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Dirt Bike Won’t Stay Running, How to Fix Idling Issues

Dirt Bike Won’t Stay Running, How to Fix Idling Issues

While most of your time on your dirt bike will be spent riding down trails and racing your friends, there are also times when you want to keep your bike idle so you can hop back on and resume riding at any time. However, there are times when you may have problems keeping your dirt bike running or staying idle. Why does this happen?

There are a few reasons you may be having problems keeping your dirt bike running while idle. It may be due to improper tuning, dirty or worn components, or even something as simple as low engine heat.

Below, we will discuss the possible reasons you’re experiencing idling issues on your dirt bike. Keep reading to learn more!

Why Won’t My Dirt Bike Stay Running?

Whether you own a two or four-stroke dirt bike, you should not be having any issues idling for a short amount of time. Being able to keep your bike idle is important for many reasons, including warming up your engine. But, what happens if your dirt bike won’t stay running?

A dirt bike that immediately dies after starting, or one that turns off after idling for just a short period, could be experiencing many issues.

Generally, these problems revolve around one of the following things:

  • Improper idle tuning
  • Low engine heat
  • Spark plug issues
  • Air/fuel mixture problems
  • Fuel line kinks
  • A dirty air filter
  • Battery or stator issues
  • A faulty pilot jet circuit

You may have to attempt several of these fixes before finding source of the problem. However, it’s essential that you only try one solution at a time. Trying to adjust too many components at once can cause bigger issues.

Improper Idle Tuning On A Dirt Bike

It is possible to adjust the idle screw on your dirt bike, and doing so may fix any issues you have while idling your bike.

If you have your idle screw set too low, it can cause your bike to start and then immediately turn off.

Depending on your bike, this screw may be located on the left or right side of the carburetor. Turn it slightly inward, and see if your bike stays running for longer. As the engine warms up, you may have to lower it slightly.

Dirt Bike Has Low Engine Heat

Some older dirt bikes experience problems with idling when you don’t wait for the engine to heat up before you begin your ride. If you can get your bike to start and idle at first, but then experience stalling issues after you begin riding, it’s likely that your bike just needs to warm up more upon startup.

Many people are hesitant to leave their bike running before they begin riding, as this can waste a lot of gas. However, if you leave the choke on, you will be able to keep your engine running without using excessive fuel.

How To Fix Dirt Bike Spark Plug Issues

Spark plugs are an essential component of any vehicle, including dirt bikes. If you’re having trouble keeping your bike’s engine running, the spark plugs or spark plug wires may be to blame.

You may have the wrong type of spark plugs installed, or your current spark plugs may be weak or burnt out. Luckily, replacing them is a quick, easy, and inexpensive fix. If replacing the spark plugs does not work, you may want to attempt to replace the spark plug wires, as well.

Here’s a great video showing how to replace spark plugs:

Dirt Bike Air/Fuel Mixture Problems

All gasoline-powered vehicles run on a combination of air and fuel. It’s essential to get this mix just right, otherwise, you can experience a variety of problems riding your dirt bike. One of the biggest problems you’ll experience is a bike that refuses to idle.

If there’s too much fuel in the air/fuel mixture, the mixture will be too rich. This prevents the spark plugs from igniting it. If there is too much air in the mixture, it means the mixture is too lean.

If the mixture is too lean, adding a bit of starter fluid to the engine can help get it started, but you will likely still experience problems keeping your bike running.

Luckily, there is an easy way to fix this. If you have a four-stroke dirt bike, you can turn the fuel screw to adjust the air/fuel mixture. If you have a two-stroke bike, you can adjust it using the air screw. These essentially perform the same function, just in different ways.

Dirt Bike Has Fuel Line Kinks

If adjusting your air/fuel mixture does not help, the next thing you should check is your bike’s fuel line. Although you will probably see a few curves along this line, there should not be any kinks or pinches. If you do find one of these, straighten it out and try to start your bike again. Any kinks in the fuel line can prevent the transport of gasoline to the fuel system.

Clean A Dirt Bike Dirty Air Filter

As menial as an air filter may seem, these pieces play a critical role in your bike’s operation. Your bike needs good airflow to run properly, and any blockages can create too rich of an air/fuel mixture.

Check your air filter, as well as the box around it. Clean it off if it’s dirty, or replace it altogether if possible. Ensure the filter and box are both clean before attempting to idle your bike again.

I recommend this Dirt Bike Air Filter Cleaner from Amazon

Dirt Bike Battery or Stator Issues

Another common cause of dirt bike idling issues is a problem with either the bike’s battery or the stator. If something’s wrong with the stator, you likely will not have any problems starting your bike. However, the battery will not charge enough to keep it running over time.

Before you replace the stator, however, it’s best to use a voltmeter to check the battery power. Turn the engine off, then check the battery’s voltage. If it reads anything less than around 12-13 volts, the problem most likely lies within your battery. Replacement is the best option here.

If you can rule out battery problems, turn your dirt bike’s engine on and check the voltage again. Then, rev your bike. As you do, the voltage should increase. If it doesn’t, the stator may need to be replaced.

A Faulty Pilot Jet Circuit

Faulty or dirty carburetors are one of the most common causes of dirt bike idling issues, and the pilot jet circuit is the first place you should look if you suspect that this is the problem. In addition to idling issues, some of the other symptoms of a faulty or dirty pilot jet circuit include:

  • Backfiring
  • Hard starting
  • Rough running

Clean off or replace your pilot jet circuit, then see if you still experience problems while idling or running your bike.

Final Thoughts

It can be quite frustrating when you’re experiencing issues with your dirt bike. Whether the bike starts up and immediately dies or stalls while you’re idling, there are several solutions you can try to attempt to remediate the issue. It’s important to only try one fix at a time, otherwise, you risk creating a bigger issue.

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