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Discussion Starter #1
I suspect I can guess the answer to this question, but I'll pose it anyway.

Tried to start the XR this afternoon. It's been parked in the garage for about 6 weeks (between the cold weather and lots of stuff going on, she's been pretty neglected). Bike cranked fine, and sputtered, but wouldn't start. I should mention it's about 12 degrees today.

After trying to crank the bike for several minutes, I noticed the check engine light came on. It would go back out after a bit, but would come back on again when I tried more to start it.

Battery was weak by the time I pulled it so I put it on the charger. It was still producing 12.2 volts, tho.

Bike was parked with pretty fresh oil, and a full tank of fresh gas with Stabil and StarTron added. Should add that the wife's carbureted shadow started, tho it made me work for it.

Should I keep trying to start the bike with it this cold? Is the check engine light (no trouble code, just Ck Engn on the MFD) significant? Should I put a heater in my garage if I insist on trying to start this bike?

Thanks in advance guys.
 

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From what I've read, Vic's don't care for cold weather.
I may be totally off base, but did your fuel pump kick in? The last brand and model I had would spin the starter like a champ with 12.5 volts, wouldn't work the fuel pump though. A battery should show > 13V for cranking. Yea I know, why call it a 12 v? I have no idea.
The heater might help, but if you aren't going to allow about a 30 minute run, Why start it? Condensation will take a toll as well as contaminates from the run.
Hope someone will chime in for you.
Cheers
 

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Did you have it on a battery tender for the 6 weeks?

You may have to toggle the mode button until “Err” displays in the clock area to see the code.

Batteries turn chemical reaction into electricity. As it gets colder the chemical reaction slows down which is also part of the reason its harder to start a car in the cold. Victories, at least as far as I have seen, are also cold blooded and seem harder to start in the cold.

My guess is "After trying to crank the bike for several minutes" you drained the battery down and the engine light is for a low voltage. Charge your battery up and try again. It wouldn't hurt to heat up the garage first but you shouldn't need to.

If I am going to let my bike sit more than a couple of weeks in the winter I always connect it to my battery tender. Also I would avoid letting a battery get below freezing temperatures. Obviously car batteries do but it's hard on on them.

Here are some winter battery tips from Interstates' website
Of particular note:
Your vehicle’s battery loses 33 percent of its power when the temperature dips below freezing, and over 50 percent of its power when the temperature falls below zero.

Charge It. Use a battery charger to maintain charge levels and keep the battery in good condition. According to Kimbrough, a fully charged battery will not freeze until -76°F; however, a fully discharged battery could start to freeze at 32°F.
 

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Yeah. I agree with the above. Vic's, especially the Cross bikes, are sensitive to low batteries. They can cause all kinds of havoc with how it runs, or maybe in this case, on how it starts.

I would start with the battery and move outward from there. Clean the connections really well and use some dielectric grease on the Eye connectors and terminals to reduce issues in the futures.

After doing that; please come back and let us know what you find so others can benefit from it.

Thanks much,

B
 

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+ Never start an engine unless you are going to run it long enough to get it up to full operating temp. That would be a ride of at least 20 minutes. You can do grave damage to engine by running it for a few minutes and shutting it off.
+ In cold temps, place a space heater aimed at the left side of the engine for about a half hour. That's where the clutch is and most of the oil and doing that will make the start up a lot easier on the battery and engine.
+ A fully charged 12 volt battery will read 14.2 volts. At 10 volts, a battery is considered to be depleted.
+ Do take the above advice a keep it on an automatic trickle charger, such as a Battery Tender, etc..
 

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+ Never start an engine unless you are going to run it long enough to get it up to full operating temp. That would be a ride of at least 20 minutes. You can do grave damage to engine by running it for a few minutes and shutting it off.
I've heard this before, but think it's prolly an old wise tale. Say that over the winter I start the bike 5 times and run it for 2 minutes each time. My neighbor starts his 5 times too, but runs his for a half hour afterwards. Both bikes will still undergo at least 10 minutes of running with thick uncirculated oil.

The benefit I see to running longer is to heat up the oil enough to burn off condensation. Depending on how long the "winter" lasts, this may not be much of an issue.

In any case, I will agree that if you aren't going to ride, it really makes no sense to start the engine. If you just must hear an engine idle, find a Youtube video and crank the speakers.
 

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+ Never start an engine unless you are going to run it long enough to get it up to full operating temp. That would be a ride of at least 20 minutes. You can do grave damage to engine by running it for a few minutes and shutting it off.
+ In cold temps, place a space heater aimed at the left side of the engine for about a half hour. That's where the clutch is and most of the oil and doing that will make the start up a lot easier on the battery and engine.
+ A fully charged 12 volt battery will read 14.2 volts. At 10 volts, a battery is considered to be depleted.
+ Do take the above advice a keep it on an automatic trickle charger, such as a Battery Tender, etc..
I think you are off by 1 volt there. It will read 14.2 when fully charged and running. If I remember right myself; it will read somewhere between 12.8 and 13.2 when stopped and not charging.
 

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I've heard this before, but think it's prolly an old wise tale. Say that over the winter I start the bike 5 times and run it for 2 minutes each time. My neighbor starts his 5 times too, but runs his for a half hour afterwards. Both bikes will still undergo at least 10 minutes of running with thick uncirculated oil.
My understanding is the damage is not because of the thick uncirculated oil, but rather due to the acidic build up of combustion byproducts and moisture. If you run the engine long enough to bring it up to operating temperature then you burn them off. If you only run it a short time then you leave them in your oil and they damage your engine's internal workings. I'm not a mechanical engineer nor do I have a huge mechanic's background but the theory seems sound to me.
 

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YOUR NOT GOING ANY PLACE LET IT SITthumb up

you do more harm to the motor by starting in cold weather and not going for a ywenty mile ride.
Put bike on tender and let it sit till spring.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I've been in automotive service for 10 years, so I'm no stranger to battery maintenance. A fully charged battery will typically read 12.6-12.9 volts, tho 13 volts is not uncommon.

During the winter, I usually go out once a week and run the bikes for 20-30 minutes untill they're good and warm, so I didn't have the battery on a tender. In winters past I've actually taken the bikes out and ridden them for a while. This year tho, I've got a lot of stuff going on (health issues, travel back and forth to Phoenix, AZ) so I haven't really had the chance to do that. I did not intend at all to let it sit for so long. And since we have to head back for phoenix for 10 days in a couple weeks, I was actually looking into trailering the bikes down there so we might enjoy them a couple months earlier than usual.

As for the check engine light, as I said, the MFD read no error code. Only "Ck Engn" or some similar abbreviation of the term "check engine".

Thanks for the responses tho. I'll see what I can do and post back.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
UPDATE:

charged the battery. Still wouldn't start.

Checked the plugs: FOULED. Didn't care to replace them right now, so I cleaned them up. In the process of removing them, one of the contacts pulled right out of the plug wire boot. I fixed that up, and after a couple more tries she fired up. Ran pretty rough for a couple seconds, but the idle smoothed out and let it run for about a half hour.

What have I learned? the 106 does indeed foul its plugs easily when it's very cold. I think next year I'll properly winterize and store the bike.
 

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YOUR NOT GOING ANY PLACE LET IT SITthumb up

you do more harm to the motor by starting in cold weather and not going for a ywenty mile ride.
Put bike on tender and let it sit till spring.
I find this position questionable. I ride 11 miles to work every day regardles off the temperature. At 36,000 miles there is no observable ill effect. She runs great. I have never seen a vehicle that didn't benefit from movement of some type during long periods of non-use. But then, I could be wrong.
 

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Enjoy Phoenix. Finally nice and warm after 2 weeks of record setting cold. Have fun. Watch out for snowbirds though. I think we all the flu going around they are driving worse than ever
 

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My understanding is the damage is not because of the thick uncirculated oil, but rather due to the acidic build up of combustion byproducts and moisture.
I noted the moisture, as far as the PH (acidity) of the oil, that's a chemical change. Don't see that changing without adding chemicals in the same way "combustion byproducts" were added to make it more acidic.

The Amsoil guy posted a nice article on various aspects of a number of oils recently. One of the aspects tested was an oil's ability to maintain its original PH.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
My understanding about the acidity is that it's primarily from exhaust byproducts mixing with condensation and creating sulfuric acid, which is also burned off as the engine reaches normal operating temperature.

I also feel strongly that there is nothing worse for an internal combustion engine than letting it sit. Seals dry and crack, corrosive elements take their tolls; the leaking rear main in the crankcase and front pump seal in the transmission of my old ford are empirical proof of that. I made sure to use an enzyme fuel treatment to counteract the corrosive effects of the cursed ethanol, but I only trust the stuff so far.

I will also say, however, that I will replace the plugs before riding the bike when the weather warms, or if we take it to phoenix. Who knew they'd fuel-wet so easily? That is truly a cold-blooded motor.
 

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I also feel strongly that there is nothing worse for an internal combustion engine than letting it sit. Seals dry and crack, corrosive elements take their tolls; the leaking rear main in the crankcase and front pump seal in the transmission of my old ford are empirical proof of that. I made sure to use an enzyme fuel treatment to counteract the corrosive effects of the cursed ethanol, but I only trust the stuff so far.
Welcome to the 21st Century Lucy! Engineers, chemists and scientists have made great strides in materials that are resistant to such effects and have tremendously extended longevity. This ain't the era of you old Ford. There is a profound difference between belief and fact. You may "feel strongly," but that doesn't trump the facts.
If you tend to trade bikes with some frequency, then don't let what others have posted concern you. I tend to keep bikes and cars for at least 10 years, so I do all I can to preserve every aspect of those machines, which includes not starting the engine unless I'm going out for an extended ride/drive. Its your call.
 

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I also learned my lesson with the last 2 FI bikes I owned to never start them unless your riding them. I always heard you should start them up for a few minutes too. Every time I did, by the third time it would never start. Fouled plugs. Now my new Vic just sits in the shop with a battery tender and waits for spring (ish)

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