Husaberg Motorcycle Poor Starting

This information is generally accepted for all Husaberg motorcycles.

There are considered to be many reasons why Husaberg motorcycles are hard to start. To guarantee it starting, we recommend you perform everything mentioned here… unfortunately, it’s not one thing that will start the motorcycle!

Before we proceed, most new riders struggle to start their motorcycle until they know them better. There will be clues to help you determine what’s preventing you from starting your motorcycle.

One major problem is the full compression of the engine slowing the motorcycle from turning over freely. Yes, it can still be done, but if an electric starter is used, it must be cured.

The different sections for poor starting are laid out in the following order:

  • Technique
  • Mechanical
  • Fuel
  • Carburation
  • Ignition
  • Water

Technique

Kickstart Stance

Sit right up nearly on the tank and especially with the above Taff crescent mod: kick all the way through the stroke. Always sit forwards and in or forward of the lowest part of the seat. The nose of the seat is ideal.

Why not put your right foot on a tall piece of wood? Gently turn the engine with your foot until you feel the engine lock, hold your foot on the kickstart and keep it under pressure, pull the manual decompression lever, if it falls through compression then stop after your foot has travelled 3″ and return kickstart to the top of it’s stroke. Launch yourself up off your right foot and jump down onto your left.


Mechanical

Kickstart

Manual Decompression Modified

The dark area represents the 45 degree edge filed. It means that the "half-moon" is more on edge and isn't forced back against the cable. The 'edge' is about 2.5mm wide.

The dark area in the above photo represents the 45 degree edge filed in what was otherwise a ‘half-moon’ profiled decompression lever. It means the “half-moon” is contacting the rocker below the centre of the shaft and therefore isn’t being forced back and against your finger and the manual lever. The edge is about 2.5mm wide.

Crescent Modification

The kickstart lever engages quite a long way into the stroke, but for an earlier kickstart engagement, see the below modification. Take 2mm out of part of the crescent (sledge) so the ‘keyhole’ part moves clockwise, it drops open, and engages with the outer gear.

You will need to take a very tiny bit off the case as well (the small area above the screw hole in the second photo) using a flat faced rotary file, as well as a little off the edge of the screw. The first photo shows the standard pre-2004 part and the newer, ‘squarer’ part modified below it. The Philips screws should be replaced with Posidrive screws using Loctite.

Crescent Modification: For early kickstart engagement, take 2mm out of the crescent so that as the 'keyhole' part moves clockwise it can drop open and lock into the outer gear. You'll need to take a tiny, tiny bit off the case as well (the small area above the screw hole-in pic 2-only) using a flat faced rotary file. First pic shows the 'squarer' updated crescent. Crescent Modification: For early kickstart engagement, take 2mm out of the crescent so that as the 'keyhole' part moves clockwise it can drop open and lock into the outer gear. You'll need to take a tiny, tiny bit off the case as well (the small area above the screw hole-in pic 2-only) using a flat faced rotary file. First pic shows the 'squarer' updated crescent.

Sledge Key Dislodges

Occasionally the sledge key won’t stay on the sledge (crescent) and the best answer is a blob of weld on the end which forces more of the key out of the gear to sit on the sledge. Don’t let the outline shape of the key change whatsoever, otherwise it will bind!

Kickstart welded key vertical
Kickstart welded key vertical
Kickstart key lifted
Kickstart key lifted

Starter Motor

Ok, overall we have three things to get the engine turning. Firstly the starter motor itself, then the freewheel, then the sprague bearing.

2000 – 2002: Weak / Failing Electric Starter

For three years, Husaberg owners struggled with weak starters that were classified as ‘restarters’ and only to be used after the engine was warm. Typically the starter would spin through and not quite ‘catch’ the engine and batteries went flat quickly.

There was an error in the 2003 parts manual whereby they simply failed to realize that the whole set up had been upgraded for that year. The parts book was corrected in 2004, when Husaberg went to the present Parts Number system.

By matching the old and new, it should be very easy to get the right parts. But remember, the sprague was only 40% of the problem for owners wishing to have good electric starts! The battery needs beefing, the starter motor wants changing. Then we have the modified decompression which matches a later (2003) camshaft.

This was 2002:

9 250 247-01 Free wheel outer part 01- (outter)
10 250 245-01 Clutch mechanism free wheel 01- (sprague)
11 360 035-01 Needle bearing free wheel 01-
12 250 248-01 Free wheel inner part 01- (inner)
Changed to Part No. 250273 for 2003

And this is what changed in 2004:

20 800.40.020.000 Free wheel gear 03 (outter)
24 0405 101310 Needle bearing K 10X13X10 02
25 800.40.025.000 Free wheel Hub 03 (inner)
26 800.40.026.000 Free wheel 03 (sprague)

Important Note: Don’t mix these sets of parts! Learn more about Whining Noise/Racket.

Starter Freewheel

This first appears on the 2002 engine and looks like an innocent little wheel ‘merely’ connecting the starter to the sprague bearing. Wrong! It is infact a clutch to stop a violent reversal going through the starter motor and the idea is that it should ‘give way’. Unfortunately it gives way when starting. To check it out, remove and hold in the vice via the large gear, use a torque wrench set on a vert low 12LB/10Nm and if it clicks off its good but if it turns it is worn. Even on 4lb the nut will turn rather than click the torque wrench. Now hold by the small gear and undo the 17mm nut with a 6-sided socket. Add a .016″ (0.4mm) shim to the spring washer and it should be cured.

Husaberg Starter Slipper taken apart
Husaberg Starter Slipper taken apart – Note the shoulder on the center shaft
Husaberg Starter Slipper taken apart
Husaberg Starter Slipper taken apart – Note the clutch material and the sprung washer is not sprung much!
Starter Slipper in a vice - Assembly Order
Starter Slipper in a vice – Assembly Order

Sprague Bearing

If you continually start the motorcycle from cold with the leccy boot, the sprague will ‘spin through’. The whole system (battery, starter, sprague) was beefed up for 2004 and for theb 450/550 they were cured just about. The 650 needs the R6 starter motor and everything well set up.

Try to start it with your foot and only when warm go to the leccy boot. However the original leccy boot WILL work if only used sparingly when the engine is warm. It’s called a ‘restarter’ in the manual and that’s exactly what they mean! The noise of it failing is “eeee haaaawww”! just like half the cars in Europe in the 1970’s! (Neil E.)

If you check the sprague, look for the location of the clip, the photo below should be exploded and you can see that the clip goes through the bearing clips that are on its outer edge and then it clips into the gear housing. The clip therefore locates the bearing in the middle of the gear housing.

Spragues x 2. Look closely at the clip holes on the outer edge and then note how the clip fits into the groove in the gear housing (shadowed!)
Spragues x 2. Look closely at the clip holes on the outer edge and then note how the clip fits into the groove in the gear housing (shadowed!)

Cylinder Head

At the cylinder head affects both the starter motor and the kickstart.

Auto Decompression Issue

The problem is for machines from 2001 to 2003. Essentially, the decompression lobe would wear down and not lift the exhaust valve the .040″(1mm) to release some compression while the engine turned under starting. There was also the problem that the weighted lobe’s return spring would be either weak or would unwind which equalled “ineffective”. This meant the engine was trying to fight full compression.

Husaberg Clog Decomp Husaberg Boat Shaped Decomp

The auto de-compression sits in the exhaust cam lobe on the underside and suffer from rapid wear on leading edge. the answer is to buy the latest decompression which has an end profile like a ‘clog’. The part is standard fitment to all 2004+ engines. It can be retro-fitted to all machines however, a few earlier cams will need 2mm removing from the shoulder to allow the decompression lobe right into the cam. See below:

Cam shoulder needs over 2mm removing
Cam shoulder needs over 2mm removing
Your auto decompression probably looks similar to this one from my 2002 Husaberg 650. Note the pranged end just this side of the spring. Common problem.
Your auto decompression probably looks similar to this one from my 2002 Husaberg 650. Note the pranged end just this side of the spring. Common problem. (Ned37)

The auto de-comp. bleeds only a fraction of the trapped charge engaging near 85 BTDC and closing near 15 BTDC with a peak valve lift of less than .040″. “E” Cranking compression should be roughly 130 PSI. (Lineaweaver)

Decompression Return Spring

The springs can lose their strength and cause fluctuating turnover speeds in the engine. It’s not clear whether they lose strength or that the factory strengthened them but there is a clear difference. (Le Frog)

The latest ‘dutch clog’ spring can also seem a little weak. The weight must return very quickly. If it is ‘floppy’ its too weak and you’ll have full compression. Look carefully at the photo below and you’ll see that the arm has been bent upwards and then down onto its point. The initial angle however was nigh on vertical thus another 1/4-turn has been added and this changes the characteristics of the spring entirely!

Clog bent spring
Clog bent spring

Check Valve Timing

Turn the engine to TDC on ignition mark, check both lobes are up symmetrically. Lay a ruler diagonally across the lobes and it should be absolutely parallel to the top face rim of the head. To change the valve timing, you must slot the holes in the cam sprocket to allow adjustment. It may pay to have the ruler tilting down toward the front wheel very slightly. This will actually level out as the camchain stretches. If the camchain split link isn’t where you want it, turn the engine over 3/4 times until it is. It moves on a bit each time. The 470 is particularly prone to the valve timing being very retarded.

Adjusting Tappets

If engine is standard but for racing; adjust every 2nd ride otherwise for regular trail riding it can be left to 6-10 hours and then even longer if never out of adjustment.

Take the rocker inspection caps off, remove the plug and take the ignition cover off. Using a socket and T-bar or stepped 17mm spanner; turn clockwise until both sets of tappets are closed (wait for the inlets to come up and close-now stop!). The timing marks on the flywheel should be at 12 o’clock and inline with the top screw hole for the ignition cover. Use a rod through the plug hole to confirm that the piston is near to TDC.

Undo both inlets as a pair and adjust gently and you should feel the screwdriver tighten “lightly” with your finger tips. Run up to this ‘stop’ 2 or 3 times and note where on the clock face the screwhead is? Is it 3.45? or 4.50? etc and from here back-off 1/6th-of-a-turn (or try joeUSA’s feeler gauge tool) and hold still whilst tightening the lock nut. Check it again and if the 1/6th-turn has become less: actually turn the screwdriver back against the nut slightly as you’re locking.

To do the exhaust tappets, firstly flick the decomp wire off relieving the pressure off the exhaust rocker. Now proceed in the same way and fit the spring again afterwards.

Give a last check after you’ve done both that you can grab a rocker and lift and lower it slightly. Another simple check is to see how much lateral movement there is on the rocker shaft? Just a tiny amount should be felt. If it’s over say: 0.5mm, then undo the end two cover screws slightly and tap the endcaps across slightly while checking by hand for slack.

Be warned that setting the tappets with feeler gauges is at best fraught with problems! To get a feeler gauge in is hard. Then the pads themselves wear concave which gives a false reading.

Broken Valve Spring

This can be a rare problem on machines prior to 2004. The bike is difficult to start, MAY make a slight tick-tick noise and can give the same or similar symptoms as the SEM ignition or carb troubles. This discussion on broken valve springs gives you a better idea on what to look for.


Fuel

One idea is to remove the plug and look for wetness. If it isn’t wet you haven’t enough fuel! A quick trick is to poor a thimble of fuel into the ‘sock’ and also into the combustion chamber via the plughole. Remember not to touch the throttle until you have kicked through and only then to catch the engine after it has started.

Restarting

One thing to remember! The bike needs to be lean to restart and they are usually rich. Most members that have leaned off their jetting have no restart issues. There really is no reason why a well jetted Husaberg can’t restart first time every time! Reference:

Old Fuel

In these days of unleaded you should try and start the bike monthly and run for 5-minutes in order to burn the old fuel in the carb. the fuel in the tank shouldn’t be more than 3-4 months old. Renew if so.

Fuel Level

It’s very easy to do… “well, it ran a minute ago, and now it won’t start again!” A look in the opaque tank says that you have 7cm/3″ of fuel remaining, so you think you’re ok. You are not ok! Remember, there isn’t a reserve in truth, there’s just ‘open’ as the reserve was never used by Husaberg.

Fuel Cap Breather

If your bike starts but stalls later when warm it can often be the air pressure inb the tank. It can be pressurized or you may have a vacuum! The easy check is to undo the cap every time it stalls, balance the air, try to start it. The below are for Dell Ortos.

Pressure

Fresh load of cool fuel, you start riding and the fuel wants to expand far more dramatically than you are using it. Because it can’t go anywhere except into the carb it rushes the float bowl when the float is open and overfills it. The bike will stall but will start again – and then stall etc etc.

Vacuum

As fuel leaves the tank for the carb no air is replacing it in the tank. This results in stalling and the bike won’t restart. essentially the vacuum can hold the fuel from going through the screen filters – it has that much strength!

Answer

In the absence of a two-way breather the easiest and best way is to run a breather from the petrol tank cap under and then over and around the bars before disappearing into the headstock nut. Use electricians tape around the pipe to ‘thicken it’ for glide fit (because the fuel tank is always on and off right!). It can’t really lose the fuel unless you do a 360-degree loop going downhill! Any ‘spat’ of fuel sits in the bottom of the loop and either gets sucked back or the air gets!


Carburation

Blow the carb out and check the fuel screw still has a washer and ‘O’ ring on the end. The float level can be checked by laying the carb on the open face and checking when the float valve closes. At the moment of closing the arms should be parallel to the gasket line for the floatbowl.

Dell Orto – Jetting (VITAL)

The carb suffers from a worn atomizer and needle. Its undetectable to the naked eye or under a magnifying glass. Just change them! Change them if they aren’t new to you! With that done a 33 or 35PJ work on all models. The choke jet at #45 – too big and a #40 should be fitted c/w new ‘O’ ring.

Dell Orto – Missing CD Jet

Some Dell Ortos may be missing this jet tube.

Dell Orto – Sticking Float

Sometimes the float will stick in either the open or closed position. Remove the floatbowl and check for the pivot rod sticking out or bent tabs etc. In the one piece floats you should check by laying the float on a flat surface for unsymmetrical floats when looking from behind.

Sometimes water will enter via the breather pipes and stall the engine. See also below. Drop the floatbowl and look for water residue.

Dell Orto – Sticking Float Valve

The floats operate an arm that pivots up and down, near the centre of the arm is a small pin that looks like a plumb bob with a black rubberized tip. The float valve can sometimes get debris on it and stick open flooding the carb.

Choke – Identify Correct Choke Jet – FCR

The Dell Orto is similar.

Determine what choke jet you need. This area is often overlooked simply because the principles of the choke and the jet required aren’t understood.

The Dell Orto carb has a choke jet that can get blocked – especially if the carb and steed haven’t been used for a couple of months. It will need cleaning out and should be held up to the light. The hole should be quite large and the trouble is that after cleaning it may be no better. At least .5mm wide is how it should look.

The important thing is to listen to the engine. This is something that few people do. they bitch coz it doesn’t start yet the engine is trying to tell them something!

The reason we have fun with carbs is because it’s the last thing we change and while everything else has a setting: the carb reacts to the engine. This is the fascination and why it’s hard to help people!

What To Look For – Starting A Motorcycle

Lean on Choke: The bike is a bitch to start, takes 30 kicks, each time it starts it runs a little longer until after 5 minutes it runs fine but you daren’t touch the throttle yet!

Slightly Lean on Choke: The bike starts and judders for anything up to 10 seconds before it builds and builds up revs then revs like an idiot compared to starting! This bike will never 8-stroke and you can go to the loo/tog up ready, lock the garage – the lot-it ain’t gonna stall!

Spot-On: The bike runs at medium high revs for at least 30-40 seconds before starting to 8-stroke mildly. It should run straight away at high revs and not build up. The revs should stay the same for over a minute before perhaps 8-stroking mildly and losing revs-it shouldn’t stall. it shouldn’t 8-stroke any sooner. The problem here for the Dell Orto is that one jet may start the bike and then it 8-strokes quickly while the next jet down means 5 kicks to start it but a controlled warm-up. The Keihin isn’t too bad.

Slightly Rich on Choke: Bike starts well every time, maybe first kick every time but you need to blip the throttle or the revs might drop and it might stall, similarly, you have to turn the choke off quickly or it will stall. You have to be near the machine! 8-strokes within 10 seconds.

Rich on Choke: Bike starts fine but within 2 or 3 seconds it 8-strokes.

On the Keihin carb, even the MJ affects starting-seriously! So every modification you make has a knock on effect.

Different choke jets are available from Yamaha, but you can’t get them from Keihin themselves for some reason.

I have several choke jets, and I used to always swap them out. Every time you change the needle straight (very last suffix letter), you will affect the starting.

With the Dell Ortos, the starting is really just the effect of the choke jet combined with the slide cutaway and PJ. that’s why it’s a lot harder to understand but not necessarily a problem in itself.

Next time, listen to your engine!

Fitting Hot Start Button – FCR Mk 1

Should the Husaberg stop on its own, a remote hot start makes restarting easy:

A remote hot start from Ballard's means that on the odd occasion the Husaberg decides to stop of its own accord, restarting is easy. A remote hot start from Ballard's means that on the odd occasion the Husaberg decides to stop of its own accord, restarting is easy. A remote hot start from Ballard's means that on the odd occasion the Husaberg decides to stop of its own accord, restarting is easy.


Ignition and Electrical

Starter Motor

The Honda CBR 600 starter motor was first tried before the Yamaha R6 was discovered to be quicker turning. It’s stronger than the OEM starter and fits straight in from the outside EXCEPT the mounting bracket has to be fitted from the later model (2005+) or modifying the original. The back of the starter must be drilled and then carefully shimmed up to sit squarely in the engine case. This is very important, early tests show an 8.5mm spacer should be used. Fitting the Honda starter is really easy!

Due to the windings in the Yamaha R6 (1999) starter motor, the Yamaha spins far faster and enables his big 650 to start every time.

The Honda CBR 600 starter motor is stronger and fits EXCEPT that the mounting bracket has to be fitted from the later model (2005+). It can be noted by the fact that the original mounting bolts are used but the starter is longer! Loonyberg fitted one and it's really easy! The starter can fit the original bracket, but you need to drill fresh holes and a little filing, super easy to do! And due to the windings in the Yamaha R6 (1999), the starter from the Yamaha spins far faster and enables his big 650 to start every time. The Honda CBR 600 starter motor is stronger and fits EXCEPT that the mounting bracket has to be fitted from the later model (2005+). It can be noted by the fact that the original mounting bolts are used but the starter is longer! Loonyberg fitted one and it's really easy! The starter can fit the original bracket, but you need to drill fresh holes and a little filing, super easy to do! And due to the windings in the Yamaha R6 (1999), the starter from the Yamaha spins far faster and enables his big 650 to start every time. The Honda CBR 600 starter motor is stronger and fits EXCEPT that the mounting bracket has to be fitted from the later model (2005+). It can be noted by the fact that the original mounting bolts are used but the starter is longer! Loonyberg fitted one and it's really easy! The starter can fit the original bracket, but you need to drill fresh holes and a little filing, super easy to do! And due to the windings in the Yamaha R6 (1999), the starter from the Yamaha spins far faster and enables his big 650 to start every time. The Honda CBR 600 starter motor is stronger and fits EXCEPT that the mounting bracket has to be fitted from the later model (2005+). It can be noted by the fact that the original mounting bolts are used but the starter is longer! Loonyberg fitted one and it's really easy! The starter can fit the original bracket, but you need to drill fresh holes and a little filing, super easy to do! And due to the windings in the Yamaha R6 (1999), the starter from the Yamaha spins far faster and enables his big 650 to start every time.

Raising Spark

The Husaberg fitted with the SEM ignition system creates a spark from 400 RPM, the kickstarter at maximum speed, turns the engine at 400 RPM!, the starter motor also just about matches this but has the draw of starter and ignition from the battery so ofter the kickstart is the favored option.

Battery Charged

Because of the above, the battery should always be topped up with an optimate charger and even when kick starting will really help the bike start.

Stator Repair

If you lack a spark then in all probability the stator has packed up. More can be read on this in the electrical section of the Doc. They can be repaired at reasonable cost! Contact Sparks, our very own resident member, who has over 30 years experience in windings and is qualified to boot!

Stator/Ignition

This is the SEM ignition used until end of 2003. Can be no spark or runs and stall’s moments later-see electrical. Stator’s can lose varnish, go rusty and crack their plasticoating. You’re lucky or you’re not! It’s heat related (Lineaweaver). Read about not having to replace the SEM anymore.

Flywheel Marks Wrong (Vital)

Using the ‘dead stop’ method, I found the marks to be out by 8d. Here’s how to find TDC using “dead-stop” method.

Kokusan Ignition Problems

These are rare, the one thing we have heard of: when the mains go, they can tap the ignition pick up out. The gap should be checked at 0.75mm and the pick up straight and true.

Yuasa YTZ7S Battery Upgrade

The original Yuasa YTX5L-BS battery is 4 AMP with a cold crank of 70 AMPS (CCA) (Yoshie). The YTZ7S batteries are 6 AMP with a CCA of 130 AMPS, is a new-generation Gell-Cell battery, and is the same size as the YTX5L-BS. Use an Optimate battery charger (see handy tools). All kinds of prices are banded about but have look at this battery discussion about some downsides of the conversion.

Quality Sparplugs

A plug can only take so much flooding. Getting thrashed, flooding, running rich, then lean again etc before it cries enough! So don’t be surprised if you kick an awful lot that that new plug has already had it! The secret is to get the bike running correctly and then you’ll get good mileage out of the plug. I’ve only used two plugs in the last four seasons racing but I think used 4-5 plugs in the first season alone! So I swear by the Nippondenso IXU24. This iridium plug really improves starting once your motorcycle does start moderately well.

Denso Iridium Spark Plugs Denso Iridium Spark Plugs IXU24 Denso Iridium Spark Plugs Electric Field Strength Denso Iridium Spark Plugs Flat Out Acceleration Denso Iridium Spark Plugs Engine Variation Denso Iridium Spark Plugs Fuel Consumption Denso Iridium Spark Plugs Melting Point Denso Iridium Spark Plugs Required Voltage


Water

Stalls – In Water

The first thing to always do is push the motorcycle out!

The breather pipes leave the carb and exit under the swing arm. If the tips are in water, the engine will stall as the balance of the fuel in the carb bowl is ‘upset’. Going through mud and blocking the ends has the same effect.

The cure is to slice down the middle of the ends for 1″. mud can therefore never settle here and will always fall away. As for the pipes in the water, firstly the carb doesn’t need 6 breathers – it needs just one from the floatbowl so maybe sort this first and with the spare pipe just put a ‘T-junction’ in and have pipe going down as before AND another relief pipe going up say, under the tank. Some would have a catch bottle here, others a loop so the end points downwards. This means that when in water the carb breathes through the upper pipe.

There are aftermarket “cups” that fit on each pipe for much the same effect that has been mentioned plus, there’s another bonus and that is that the inside of the carb remains clean! A lot of debris goes up the pipes to the carb…

Water – In the Sock

Water can come in via the air filter and sit in the base of the ‘sock’. To check for this, undo the air filter and look for it lying in the bottom. If it’s up to the air passageways in the carb then it’s likely you’ll need to remove the carb and blow the water out.

Air Filter – Wet

The Carb often gets water into the ‘sock’ area and then moves on and into the small airways in the front face of the carb (Dell Orto and Keihin). The idea below plus wiping water away: simply using paper towel and a long handled screwdriver to ‘stir’ is all that’s needed! Clean edges of inner frame tube as well. TM’s idea below is to create a wall that stops water coming down the frame tube and soaking into the filter. It will take a lot to stop the carb but this is a good idea.

Husaberg Air Filter Wet
Husaberg Air Filter Wet

Water Inside Stator Cover

There are several tasks to complete, and all of these tasks must be done:

  • Remove all the old tube for the stator wires and replace with new. Silicone in at the cover and all the way in. At the other end again squirt silicone in but this time do a ‘shepherd’s crook’ to the wiring and then zip-tie it in this ‘U’ shape.
  • Electrical grease (holts) or maybe vaseline the stator and inner flywheel faces.
  • Drill a hole in the bottom of the crankcases for water to escape (std from 2003).
  • Silicone the sidecover on for good – never to come off!

After Washing

If you didn’t seal the intake, pull air filter off and clean out water at the bottom of the ‘sock’. Start immediately. Air jet the chain and use a chain spray.