hot start/lean issue?

I have a 01 426 with the dr. d hot start. The nut that holds the plunger/cable in the carb is hollowing out and doesn't make a good seal. At about the same time I noticed this the bike began to be hard to start, would pop a lot and didn't want to idle until warmed up or till I turned the idle way up. Just checked the valves and they are good to a little loose so that shouldn't be the issue. Waiting on the replacement part but till then wondering if the bad seal could be causing the hard start/popping/no idle issue?

Yep. . .

The seal leaking won't cause an air leak (if it would, the carb would leak air through the cable), but it will allow water to enter the hot start bore and possibly jam the plunger in a partly opened position. (more often, it sticks shut...really sticks!) If the plunger is drawn far enough out of the bore to expose the air passage, it will make the engine very lean.

Remove the nut anchoring the cable and see if the plunger can be moved all the way up and down the length of the bore freely. If not, go get a stiff nylon or copper .30 caliber rifle brush at a sporting goods store, and clean the bore and plunger with a good penetrating oil until it will.

To avoid having it stick in the future, before putting it away after each wash, or other exposure to water, start the engine and run it at a speed above idle while holding the hot start open. Any water in that bore will be drawn off, and you'll be OK.

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