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Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
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I've just brought my first motor bike, a '79 Suzuki TS185….I plan on learning to ride then upgrade to a bike worthy of a 3000 km trip to the Northern Sahara. Having read the previous threads I might have found ‘buy accident’ the perfect bike.
I have some technical questions I was hoping to find answers for;
The TS ran perfectly and then spluttered and stopped, there was fuel but not much, I topped it up and it wouldn’t then restart. I’ve added fuel and only recently cleaned out the carb, so I then checked for a spark, which is present but not as strong as the decent blue spark I had before, I cleaned the plug and tried again, still nothing !!
I’ll fit a new plug tonight and check but still have a few questions, if when I kick start the bike a spark is generated, is this spark managed / increased with a coil or ignition module, as found under the tank? Can I test this is working? The bike has a old battery, however the spark is the same even if I disconnect the battery, is the starting spark dependant on a decent battery? Lastly what is the correct spark gap for the BP7ES plug.
I also fancy a larger fuel tank, does anyone know of a brand so I can start looking for a second hand one.
Well done on your choice! Of course I completely approve. As an explanation of the ignition system, I will say a few things. Firstly, one of the great things about the TS is that it is electronic/magneto spark so it doesn't need a battery to start(but a battery is a good idea to keep the rest of the electrical system happy. Without a battery to buffer the charging system, some extra load is put on the voltage regulator and bulbs). It is also very very reliable, so it is usually the LAST place to start in trouble-shooting. All two-smokes like a good plug, and that is the FIRST place to start as it is also the easiest. Plug gap is not critical but there is a best setting (I use my thumbnail!) of about 22 thou. But the most common cause of sudden failure to start (as opposed to some catastrophic failure like a holed piston) is fuel. Are you sure the fuel is getting thru? Turn off the fuel, and open the drain screw at the bottom on the carb bowl. When the fuel stops flowing, open the petcock and see if fuel starts to flow again. If it does, then you should go into the carb. If it doesn't tap the carb with the end of your screwdriver in case the float has jammed, and then you will have to pull the hose off the petcock to see if there fuel coming out of the tank. The filter inside the tank can clog, but it is simple to remove the petcock and clean it. Clean out the bowl trap under the petcock at the same time. These little wonders are very easy to get into the carb. Turn off the fuel tap. You don't even need to take the carb off, just loosen the clamps on both sides of the carb and rotate 90 deg until you can see the underside. Then, with a very good philips-head or pozi-drive screwdriver (it is unfortunately easy to chew up the screw heads) undo the four bolts holding the float bowl on. Look into the bottom of the bowl for sludge and clean it out. Carefully remove the pivot pin that the float works on, remembering that the little needle valve will drop out with the float. There are two jets to check, slow speed running jet and main jet. The slow speed running jet is very small and inside a "well" beside the main jet. The main jet is undone with a 6mm spanner. take it our and blow thru it to clear it. Use a very small flat screwdriver to remove the slow speed jet or use compressed air to blow it out in situ. DON'T poke things down the small slow running jet as the size is critical. Even a small scrape inside the jet can make a difference. Re-assemble, being careful with the float needle and the float tab the closes the float needle. DON'T mess with the float tab, unless you are completely sure some other idiot has. It should never need changing. Pulling the carb apart like this and cleaning takes me less than 10 minutes. Try that on your average Honda TransAlp!
As to a larger tank, if you are in a region that sells the sister-bikes to this, the TF185 or TF125, try to find a tank for it. This will almost double the capacity to 13 liters. As far as I know that is the only option. As it is a steel tank, it is not impossible to get new sides welded on to the original tank to extend the capacity. Where are you? I may be able to arrange to send you a second hand tank from NZ.
Nigel in NZ
--"Ride tall, ride small"--
--"How can I be lost if I don't care where I am?"--
Many thanks for your reply, having brought a new plug and lead last night I fitted it on, still a spark but not starting. Rather frustrated I left the bike and went in….. This morning driving to work I was thinking, with a spark it must then be fuel and I guess the moisture on the spark is possibly a little oil! It must be a fuel problem. I didn’t realise there is a filter inside the tank!! I’ve had the carb in pieces and checked it over. So the jobs for tonight are check out the tank filter and check the fuel tap, remove the bottom carb cap and check for fuel. As you say its very easy to work on and a pleasure.
Did you make your big travels on your Suzuki? Did I also read correctly you brought a new TS? My local Suzuki garage recons he’s only seen 5 TS185’s in 20 years of working on Suzuki’s so either there that reliable or rare as rocking horse sh*t over here!!
I live in Belgium – unless Suzuki Japan have stock then there’s no chance find parts !! however my local dealer still had the parts manual.
If you have a ’79 TS 185 any idea what code that is? ‘B’ maybe.
I have just had succes ordering parts for a TF here in Holland. At first the dealer said no but when I said a freind had seen one in Belgium, he did a bit of searching and came up with the goods. It took a couple of weeks tho'.
So if you want to take up Nigels advice on the tank you should be able to get one.
Good luck with the project.
Now its turning to frustration, has the carb to bits, plenty of fuel both from the tap and at the bottom of the carb. Cleaned and reassembled everything. Removed the screw near the top of the carb body to see the piston, there is a mark on the piston but unless you screw the screw / bolt in all the way it will never touch, so I’m thinking something’s missing here. I’ve also replaced the spark plug and lead cap. Double checked the carb piston moves and is aligned. Also I’m sure there’s decent compression.
Still I have a spark but just a small spark between the spark gap, I’m sure when I tried it before the spark was a decent blue one. Is there anything I ca service to improve the spark, maybe with the magneto? Isn’t there a coil I can check for a decent output? Otherwise it’s off to the Suzuki garage (I’d rather save the money). I hope to find myself a manual on ebay soon.
Hi Matt. The screw near the top of the carb is the cover for the index mark on the slide body for setting the oil pump output rate correctly. When the indent in the side of the slide is in the middle of the hole you exposed, the marks on the oil pump body and moving arm should be alined. Does that make sense??? :-) It helps to have two people for this job!
The CDI units are one of the most reliable in the business, but there is nothing to say that yours might be one of the few to break. However, it is more common for CDI to just plain not work. You could try a coil off another bike. I have heard of one bike that lost the magnatisim from the flywheel. It is also possible that there is a shorting coil in the magneto as well. The only way to really diagnose these electrical problems without factory test gear is to swap with known good parts. It might also be a crank seal gone (assuming it is NOT an electrical fault). One way to test the crank seals involved pulling the barrel and piston, filling the crank chamber with petrol and seeing how fast it drains away. If the seals are good, then the level will only drop very very slowly with evaporation. Sorry I can't help more. Good luck!
Nigel in NZ
--"How can I be lost if I don't care where I am?"--
I went over to the Suzuki garage with the bike on the trailer to be turned away as I didn't make an appointment. So brought the bike home, first I cleaned the fuel tank, tap and the little plastic cup underneath the tap, I cleaned all the contacts going to electrical items. Even did a compression test 130psi. Still wouldn’t start, but by now I had a spark and fuel. I then decided to put extra fuel in to make sure plenty was there and then tried…….. A little pissed at this point I sprayed easy start into the cylinder replaced the spark plug and kicked it over, it caught and then with a little extra gas ran!!!!!
Bearing in mind this is the second time I’ve ridden a bike, the wife jumps on the back and we take the dog for a 1 – 2 nd gear walk, I think I made It to 20 kph. She’s the one into bikes, she even suggested a holiday in Africa on a bike would be perfect !!!
My experience of bike has been 3 weeks but I think I like it !!!!!
Nigel, thanks a million for the guidance and moral support !! if you make it to Belgium there's a hot shower and spare room awaiting you! Not to mention a workshop.
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