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  1. #1
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    Default Finally Fixed My F@#*ing Idling Issue

    My build thread and my troubleshooting threads all disappeared along with the past year's worth of posts on this site. I'm going to blame the Russians. What better way to attack freedom loving Americans than fuck with a chopper site? For reference, this is my build:

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    It's a 1978 FLH I pieced together from parts and has never run as a complete bike.

    I had/have three problems getting it road-ready: (1) it wouldn't idle, (2) the kicker jams, and (3) oil leak.

    I finally solved the idling problem tonight.

    I have it timed so it starts on 1 or 2 kicks (when the kicker doesn't jam), but it wouldn't idle for shit. I had to keep a little throttle on and blip it or it would die, back firing through the carb. All the answers I found were "too lean," "too advanced," and "manifold leak." I pulled the carb, replaced the gaskets, and swapped out the band and aircraft clamps for a Tite-seal kit. Nothing changed. I got it running and blew propane all over it. Nothing. It's a Harley CV carb, and I had it set at 1 3/4 turns out in the mixture screw. I have a 3-position choke, and had the choke all the way out. I kept turning the screw out until I had 4 1/2 turns out. Still wouldn't idle and kept farting through the carb at low rpms. So, now I was thinking that the passageways in the carb are clogged (even though I cleaned the crap out of it) and I'll have to take it all apart again. As a last ditch effort, I turned the mixture screw all the way in and pushed the choke all the way in. It fired right up and idled beautifully. Seems it was too rich. I should probably order a size smaller jet, but I'm just going to run it and see if I really need to.

    Regarding the kicker jamming, I replaced my Taiwanese kicker gears with Baker's after I sheared off the key (see pic below), and it still jams about 3 out of 4 kicks. I checked for interference on the motor side (plugs vs. valves) and that wasn't the problem. Something is still jamming up, and I can hear it coming from the transmission (or clutch, but I can't imagine what in the clutch would cause it). The transmission shifts fine with no binding, and I verified that it is not popping into gear or anything like that. When I take the plugs out, it kicks over fine with no jamming, but every once in a while, it seems to slip or bind just a bit. I'm suspecting that there is something out of spec with either the kicker cover (V-twin) or the kicker gear shaft (also V-twin). I've learned that the motor starts so easily (when it doesn't jam) that I really don't have to kick hard at all. That will at least prevent me from breaking something until I get it figured out. I think I might try to find an OEM or S&S kicker cover and a better (Jims?) shaft. I may start saving up for a Baker 6-in-4.

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    Finally, the oil leak. It was leaking pretty bad when I had it running the past few days (before I fixed the idling problem), but because I had to stay on the throttle, I couldn't figure out where it was coming from. It seemed to be from the oil pump, and I suspected a gasket leak. Then, I realized that I never blocked off the primary chain oiler outlet. I fixed that with a machine screw and teflon tape.

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    I haven't cleaned my garage floor yet from the leaking, so when I got it idling well tonight, I wasn't sure if the puddle under it was from before or not. I'll have to clean the floor up (or lay down some cardboard) and figure out if it's still leaking and from where. But, at least now I can get it on the road. My plan is to test ride it this weekend after I hook the clutch release back up.

  2. #2
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    Handsome machine tastefully done.

  3. #3
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    I put a set of Baker kicker gears into Brown Sugar and it was a night and day difference. She had started to slip when kicking her, that is a knee buster!

    Great looking bike!

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the compliments. I was really hoping the Baker gears would have fixed the problem, but they really didn’t make a difference (except not breaking). I just ordered the S&S cover and a Jim’s kicker shaft, so maybe that will take care of things.

  5. #5

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    GREAT post: Allot of folks will post a question and get multiple possible solutions, but then then you never hear from the original poster again and if he ever got the problem fixed. Nice job, and the pics do speak a thousand words

  6. #6

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    TomK,

    You are not out of the woods yet.

    If your carb is idling with the mixture screw seated, you have a rich condition caused by something in the carb not set up right. As you ride the bike, it will probably become evident that the carb needs further work.

    Jim

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBinNC View Post
    If your carb is idling with the mixture screw seated, you have a rich condition caused by something in the carb not set up right.
    Are you thinking float level? Also, could it be that I didn't have an o-ring on the accelerator pump nozzle? I realized it was missing and just put this one on, but haven't tried it out yet.

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    I currently have a 46 pilot jet in it, and I ordered a 45 and 44 to try.
    Last edited by TomK; 06-19-2021 at 11:33 AM.

  8. #8

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    No oring goes there.

    Could be float level, more likely a leaky float needle. Needle jet at top of emulsion tube could be upside down. Slide needle could be a problem in many ways. Enrichener could be leaking fuel. There's any number of issues, but the CV is forgiving and easy to work on.

    Jim
    Last edited by JBinNC; 06-19-2021 at 11:51 AM.

  9. #9

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    Intermediate jet size ain't your problem. But you may not have the optimum size selected yet. 45, 48, or 50 will usually satisfy a shovel motor.

    Jim

  10. #10
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    I’m getting really close finally!

    I tried a smaller jet, and the motor ran a lot worse. I guessed that I was actually running too lean, so I ordered a set of larger jets.

    While waiting on those, I bought and installed a Baker 6-in-4 transmission, so I hadn’t been able to turn my attention back to carb tuning.

    I finally got the bike off the stand last night, and the Baker cured my kicker problem.

    I upped my slow jet to a 48 and set the mixture screw at 2 1/2 turns out.

    The bike kicked right over and was idling great. I turned the mixture screw all the way in and the motor stumbled and died. Good!

    I’m not sure why the motor didn’t die before when I did that. My guess is that due to the funny angle I have to work at (Old Stf oil lines really get in the way) I hadn’t actually screwed it in all the way.

    I turned it out to 4 1/2 turns out and really couldn’t perceive any difference with the idle. I’m afraid to turn it out any more as that doesn’t leave much thread holding it in.

    I haven’t broken the motor in yet, so I shut it off to cool down before tuning it any further.

    I’m planning on putting a 50 jet in it tonight to see if I can tweak it just right. I’d rather err on the side of too rich than too lean.

    One thing I tried that I don’t understand is pulling the enrichener out after it was warmed up. The rpms increased noticeably. Does that mean I’m still too lean or is that simply what the enrichener will do even when you have the carb tuned right?
    Last edited by TomK; 07-12-2021 at 11:30 AM.

  11. #11

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    Pulling the enrichener knob out on a CV, or raising the enrichener lever or plunger on an S&S carb, allows both AIR and fuel to bypass the throttle plate, and that is why the idle speed goes up.

    After you have finished with the tuning on your carb, it's a good idea to swipe a little silicone sealer over the idle screw well. Those screws have been known to vibrate out and be lost.

    Jim

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the explanation and advice. Never thought of the silicone trick.

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