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I purchased a used 2001 s4 just over a month ago. It was probably a bad choice for a commuter bike, and my only form of transport, but I really couldn't help myself. The whole transaction seems now like some acid trip gone wrong, but there it is in my garage.
So I got a problem with starting, and have gotten stranded several times. Despite going to the mechanic twice now, the problem persists. Originally the battery/charging system was suspect. So a new Yuasa battery went in during the 18000 mile service, and my mechanic claimed to have found a short on some wire under the tank. But after a week of relatively reliable riding, I couldn't start again, though the starter would turn over. So back on the trickle charger it goes. When fully charged, it starts on full choke, but never from the first crank. I usually shut it down, wait ten seconds, flip it on again, and then it usually starts after a few turn overs. It seems unless I keep it on a charger over night, it will crank till the cows come home, but won't start. I suspect fuel air mixture, the bike has an arrow exhaust system, not sure if its properly jetted. It also backfires through the carbs sometime when hard shifting(up and down), and hesitates for half a second when whacking open the trottle. Where are the mix screws? what should they be set at? Also I don't trust the charging system for some reason. Though the bike always cranks over, it starts much better after sitting on a trickle charger.

I appreciate any info on the s4, as i have found very little information on the web. Does anyone have a pdf work manual for this thing? What is the closest wide production model to the s4?
 

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Sorry I can't help much here but my 2001 m750 also takes a good 5-20 seconds or so to start up sometimes - generally only if its a cold start after sitting for a few days. Lately though, even a few hours of sitting and the starter will have to turn a few times before I can get it properly started. I used to be able to just flick the throttle while holding the clutch in and pressing the start button but in these cases I have to be light on the throttle when pressing the starter, and give it a few tries. (One thing to note is that I used to commute with the bike everyday, and these days I don't, that's another reason it might be more finicky starting cold these days.)

It's really not too much of a problem now though I predict over time this will become slowly harder and harder to start. Could be the fuel / air mixter, could be the battery. Could be partially clogged fuel line. I'd even say it could just be the bike getting older. Whatever the case, I hope whatever you can do to "recondition" your bike, I can do as well to get it started on the first turn everytime.
 
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