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Sportster Motorcycle General Discussion and Problems For discussing problems about your Sportster motorcycle that don't fit anywhere else.

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  #1  
Old 24th February 2011
Chris2Corps Chris2Corps is offline
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Default 1974 xlch 1000 HeLp!! (Hot pipes + Timing nightmare!)

Gearheads I have a problem.

This is my first official post as well as my first official harley.
The bike is a 1974 xlch sportster 1000. I just moved back home after serving an enlistment in the Marine Corps. My dad bought a newer harley and is now allowing me to ride the sportster that he put the first mile on in '74. We just restored the bike and now we are having some trouble with it.

-Hard to start( more than 10 kicks)
-Glowing red exhaust pipes.
-it sounds like its missing.

~New points and condensor with point gap set to .18
~Cleaned and rebuild the bindex carb.
~New fuel filter.
~New coil and wire from coil to points.
~had generator tested and cleaned.
~set polarity
~ checked for vacuum leaks with WD40 while running

I set the timing mark and then adjusted the plate using a test light on the points to go off just as points cam is advanced all the way.
With the engine running I really can't make out the timing marks using the glass plug. My dad adjusted timing plate while I watched for the timing mark with the strobe light. The engine is stock everything.

1) What is the best way to tell if the cam is eccentric? (@ 40* to TDC on the #1 cyl the small cam lobe is just before the points guide.)
2) Can something be replaced that i am overlooking(the flyweights look good)?
3) Is there a better way to check for vacuum leaks besides WD40?

I appreciate any shared knowledge. This will be the first ride I take to Bike Week with my father. On four combat deployments I had alot of time to dream of this ride. We have a few short days to get this right. Any suggestions?

P.S My dad said he had a shop do the valve adjustments but he didnt seem too impressed with them as a whole, and no difference was noted starting wise.... Sometimes the bike will kick and kick like there is no ignition at all even though the plugs and points spark.

Simper Fi
Chris
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  #2  
Old 24th February 2011
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1) What is the best way to tell if the cam is eccentric? (@ 40* to TDC on the #1 cyl the small cam lobe is just before the points guide.)

You will know that it's eccentric if it starts exhibiting signs of strange behavior such as ordering sushi at a burger joint.

Seriously, if full advance is supposed to be 40 degrees, then it will probably be at about 12 degrees or so at idle before the weights spin out. (This is just general because I do not have the manual for 1974).

That said, then if you static time it using a test light, the points should open (light come on) at around 12 degrees BTDC. So find TDC on the flywheel, and using a degree wheel (a protractor works good), back it up to 12 degrees and make a mark for reference. Then static time it to where the light just comes on as you rotate the flywheel up to the 12 degree mark. Forget the 40 degrees for now, that can be checked with a timing light once you are able to see the marks and have it running somewhere close. If the flywheel is about 6" diameter, then 12 degrees is about 5/8" at the outer edge.

I assume the points have been set properly, and verified that the gap is still good right? Also check the gap after timing and see if it shifted, if it did, reset the gap and retime it until it stays the same.

Did you get that 40 degree figure out of a book? Do they say what the innitial (idle) timing is?
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  #3  
Old 24th February 2011
Chris2Corps Chris2Corps is offline
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I centered the front cylinder advanced timing mark in the hole. (according to the book its 40*BTC) Then wth the cam twisted over i adjusted the back plate to where the light just went off then tightened the screws. I rechecked the points gap @ 0.18.
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Old 24th February 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris2Corps View Post
I centered the front cylinder advanced timing mark in the hole. (according to the book its 40*BTC) Then wth the cam twisted over i adjusted the back plate to where the light just went off then tightened the screws. I rechecked the points gap @ 0.18.
Is that working?
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Old 24th February 2011
Chris2Corps Chris2Corps is offline
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That is what i did before and it didnt work very well. I am going to try your recomendation with the 12* mark and see if that may help
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  #6  
Old 24th February 2011
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Originally Posted by Chris2Corps View Post
That is what i did before and it didnt work very well. I am going to try your recomendation with the 12* mark and see if that may help
Yep, start there. It would be nice to have a book to confirm the innitial timing at 12 degrees, but that will be closer than what you have. If there is no TDC mark, work backwards from the 40 degree mark (10 degrees is just over 1/2" at a 6" diameter) (12 degrees is 5/8" almost exactly).

With the crank turning in the normal direction the light should just come ON at 12 degrees that is the point that the points break apart, and that is the signal that causes the coil to discharge across the spark plug gap. The point that the light goes out is not useful for anything except for measuring dwell.

I have to leave now, so good luck.

Try going to the Carb and EFI section and reading "Plug Reading 101" in the sticky section there. Particularly for the way to determine if the timing is too far advanced (black specs on the white porcelain), then to verify that the carb is jetted and adjusted right. Since you plan a long ride, lets not melt that engine down on the way. If the metal on those plugs comes out looking white, don't take it for a ride until you fix it.
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Old 24th February 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris2Corps View Post
... The bike is a 1974 xlch sportster 1000. ... We just restored the bike and now we are having some trouble with it.

-Hard to start( more than 10 kicks)
-Glowing red exhaust pipes.
-it sounds like its missing ...
Post this q in the IronHead section, here ...

http://xlforum.net/vbportal/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=7
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Old 24th February 2011
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The only thing that can make the exhaust pipes glow red-hot is a very lean mixture. Something got messed up in that carb . This would also cause the hard-to-start problem and the miss. I know you say you "rebuilt" the Bendix. I'd find a later model Jap carb to bolt on there.

Good luck and welcome to the board! Love the Ironheads!
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Old 24th March 2011
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I agree with the last guy. Timing can be tricky and can easily be overthought. sometimes just keep it simple. If you have another carb or can borrow one try that first. I owned my 75 for 16 years and only set the timing with a light once and its a pain in the ass. I am not a motorcycle guru by any stretch of the imagination but I am a technician. every engine is different, wears different, machining tolerences excessive wear, no wear etc...timing it by the book might not be what your engine works best with. Try just moving the plate from one end to the other while trying to start it. If it doesnt start anywhere though the timing spectrum then it might not be timing at all. Make sure the gap is correct!. I dialed mine in by ear and it always ran perfectly. We used to time cars the same way. get it running and hot. twist the throttle if it pings back off the timing until its stops pinging. I know it sounds hack and I will probably catch hell for saying it but it works. keep checking the plugs. I hope this made some sense.
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  #10  
Old 24th March 2011
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Glowing exhausts can also be caused by retarded timing, also by a tight exhaust pushrod holding the valve open: the spark is igniting the mixture while the exhaust valve is opened, letting the burning gas escape into the pipes.

Your procedure for static timing is correct, assuming the flywheels are stock. Aftermarket flywheels may have different timing marks causing problems.

I'd check pushrod adjustments first just to eliminate that variable, then double-check the static timing using your original method of advancing the cam. I normally set my exhaust pushrods a tad looser than the intakes since they run hotter and the little extra clearance helps keep them cooler.

Problem sounds more ignition/valve adjustment related than carb, at least running around idle speed. Won't hurt to check out carb operation if the other issues don't give good results.

Eric
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