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RS Venture TF 09 EFI doesn't start every time cold


Nov 9, 2020
Hi all and greetign from Finland,
got a new old sled Yamaha RS Venture TF 09 with electronic fuel injection. I was happy to find low mileage ( 2700miles) one previous owner EFI sled from Yamaha dealer with service history. Sled was used by the Baltic Ocean so the front A-arms where covered with rust from the sea water. After i got the sled home i noticed that it doesn't start every time after turning the key. Now i have noticed that this happens more often when starting cold. Last two times I needed to turn of the power 3-5 times after it started.

What could be the problem? Our excellent local Yamaha service cleanded, greased and tightened battery and starter wires. They werec corroded and a bit loose. After that sled started every time in service but when it stood still for a week in my yard problems occured again.

I turn the key and there is qlick-sound and after that nothing. Before the service there was total silence (at least i think so). Service is going to change the starter relay next week. Will that set me free riding with my new purchase?

Second question is that do you have rough idle with your EFI RS engines? Today the sled started after 5th attempt and i rode it for 3 miles and i turned back because you cant go far with a sled that cannot be started with confidence and when slowing down i was sensing that idle goes bit too down and is a bit rough. After i got it to my yard i let it run and the revs humped up and down from 1200-1400 rpm. Is this normal? Otherwise the engine accelerates OK, there seems to be plenty of power but the idle have been a bit jerky from day one. Today it was the worst ever.

Have anyone had expreciences with these kind of symptoms and success dealing with them?

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Our excellent local Yamaha service cleanded, greased and tightened battery and starter wires. They were corroded and a bit loose. After that sled started every time in service but when it stood still for a week in my yard problems occured again.
Depending on how corroded they were, I can only image what those grounding blocks Yamaha uses look like. Have you or did the dealer inspect them? Here's a post I had created that shows the ground blocks and their possible locations since the Apex and Venture are similar.
Might be worth pulling the spark plug and looking inside the Boots on the coil. Maybe some corrosion starting. Toss in a new set of plugs while you are at it. Old spark plugs can give a rough idle and poor cold starting.
When you say it doesn't start, do you mean the starter doesn't crank the engine? You only hear a click? More than likely, that would be your starter solenoid/relay. Common problem on all Yamahas. If it doesn't crank and you jump the two posts on the solenoid and it does crank, then that conforms it as being bad.

If it is that, replace it only with a Yamaha part. The aftermarket ones are not good and stick, burning up the starter (ask me how I know).
Thanks for quick replies.
RobX-1: dealer didn't inspect the grounding blocks. Thanks for tip.
Mooseman: When turning the key starter doesn't crank the engine.

I bought (local Seafoam) STP valve cleaner bottle today and I will put it into the gasoline tank tomorrow. This humping idle began after filling 10 liters of new gasoline into the tank and driving first time on the lake's ice at 55mph for short period of time. I used my best gasoline tank Tuff jug and it was clean, empty and ready to use from my garage. I am bit dissappointed because i didn't have time to drive the old gas from tank almost empty. There could have been very old gasoline in the tank but cant be sure.
Hopefully the valve cleaner helps with the idle and there is no issue with the injectors. Hopefully and same time stressfully there is apparently lots of other possibilities for rough idle and starting problems. Hopefully local dealer finds the fix fast.

The sled has been serviced in 2022 January and the dealer changed all the oils before selling it in the beginning of January 2023. Spark plugs can be quite old or new. They should be checked and coils when changing the starter relay. Thanks for that comment Fast Lane. Battery had over 12 volts, but I dont know how old it is.

5.2.2023 Edit:
I put the valve cleaner to the tank. Last couple of days has been cold from - 10-20C and about - 8C when tried to start today. The cold starting in cold weather is getting progressive worse. Today i thought that i was in big trouble with heavy sled dead in the ground but fortunately the 20th start got the engine going. Now the first 5 attempts were completely silent. I lifted the front skies to hopefully det something working in the engine room, no response. From 10th attempt i hearded clicking noise when turning the key, but engine didn't start ( no cranking). I got a bit frustrated and as a last resort took a 3 min break from starting and tried again. Now the engine almost started and then it started with a another turn of the key. This has been the case also the last time it didn't start. A short break in attempting and engine starts.

After that engine worked as it should. Revs. were in 2000 for a short while after cold starting and then revs come down a bit and idle was quite good and normal. I drive it with my son for over an hour and no problems. When I came back to my yard and engine is warm the idle goes a bit low and the humping starts from 1250 to 1450 ( hard to tell exactly from the rev pointer). I rushed to start my car, get trailer ready and let the sled idle. I got the trailer ready ( took atleast 5 minutes) and engine died. Engine started right up on a first turn of the key. Fortunately its starts ok when its warm. I wish that the sled would have been on the dealers yard before I bought it, this symptom would have occured then.

Perhaps the idle is just a bit too low with these EFI engines and when the revs go down to 1200 the 3 cylinder engine isnt't the smoothest idling machine?

I take it to the shop tomorrow, new relay and perhaps something more but I sure hope that this starting uncertainty gets solved this week.
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Update: Got the sled out the service. New starter relay and balancing for the idle. Sled starts now everytime. Service had to change also the spark plugs because after changing the relay engine started to run with 2 cylinders. All the spark plugs were quite black and atleast one was broken.

Fortunately i have trustworthy local Yamaha service which provides good reliable service without trying to bankrupt owner of old used sled. I hope that I now get some driving done with the sled with no problems.

My biggest concern now is that should I be worried that EFI-engine got failed, black spark plugs? I thought that failed spark plugs are common with carburator models especially with Yamaha Viking.

But now I am going to get some driving done with my new sled and it's going to happy times on finnish midwinter trails.
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the plugs will always be a bit black if running in warm temp's. they are mapped to run at -15 to -20 c the best.

don't worry and run that sled.
The plugs can also get fouled/black if it's not allowed to warm up completely before shutting it off repeatedly. It's like shutting it off while it's still in choke mode. Let it warm up and idle down before shutting it off.
OK, thanks for info. The bad starting didn't help the plugs also. After next weekends rides I have more experience and confidence with it.
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Update after two rides. Sled starts and idles now fine. Suspension is on the hard side but you dont have to worry about bottoming the suspension at any speed. I drive so slowly on a bad trail that not an issue for me. Thanks for all replies.
Sorry if this is a stupid question here: Is the starter relay/solenoid one and the same or separate parts? I'm having similar issues with my TF not starting occasionally; I've been lucky so far with not getting stranded as I can bounce the sled on the front a bit and it will start up. When the problem occurs the fuel pump will cycle up and I hear a click but no start. Thanks
Yes, same thing. There is only one relay for the starter.