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Old 06-04-2014, 05:05 PM   #1
[JP]
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Default Help with Shovelhead timing please

Hi gents..

need a little help with the timing on my 76 Shovelhead after rebuilding.

So i've done about 100 miles now and i've dropped the oil and put new oil in.

During the 100 miles she's been riding fine, but I feel she's quite lumpy when trying to mantain a constant speed.
she's fine at slowly building up speed (cant open hard yet) but when trying to keep say at 40mph, she feels a bit lumpy.

Cant do the proper spark plug test, but after stopping and removing the plugs, they have a nice brown colour, rear one might be a bit on the white side though....so mixture needs adjusting.

But anway, timing.. decided to check the timing, so I dont the following:
  • set the points gap to 0.018. on both lobes.
  • Got the timing plug out and turned the engine ( I have 3 marks on my flywheel - a line, a big dot and a small dot)
  • Set the small dot as it just appears on the timing hole (this should be front piston at TDC right?)
  • checked by putting a cable tie down the spark plug hole and the piston is right at the top.
  • went back to the points, undone the timing plate and then set a Voltmeter, between the wiring contact and a good earth. when the points are touching it shows 0, when they are open it shows 12V.
    I turned the plate untill it just showed 12V. meaning the points are just open.

Question 1 - So... have I done all the above right?
Question 2 - Everywhere I read it says do it on the narrow lobe.. so looking at the photo have I done it on the right lobe? or is this one the high lobe and the other the lower lobe? have seen it named different things....



Question 3 - You can see on the photo de mark where the plate was previously....such a big difference? is this normal? I've only rebuild the top end..could things changed this much? previously I had never checked the timing, but the bike was running fine.






Thanks for all the comments.
JP
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Old 06-04-2014, 08:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: Help with Shovelhead timing please

Here is some info on static timing. I transferred my tdc timing mark to the inner primary cover. It's easier to shoot with the light. Just make double sure you are reading the timing marks on the flywheel correctly

http://www.shovelhead.us/forum/showt...ht=Timing+hawg

http://www.shovelhead.us/forum/showt...ht=Timing+hawg

Last edited by CootsBrown; 06-04-2014 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 06-04-2014, 08:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: Help with Shovelhead timing please

You have F....d up your timing. Put it back were it was. You said, "I set the points at .018 on both lopes". Did you mean as Dragstews said that it is the same on both lopes. If not see his post. Myself I would return the timing plate to were it was start the bike and leaving the cover off, I'd go for a ride with a screwdriver. Advancing the timing by small amounts till I started to get some pinging then back it off a bit, so it would not ping unless you really lugged the engine. After getting that done I would get into my jetting. After that I'd do the timing as I said again. Last is once I get it set I stake mark the timing plate to the cone, so it is easy to reset it, if for any reason you have to remove it. You also should check your advance, to be sure it is Ok before doing all this.
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Old 06-05-2014, 02:43 AM   #4
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Default Re: Help with Shovelhead timing please

Quote:
Originally Posted by CootsBrown View Post
Here is some info on static timing. I transferred my tdc timing mark to the inner primary cover. It's easier to shoot with the light. Just make double sure you are reading the timing marks on the flywheel correctly

http://www.shovelhead.us/forum/showt...ht=Timing+hawg

http://www.shovelhead.us/forum/showt...ht=Timing+hawg
thanks, that's what I followed to set my static timing

Quote:
Originally Posted by joe49 View Post
You have F....d up your timing. Put it back were it was. You said, "I set the points at .018 on both lopes". Did you mean as Dragstews said that it is the same on both lopes. If not see his post. Myself I would return the timing plate to were it was start the bike and leaving the cover off, I'd go for a ride with a screwdriver. Advancing the timing by small amounts till I started to get some pinging then back it off a bit, so it would not ping unless you really lugged the engine. After getting that done I would get into my jetting. After that I'd do the timing as I said again. Last is once I get it set I stake mark the timing plate to the cone, so it is easy to reset it, if for any reason you have to remove it. You also should check your advance, to be sure it is Ok before doing all this.
How have I fucked my timing?
I set the .018 as Dragstews mentions above, by following the explanation from the links above...

what do you mean by "start getting some pinging?" (foreigner here..not familiar with some 'technical' terms )

thanks for the help guys.

JP
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: Help with Shovelhead timing please

Pinging is predetonation or preignition. Meaning the spark is to early or advanced if you hear a knock or ping. Also indicates a lean mixture at cruise.

What I didn't see is the carb tune. Where is that at? I see you said you set the timing statically. I am assuming you mean you got the timing mark where you want it and turned the mechanical to full advance and set the narrow lobe and points to just open...

Bear in mind the later and some other shovels the timing mark isn't in the center of the window/plug hole. I have seen them just about to leave and some just entering. most are center to leaving.

The book is a general "rule of thumb" or a good place to start. Each motor likes what it likes.

Seems you verified TDC eariler. Good. Now what degree is the timing mark really at?


Wasn't this running perfectly before the hardtail? Lets go back to that...
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:40 AM   #6
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Default Re: Help with Shovelhead timing please

yeh carb tune is still underway..
She idles fine and the plugs have a nice colour to it, might need a bit of adjusting on the mixture though.

She was running fine before the hardtail, all I done was rebuild the top end, so I assume this wouldnt affect the timing?
but I wanted to check the timing anyway, as I had never done it before, and also to learn how to do it. And as she feels lumpy at mantaining a constant speed.. I thought..just check the timing.
Plus...she's kicking me back a lot! last year, the whole year she kicked me back 2 or 3 times.... so far this year, bear in mind I've riden her over 2 days only, she's kicked me back close to 10 times.

a friend suggested to check the timing as that could be out and why she was kicking me back.

I set the gaps at 0.018, I basically just followed the instructions on the links above.
I have the service manual and a claymer manual.... both are shit with the instructions.

The timing marks I have on the flywheel is a big dot, a centre line and a small dot. I set the timing mark with the small dot just as it enter the timing hole. (that's how I read on some website for my year shovel)
then, as you say, I went and turned the timing plate so that the points are just about to open as it comes over the lobe (narrow lobe...or high lobe - seen it being called loads of different names)
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:06 AM   #7
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Default Re: Help with Shovelhead timing please

dont forget you MUST set the timing not only on the front cylinder but on front cylinder compression stroke!!.....make sure you didn't over adjust the tappets,too tight is as bad as too loose,........''Pinging'' in English is ''Pinking''....
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Old 06-05-2014, 07:13 AM   #8
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Default Re: Help with Shovelhead timing please

Quote:
Originally Posted by magnum45pete View Post
dont forget you MUST set the timing not only on the front cylinder but on front cylinder compression stroke!!.....make sure you didn't over adjust the tappets,too tight is as bad as too loose,........''Pinging'' in English is ''Pinking''....
last time I checked they were just about right.. no slack and could just turn with my fingers.

pinking.... and what would be the equivalent to Portuguese?! lol

right.. I'm going over to a bike meet this evening, so I think I'll put the timing plate back where it was before.
Need to read more and get more advice about all this timing stuff!

I think I done it on the front compression stroke.
I turned the flywheel till I had the mark in the timing hole (little mark) and then checked the piston was right at the top... any other checks I should have done to be sure it was on the compression stroke?
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Old 06-05-2014, 07:41 AM   #9
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Default Re: Help with Shovelhead timing please

two quick ways of checking if you are on front cylinder compression stroke are..

1) remove the front cylinder pushrod tubes, rotate the motor (either in gear and turn the rear wheel or with the kickstarter,or with a socket and wrench on the crank if you have the primary cover off) and watch the tappets till they are both down as far as they go with the FRONT piston coming up to TDC.

2) remove the rear spark plug, turn the motor over untill you feel compression,as you will have the rear plug out, the compression you feel MUST be from the front cylinder coming up to compression,then remove front plug and gently turn motor over till you get your timing marks.

hope this is clear.......good luck..
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:53 AM   #10
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Default Re: Help with Shovelhead timing please

wouldnt it also work if I put a plastic cable tie down the front spark plug hole and feel it as the piston comes all the way to the top? and then check the marks on the timing hole?

well..that's how I done it....
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:16 AM   #11
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Default Re: Help with Shovelhead timing please

Quote:
Originally Posted by [JP] View Post
thanks, that's what I followed to set my static timing



How have I fucked my timing?In your first post, question #3 you even noticed the point plate position was moved almost to the full retarded position. The pictures confirm this. It is not timed correctly, hence my saying it is fucked up.
I set the .018 as Dragstews mentions above, by following the explanation from the links above... So then you have the same .018 on both lopes when you checked it?

what do you mean by "start getting some pinging?" (foreigner here..not familiar with some 'technical' terms )Jaws and Magnum45pete
have posted answers to this.

thanks for the help guys.

JP
I agree that the Clymer manual sucks, but the factory manual is spot on, but maybe is no so easy if you're not English speaking American. The way I suggested I think is the easiest as no special tools, no pulling the timing plug, no lining up marks or finding top dead center, pulling plugs, and even if the timing marks are wrong or there is wear in the advance you are still timing the engine well. Some will not agree thinking that you need to see marks for accuracy. If that is so they need a degree wheel set up to get there. Hope this helps.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:28 AM   #12
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Default Re: Help with Shovelhead timing please

Quote:
Originally Posted by [JP] View Post
wouldnt it also work if I put a plastic cable tie down the front spark plug hole and feel it as the piston comes all the way to the top? and then check the marks on the timing hole?No the bike power stokes on one revolution and intakes on the other, so coming to the marks at top dead center must be done on the compression stroke just before the power stroke.It isn't every time the piston comes to top dead center, as on a 2 stroke engine.

well..that's how I done it....
Hope this helps

Last edited by joe49; 06-05-2014 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:21 AM   #13
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Default Re: Help with Shovelhead timing please

Quote:
Originally Posted by [JP] View Post
wouldnt it also work if I put a plastic cable tie down the front spark plug hole and feel it as the piston comes all the way to the top? and then check the marks on the timing hole?

well..that's how I done it....

No,
you MUST make sure it's on the compression stroke by either visualy watching the front cylinder tappets bottom out as the piston is comeing up to TDC,or by the feel of compression with the rear cylinder spark plug removed or you will be timing it up on the exhaust stroke
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:28 AM   #14
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Default Re: Help with Shovelhead timing please

Dragstews - Nah, I have only done this yesterday, havent ridden the bike since I started fokin about with the points.
I done the 100 miles exactly how the bike was before I got the hardtail and the top end done.... so hopefully nothing has been fucked up

let me try answer some of the questions then (thanks Joe49!)
before I touched the timing plate i set the points gap to 0.018, its the same on both lobes.
This bit was easy.. that's probably why I didnt fuck anything up lol

then I tried to do the set the rest, using the light/multimeter, but I think now what I was doing was not having it on the right stroke. maybe that's why such a big difference on the points plate from before.

I'm going to rotate the plate back where it was and take the bike for a spin down the road.
dont have time to play around with her till Saturday, so by then I'll give it another go. take the pushrod covers out to make sure im on the right stroke and all that.
and take the opportunity and check pushrod adjustment again.

When I do it all I'll take photos of every step, then we could use it for future reference if someone asks (as me) how to do it.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:55 AM   #15
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Default Re: Help with Shovelhead timing please

Maybe im missing something here , seems as if motor was timed at full retard, yes no?, if yes do not run this motor til timing is set, just get the front cyl timing mark in the hole anywhere first with a timing light at 2k rpms. Fine tuning the timing can be done later. Breaking your leg or holing a piston even seizing can happen quickly. Static timing without
a timing light is easy but you must understand how to do it first.
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:03 AM   #16
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Default Re: Help with Shovelhead timing please

I'm going to ask one more time. Did you turn the advance mechanism all the way to full advance and then with it held in place turn your plate so the points just opened on the narrow lobe?

Also your timing marks could be early or late being a 76.

If it's later shovel then the dot is in the center of the hole to indicate full advance on the front cylinder.

Early I believe is the line and it is centered.

Of course this is as Jesse mentioned "static" and a rule of thumb. Some engines like the timing in either direction.

See below.
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Old 06-05-2014, 02:53 PM   #17
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Default Re: Help with Shovelhead timing please

Quote:
Originally Posted by JAWS View Post
I'm going to ask one more time. Did you turn the advance mechanism all the way to full advance and then with it held in place turn your plate so the points just opened on the narrow lobe?

Also your timing marks could be early or late being a 76.

If it's later shovel then the dot is in the center of the hole to indicate full advance on the front cylinder.

Early I believe is the line and it is centered.

Of course this is as Jesse mentioned "static" and a rule of thumb. Some engines like the timing in either direction.

See below.
Hi JAWS, yes that's what I did.
My timing marks are the early ones on your photo. I have the small dot and the line.

as on my first post I did it like this:

set the points gap to 0.018. on both lobes.
Got the timing plug out and turned the engine
Set the small dot as it just appears on the timing hole (this should be front piston at TDC right?)
checked by putting a cable tie down the spark plug hole and the piston is right at the top.
went back to the points, undone the timing plate and turned it all the way counterclock wise, and then set a multimeter, between the wiring contact and a good earth. when the points are touching it shows 0, when they are open it shows 12V.
I turned the plate clockwise untill it just showed 12V. meaning the points are just open. (done on the narrow lobe)

but after all the comments regarding compression stroke, I got home today and put the plate back where it was.
adjusted the throttle cable as it was a bit slack
and turned the mixture screw on the carb a bit to the lean side as I could smell a bit of petrol when she was running.

Took her for a ride and she rides better than last time..much better!!
She starts just like she did before all the hardtail jobby.... first kick everytime. 3 kicks to prime, 2 twists on the throttle...and bang! she starts.

I'd still like to make sure the timing is perfect though, but only have time to look at it on saturday. I have no timing light though...
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Old 06-05-2014, 05:28 PM   #18
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Default Re: Help with Shovelhead timing please

Ok you moved the points plate where it had been before the motor work was done, right? If yes then you will be close to being in time, it dosent kick back, starts nice and has alot more power, right? Ok when you check your timing with a meter/test light use the line in the timing hole, get the line in the timing hole, then and this the part I think you are missing .....turn the points cam to full advance and hold it there, do not let it spring back to retard, while holding cam against springs this is full advance.......now move points plate till points just open. Now you can let go of the cam
When you do this make sure you are on the compression stroke, your points plate should be very close to where you have it now
If you do not know what we mean by holding the points cam at full advance just say so and we will explain that step in more detail
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:25 PM   #19
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Default Re: Help with Shovelhead timing please

watch this video, it should help.

just note your shovelhead flywheel markings may be different:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKVh4pbyh2A
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:51 PM   #20
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Default Re: Help with Shovelhead timing please

Good job, old stale negative, shos the advance mech very well
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