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Starting Issues 1981 virago 750

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Starting Issues 1981 virago 750

lareazare
Ok, I am a complete newbie when it comes to motorcycles. I bought myself a cheap bike so that i could fix it up. it's far more complicated then I thought. I have myself a Clymer manual and it is fairly useful. The bike will turn over, it gets good spark, and when the solenoid was in place it would act like it is getting ready to fire. the most i've ever gotten out of it is it backfiring, it did turn on once for a brief second or two. the solenoid later burned out, as well as the battery. i gave up on it due to lack of time. now i have this bike for a winter project and i want it to atleast start for me by spring. I have been reading how this bike can have timming issues. I was wondering if this might be the cause? now i've read on how to adjust the timing but it isn't an easy task, especially for a newbie. I think i can do it, the only problem is that this bike has some kind of sealant placed on the side of the case where the timing mechanisim is. the bike always had an oil leak, so i figured it might not be sealed properly? perhaps the gaskets weren't installed properly or their defective? anyway I want to try and attempt this but i want to make sure this is what i should be trying. not to mention once i do it this seal will be gone and i'm not sure if it will be sealed when reassembled. perhaps i could seal it afterwards, but i was wondering if this is what i should be attempting? or should i scrap  the idea of fixing it and sell it for parts. its a beautiful bike and the person i bought it from was driving it as i saw them on it many times so it did run at one time. any thought would be helpful and any estimates on what something might cost to fix would be nice as well. I know a guy who will look at it for me but i dont want to pay for what i can learn to do on my own. thanks in advance for any advice.
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Re: Starting Issues 1981 virago 750

bill.stigall
Unless the engine has been apart, the timing is probably OK, but you can check it using the Clymers manual by lining up and appropriate timing marks on the crank shaft and the cam shaft. There isn't a timing adjustment on the Virago's. The timing is controlled by the TCI unit. If you have fire at the plugs, I would suggest starting with the carbs. The Hitachi's like to be squeeky clean and if the bike has set with fuel in it for any length of time, they will be plugged up and need a thourough cleaning. While apart, I would put new K&L kits in them and make sure the floats are good and the level is set properly. With a new battery, so good fuel it should start. If you are talking about the side cover gaskets, they are available. I have a set I bought off Ebay for my 920 that I keep in case I need to take off one of the side covers. Keep us posted with your progress.
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Re: Starting Issues 1981 virago 750

KUDOS
In reply to this post by lareazare
I have a 1982 750 Virago that I bought as a non-runner.
I always had problems with it.  I did everything, thorough carb clean, balancing, electrical system check.

A few weeks ago after experiencing all of the problems you describe it fired up and ran beautifully. I was delighted.

The following day it wouldn't even start !!!

Ok these are  27 year old bikes. Your problem is your CDI and these notoriously fail.

The heart if the ignition system is the CDI unit (otherwise known as the TDI) if you remove your Fuel Tank you will find it under there. It is a metal box sort of beige colored about 4" x 6" held on by two bolts with two heavy black cables coming out of it with connectors on the end. One connector runs to on top of the engine and the other on the left side behind the engine.

As far as I am aware there is no Yamaha dealer who can test these. A new unit costs $450 if you can find one.    

OK, stop screaming !!!!!

There are ways to overcome this economically. Used units can be questionable as I found out. I bought one from eBay....it didn't work.

There are folks out here who will rebuild them with newer and better components. However so far i cannot get any of them to respond. Try http://xvfinishes.com/tci.html

Hope you get a better response than I have so far. if you do please let me know.

It is worth persevering though as they are a great Bike once you have them dialed in.
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Re: Starting Issues 1981 virago 750

lareazare
How did you come across this information? I thought for sure that my timing might be off but this makes more sense that something like this would be bad. I'll try to find one and see what happens, also need to find a place to get a cheap solenoid......
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Re: Starting Issues 1981 virago 750

KUDOS
My Bike is still off the road for this reason

I have done a load of research....everything points to the Igniter (CDI TCI)

I found this guy tonight don't know anything about him...but here is his email

tcirepair@comcast.net
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Re: Starting Issues 1981 virago 750

lareazare
I see, i take it there is no way to test this unit at a shop or with a voltmeter? and I know its under the gas tank but for some reason I cant remove my tank completely even with the fuel lines disconnected any thoughts on what im doing wrong? Sorry i am a newbie
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Re: Starting Issues 1981 virago 750

KUDOS
Ok  No problem. I was a noobie on this bike a few months ago.

To remove the tank you have to remove the fuel lines and the vacuum lines. I suggest you plug the fuel lines to avoid leaks. I usually use the shaft end of an appropriate drill bit pushed into the tube. By the way, as these are older Bikes, and the fuel lines and vacuum lines tend to harden, it is a good idea to replace these tubes with with new tube.

Then remove the seat.
Removing the seat can be a bit of a struggle. Release the catch with the key. You will only be able to lift the seat sideways a little. you have to reach under the seat, there is a bar that runs across the underside of the seat and find the catch. You have to pinch the two parts of the catch to release the catch on the far side.

Once you have the seat off go to the back of the tank. There is a metal plate at the back of the tank that holds it all in place. this plate slides backwards and once that is off you can lift the back of the tank up. There are rubber pads under the back of the tank which tend to stick a bit so to lift the back of the tank you may have to overcome that.

Once you can lift the back of the tank you raise it up a little and slide it backwards. There are two circular rubber blocks at the front of the tank that hold the front of the tank down. You cannot lift the tank straight off, you have to slide it backwards to remove it. Put the tank safely off to one side where it cannot fall. If the tank is full it can be fairly heavy.

Once you have the Tank off you will see the TCI unit attached to the top of the frame. It is about 4" x 6" and usually a beige/ pale gold color.

There are two phillips head screws that hold it down. These can be tough to get out. You need a large phillips screwdriver to get these out and they can be reluctant to come loose if they have been in there for 20 yrs. I replaced these bolts with hex headed bolts.

Once you have the unit unbolted there are two black cables attached to it. You will have to release the metal tangs that hold the cables to the frame. These bend up very easily.

Trace the cables to the connectors. One is on top of the engine and the other is behind the engine on the left side. undo the connectors (there is a little plastic catch on the connectors that holds the two parts together. You have to push the catch in to release them. Check the connector terminals for corrosion and clean the terminals well.

So you now have the TCI Igniter unit off the Bike. these cannot be tested by a Dealer as far as I can tell.  I did find out last night that  some people have converted the later plastic cased TCI (1984 on) and modified them with a different wiring harness but I am still taking advise on that.....I'll let you know.

Ok, the TCI units on these bikes is notorious for problems especially as these bikes are 27 yrs old.

last night I made contact (finally) with a guy who has an excellent reputation for fixing and upgrading these TCIs. he charges $85 to rebuild them which is not unreasonable i think.

I have two TCI units and I am going to have both repaired. To me it is worth having this done as I will then have two that I know work and will always have a spare.

His new email is:   tonatiuhm@sbcglobal.net

He promises a 2 week turnaround or sooner. Please mention me...(my name is Tony)

Even if ultimately your problem proves not to be the TCI unit...it is worth having it upgraded with modern components to keep it running right as this is the heart of the ignition system.

I know this is a long reply....but I hope it helped you

Tony
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Re: Starting Issues 1981 virago 750

lareazare
I'll look into it, it's just so odd they never mention this at all in the Clymer book for these bikes except that they are equiped with TCI modules, never mentions what it is or does, how to test or anything. thanks for the tip, i'll take a look at mine.
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