Oh darn. honda express trouble

Okay... so it looks like I accidently lied. I dont know if it is almost running... this is the story of me and my bike. If anyone can offer even seemingly obvious that would be great, as I am pretty lost.

I bought the bike (Honda Express NC50 1978. orange (very important)) about a week ago from a guy who said it was running great two years ago when he stuck it away in his garage and hadnt touched it since. So I bought it and brought it home, then hit the left brake/starter (clutch?) and it made a noise (quick noise) then nothing. So I replaced the spark plug and it would go but only with a toooooon of starter fluid. I also fixed the cracked gas tank with fiberglass repair stuff and replaced the fuel line, which was cracked. And fixed the tire (pretty good for a girl who didnt know what a carburator was on sunday, no? I am trying to be optimistic).

So here is where its at now...

its starts about every 10th try with a lot of starter fluid

it dies after about five feet

it seems like it wants to run really fast

I think it might be trying to run sometimes even when i am not turning the gas handle... it shot out of my hand and almost hit a car. I dont know if it was me accidently holding down the handle or if its possessed.

I am scared to try to clean the carburator. Please let me know if you think its a must.

Any thoughts on this mess I have gotten myself into? (other than giving up and taking it to a shop. I am feeling quite stubborn about this bike and I must, for the sake of my dignity, get it to run).

If you took the time to read this whole thing, thanks!

Oh darn. honda express trouble

i had a honda express for a little bit. i was always cleaning the carb. it would get clogged all the time. i put a inline fuel filter on and it was better. i think cleaning the carb is a must... the running for 5ft thing is prob just the starting fluid burning up.

cleaning the carb is not that bad. just dont lose any pieces and remember how you took it apart. if you really dont want to see if you can find a member of the guns to help you out.

Re: Oh darn. honda express trouble

Jason Luther /

yes, clean the carb (especially if its an orange one). also replace the fuel in the tank (if you already havent). jump right in, just take your time , be thorough, and remember how it goes back together. -jason

Re: Oh darn. honda express trouble

how old are you?

Re: Oh darn. honda express trouble

Jason Luther /

im 26, why?

Oh darn. honda express trouble

Re: Oh darn. honda express trouble

Leon Swarmer /

You haven't mentioned putting oil in the oil tank. Have you done that?

aslo I don't know your esperience level. Is the petcock (the fuel vlave under the tank in the on position? have you tried it on reserve?

Are you using the choke? thumb lever underneath the throttel

It should stay on for at least a minute after it starts.

did you gap the plug?

yea, pretty good for someone who din't know where the carb was.

Jax184's guide is great.

also check Fred's guide under resources, then articles.

Re: Oh darn. honda express trouble

Leon Swarmer /


will get you to an on lline manual section 16-

covers the carb.


Re: Oh darn. honda express trouble

Robert Wright /

I'm curious. Why is orange "very important"? I just recently purchases an orange one also - a 1978 Honda Express.

Re: Oh darn. honda express trouble

Okay.... I'm gonna tackle the carburator. Right now. Wish me luck!!!

Oh, I'm 21 (someone asked... I think)

and the orange thing isnt important for real mechanical stuff, just to me. (Because that means its cute. And I'm a girl.)

Re: Oh darn. honda express trouble

I just resurrected (an orange) '79 Express from 22 years in a garage. I was giving up after a dozen or so attempts where it ran a little, then sputtered out. For what it's worth, here are words of wisdom from Jax184 that helped me (the part about not losing patience when it's sputtering out...it's actually warming up for the long run you're hoping for.

From Jax184 on 9/14/04:

"...I have noticed that the Express is

A) Very very very picky about it’s carburator


B) Very very hard starting until you spend a few weeks/months going over it with a fine toothed comb.

I never did narrow down exactly what made it act that way…

The best advice I can give is to stick at it, set the carb settings and make sure you have a good air filter.

Then get the bike running and let it sputter out. Repeat a dozen times or so.

As the bike warms up it becomes more flexible to the possibility of actually running.

Eventually it will reach a point where it doesn’t die and will actually let you set the carb settings right.

From this point I’d suggest riding it a bit to burn out the oil that’s collected in the crank case and get everything moving again. This seems to have helped mine quite a bit.

I’ll admit that even my bike is a pain to start at times. It has even been known to conk out at random intervals for seemingly unrelated reasons. But hey, it runs well most of the time. All in all to me it’s worth it.

Plus it’s still cost me less then $200 including the cost of an entire second bike for parts."

And finally, my "play-by-play", in case any of what I experienced can help you. Particularly, I mean taking the air cleaner off (temporarily) and putting your hand over the air intake, as sort of a "super-choke", until it gets warmed up. I'm an inpatient type, and though it takes a minute to take off the air filter cover and put it back on, it's one way I've found to cut to the chase and keep the thing running long enough to warm up so you can turn of the choke and see how it's really idling. Mine must warm up for a few minutes, with after the choke can be turned off, before it'll accept throttle and become ridable.

From me on 9/23/04:

"My screws were originally 4 turns out for the Air Mixture Screw and 1 1/2 turns out for the Throttle Stop Screw. I re-set them per Jax184’s LONG version instructions (AMS 2 1/8 turns out, and left the TSS at 1 1/2 turns out). I started with the choke full and the air filter off. After a few sputters, I seemed to get better results with the choke open about 20%. I played with the screw settings a bunch, finally ending up with the AMS out 3 turns and the TSS out 2 turns. By now, that marmup/flexibility he wrote about was apparent (2 hours into the session). My screw adjustments may not have mattered as much as my next move, instinctive and reminiscent of dinking around with old Lawn Boy Mower carbs in the sixties. I covered the air intake with the side of my hand, and she started to come to life on the next start. After doing that a few times, I realized I could put two fingers of my left hand over the intake, and move one finger on and off the intake, which kept it going and gave it a throttle effect with the air. I gradually fed it more

Re: Oh darn. honda express trouble

Pennie, on SOME Express carbs there is an often missed hole(passage) over toward the edge of the carb bottom(after removing the float bowl). This ,if clogged, will cause them to bog,bog,bog, and not run or start well. So look for ALL passages and clean them thoroughly.THEN install an in-line filter after the fuel valve to screen out anything that might get past the fuel valve screen. don-ohio

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