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Ironhead Sportster Motorcycle Talk (1957-1985) For all those that wanna talk about Ironhead Sportster Motorcycles

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  #11  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
owlsplace owlsplace is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: XLH 1000cc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Doctor71 View Post
This smells too much like an ignition problem. And (like thousands before you) you've found you can somewhat compensate for a f^#ked up ignition system by playing with the choke. In your case, enricher. Thus it has you thinking it's a carb problem. And maybe it is. But I doubt it. You know your ride. You're there. I'm not.

Often times there's more than 1 thing wrong. So where does one start ? Here's what I'd suggest:
  • stop messing with the carb
  • verify your ignition system is functioning correctly. If necessary, check all major components. At a minimum:
    • check / set your point gap. On both lobes. I suspect your point gap has closed up, but ??
    • when was the advance unit last serviced & lubricated ?
    • set your advance with a timing light
    • verify your advance is set at 40° BTDC.
  • test your ride again
  • what's your motor telling you now ?
Troubleshooting the next problem should go a lot easier knowing the ignition is properly set.
With you on that one -- all new last year except the coil. Will recheck all that again from last year after the new coil goes on. Riding time is pretty much over for me this year anyway.
The timing issue on this motor is a definite problem.
Will require pulling the left cover and putting a dial guage on the crank.
You are the only one I know trying to use a strobe on these motors. Everyone else says no can do because of the oil splash issue.

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  #12  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Originally Posted by owlsplace View Post
You are the only one I know trying to use a strobe on these motors. Everyone else says no can do because of the oil splash issue.

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Get one of the clear plugs for the timing hole. And use a yellow paint pen on the timing marks. I recently used a strobe light on my 81. Once I figured out the correct orientation for the clamp on the plug wire, it was a piece of cake.
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  #13  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
owlsplace owlsplace is offline
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Get one of the clear plugs for the timing hole. And use a yellow paint pen on the timing marks. I recently used a strobe light on my 81. Once I figured out the correct orientation for the clamp on the plug wire, it was a piece of cake.
Good to know. After all the time I put into this last year I still want to put a dial guage on this one. There were just too many issues that didn't resolve.

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  #14  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
The Doctor71 The Doctor71 is offline
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Similar to what "jsandidge" suggested, this is the technique I use with a strobe light:
http://xlforum.net/forums/showpost.p...93&postcount=7

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Originally Posted by owlsplace View Post
The timing issue on this motor is a definite problem.
Will require pulling the left cover and putting a dial guage on the crank.
ok, I guess I'm on the verge of being lost.

Do you have an aftermarket flywheel with unknown advance markings ? If so, I'm struggling to understand how you every got the motor timed correctly in the first place.

I wouldn't think a stock flywheel with the traditional factory advance markings would require removal of primary chain case & the use of a dial guage. If a dial guage is needed, I'll concede. I'm missing something. You'll need to educate us further
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  #15  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Originally Posted by The Doctor71 View Post

...ok, I guess I'm on the verge of being lost.... If a dial guage is needed, I'll concede. I'm missing something. You'll need to educate us further
Will have to wait until I actually do it. Although I'm not the only person that had issues timing an '81 model.
This one was running when acquired and all attempts to time it using the marks failed so it was reset to its original position where it ran quite well.
I won't be happy until I see a mark on the flywheel at 40 degrees.
I don't have my own shop space so it may be a while.


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  #16  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
The Doctor71 The Doctor71 is offline
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Understood.

This might help you (or frustrate you further). I dunno.
  • Find TDC on the REAR cylinder
    • remove both spark plugs & rotate the engine until you see the rear piston on the up stroke
    • insert a plastic straw into rear cylinder
    • rotate the engine some more until you hit TDC on the rear. (rock the motor back & forth to confirm you're at TDC)
    • remove the plastic straw
  • FRONT cylinder is now at 45° BTDC
    • the rule is (on an IH) the REAR cylinder is ALWAYS 45° ahead of the FRONT cylinder. (doesn't matter where the flywheel is in the rotation. REAR cyl is always running 45° ahead of the FRONT cyl.)
  • with a Sharpie, paint pen, or whatever, mark the flywheel (thru the timing plug hole) at 45° BTDC. (This is just for reference in case you rotate the flywheel a few times.)
  • slowly rotate the engine (forward) about the width of the timing plug hole
  • the 40° BTDC timing mark should immediately begin to show up in the timing plug hole. Highlight it with a different colored pen, if you wish.
The above should allow you to identify the correct 40° advanced timing mark for the FRONT cyl on a 1000cc motor. If this fails, then I dunno what you got going on for flywheel marks

I'm not a fan of static timing, but for those that insist on static timing...... do NOT try to static time your motor using the above WITHOUT verifying your FRONT cylinder is on compression stroke. aka your front cyl must be on compression stroke.
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  #17  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
owlsplace owlsplace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Doctor71 View Post
Understood.

This might help you (or frustrate you further). I dunno.
[list][*]Find TDC on the REAR cylinder
  • remove both spark plugs & rotate the engine until you see the rear piston on the up stroke
  • insert a plastic straw into rear cylinder
  • rotate the engine some more until you hit TDC on the rear. (rock the motor back & forth to confirm you're at TDC)
  • remove the plastic straw
[*]FRONT cylinder is now at 45°....

I'm not a fan of static timing, but for those that insist on static timing...... do NOT try to static time your motor using the above WITHOUT verifying your FRONT cylinder is on compression stroke. aka your front cyl must be on compression stroke.
This is good to know. I can certainly check this easy enough.
I have a degree wheel lined up ready to order so I'll add a clear plug and track down a timing light.
Another issue is the point backing plate varies the point gap as it is rotated so everytime you move it you have to recheck the point gap. It's not like a car where you could just rotate the distributor while it is running.
You gotta love Ironheads, not so much for the engineering but for what you learn about yourself while trying to restore one!
If I had a heated shop this engine would be on the bench for the winter.

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  #18  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
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"point backing plate varies the gap" ? Meaning different gap from narrow lobe to wide lobe? That is something that needs attention, and is probably not the backing plate but the way the points cam seats on the #2 cam, or the hold down screw is slightly bent. Gotta check on that.
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If you are running points, the closer you get the points gap to be the same on both lobes the better your bike will run.
This is a critical adjustment and best not left to good enough as the timing on the rear cylinder can be way off otherwise.
This will affect all aspects of your tune from starting to WFO.

I lightly tap the bolt to center the points cam.
This is an old school trick not often shared.
I think this may have contributed to some of the rear cylinder mythology.
Few bother to check the spark timing on the rear cylinder, only the front.
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  #20  
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In the past I have seen where owners feel that the points plate is too tight of a fit in the nose one. Then relieve some material from the OD of the points plate to allow easier rotation. This allows the plate to move eccentrically, when setting the timing.
Perhaps take a look at the fit within the nose one. Should be “snug” to follow the axis.
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