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Front Cylinder Intermittently Firing

Old 04-09-2017, 10:00 AM
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Front Cylinder Intermittently Firing

Sorry for the long post but I think a bit of history would be helpful. I bought my 2000 Superhawk new in 2001. Not much of a distance rider so it has less than 10k miles on it. 2004 I added aftermarket pipes then had it jetted/ tuned by my local Honda shop. 10 years of riding only doing annual oil changes and of course the stator went south.

Toward the end of summer 2014, I noticed it had begun to run a little rough. Not entirely bad but it had definitely lost some zip. Start of summer 2015 I changed the oil and the plugs before even starting it. It has yet to recover.

The problem I found is that the front cylinder only runs on occasion. It is obvious from just listening to it idle that it is off and on with a lot more off time. For 15 or 20 seconds every few minutes it will smooth out and run on both. Same with riding it, holding it at 3k RPM in 2nd or 3rd, it will occasionally jump to attention with both cylinders kicking then falls back to one. Idling from cold, the rear header will heat to untouchable levels while the front is only a little warm.

I pulled the carbs and cleaned them, everything appeared to be in order to my novice perception. Made sure the jets were clear, ect. With the air box off, I can spray gas and/or ether into the front carb and the behavior does not change which suggests spark or already too much fuel right? Starting fluid should light it up for a few seconds I would think but it doesn't. That's really the extent of my mechanical experience. I have not checked the compression myself as I have never checked compression on anything. So that was summer 2015.

Beginning of last summer I finally just took it to my local Honda shop. They had it for nearly 6 weeks before admitting defeat and charging me almost $600. The mechanic I spoke with said they had more hours into it than they would care to admit to. They too initially thought the spark was okay but ended up replacing a coil after noticing it may have been a bit weak. They said they had the carbs off numerous times, again more times they cared to admit to.

The final explanation I got from the shop was that the material from which the aftermarket needle was made (which I always assumed was brass) was of harder than is the material of the carb body and this has basically worn out the carb body. They suggested new carbs but Honda no longer makes them and that buying used would be a crap shoot because most of these bike would have also been jetted and therefore subject to the same issue.

So I am back at it this summer determined to put this bike back on the road. I find the explanation from the shop difficult to believe for a number of reasons especially with less than 10k on the bike. I have been through dozens of superhawk/ firestorm threads about similar symptoms. While many unfortunately drift off before a conclusion is reached, I've never once heard such a thing mentioned.

Out of ideas I recently ordered a set of used carbs and will have a mechanic friend recondition these before putting them on. Looking for any other ideas or suggestions. Thanks!
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