In this article I’ll show you what your CRF230 needs in order to start when hot or cold, the most common reasons why it won’t start, and how to easily fix the root problem
What your CRF230 needs to be able to start
Like any gas-powered dirt bike, your CRF 230 needs a proper mixture of fuel and air, a good spark, and enough compression to ignite and combust the fuel to start and stay running.
If it’s missing just one of those, your chances of getting it started are next to zero. But don’t worry, with some quick troubleshooting, you can figure out which one it doesn’t have so that you can get back to riding ASAP!
Not getting enough air
When there’s not enough air getting through the intake and carburetor, the engine runs too rich. This makes it hard or impossible to start, especially when the engine is hot.
A dirty air filter could be causing this. When the air filter is clogged with so much dirt and debris, less air will be getting through it, giving you a rich jetting mixture.
It could also be that the jetting is simply too rich. The pilot jet circuit is the most problematic when it comes to starting your dirt bike, so tuning the fuel screw and/or pilot jet size may be necessary, but is not common on the CRF230 unless you’re going way up in elevation.
Not getting enough fuel
When there’s no fuel or not enough gas getting through the carb and into the engine, it starves and runs lean. There’s a number of causes, but it’s usually fairly easy to find out.
First, do you have gas in the tank? Then check and make sure that gas is getting to the carb (fuel injection is a little harder to check).
A dirty or clogged pilot jet is a common problem when you let your CRF 230 sit for too long. The gas goes bad and the engine won’t start because there’s no gas getting through that jet circuit, which is the most important for starting.
A weak spark is pretty rare on a CRF230F, but it’s still possible in a few different ways. It could just be a loose spark plug cap or a bad wire.
A faulty stator could be the problem, so if the battery isn’t getting charged while the engine is running, then you should look at the stator or the wiring to and from it for broken wires or a bad/corroded ground.
The piston and rings need to be sufficiently sealed to the cylinder to create enough pressure to compress and ignite the air and fuel mixture. If the engine is worn out, there will be less compression, making it hard or impossible to get your CRF230 started.
Simply replacing the top-end might be all it needs, and you might as well get an affordable big bore kit while you’re in there because it’s just about as reliable as stock.
How to know if you have low compression
Low compression is common, especially if your Honda dirt bike has a lot of hours or was poorly maintained. The sooner you catch this problem and get it fixed, the less damage it will do and your rebuild will cost less.
Low compression can have the following symptoms in your dirt bike:
- Hard to start
- Fouling spark plugs
- Low power
- Poor throttle response
A bad or weak battery is another common problem that causes your CRF230 not to start because it doesn’t have enough power to crank the engine over fast enough. Maybe you haven’t ridden in a while or there’s something draining the battery life quicker than normal.
A clicking noise when you press the electric start button is a sure sign that your dirt bike battery is dead.
You might be able to get away with charging it if the battery is relatively new. However, if you let it get too low on a charge for too long or too often, it’s much harder to “revive” it back to life.
What to do when your dirt bike battery dies
Riding with a weak battery is a big issue when you’re going on a long trail ride or you’re out in the desert or mountains. If your CRF230 won’t start, you can either:
- Push start it
- Jumpstart it from another bike
- Plan ahead and bring a lightweight battery jump starter