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Discussion Starter #1
I've read some topics on this but not sure they all apply to my specific bike.

2000 883H Sportster
17K miles
All stock
New plugs 2000 miles ago.
Burning mid-grade fuel, chock full of crap ethanol

Today I started it and let it run about five minutes. Drove to the corner and it stalled. Pushed the starter in about 15-second increments for a couple if minutes before it would start.

Drove 2-3 miles through town, stopped at a stop light and it stalled just as I was applying throttle when the light turned green (NOT a good spot!)

Drove in the country for about an hour with no problems. Stopped at the occasional stop sign with no problems. Stopped at a store and shut it off for about 20 minutes. Left the store, drove across the parking lot, stopped at the exit and it stalled again. Drove 1/2 mile to a red light where it stalled again.

Gas tank was 2/3 full.

A couple of times when it stalled it gave out a little puff sound. And a couple of times when trying to start it, I got a muted backfire sound.

Any ideas from this description? Please use small words, I'm not terribly mechanically inclined.


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Im a small words kind of guy too. I would take it apart and clean all the fuel systems. Then I would run an ethanol gas treatment. Like startron or Lucas Safeguard. I use the safeguard. My bike is EFI but it hates ethanol while some bikes dont mind it, but harleys are all individuals, no two are truely alike.

Try and find pure gas or a treatment. If I run straight ethanol without safeguard it runs horrible. I hate that stuff.

Maybe try that first then if that dont work the smart guys here might be able to help.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Alright, I went the "easy" route and put some Lucas carb treatment in the fuel tank.

Also bought a can of spray carb cleaner. It says to remove the air cleaner and spray it in there.

Is it that easy? I don't trust myself dismantling too much stuff.




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Seek out somebody near you that knows what they are doing. Just spraying some cleaner into the intake isn't going to help anything, and it sounds like you have no idea about taking a carburetor off and apart.

While you are searching for an able friend , try running some Seafoam or other cleaner in the gas.
 

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If you run seafoam just be aware it contains alcohol. If you run it run all it it out of the tank, do not let it sit. All it will do is absorb more water and raise the percentage of alcohol over the limit harley says to run in their engine. Get a more modern ethanol treatment that contains no alcohol. There are plenty of good ones mentioned so far.

After you get it fixed avoid addatives that contain alcohol and use an ehtanol treatment often. It helps out alot in my bike and last winter it started on first crank every day all the way down to 16F (i ride every effing day).
 

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Seems to me Isopropyl alcohol and Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) are being mistakenly labeled as having the same properties and uses.

I'll stick with my SeaFoam.
 

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There is more going on than just ethanol poisoning here. :laugh

I say try the sea foam generously and ride, ride, ride. I agree that likely you have a gunky carb that will need to be removed and cleaned. But, if its not too bad, riding it a ton with sea foam MAY clear it up.

Shooting carb cleaner into the carb from the intake will not.
 

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IPA and ethanol are both miscible in water. The seafoam has other stuff in it that makes it a great product. By all means he should use it. However do not let it sit in the tank. It will cause even more water to be absorbed, its what caused the problem in the first place. Run it, but run it all out, then use an ethanol treatment regularly.
 

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If the bike only stalls after the engine warms up and never when cold I would check the cam sensor / ignition pickup. It's a common problem on the Sportsters.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It did it when cold twice. The second time was at 4am this morning two blocks from the house. Couldn't get it restarted and had to push it back home.

Ever been in IL this time of year? 400% humidity. That was a long walk.
 

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Pop the round inspection cover off the cam case and look at the ignition pickup, if it looks melted it's bad. When cranking the engine the LED should blink consistently. If it doesn't blink when the engine doesn't start it's for sure bad.
Also make sure the battery reads at least 12.8v static and higher with the engine running.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That's a good point. When I push the start button, the starter seems to run just fine. But the engine doesn't crank...or roll over...or whatever you call it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If you run seafoam just be aware it contains alcohol. If you run it run all it it out of the tank, do not let it sit. All it will do is absorb more water and raise the percentage of alcohol over the limit harley says to run in their engine. Get a more modern ethanol treatment that contains no alcohol. There are plenty of good ones mentioned so far.

After you get it fixed avoid addatives that contain alcohol and use an ehtanol treatment often. It helps out alot in my bike and last winter it started on first crank every day all the way down to 16F (i ride every effing day).
From the SeaFoam website:

"Sea Foam is a petroleum blended product...."

and

"Moisture: Fuel can absorb moisture from the atmosphere and from condensation – even more so with the addition of ethanol. Sea Foam fully emulsifies the water in the fuel. Allowing the moisture to burn through the engine and be harmless."
 

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From the SeaFoam website:

"Sea Foam is a petroleum blended product...."

and

"Moisture: Fuel can absorb moisture from the atmosphere and from condensation – even more so with the addition of ethanol. Sea Foam fully emulsifies the water in the fuel. Allowing the moisture to burn through the engine and be harmless."
I know seafoam is good. However if you add seafoam to E10 and the E10 is saturated with water the seafoam is not going to remove the water from the ethanol. Its going to seek out its own water, making things worse if its left to sit in the tank with E10.

I fully agree it is great stuff. Add a bottle to a tank and burn it till its on E and fill up with fresh gas and burn all that too.

Its funny, we are all fired up about that blasted E10 and some other guys are giving great advice. I love this place. Come on over, we can drink beer and watch these wicked Tstorms that are about to roll through my neighborhood.
 

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Señor Member
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I've never had a problem with E10 other than slightly diminished fuel economy. I suspect that is from increased evaporation.
 

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That's a good point. When I push the start button, the starter seems to run just fine. But the engine doesn't crank...or roll over...or whatever you call it.
Now that sounds like a different problem ! The starter spins but the engine doesn't ? If that's the case I would say the starter over run clutch is bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I may not be describing it correctly. I'm sure it's very difficult to diagnose mechanical problems on a forum.

However, a bad starter wouldn't cause the bike to stall while running, right?
 

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Killer of Souls
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I may not be describing it correctly. I'm sure it's very difficult to diagnose mechanical problems on a forum.

However, a bad starter wouldn't cause the bike to stall while running, right?
Correct...
You may have more than one issue.
Have you charged and load tested the battery?
Also, did you check the Cam Sensor as advised?
 
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