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Thread: Little hard to start 61 xlh

  1. #1

    Default Little hard to start 61 xlh

    Just this season my 61 xlh has become a little harder to start, usually 2 or 3 primer kicks, retard and bingo, now, it is taking about 15 to 20 kicks, when i check plugs, thinking maybe i flooded it, they are bone dry, i take the gas line lose at every connection, fuel is flowing good, i drop the bowl from the linkert sidebowl and it has fuel in it, seems like it is not getting fuel, but once it starts it runs like it always has, just great, has any of you sporty gurus had anything like this happen, any and all advise would be greatly appreciated, oh, i forgot to mention, the plugs are firing just great, nice wide blue spark, thanks, larry

  2. #2


    Intake leak is the common cause of excessive kicking to start. Time for the bubble test. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009


    I'd also check points, gap, condenser. How's the battery?
    1959 XLCH

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Beautiful Northern New Mexico


    Change the plugs.
    Robbie Knight Amca #2736

  5. #5


    Thanks guys, did all the checks, no intake leak, reset point gap, installed new plugs, now it is a 1 or 2 kicker again, thanks again for all the help, larry

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2018



    One of the things tht is popping up more and more often with those of us actually riding these bikes regularly on the original DC linkert is a sticking float pivot. Long story made short, the float fork plastic is absorbing moisture from the fuel and swelling causing the float to stick randomly. Combine this with a steel needle wearing the brass seat and the metering in the bowl gets screwed up. The very first symptom is a bike that suddenly becomes hard to start for no particular reason. Second symptom is a bit squirt of fuel out the vent stack during the prime kick. Likely, when you took the bowl off the float dropped and clearanced itself just a bit. . . .

    Anyways, if you have to, carefully bend the fork tabs out a bit so the pivot can move easily. You may also need to sand a very, very small amount off the plastic pivot to get it to move well. I just started noticing this problem a couple of years ago and it seems really regulated to DC Linkerts . . .I can only figure that yet another change in fuel blends is causing it as I've not emperically tested for the cause -- I've just been treating the symptom.

    Also, try raising the float level about 1/64-1/32 of an inch above spec. It makes the initial circuit a wee bit richer and helps in reliable starting with our modern fuels. It makes a noticeable difference on summer blend fuels -- especially if you like to "twist the wick" just off idle :-)

  7. #7


    Chuck, thanks so much for that info, after a couple days of good starts it is at it again, and I remember my 66 flh, which has the sidebowl linkert also,doing this several yrs ago, and it is beginning to do it again, but of course you don't notice it as much on an electric start, I will look at the carb again this weekend , I really like riding this 61 XLH, but 20 kicks in 95 degrees gets pretty tough for a 72 yr old, thanks again, Larry

  8. #8


    Well, it is doing it again, today I pulled plugs and checked for fire, they fire a very good blue and wide spark, however they are bone dry, I actually left choke on at gave it about 15 PRIMER kicks, plugs still bone dry, once again took fuel line loose at each connection and fuel was flowing good, dropped bowl and it had fuel in it, so I decided maybe jets need blown out, so I blow out both high and low speed jets, for some reason it seems no fuel is getting to the combustion chamber, can anyone shed light on what might be happening, this bike started easy until this season, when it does start it runs great, any help appreciated, thanks, Larry

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Central Illinois, USA


    Wet plugs aren't necessary, Larry!

    But I would pull the aircleaner and hand-choke it until the carb is wet inside.

    (Then replace the aircleaner before attempting another start.)

    DCs are usually trouble-free...

    Last edited by T. Cotten; 07-02-2019 at 09:15 AM.
    AMCA #776
    Dumpster Diver's Motto: Seek,... and Ye Shall Find!

  10. #10


    Wow, strangely yesterday on all four attempts, it started twice on 1st kick and twice on the 2nd kick, here is what I tried, no primer kicks, I notch on the choke, strange, could I have been flooding it and not realizing I was, thanks for all the help, Larry

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