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

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compression test

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  #11  
Old 2 Weeks Ago
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I've worked on quite a few with almost 0 compression that were running again with just a valve adjustment, just recently got a 52 panhead running that had the tightest lifter adjustment I've ever encountered, nothing could be felt when kicking over, after adjustment it had compression, but low, when it fired up it smoked like mad and puked a bunch of oil out the breather, rebuild is in it's future.
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  #12  
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Default Where Am I located

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Originally Posted by randy3934 View Post
where are you located? there are many members here that could have that bike running quickly. or at least recognize any problem it may have.
Trier in Germany.
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  #13  
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Default Don't get into a habit of doing things just to "Check it out"

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Originally Posted by 11B40 View Post
The engine must be stone cold when adjusting the valves. You should adjust them until there is free turning and a bit of up and down movement. Check the results carefully. If the pushrods are tight you will burn a valve face within a few minutes of start up. If you adjust the valves while the engine is even warm, the iron parts will shrink as they cool and the valves will be slightly open for the next time you try to start it. In those few minutes that the engine takes to heat up and expand, the valve face will be burned as combustion gases escape past the valve. If you are lucky, you might be able to hand lap the valve and save it.

As Mick says, a compression test done incorrectly is a waste of time. The engine is designed to be at operating temperature to work well. If you get a marginal Compression test don't get hysterical about it and start ripping things apart. A lot of engines have so-so compression tests and still operate fine. Have a good reason before you tear off the heads and barrels. Excessive oil consumption, blow by causing excess oil loss through
leaks and breather loss.
The work to pull the heads and barrels is easy and quick. The fix usually costs a bit since most people bore the barrels to remove taper and must have new pistons and rings. Don't get into a habit of doing things just to "Check it out" or make sure it is right.
Don't get into a habit of doing things just to "Check it out" - There is no way I will do that. That is why I am here for advice!
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  #14  
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Default tappet or push rods....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iron Mike View Post
Only a few standard tools are needed to adj the pushrods.
1/2” open wrench
7/16” open wrench
Straight blade screwdriver to remove cover clips
Spark plug removal tools.
Pull plugs and while in 4th gear, roll the bike to position particular valve to lowest point. Adjust tappet. Repeat for remaining 3.
Reinstall clips, place in neutral, repeat comp test.
10 min job.
With a fresh valve job, it is not uncommon for valves to get tight in initial short run time.
Hi Iron Mike,
A quick question. In one post you mentioned tappets and one push rods. I assume that I do the pushrods first?
Regards
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tappet/pushrod adjust are one and the same
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The push rod is just an aluminum tube with ball shaped ends. The Tappet rides against the cam (In this case with a roller) and travels up and down as it rolls over the oblong oval shape of the cam. There is an adjusting screw at the top of the tappet with two locking nuts to allow the adjustment of space between Tappet and rocker arm. The tappet rides in its own hardened steel sleeve and the adjusting screw and nuts are all hardened steel. The Sportster is unique in that it has four individual cams each one assigned a specific valve to open and close. Roller tappets were the tip of the arrow in design when these engines were built. Most automobiles operated with flat tappets (Lifters) that simply bear against the cam with oil to protect moving parts. The tappet and rocker arm each have a cup shape that snugly fits the ball end of the pushrod. When you adjust the valves, you adjust the amount of room between the ball end and the cup shape. The correct amount is enough to allow free rotation with some slight up and down play. This clearance increases as the engine expands when reaching operating temperature. And for obvious reasons, the engine must be cold. These engines are a day at the beach to work on compared to a car. You will learn to love working on this engine.

Not to frighten, but the valve adjustment is very important. If there isn't enough, the valves burn, if too much there will be excess noise and wear on these parts. It is not difficult at all but you must pay attention to things like top dead center and timing marks.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 11B40 View Post
The push rod is just an aluminum tube with ball shaped ends. The Tappet rides against the cam (In this case with a roller) and travels up and down as it rolls over the oblong oval shape of the cam. There is an adjusting screw at the top of the tappet with two locking nuts to allow the adjustment of space between Tappet and rocker arm. The tappet rides in its own hardened steel sleeve and the adjusting screw and nuts are all hardened steel. The Sportster is unique in that it has four individual cams each one assigned a specific valve to open and close. Roller tappets were the tip of the arrow in design when these engines were built. Most automobiles operated with flat tappets (Lifters) that simply bear against the cam with oil to protect moving parts. The tappet and rocker arm each have a cup shape that snugly fits the ball end of the pushrod. When you adjust the valves, you adjust the amount of room between the ball end and the cup shape. The correct amount is enough to allow free rotation with some slight up and down play. This clearance increases as the engine expands when reaching operating temperature. And for obvious reasons, the engine must be cold. These engines are a day at the beach to work on compared to a car. You will learn to love working on this engine.

Not to frighten, but the valve adjustment is very important. If there isn't enough, the valves burn, if too much there will be excess noise and wear on these parts. It is not difficult at all but you must pay attention to things like top dead center and timing marks.
Many thanks. I am fully familiar with Tappet adjustment on Triumphs. But, this will be much easier.
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Update....
So I have adjusted the Tappets on the rear cylinder and the compression goes up to 35.
I did the tappets again and there was 40. With some oil adds about 20. I have ordered a leak down tester. I will also order a top end gasket set.
I'll provide an update once I run the leak down test. Sometime during week starting 04/26/21.
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