The scooter was received and assembled, now finally to the long awaited moment, starting the scooter. The urge to stick the key in the hole, press the button and hear the engine purr is close to irresistible…
But it must be resisted. Though above may sound ideal, is not the case. Imagine a car that was parked for six months; it may not start at first try. In this case we are talking about a scooter that may have been sitting for 6 or more months in addition to having traveled by sea for 2 or 3 weeks; carburetors love fresh salty marine air.
This article aims at guiding first time scooter owners to properly start their scooter without blowing anything out.
Dos and don’ts:
1. If the scooter is 50 or 150cc, don’t try the electric start; at first kick start only
2. Do not, under any circumstance, try to jump start the scooter
3. Avoid using a charger. The engine will recharge the battery when it is started. If a charger is used, insure it is a motorcycle charger set to no more than 2 amps
4. If the scooter is equipped with an alarm, do not try the alarm or the remote start until the scooter started
5. Buy the most expensive fuel and fill the gas tank all the way up
6. Do not use any fuel additives or carburetor cleaner solution
7. Once the scooter is started, be ready to ride it for at least 15 minutes to charge the battery – letting the engine charge the battery is by far the best
Remember that a new battery is very fragile. If it runs all the way down, it may get permanent damaged as well as damage other components such as the fuse, voltage regulator and / or the CDI unit. In order to protect the battery and the other components, all 50cc and 150cc scooters should be first started with the kick start then try the electric start a couple times as described below.
Since most 250cc scooters don’t have a kick start, 250cc scooter owners should follow the electric start procedure.
Kick start procedure:
1. Fill the gas tank all the way up with the best gasoline available
2. Put the bike on the center stand
3. Check that the kill switch is pointed towards the circle, not the X
4. If the scooter came with remote, click the UNLOCK two consecutive times
5. Turn the key to the on position
6. Accelerate all the way and keep throttle open of 1 second, repeat 3 times
7. Unfold the kick-start; gently push it down with your foot half way
8. Let the kick start come back up
9. Kick the kick start vigorously 3 or 4 times in a row making sure the starter goes all the way down and comes all the way back up every time
10. Then keep on accelerating all the way (step 6) and kicking all the way a few times (step 9)
11. Do not accelerate while kicking
Try the electric start only AFTER having tried to start the bike as described above with the kick-start.
Electric start procedure:
1. Follow steps 1 to 6 in the kick-start procedure above
2. Hold the rear brake
3. Gently turn the accelerator to pickup the slack; do not accelerate, just hold the slack
4. Press the start button for 3 seconds and let go
5. Accelerate all the way and let go, hold any slack in the throttle
6. Press the start button for 3 seconds and let go
7. Let the electric start motor cool down for 30 or 40 seconds and repeat the steps above one more time.
Overheating the electric start motor may also damage the scooter by blowing the starter motor, the fuse and other electrical parts.
If the bike did not start, do not try the electric start procedure more than 2 times; rather go back to the kick start procedure and repeat it 2 or 3 times. It may take a few tries, most bikes start at the 2nd or 3rd try.
If all else fail:
Some scooters my have a hard time starting. This may be due to several factors. In 90% of the cases, the failure to start is due to no or insufficient fuel getting to the carburetor. The simplest way to check and cure this, is to prime the carburetor manually:
1. Open the seat
2. Unscrew the carburetor access panel screw (usually a single screw)
3. Remove the access panel and locate the carburetor
4. The top of the carburetor looks like a metal dome with 2 screws holding it
5. Remove the 2 screws from the top of the carburetor
6. Put 3 to 4 spoonfuls of gasoline directly inside the carburetor
7. Replace the top of the carburetor and secure with the 2 screws
8. Follow the electric start procedure only if it was not followed more than 3 times; otherwise kick-start
If the scooter does not start after the above, those with limited mechanical knowledge and those who know just enough to be dangerous are encouraged to contact the tech support department of the scooter dealer where the purchase was made or seek advice from a professional motorcycle mechanic.