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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks. Hoping you can help me diagnose a starting issue.

Backstory: bought a 2013 track bike. Heavily abused. It ran. But rough and milk for oil. Turned out blown head gasket. Pulled the motor and replaced the gasket. Lapped the head. Did the valves. I had almost zero time with the bike before I pulled it apart - so I have no benchmark to judge what an EX300 is supposed to function/operate like.

Put the motor back in. Plugged in all the electrical (I had labeled pretty much everything before disassembly - but there were a couple unused plugs I can’t identify in the wiring schematic).

Tried to fire it up today. Motor turns over but will not start.

Checked that I’m getting spark on cyl#1 (coil pack out - plug grounded to engine).

Slight amount of fuel on the plug when I pulled it.

Exact Same with Cyl #2.

Took fuel cap off to rule out vapor lock.

Noticed that the dash fuel gauge and icon is blinking. Also, the ABS, Oil & Neutral light stay lit. I have an ignition delete on this thing. So, not sure if this is normal. I had pulled the dash when I tore the bike apart. Stored gently, but the shop manual talks like having off could kill it???

Not sure what to check next. Any help would be much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Just found the exact wording in the manual:

“if a meter unit is left upside down or sideways for any length of time, it will malfunction.”

is this possible??? What the heck is in this thing??? Would a faulty meter/dash cause the bike not to start????
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In that video, his fuel pump would spit out some fuel (so plug would be wet) but it would not produce the pressure needed to start the bike (somewhere around 40lbs).
Thanks for reply and the tip on the video.

To answer your question, I’m not sure if the pump is creating pressure. I’ll watch his video to see if he explains how to determine this.

The update is that I have gotten rid of the blinking dash. So at least for now - the fuel sensor and dash seem to be healthy. Not sure if it was reseating the ignition delete or swishing around the fuel multiple times. But on that front, things seem calm :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Still haven’t seen the video - but I just tested the fuel pump with a typical fuel line running down to a can. My buddy had his thumb over the hose to feel pressure. It pushed so hard it pushed his thumb and shot all over the place. :). Initial tests make it seem like the fuel pump is working ok.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all for your help so far. But I’m still stuck.

I have a couple days to ponder the possible starting issue. ECU has been sent off to be reflashed. It arrived to me with some options that did not exist on the bike. So I’m having it flashed to the correct options/map for the current state of the bike.

I bought a used ECU for testing and will keep it as a spare. Should be here in a couple days.

Here’s where I’m at:

1. Fuel Pump seems to be working fine.
2. fuel sensor seems to be back to normal - I think running it so low screwed with it.
3. Just pulled the head (again!) and checked the cam timing. All seems to be working as it should, the valves are opening/closing in the correct positions in relation to the pistons locations.
4. the on/kill switch seems to be working fine.
5. the starter switch seems to be working fine.
6. the fuses all passed continuity check.
7. the dash seems to be working fine.

The last electrical thing I’d like to check when the ECU arrives is the tip-over sensor. I did see a video where that was the issue. Most importantly, it allowed the bike to turn over but prevented it from running. Just like my bike.

My biggest confusion is how the bike could power up, get fuel, get spark, and yet still not run. My assumption is that if electrical safety's were the issue (kickstand delete, clutch, ignition delete etc) these things would have either A) prevented me from getting to the starter turning over (ignition), or B) killed the bike after it was already running (stand, clutch etc). Maybe this assumption is flawed???

My other thought is that somehow the ignition timing is firing 180° out of phase? Spark on the exhaust stroke? Not sure how I would check this (I miss the simple points plates - so easy to check!!!!).

If you have any ideas, I’m all ears. Im really at a loss here.

Thanks!

Scott
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Danno, thank you so much for the detailed response (and to jkv45)! I apologize in advance for the long-winded reply here - but trying to make sure I cover everything, in case there are clues to be had.

To bring the thread up to speed, I need to add the following:

After spending a ton of time chasing electrical gremlins, I finally got around to doing a compression test. Not sure why I waited so long, but it has shown low compression. Dry readings show Cyl #1 at 85 and Cyl #2 at 87. Drops of oil down plug holes - readings show Cyl #1 at 115, Cyl #2 at 135. Bike won't start, so obviously these numbers are all with cold engine.

Not ruling out that there could still be electrical issues, but it appears I should shift my focus to the loss/low compression, to make sure that's why the bike isn't starting. Make sense?

Did you install this or did it come with bike?
The ignition delete came on the bike. It's this one HERE:

Post photos of these connectors and wire-colours. May be something important.
I think I have been able to identify all the odd connectors. Seems most were for the ABS, and showed up in the specific ABS section of the shop manual (which I had not been checking). It was a red herring, because this bike VIN# shows it as a 2013 non-abs model. But it turns out at least the wire harness includes ABS. More mysteries :)

As test of fuel-system, use squirt-bottle and spray 2-3cc of petrol into air-box, wait 30sec, then try starting
I did not use gasoline - but I did try squirting starting fluid in the airbox. It had no effect on the sound of the cranking - which seemed really odd.

Another thing to look into is WHY it had blown headgasket. This is usually just side-effect or symptom of real problem
Agreed. My assumption (dangerous, I know!) was that the blown head gasket was caused by overheating, possibly due to incorrect ECU mapping for the mods on the bike. The ECU was flashed, and the company had placed a sticker/reference number on there. I contacted them and found out that the flash options included: Velocity stacks (not on bike), bored throttle bodies (not on bike), and possibly some other things. I think he said there was a +5% fuel increase in the mapping. There is also the ability to chose between pump fuel (map 0) and MR12 race fuel (Map 1 - switch on the bars). Based on the way this bike was treated - would not be surprised if the PO had run the bike filled with pump fuel (91-93 octane) but the MR12 button selected. Not sure what that would do to temps, but it may contribute to one (or more) of the things you outlined above? The ECU is currently being reflashed to represent the current state of the bike.

When I removed the head, it measured out of spec. I assumed it had seen some high temps to cause warping. I lapped it, but the state of the head (and the rest of the bike in general!) was a telltale sign this bike had been abused. I'm thinking that when the motor comes apart again - I will be using a different, healthier head.

It's possible to adjust stock cams to point where dynamic compression is higher than available octane.
Can you explain how this is possible? I was not 100% confident when I put the cams/chain back in, because when cams were placed EXACTLY as manual pics show (orientation of the "EX," "IN" and the lines on the sprockets at 2T - Cyl #2 at TDC), there was the slightest pressure on the Cyl #1 exhaust valve. This caused the replacement of the exhaust cap to be impossible without rolling it back a bit to eliminate pressure.

After I got the cap on, I checked (and rechecked!) the position/orientation per shop manual, and counted (and recounted!) the cam chain pins between the sprocket lines/head plane. It was all correct. But this whole process seemed wrong. Not sure if this is related to my issues or not.

I am going to try to do a leakdown test to narrow down [some of] the issues. I'll keep this thread better updated moving forward.

I really appreciate your time and help.

Scott
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Did you try swapping stick coils from one cylinder to the other?

Sent from my SM-T380 using Tapatalk
I did not. I had that on my list of things to try, but the wiring between the harness and the coil connectors is super tight. I can see if they can be finagled to stretch across to the opposite sides without damaging anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks again for the detailed response!

simpler to just unplug connectors on coils and swap them
This was my plan, but it was the plugs/wires I was concerned with. They are tight (cyl #2 shorter than Cyl #1). Worried I might have caused damage pulling on them. I will see if I can free up some slack and get them to reach.

If you used tester that had relief-valve near gauge
The relief valve was in fact near the gauge, on the coupler that mates hose to gauge. Unfortunately, both testers I have are like this.

issue may be damaged cylinder bores
I looked at the top of the cylinder walls when I had the head off. Never removed the jugs, so I couldn't see the entire stroke. The walls looked OK. Some build-up near the top combustion area. One cylinder measured very close to outside tolerance. When I get it apart I will get measurements of everything, and hopefully this highlights something obvious.

retrieve codes from dealer-mode-1 and dealer-mode-2
I tried to get codes from the Dash, but following the instructions in manual never started the described sequence. I figured this might be because there is no ignition? The procedure starts with the ignition, and I only have a kill switch (on/off wired to the ignition delete linked above). I was down the dash rabbit hole a while back fearing the dash might be damaged from removing it and not having it sit perfectly upright. But it now seems to be acting as it should, other than the lack of test-mode.

Going to be doing a leakdown test soon to see if this provides more info. I report back once I have some solid data.

...I'm going to need that luck! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It's possible to advance exhaust and retard intake cams so there's less of this overlap at TDC
How would I tell if this has been done???

I don’t think I explained that last bit well. The issue I had was installing the exhaust cam cap while the cams were positioned as shown in the manual, with cylinder #2 at TDC compression stoke. Specifically, the drawing shows the cylinder #1 exhaust lobe at aprox 7 o’clock. But in reality, when all marks, lines, EX & IN etc were as shown, the lobe seemed closer to 6:30 o’clock, putting the slightest pressure on the cylinder #1 exhaust valve lifter.

This would require pushing the lobe further into the lifter to get the cap to seat (probably could t do it by hand even if it wasn’t a bad idea). Or what I did, which was roll the crank a bit to remove the pressure. This allowed me to install the cap. Roll back and double check that all markings were still correct. This was checked again after the tensioner was installed. All looked exactly as it does in the manual.

Does that make sense? It certainly felt wrong when I was doing it. But I saw no other way to get the cap on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
The head is definitely aluminum. There was warpage that I lapped back into spec before installing the new head gasket last time around.

Can I do the ignition checks you describe using the on/off switch? I do not have a key at all. I only have this kill-type on/off switch and the starter button plugged into the ignition delete.

As an update, I did a leakdown test and it’s leaking like a sieve. From just listening by ear up close, it seems to be coming from BOTH the valves and the rings. It was so loud it was hard to tell. But there was hissing at both the head area and the oil fill hole.

I’m still into checking the ignition before I tear the engine apart again - since that’s the rabbit hole I originally jumped down :). Best to rule it out as an issue completely, even though it seems there is work to be done on compression issues inside the engine.

Again, your help is much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Need to install those caps very gently and evenly. Otherwise you can actually snap cam!
This is what concerned me. When installing the caps, when all lines, marks etc are in correct position, there was zero chance of installing the cap “gently.” That’s what required moving the cams to a different position for caps to be tightened down. Then I rolled to the original location (I am careful not to turn the crank in reverse) to double check that all still lined up correctly. It did. So I called it done - because I saw no other way to get it done any other way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Just a quick update:

Seems my biggest issue is lack of compression. Oil down the spark plug holes increased compression - seemed like rings. Did a leakdown test - but it was insane, with so much hissing sound it was impossible to narrow it down to one location. Valves AND rings???

After tearing the motor apart again I found the cylinders to be very close to out of spec. Also, the rings were pretty well stuck in their grooves (carbon or oil?), with barely any spring to take up the gap. That coupled with the fact that the head needed quite a bit of lapping last tear-down, I decided to go ahead and replace the head and jugs.

Doing a quick gasoline leak-test on the valves showed 7 of the 8 valves leaking like crazy. Good times.

Hoping between the old and “new” (used low mileage on eBay) parts, I’ll have a good set of jugs, 8 good valves and 2 decent pistons. I ordered up some new rings and valve stem seals.

Waiting for all to arrive. Fingers crossed…
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Hopefully this is the last entry for this particular saga. I finally got the new (eBay) head and jugs cleaned up, valves lapped, valve shims set, fresh gaskets etc, and the whole motor buttoned back up.

Once back in the frame, everything hooked up and ready to go - I have to admit that I was a bit pessimistic about it starting. i turned the motor over a few times to get some oil flowing. And then BAM! Fired right up. What a feeling!

This bike has taken me down a rabbit hole that I was hoping to avoid. But it was to be expected from a cheaper track bike that had clearly been thrashed and abused.

Now it’s time to get back to more of the fun stuff. Fabricating some custom parts to tidy it up, eliminating unnecessary electrics, fixing the race fairings, and general cleaning. I want to thank all of you who helped me through this process. Appreciate your time and support.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Excellent! Please share any other work you do in the future if you feel like it. I like reading these types of threads to see how other people get along with their bikes!
Will do. If things continue to take a turn for the better - I may start up a new thread to keep track of the more positive things this build has to offer :)
 
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