectifier detached, (if you have the separable component design), you will get charging, but no voltage control at high RPMs.

Just a guess.  I'm no expert.



onedeepthought

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Reply #9 on: February 11, 2021, 06:57:28 pm
Hello All

Here is my new update:

I am now getting consistent spark! i had a loose fuse (switched the cylinder fuse to a blade type fuse) and I switched to a non resistor spark plug. I also cleaned off all of the grounds and connections. The regulator is disconnected as well. The spark is nice, blue and consistent now.
I may just convert it back to points in the future.

Unfortunately my bullet refuses to start still.
What I have checked since getting a consistent spark:
  • fuel from tank to carb flows steadily. (i unplugged the fuel hose and turned on the petcock to check flow (flows strongly)
  • There is fuel inside of the carb.

I do not know how to check if the engine is getting fuel into the chamber. I will be troubleshooting this next.
I did clean the jets earlier.
I will be changing out the rubber hose connecting the carb to engine, although the one I have does not have an cracks.
I will also try shooting some starter fluid into the chamber to see if that can get it to start up. It has been sitting for about 2 months, should I change out the fuel?


I will be working on it more over the weekend.
Please let me know if anyone has any suggestions.

Thank you all for your help with the electrical side of things, this is my first bike and I am learning a lot as I go. Can't wait to hear it thump again!






AzCal Retred

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Reply #10 on: February 11, 2021, 09:45:39 pm
The spark plug will be damp or wet if it is getting fuel with no spark.
With the ignition off, choke on and compression release held in, boot her through a dozen times. Pull the plug and check for fuel. You should be able to smell it on the plug even if it's not wet.

What's most likely is that the carb has gummed up with old gas varnish. Remove it and carefully disassemble it.
WD40 is clean and will blow out some kinds of crud. Soaking overnight in gasoline might loosen old varnish and is "no harm no foul".
The float bowl when you remove it should be full of clean fuel, no gum residue or dirt of any kind.
Pull the float, float needle & pin, pilot jet, main jet, needle jet, slide, slide needle, air bleed screw and choke plug assembly.
All passages should be clean, no gum. Blow out with WD40.
All jets should be able to be looked through. A tiny copper wire can be used to CAREFULLY work out any varnish plugs in the center or emulsion tube ports.
When it's all clean, reassemble. Check that CLEAN fuel makes it into the float bowl.
The air bleed screw is normally found from 1 to 1 1/2 turns open.

Make certain your tappets are not too tight.

These often backfire if the timing is a bit advanced or you don't put it a bit after TDC before you give it that long swing. That's one advantage of points, they make it easy to determine when you are ATDC and ready to boot through.
Try starting it again. It should at least pop. try "choke on" a few kicks, then try Choke off. Then try a squirt of starter fluid, maybe it needs encouragement after a long nap.

There's no voodoo to the carbs, they just need to be clean with a reasonable float level.

Good Hunting - ACR -
A brace of 1999 Bullets: 1 Red Deluxe, 1 Green Standard. Also, 1 wee orphan 1956 Fire Arrow project.


mrunderhill1975a

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Reply #11 on: February 11, 2021, 10:46:20 pm
If you are not sure you have fuel passing through the carb jets, you can get a small plastic squeeze container, fill it with fuel, squirt a small amount of fuel into the carb throat, kick it a few times, see if it pops.

I assume you have good compression ( enough to push your thumb off the spark plug hole when kicking through)?
If you have compression, spark, fuel the only thing left would be timing. Has the small magnet in the "distributor" been moved?


onedeepthought

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Reply #12 on: April 07, 2021, 05:27:28 am
Hello all,
I had a busy few months and did not have much time to work on the bike.
Turns out I still had some issues with the spark 9 it was intermittent and was not loading).
I ripped out the whole wiring harness only to find that everything was fine.

Turns out out the issue was with the eurotek box sitting behind one of the toolboxes. I replaced the unit and the coil on the shaft and I know have consistent spark.

I have never been so happy hearing a backfire
I think I may have messed up the carb settings while cleaning and debuggging so will fine tune it sometime this week.
I also will have to mess with the timing on for the position sensor that feed into the eurotek unit

Getting closer if anyone has any experience lining up the sensors tdc please let me know that is primarily what i am struggling with right now. I had marked where the sensor was before and after but am going back and forth between carb settings and the position sensor settings. I think I need to have a better idea of where TDC is for the sensor (altho i feel like i am really close)

Please let me know if any one has experience with any of the above.

As always many thanks to those who answer!
I have been learning so much through these forums!


Seipgam

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Reply #13 on: April 07, 2021, 08:50:38 am
Sounds like you need to setup the timing correctly.
Use a degree wheel to find correct TDC and mark it, then with the bike running and a timing light you will be able to set it to the correct advance (32 deg BTDC at 3000 rpm I believe).

I have recently done this with mine which runs a Boyer electronic ignition.  Easy starting and better running.
Mine was too far advanced - about 40 deg BTDC at full advance so was hard to start, with kick backs etc.

Geoff.
1954 Francis Barnett, Kestrel 66 122cc
1995 Royal Enfield Bullet 500
2014 Suzuki S40 Boulevard (LS650)