How to Troubleshoot a Honda VTX 1300

by Erick Kristian
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motorcycle image by Goran Bogicevic from

Honda introduced the VTX 1300, a cruiser motorcycle with a 1,300-cubic-centimeter (cc) engine, in 2002. Though Honda motorcycles have a reputation for their reliability and quality, they can succumb to specific problems just like other bikes. The most common errors stem from poor maintenance and infrequent service, however. Regular servicing can prevent many of these common issues. Typical problems include the engine failing to start, as well as issues with performance and handling.

Step 1

Check to ensure the bike starts. If it fails to start, one or more several issues may be occurring. Check the fuel flow to the carburetor; if it is not reaching the carburetor, the issue may stem from a clogged fuel line, filter, tank breather or faulty fuel pump. If fuel is reaching the carburetor, a faulty spark plug may be the issue. Check the ignition wires, pulse generator, coil and Ignition Control Module (ICM), which is the bike's computer. Check to ensure the carburetor is not flooded and the throttle valve is open.

Step 2

Check the settings if the bike has difficulty starting. If the engine starts but then stops, the problem may result from improper use of the choke, a wrongly adjusted carburetor, low quality gasoline or a faulty ICM. Test the cylinder compression, and check for valves stuck open, a worn cylinder or a damaged head gasket. In addition, the valve may have poor timing.

Step 3

Check whether the engine lacks power. Raise the wheel off the ground, and spin it by hand. If it does not spin, the brake could be dragging, or your bike may have a damaged wheel bearing or gear bearing. Check the tire pressure; a faulty valve or puncture could result in low pressure. If the bike has problems accelerating, the clutch may be slipping, or the discs/plates may be damaged. In addition, the air cleaner or muffler may have become clogged.

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