2002 Honda Reflex R&R Starting Enrichment Valve DIY

I’ve had my 2002 Honda Reflex scooter for many years. It tends to sit a lot in the garage, and I go through only about 2 tanks of gas a year, so lots of gunk probably builds up in the fuel system. One problem that I’ve always had, but never bothered to fix is that if it sat a long time, it would start cold OK and idle, but then when I tried to open the throttle, it would stall. The worst thing I could do is open up the throttle wide while this was happening… it seems like it would flood the engine, because it would stall, and then become hard to start for a while. Usually, running it for a few minutes and letting it warm up a bit would get it going enough that I could finally rev it up. If I managed to get it to rev w/o stalling just once, then it would run perfectly after that. The above problem would happen only if I let the bike sit for several weeks w/o riding it. Otherwise, it would cold start OK, and no problem with it stalling on initial rev up.

For the last 3 times I’ve ridden it, the problem has gotten a lot worse. I always have to use starter fluid to get it running. Then it idles fine, but stalls instantly when I try to rev it, just like before. But the difference is that now, I have to run it forever before I can rev it without stalling. And even if I manage to get it to rev to say 4000RPM and hold it there a while, when I let it go back to idle, then it goes back to stalling when I try to rev it. This is different from before, in the past, because holding it at 4000RPM for a few seconds just once would fix the stalling when attempting it to rev. Furthermore, now, I have to ride it without stopping for a few miles, or it will again stall when I try to rev it up. Also, there is a bit of hesitation when I start of from a traffic light.

After doing some research on the Internet, I guessed that the problem had something to do with the starting enrichment circuit. Rather than a choke, the Reflex has a starting enrichment valve which blocks a jet that lets in a bit of air when the engine is cold. This causes it to run rich, so functions a bit like a choke. Working on the Reflex’s engine is generally a pain, because it takes so long to take off all the panels to get access to it. To my delight, I discovered that the starting enrichment valve is accessible if you remove the plastic battery cover under the seat. Next to the battery is an access hole to the engine, which gives you peek at the top of the carburetor.

The starting enrichment valve is the black booted assembly pointed to by the red arrow below:


It’s held on by two screws, one of which is circled in red in the photo above. The other one is impossible to photograph, but it’s in the vicinity of where the red arrow points. Make sure to use a strongly magnetized philips screwdriver to remove the screws, to help avoid dropping them into the dark netherworld of the engine compartment. The clip in the photo below is clamped down by the two screws, and it in turn holds the starting enrichment valve in place.


Once the clip is removed, the valve simply lifts out. Mine was moving freely, and looked fairly clean. I didn’t bother testing it it, since my problem is with cold running. The valve is fully extended by default, which blocks an orifice that lets air in, so the engine runs rich. As the engine warms up, the valve is supposed to retract, letting more air into the engine, leaning out the mixture.


I sprayed some carb cleaner on the valve and wiped it off just for the hell of it, and then sprayed more carb cleaner into the jet:


Reinstallation of the starting enrichment valve is just the reverse of the removal.  The procedure takes about 3x as long as removing it, especially when your screwdriver slips into the bowels of the engine, and you have to locate it and fish it out. I magnetized the screws to make them stick better to my screwdriver before very carefully putting them back in.

After I put everything back together, the bike started up without start fluid, so cleaning the valve & jet definitely helped a bit, but I still had to warm it up for several minutes before I could open the throttle without stalling. So I only fixed part of the problem. I guess the other jets in the carburetor are still clogged up. I headed out and bought some fuel injector cleaner. After pouring a couple of tablespoonsful into my tank, I added a gallon of gas, and took it on a 10 mile ride. It’s already running smoother, and no longer hesitates when I start off from a traffic light. I’m eager to see how it behaves next time I do a cold start. If the problem still doesn’t clear up after running the gallon of gas through the engine, I guess I’ll have to remove the carb and do a proper cleaning on it… something I’m not looking forward to. Access to the carb will require removing a lot of panels.


Relax Your Mind: Make Your Own Ganzfeld Goggles

The Ganzfeld effect is a form of visual sensory deprivation.  The idea is to give the open eyes a blank visual field of uniform color.  Since there is nothing for the eyes to see, the brain cuts off the unchanging input, and often manufactures its own images – these may be thought of as mild hallucinations.  Personally, I haven’t experienced any vivid hallucinations via a Ganzfield, but I find the effect to be rather relaxing.  I’ve found that a Ganzfeld is very good for helping to eliminate excess chatter in the mind, especially when practicing meditation.

One common meditation technique involves cracking the eyes just barely open, so that even though your eyes are open, you can’t really see anything.  There are two purposes for this technique: 1) it’s easier to stay awake with the eyes open and 2) when the eyes are closed, the brain goes into the idling alpha wave rhythm. When you meditate, one aim is to generate alpha with the eyes open; this isn’t easy, because in typical settings, there are too many distracting things for your eyes to see.  I find it easier to stay awake when I use Ganzfeld goggles than when I meditate with my eyes barely cracked open.

A common technique for creating a “Ganzfeld goggles” is to cut a ping pong ball in half, and then place one half over each eye. While this technique is cheap, and relatively easy, it’s not particular comfortable, as the edges of the cut halves tend to be sharp.  Also, they’re easily damaged.  I’ve devised alternate cheap and easy method of building Ganzfeld goggles, which is more comfortable and durable, and better than an expensive commercial alternative.

My take on Ganzfeld goggles starts with a pair of cheap swimming goggles.  I bought a pack of 3 at Big Lots for $7.

It’s important to use large goggles with a bubble lens as above.  What we are looking for is to have a big enough lens that when we’re wearing them, the edges are basically outside of the visual field.  Next, we need a can of frosting spray:

You can find glass frosting spray in the spray paint section of most hardware stores.  I also tried white paint, but frosting spray is better, because it lets more light through, and filters the light more evenly.  Remove the seals and straps from your goggles, and spray on the frosting

Be sure to spray both the outside and inside of the goggles.  2-3 coats are needed to achieve a sufficient frostiness.  Wait about 10 min between coats.  Once they’re dry, reassemble your goggles.

Your Ganzfeld goggles are now ready to use.


I won’t go into detail here on how to use Ganzfeld goggles, because you can find plenty of articles via Google.  However here are some basics:

Find a quiet room, and lay down in a recliner or on a bed.  Keep your eyes open, and relax.  You may want to try auditory sensory deprivation, as well.  Since it’s hard to find a completely quiet place, another way of decreasing auditory distractions is to listen to white, pink, or brown noise through sound-isolation headphones.  You can make noise files easily using Audacity, a free audio editor. Here is a tutorial on YouTube for how to generate white/pink/brown noise.  Although the video says you can use any version of Audacity, only Audacity 1.3+ can generate pink and brown noise.  Audacity 1.2.x can only generate white noise.

You can also try audio brainwave entrainment, using binaural beats.  Some people like alpha wave entrainment; personally, I find 7 Hz theta wave entrainment to work best.  There SBaGen and BWGen are two free programs for generating binaural beats.  An excellent commercial software, which is a lot more flexible, and can generate other waveforms, such as isochronic beats, is Neuroprogrammer.   STAY AWAY FROM I-DOSER. The author makes ridiculous, fraudulent claims, and the program is just a rip-off of Jim Peter’s GPL’ed SBaGen code.

If you want to use the goggles to enhance your meditation, simply wear them while practicing your normal meditation techniques.  Instead of keeping your eyes barely cracked open, you can keep them fully open, half open, or whatever way feels most comfortable.   Again, I won’t go into detail about meditation techniques, but a good method for beginners is Counting Meditation.  Sit with your spine straight and tailbone slightly elevated by a pillow. Inhale and exhale deeply and slowly through your diaphragm (you expand your belly, rather than your chest during breathing) while  counting your breaths.  As you relax, your breath will naturally slow down.  If you lose count due to being distracted, simply start over.  Eventually, you will be able to get the count higher and higher before you lose your concentration.

Another experiment you can try is to play with colored light sources.  For instance, you can sit in a room which is lit by a red lightbulb.  I’ve found that even sitting in the dark with some colored LED’s works.  If you want to attach the LED’s directly to your goggles, you can diffuse them with ping-pong balls.  Just cut a ping-pong ball in half.   Hot glue an LED into each one, pointing away from the opening.  Then hot glue the ping pong ball halves onto your goggles.

While I don’t experience hallucinations when using the goggles, they are quite relaxing, and really do enhance my meditation practice.  With the vision blocked, your brain shifts its attention more to your other senses.  If I use them without listening to my entrainment tracks, I become much more aware of the ringing in my ears that my brain normally filters out.

I’ve also played with an alternate pair, which I painted with several coats of black paint. The idea is to completely block out the light, so it’s like you’re sitting in a pitch black room of absolute darkness.


I actually prefer this black pair when meditating. Your brain naturally produces occipital alpha waves when you close your eyes.  The idea of meditating with eyes open is that it forces you to produce the alpha waves by meditation only.  However, meditating with eyes open is visually distracting.  Wearing the black glasses allows you to eliminate visual distractions while meditating with eyes open.


Update 2014-12-18:

If you find swimming goggles to be uncomfortable, you can try using safety glasses. I bought a pair at my local 99 cent store. You can also find them cheaply at HarborFreight. Simply pop out the clear lens, spray with frosting spray, and then reassemble.


I find the safety glasses to be a bit more comfortable for long sessions. The downside is that in order to avoid peripheral vision from ruining the ganzfeld, you have to wear them fairly close to your eyes, and avoid rolling your eyes up or down.

Mindmodifications.com has an interesting article about the Ganzfeld effect: MULTIMODAL GANZFELD GIVES MILD HALLUCINATIONS
They also have detailed instructions on how to build the goggles out of ping-pong balls, should you want to try that version, as well.

Enjoy your Ganzfeld goggles, and feel free to leave feedback about your experiences below, or to tell of any enhancements you devise.

Related Post: Build Ganzfeld-style Photic Goggles (AVS Lightframes)