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  #1  
Old 1 Week Ago
Hennepinboy Hennepinboy is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Water Big Minnesota
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Sportster/Buell Model: XLH Sportster
Sportster/Buell Year: 1966
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Other Motorcycle Year: 1982
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Default Difficult to start/not starting 66 XLH

Bike 66 XLH that I purchased as a basket case. The bike was completely disassembled and cheap to purchase. I found that I had about 95% of a motorcycle plus a few parts that I have no idea what they fit. I have no idea why the bike was taken apart. The PO claims he also purchased as a basket case.

3 years of working on the bike when I had time. I have the bike back together. Problem is it will not start, (I had it running once, appeared to be running only on the front cylinder with the rear back firing out the exhaust every few strokes). The engine sometimes fires for a couple of strokes before the engine dies.

I am running a fixed main jet Bendix carburetor. I have adjusted the low speed jet between 1 and 1 1/2 turns open as a starting adjustment. I have the float set at 3/16" and the float spring installed correctly. There is fuel in the carb and the accelerator jet pumps fuel when the throttle is opened. I have tried starting fluid with no changes. I do not believe the problem is with the carb.

I have rechecked the valve clearance. Both front and rear cylinders the push rods rotate freely at TDC.

The engine appears to have plenty of compression when kicking over. I installed new rings when assembling the engine. The valves looked good. I have been thinking of purchasing a leak down tester. I have always wanted a leak down tester and this is a good excuse to buy one.

With back firing out of the rear cylinder I replaced the rear spark plug wire. No change. I have a spark tester that plugs in between the plug wire and the plug. The color of the spark in the tester is yellow. I am not sure if that is normal, I would be happier with a blue spark. Do I have a weak coil? The high voltage side ohm'ed out a 4 ohm's.

I plan to recheck the point gap and timing. I have checked it twice and believe it is set correctly, second guessing myself. Auto advance circuit beaker, timing set a full advance. Point gap .020, I have tried larger .022 and smaller gap .018 with no change.

I am second guessing that I have the cams installed correctly or if I even have the correct cams for the bike. All the cams and shims where in a box when I got the bike. I purchased new shims to set the cam side to side play. All the alignment lines lined up when the cams were installed. I am half tempted to remove the cover and recheck the cams.

I am at a loss, I have compression, source of ignition, and fuel the engine should start.
Any idea what I may be over looking?
Thanks Curt
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  #2  
Old 1 Week Ago
doodah man's Avatar
doodah man doodah man is offline
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What is your plug gap set to? I would reset the points back to .018” and leave them. Do the points contact faces look good? Are your intake o-rings new or did you find and install them from the “parts pile”? If you have any intake to head misalignment, you need to take care of that so that it won’t suck in “unmetered” air. If the o-rings are old, treat yourself to some new ones. How’s the health of your battery? Last thought: increase your idle speed setting a little and see if starting improves.
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  #3  
Old 1 Week Ago
Hennepinboy Hennepinboy is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Water Big Minnesota
Posts: 50
Sportster/Buell Model: XLH Sportster
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Other Motorcycle Year: 1982
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Am I correct that the front cylinder circuit breaker lobe is the narrower of the two? I need to check which I set the timing on, I might have the circuit breaker 180 deg out of timing.
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  #4  
Old 1 Week Ago
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doodah man doodah man is offline
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Yes, front cylinder gets the narrow lobe.
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  #5  
Old 1 Week Ago
Hennepinboy Hennepinboy is offline
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Location: Water Big Minnesota
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by doodah man View Post
What is your plug gap set to? I would reset the points back to .018” and leave them. Do the points contact faces look good? Are your intake o-rings new or did you find and install them from the “parts pile”? If you have any intake to head misalignment, you need to take care of that so that it won’t suck in “unmetered” air. If the o-rings are old, treat yourself to some new ones. How’s the health of your battery? Last thought: increase your idle speed setting a little and see if starting improves.
I need to recheck the plug gap, not sure were I set the gap, it's been a couple of years.

I will reset the point gap to .018 and give it a try.

I installed new o-ring, with a smear of high temp silicone steam valve grease to help seal and to prevent the o-rings from drying out. I have used Dow Corning 111 for years on o-rings with good results. It is still a possibility I have an air leak.

I have tried increasing the idle set screw.

I need to check that I set the timing on the correct lobe in the circuit breaker.

I will put the battery on the tender for the day. It's been about three weeks since the battery was last charged.

I am sure the problem is something small and I am overlooking the problem.

Thank you for responding.
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  #6  
Old 1 Week Ago
doodah man's Avatar
doodah man doodah man is offline
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Oh, you’re welcome. It’s always good to be able to bounce ideas off someone to jar the memory! Glad I could help! I would say make the plug gap about .025” on a battery/points type ignition.
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  #7  
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kitabel kitabel is offline
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Compression test, front and rear?
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  #8  
Old 1 Week Ago
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leak down testers are good to have.i have one but i had a compression tester long before that.get that first if you can't get both
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  #9  
Old 1 Week Ago
Hennepinboy Hennepinboy is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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Hennepinboy is an unknown quantity at this point
Default

Thank you for the help. I rode the 66 XLH today. The problem was I had installed the circuit breaker cam 180 out. Remove the circuit breaker and rotated the shaft so that the small lobe is under the point block front cylinder at TDC mark on the flywheel.
Engine starts easy.
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  #10  
Old 1 Week Ago
smokey 2 smokey 2 is offline
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I'd like to see a pic. Coming from another MN sporty guy, don't cha know!
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