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  1. #1
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    Default Hey Cool, my bike glows at night!

    But of course its not so cool. Its a big bummer, was out last night enjoying a nice florida evening ride. However on the way home i was on the freeway and I noticed a faint reddish orange glow coming from the bike. I lean over and look, the rear exhaust pipe is glowing quite nicely. So I got off the freeway soon as i could and limped home.

    So the bike is a 97' XL1200, This seems to be a new thing because it did not do this the last time i rode it at night which was on Wednesday. I have checked for intake leaks around the carb and manifold. Checked to make sure the ignition module wasn't damaged, VOES i guess is working since the module is getting a signal from it. I did pull the spark plugs and i think the bike might be running to rich due to their condition. I running a 180 main and a 48 slow jet. I'm not really sure where to go next. Guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    I'm gonna attached a link with some photos so people will have a frame of reference. FYI the plug photo left is front cylinder and the right is the rear.

    https://1drv.ms/f/s!Ag9wMJvkHpfJr9kpvJsJ_teZiv1vUg

  2. #2
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    Perform a compression test. Always begin troubleshooting with a compression check (leakdown test is even better( so you know engine condition.

    Rich mixtures run cool. LEAN mixtures run hot. Plugs look acceptable (most engines don't run perfecly) but next time take pics that look like these: http://www.apriliaforum.com/forums/a...7&d=1341312352
    Plugs don't look lean so I doubt it's the carb settings.

    A thin, single wall exhaust pipe with a restrictive bend in it can get warm at the bend but glowing is a bit much.

    Don't trust leak checks. 1997 was a LONG time ago. I'd install new intake seals.

    That's the usual way I "check" for intake seal leaks on any model Harley. Seals are cheap. James Gasket make nice ones.
    Last edited by farmall; 08-01-2016 at 9:09 AM.

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    Well I would think it could be a rich condition, and unburnt fuel being burned in the pipe, causing it to glow. if it was happening at cruising speed the main jet shouldn't really have any effect, could try going down in the slow jet to a 46? I seem to recall running a 180 and 46 in my 1200 that had straight pipes and aftermarket air cleaner. Also check spark plug gap?
    Last edited by woz; 08-01-2016 at 9:03 AM.

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    check push rod's

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    Do both spark plugs read the same?
    Stock dual fire ignition? Pickup all melted?
    Good advice above
    It's probably an intake leak or ignition.

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    Heys guys, Thanks for the suggestions. Ill start with a compression test, ill search the board and the net for a good write up. I have never had to do one before. I think the carb is fine since it seems to be a sudden issue, Spark plugs I gapped em before i put them in. They are maybe 6 months old.

    Sky- its a daytona twin tec ign. but a standard dual fire setup. Not sure what you mean by pick up, do you mean the senors on the ign. module in the nose cone? If so I pulled it and the sensors and unit look good.

    Bruce- When checking the push rods what should I be looking for? Broken is all that comes to mind, but maybe to much play? I had read that it could be a stuck exhaust valve.

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    Any recommendations on a good compression tester?

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    too tight would leave the valve hanging open or shit stuck to valve seat
    how was it running or sounding normal, down on power,poping out exz

  9. #9

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    Have you recently changed the air filter to a much better flowing one? Just wondering if its running super lean?

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    The plug on the right is the Rear Cylinder?



    .

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    Power was fine, no popping out of the exhaust at all. When it was glowing it felt like it was running a little be rougher than usual. But couldnt be sure if i was up in my head.

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    Bohica - Ya right plug is from the rear cylindar.

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    Pete- Ya the air filter is new but it was been on there for more than a month. Like I said Plugs don't read like its running lean.

    To make things more confusing I took it out last night to see If i could duplicate the issue. I ran it for 25 mins through some roads close by and on the US1 freeway at around 60 to 70 mph. It would not glow like last time. I thought there might be a super faint glow to it but i couldn't be certain and it was pitch black out. Only thing I changed was I have the nose cone cover off to make sure the VOES wasn't cutting out or something like that. Sounded fine, ran fine.

    I have a compression tester on the way as well as new intake seals per Farmall suggestion.

  14. #14
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    that rear plug looks rich, that will make it glow at high speeds like on the freeway.

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    I could ways go down a size on the slow jet. Still seems odd that it just started doing it now. I've been running these jets for months. Its worth a shot though.

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    What difference would it make to go lower on the pilot? You said the bike was glowing at speed on the highway when you're well out of the pilot's range.

    It wouldn't hurt to pull the carb and give it a good cleaning and ensure everything is good and your float is free and within spec height. Also a good time to replace intake seals as was mentioned...

    Do you have an understanding on how VOES works? Lifted from HD forum:




    The VOES is a motorcycle part described as a vacuum ignition retard device. That is, under low vacuum conditions the switch is open and has no effect on ignition timing. Under high vacuum, the switch closes and advances ignition timing. Essentially, the VOES is like the vacuum advance in older type automotive distributors.

    The VOES is a normally open vacuum operated switch that closes under 3-5" of vacuum. The switch is connected to a lead from the ignition module. Under high vacuum, 3-5 inches or higher, the switch closes. A lead from the switch to ground closes a circuit in the ignition module. This circuit advances the timing of the spark. The advance increases throttle response and decrease fuel consumption and emissions.

    The vacuum hose is usually connected to a port on the carburetor or intake manifold depending on motorcycle year and carburetor. There are several different VOES switches used the mounting bracket style and operating vacuum being the main differences. The FLHT models have a different vacuum range than the other models. However, just about any VOES can be adapted for use by adjusting the point at which the switch closes.

    The point at which the switch closes.

    The switches can be adjusted by removing the potted plug and adjusting the setscrew. You will need an accurate vacuum gauge and vacuum hand pump. We have been able to set the operating point as low as 2 inches and as high as 7 inches.

    Why would you want a VOES?

    We have experimented with converting 1972 and later ignitions from points to electronic ignition. We have used Dyna 'S' conversions for H-D's. We have used Crane, Compufire, Spyke and other Harley Davidson conversion kits. With some of these such as the Dyna 'S', you still have to use the mechanical advance system. This requires service and routine maintenance.

    Others work very well having digital advances and provisions for a VOES switch. We experimented with installing a VOES in a 1983 FX and found we have improved throttle response and better mileage. We also routinely install the VOES in custom built Harley Davidsons and even our own Kenny Boyce framed Harley FXR's use VOES with a Crane HI4 module. During Dyno runs, we found that part throttle roll on power was increased as was throttle response.

    We believe that most street ridden Harley Davidson motorcycles will benefit from a VOES.

    For racing applications or supercharged, turbo-charged or bikes using Nitrous Oxide, we do not recommend using a VOES. This is due to the possibility of a sudden timing change causing a backfire which can be a bad thing under these conditions!




    Lots of dudes pull their VOES for god knows why and run their bikes like that, so I wonder what their highway performance is like.

    I'd investigate into this after you've made sure the carb is OK. I've found I need to rebuild my CV for optimum performance every 10K miles or so.

    The 97 sporty has hydraulic lifters and non adjustable pushrods. If you want to check for anything bent you'll need to pull the rocker boxes to access the pushrods, It's not like an ironhead or shovel. I don't think this is your problem but a leakdown will tell you.

    You may also want to confirm proper ignition settings on that twintec.
    Last edited by Blackbetty; 08-02-2016 at 3:40 PM.

  17. #17
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    Ya, I'm familiar with how the voes works. It measures manifold pressure and adjusts the timing. The glow was very prominent at freeway speed in 5th gear. However it was would still glow doing like 45 to 50. I had to go around 40mph in 5th to get it home without it glowing bright orange.

    Carb was cleaned and rebuilt maybe 3 months ago. New slide, diaphragm, gaskets. All that jazz. My gut feeling is that maybe the VOES is going bad. It could have cut out when I was riding causing the timing to change. shit it's from 1997 sandwiched above the intake. Lots of heat and vibes there. If it was a messed up pushrod would it glow every time it was ridden I would think right? so then why not last night?

    I'll be doing the compression test tomorrow when it arrives and get back to you guys with results.

  18. #18
    SamHain
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    Are you reading the plugs after idling to a stop or declutch/kill and reading them?

  19. #19
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    Idling to a stop.

  20. #20
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    Jets shouldn't cause marked temp disparity between cylinders.

    Compression testers are simple Bourdon tube gauges + hose and connectors so if they don't leak that's all ya need from them

    Perform compression test with both plugs removed. Hold throttle full open then spin the motor a few revolutions until the pointer stops rising.

    Failing seals can leak slightly/intermittently before they get worse.

    You could suck test a VOES like a vacuum advance or just replace it because diaphragms aren't forever.

    There's nothing wrong with replacing parts before they fail. "Time changes" are standard in aviation.
    Last edited by farmall; 08-03-2016 at 9:37 AM.

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