BSA Owners' Club Forum

The BSA Workshop => Singles => Topic started by: JohnnyB44 on 14 May, 2018, 13:38:14

Title: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: JohnnyB44 on 14 May, 2018, 13:38:14
I am the original owner of a 1968 BSA Shooting Star.  Never had any problems with starting it after a long winter but this time, when I kick it over, no sound like its trying to start.  I haven't started it for about four months but the battery is fully charged, headlights bright and horn works normal.  When I tickle the  carb...gas spits out so I know the float is not stuck and carb is primed.  When I took the spark plug out and put it against the cylinder head - I got a spark when I kicked the motor over...not a big spark so not sure about the coil??  The points look okay...emory clothed them a bit and checked the gap at .15.  My Chilton book says if you turn the ignition on and flick the points if a spark occurs then the condensor is bad...it did so I bought a new condensor, installed it and the points still spark when flicked.  So how can I pinpoint for sure what to check next?  I think it has to be the ignition system: points, coil or condensor for it not to start.  Any ideas?  I used to take my bike to a guy in Maryland who worked on BSA's primarily.  He tuned it up about ten years ago but I have moved to Pa now so any help would be appreciated.
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: AWJDThumper on 14 May, 2018, 14:25:59
If it started and ran ok before you laid it up for the Winter then it's unlikely to be a major problem. It might be as simple as the need to flush any old petrol out of the carb before attempting to start it. Otherwise it's probably a good idea to take the carb off and give it a good internal clean (with petrol/gas) including all the jets, especially the pilot jet. Give all the small airways a good blow through since these will directly affect how well the bike starts.

Also, check the state of the plug and clean/adjust as necessary. If you use too much tickling of the carb in trying to start it you can end up flooding the engine. If suspected, switch off petrol/gas, and kick the engine over half a dozen times using the de-compressor to clear the cylinder of fuel.
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: JohnnyB44 on 14 May, 2018, 17:03:14
I will do that AW....thanks...I'll let you know if that makes it start. 
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: Phil C on 14 May, 2018, 18:37:51
I don't know much, but there must be an ignition problem if there is a spark at the points, musn't there? I'm surprised the new condenser didn't stop that.   Phil.
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: JohnnyB44 on 14 May, 2018, 19:24:23
Aw...cleaned the carb out and the pilot jet was clear.  Put it back on and no start.  I am sure it has to be the ignition system.  Any way to accurately diagnose?
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: JohnnyB44 on 14 May, 2018, 19:27:10
Aw...cleaned the carb out and the pilot jet was clear.  Put it back on and no start.  I am sure it has to be the ignition system.  Any way to accurately diagnose?

Yes I am confused as the new condensor allows a spark when the points are flicked open.  I thought for sure that the problem was solved after flicking the points with the old condensor and it sparked.  Now I am not sure why it still sparks.  I have a new coil I bought in case...hard to check the coil with the spark plug out and lying against the cylinder head and then I am on the bike kicking it to start.  Need two people.
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: AWJDThumper on 14 May, 2018, 20:04:02
If you rest the plug against the bare metal of the engine and then flick open the points, you should get a good spark across the plug gap but no spark across the points. If most of the spark energy appears to flow between the points, it means the condenser is not doing its job (it's duff or not connected correctly).

If you've got a multimeter, you can do a quick health check on the condenser with it disconnected from the points. Put the multimeter on a high resistance range (>20k) and start by shorting out the condenser centre contact with its case. If you then connect the black lead to the case and the red lead to the centre conductor, you should find the reading climbs upwards from a low value until it maximises out if the condenser is working ok. You can repeat the test after shorting out the condenser.

In principle, you can test if everything is working ok with the coil and condenser disconnected from the bike. Hopefully, the problem is with the condenser not doing its job.
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: JohnnyB44 on 15 May, 2018, 03:59:31
Thank AW but I replaced the old condensor with a new one and still wont start...next I will replace the coil...dont' know what else it could be.
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: JohnnyB44 on 15 May, 2018, 04:01:08
Thank AW but I replaced the old condensor with a new one and still wont start...next I will replace the coil...dont' know what else it could be.

What if I dont get a good spark (but a weak one) on the spark plug..would that mean the coil is bad?
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: AWJDThumper on 15 May, 2018, 07:01:54
Normally, there's not much that can go wrong with coil ignition systems but, if you're convinced the condenser is ok and connected up correctly, then that only leaves the plug and the coil. However, before substituting the coil, it might be a good idea to try a new plug first.
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: Dabbist on 15 May, 2018, 13:08:27
This sounds too complicated to me. Very little tends to fail while doing nothing. Both my trials bikes (one Beta, one Cub) can be difficult after a layoff, but  both respond to a new plug and fresh fuel. I know both have been mentioned, but I havent seen confirmation on the fuel side. Modern petrol goes off very quickly and can make all the difference.
I don't think you mentioned whether the plug was wet after you kicked it over, if not then  definitely clean the carb. Fuel depositing a layer of "laquer" does happen when standing, so must be high on the list .
Nothing new here, but hope it helps
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: JohnnyB44 on 15 May, 2018, 13:47:08
This sounds too complicated to me. Very little tends to fail while doing nothing. Both my trials bikes (one Beta, one Cub) can be difficult after a layoff, but  both respond to a new plug and fresh fuel. I know both have been mentioned, but I havent seen confirmation on the fuel side. Modern petrol goes off very quickly and can make all the difference.
I don't think you mentioned whether the plug was wet after you kicked it over, if not then  definitely clean the carb. Fuel depositing a layer of "laquer" does happen when standing, so must be high on the list .
Nothing new here, but hope it helps

I put a new plug in but I think you're right..it is not getting wet..I have Star Tron in the tank from last fall...its a stabilizer but maybe I'll have to take off the carb again and clean more thoroughly and drain the gas out of the tank and put in fresh gas.  I'll let you know...thanks everyone for your input...appreciate it!
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: JohnnyB44 on 15 May, 2018, 16:01:53
You are right Dab,  I kicked it a half dozen times after tickling the carb and  then tickled the carb again and kicked it a few more times then pulled the plug and the plug was bone dry...so obviously no gas was getting to the cylinder.  I took off the float bowl and the jet holder with the main (pilot) and needle jet and held it up to the light and there are no obstructions.  So, fuel must be going up inside the carb through the jets and inside the carb body so when you twist the throttle open a bit, this should allow fuel to enter the cylinder.   Correct?  So what else would be blocked inside the carb to prevent fuel from entering the cylinder?  There isnt anything left except the pilot air and throttle stop screws to take out and clean and they shouldn't affect the fuel. 
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: DerekAnderson8 on 15 May, 2018, 16:09:08
The pilot circuit(pilot jet and airscrew) are crucial for starting. The pilot jet i can get blocked very easily, attached document is handy.

I assume its a Mk 1 concentric carb

 ;)
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: JohnnyB44 on 15 May, 2018, 23:02:42
Derek...thanks so much for the tuning article!  I think that must be the problem...the little drillings are blocked as not gas is getting up into the cylinder head.  Is it necessary after removing the carb to take out the pilot air screw to clean with carb cleaner?  If so is there a number of turns that is standard for screwing it back in so then engine will start? 

Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: JohnnyB44 on 15 May, 2018, 23:04:59
I appreciate the help as I am in rural Pennsylvania with no British shops around.  Seems like there are tons where you are.
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: DerekAnderson8 on 16 May, 2018, 07:09:32
Derek...thanks so much for the tuning article!  I think that must be the problem...the little drillings are blocked as not gas is getting up into the cylinder head.  Is it necessary after removing the carb to take out the pilot air screw to clean with carb cleaner?  If so is there a number of turns that is standard for screwing it back in so then engine will start?

I would take it out and flush through each hole in turn blocking off with fingers as you go(you'll know what i mean when you start) the airscrew should be adjusted but i would start with 1 1\2 turns out from closed. It will make it easier to start if its fully in as mixture will be richer, but start with 1 1\2 out.

read section 3 in guide its easy when you have done it and makes it easier to understand.

cheers

derek
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: JohnnyB44 on 17 May, 2018, 16:56:02
Thanks Derek...I'll post after I clean it out.  I plan to use a carb cleaner.
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: DerekAnderson8 on 17 May, 2018, 17:46:50
Perfect post some pics as well.

I had a B44 scrambler a few years ago i had planned to do some classic racing on it but didnt happen, it was a handful off road! it ran on methanol and had some other work as well.

Special technique to start taking piston just over compression and good kick and it would usually go for me, but a brute if it kicked back!

Good luck

derek
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: JohnnyB44 on 18 May, 2018, 14:43:32
I know what you mean...if I get Thunder (my bikes name from when I bought it new) on a bad day, it'll kick back like a donkey but over the 50 years I owned Thunder, usually one to three kicks will fire him up...I  had a salesman at a motorcycle dealership that was not familiar with a kick starting fire breathing one lunger that used a compression lever to start bet me he could start it without using the lever.  Long story short, he managed to get the kick starter down but it came up with such force, his foot snagged on the foot rest and it fractured his ankle.  He limped away reneging on his $5 bet. ;)
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: DerekAnderson8 on 18 May, 2018, 15:48:49
ouch!

there must be a lot of people out there who have been hurt by trying to start British singles.  I would always have a boot on my right foot when i wanted to start it, i had a few close shaves and learned quickly!

 ;)

cheers
Title: Re: Need help with my BSA Shooting Star not starting
Post by: STEVE G on 20 May, 2018, 21:28:17
If so is there a number of turns that is standard for screwing it back in so then engine will start?
The usual way is to count the number of turns to screw it in all the way, often 2 to 4 turns. Then remove it, clean it, then screw it in all the way and then back out the number of turns you counted before.