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  1. #1
    Sonnycrocket88
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    Default Rebuild Shovel Doesn't Fire!

    First of all i’ll introduce myself. My name is Sonny and living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I have a shovel ’76 1200 kick-only. Bought it a couple of years ago. Last summer i brought the engine to shovel mechanic (HD) for a fully rebuild of the engine. Last couple of months i am trying to start but no succes. I renewed everything. (wiring, coil, sparks, ignition points and elec, pushrods,carb, battery etc).
    I checked the spark couple of 100 times. Got a good nice spark. I ve tried several different carbs S&S E & G, CV, Mikuni. Brought the engine a 3 times to a HD mechanic and everytime i get the same answer.. Your shovel is a mystery…
    Did a compression test and got between 75 and 80 psi. But my baby dont fire at all!


    Maybe one of you guys got suggestions ??

    PS. Sorry for my grammar, english is not my native language!

  2. #2

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    Suck, squeeze, bang, blow.
    Air, fuel, compression, spark.

    Each at the right time. I will tell you from experience that a fresh motor with rings that are not seated can be hard to kick start the first couple of times. And your rather low cranking compression would be consistent with rings that are not seated.
    It is always possible that you are not setting the timing on the compression stroke, or that you are using the wrong timing marks, but if others have looked at it, I would assume someone would have corrected that for you. With the low compression, it could be that the valve job is not up to snuff, and bad valves can make shovels hard to start.

    Here's a quick check that the ignition timing is at least close enough to start. It is a check of idle timing, and not full advance timing as you would usually set it:

    Collapse the front cylinder intake pushrod cover.
    Remove the timing plug, spark plugs, and point cover.
    Turn the motor in the normal direction of rotation until you see the intake pushrod open and close the valve.
    Turning the motor another roughly 1/3 of a turn, you will see the front piston come to TDC (you can feel for it with a wire or straw) and the TDC timing mark will appear in the timing hole. Put the mark at the rear of the hole, so you can barely see it.
    Now look at the points. The narrow point cam lobe should be just opening the points, or right at beginning to open them.
    Timing that close should allow you to kick start the motor, or at least get a pop through the pipes. If you get nothing, you may have a mechanical problem with the motor which will require some disassembly.

    In your efforts to start this motor, do you ever see that the plugs are wet with fuel? If not, you may have a fuel delivery problem not related to the motor.

    Good luck .

    Jim

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    Know all that but a tip of the hat to you Jim for explaining it so well. Bill

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    Your grammar is fine. Few Americans speak English well either! Be glad your primary education doesn't suck. Most of ours do...

    We can't see your machine over the internet so post maximum detail. Did the bike ever run correctly and if so for how long? That's important.

    If your mechanic is mystified by a Shovelhead no-start he's fucking incompetent. Shovels are simple machines. Time to do as most of us did and learn it yourself. To ride vintage bikes one must learn to wrench and you came to the right place!

    Download a factory service manual and parts catalog. The Carl Salter site has no malware and is free.

    Your compression reading is quite low and cause for concern. Repeat the compression test with the throttle held wide open and if your carb has a choke plate ensure it is open for maximum airflow. If it's a CV remove the air cleaner housing and prop the slide open. Spin or kick over the engine until your gauge needle stops rising. Post results. Then spray some light oil into the spark plug holes and repeat the test. Post results.

    Many frustrating problems have multiple causes. Since every Shovel owner should have one, order a spare intake manifold seal kit. You WILL eventually use it and intake leaks are common. (I keep complete engine gasket/seal kits so I always have the bits handy. It saves a lot of time.)

    Multiple carb swaps may have induced a leak. It's easy to make a manifold pressure tester. Don't go over ~15 psi:

    http://www.mulliemotors.com/imagesmotors/leaktest2.jpg

    What carb is on there now and precisely how is it adjusted?

    Make SURE your throttle plate FULLY closes then adjust per service manual. If it is too far open that can cause no-starts despite everything else being correct.

    Welcome to Chop Cult. I suggest you register.

  5. #5
    sonnycrocket88
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JBinNC View Post
    Suck, squeeze, bang, blow.
    Air, fuel, compression, spark.

    Each at the right time. I will tell you from experience that a fresh motor with rings that are not seated can be hard to kick start the first couple of times. And your rather low cranking compression would be consistent with rings that are not seated.
    It is always possible that you are not setting the timing on the compression stroke, or that you are using the wrong timing marks, but if others have looked at it, I would assume someone would have corrected that for you. With the low compression, it could be that the valve job is not up to snuff, and bad valves can make shovels hard to start.

    Here's a quick check that the ignition timing is at least close enough to start. It is a check of idle timing, and not full advance timing as you would usually set it:

    Collapse the front cylinder intake pushrod cover.
    Remove the timing plug, spark plugs, and point cover.
    Turn the motor in the normal direction of rotation until you see the intake pushrod open and close the valve.
    Turning the motor another roughly 1/3 of a turn, you will see the front piston come to TDC (you can feel for it with a wire or straw) and the TDC timing mark will appear in the timing hole. Put the mark at the rear of the hole, so you can barely see it.
    Now look at the points. The narrow point cam lobe should be just opening the points, or right at beginning to open them.
    Timing that close should allow you to kick start the motor, or at least get a pop through the pipes. If you get nothing, you may have a mechanical problem with the motor which will require some disassembly.

    In your efforts to start this motor, do you ever see that the plugs are wet with fuel? If not, you may have a fuel delivery problem not related to the motor.

    Good luck .

    Jim
    Thanks for the respond Jim,

    I checked my timing couple of times, and the setting is ok. I just checked it like you say. Also tried with new set of points. Not even a sign of life!

  6. #6
    sonnycrocket88
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by farmall View Post
    Your grammar is fine. Few Americans speak English well either! Be glad your primary education doesn't suck. Most of ours do...

    We can't see your machine over the internet so post maximum detail. Did the bike ever run correctly and if so for how long? That's important.

    If your mechanic is mystified by a Shovelhead no-start he's fucking incompetent. Shovels are simple machines. Time to do as most of us did and learn it yourself. To ride vintage bikes one must learn to wrench and you came to the right place!

    Download a factory service manual and parts catalog. The Carl Salter site has no malware and is free.

    Your compression reading is quite low and cause for concern. Repeat the compression test with the throttle held wide open and if your carb has a choke plate ensure it is open for maximum airflow. If it's a CV remove the air cleaner housing and prop the slide open. Spin or kick over the engine until your gauge needle stops rising. Post results. Then spray some light oil into the spark plug holes and repeat the test. Post results.

    Many frustrating problems have multiple causes. Since every Shovel owner should have one, order a spare intake manifold seal kit. You WILL eventually use it and intake leaks are common. (I keep complete engine gasket/seal kits so I always have the bits handy. It saves a lot of time.)

    Multiple carb swaps may have induced a leak. It's easy to make a manifold pressure tester. Don't go over ~15 psi:

    http://www.mulliemotors.com/imagesmotors/leaktest2.jpg

    What carb is on there now and precisely how is it adjusted?

    Make SURE your throttle plate FULLY closes then adjust per service manual. If it is too far open that can cause no-starts despite everything else being correct.

    Welcome to Chop Cult. I suggest you register.
    Thanks for the respond!

    The carb now is an S&S G. I bought it with this carb. but i tried different carbs just to ensure that this isn't a fuel problem. The bike did just fine until last year. Got a fully rebuild on it! I am not that specialized in shovels. It is my first bike also. The problem is over here in Holland, there aren't that much kick-only shovel guys over here! not where i live. So i am stuck with the HD store folks. But they couldn't help me! After all, i learned a lot to find it out all by my self!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonnycrocket88 View Post
    Thanks for the respond!

    The carb now is an S&S G. I bought it with this carb. but i tried different carbs just to ensure that this isn't a fuel problem. The bike did just fine until last year. Got a fully rebuild on it! I am not that specialized in shovels. It is my first bike also. The problem is over here in Holland, there aren't that much kick-only shovel guys over here! not where i live. So i am stuck with the HD store folks. But they couldn't help me! After all, i learned a lot to find it out all by my self!
    The “ HD store folks” can’t help us in the US either

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    Quote Originally Posted by farmall View Post

    Many frustrating problems have multiple causes.

    Welcome to Chop Cult. I suggest you register.
    Are your plugs getting wet?
    If yes, then compression is probably your problem.


    farmall- so many people always look for that ONE thing that's keeping it from running.
    JBinNC - great post!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by armand View Post
    The “ HD store folks” can’t help us in the US either
    ^^^Funny, and unfortunately true.

    Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by armand View Post
    The “ HD store folks” can’t help us in the US either
    LOL, Amen to that.

    Ok step one, do you have power to the hot side of the coil, is it around 12 volts?

    Compression, can you do a compression check and what do you get 1st kick and 2nd kick.

    Next, is there fresh gas in the tank and are you sure it is getting to the carb, pull the bowl if you have to.

    Next, are the spark plugs wet or dry when you try to start, wet most likely means spark problem, dry usually means fuel.

    Points, are they gapped correctly, do this before setting your timing.

    Timing, are you sure you are on the compression stroke and that the timing mark is in the right spot in the window?

    If they are dry, try kicking it ignition off with your hand over the mouth of the carb, that SHOULD suck a bunch of gas into the carb.

    I have an S&S Super E, which has the accelerator pump, so I prime the bike, and this is important, throttle closed enhancer on full, kick it through twice to prime both cylinders, now set the enhancer about half way, turn on ignition, I just barely crack the throttle, and give it a kick.

    If none of the above works, get a buddy to help you push start it and see what you get.

    Let us know.

  11. #11

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    Here's another thought, something that might contribute to your problem.

    IF the motor has the original hydraulic tappets, and they are not properly adjusted (which I have seen a few times), that can contribute to the low compression number and hard (or no) starting.

    IF the tappets are the originals, adjust using the dry method (whether they have oil in them or not, doesn't matter):

    You can do both tappets on either cylinder, with the piston at TDC on the compression stroke.
    Collapse each tappet by extending the pushrod. I do this two turns at a time, allowing time for the tappet to bleed off oil. After 7 or 8 turns, the tappet plunger will be bottomed, and the pushrod will not be able to be turned no matter how long you wait.
    At that point, shorten the pushrod until it just comes free, and can be spun with the fingers. From that exact point, shorten the pushrod an additional 1 1/2 turns (9 flats) and lock the nut.
    With both pushrods free to turn, roll the motor until the other piston is at TDC on its compression stroke, and repeat.

    Even with the tappets completely dry, or even bad, this will give you enough valve lift to kick start the motor.

    Jim

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoomBuggy View Post
    LOL, Amen to that.

    Ok step one, do you have power to the hot side of the coil, is it around 12 volts?

    Compression, can you do a compression check and what do you get 1st kick and 2nd kick.

    Next, is there fresh gas in the tank and are you sure it is getting to the carb, pull the bowl if you have to.

    Next, are the spark plugs wet or dry when you try to start, wet most likely means spark problem, dry usually means fuel.

    Points, are they gapped correctly, do this before setting your timing.

    Timing, are you sure you are on the compression stroke and that the timing mark is in the right spot in the window?

    If they are dry, try kicking it ignition off with your hand over the mouth of the carb, that SHOULD suck a bunch of gas into the carb.

    I have an S&S Super E, which has the accelerator pump, so I prime the bike, and this is important, throttle closed enhancer on full, kick it through twice to prime both cylinders, now set the enhancer about half way, turn on ignition, I just barely crack the throttle, and give it a kick.

    If none of the above works, get a buddy to help you push start it and see what you get.

    Let us know.
    YES! Try bump starting it on pavement, slight downhill, two fit buddies, ignition on, gas on and if it doesn't pop at all at least you know kicking it is useless.

  13. #13

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    Go see Ronnie at Iron Pit in Helmond (NL). He'll help you.
    HD dealers don't know shovels anymore.

  14. #14
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    BTW a G is grossly oversize for a stock displacement (if it is, you didn't mention) Shovel. Use the smallest, best condition other carb you have.

    Next time study much more and never do anything without ample research beforehand. Shovels are not modern motorcycles so you as an owner will have a lot of work to do. Chop Cult is a good place to find out what NOT to do instead of using trial and error.

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DoomBuggy View Post
    LOL, Amen to that.

    Ok step one, do you have power to the hot side of the coil, is it around 12 volts?

    Compression, can you do a compression check and what do you get 1st kick and 2nd kick.

    Next, is there fresh gas in the tank and are you sure it is getting to the carb, pull the bowl if you have to.

    Next, are the spark plugs wet or dry when you try to start, wet most likely means spark problem, dry usually means fuel.

    Points, are they gapped correctly, do this before setting your timing.

    Timing, are you sure you are on the compression stroke and that the timing mark is in the right spot in the window?

    If they are dry, try kicking it ignition off with your hand over the mouth of the carb, that SHOULD suck a bunch of gas into the carb.

    I have an S&S Super E, which has the accelerator pump, so I prime the bike, and this is important, throttle closed enhancer on full, kick it through twice to prime both cylinders, now set the enhancer about half way, turn on ignition, I just barely crack the throttle, and give it a kick.

    If none of the above works, get a buddy to help you push start it and see what you get.

    Let us know.
    Thanks for the respond,

    I've got 12Volt. Checked the wires and coil. I fixed the wires myself and let it double check by an experienced guy.
    The points i ve installed it myself, checked it also by an other guy. Setting the gap, look for the compression stroke on the pushrod and seat the flywheel until i see the TDC-mark.
    The sparks are dry, double checked it last weekend. The carb sprays gas into the intake so that should be fine. I don't know for sure but the carb doesnt matter to start right?!? Maybe it runs bad with a bigger carb, but it should have fired. Not even a Puff! I've got an S&S E in the garage and i will try it next weekend.

    Push start is an option, didnt think about that. I'll try it !

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JBinNC View Post
    Here's another thought, something that might contribute to your problem.

    IF the motor has the original hydraulic tappets, and they are not properly adjusted (which I have seen a few times), that can contribute to the low compression number and hard (or no) starting.

    IF the tappets are the originals, adjust using the dry method (whether they have oil in them or not, doesn't matter):

    You can do both tappets on either cylinder, with the piston at TDC on the compression stroke.
    Collapse each tappet by extending the pushrod. I do this two turns at a time, allowing time for the tappet to bleed off oil. After 7 or 8 turns, the tappet plunger will be bottomed, and the pushrod will not be able to be turned no matter how long you wait.
    At that point, shorten the pushrod until it just comes free, and can be spun with the fingers. From that exact point, shorten the pushrod an additional 1 1/2 turns (9 flats) and lock the nut.
    With both pushrods free to turn, roll the motor until the other piston is at TDC on its compression stroke, and repeat.

    Even with the tappets completely dry, or even bad, this will give you enough valve lift to kick start the motor.

    Jim
    I'll try to find out on the internet some more information about this. I never worked on the pushrods before so this is a new one for me!
    I had solid pushrods but somebody told me that hydraulic ones runs better and easier to set. So i am running hydraulics now.
    Thanks for the information! i'll write it down and let you know!

  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Vyvyan View Post
    Go see Ronnie at Iron Pit in Helmond (NL). He'll help you.
    HD dealers don't know shovels anymore.
    Thanks a lot! found his adress on the web!

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by farmall View Post

    Welcome to Chop Cult. I suggest you register.
    I register everytime again but when i log out, chopcult.com doesn't filed my e-mail

  19. #19
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    I had solid pushrods but somebody told me that hydraulic ones runs better and easier to set. So i am running hydraulics now.
    They are equally easy to adjust but solids sometimes need it more often. Usual mistake is adjusting them too tight.

    Adjust your hydraulics per your factory service manual BUT know who made them because some have different thread pitches.

    Go here and do as instructed. Note the brand chart. Have either your PC or a printed copy to refer to when you do the work.

    https://www.sscycle.com/tech-info/in...rod-adjustment

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