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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Probably a stoopit question, but it kept me puzzled while riding 0.0001 mph yesterday... trying to ride/wrestle my bike through a big crowd at a local HD event...

If your engine idles, should you advance or retard the ignition to make it run as cool as possible? (I mean temperature wise, not talking about 'cool' low rpm's).
The bike has a manual advance obviously...

-Marc
 

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ummmmm use an oil cooler. leave yoru timing alone
Knukkel said:
Probably a stoopit question, but it kept me puzzled while riding 0.0001 mph yesterday... trying to ride/wrestle my bike through a big crowd at a local HD event...

If your engine idles, should you advance or retard the ignition to make it run as cool as possible? (I mean temperature wise, not talking about 'cool' low rpm's).
The bike has a manual advance obviously...

-Marc
 

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I never much thought about that, but, the more advance the more heat. In the mid 60's Harley went to an auto advance distributor. As chicoman7 said an oil cooler is a good idea and in the hotter climates it's a must. Old Harleys had the retard in bars but I don't have that any more so I have to reach down and retard it myself. Obviously I don't do that much. I'll have to think about that some more. I run an small oil cooler as we don't get much heat up here but do use an mid 70's Ford power steering cooler as one and place a small leather purse over it when it's colder. Every little bit on the older bikes helps..
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
PONY said:
I never much thought about that, but, the more advance the more heat. In the mid 60's Harley went to an auto advance distributor. As chicoman7 said an oil cooler is a good idea and in the hotter climates it's a must. Old Harleys had the retard in bars but I don't have that any more so I have to reach down and retard it myself. Obviously I don't do that much. I'll have to think about that some more. I run an small oil cooler as we don't get much heat up here but do use an mid 70's Ford power steering cooler as one and place a small leather purse over it when it's colder. Every little bit on the older bikes helps..
I also thought the more advance, the more heat.
Somebody once told me that WLA's or Knuckles could idle "for hours" with the ignition fully retarded.

With that in my (confident) mind, I was standing there with the ignition retarded, waiting for all idling Evo's around me to die one by one. That did not really happen and it felt like I was sitting on a BBQ... I played with the timing for a short while, but when a blue cloud started to rise between my legs, I shut off the engine. Leaving the question...
 

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I know the feeling. If you look at the newer engines, they're all alumnium and have bigger cooler fins. You'r all Iron and don't have the same area of cooling fins they have. I got stuck in a big traffic jam last week in downtown Seattle and couldn't get off the freeway ( construction zone) for miles. My bike got so hot my hydralic lifters started ratteling and like your's it started smoking. I had to shut it off and paddle foot in traffic untill I got close to an exit, start it and bail off the freeway. I run cut down evo guides w/oil seals and think the seal on the rear exhaust guide melted because the engine smokes at intersections now.
 

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As for the idling for hours it was a requirement for Police and Military Police bikes in the old days before electric starters. The 45's could do it easily and Harley destroked the 74 to 61cu in and lowered the compression to get the big twins to meet that requirement.
 

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I don't know very much about HD's... But... On my Trump I had the ignition (magneto) way to retarded. That thing got hot like a motherfucker.

Now I run it at 38 degrees advance and it stays at a good steady temperature.. (and does great mileage with the Sporty tank).
 
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