1982 Honda Nighthawk 650 Hard Start

First I want to say this is a great site and it gets me excited to learn more about my motorcycle and how it runs. Thanks a bunch, it has already been very informative.

I have a 1982 Honda Nighthawk and it has a hard time starting. I usually have to hook it up to a battery charger or the battery will die and when I do I still have to spray some carb cleaner or something like that into the air intake before it will start. Once I have gotten it to start it doesn’t run super well until it warms up. Once it is warm it runs pretty well although one of the carbs spits what I think is gas. I am not really sure what this means but it does it while I am riding as well as while it is just idling.

My friends helped me clean and sync my carbs last year and I was thinking about maybe cleaning them again after it sat all winter but I wanted to do some more research first.

I don’t ride it very frequently so I am trying to fix it up and then sell it. Any help or advice you could give me would be great. Thanks.


Hi TJ,

Sounds like a fuel issue to me. I’d recommend pulling your carbs and looking at them again. If you are dripping fuel then you have a dirty or stuck float/float-needle. Start there and move on to the other jets. When idling are both your exhaust headers hot? If not you might have a clogged pilot jet. Start with the carbs – even after one season of sitting they can certainly be gummed up again. When storing any carbed motorcycle for longer than a couple weeks it is a good idea to drain the fuel from the carbs so it doesn’t gum things up. At the very least dump some sta-bil into the tank and run it through a bit.

Make sure you air filter isn’t clogged.

Hard starting / poor running can also definitely be an air leak on the intake boots. If they are cracked they could be letting air sneak in which will make the bike run poorly and be very hard to start. Carbs are the obvious problem though.

Evan Fell

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