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  #11  
Old 4 Weeks Ago
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If it starts easy it is not likely that spark timing is an issue.

Does it sputter and stop or does it shut off quick and clean?

A bad charging system is not going to make it shut off in a short ride. Especially with the big battery. Maybe with a bad battery but if the battery will crank the bike it is not too bad. Charge overnight (and during any periods of storage) with a Battery Tender or other float type charger.

If it sputters to a stop it is likely a fuel problem. Tank vent, plugged filter?

If it shuts off clean it is likely electrical. An electrical fault may be tripping a circuit breaker. Or an ignition component is failing when hot?
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  #12  
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Thumbs up 73 Sporty

You guys have never failed me, and thanks again for this. Haven't checked it further so far, will tonight. Appreciate this VERY much. You have to work on these bikes yourself, there really is no other option, where I am anyway.

Tank cap is NOT vented and fits super snug. Does not have the little hole in underneath side of cap will ball inside. This original cap fits VERY tight. However, bike shuts off CLEAN, no sputter at all and I was thinking electrical too but not sure. Condenser could be it as well, think I have one left over from a 72 Chevy Nova which looks exactly the same but not sure they are interchangeable. Have an older coil too, from 76 Sporty I used to have.

Will post solution. Great tips, will likely save me a bunch of time. Thank You!!!
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I am in the circuit breaker camp for now too. Do you hear any faint clicking noise after it shuts down, before it restart?
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  #14  
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Cool 73 Sporty

Wasn't gas cap, just shuts down clean after warming up for a few minutes. I back idle off slightly as you normally would and it shuts down, sometimes happens during short ride. Condensor, Coil and Regulator are easy enough.Will let you all know how it goes. Thank You! Do believe electrical. Starts up great with initial choke.
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Maybe the Idle mix is set too lean?

The bit about needing choke on a hot or even half way warmed motor after stalling screams lean or fuel starvation of some kind.

Maybe you have some kind of goober floating around in your low speed circuit. It gets sucked in and plugs the circuit then falls away when it quits, then needs choked because everything is dried out.

Will 2 or 3 squirts bring it back to life instead of choking?

If the gas cap is truly sealed where is the tank venting from?
Will the fuel feed (with the cap on the tank) quickly and with a steady stream fill a water bottle?
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put some inline spark testers in and when it kills, see if you still have fire. if you do, look at fuel delivery.
if you have no fire, pull the capacitor wire off the points post, it should run, if so go electronic. i have a compu-fire since 1975 on my 74ch no issues.
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OK so now I wonder ... does the bike start back in seconds or minutes or days.
The diagnostic approach starts with the facts. " It runs then stops"
So when it stops you need to check 2 things. 1st fuel the other is fire.
Easiest is to check fire...... When the bike dies, immediately just pull off the plug wire and get someone you don't like to hold it as you kick the bike. If they get pissed then it has fire.
Next is fuel. simply take off the air cleaner before you start the bike and when it dies you spray some carb or brake cleaner or gas in the carb, then try to start it. If it tries to start then its fuel. If nothing happens when trying a few times then most likely fire problem.
Pull the plugs and look the over see if they are flooded. Put them back in the wires and against the heads and then kick the bike over to see if there is any spark. if no then start diagnosing the ignition.
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  #18  
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Smile 73 Sporty

First of all THANK YOU! All good tips and information.

Wanted to give a little premature feedback here. I did reset the points. Manual says .018 as I recall and it appeared to be about 1/2 that. It is a bit of a hassle jacking bike up, then turning back wheel to get it right on the widest lobe of the cam, but finally got it real close to .018. Seemed to run smoother at lower idle now and during a short run, bike did not shut down. Have not messed with the timing.......yet. I do believe problem was in ignition circuit.

Gunner's unique tip about the condenser being a problem could have something to do with it too. I have a new one but did not change it out yet. This could be a problem in a points "spark condenser" because information I got said those carry much more voltage than a "radio noise suppress condenser" found in older cars. I had one left from a 70's Chevy Nova but apparently they are NOT interchangeable with motorcycle condensers (which retard high current flow across the points). Auto condensers could get fried if put in a bike. I had no knowledge of this, just got it off internet.

Anyway, I think this is on the right track re: ignition system. Will check timing next but ordered a clear plastic plug to put in timing hole since my 73 just a a metal plug. I heard you get a fair amount of oil coming out IF you just pull the plug while bike is running. I have timed old V8s before but this will be a 1st on a bike. Actually looks easier than the points, no need to jack bike up and you just rotate points back plate until timing mark centers. Will give that a try and see if anything else develops. Kind of hesitate to mess with it though since it seems to be running pretty good. My guess is that timing slightly off though since points weren't quite right.

That's it for now.
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In my experience, when a condenser is fried, its fried.

To diagnose, run bike out of direct sunlight, with points cover off. There will be alot of sparking at the points.

But I dont think it would have the symptoms you have. On the other hand its easy and cheap to fit new, correct condenser.
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  #20  
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Smile 73 Sporty

I agree, believe timing & definitely points were off, why bike would shut down during a short run and then start up again (usually), is a mystery to me but maybe the faster idle which you have during startup and 1st few minutes of ride kept in running, then when idle went down it was enough to kill the engine. Have taken it out 3 times now after points set, just to see if that was a fluke, and it has not shut down.

Good tip on the condenser, easy to check that. Will report back after going through a couple more hoops in case somebody else has same problem.

If I did not belong to this group, I would have a real tough time keeping these ironheads running. Have had 3 of them now. Fun bikes, and some old school cool. Thank you!
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