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Discussion Starter #1
I have an '83 XLX and, according to my manual there is a V.O.E.S. (Vacuum Operated Electric Switch) that is connected to the carb via a vacuum line and the ignition module via a wire that controls spark advance. Specifically, it dials in more advance when you're accelerating and so forth. My bike has none. No Violet wire coming out of the ignition module where someone removed it, no vacuum lines off the carb. According to the manual, they started using them in '83, according to some website in '84 (http://www.directparts.com/static/articles/harleyvoes.html). Anyone know for sure?
My bike's not down on power, but it's the only American V-Twin I've ever ridden after riding a bunch of 4-cylinder Hiroshima Hogs, so I'm prolly a piss-poor judge of that. It'd be awesome to find out that my bike is more powerful than I thought and just didn't have enough advance dialed in.
 

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if it is not attached to your top motor mount and no hoses and wires going to that spot your model wasn't equipped with it or someone already butchered it off...all the voes does is taylor the ignition curve so if over advanced it won't ping the shit out of the motor...buy a dyna 2000 i and install that not that your gonna notice gobs of power but the custom setting allows you to adjust your ignition to your liking or riding...if you rip around alot or are in some type competition street racing money well spent but if you are going to just ride around screw it you don't need no voes...put a 1200 kit on it if you are looking for more power...that is the best bang for the buck when it comes to sporty's...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
A 1200 kit? This is a 1000cc, not an 883. I'm not real hip to what's out there, but I haven't seen any stroker kits for late ironheads. I don't really care about more power unless it's basically free. If I pony up stroker-kit amounts of cash, it's gonna be for a hardtail or a springer front end or some new wheels (I have mags). I need to pull the gas tank to be sure, but I don't think it's there...
 

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4 5/8 stroke....had one and let me tell you it would pull the wheel off the ground at 50 mph...YEE HAW
 

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You can do plenty to that bike without stroking it. They came jetted really lean out of the factory which is the first thing I'd "fix." The XLX is a nice bike that will make more power than an evo.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Creepinogie said:
You can do plenty to that bike without stroking it. They came jetted really lean out of the factory which is the first thing I'd "fix." The XLX is a nice bike that will make more power than an evo.
Yeah, I'm not real excited about tearing into the engine as I have several auto projects that could use the money/time and it's basically summer here in Ohio and I wanna ride. But, I do wanna get this thing more reliable and make a little more power if it's basically a matter of tuning or investing a small amount of money. I got the bike from someone who knew even less about it than me, but he's since gone through the AMI 6-month HD program in Florida, so I have someone to help me with the real n itty-gritty stuff, but he's opening his own shop and doesn't have a lot of time. I've ridden it for a couple years and only been left to trucking it home a couple times, which is okay. I think it might not be charging the battery, but that's prolly not too nig a deal. It has aftermarket straight pipes on it, so I'm guessing the already LEAN factory carb is even leaner because of that. I've had the carb apart once to fix a sticky fuel-inlet valve, so I'm not afraid of getting into it again. How do I tell what jets are in it? Are they stamped? What else do I need to do to make more power on the cheap (less than $200)?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ed said:
Does the intake mainfold have a nipple on it?
I'll check tonight. Like I said, I didn't notice it, but I only had a few minutes to look at it in the midst of taking care of some 'honey-dos', so I'll pull the tank tonight and make damn sure.
 

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Lets take a look at a few things:
If your bike is not charging, there's a good chance your generator is not polarized. the 83xlx had a generator and not an alternator. Everytime you remove the battery, you need to jump from the positive post to the "A" terminal of you generator. Take a piece of wire and just spark between these two points. This will align the electrons so they know which way to go. Don't keep the wire there, just spark it a couple of times. If it's still not charging, check the brushes in gen, They are less than $10 and easy to replace. If you have a multimeter, you can take it a step further and check the windings in the armature and field coils but I doubt that's your problem with charging.

The 83 xlx had a butterfly keihin carburator when it was stock. Assuming you still have this carb, take a look and see if there's a cast tit on top of the carb where normally the low speed needle is. If this tit is still there, nobody has adjusted the jet richer. You will need to take a hacksaw and saw this tit off which exposes the slow speed needle adjustment. Turn the needle out about 4 turns. If you still need to richen it up and you probably will. Then you need to take the bowl off the carb and unscrew the jet and replace it with one at least two sizes larger and then reajust the needle. I really doubt you need to put a larger mainjet in it as normally they were OK stock. the lowspeed jet is the smaller one. If it's an earlier year Keihin, it won't have the cast tit but either an exposed brass screw or white nylon adjustment. But you replace the jets the same way. That Keihin can be made to fly! But normally they couphed when stock as they were so lean. Also you can buy smaller accelerator pump jets so it won't bog down when accelerating hard. That's a good carb but once that low speed circuit is worn out, they are trash.

Do you still have the stock electronic ign?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'll check out the carb and alternator tonight. I know I've had the battery out lots of times and never jumped the generator as you said, so I'm almost sure that's it. Come to think of it, it was a lot more reliable the first year I had it and that's prolly why.

It definitely has the stock ignition, no aftermarket ignition would come in that ugly black box. Is an ignition upgrade worthwhile? I've seen the Crane ones from ~$250. Any idea if this would make it like to idle better, it's not THAT bad, just dies sometimes. I'm excited by this 'polarizing the coil' thing, too little juice from a rapidly-discharging battery would explain a lot of the issues I've had with the bike. Come to think of it, it usually runs much better after I charge the shit outta the battery...
 

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It's polarizing the generator, not polarizing the "coil". You need a piece of wire about 3 or 4 ft long and touch one end to the positive post on the battery and flash the other on the "A" terminal on the generator. Not the "F" terminal. make very sure which terminal is which. They are both stamped on the case. You will see a small spark and that's all you need to do. Anyone with a 65A harley Davidson generator needs to do this every time the battery gets taken out or if the battery ever goes dead. Same thing for most old cars that had generators.

If your bike is dying at idle, it's a very good chance it's just jetted too lean (as all HD's from that era were) If it ever couphs at idle or at intermediate speeds every once in awhile. It's runniing lean. You can rejet that carb to make it perform just as good as an S&S. Your carb should say keihin on the side of it if it's stock. If you really want it to perform, find a keihin from a big twin from the same era which has a slightly larger venturi. But in that case you will need to change both jets. Keihins are cheap used but you need to be careful as most of them are shot. They wear out after about 100,000 miles when the low speed circuit wears out and it's aluminum anc can't be replaced.

I would polarize the gen. and adjust the carb and you WILL have a noticible difference. Just make your jetting changes in small increments. And more than likely, you will not have to change the highspeed jet. The jets are stamped in small numbers. Look at the number and buy one about 2 sizes larger to start with. I've had dozens of HD's and still have 4 from that same time period.
 

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One more thing. If it's idling rough or couphs or dies, it could also be an intake manifold leak. If your bike's intake o-rings have never been replaced, you should replace them as it's a 99% chance they are leaking from age.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Awesome, thanks dude. I'm now regretting not registering for this site last year. The coughing at idle and when in the 'slow jet' part (I think?) is almost a definite - it sounds kinda like a pop and then goes back to normal?. Can I take the manifold off and get those O-rings at the hardware store myself? I HATE the Harley dealer here. HATE em. Otherwise, I'll wait for mail-order. I haven't been this excited to work on that thing for awhile, mostly because the manual is not real helpful on its own. The tip on the generator is great, too, we have a '58 Olds that should hit the road this summer and I bet I'd be down that same path with it...
 

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I know, but buy them from HD. The hardware ones may fit but might not take the heat or gas. Remember, when in Hd dealerships, fill your thermos with their free coffee and pockets with their donuts. You can test the manifold when your bike is idling, spray some wd40 around the manifold and if it runs better, it's because the wd40 is temporarely filling the leaks. It'll smoke but it's a nice smell and if you breathe deep, it'll give you a buzz. I traded a sportster once for a 57 buick. Wish I still had the car whcih I gave away years later...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ok, I'll go wait in line with the rest of the 'bikers', maybe I should wear some khakis and a nice sweater so I can fit in with the checkbook customizers. I almost bought a fairly solid '57 Buick Super 4dHT with the original nailhead last year for the princely sum of $2000, but the woman wouldn't let me spend our house money on a car. I still kick myself for that. I'll do the old WD40 test, I've done that one before...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Creepinogie said:
Lets take a look at a few things:
If your bike is not charging, there's a good chance your generator is not polarized. the 83xlx had a generator and not an alternator. Everytime you remove the battery, you need to jump from the positive post to the "A" terminal of you generator. Take a piece of wire and just spark between these two points. This will align the electrons so they know which way to go. Don't keep the wire there, just spark it a couple of times. If it's still not charging, check the brushes in gen, They are less than $10 and easy to replace. If you have a multimeter, you can take it a step further and check the windings in the armature and field coils but I doubt that's your problem with charging.

The 83 xlx had a butterfly keihin carburator when it was stock. Assuming you still have this carb, take a look and see if there's a cast tit on top of the carb where normally the low speed needle is. If this tit is still there, nobody has adjusted the jet richer. You will need to take a hacksaw and saw this tit off which exposes the slow speed needle adjustment. Turn the needle out about 4 turns. If you still need to richen it up and you probably will. Then you need to take the bowl off the carb and unscrew the jet and replace it with one at least two sizes larger and then reajust the needle. I really doubt you need to put a larger mainjet in it as normally they were OK stock. the lowspeed jet is the smaller one. If it's an earlier year Keihin, it won't have the cast tit but either an exposed brass screw or white nylon adjustment. But you replace the jets the same way. That Keihin can be made to fly! But normally they couphed when stock as they were so lean. Also you can buy smaller accelerator pump jets so it won't bog down when accelerating hard. That's a good carb but once that low speed circuit is worn out, they are trash.

Do you still have the stock electronic ign?
When you say turn it out about 4 turns, do you mean from fully-in or 4 turns out from where the factory setting is?
Thanks again
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ok, managed to file the stupid 'tit' off and get to the mixture screw, turned it out 1 1/2 turns for now, I'll go 4 if I get a reply that it's 4 turns from stock. If not, I'll just riide it and play with it until it seems right. Also cleaned up and put new connectors on a lot of the wiring as it was getting kinda nasty. I get off work today at noon and I'm gonna install the battery, polarize the generator, and fire this thing.
On the VOES thing, I'm pretty sure the manual is wrong, as they say it was on '83 and later XLs, but their carb/intake diagram for the '83 doesn't show it. Oh well, screw it, it doesn't matter. Is it a safe guess that if noone bothered to remove the plug and adjust the low-speed needle they prolly didn't rejet anything either? I'll prolly ride up to the HD dealer and get the O-Rings. These are the rings that sit between the intake and valves? Do you think I ought to replace the gasket that sits between the intake and carb, too? I would if I were working on a car...
 

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To save yourself a lot of aggrevation,buy a service manual.They cost around $50 and will have all the info that you'll need to keep this bike running.It will be better than waiting for an answer.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Frosty said:
To save yourself a lot of aggrevation,buy a service manual.They cost around $50 and will have all the info that you'll need to keep this bike running.It will be better than waiting for an answer.
Um, no. See, I've had the service manual for over a year and it's the one that doesn't even know if my bike is a V.O.E.S. model or not (says it is on one page, shows that it isn't on every diagram relating to my bike). Furthermore, as this discussion says, the factory jetted those bikes lean from the get-go and somebody put drag pipes on this thing before I got it, further aggravating the lean condition, so the manual is pretty useless for a lot of this - not to mention that it completely omitted polarizing the generator, which is just ridiculous. The manual states 'The factory has not intended you to adjust the idle mixture on this model' - that is 100% useless in this case. I do agree, though, that too many people get on the internet and start asking questions without doing their own research, but I have and I've learned more about this issue in two days here than I have in 2 years of reading the 'factory service manual'.
 
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