Why Does My 2-Stroke ‘Load Up’ After Sitting A Few Minutes?

“Loading up” is a common problem for 2-stroke dirt bikes and snowmobiles. If you don’t know what it means or haven’t heard the term before, it’s usually when you let the engine sit or idle for more than a minute and when you go to rev it, it coughs and sputters. This feedback makes for terrible throttle-response, and will eventually foul the spark plug.

To temporarily fix this, assuming the bike is fully warmed up, give it a few quick bursts of WOT (Wide-open-throttle). This will clear it out, and should run like normal again. However, for those of you that want to fix this problem long-term, you’re going to have to spend a little more time, as well as a couple bucks…

The reason your two-stroke ‘loads up’ is because not all of the gas gets burned through the cylinder, so it just sits in the crankcase. When you give it some throttle, the fuel/air ratio is too high, causing it to blubber and sputter until it clears out this excess fuel. When there’s too much fuel going through the cylinder at the same time, the spark plug cannot burn all of it, thus resulting in a fouled plug. A spark plug is fouled when the jetting is too rich, and the tip of it will come out black and often wet (Click here to read more about Jetting).

Honda CR125 is a common bike that loads up.

So how do I prevent this from happening? The pilot jet is almost always the culprit. Many two-strokes (Honda for the most part) come jetted rich from the factory. This is probably to prevent engine failures, but it often causes more problems and headaches. A properly jetted dirt bike will have more power, much better throttle response, and no plug fouling.

Since the pilot jet is too rich, pull the float bowl off of the carburetor and unscrew the pilot jet. It will usually have a smaller number stamped on it, such as 42 or 55 (may require a magnifying glass). Go to your local bike shop and buy a couple jets smaller for it. Don’t worry, they’re only a few bucks each. To get an idea of what size you need, first check your manual if they have any jetting specs or recommendations. The internet is incredibly resourceful, so check there as well. In the end, every bike is different, so you may just have to try a few jets to see what works the best. Just remember that a rich pilot jet will cough and hiccup, while a pilot that’s too lean will bog off idle. Either one will have poor throttle response, so having the right jetting will go a long ways.

If re-jetting won’t get rid of the loading up problem, there’s probably something else wrong with your bike. Check and make sure the air filter is clean, the reeds are not cracked, the engine has good compression, and you are using fresh gas that has the right Pre-mix.

Have fun, and ride safe!

-Tom Stark

Top 7 Motocross Safety Tips For Riding On The Track

Safety should be the number one priority when riding on motocross tracks these days. I don’t like having a lot of rules either, but in order to make racing and riding dirt bikes fun for everyone there has to be to some rules outlined so that we can keep accidents and injuries to a minimum. Whether you’re completely new to dirt biking, or if you’re going to the track for the first time, you need to go through these tips so you can know what to expect.

Proper Gear

Getting hurt sucks, everyone can agree with that. Although injuries are often inevitable in a highly-competitive scene of motocross, you need to wear protective gear to prevent even more injuries. If you’re going to ride a motocross bike, the very minimum you should wear is a DOT and/or Snell-approved helmet, motocross boots, long-sleeve pants and shirt (or motocross riding gear), some gloves, and goggles. These are just the minimum that you should wear. Some other safety equipment which I strongly recommend are a neck bracechest protector/body armor, and knee pads/braces.

Properly set up Bike

If your bike isn’t running right or set-up for your kind of riding, you’re going to get worn out, or it will eventually cause an accident. Getting the suspension valved for your weight is key, and will allow you to ride harder and for longer. Maintaining your dirt bike is very important, and is easy to do. Things like regularly changing the oil and filters, making sure all the nuts and bolts are properly torqued, and adjusting the chain and tire pressures can go a long way. It can be the difference between getting first in the race, or crashing halfway through the first lap. If you want more tips on prepping your motocross bike, click here.

Wearing the proper riding gear can make or break your day.
Wearing the proper riding gear can make or break your day.

Walk the Track

Walking the track before riding is easy to do, and it can give you insight on which lines to take, and which ones not to take. There could be some holes or soft spots that you don’t see while riding, so seeing them before can prevent a major crash. To be even more prepared, follow or ask to follow a faster rider that knows what to look for. There’s a lot of nice riders out there that will give you some hints on the track (or even bike set-up) if you ask them politely. Like the old saying goes, “It pays to know”. So try to make as many friends as possible at the track.

Stretch

Too many people (including myself when I’m in a hurry) make the mistake of not stretching before going out on the track. After sitting in a vehicle driving to the track, your body and muscles are going to be tight. The worst thing you can do is go out and give it 100% right away; it’s just asking for an accident to happen. Do yourself a favor and stretch for a few minutes before you go out and ride. Staying hydrated and eating healthier foods will also help your body, so start hydrating hours before the race. These simple tasks will also help with reducing arm pump.

Hold Your Line

I cannot say this enough to new dirt bike riders and racers. While the right side of the track is usually the slow lane, DO NOT move out of your lane if you are on the left side and hear another rider coming up from behind. Not only will the other rider crash by running into you if you move, but you will more than likely wipe-out and possibly get hurt as well.

Bring Someone With To The Race

It’s always a good idea to bring a friend or family member to the track with you, whether they race or not. In case you get hurt, there should be someone there that can drive you to the hospital and let your family know about what happened. While most riders are willing to help out an injured rider, I would rather rely on someone I know in the event of an emergency.

Relax

One of the most important things you can do is to stay calm and relax, both on and off the track. Motocross racing can be very strenuous, and when your body locks up, it is hard to control the bike. Staying positive and loose will help you ride better and make your day at the track much more enjoyable.

Following these simple steps will make your motocross career last a lot longer. Take the extra few minutes, do things right, and you will be out on the track instead of in a cast.

Good luck, and ride safe!

-Tom Stark

Is Parting My Dirt Bike Out Worth It?

So it’s time to make a decision. Your bike just took a dump, and you’re deciding whether you should part it out, rebuild it, or just sell it as is. Unfortunately, there’s not always a “best way” to go for everyone…

Rebuild The Bike?

Lets take a quick look at what rebuilding the bike can do for you. Two or four-stroke, it’s going to cost several hundred just in parts if the bottom-end of the engine needs work. If it’s a 2-stroke and just the top-end is fried, you can re-plate the cylinder and get a new piston kit for around 300 bucks. If the cylinder doesn’t need re-plating, then consider yourself lucky and just rebuild it. On the flip-side, a four-stroke can cost a lot more, especially if you have a shop do the work. If it needs top and bottom-end work, you can figure it will cost somewhere in the $1500-2000 range for parts and labor. In this case, you aren’t going to get most of that back if you sell the bike after the rebuild. If you’re on a tight budget, doing a rebuild is probably not the best way to go unless it’s a few hundred dollars or less.

Sell It Like It Is

Selling your bike as-is may be the easiest way to go since you don’t need to do any work on it. The down side is that you will get a lot less for it, due to the fact that it needs a rebuild. People that are looking to buy blown up bikes want them for dirt cheap. You can ask a little more for it, but you may be sitting on it for months before it sells. Unfortunately, this is the risk that you have to take. The only reasons I would sell a dirt bike like this is if I really needed cash fast, or if I bought the bike for next to nothing so I know I’m not losing much.

YZ250F Needing Work
YZ250F Needing Work

Can I Make More Parting It Out?

What dirt bike do you have? Is it a popular one that has a high demand for used parts? If so, then it shouldn’t be too difficult to break even. Depending on what broke on the bike, you can sell whatever engine parts are good, the wheels, forks, swing-arm, shock, triple clamps, handlebars, plastics, gas tank, electronics, carburetor, foot-pegs, frame, levers, and quite a few more miscellaneous parts and bolts. Unfortunately, to make the most money you will have to use eBay for most of your used dirt bike parts. You’re going to lose a fraction of your profit, but it will be much easier to sell the parts, and you might be able to get more out of them anyway.

Go to eBay and start looking at prices of some of those parts I just listed and write them down. They all start to add up, and if you still have a lot of good engine parts, there’s a good chance you’ll break even, and possibly make money…

If it’s so easy to sell parts on eBay, why isn’t everyone doing it? That’s a good question, and there’s a good reason for it; it takes a lot of time if you want to sell every part. If you are busy with a full-time job, family, or other activities, it’s going to be difficult to take pictures of all the parts, post them on eBay, wait for someone to buy them, package them, and bring them to the post office. This can take weeks, if not months to sell most of the parts. You can expect to sit on several piddly parts that people aren’t interested in.

That may sound like quite a bit of work, and it is, but if you have the time and patience then it can be worth it. I would consider myself a cheapskate, and if I had more time on my hands I would definitely consider doing this as a part-time job. Some people do this as a full-time job, so you know it’s possible to make money.

Well, there you have it. It’s now up to you to decide which best fits your scenario. Good luck, and if you need any help feel free to comment or email me through the ‘Contact‘ page.

-Tom Stark

Carburetor Tuning With A JD Jetting Kit – Review

Is your dirt bike running poorly, fouling spark plugs, or often hard to start? If you’ve never opened up the carburetor on your dirt bike, there’s a good chance that it needs to be re-jetted. JD Jet Kits are one of the cheapest and easiest way to tune your bike for maximum performance. Some benefits of having a properly jetted bike are: better throttle response, little to no plug fouling, easier starting, more efficient, and more power. If it can really do all of things, then why do so many people not do it? You know, that’s a good question…

Re-jetting a dirt bike carb is very simple to do. It’s as easy as loosening the carb clamps, unscrewing the float bowl or throttle cover, and swapping out a jet and/or needle. If you don’t know how to properly jet a dirt bike, check out this article: “Jetting 101“. However, don’t be scared by all of the information, as this kit is easy enough to use for anyone that’s not as mechanically inclined.

A JD (James Dean) jet kit comes with various main jets and multi-tapered needles. Don’t worry, though, as you don’t need to be an expert to know which ones to use. There’s a needle for high elevation riding, and one for closer to sea-level riding. The kit also comes with instructions and recommendations on which jet to use for almost every model dirt bike available.

JD Jetting Kit
JD Jetting Kit

The installation usually takes about an hour or less, and your dirt bike will be up and running better than it was from the factory. I don’t know one person that has had anything negative to say about this jetting kit. It does cost more than buying a few individual jets, but it can save you a lot of time and headaches in the long run because you won’t have to do nearly as much testing, if any.

Before you buy that $800, or even 150 dollar “hop-up’ part, I think you should check this kit out. You will be thanking yourself when you have a crisp-running bike and are tearing it up on the track or trails.

Click Here To Buy My JD Jetting Kit!

-Tom Stark

7 Tips To Make Your Dirt Bike Run Again De-Winterize

It’s almost February, and you know what that means…. Spring is right around the corner! For those of us that don’t live in the southern states, unfortunately, we have to Winterize our dirt bikes and most other motorized toys. I have a strong dislike for the cold, and knowing that warmer weather is just a couple months away makes me even more anxious to get my bikes out. But, before you pull it out of the garage/shed from storage and tear it up again, there’s some things you’ll want to do to make sure it’s going to run right. This can also be helpful for people that have recently bought a dirt bike that has been sitting in someones barn for years.

Wash It

Yes, I know it may just be dusty, but unless you thoroughly washed it before you put away last fall, it’s a good idea to scrub everything down. You will see the effect of this years down the road; your dirt bike will still look like new (besides the worn paint), but others will have crusty, oil-stained, dirt-colored bikes. This is usually on the bottom of bikes, but if you take care of it, then it will be easier to sell in the future.

Clean The Carburetor

Dirt bike carburetors often get dirty and gummed up from sitting for a couple months. Even if you can get the bike to start up, chances are is that it’s not going to run right. The cheapest way to fix this is with a carb cleaner and an air gun. You should pull all of the jets out and thoroughly clean them. The smallest amount of dust can cause problems, even if you can’t see it. Then you’ll want to spray in the carb through all of the passages. It may take a couple times to clean everything out.
The more expensive, yet much more effective way, is with an Ultrasonic carburetor cleaner. These were originally used for cleaning small jewelry items, but the half gallon tank can clean dirt bike carburetor parts, as well as injector parts (for you FI guys). It uses special liquids with an ultrasonic frequency that washes away all the dirt, grease, and grime off of parts. Just stick your parts in the tank and let them sit in there for a few hours and they’re good as new!

Change Oil

After sitting for a while, oils and liquids gather dirt and impurities. It’s best to drain the old fluids and put in some new oil. You don’t want your engine to lock up on your first ride of the season when it could have been prevented with $10 of oil.

Change Filter(s)

Air filters should be cleaned/replaced every few rides, and sometimes sooner, depending on the riding conditions. It protects the engine by keeping dirt and other foreign materials out of the carburetor. Dirt is an engines worst enemy, so don’t forget to clean the air filter. This goes for the oil filter as well, as it collects impurities in the engine oil. The oil filter on a four-stroke should be replaced every other ride. They’re dirt cheap (no pun intended), and will prevent a major failure later on. Two-strokes don’t have oil filters, so that’s one less thing to maintain.

Getting ready for Spring!
Getting ready for Spring!

Lube Chain

If you want your chain to stay in one-piece, lube it up before you go on your first trail ride or moto session. A rusty chain can and will cause problems sooner rather than later. I don’t think I need to go into much detail, but a broken chain can blow a hole through the left side of the crankcase…

Fresh Spark Plug

A fouled plug is one of the worst problems that can happen on a long trail ride, especially if you forget to bring a spare. You should replace your dirt bike’s spark plug at least once a year. Not only does it give the bike more power compared to an old and fouled plug, but it will start and run much better. Don’t forget to pack spares!

Oil It Up

If you live in a relatively humid environment and your bike has been sitting for more than a couple months, there’s a good chance the cylinder walls have started to rust on the surface. This can be really hard on it and the piston rings on the first start up. To reduce the chances of a failure and damage, pull the spark plug off and pour a light amount of oil down to the cylinder. Then, slowly kick the bike over to get the oil to cover the walls.

Fresh Gas

Yes, technically this is number eight, but it’s very important. Gas goes bad fairly quickly, especially if it has additives or premix. So, drain all of the gas out of the tank and/or carb if you haven’t already, and put in some fresh gas. Old gas can and will cause problems, especially on higher performance bikes that require fine carb-tuning.

If you’ve completed all these steps on how to de-winterize your dirt bike, it should be more than ready to go! Have fun, and ride smart!

-Tom Stark