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snow
6th July 2012, 18:35
I think we should start a sticky dealing with the various kicker techniques members employ to start their early XLHs or battery or magneto-fired XLCHs. Iíd been hassling with kicking Animal Mother, my í69 CH, ever since I got her last August. Sheíd been sitting dormant in the elements for two years and over the course of a couple of days, I got her started and rode her to my indy shop to give her a professional going over. When I picked her up, indy guy advised me to hold the throttle WFO and kick, kick, kick. Sometimes this worked. Most times, as you might imagine, it didnít. Since then, armed with all kinds of advice, tips & tricks, I think Iíve managed to start the bike mainly through a mixture of blind luck, sheer will and the occasional mercies granted by the remorseless god of Ironheads (he wears a crown of human patellas), rather than systematic technique. Then a couple of weeks ago, JB Goode (I believe) posted the following. I copied it into a document on my desktop.

ďstarting.....

i use the same technique on this bike that i did on my 78, the way i was taught was first ingnition off, hold throttle wide open kick through 2 or 3 times, then pump twice, kick 2 more times. then find compression stroke and kick it. if dont start in 1-2 kicks, start sequence over again. and its worked great for this bike too. works every time....well, not everytime....lol.... but anyway, when bike is already at operation tempurature, it starts on the first kick with out all the cleaning and priming kicks. but... if i dont get it on the first or second kick, it wont go. i have to go through the cleaning and priming sequence again. does that seem normal, or do i need to try a different techinque. my 78 did this from time to time, but when it fought back, i just hit the pussy button....lol....Ē

This method has transformed Animal Mother into a one-kick bike. I am amazed, delighted and, best of all, confident. For the last two weeks kickstarting her has required neither luck, will, nor mercy, just correct technique. No longer are casual gas or coffee stops occasions for dread and trepidation wondering if Iím in for one or one hundred kicks. Animal Mother has a stock 900 mill with an S&S E and the mag is locked at full advance and she starts consistently and reliably. Hot starts (and I mean hot--- everyday since Iíve used this method itís been over 100 degrees) require closed throttle and NO GAS. All this time Iíve had a one-kick bike and didnít know it. I recall April (Friday) 13th, crumpled in agony over Animal Mother after Iíd hyperextended my knee for the second time in 4 months, wondering if Iíd have to give her up. Iím glad I stuck with her and the S&S E. Iím hoping we can save the knees of any newbies out there if we share good kicking techniques. Post year/displacement/carb and cold/hot start methods. Also, I think itíd be interesting if anyone could post the factory kick start procedures from the original CH riderís handbooks, if anyone has access toíem.

72 Ironhead XLH
6th July 2012, 20:23
one has to realize that the starting procedure will vary from machine to machine. no 2 are alike. you the owner has to figure out what system works best for you .also for points systems and mag systems your points can vary between .016-.022.
fuel, compression and spark all at the right time ,and its a 2 kick ride.

Magneto Sportster
6th July 2012, 20:47
one has to realize that the starting procedure will vary from machine to machine.

Especially when different carbs are involved. For example, DC Linkerts have no accelerator pump, so there is no such thing as "giving a few squirts" on a bike that uses one. And Tillotsons frequently require some "tickling" after sitting for a while.

superwarden
6th July 2012, 21:43
Three quick twists of the throttle and one good kick....


That's how I start mine when cold. Warm I just turn on the key and give it a good kick.

Moon Wolf
6th July 2012, 21:44
The procedure you describe is similar to the one I use on my bikes with S&S carbs. As Magneto suggests, different carbs require different procedures. Another factor is the ambient temperature.

On my DC carbs, I kick the bike twice with full choke, key off. I then turn on the key and go to 3/4 choke. This usually results in a two kick start. The only time I have trouble is when it doesn't start after four kicks. Then I shut off the key, kick four or five times with the throttle wide open, turn the key back on, and start over.

The easiest starting bike is the chopper with the CV (and magneto). I turn on the key, half choke, kick and start. Usually starts first kick.

I find the S&S carbs to a bit tricky when the bike is warm, especially luke warm, after a fifteen minute stop. In this situation the bike floods easily and I haven't found the perfect combo for dealing with it.

None of my Tillotson bikes run at present :frownone but that last Tillotsen I ran regularly was an extremely reliable and easy starting carb. I'm sure I will receive a comeuppance from the Harley gods at some point for such a foolish and brash statement.

DirtyCory
6th July 2012, 22:28
starting.....

i use the same technique on this bike that i did on my 78, the way i was taught was first ingnition off, hold throttle wide open kick through 2 or 3 times, then pump twice, kick 2 more times. then find compression stroke, turn key on, and kick it. if dont start in 1-2 kicks, start sequence over again. and its worked great for this bike too. works every time....well, not everytime....lol.... but anyway, when bike is already at operation tempurature, it starts on the first kick with out all the cleaning and priming kicks. but... if i dont get it on the first or second kick, it wont go. i have to go through the cleaning and priming sequence again. does that seem normal, or do i need to try a different techinque. my 78 did this from time to time, but when it fought back, i just hit the pussy button....lol....

hey that was my post......:doh lol.... that was from my thread from when i picked up my 72. im glad it worked for you. thats a method the old man taught me a long time ago when i first put the kicker on my 78. usually works everytime. i have since learned a little bit more about the way my 72 likes to act. as i stated above, when the bike is at operating temp, if i miss it on the first or second kick, it dont like to start. ive have learned to hold it at wide open throttle and it will fire right up. i figured this out doing my cleaning sequence and forgot to turn the key back off and the bike roared to life. since then, its worked for me a hot motor that wants to fight back.

since then, i have also learn a little bit about "sportster knee" :censor:censor:censor that shit hurt! i still think it coulda been worse than it was, cause i still walk on it with out even a limp, but i get what the hype is all about now. kicker slipped and all of my 220 pounds of lard went straight down and didnt stop till the bottom of the kick when my knee bent backwards some...... time to get a new bushing for the ratchet gear and go through the good DR's thread on "giving kicker slip the boot"

tracbike
6th July 2012, 23:22
I have friends witth kick starts who just never get the sweet spot and get pissed when i give it the one kick... what can i say. I try to teach but it just doesn't get through. Individual technique is just where it lies.

Mosey
6th July 2012, 23:25
Mine is a one kick bike.




Ya just never know which one!

brucstoudt
6th July 2012, 23:40
technically,i,count 6,kick's,with that procedure,but i'm,glad you're happy with your progress. my magneto does'nt give me the option of kicking with the key off.it does'nt have a,switch. also twisting the throttle does nothing for my carb,it doesn't have an,accellerator pump.

snow
7th July 2012, 00:18
Hey Dirty Cory--- many thanks for posting your procedure! I owe you a few beers! I no longer feel lost and scared when I mount Animal Mother's kicker--- I feel like Bronson on his electric-leg XLH! I don't count the half-speed cleaning or priming kicks as real, committed 'ignition on" kicks. I grok that every ironhead has its idiosyncracies--- that's why I suggested folks include year/displacement & carb in describing their own rituals. Might help somebody out.

BTW, rode her 50 miles to the shop today--- after cleaning/priming her cold, she fired on the first 'real' kick. I say 'cold' advisedly--- her mill was cold, but it was 105 degrees went I left the mountain. After about 30 miles, I started catching up with the remains of a passing thunderstorm--- man--- what bliss--- the temp must've dropped at least 20 degrees in a quarter mile. Good to be alive.

DonW
7th July 2012, 00:20
My bike has a 38mm Mikuni, and a standard FB mag. I retard the spark a bit, put on the enrichner, absolutely no throttle, no priming kicks, and give it a healthy, smooth kick while it's on the center stand. Three kicks or less is when things are going good. When hot, just retard the same, maybe just a little throttle, but hard not to start it on one kick. What makes it interesting is when it's set for about two hours. Usually a tad bit of throttle, but those are the times it wants to act up. I've tried many different variations. I think the biggest factor when starting after about two hours is the number of people watching.

brucstoudt
7th July 2012, 00:25
yes i,hate the audience thing.

piniongear
7th July 2012, 02:06
Kick starting an Ironhead is sometimes an issue.
I like Mikuni carbs, as regular readers here are aware of.

So rather than explain how I start my Ironhead with a Mikuni I will post the link and you can see for yourself.
The engine was stone cold and I had just installed a Mikuni from member Ben.
Ben sent me his Miukni after he could not get his bike to start.
I removed the Mikuni from the shipping box and found the air jet had no hole in it.
Then I drilled out the jet and put it directly on my Sportster.
Some of you have seen this, but those who have not should watch the video..........
Starting the 1971 XLCH with Ben's Mikuni - YouTube

Now for the disclaimer.......... I recently installed my Mikuni back on the Sportster, having hooked up a flexible throttle cable inside the handlebars.
I was going to make a video of that but I cannot get the bike to start!
Ha-Ha, such is the Ironhead experience.
The Texas heat right now prevents me from doing any more work on it until it cools off a bit. November?
pg

Robicycle
7th July 2012, 02:15
Whoa diggin' your 1971, that is one sweet bike.

What do you think is wrong with the carb?

piniongear
7th July 2012, 02:52
Whoa diggin' your 1971, that is one sweet bike.

What do you think is wrong with the carb?

I am almost 100% certain the fault does concern the carb.
I believe there may have an air leak at the manifold O rings, and if not the case,,,,,,, next I will check the points gap.
pg

barefoot
7th July 2012, 04:52
... Animal Mother....
Do you have a Century springer on that or is that a different Animal Mother ?

Moon Wolf
7th July 2012, 05:11
Kick starting an Ironhead is sometimes an issue.
I like Mikuni carbs, as regular readers here are aware of.

So rather than explain how I start my Ironhead with a Mikuni I will post the link and you can see for yourself.
The engine was stone cold and I had just installed a Mikuni from member Ben.
Ben sent me his Miukni after he could not get his bike to start.
I removed the Mikuni from the shipping box and found the air jet had no hole in it.
Then I drilled out the jet and put it directly on my Sportster.
Some of you have seen this, but those who have not should watch the video..........
Starting the 1971 XLCH with Ben's Mikuni - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IROxfHFMJ6o&list=UUv8qFIM7zKi5EQlfoVL-K8Q&index=3&feature=plcp)

Now for the disclaimer.......... I recently installed my Mikuni back on the Sportster, having hooked up a flexible throttle cable inside the handlebars.
I was going to make a video of that but I cannot get the bike to start!
Ha-Ha, such is the Ironhead experience.
The Texas heat right now prevents me from doing any more work on it until it cools off a bit. November?
pg

Great choice of music, Pinion. Steve Earle rocks.

(WI)IceDevil
7th July 2012, 05:57
Nice vid.

I try the "2 twist prime" method. It works about half the time... 74 XLCH with a leaky Bendix.

carbineken
7th July 2012, 06:45
I am liking where this thread is going. I anticipate my kickstart conversion to be finished this weekend and having a few different ideas to start out with is great. I've never kickstarted anything before so this will be a great help. I think my bike will be a pretty easy kicker, it has always fired right up even with the sick electric that finally quit.

barefoot
7th July 2012, 06:51
I am liking where this thread is going. I anticipate my kickstart conversion to be finished this weekend and having a few different ideas to start out with is great. I've never kickstarted anything before so this will be a great help. I think my bike will be a pretty easy kicker, it has always fired right up even with the sick electric that finally quit.
A lot of people aren't going to like this but you have a 1974 anyhow, right ? So there's no sacrilege involved ... put the biggest fattest newest honkinest spark device on there you can get. All the other stuff is a help but if you have a 200,000 volt lightning bolt blazing away in there the thing will fire if the mixture is too rich, if the compression is too low, if the plugs are oil-fouled, if God Himself is in a bad mood. Spark, and lots of it, is the biggest single thing you can do to make the bike start easy.