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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
OKAY, still having a little trouble. It’s running and that’s almost rad enough, however…

i retard timing about 1/3-1/2 of the way, bike starts east 1/2 kicks and idles nicely, when I advance the timing to ride away however the idle speeds up as it should but gets very rough. If I try to to ride away retarded it backfires and rough, but is smooth to take off when advanced.

am I right in thinking this could be because the timing is a little retarded?
 

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if you set the timing on the front cylinder compression stroke while AT FULL ADVANCE & then lock it so it will not advance too much all you do is twist the timer clockwise to retard it, the advance /retard unit adds or retracts the timing 35*(degrees) i beleive it is,
but retard is not as critical as full advance,
if you dont lock the advance stop & ride over full advance, ya likely to do damage in the long term,
plus loss of power & bad MPG,
retard it by hand till you get the idle beat you like, it doesnt really matter as the motor isn't under load,
but IF you follow the FACTORY MANUAL it's so easy, DONT over think it, just set as the book says,
1)front cylinder on compression stroke,
2) get the timing mark on the flywheel in the timing hole.
3)narrow lobe on points cam JUST ABOUT TO OPEN points at FULL ADVANCE,
3) tighten it down & ride
it aint rocket science, it's 100+ year old technology
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Yep, exactly what I’ve been doing, exactly by the book, not sure how I can be going wrong tbh. I wonder if my circuit breaker is fucky or slipping or something. Anyway I’ll have a look at it tomorrow. The book says flywheel timing mark right in the right hand edge of the window, some people say bang in the middle. Mark to the right of the window is further advanced, correct?
 

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when ya get to the timing mark, set a drinking straw into the front plug hole, then gently rock the crank foreward & backwards until you get ACTUAL TDC & check if the timing mark is in the correct place, it may not have stock flywheels in it, ya never know, mixing flywheels was a comon thing years ago
when at front TDC by either the straw method or by using a Dial guage with a long reach extension for real accuracy you can tell if you are setting Full advance in the correct position.
 

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when ya get to the timing mark, set a drinking straw into the front plug hole, then gently rock the crank foreward & backwards until you get ACTUAL TDC & check if the timing mark is in the correct place, it may not have stock flywheels in it, ya never know, mixing flywheels was a comon thing years ago
when at front TDC by either the straw method or by using a Dial guage with a long reach extension for real accuracy you can tell if you are setting Full advance in the correct position.
OKAY, still having a little trouble. It’s running and that’s almost rad enough, however…

i retard timing about 1/3-1/2 of the way, bike starts east 1/2 kicks and idles nicely, when I advance the timing to ride away however the idle speeds up as it should but gets very rough. If I try to to ride away retarded it backfires and rough, but is smooth to take off when advanced.

am I right in thinking this could be because the timing is a little retarded?
What you have going on is the exact reason that automatic advance units were invented, and that before them there was a cable connected to the timer to advance or retard from the handlebars. Engines locked in at full advance are hard to start with a kicker and don't idle smoothly. Engines locked in where they are easy to start are very sluggish at higher RPM. The harsh idle when the timer is in advanced position is something you'll just have to learn to live with if you don't want to either connect a cable to allow you to advance it as your RPM comes up or install an auto-advance unit.
 

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if you set the timing on the front cylinder compression stroke while AT FULL ADVANCE & then lock it so it will not advance too much all you do is twist the timer clockwise to retard it, the advance /retard unit adds or retracts the timing 35*(degrees) i beleive it is,
but retard is not as critical as full advance,
if you dont lock the advance stop & ride over full advance, ya likely to do damage in the long term,
plus loss of power & bad MPG,
retard it by hand till you get the idle beat you like, it doesnt really matter as the motor isn't under load,
but IF you follow the FACTORY MANUAL it's so easy, DONT over think it, just set as the book says,
1)front cylinder on compression stroke,
2) get the timing mark on the flywheel in the timing hole.
3)narrow lobe on points cam JUST ABOUT TO OPEN points at FULL ADVANCE,
3) tighten it down & ride
it aint rocket science, it's 100+ year old technology
He is running an old manual advance style timer, does not have an advance unit installed. This is making it necessary for him to manually retard to start and then advance to run as he doesn't have a cable to the handlebar controls to allow advancing as the engine accelerates.

when ya get to the timing mark, set a drinking straw into the front plug hole, then gently rock the crank foreward & backwards until you get ACTUAL TDC & check if the timing mark is in the correct place, it may not have stock flywheels in it, ya never know, mixing flywheels was a comon thing years ago
when at front TDC by either the straw method or by using a Dial guage with a long reach extension for real accuracy you can tell if you are setting Full advance in the correct position.
Timing is not set at TDC, the timing mark on the flywheels used for setting the timer is the advance mark, and all timing has to be set to the advance position. What you are saying can be used to check the marks, if one has a degree wheel installed on the crank.
 

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I well know that TDCis not the timing mark, but it can be worked out from TDC then reverse the crank untill it's 35 degrees btdc & that should give you the timing point regardless if hes running a timer, with manual advance & retard, or a stock nose cone type or with a magneto,.. there is a piston height btdc that does the same but cant remember it off hand, someone here will know,
 

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I well know that TDCis not the timing mark, but it can be worked out from TDC then reverse the crank untill it's 35 degrees btdc & that should give you the timing point regardless if hes running a timer, with manual advance & retard, or a stock nose cone type or with a magneto,.. there is a piston height btdc that does the same but cant remember it off hand, someone here will know,
As I said when I mentioned using a degree wheel. BUT...............
The point here is not what you or I know or who knows more, it is to HELP Leodavut understand what he is dealing with on his bike. I wasn't trying to be insulting to you with my reply, I was trying to make sure that he understood what he is dealing with, without being distracted into the weeds by comments that really have no immediate bearing on his problem.
 

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he said he wasnt sure if his crank timing marks are accurate, surely checking the piston height in the bore, to the flywheel position would show him one way or another, & that would help by at the least to show that his is correct or not,....
 

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ok. i'll be the sh*t flinging monkey just to give people a little more to think about.
wasn't there some issue with the breaker lobe running eccentrically in some instances?.
also with setting with timing disc 35o BTDC , the dwell is being taken into consideration and not just going by the apparent position of the piston being at TDC ?.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
okay so a little more research has shown that the PIECE OF SHIT v-twin timer i bought i because i was a in a rush, in rare cases has been marked incorrectly. fuck knows how this can happen. anyway i did get it timed and it's running okay and have my eye on a decent oem timer for when i have some cash, might even look for an auto advance unit.

next up is a horrible oil leak from the front of the cases, it never ends!
 

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okay so a little more research has shown that the PIECE OF SHIT v-twin timer i bought i because i was a in a rush, in rare cases has been marked incorrectly. fuck knows how this can happen. anyway i did get it timed and it's running okay and have my eye on a decent oem timer for when i have some cash, might even look for an auto advance unit.

next up is a horrible oil leak from the front of the cases, it never ends!
Welcome to owning an old Harley. The best part is you'll stop the leak and it'll be great and then it'll leak somehwere else!!

Yeah a lot of v-twin stuff i'd give a massive wide berth - OEM is expensive, but if it's not tired out and useable then it usually lasts. I run mags on all of mine and I bought a few new mags.. not my taste I'm using a Fairbanks with all fairbank guts - probably 70 years old. Works better than most of the new stuff.

Glad she's running!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Welcome to owning an old Harley. The best part is you'll stop the leak and it'll be great and then it'll leak somehwere else!!

Yeah a lot of v-twin stuff i'd give a massive wide berth - OEM is expensive, but if it's not tired out and useable then it usually lasts. I run mags on all of mine and I bought a few new mags.. not my taste I'm using a Fairbanks with all fairbank guts - probably 70 years old. Works better than most of the new stuff.

Glad she's running!!
yeah man I won’t be making the v-twin mistake again that’s for sure. The irony is that in the time I’ve been fucking around trying to get it sorted I could have had an oem one delivered from the states ffs. The other fucker is that I’m only running the dis/coil ignition because my Morris mag failed and I can’t find anyone in the uk to look at it.
 

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yeah man I won’t be making the v-twin mistake again that’s for sure. The irony is that in the time I’ve been fucking around trying to get it sorted I could have had an oem one delivered from the states ffs. The other fucker is that I’m only running the dis/coil ignition because my Morris mag failed and I can’t find anyone in the uk to look at it.
What's wrong with your mag bud? I can probably help you with that. I've rebuilt about 30 over the last few years. Has something failed like bearing or race? or is it electrical? or all of the above?
 

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I'm glad you got your timing issue sorted. On to the next headache, LOL. Like rhysmort said, welcome to the world of old bikes. It's a constant struggle, but the payoff is worth it to some folks. :D
 
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