Thursday, July 30, 2009

Something's Missing

This may sound strange, but I don’t think my 07’ Heritage is a Harley. For the last few weeks I’ve been riding the old Ironhead. Tonight I took the Softail out for a spin. I don’t think I got one block before something just didn’t feel right. The sound wasn’t right; the engine was just too smooth. There’s something about the sound of those old cast-iron engines that the aluminum ones will never have. The feel of the road under your ass wasn’t there either. The ride was just way too soft; almost as if, dare I say; riding a Goldwing! The Heritage had no vibration. I missed it. The new bikes are fine, but I miss the feel of riding a frame with a engine bolted to it. Your whole body going numb from the vibration. The term “Milwaukee Vibrator” use to mean something. Now it’s just something they sell at Victoria’s Secret. Or maybe I’m just getting old and slowly going nuts.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Been Wrenching

OK, I ain’t been around much, but I have a excuse; I’ve been wrenching. After I did the valves and ignition on my old Sporty one thing led to another. You know, like potato chips or sex. Once you start you can’t stop. It was running pretty good but not great. That led to a clean out of the old S&S carb. Now it was running really good, but I wasn’t happy. Did a little clutch work and the clutch lever felt about ten pounds lighter. This thing had always been set up as a solo ride, so I decided to see how it handled two up. That meant a rear seat and pegs. I put the P-Pad on, but the passenger didn’t like it, (they can be quite bitchy at times). We settled on the stock seat with a sissy bar. I also stole back the windshield B.B. was using on her bike. Don’t worry; I gave her another one I had that she likes even better. Took it out on a few two up rides between 50 and 100 miles and I was surprised. It ran and handled great, but… it leaves oil spot everywhere. After taking parts back off I spot a worn oil feed hose. On the trailer and off to a good steam cleaning. Every oil line on the bike gets replaced and the oil spots go away. Or so I thought. Now I can see a leak at the tranny main shaft. Tear it apart again. Fix the main shaft. Now the oil spots are gone. Now the old Ironhead runs like a raped ape, it’ll do over 100 MPH with two up and handles great. Guess I’ll start using it. But now that this one is good to go I still need someplace to direct all my caffeine. So I dug the Shovel out of the corner.
Trailer Queen



Next Project

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.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pop Quiz

I started up my ’84 Ironhead the other day and it ran like crap. Rather than try and guess what the problem was, I decided to practice what I preach. I did a compression test and these are the results:
Front cylinder dry 125 psi
Front cylinder wet 125 psi
Rear cylinder dry 170 psi
Rear cylinder wet 170 psi
So, what is the logical place to look for the problem?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Marshmallow 101

How to tell the sex of a marshmallow. More crap you never knew you wanted to know but were to afraid to ask.