Frustrating experience; am I stuck with a bad motor?


New Member
Local time
11:02 AM
Apr 17, 2024
Last fall, I purchased an engine from California Motorbikes and have not been able to get it to fire. I've purchased and tried 3 different carburetors, an upgraded CDI and magnetic coil and nothing helps. While searching on the Internet, I found this forum and a thread about a person with the exact same motor and problem. I remember doing research last fall before purchasing and thinking that California Motorbikes had a legitimate business. I guess I was wrong. I've had nothing but problems with the engine and parts, such as clutch cable being too small, engine not starting, poorly welded parts, etc. I've emailed him and he responded twice and that was it. My other emails have gone unanswered.

Am I stuck with a bad engine? I'm on SSDI and have a limited income; I would love to purchase the Phantom 85 from, but really only need the engine, I have 3 whole kits worth of parts to choose from; however, it doesn't appear that they sell only the engine. I'm going to miss the summer months of riding if I have to save up the $300 to purchase the entire kit and I would really like to avoid doing that.
Is there a way to salvage the engine? Or, should I just use it as a parts engine and save up for something a little more reliable?
What does the jug/piston look like?

If you have compression and no scoring, it will run, if it still doesn't, it's electrical, coil rotor not timed right, kill switch broken etc.

Extremely simple engines, but everything needs to work.
Start with the simplest things.
Let's start with the easiest one. Does it have compression? Have you used a compression tester to verify what the compression pressure is? If it's low enough, it won't start or run.

Air and fuel are needed to run, but in the right ratios. Does the plug look wet after tryin to start it? What carb are you using? What jets are you running, if applicable?

Ignition. Is the magnet installed with the right timing? With the piston at TDC the key should be at 1 O'clock and the magnet "ears" should be to the sides and parallel with the bottom of the case/ground. Does said magnet have strong magnetism? How do the gaps look between the magnet ears and arms of the stator? (Pictures say a thousand words). Does it have spark? Is the spark strong? Have you ditched the plug it came with for a name brand like NGK? The plugs these engines come with tend to be total junk. Is the CDI wired to the kill switch correctly? (again, pictures will help).

Can you also take a picture of the intake and exhaust ports with the piston at BDC and TDC? Being ported it could be possible there is a small gap where there shouldn't be one, that can also affect running.