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Motorcycle engines will fail and knowing how they work and how to troubleshoot

them is very important. If you think about being stuck on the side of the road with
no help you will wish that you knew how the motorcycle engine works in addition to
the accessories that also might fail. Troubleshooting a motorcycle should be simple
and should be approached in an organized fashion.

Troubleshooting basics: Motorcycle troubleshooting can be frustrating. Keep it


simple and follow the following tips.

- Quickly look over the motorcycle and look for obvious problems or something that
sticks out as a potential problem. Make sure all electrical connections are tight. Make
sure you have fuel in the tank. Make sure you have power. Make sure nothing is
hanging off that shouldn't be.

- Think about the problem itself. Try to link it to parts and accessories that simply
make sense. It doesn't make sense that you look at tail light connections if you have
a problem starting the motorcycle.

- Once you pin point the root cause of the problem or an idea of what can be causing
the problem you are experiancing take the troubleshooting to the next level. Take
out your tools and testers (hopefully you have some with you) and try to proove the
cause of the problem.

- Next step is logical, simply go ahead and fix it or contact roadside assitance if the
problem cannot be fixed in place.

Ok, Now that we have the basic troubleshooting steps down let's talk about how
engines work.

Two-Stroke Motorcycle Engine: The two-stroke motorcycle engine is the simplest


of all with only 1 piston. Let's look at the major stages of each cycle. We'll talk about
the exhaust and intake ports and the down and up strokes.

When the piston is all the way down the following occurs: transfer ports are open
providing new fuel mixture from the crankase and the burned exhaust gases are
pushed out through the exhaust port.

When the piston begins to travel up or rising with transfer and exhaust ports closed
the new mixture begins to get compressed and getting ready for firing by the spark
plug.

When the piston is still rising the intake port opens and begins to fill the crankase
with new fuel mixture from carburator (the crankase contains the flywheels).
Remember both transfer and exhaust ports are still closed mixture from previous
cycle is being compressed