Friday, July 10, 2009

Old Bikes Need Care

Got 185 psi of compression on both cylinders after the valve adjustment. That’s pretty darn good for a engine that I rebuilt in 1997. Now anything above 2000 RPM it has a miss. No backfiring out the exhaust or popping through the carb, just a miss. Real bothersome. Most of these old bikes can be pretty damn temperamental and have all kinds of little quirks. I was certain this was an ignition problem. Battery, check. Sparkplugs, check. Plug wires, check. Coil, check. Points, yes points. Check. For those that don’t remember points, they are little sticks of metal that spark and make the engine go suck bang boom.

A nice little electronic ignition unit could replace this mess and possibly be a little smoother idling, but I like messing with stuff. Besides, if some nut-case ever hits us with a electro magnetic pulse bomb, I’ll still be running. Any engine with a computer? Tits up.

All the basic stuff looks good so more checking. I take the point plate out and look at the timing advance assembly. Clean all the crud off it and look closer. If you look at where the spring loops on the pin you’ll see the mount holes on the flyweights are wallowed out, bad. The holes on the back for the stop pins are just as bad. The flyweights were coming out so far they were rubbing on the cam cover. The engine timing was jumping all over the place. A few more miles, I’m sure it would have quit running. I need to have a talk with my mechanic, that dude is slacking.

Why I don’t use Harley dealers? I called the local dealer. Asked the parts specialist if they had any flyweights and springs for an old XLH. He came back on the phone a few minutes later and said he looked in the book and couldn’t find any weights on the flywheel. WTF is this guy doing at a parts counter? Good-bye dumbshit. I went to the local independent bike shop and asked for flyweights. He said he didn’t have them, but he had a Accel Advance Unit, (weights, springs, mount plate, point cam, bolts, etc…). Great, I’ll take it! Point is, the guy knew what the hell I was looking for, and about $30 less than the dealer. Here’s the old one on the left and the new one on the right. Dave stopped by to see what’s up, so there was only one thing left to do. Go for a ride! Went out for a quick 10-mile or so ride and no problems. The old Sporty has new life.


Ann said...

Work inspired by an Ironhead in AZ, huh? ;)

Parts guys are usually dumbasses. I haven't found one yet that actually knows what the hell he's selling!

When I saw this post in my Google reader, my first thought was: Duh! No shit they need care! :)

Mr. Motorcycle said...

Who would have thunk it. I guess I would have never known that. The flyweights that is.

Allen Madding said...

I have a friend that is a parts man for a local Harley dealer. He knows his stuff, because he has been into his own bikes for eons. So, he is the only one at the parts counter I ever talk to :)


FLHX_Dave said...

I see you were using the Harley "Maxi-pad". I love that "Pig Mat" you showed me. I need to get some of those.

Thanks for mechanics 101. I appreciated that you waited until I could get to your cave so that I could learn a few things.

Now we need to get on that other beast you got stashed in that garage. I'm still having dreams about Ann's bike. I love that thing.

B.B. said...

LOL, I thought the title said, "Old Bikers Need Care"

Lady Ridesalot said...

I sure wish we were neighbors. I would love to learn a bit more about my ol' girl.

My heart is very sad... I just found out that my beloved H-D mechanic has moved away to North Alabama, about 3 plus hours away. He was the best tuner this area had and folks came from all over to use him. Now our H-D shop is just another F*#k story! :(

Willy D said...

Ann: Inspired by AZ? Maybe. If you can have one that blows-off Big Twins, the least I can do is make mine run better than a BMW. (Dig).

Mr. M: Most bikes made in the last 20 years don’t have them anymore. So if you can’t find yours, don’t worry.

Allen: Absolutely. If you find a good parts person, make them your friend.

Dave: We’ll either get the Shovel going, or I’ll take a shovel to it and end it’s suffering.

B.B.: Old bikers do need care. Usually in the form of Viagra and Depends.

Lady R: You can still learn. Get the manual and read. Don’t be afraid to try it. Anything you screw-up you can unscrew-up. Doesn’t say much about your dealer. They should have made it worth it for him to stay.

Baron's Life said...

Great post man!

Big Daddy said...

I actually happen to like points.
I agree the new ignition is eons better in many ways.
But since most Harleys never see more than six grand and properly cared for they did the job just fine.....and you can always jury rig the things to get you home if needed.
Can't do that with electronics

Webster World said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Webster World said...

I can see that my 72 Shovel liked to brake my ankle more than once over that issue.

Baron's Life said...

You have an award
Claim Award here!

RickNiekLikeBikes said...

Learn sumthin new every day.