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Old 04-22-2009, 05:20 PM   #1
Sinner1
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Default Shovelhead timing problems

HELP! I picked up a 1983 Shovelhead engine last week and installed in in a friends bike who is waiting on his motor repair. We used a new points kit with all new parts and found that it has to be completely retarded ( turning plate all the way to the left while looking at it ) for it to kick over easy without kickback. It starts first kick, runs better then excellent but with a timing light I'm still to far advanced ( 10 degrees ). After a 30 minute ride I have oil coming out of all the lifter block base bolts ( 4 per side ) and out the fill cap on the oil tank. Maybe this is two different problems? I pulled the cam cover and everything lines up as I expected to find the cam one tooth advanced and the breather gear off one as well. Getting a little gurgiling noise as well when riding at the oil breather filter. No oil burning thru pipes and runs like the 1,000 miles it supposed to have on it. Now I'm totally lost on this one and hoping for a little help. THANKS!
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Old 04-22-2009, 05:32 PM   #2
BIG WHEELS
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Default Re: Shovelhead timing problems

fully advanced timing on a shovel is 35 degree's (piston at 7/16" btdc), how can you hear gurgling noises out of the breather when riding, must be pretty loud,

so it's still puking oil after you timed up the gears in the cone,?
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Old 04-22-2009, 05:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: Shovelhead timing problems

It does sound like a couple things going on. Is the breather gear steel or nylon? Is it correctly 'timed'? Only way I know how to do that is with a timing wheel.
As for the ignition timing, have you cleaned and serviced the counterweights? Maybe they are stuck open; a fairly common problem when they are neglected.
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Old 04-22-2009, 05:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Shovelhead timing problems

do the flyweights move freely. do they open up all the way. sometimes the aftermarket does'nt get it right. if that's good then i would take a small rat tail file and enlongate the slots in the points plate to get it to time right. like i said aftermarket. and as for the gurgleing i would'nt worry about that. it's just the oil that worked itself past the checkball. it should go away when you ride it for alittle while.
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: Shovelhead timing problems

Wheels- My bro riding it told me he heard the noise but not sure when sorry. No more oil puking out the vent, only one time after original start up.
Bigincher- breather gear is steel and has the nylon spacer. New weights, starts first kick cold or hot and we should all be this lucky the way it runs, low idle and has steady beat and turned up about 800 rpm runs like clock work and going thru the gears, plenty of power. My bro is 6'11" and close to 350 lbs.
Dragstews- yes oil is returning to the tank, bike has about 1 hour ride time from stop and go to 55 mph. I run points on my other Shovel and the plate is just off center to the advance side and this is what gets me as this one has the plate pegged to the left and needs another few degrees. Timed motor with a light and clear plug.
JBFRMCA- the advance weights not being able to open all the way has happened to me before and I had to clean some material away from the inside of the cover to allow it to open all the way.I'll have my friend check it again tomorrow but don't really thing that's the problem as it would effect starting mostly and performance and again this thing really runs great, no smoking, plugs look excellent and performance is great.
I believe the two are tied together, I have neve seen oil push past the 4 bolts holding the lifter blocks to the case before and never used sealant on them either. Not all bolts leak from what I remember. After market lifter blocks... suppose the lifters are install incorrectly? Oil holes not lined up in the blocks would cause what? Thanks guys!

Last edited by Sinner1; 04-22-2009 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:03 PM   #6
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Default Re: Shovelhead timing problems

JBFRMCA, if I "take a small rat tail file and enlongate the slots in the points plate to get it to time right" am I covering up another problem or have you had to do this before? Maybe the cheap points plate is slotted incorrectly? I have an old original plate but the bikes 1/2 hour away so can't check now.
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: Shovelhead timing problems

OK, I just took a few minutes to type an explanation of what is happening for sure and what may be happeneing elsewhere and it won't let me:
YOU DO NOT HAVE PERMISSION TO PERFORM THIS FUNTION. PLEASE LOG IN....I already am logged it! I thought this forum was about helping one another with motorcycles. I'm not retyping it. If your who I think you are in FLA then call me on the phone.
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: Shovelhead timing problems

The marks on the cam breather and pinion drive gear are there for a reason they should line up thats how the motor gets its timing for the breather opening as well as valves. I have heard of changing the breather timing by advancing 1 tooth but haven't needed to try it. As far as aftermarket points plate being wrong I would slot the holes second after correctly timing the cam and breather.
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Old 04-23-2009, 07:04 AM   #9
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Default Re: Shovelhead timing problems

As long as you're there, if you're running a belt or sealed off primary, get one of those S&S reed type breathers. No timing marks to line up and no gears to fail. I've been running one for a couple years and it performs flawlessly.
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