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Thread: Shovel Help

  1. #1

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    Aug 2020
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    Default Shovel Help

    Hello Yall,

    I have a new to me 79 Shovel in a hardtail frame, Mikuni 42 Carb, ratchet top, basically the standard chopper. I have been trying to start it the last couple weeks to little success. The previous owner started the bike once and then it sat for about two years. Since September I have gotten the bike started four times, three of those times unless Im on the throttle the bike will idle for a moment and then die. It was hard to kick it over originally but as of two weeks ago it has gotten easier to the point where it feels like it will lose compression mid kick. It gave out on me and I hyperextended my knee.

    So far I have cleaned out the carb, replaced the float needle because originally I thought there wasnt getting any gas and the carb was overflowing. The overflowing stopped and there is gas being funneled threw. While trying to kick it over earlier The compression seemed like it did not want to build up but i got it started but died within a minute of turning the carb off. Also there was white smoke coming out the velocity stack every time the bike kicked back. Im new to shovels and working on bikes but trying to learn and get it running on my own before taking it to a shop as the shops around here seem to charge a bit.

    Any help in what I should check or adjust in order to get the bike running would be appreciated.

    Attached is a photo of the bike because photos rock. Also if anyone is in the DC area or further out that is willing to help in person that would be appreciated, trying to learn on how to build it out.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 97B1758A-DE08-4D31-9AA6-C7FB13345130.jpg  

  2. #2
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    Perform a compression test. Testers are cheap and every HD owner (LiveWire excepted) should own one.
    Any auto store has them. Post results.

    I replace the intake manifold seals on every new-to-me HD because the dry out and leak.
    I also stock spare spark plugs. Post clear pics of your plugs so we can see how it was running.

    Also tell us about your ignition. I would verify timing is correct.

    When kicking I slightly preload the kicker first to ensure the ratchet won't skip. Kicking is a big enough annoyance without knee damage. If the kicker ratchet is Chinesium (likely) a set of Baker gears is well worth the money.

  3. #3

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    I appreciate the response I will definitely go check all of that and update.

    After the knee I went to a shop and they quoted me $280 as a possible start which seemed high to me but it may be because of the area.

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    In addition to the list from farmall, I would add a valve adjustment. Many shovels have been converted to solid tappets, or some other non-stock tappet because the old originals are, well, old. A picture posted here will yield an ID of your tappet type, and adjustment instructions. To telescope the pushrod covers, pry down on the spring cup and pull the clip off the pushrod tube at the top. That will allow you to collapse the cover so you can pull it up and see the tappet.

    As an aside, I do not have much, if any, trouble with the aftermarket kicker parts, and I currently have three kick start bikes up and running. The main thing is that the kick shaft bushings in the cover are changed if worn. The mainshaft kick gears available in the aftermarket have a brass bushing and those will not run long, and should be replaced with a bronze bushing before fitting the gear. With the kick lever upright in the rest position, the slot for the spring in the kick shaft should be at 4 o'clock. That's the main points to deal with.

    Jim

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    Aa Farmall said a compression test will be a good place to start. The approach you are taking by trying to learn is the right one, it will pay dividends for years to come.

    Once you've done a compression test remember that fuel, air, and spark make the magic sauce. Here's a list of everything id go through -

    - Pushrod adjustment -Determine whether you have solid or hydraulic lifters and adjust accordingly. You dont want to be hanging a valve.
    - Fuel to the carb - Take your air cleaner of, crack the throttle, ensure you are getting a strong even spray of fuel to the motor.
    - Throttle plate - Make sure its closing fully. I've had mine stick before and when your kicking as the motor tries to start the kicker will "run away" on you = sore knee
    - Timing - Set your points gaps as per the manual and time as per the manual. Mark your points plate at "stock" timing for future reference.
    - Spark - New plugs (or good used) gapped correctly, verify your coil primary and secondary windings are within spec. Check the wiring to both sides so the coil. Check spark lead resistance and correct spark lead type for ignition type. Check mechanical condition of your points (if its points), make sure the advance weights are lubed, the contacts are clean and in good condition, that your condenser is working and within spec. Kick the bike with the plugs out and look for spark.
    - Battery - Is it charged? If not charge it or replace it.
    - Wiring - Make sure all ignition system wiring is in good condition and that your grounds are to raw steel, not paint work.

    All of the above can be done (and should be done) by yourself. The only tools you need are compression tester, multimeter, screwdriver, and some spanners.

    If you work through all of the above and your still having trouble it may be time to go to a shop.

    Good luck and happy to help if you get stuck on anything.

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    Congrats on the new bike! looks killer.

    A silly question, but one that hasn't been mentioned and may be worth a thought? have you put new gas in the bike? if it's 2 years old it may be half of the issue.

    With the carb as well have you made sure nothing is blocked? old gas goes like gum, very easy to block small jets in a carb etc.

  7. #7

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    I agree: stick with the easiest fixes first.

    First, did it run BEFORE you got it. If it really did, allot of the work is already done for you. I have seen bikes, cars, etc that have sat for years, and with simple work and cleaning, would start right up

    You mentioned two years sitting: That raises a flag for me. Gas nowadays does not last long before it degrades, Even worse are "winter blends" sold in the winter in some areas in Co.

    Old gas turns into a very hard varnish that is EXTREMLY difficult to remove: Some folks just flush or spray out thier carb with carb cleaner hoping that will do the job in itself, but it takes manual and detailed work to clean out hardened and spoiled gas.

    I would start with:

    Flush tank, tear apart that carb and clean it (Was it really cleaned thoroughly?), I am talking cleaning every single orifiec and nook and cranny. Dont take any shortcuts here. Replace all fuel lines/filters. Clean petcock and screen (Again, take the petcock apart and clean). New plugs. Then check pushrods. Change oil

    Double check timing. Do a compression check

    Do the simple and often overlooked stuff first

    Then go from there, one fix at a time until that sucker fires up and runs right!

  8. #8

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ID:	107375I checked the compression and saw 70 in the front and 60 in the rear. Im also not kicking as hard because my knee but it feels like it does not want to engage. The bike did almost start the other day on the first kick but backfired and died.

    I checked with the guy that sold it to me and the bike has an electronic ignition and dual plug motor. I have attached a picture of the plugs that were connected to the coil. I know theyre rough. When I have time I will check the timing and pushrod.

    - battery is currently in a tender and I checked the carb she is getting gas straight in.
    Last edited by cdgecko; 11-21-2020 at 6:50 PM.

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    $300 for a shop to do a "make run" is an acceptable average. They will go thru all the procedures the fine people on this board are recommending.

    Im all for saving money and doing it myself when I can. Tuning is my Achilles heel. My indy shop is doing a second tune after 100 miles on a fresh build.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdgecko View Post
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ID:	107375I checked the compression and saw 70 in the front and 60 in the rear. Im also not kicking as hard because my knee but it feels like it does not want to engage. The bike did almost start the other day on the first kick but backfired and died.

    I checked with the guy that sold it to me and the bike has an electronic ignition and dual plug motor. I have attached a picture of the plugs that were connected to the coil. I know theyre rough. When I have time I will check the timing and pushrod.

    - battery is currently in a tender and I checked the carb she is getting gas straight in.
    As has been mentioned here, you may have overlooked something. The plugs looks a fairly good colour from the photos, albeit it's slightly hard to tell. You always want them to be a light brown biscuit colour. Depending on where you are and the amount of ethanol in your gas it does vary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdgecko View Post
    I’m also not kicking as hard because my knee
    That is a LOT of your starting problem.

    Plus you need to buy some new plugs those are shot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdgecko View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	107375I checked the compression and saw 70 in the front and 60 in the rear. I’m also not kicking as hard because my knee but it feels like it does not want to engage. The bike did almost start the other day on the first kick but backfired and died.

    I checked with the guy that sold it to me and the bike has an electronic ignition and dual plug motor. I have attached a picture of the plugs that were connected to the coil. I know they’re rough. When I have time I will check the timing and pushrod.

    - battery is currently in a tender and I checked the carb she is getting gas straight in.
    Hey man, I sent you a message here. Hit me back. I may be able to help. I sent you my phone number as well, feel free to text me.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdgecko View Post
    I checked the compression and saw 70 in the front and 60 in the rear.
    That's way too low and uneven. Check again, make sure your throttle is wide open when you kicking it over.

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