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Old 04-21-2016, 12:18 PM   #1
imwastefull
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Default My Shovelhead is ticking when NOT running

It's the craziest thing, the front cylinder just ticks... ticks... ticks... ticks...ticks.... every second or so for 30 seconds after i kick it over a few times.

Background;
I built this shovel a couple years ago. Its getting warm in Ohio so i pulled it out of the shed to get it ready for the year. Just doing routine stuff, fresh oil and plugs, charged battery, clean out the tank, etc.
I was trying to fire it up yesterday and had weak spark and no fire so I ended up kicking it over and over and once I stop kicking the front cyclinder just keeps ticking all on its own.
I haven't gone through the pushrods yet and I know i'll get her started soon, I'm just wierded out by the ticking noise.

what gives brothers?
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Old 04-21-2016, 02:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: My Shovelhead is ticking when NOT running

Valve gear...cracked spring or something sticking? Can you pinpoint the location with a listening stick (long screwdriver with handle in your ear).
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Old 04-21-2016, 03:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: My Shovelhead is ticking when NOT running

I had this on a bike. It had always done it and being in my early twenties, I really didn't care why it did it. Then someone told me that it was the bore sleeving cooling at a different rate to the aluminium casing.

Now I don't know how true this was but I like the story and it has stuck with me thirty years on.
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Old 04-21-2016, 03:22 PM   #4
croucho
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Default Re: My Shovelhead is ticking when NOT running

I wonder if a valve is sticking in the guide.. Maybe rusted from sitting?
That might make the compression feel funny or impossible to start.
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Old 04-21-2016, 03:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: My Shovelhead is ticking when NOT running

spray it up with WD 40 and kick it over a few times with out the plugs i also think the tin shed is a rust this or that anytime something is in one -- seen that before if the compression does not come back with a wd 40 bath then you might have already bent a valve
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Old 04-21-2016, 03:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: My Shovelhead is ticking when NOT running

Ya sounds like the valve is hanging up when it's opening and ticking as it slowly closes back up.

Hydraulic or solid lifters?
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Old 04-21-2016, 04:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: My Shovelhead is ticking when NOT running

I haven't been in it for a year or so but I believe this shovel has hydraulic lifters. If i'm recalling correctly.

Dan Boy - I'd totally agree with you that this would be the metals expanding and making noises BUT - she hasn't started up yet this spring.

Cookie - it sounds like its coming from inside the valve cover... maybe the rocker arm?

Johnjzjz - I'm all for the WD 40 treatment. what do you suggest I hose down? the pushrods? or actually take the top off and try and grease the rockers and such?

I agree, this is probably why it isn't starting. She's always ran pretty flawlessly. Also, my old garage got very humid and would tend to rust stuff up pretty well.
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Old 04-21-2016, 06:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: My Shovelhead is ticking when NOT running

I'd just hose down wherever the noise is coming from and keep kicking it over like John says. Does it feel low on compression?
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Old 04-21-2016, 08:15 PM   #9
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No, compression feels great. I just wonder if I should take the top off or not
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Old 04-21-2016, 08:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: My Shovelhead is ticking when NOT running

dont fix stuff that aint broke - if the compression feels kind of normal then soak it down a few times and rotate the motor Dont be in a hurry at this point - put a pan under it as the vent will if it has not already purg the lower unit of excess oil

spray in the carb on the k stand and pull the exhaust off only make it all wet it will burn off in under 5 minutes anyway
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Old 04-21-2016, 09:20 PM   #11
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Oh, it's been sumping oil like crazy. So you're saying to pull the pipes off and shoot wd40 down the carb to try and lube the valves?

That's interesting for sure
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Old 04-22-2016, 11:21 AM   #12
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Default Re: My Shovelhead is ticking when NOT running

Compression "feels" great? Verify it with a gauge.

Pop the front pushrod tubes,kick it over a few times w/ignition off. Watch the pushrods on the front cylinder for movement after stopping. That will show a sticking valve slowly closing.
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Old 04-22-2016, 11:29 AM   #13
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Default Re: My Shovelhead is ticking when NOT running

small update;

cleaned the carb, swapped coils, adjusted the front pushrods, hosed it down with WD40. plenty of spark but still no BANG.

I would check compression but I don't have a gauge. And, it feels the same as last year.

After I kick it over 20 times, it still continues to tick when i'm done. but not as much. I did get pissed and whack the front cylinder with a rubber mallet. that seemed to stop the ticking.

if the carb is good, spark is good and ignition seems fine, I have to believe that the pushrods are out of whack. I'll go back and adjust them all tonight maybe.

stupid shovelheads.
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Old 04-22-2016, 12:25 PM   #14
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Default Re: My Shovelhead is ticking when NOT running



GOT THAT STUBBORN BRAT RUNNING.

for some reason it still isn't firing properly on the rear cylinder. It will start and eventually die with the rear cylinder cutting out. but, it idles well so long as there's lots of rotation and fuel.

also, it was smoking a bit from the rear.

next up, adjust the rear pushrods, crank down the exhaust gaskets and hope for the best
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Old 04-22-2016, 04:42 PM   #15
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Default Re: My Shovelhead is ticking when NOT running

Sure sounds like a sticking valve to me. Maybe you could kick it over slowly and see if you get play in the pushrods and if they tighten up as you hear it clicking. A cylinder leakage test would be an accurate way verifying that. But youd have to figure a way to open the valve and slowly close it while watching the gauge. Maybe by rocking the engine.

Last edited by croucho; 04-22-2016 at 04:53 PM. Reason: adding
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Old 04-22-2016, 06:01 PM   #16
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Default Re: My Shovelhead is ticking when NOT running

i think all this speculation is rather unproductive,....
rip the top end off and do a visual of the parts,
only way to know for sure whats wrong,
whats the cost af a few gaskets and 2 hours wrenching compaired to a blown motor 10 miles down the road.... $00.02
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Old 04-23-2016, 12:38 PM   #17
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Default Re: My Shovelhead is ticking when NOT running

A simple leakdown and compression test will tell you a lot!
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