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  1. #1

    Default Shovelhead cam question.

    Some of you guys might have seen my previous posts.

    I finished this bike over a month ago and I'm having starting issues. Kick only cone shovel with points. I have another bike that gets me to work and I've been super busy with work and just way tired when I get home that I've been putting this off but I need to get it handled.

    Bike starts up but it's really, really, hard. Takes a million kicks and if you're lucky it'll fire before it kills the battery. If it does fire while the battery is still alive and for some reason it dies in the next few minutes (usually because I'm trying to tune the carb and timing) it will not start back at all. Carb is set well enough to start and timing is dead nuts. I'm using a small 3.5 Ah battery. I've heard a bigger battery will solve the issues but I also hear and read a lot of stuff about guys running tiny batteries with no issues so I kind of feel that it might not be a battery problem.

    As I said, bike is kick only and the only accessories are headlight and taillight.

    I had someone tell me recently that the cam might be the source of my troubles. Would a cam cause a really hard kickstart? The bike is a chopper that was put together part by part. Motor was rebuilt, I can see that. Pistons are new, SS lowers, etc...but I don't know what the previous owner planned to run for a transmission. I have a 4 speed ratchet.

    Would a cam choice cause these issues? If I pull the cam, will I be able to tell what it is meant for. I don't have a problem swapping cams, just want some imput before I hit the swapmeet looking for one. Basically, I guess I'm asking if there is a different between a kick only cam and an electric start cam?

    Appreciate all the help, here's a pic of the bike.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
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    OK-I'm no mechanic but my shovel starts real quick. I'm sure a cam could influence it, but have you checked stuff like the butterfly being completely closed when the throttle is shut? That made a huge difference for mine (run a Super B). Spark strength good? I bought a new performance coil and leads... I run a small battery and it's kick only. What cam have you got, and what does it's manufacturer say? My shovels below....

    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #3
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    two things to get it an easy start...
    1)..Get rid of the S&S... shit Carb...Fit a Mikuni or an HD CV carb.
    2)..Get rid of the piss ant battery you have and fit as big a battery as you can.... if just kicking it kills the battery it kinda shows you it ain't man enough.... a battery should last a week or two just kicking a bike to life even if the charging system don't work & as long as you don't use lights.....

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tzienlee View Post
    two things to get it an easy start...
    1)..Get rid of the S&S... shit Carb...Fit a Mikuni or an HD CV carb.
    2)..Get rid of the piss ant battery you have and fit as big a battery as you can.... if just kicking it kills the battery it kinda shows you it ain't man enough.... a battery should last a week or two just kicking a bike to life even if the charging system don't work & as long as you don't use lights.....

    DAMN good advice right there.......

  5. #5

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    Appreciate the advice.

    I'll definitely get the bigger battery first...like this weekend because it's the easiest. Hopefully that takes care of it. If not, I'll move on to the carb.

    Leads me to my next question that I've had come through my head a few times in the past. The carb thing. I've heard they're shit, I've heard they're great. Searching online or even speaking with people in person gets you all kinds of answers, I'm curious what your opinion is? Why is the Super E a shit carb? I don't have an issue changing it out if I need to.

    My other bike has a CV and it's been problem free. Fucker has around 75K+ on it and all I do is clean it out like twice a year. It's never dirty but I pull it and run carb cleaner through it when I do other maintenance. Last time I had it off was in March when I pulled the motor out of the frame. Like I said, didn't need cleaning but I opened it up to look anyway. Solid carb, you just hear so much hype on the Super E that you would think it's an upgrade, that's why I ask.

  6. #6
    SamHain
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    cvs are fucking dinosaurs but god damn they work great on this tractor technology. S&s are the Big Bang. Stock h cam is bad to the bone and will start like a dream on a well tuned shovel, leinweber L3(s?) is probably the only upgrade worth a shit, not sure how it does for a kicker.

  7. #7
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    The thing with S&S carbs is that they are basically a carb from the 1930's !!….
    an old Dinosaur …… which is probably only still made & sold because of the Label,...
    they were ok 40 years ago but by todays standards they are a has been that never really was,
    they might perform well on a drag bike on the1/4 mile, but far too many people I know (including myself) have had problems with them that have been cured by fitting a modern carb,....
    there are many out there that are better than an S&S,..
    I personally like & use a LECTRON, A very simple to set up carb, with only an idle screw to adjust, NO JETS !!!....
    you not only get race performance from them but funnily enough you also get better MPG !!!
    The Harley CV is a great all round carb that gives reasonable performance all round and easy starting with a real choke not an ''enrichment device''.
    SU's are a very reliable carb, but they might start to be hard to find ……
    Last edited by tzienlee; 08-25-2018 at 7:28 AM.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by tzienlee View Post
    The thing with S&S carbs is that they are basically a carb from the 1930's !!….
    an old Dinosaur …… which is probably only still made & sold because of the Label,...
    they were ok 40 years ago but by todays standards they are a has been that never really was,
    they might perform well on a drag bike on the1/4 mile, but far too many people I know (including myself) have had problems with them that have been cured by fitting a modern carb,....
    there are many out there that are better than an S&S,..
    I personally like & use a LECTRON, A very simple to set up carb, with only an idle screw to adjust, NO JETS !!!....
    you not only get race performance from them but funnily enough you also get better MPG !!!
    The Harley CV is a great all round carb that gives reasonable performance all round and easy starting with a real choke not an ''enrichment device''.
    SU's are a very reliable carb, but might now they might start to be hard to find ……
    +1 on the SU, ive got one on my 77' properly tuned they work great...

  9. #9
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    I have an s&s super E on my 93" pan. Mine is modified, however.
    I had XXX Carbs bore the venturi to42mm (in between a super E & Super G)
    I also have Their "Booster" emulsion tube, & I installed a thunderjet.
    Runs fantastic, much better than stock with no flat spots....But has always
    been a pain to kickstart when the motor is COLD.(stock or modified) really finicky.
    I have tried hundreds of "kickstart routines" over the years & have never had it
    fire on less than about 6 kicks, if I'm lucky. (usually takes about 20).
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Right now I have the carb off of the motor & have fitted a Rivera SU onto it,
    And after I get a new throttle cable, I'm going to give it a try & see if she starts
    easier with the SU. I am running a Lienweber L51 stroker cam & I have also wondered
    if different cam profiles can affect starting.


    *by the way, I once tried a super G on this motor, But was
    even worse at starting.
    Last edited by Revelator; 08-25-2018 at 11:10 AM.

  10. #10
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    Best thing I ever did for my shovel was ditch the E for a CV and install a Dyna S.

    As long as no one is watching it's first kick.

  11. #11
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    Do you know if it has solid or hydraulic lifters? Make sure they are not too snug.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinson View Post
    Best thing I ever did for my shovel was ditch the E for a CV and install a Dyna S.

    As long as no one is watching it's first kick.
    Careful with the dyna s talk, you might start a riot around here.

  13. #13
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    A cam can definetly have an effect on starting, but it still sounds like something else you are dealing with.
    That battery for one thing, like guys have said it should hold charge for a long time whith the bike being kicked over. Start of there. I have been using a 6Ah battery with good results.

    I have been running a 74" shovel with a few combinations of a Super E, Dyna S, Morris magneto, Andrews A2 cam, Leineweber L3S and a whole bunch of other variables. Always was a one kick bike. Hot or cold.

    Same thing with my stroker. one kick.

    But to keep it that way, things need to be spot on.
    Is the carb all nice and clean?
    Are the lifters properly adjusted?
    Cause if they are too long the engine won't build up enough compression on the start causing it to be a pain to kick to life.


    Also from cold I will give it two squirts of gas, kick it over a couple of times, then ignition on, and it starts on the next kick.

    Regarding the cam, yes you can remove it and see what it is. The numbers are on the inside face of it.
    And if you want to go for something else, I would recommend the Leineweber L3S.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by tzienlee View Post
    The thing with S&S carbs is that they are basically a carb from the 1930's !!….
    an old Dinosaur …… which is probably only still made & sold because of the Label,...
    they were ok 40 years ago but by todays standards they are a has been that never really was,
    they might perform well on a drag bike on the1/4 mile, but far too many people I know (including myself) have had problems with them that have been cured by fitting a modern carb,....
    there are many out there that are better than an S&S,..
    I personally like & use a LECTRON, A very simple to set up carb, with only an idle screw to adjust, NO JETS !!!....
    you not only get race performance from them but funnily enough you also get better MPG !!!
    The Harley CV is a great all round carb that gives reasonable performance all round and easy starting with a real choke not an ''enrichment device''.
    SU's are a very reliable carb, but they might start to be hard to find ……


    Are those lectron that good? I've seen a few bikes in the last few years with them on! old BT's as well..

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    CV+Ultima iggy for me. One or two kicks and go. I might be one of the "lucky ones" but, I don't even go through a ritual. I just kick the fukr.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatChibs View Post
    Careful with the dyna s talk, you might start a riot around here.
    "Set it and forget it" is pretty hard to beat.

    I guess I'm screwed if it melts on the road but I'll take my chances.

  17. #17
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    lol i have dyna s on both kick only harleys i have, no complaints here. it does piss of a purist though!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tattooo View Post
    DAMN good advice right there.......
    Yeah pissing money away always works for me.....heh.

    Try setting the points gap two thou shorter. I always had trouble with the gap pulling out 2 thou over spec when I tighten everything up. And check your timing.

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