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

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  #1  
Old 24th March 2008
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Default Cleaning a Carb

I am restoring a '71 Ironhead and wondered if there was any tips and tricks for taking off/stripping/cleaning/putting back the carb?

If there's already a stickie then could you point me towards that. Cheers. Alun
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  #2  
Old 24th March 2008
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1. Removing it from the bike should be straight forward. First thing when it is out is to check the pilot screw setting. Turn it all the way in until gently seated counting the number of 1/4 turns; then write this number down; then reset it.

2. I put mine in a vice to remove the screws, and for much of the following work. Wrap in a shop towel; close the vice gently taking extra care with the choke and throttle linkages. The vice is a needed extra pair of hands.

EDIT: This setup works better than putting the carb directly into the vice ...





3. I am very careful handling the float so as to not change the level. I use the official specs for setting the level as in the FM, and check it, every time i dismantle the carb, as the last thing before putting it back together.

4. The jets are made of brass, a soft metal that is easily damaged. Use an exact correct size screwdriver. I ground a medium flat blade screwdriver down to exact size on my bench grinder to access the slow jet.

5. The general appearance of the inside of the carb is not necessarily a good indication of its condition. It can look spotless and have clogged jets, or look cruddy and have clear jets.

6. I prefer to clean each individual part rather than soak or boil the whole carb in carb cleaner. But either way is good. Do not allow any solvents to contact any rubber parts [tip of needle, o-ring seal for bowl].

7. Make a list of all of the jets and passages for your carb using the carb manual or the FM for the bike. Then ensure that you can blow either compressed air or carb cleaner thru each one.

8. Remove the pilot screw and clean the parts and the passage. The passage contains in this sequence: pilot screw, spring, washer, o-ring. These are very small parts, especially the washer and o-ring. Usually the spring will easily fall out. One time i thought the spring was not in there because it would not fall out; i obtained a new spring and could not get it in! The technique for removing the washer and o-ring is to use a pipe cleaner: stick it in the hole, twist it around, remove it - you should see the washer and o-ring on the end of the pipe cleaner.

Remember that the purpose of the washer is to protect the o-ring from the spring and you will always get them back in in the correct sequence.

EDIT: Some carbs, noteably 1966 to 1978 Sportster carbs, do not have the o-ring and washer in the pilot screw passage.

9. Dismantle the accelerator pump assembly noting carefully the sequence and orientation of the parts. Clean and inspect the parts. Replace the diaphragm if it is cracked.

10. Check the float level then carefully put it back together. I personally find it very confusing trying to decide which way to bend the tang if it is not correct. If the fuel level is low is the float high or low? Do i need to bend the tang up or down? On the bench the carb is usually upside down, adding to the confusion. Sort all this out before making an adjustment.

Best to replace the original Phillips screws for the bowl with stainless steel socket head screws.
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Last edited by IronMick; 29th May 2019 at 00:24..
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  #3  
Old 24th March 2008
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alun View Post
I am restoring a '71 Ironhead and wondered if there was any tips and tricks for taking off/stripping/cleaning/putting back the carb?

If there's already a stickie then could you point me towards that. Cheers. Alun
Hi Alun
What Carb do you have? Is it the original Tillotson?

Bob
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  #4  
Old 24th March 2008
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Yes it is. I not too bad nick but looks quite "sooty"
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  #5  
Old 26th March 2008
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I am giving this thread a bump as i made it a Sticky and edited my post #2 to include more detail.
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  #6  
Old 12th April 2008
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Default

Pretty good site with pictures on a Super G rebuild:

Thanks for the info!!!

http://www.hotrodsbikeworks.com/tech...ild/index.html
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  #7  
Old 16th April 2008
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Default

i cleaned my super b and now it turned to shit. it seems the varnish was holding it together. the throttle shaft obtained a major leak after cleaning. and im not going to buy the repair kit. im going to a super e shorty this time it has excelerator pump. so be carefull what you ask for lol
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  #8  
Old 3rd May 2008
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Default Carb Cleaning

Dismantle the carb down to the body and soak it in Mineral Spirits for a few days, you will be suprized at all the dirt in the bottom of the soaking container.
just let it sit.
I have also heard of guys blasting the body with Baking Powder..
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  #9  
Old 23rd June 2008
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I always use acrylic paint thinners for cleaning up carb parts. .melts that fuel varnish right off. .but watch out it really gives rubber and gasket material a hard time
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  #10  
Old 1st July 2008
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started on an original bendix carb that was in one of the junk boxes that got tossed in the back the truck when I bought the the 1974 iron head. it looked like it has never been mounted or used. but where the fuel comes in the brass piece was broken off. i tried drilling it out hoping go back in and pull the remaining treads with the needle nose pliers. this didn't work brass doesn't plyable enough and if I move up another size on the drill bit I'll be drilling the carb not the brass fitting. Also the darn brass screws wont come out so i can get the metal shaving that falling into the carb out. I need help any suggestion?
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