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post #1 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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Default Running on one cylinder? Please help!

I've held off on sharing this story for the past month as I've been powerless to do anything about it. I wanted one last shot at making sure I hadn't missed anything obvious before taking it to the forums and making myself look stupid. So here it goes...

The bike: 2012 XC, PCV, D&D's, Lloydz Filter, Lloydz Touring Cams, Lloydz Adjustable Timing Wheel (+4). 10,000 miles on the odometer. PCV, filter, and pipes installed back when it was new, cams and timing wheel installed by me about 2500 miles ago, fuel map borrowed from Rylan.

Here's where I'm at now… Bike starts up but occasionally needs a little throttle to keep from stalling. It then stumbles at idle between about 950-1000 RPM. Feels like it is running on one cylinder as it lopes and the bike shakes. Front cylinder is running noticeably hotter than the rear. Infrared thermometer says the front header at the first bend is 300+ while the rear is only about 175. Front pipe is also nicely blued at the first bend while the rear appears to have a rusty looking patch. When riding, it hesitates as you begin to twist the throttle, but runs relatively smooth above 2000 RPM or so. Power is noticeably lacking both at take-off and cruise and it “thump-thumps” like it’s running on one cylinder.

Where I’ve been… Bike had been running beautifully, even more so after the cam install. I decided to take on the IBA “Hell to Heaven Gold” ride about a month ago. Rode ~500 miles from home to Death Valley and parked it for the night. The next morning it fired right back up without a hiccup. Over the next 750 miles and 15 hours, I encountered a blinding sand storm followed by five torrential thunderstorms. I actually had what looked like a small beach sloshing back and forth on my dash. Made four stops along the way, the longest of which was an hour for dinner. I took advantage of a wide open I-70 in the middle of the night and blasted out another 300 miles averaging about 80mph before stopping in Grand Junction, CO for a few hours rest. Bike was running like a champ. Topped her off, parked her, and then slept for a few hours.

In the morning, I went to start my bike and it sputtered and died. I found I was able to keep it running if I gave it a little throttle. It sounded like it was running on one cylinder and feeling the jugs with my hand indicated that in fact one cylinder was warming up while the other stayed cool. Wasn’t sure what else to do so… I jumped on it, rode it across the street to the freeway onramp, and gave it some gas. It started struggling up the onramp and then suddenly the second cylinder sprang back to life, launching me up to freeway speed and back along my merry way. About 100 miles later, I had to navigate some city streets in Glenwood Springs, CO while changing highways. I pulled in the clutch as I approached a stop light and found my bike was idling very high, somewhere in the neighborhood of about 1750 RPM if I recall correctly. This continued all the way through town, probably about 10 stoplights in total. Got back up to freeway speed and rode on through to Aspen, CO where I hit bumper to bumper traffic. Pulled in the clutch and was pleased to find that my idle was back to normal. I had some starting difficulty after fueling up in Aspen, but that would be the end of my mechanical difficulties for the day as I reached the summit of Pike’s Peak and completed my H2H ride. Mother Nature apparently wasn’t so impressed however as the sky opened up about a mile into my descent and I got blasted by a brutal hail storm. The hail began melting as I continued the 18 mile descent and I soon found myself riding in, across, and through many streams of deep runoff and debris. I rode another 100 miles and got to my friend’s house just in time to get drenched by yet another downpour. Parked the bike in his garage, and called it a day.

I had originally scheduled an appointment at a dealership in Colorado Springs for the afternoon immediately after summiting Pike’s Peak. I was going to get an oil change and have them give the bike a once over during which time I was going to see if they could check for engine codes related to either the single cylinder operation or the high idle issue. Unfortunately, the hail storm I encountered while descending Pike’s Peak resulted in US-24 being closed for an undetermined period of time. I had to take back roads to my friend’s house and missed my appointment. The next day, we took a ride to a dealership in the Denver area so I could pick up an oil change kit. We stopped a few times along the way during what ended up being about a 30 mile ride, stopping and starting the engine without issue. We then grabbed lunch at a spot that required us to park on an incline. A burrito and two margaritas later we went out to the bikes and that’s when the real trouble started. Bike turned on, fuel pump primed, starter cranked and cranked, but it didn’t even try to fire up. I got the bike turned around and coasted it down the hill in an attempt to bump start it, but again, not even a hint of it trying to start.

I parked it at the gas station at the bottom of the hill and tried starting it up a few more times. It was obvious I was doing nothing other than draining my battery at that point so I started some basic troubleshooting as the evening started creeping in. After a while, I did what any irrational (OMG I’m stranded in Colorado and am supposed to be back at work in California in two days!) adult would have done and placed a Hail Mary phone call to Rylan Vos before it got any later. He graciously took my call (despite being at an event in New York, thank you soooo much Rylan) and explained to me the first steps he would take to troubleshoot my bike. I thanked him and got to work with the limited time and tools I had available. Over the course of the next 24 hours, I checked:

1. Battery voltage was good (over 12V)
2. Battery terminals were tight (Didn’t have the equipment to clean them, but had done so in the past year)
3. Fuel level was at roughly 1.25 gallons of 91 octane
4. Main circuit breaker was tested and appeared to be operating normally
5. Rear spark plug wire pulled apart at the crimp! (both wires were replaced with new ones)
6. All fuses and relays in fuse box tested good
7. Ignition coil bench tested at the dealership and determined to be good
8. Spark plugs evaluated by dealership (said they appeared to be from a well-tuned engine)
9. PCV completely unhooked from factory wiring harness (no change)

Still, no love from the Victory gods. And with that, I was out of time. Bought a plane ticket home and made arrangements to have my bike shipped back. Fast forward one month and my bike is finally here. Yesterday I:

1. Siphoned the gas tank and refilled with 2.5 gallons of 91 octane (added some Liquid Heet for good measure)
2. Cleared the gas tank water drain line with compressed air
3. Cleared the gas tank vent line (about 6oz of water blew out of the lines and CA emissions canister)
4. Discovered the CA emissions canister breather tube was oriented down instead of up as it should have been
5. Re-installed the PCV using di-electric grease on all the connectors

The bike now started up but was running poorly as described at the start of my post, so I:

6. Confirmed CPS sensor was undamaged and adjustable timing wheel had not slipped
7. Discovered my rear O2 sensor (on disabled AutoTune) was shot (Raw fuel contamination?)
8. Found TPS shows 0-100% range when hooked up to the PCV software
9. Determined bike runs the same with PCV disconnected as with Zero Map loaded (worse with cam map loaded)

So (for anyone who actually stuck around long enough to read this novel) where do I go from here? Every thread I’ve read with similar symptoms all seem to relate back to the battery terminals so I thoroughly cleaned and re-installed them late last night, but I was unable to fire up the bike before leaving for work due to a sleeping baby. Any ideas beyond that? Please help, I’m stumped and am about ready to drag it down to the dealership for some diagnostic work. Not sure how that will go with all the performance goodies on there…

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post #2 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 07:46 AM
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Rear cylinder not firing means you're either not getting fuel, not getting air, or not getting spark into that cylinder. If those three things are happening then the only remaining failure point is the spark is happening at the wrong time.

Start with the easy stuff. You rode through a sandstorm so check your air filter (unlikely cause since the other cylinder is firing but it wouldn't hurt). Check the ground connection at the frame. If there's more than one, check them all. Just because your battery connections are tight doesn't mean the other end of those cables is as well. Definitely doesn't mean that your ground cable isn't corroded to hell from all the water, dirt, etc you rode through.

Pull the spark plug, is it wet and smelling of fuel? If no, you're not getting fuel and you need to start at the injector and trace back until you find the fault

If yes, are you getting spark? Lay the plug against the cylinder head and crank the motor, you should see a big fat blue spark. If no spark, or spark is small, faint, or yellow, you have a spark fault, start at the plug wire and work your way back until you find the fault.

If you're getting fuel and you're getting spark, the next thing I would do is a compression check, if that checks out good I would find someone willing to loan you a known good ecu and swap that out just to make sure yours isn't toast. If that still doesn't work, start testing all your engine sensors (dunno what all sensors our bikes have but cam and crank position, intake air temp, map/maf, etc. are all possible causes of poor running if one or more are bad)

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post #3 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 08:22 AM
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I'm with Soofle!

I'm thinking something got clogged up along the way and suggest that you make sure all fuel hoses and ports are good. Same as we humans... something as small as a pebble can wreak havoc on a big burly strong man and make him scream like a little girlie.
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post #4 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 10:24 AM
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[QUOTE=tonygiotta;1075426]


:

1. Siphoned the gas tank and refilled with 2.5 gallons of 91 octane (added some Liquid Heet for good measure)
2

QUOTE]

I would never add liquid heet or dry gas, It contains alcohol, Which is already in your gas [ethanol] And that will only draw more water into the tank..

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post #5 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DillPickle311 View Post
something as small as a pebble can wreak havoc on a big burly strong man and make him scream like a little girlie.
Yikes ! I don't want to know ....

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post #6 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 11:22 AM
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I would copy your post and send it to Rylan at the Vic shop

I would have dealer hook it up to there computer

Rent a fuel pump pressure tester and check fuel pump. 50psi needed

You said un hooking PCV did not change anything ?

Do a spark plug wire test with meter.

Check all vacuum lines going to IAV and rubber nipple plugs

Look for pinched wires or all connectors.

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post #7 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soofle616 View Post
Start with the easy stuff. You rode through a sandstorm so check your air filter (unlikely cause since the other cylinder is firing but it wouldn't hurt).
Air filter is pretty dirty, even blew a bunch of sand out of the frame while I was checking it. I was also thinking it was an unlikely cause due to the other cylinder firing as you mentioned.

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Originally Posted by soofle616 View Post
Check the ground connection at the frame. If there's more than one, check them all. Just because your battery connections are tight doesn't mean the other end of those cables is as well. Definitely doesn't mean that your ground cable isn't corroded to hell from all the water, dirt, etc you rode through.
I measured 0.2-0.3 Ohms at the ground at the front left of the transmission case as well as the one at the rear left near the clutch cable hanger. I think 5 Ohms was the FSM max reading. I'll have to see if there are other grounds to be tested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soofle616 View Post
Pull the spark plug, is it wet and smelling of fuel? If no, you're not getting fuel and you need to start at the injector and trace back until you find the fault.
Plugs looked good when I pulled them initially and when I pulled them after getting my bike back. At that time however, they had only run on one cylinder for a couple of minutes followed by 400 miles of proper operation leading up to my no start issue. That probably cleaned them up. They may very well be fouled now after tinkering with the fuel map in my garage and going for a brief test ride. I'll have to re-check them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soofle616 View Post
If yes, are you getting spark? Lay the plug against the cylinder head and crank the motor, you should see a big fat blue spark. If no spark, or spark is small, faint, or yellow, you have a spark fault, start at the plug wire and work your way back until you find the fault.
I did this test while stranded at the gas station. Saw a blue spark on both plugs, but can't say for certain if they were big and fat. I've only tested plugs like that one other time (on a lawn mower) and after shocking the crap out of myself on the front cylinder, I was a little gunshy when checking the rear and only cranked it once. I don't really have much past experience to compare my observations to.

With new wires and an ignition coil that was confirmed to be good by the dealership, what else is there? ECM directly supplies the ground signal to tell it when to fire, correct? Continuity test between the ECM plug and the ignition coil plug? I guess new plugs probably couldn't hurt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soofle616 View Post
If you're getting fuel and you're getting spark, the next thing I would do is a compression check
I think that's next, should have grabbed the compression tester while I was at the auto parts store the other day. Hope I haven't toasted a cylinder somehow...

Quote:
Originally Posted by soofle616 View Post
if that checks out good I would find someone willing to loan you a known good ecu and swap that out just to make sure yours isn't toast. If that still doesn't work, start testing all your engine sensors (dunno what all sensors our bikes have but cam and crank position, intake air temp, map/maf, etc. are all possible causes of poor running if one or more are bad)
In the FSM, it basically says the ECM is the least likely thing to fail. Something like a 0.1% chance of failure. At the end of the troubleshooting flow chart when it gets to the ECM, it actually tells you to go back to step 1 and repeat ALL test procedures a second time before beginning to suspect the ECM. That being said, mine has been rev-extended by Lloydz, but it appears to be in good physical condition (no bent pins, no sign of dirt or moisture in the connector).

As for the sensor tests, most of the tests seem to require either the Digital Wrench and/or a more advanced multi-meter with special probes to poke into the harness connectors. I've got some connector pins from another project, maybe I could make myself some probes? Visually inspecting the connectors probably wouldn't hurt either.

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I'll take your adivce here and hopefully it will help lead me to my answer.

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post #8 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DillPickle311 View Post
I'm thinking something got clogged up along the way and suggest that you make sure all fuel hoses and ports are good. Same as we humans... something as small as a pebble can wreak havoc on a big burly strong man and make him scream like a little girlie.
I've been thinking this too, but where exactly do I look? How/where could debris get into the system? I'm pretty sure all the water I blew out of the gas tank vent line and CA emissions cannister had something to do with my no start issue, but I'm a little hazy as to how exactly a clogged vent line causes fueling issues. I've also been thinking that possibly the purge valve (which incidentally pumps only into the rear throttle body) may have pumped some water into the rear cylinder while attempting to vent the fuel vapors out of the cannister.

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post #9 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonygiotta View Post
I've been thinking this too, but where exactly do I look? How/where could debris get into the system? I'm pretty sure all the water I blew out of the gas tank vent line and CA emissions cannister had something to do with my no start issue, but I'm a little hazy as to how exactly a clogged vent line causes fueling issues. I've also been thinking that possibly the purge valve (which incidentally pumps only into the rear throttle body) may have pumped some water into the rear cylinder while attempting to vent the fuel vapors out of the cannister.
Yep! Sorry to say you may have nailed problem. You described some pretty strong storms.
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post #10 of 58 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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I would never add liquid heet or dry gas, It contains alcohol, Which is already in your gas [ethanol] And that will only draw more water into the tank..
I was a little hesitant when I saw that on the bottle, but I was under the impression that the alcohol absorbs the water and mixes it into solution in the gasoline where it can be (inefficiently) burned off. This supposedly keeps the water from pooling at the lowest point in the tank (where the fuel pump pick up is) and allows it to be passed through the cylinders. I decided to try it because I saw what appeared to be a couple of drops of water in the fuel I siphoned out. I only added 4oz to my 320oz of fresh gasoline so it is less than 1% by volume anyways. Don't think it will do any harm.

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