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Thread: 1983 200e surges at constant throttle only when riding.... Why?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Alaska
    --
    9

    1983 200e surges at constant throttle only when riding.... Why?

    Hi! I'm new here as I just bought my first three wheeler. I've worked on quite a few as a mechanic but this is my first and I've got a problem!
    I bought a 1983 200e for 200 bucks yesterday. Runs good, starts good, mostly complete except for reverse lever.
    So I went for a ride down my dirt road after getting it home and noticed it surges when I hold the throttle constant while riding. Not too bad, but very annoying. I can accelerate, decelerate, shift, take off, stop, everything works fine. No lag, no pop or backfire, runs really good. Just aurges, or misses maybe, when riding at constant throttle. Baffling me.
    I checked valve lash, good. Did the timing chain tensioner thing where you remove top screw loosen bottom and push it down with a screwdriver to make sure it's not sticking. Took off and cleaned carb, looked good. Set air/fuel to 2 turns out. Pulled spark plug, it was black from running from rich, can't get another till tomorrow evening so cleaned it up and put back in. Fuel tank is clean, good flow-note: the fuel line goes down from petcock to a small in line filter then loops back up to carb, not sure if this is an issue??
    Anyway did all of that and went for a ride, runs beautifully but still surges, none of what I did made any difference. Still need a new spark plug, I know that may be it, or maybe the fuel line not being straight to carb?
    Wondering what else to check, doesn't seem like timing advance would cause this when throttle is held in one spot. But that's why I'm here haha
    It does not do this while revving in neutral, or accelerating, or constantly moving the throttle. Only when held in one spot while moving.
    Timing? CDI? Just the bad plug and maybe fuel line routing? I'm at a loss. Please help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Bowling Green KY
    --
    3,250
    Check around the intake manifold for air leaks. Use propane or carb cleaner and spray around the intake and especially the joints to see if it surges indicating an air leak.

    Also.....Physically pull it off and then inspect the o-rings for any cracks or hardness. This is a common vacuum leak area on old machines.

    Also check all other air intake connections between the air filter and the carb. Clean air filter if needed.

    Sent from my Z958 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by ironchop; 07-05-2018 at 09:53 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Bowling Green KY
    --
    3,250
    I would replace those o-rings whether they look cracked or not.

    Sometimes they harden up and have flat faces and they wont leak constantly but they'll leak when the engine gets hot or you got some rough terrain causing the carb to bounce a little.

    Make sure all your carb boot clamps are on properly and tight and that your air box lid is on tight

    Sent from my Z958 using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Alaska
    --
    9
    Will try this with my new spark plug when I get home. Thank you for giving some idea of what to look at. I'll post here as soon as I have something to tell you! Thanks again!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Edmond, KS
    --
    1,295
    If you have reverse, you have a 1984 ATC200ES. That's the only year of 200cc Big Red with reverse. It will also have shaft drive.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Alaska
    --
    9
    Got home tonight and put in new spark plug, did an oil change too since it's new to me. Checked carb settings and everything looks good. Fired it up and same issue. Note: the old spark plug was very sooty and black. Still ran, but obviously it had been running very rich. So I took your guys advice and went to look at carb sealing. There is no clamps as it bolts to the intake runner so looked at the rubber seal. It is old. Was thinking about sealing up with a tad of rtv just for testing but decided not too. Going to get new o ring. Question, wouldn't that cause a lean running issue not rich? Too much air and not enough fuel? The old plug was sooted something good. New one hasn't got enough time on it to tell if it's going to happen again since I reset the carb to factory specs.

    350for350, thanks for bringing that up you raise another question I have about that same thing. Mine is chain drive, the neck sticker says 1983 200e, has hi low, electric start-works, and the reverse is the shaft that sticks out just below/behind the shifter shaft right? Mine is missing the lever that attaches to it. It is a 200 engine, has 192 stamped on the back of the cylinder. I've been reading about this wheeler and most things said shaft drive like you've said. I guess it's possible something here isn't original? The motor mounts appear to be untouched except for the bottom bolt, it is missing. I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this issue.

    Thank you all for replying and helping me through my issue here. Could a coil also cause this? I'm just thinking about my Camaro, it had a stutter at cruising speeds and it was the ignition module and heat sink. Somehow had a dent on the bottom, switched out and ran perfect. But this big red has me stumped. Runs so good in neutral and when you're moving the throttle, just not constant holding while riding at any speed.
    Thank you all so much for helping through this issue!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Alaska
    --
    9
    Hello again! And thank you once more for all the help.
    I may have a lead on my issue but need a little assistance from those in the know.
    First, about the possibility of reverse on my 1983 200e, the neck sticker does say 1983 200e and the motor is definitely a 200, 192 stamped in the jug, chain drive, hi/low, electric start, front shocks none in rear, the shaft I'm thinking is a reverse shifter actually sticks out on the bottom of the pull start case, it is splined and smaller diameter than the shifter shaft... Would that be reverse, and if not what else would it be? There is no lever on it, just a bare, splined shaft poking out. I gave the wrong location when I mentioned it in my last post. Too much info rolling around the brain and messed up, I apologize for that.
    Second, I think I narrowed the surge issue. It may still be fuel or spark but I had an old uncle of mine over and he used to ride these all over in the 80s up here in Alaska and he thinks there's not enough free play in my shifter and I may need to adjust the clutch. I can do this, I've done it before. He says that my surge may actually be the auto clutch and not the engine. There is no free play in my shaft and the book does give some sort of spec for it, a little confusing though. So to make it easier does anyone know if it should be 1/4 or 1/2 inch or have a different measurement?
    Thirdly, and hopefully lastly haha, the hi/low box. Should it have oil in it? I see a screw on the top that seems to be a plug type screw, should I fill the box with oil? I thought I remembered it being fed through a hollow shaft but I just can't remember clearly if I'm thinking of the right machine

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Alaska
    --
    9
    I have found the issue! But I need some help on how to move forward with a repair and exact diagnosis.
    I put the rear end on a block and spun the rear tires. Spins good and free for two to two and a half revolutions then hits a hard spot. When it hits that hard spot the chain tightens up, when I spin past it the chain loosens back to proper tension. It does sound like there is a rough sound, not a bearing sound, but like the chain rubbing or dragging near the front sprocket.
    Does the front sprocket float on it's shaft? The rear axle looks good and true when it spins.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Alaska
    --
    9
    I have the answer now! This loping surge was not engine or clutch or spark related, a single bound link in the chain! This caused me so much hassle and acted like nothing I've experienced on my dirt bikes with chain link issues, but when I blocked it up and spun the rear tire to investigate, it would bind after a few revolutions. Backed the chain off from the binding spot and there was a stiff link not wanting to bend. Wow! It really felt like the engine was missing but this is the culprit! Thank you all for your help, I will do my best to offer help to anyone else and pay it forward. Awesome site, will stay a member forever!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Bowling Green KY
    --
    3,250
    That's crazy. Plausible but definitely not what I would have guessed.

    Great to hear you fixed the issue and thanks for updating

    Here's a link where you can download Honda OEM service manuals for free that's run by an awesome member here.

    https://threewheelermanuals.com



    Sent from my Z958 using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Alaska
    --
    9
    Definitely not what I was thinking either as you can see from all my posts haha but took her for a good spin into town, through a swamp, over the sand pits, ran beautifully. Couldn't be any happier. Just worked the link with pliers and soaked it with bar oil for my chain saw. Works perfectly.
    And thank you so much for that link, I'll be using the heck out of it as I get this wheeler all tuned and buttoned up to factory specs. Going to make it the go to, backup, do all machine. Where I live in alaska you can't just go to a parts store, everything is expensive, and even the mail is sketchy. Thank you everyone!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Edmond, KS
    --
    1,295
    One last bit of info for you. The shaft that you're referring to is for the gear indicator. It originally had a plastic pointer on the end that would point at the "N" printed on the engine case right beside that shaft. You do have an 83 200E, and there's no reverse unless someone swapped the engine from a TRX200 on your trike frame. I'm pretty certain that they had reverse too.

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