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1982 Maxim 550 -- turns over but won't start

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I have a 1982 Maxim 550. When I first got it, we were able to get it to start by spraying starting fluid in the sparkplug cylinder. Now it only turns over but, won't fire. The battery and all spark plugs are new. Any ideas? Valves? Coil?

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Before leaping in to a specific area (valves, coil and so forth), just step back and check the basics. For an infernal combustion engine to run it needs, fuel/air, spark & compression - if any of these are missing or in the wrong quantity it ain't gonna go, so ....

Sparks are easy to check, big fat blue jobbies all round I assume? If not work backwards from the plugs to the coils, checking & swapping known good components as you go, duff components will reveal themselves sooner or later.

You say you got it to start by spraying starter fluid - did it keep running or just 'brruumm' and die? When you turn it over, do the plugs get wet? If not, there's no fuel getting through and you need to look at that system next:

Is there fuel in the tank? Sounds simple, but we've all been there (sure there's plenty gas, look ...... oh dear!).

Is the fuel getting out of the tank and into the carbs? Switch tap to Prime or Reserve with the hose off - anything trickling out? If not suspect a blocked filter/tap.

How long has it been sitting since last used in anger? If it's been a while then with modern fuels being the cr*p that they are, it would be a safe bet that the carbs are clagged up. Drop a float bowl and see if it's got a coating of brown (possibly gooey) varnish in it. A blast through with a can of carb cleaner and an airline may just do the job if you're lucky - unless you know someone with an ultrasonic bath....

Check all the carb rubbers (carb/airbox & carb/inlet) for cracks & possible leaks - easy if the engine's running (just spray WD40 or EZ-start at 'em and see if the engine revs up), but a visual check would be OK at this stage.

That's a fairly basic diagnostic walk through, apologies if I'm "teaching Granny to suck eggs" ....


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