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Old 09-06-2014, 01:44 PM   #1
I_am_10_ninjas
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Default Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

Just buttoned up a 1950, 1951, 1955, 1963, Panhead basket case. You know the kind. I'm running a 4 speed ratchet top with a chain primary. When I try and kick it over it often feels as though it's binding in the kicker. It will turn the engine over if I can push through it, but it's giving my legs a workout and I don't think its spinning the engine fast enough to catch and fire up.

I first thought it might be the bushings in the kicker cover although they seemed to have VERY little play in them when I wiggled it. I switched out the kicker cover to another one and have the exact same issue.

I've also tried realigning the tranny a few times to get the sprockets better aligned which has had inconclusive results.

Any ideas? Is this just an alignment issue?
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Old 09-06-2014, 02:16 PM   #2
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Default Re: Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

is your clutch slipping? maybe tighten up your springs one turn and see what happens.
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Old 09-06-2014, 02:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

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Originally Posted by jbfrmca View Post
is your clutch slipping? maybe tighten up your springs one turn and see what happens.
Nope clutch is set good, not slipping, not dragging. When I have had it running and riding the clutch seems to be working just right.
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Old 09-06-2014, 02:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

Wait, so you replaced the kicker and cover with no change?
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Old 09-06-2014, 02:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

Lets elimiate a few things. One at a time.

Pull the plugs. Now try.

Foot clutch?
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Old 09-06-2014, 05:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

Primary chain a little snug can cause that. Also a fresh ring job can make one super hard to kick until you run it 10 minutes or so. I'm always amazed how hard a fresh motor is to kick over when I prime one up- even with the plugs out. I'm just as amazed how quickly they loosen up- 2nd or 3rd time you run them they feel like a completely different motor.
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Old 09-06-2014, 05:25 PM   #7
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Default Re: Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

not long ago we had a generator that was close to seezing and it did not want to kick over like it should

you might want to remove the primary chain and then see if the motor turns freer than it was with it on - trans could be the issue
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Old 09-08-2014, 11:46 AM   #8
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Default Re: Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

@ JAWS - With the plugs removed it kicks over fine. no binding. Yes, foot clutch and yes I replaced the kicker cover and arm when I thought it might be bushings. No change.

@chiefbuilder - Primary chain is set to move about the width of the chain up and down which I believe is spec. The motor has run a number of times now and I've had it out riding around on some shakedown runs. So I would think that the freshness of the motor should be loosening up a bit by now, but probably still a pretty tight machine. Also have higher compression pistons in which will obviously increase the kick needed to turn it over.

I did just notice that one of the tranny mounting bolts may be stripped which could be causing the tranny to go out of alignment if it's not tightening down properly. Could this be the issue? Would a slightly misaligned tranny sprocket and engine sprocket on a chain primary cause this kind of binding in the kick?
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Old 09-08-2014, 11:54 AM   #9
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Default Re: Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

has the nut on the kicker gear backed off and letting the kicker gear run untru to the trans gear ? common problem.............
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

I'd say yeah on the stripped bolt/ getting out of alignment question. The trans has to be locked down tight. And yeah you've run it long enough for the motor to be loose and the tension sounds right on the chain. You might try watching the primary chain while someone kicks it thru slowly and watch for slight jerking or popping action in the chain. What compression are you running and I know it sounds corny but do you weigh less than 200#? Reason I ask is I had a hard time getting used to kicking a Pan the 1st time around- kinda thought I'd never get it to run. I even pull started it the 1st couple of times with a car. Got the motor dialed and then learned to kick start it. Are you running a mag? That makes things even more exciting.
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:12 PM   #11
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Default Re: Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

@chiefbuilder What would the jerking or popping in the chain indicate?

I'm running 9:1 Wiseco pistons with standard bore. Had the pistons and jugs matched at a local shop. I'm 185lbs. Pretty sure it's not my technique, but it's possible. haha. I've been kicking my 80" shovel over for years and have a few guys around here with heavy legs agree that something is binding funny. Running a standard points system. No mag.

Also I did have it dialed in and kicking fine for a day or two. It was a two prime, one kick bike for a very short time. Then the kicker started binding up and I feel like as a result I can't get a heavy enough kick on it (probably cuz i'm under 200lbs), but like I said without the binding issue I was more than capable of firing this badboy up in one shot.
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:20 PM   #12
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Default Re: Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

Why did it stop being a one kick bike? What changed?
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:37 PM   #13
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Default Re: Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

Popping/ jerking chain would just indicate a bind in that area- but it sounds like you've definitely been around the block and know what you're messing with- you've looked at everything and more than I woulda lol. Sorry not much help.
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Old 09-08-2014, 07:13 PM   #14
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Default Re: Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

Is it posable you have a valve that is sticking closed since it kicks over fine w/ out plugs? Or a pushrod that is out of adjustment?
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Old 09-08-2014, 07:18 PM   #15
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Default Re: Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

Quote:
Originally Posted by JAWS View Post
Why did it stop being a one kick bike? What changed?
That's just it. I would have said nothing except I ran outta gas one night. haha. When I filled the tank with a jerry can it took me an hour to get it to fire up and then it ran like garbage all the way home. May have just been old gas. I drained it and put fresh gas in, but the binding kicker showed up at the same time as the running outta gas.

I'm pretty sure I'm just not able to get a solid enough kick on it with the binding to get that 9:1 beast to turn over fast enough to fire.

I'll pull the tranny and try fixing the stripped stud. Put it back together and get it aligned nice and straight and post the results.

Thanks for the help so far folks...
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:58 PM   #16
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Default Re: Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

Is the binding consistent?
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Old 09-08-2014, 11:19 PM   #17
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Default Re: Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

Here is where I'm going with all this.

Things bind be cause of misalignment. Poor running or misfire or whatever can cause damage. For instance, a bent rod will cause a piston to bind in a cylinder. Scuff marks on the skirt in an off pattern would be an indicator.

My point is you are asking us to guess, when gaskets are cheap. You know it was running perfectly prior to this event and ever since its been binding. It won't heal itself. What it will do is excessively wear enough to free up enough to appear fixed.
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Old 09-09-2014, 04:55 PM   #18
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Default Re: Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

You said you have 9.5 pistons. Do you have a stock cam? Check your cranking compression. Lets see what you got. Don't take it apart just yet. Check first.
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Old 09-09-2014, 07:26 PM   #19
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Default Re: Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

Bad gas could have bent a valve if it backfired
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Old 09-16-2014, 11:59 AM   #20
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Default Re: Stiff or Binding Kicker arm

Sorted. Sorry it took a while to get back here, but for anyone else following this thread here's the answer.

I pulled the tranny to repair the stripped stud thinking the tranny was becoming misaligned due to not being tightly torqued to the frame. When I pulled the clutch basket apart I noticed that the bearing retainer plate was just a little proud. I'm running the long type roller bearings as opposed to the caged set. I realized that the bearing retainer plate for the caged type is a different shape and thickness than what's used for the long roller bearings. I replaced the tranny stud (needed doing anyway) and reassembled the clutch with the proper retaining plate for the bearings. Boom. All good. I suspect that the thicker plate was putting pressure on the bearings that was not allowing them to roll properly. Seems to be sorted now and I got that tranny case stud replaced too.

As for running like crap suddenly I think that just ended up being a coincidental intake leak on the rear cylinder. Probably caused by a backfire or just loosened off or something. Seems to be running much better now.

Thanks for all the troubleshooting suggestions and help!
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