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SOLVED: 170i cranks but won't start

 
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mukaiboston
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Green Buddy 170i "Annie-Jade"

PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:29 pm    Post subject: SOLVED: 170i cranks but won't start Reply with quote

I haven't been on this site in a long time, but I need a bit of help diagnosing a starter problem on a 2013 Buddy 170i. I'm including as much maintenance history and details as I can remember:

I've ridden this scooter regularly in the cold all the way down to -10c/14f. Last night, I went to run some errands and then stopped at my parents.

Scooter started right up except for when I was trying to leave my parents house. The temperature was -5c/23f. I turn the key to on, hold the brake level, flip the kill switch and press the ignition. The engine cranks but won't turn over. I tried a few times, but it wouldn't start. I know it was cold but EFI shouldn't be like that.

After trying multiple times, the engine light would come on as I was cranking. When I let go of the ignition, I could hear the fuel injector engaging. I tried some more but the engine light would come on again while cranking and then I could hear the fuel injectors.

We started to worry about the battery's health so we got jumper cables and tried to jump start off my dad's Corolla. It still cranked, but wouldn't turn over. My dad, who's an auto mechanic, says it's not the battery. I'm worried some software or something is wrong with the computer or its sensors. Seems odd the engine would run so reliably and smoothly and then just stop working.

If any of you know something that might save me having it towed to the dealer, I would much appreciate it. Thanks!

---Maintenance Info--
My brake handles are down, kill switch off and my battery is two years old and healthy (we have load tested it throughout the winter. It's 12.4V, falls to about 12V when starting and then runs to 14V with the engine on).

The scooter is ridden several times a week with most trips being about 20-24mi. The odometer is just over 12138.5 mi.

This past summer of 2015, the air filter, brake oil and rear tire was replaced. The transmission oil was replaced a week ago with SAE 140 and the motor oil and oil filter were replaced about three weeks ago with SAE 15W40. Premium gas is not required but that's what I use, only at Exxon and Shell.


Last edited by mukaiboston on Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:15 pm; edited 2 times in total
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paracer
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you have a way to get the bike out of the freezing temps? I would be concerned about perhaps a bit of ice in the fuel line or even in the injector. You could even use a hair dryer to heat things up if you had to.

Cold weather does a number on various things. I would be on the lookout for things that may have become brittle and cracked or broke. Check things like wires, hoses, etc.

Are you getting spark? See if the engine will fire with starting fluid.
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avescoots1134
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Charge/Change the battery and it'll start. The 170i is weird like that - once the battery falls below a certain amperage while cranking, the bike won't start. It's related to the security system I believe. It'll spin over like the battery is fine but not start.
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DeeDee
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buddy 170i

PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You don't say anything about valve adjustments in your maintenance history. Have they been adjusted? At 12,000 you could have a real tight exhaust valve if they have never been adjusted. Could add to your problem.
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mukaiboston
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Green Buddy 170i "Annie-Jade"

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We're actually headed for a two foot blizzard this weekend so I'm not going to be able to check this again until next week at the earliest. When the temps come above freezing I will try to start it again.

As for the battery, it was fully charged when I left earlier that evening and, as I said in my post, we attempted to jump start the scooter from a car battery. We had to then use the car to get me home so, if that battery started a car, there's no reason why it wouldn't start the scooter.

To my knowledge, the valves have never been adjusted. I took it in once but the mechanic said not to bother with it unless I noticed symptoms such as clicking or acceleration problems.

This scooter engine has always run smoothly and accelerated extremely quickly and responsively. If there were a valve issue, I don't believe it would go from running perfectly to not at all.

Now that I think a bit more about this, I don't think that check engine light is a good sign at all. It could have meant something else failed and the cold is just a coincidence. I can try to get the mechanic's opinion on this but, with the blizzard, there's not much I can do at the moment.

I will update accordingly. Thanks for the suggestions and, if anyone else has anything to add, feel free.
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DeeDee
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buddy 170i

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My 170i valves needed adjusted at 500 and 4,000. At both inspections, the exhaust valve had tightened. If yours have never been adjusted, you are surely overdue. Pull your battery completely out and charge it on the bench inside. On some efi scooters, this will cause a hard reset of the ecu. Guess you guys are paying for the record highs you had last month.
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RoaringTodd
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you have spark? Do you know how to remove the spark plug and ground it to the frame and crank to check to see if it is sparking?

That has helped me diagnose a bad spark plug in the past.

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babblefish
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What type of gas is sold in your area? If it's ethanol, then water may have condensed into the gas. The chances of this happening is greater when the temperature drops and since water is heavier than alcohol, it sinks to the bottom of the tank, gets into the fuel system then freezes thereby, no starts. You should be using a fuel additive to help prevent this from happening.
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mukaiboston
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Green Buddy 170i "Annie-Jade"

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spark plug, I forgot to mention, was also changed about a month and a half ago. I old spark plug was actually still good but I change it on a yearly basis anyway because there is only one.

As far as gas goes, I just topped it off the day before this happened using Shell V-Power. As far as it turning to water, would it happen that fast? I put fuel treatment in when it is going to sit for a while, not when I'm riding every other day.

My thoughts now was that when I parked it, some moisture had refrozen. I think the key here is to wait until the temps climb above freezing and then try to start it.
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paracer
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mukaiboston wrote:
Spark plug, I forgot to mention, was also changed about a month and a half ago. I old spark plug was actually still good but I change it on a yearly basis anyway because there is only one.

As far as gas goes, I just topped it off the day before this happened using Shell V-Power. As far as it turning to water, would it happen that fast? I put fuel treatment in when it is going to sit for a while, not when I'm riding every other day.

My thoughts now was that when I parked it, some moisture had refrozen. I think the key here is to wait until the temps climb above freezing and then try to start it.


An ounce or so of rubbing alcohol in each tankful; that would keep any water in the gas from freezing solid and blocking things up. Rubbing alcohol will mix with any moisture in the gas, and lower its freezing point. Putting it in now though will not do anything if there is already ice formed somewhere.

I wonder if the weather will be warm enough that you could heat up the fuel injector area with a hair dryer for a few minutes.
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scooterwrench
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DeeDee has a good point...12,000 mi and no valve adjustment makes that almost a mandatory check. Clicking is loose valves, and valves tighten through wear(at least on these engines), not the other way around. Also, low battery voltage can mess with the communication between the ECU and throttle position sensor, requiring a reset. Charge the battery and re-connect it, turn the throttle to full-open and hold it, turn ignition key to ON position, count to 10, turn key off and release throttle. That should re-sync things.
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mukaiboston
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Green Buddy 170i "Annie-Jade"

PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi scooterwrench,

I did not know how to reset the ECU. Thank you for that bit of advice. I will give that a shot sometime next week.

I see you are in College Park, Md. Given the imminent, life-threatening snow event that is about to descend on us and all forms of transportation being shut down, I won't be able to get to this anytime soon.

Stay safe and we'll revisit this issue once we can dig our way out.
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paracer
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good luck to all of you in the DC area. I'm up here in the Harrisburg, PA are and we are bracing for impact in a few hours. I for one welcome the onslaught of frozen precipitation.
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scooterwrench
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What did we all do before we had the weather-people to tell us we were all doomed? I guess ignorance was indeed bliss. Thanks for the well-wishes!
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mukaiboston
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Green Buddy 170i "Annie-Jade"

PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We rode our scooters in the snow and ice, that's what we did.

Snow forecasters save lives.
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viney266
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right in between you guys in Carlisle PA. I have spare TP for sale $8 a roll!!!
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paracer
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am in Harrisburg, PA. My shovel broke this morning...
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mukaiboston
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Green Buddy 170i "Annie-Jade"

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In terms of the fuel additive that was mentioned earlier in this post, what should I be using. I had been using STP Gas Treatment but now I'm hearing I need to be using a product with isopropyl alcohol or it's suspect. Is this true?
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paracer
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Buddy 10th anniversary 125

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mukaiboston wrote:
In terms of the fuel additive that was mentioned earlier in this post, what should I be using. I had been using STP Gas Treatment but now I'm hearing I need to be using a product with isopropyl alcohol or it's suspect. Is this true?


If you are going to be using your scooter through the winter, you should not need anything to keep the gas from going bad due to storage.

You may want to use a de-icer or water remover product. It's just that the products that are sold for that purpose are just expensive bottles of rubbing alcohol. Just make sure that you keep in mind that you are adding a product to a fuel tank that only holds a gallon or two of gas. It's easy to go overboard.

With the weather we are having this week, you might be able to get the scooter started. Go ahead and throw in a small amount of rubbing alcohol. Just an ounce or two would treat a full tank.
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avescoots1134
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

paracer wrote:
mukaiboston wrote:
In terms of the fuel additive that was mentioned earlier in this post, what should I be using. I had been using STP Gas Treatment but now I'm hearing I need to be using a product with isopropyl alcohol or it's suspect. Is this true?


If you are going to be using your scooter through the winter, you should not need anything to keep the gas from going bad due to storage.

You may want to use a de-icer or water remover product. It's just that the products that are sold for that purpose are just expensive bottles of rubbing alcohol. Just make sure that you keep in mind that you are adding a product to a fuel tank that only holds a gallon or two of gas. It's easy to go overboard.

With the weather we are having this week, you might be able to get the scooter started. Go ahead and throw in a small amount of rubbing alcohol. Just an ounce or two would treat a full tank.


Just make sure it's 99% or you'll just be putting more water in the tank.
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paracer
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Buddy 10th anniversary 125

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

avescoots1134 wrote:
paracer wrote:
mukaiboston wrote:
In terms of the fuel additive that was mentioned earlier in this post, what should I be using. I had been using STP Gas Treatment but now I'm hearing I need to be using a product with isopropyl alcohol or it's suspect. Is this true?


If you are going to be using your scooter through the winter, you should not need anything to keep the gas from going bad due to storage.

You may want to use a de-icer or water remover product. It's just that the products that are sold for that purpose are just expensive bottles of rubbing alcohol. Just make sure that you keep in mind that you are adding a product to a fuel tank that only holds a gallon or two of gas. It's easy to go overboard.

With the weather we are having this week, you might be able to get the scooter started. Go ahead and throw in a small amount of rubbing alcohol. Just an ounce or two would treat a full tank.


Just make sure it's 99% or you'll just be putting more water in the tank.


Good point. I forgot about that part.

If I'm not mistaken, the alcohol will bond with the water molecules and allow it to disburse through the gasoline rather than pool and collect.
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mukaiboston
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Green Buddy 170i "Annie-Jade"

PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SOLVED. The issue with the scooter not starting was fuel line freeze. They finally plowed my parents street after five days of them being blocked in and I was able to get to the scooter.

We hooked up the battery. The scooter cranked once and fired up immediately. I won't be able to ride this thing for maybe at least a month due to all the snow which is piled higher than my height in some places. The tank is a little over 3/4 full.

I threw in a very small amount of Seafoam to keep the gas stable and prevent fuel line freeze when the temperatures dip again. I'll come back to this in a couple of months.

Thank you for everyone for your suggestions.
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paracer
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome news!
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DeeDee
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buddy 170i

PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Be sure to run the scoot enough to get the fuel treatment into the injector and throttle body. Seafoam is good stuff.
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babblefish
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you got it solved. Like I said, water condenses out of the fuel, sinks to the bottom of the tank, then freezes. Ethanol does that because alcohol is hydroscopic, it absorbs water, but when the temperature gets low enough the water condenses out.
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mukaiboston
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Green Buddy 170i "Annie-Jade"

PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been thinking about this and am wondering if maybe I just got a bad batch of gas. I only use Shell and Exxon and, in my five years of riding scooters in temps down to -20c or -4f, I've never gotten fuel line freeze
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paracer
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bad gas is likely. All it takes is a random drop of water to freeze up in the fuel line or fuel injector and you are completely out of commission.

Glad it has solved itself and you have been trouble free since then.
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