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Starting 1978 SR500


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Never owned a kickstart before. Having difficulty starting. Seems like every 20 kicks I get it started. Sometimes not at all.

What is the procedure?

Gas on. (what is the pri on the gas valve?)

Ignition on.

Choke on. (how much?)

Clutch off.

In neutral.

Control lever off.

Kick indicator window shows white.


Do I give it some throtle?

Bumpstarting it only works sometimes too.

Am I missing something? Does anyone have the Owners Manual online?


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The procedure depends on a few things.

A cold engine needs choke, an engine sitting for a few days needs PRI to prime the carbs with gas. Turn to PRI and wait 30 seconds for the bowls to fill.

When kicking it leave the throttle closed, that helps draw fuel through the small passages of the carb on the engine side of the butterfly valve and it works best. The only time to hold the throttle open is to clear gas caused by flooding.

A hard to start engine could have leaky intake rubber boots between the engine and carbs. Tighten the clamps and inspect for leaks. When the engine is running spray wd40 around the boots and see if engine speed changes.

If all else fails the carb choke circuits could be stopped up and that requires a rebuilt and cleanout. Also make sure the choke linkage is opening the chokes all the way like it should.

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My first bike was a 79' SR500. If you have not cleaned the carb yet, that's the best thing you can do. Make sure you don't have any crud in the pilot jet or choke passages. It's nice only having one to mess with. If you give it any throttle while starting it with the choke on, it just won't. I held the handlebar by the mirror to make sure I didn't twist the throttle while kicking. Also mine started easier by kicking just before you can see the indicator. At the compression stroke I would give it about a 1/4 kick with the compression release pulled, then a full kick. If you are going to change the exhaust or intake do a google search for minton mods. It made a huge difference with mine.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi ,the Yamaha sr 500 is an awesome bike!I would like to add to the starting procedure.....I find that the kick is a bit of a dance..up to comp then a swift kick down not a jab but a forceful motion,then a quick release. a faster return,1/8-1/4 throttle when warm and like they said above hook your thumb on the mirror.If it doesn't start 1st or 2nd kick then something is wrong.I also recomend premium fuel if you can get it.

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Hi just thought id throw my 2 bob in the ring on this one

I have an 81 model XT500 and it took me a while to learn the starting tricks, but now it can sit there for months and still will start first go.

One thing i will stress is when i stop the engine i always give it a quick rev (about half throttle) then hit the kill switch as its winding down, NOW the trick i have found is vital in 2 points , when i go to restart hot or cold DONT TOUCH ANYTHING if cold put the choke on full if hot dont.

That rev you give it seems to leave just the right amount of fuel in the carb to restart. Now the most important point i can give is MAKE SURE YOUR ON A COMPRESSION STROKE dont worry about the TDC indicator with my old girl the kick starter engages a little further forward on the compression stroke than an exhaust.

OK now lay into the kick starter and dont be a pussy with it cause as many will know 500's can bite pretty hard.

Well thats the way i start a 500 hope it helps

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