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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all!
Hope you are well...

Been on holidays back home visiting the family, but before I went, on my last ride on the 76 Shovel I thought those pipes were a bit blue.... so today I took her out.
done about 15 mile ride, got on my long straight road I usually use for testing, cracked her throttle open for a mile or so, shut her off..... stopped on my usual spot and got the plugs out..
White!! White!!! white as it can be... couldn't be more white if I tried.

so.. here's a photo.
Got her on the lift this evening to start looking into it. maybe an intake leak...
Been a while since I have done some checks on the shovel. pushrods could also do with checking as it's been over 5k miles since they were checked. but... she's a good starter, first kick bike, and rides no problem, so never had the need to start digging (if it works, dont touch it right?? hahaha)

We shall see what comes out of it.
As usual with my posts,I'll keep this updated..might help the next one along.

What is others opinions on the colour? Personally I like to see it more of a tan color....

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
well.... didnt find any intake leaks. and nothing wrong in the carb either - still looks new inside and been there for a few thousand miles..
Been running a 74 and .295..... but might try the 76, although seems a bit too high? they usually run a 72/74?





the intake had a bit of oil, just a film, and she smokes a bit when started, but then stops... could guide seals let oil pass and help with the lean condition? but I'd have thought i'd have to be seeing quite a lot of smoke out the exhaust??



any ideas welcome, thanks!

Maybe fuel? haven't checked the fuel filter, but looked clean... cant see it being the culprit for not letting a good fuel flow going.
 

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Clean the carb passages and jets. Look for the brown goo. Real carb cleaner or acetone will help.
 

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Yeah, as well as empty your tank and use fresh fuel! Today’s gas is s4it, change your plugs while you’re at it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Clean the carb passages and jets. Look for the brown goo. Real carb cleaner or acetone will help.
Done that joe, last evening. Carb cleaner squirted in every passage and a good blast with the air gun. even got the little carb cleaning brushes out and used that
to be honest I couldnt see any dirt coming out, or goo, the carb looks brand new inside.

Yeah, as well as empty your tank and use fresh fuel! Today’s gas is s4it, change your plugs while you’re at it.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
yes I'll put new plugs in, in terms of the gas....I use 99 octane, from a good garage, not supermarket garage, and not been sitting in the tank for ages, also considering I had been seeing this bluing on the pipes on a trip I done before holidays, I can't see the petrol quality being the issue, as I used a couple of tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well... Got her out just now.
New plugs, champions N12YC, that I've always used, done about 15 miles, got on my usual straight road, held her open for a mile or so, shut off...and still white!
And I've put a 74 main just to see what would happen.
I did notice my fuel tap is a bit on the small size, because its a pain to find taps over here that fit these tanks, but I've always had this tap..

Bike runs fine, plenty of power when open up, and again, easy to start.. What the hell is going on!?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Have adjusted the timing as it was a bit too advanced, took her for another spin..
Here's the results...
Some charts say white is optimal as long as the heat strap isn't burnt to a crisp?
My heat straps on the old plugs were a nice tan color... But I always thought the ceramic would be better tan color?
 

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The front plug on my pan was white like that while the rear was tan. Bike ran strong. I bubble tested the intake manifold and it was sealed. I have fresh re-bore/rings/pistons and guides/seals are good so no oil burning. I noticed the bike was easier to kick through on the front cylinder so I did a compression check and only measured 30 psi cold vs. 130 psi for the rear cylinder. Took the front head off and it looked like my front exhaust valve was burned, so with the exhaust port facing up I poured some gas into the port and it flooded past the valve into the combustion chamber. Pulled a good valve from a spare head and lapped it into the seat until there was no leakage and put it all back together with new gaskets, intake o-rings, etc., and measure 100 psi in this cylinder now. Not within 10% of the 130 psi for the rear, but good enough to ride until this winter when I'll pull the head again and do a real valve job. My guess is the front plug was white because it wasn't seeing much real combustion - just enough burn to keep it dry. I adjusted the idle mixture screw on the Super B out about another 1/4 turn to richen it up and now both plugs are a nice dry tan. I know this doesn't really match your situation, but I posted it because I tried all the things you did without success. Sometimes the problem isn't obvious and you have to look in other places. I'm still not 100% certain of the cause. Maybe it had an exhaust leak I couldn't detect and tearing it down and putting it back together corrected that problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
mmhh.. good point, I'll do a compression test, see what she has.
I was checking some photos and 5 years ago, my exhuasts were the same shade of blue, so I guess if it was running sooo lean, it wouldn't have lasted 5 years and trips into europe...

I do need to double checkpushrod adjustment but need to dig mynotes as cant remember what was it on hydros - think it was take slack, then turn out 3 turns? (because I rather not take the lifters out and drain the oil). wait10min for oil to drain, then turn engine move to next pushrod. - need to check.

I done about 60miles on her yesterday... it all seems good, as said before, easy start, plenty of power.... I did drop now a jet size from what was initially, gone to a 72. going to take her out for a ride shortly
 

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You've already gotten good advice, but here's a couple more things to think about:

- All your jet work has been with the main. Why not try a .031 intermediate and see what happens? Unless you're checking color after high speed burns, the running-around-town range is coming from your intermediate jet.

- You haven't mentioned much about whether this is a new problem or just something you've recently noticed.

- Not seeing chunks/flakes/goo coming out doesn't mean passages aren't clogged. Varnish builds up from fuel sitting. Especially modern unstable fuel. Small passages are the first to get clogged or just have reduced diameter. Carb soak is one way to fix this. Ultrasonic cleaner is another. I got an ultrasonic for doing carbs fifteen years ago and it's the best $300 I ever spent. Does a fantastic job very quickly.

- What are you running for ignition? How did you check the timing? Static? Running with timing light? What was it before you adjusted? What is it now?

Jason
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Jason,
let me try answer all of your questions:

1 - yes, as described, all done at high speed, open throttle for about 1 mile at around 60pmh, 3k revs...and cut ignition with throttle still open, coast and pull plugs out.

2 - It's not a problem as such, bike runs fine, I just thought the pipes were a bit blue, but looking at older photos they were like this 5 years ago. I'm just paranoid and think maybe its running too hot, therefore I got to do the test and check plugs..

3 - I dont have access to an ultrasonic cleaner, I think if I had passages problem then I'd see some fuel starvation on hard open throttle? and I dont have any of that, bike goes no problem. I only use the good fuel, 99 octane. I used the carb cleaner brushes and all that.

4 - Points ignition, as I have for the last 10 years, dont like EI. I do the timing with a light bulb, on the BTDC marking, and hold the points on the advance position. Been doing it like this since ever, never used a timing gun, because surprisingly my digital snap on dont work with 2 cyls.. couldnt tell you what is now and what was before. timing must be good, its a 1 kick start bike, always been, and running she runs fine, no hesitation, no juddering accelarating, etc.. nothing.


I think I have been maybe a bit paranoid about this, I reckon the plugs are ok, the heat strap is a nice colour, plugs dont have carbon build up and been on the bike for quite a few thousand miles.... I still think it runs hot though, but might just be me being paranoid...
 

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I bet it would make you extra unhappy if the plugs were unmatching colors. Right? -- Symmetry in all things.
 

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JP,

Thanks for the follow-up.

Sounds like maybe everything is fine and you're just digging into why the plugs are bright white even if it's not a problem.

I can be obsessive (understatement alert!) so what I'd do next is to read the cylinder temps with an IR gun after your high speed runs to see what you've got. I read them near the exhaust ports and around the plug (aim for the mass, not the fins).

I have found cool running stock motors seeing 300F - 320F. When I was beating the shit out of my 93" 9:1 shovelpanbitza in NYC in the hot summer I've seen as high as 340F. It was definitely making some noise at those temps when the motor was shut off. You could see the heat rising off it.

I think if you come in under 330F you're probably good.

Disclaimer: I'm not a pro engine tuner. Just sharing what I've done.

Jason
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I bet it would make you extra unhappy if the plugs were unmatching colors. Right? -- Symmetry in all things.
Hahaha, my OCD doesn't go to that extreme.... made me laugh out loud though!

@Jason,I dont have an IR gun, but one of my friends has (or had) a temperature camera, you know a device that shows a bunch of colours when you point it at something. I'll see if he still has that.

for a big of a "le'ts just see what happens" I've changed the main to a 72, and gone up to a .031 on the inter, didn't have a .030.
I think will be too much ( I'm sure I done all this 5 years ago or something) but I'll give a try, have nothing planned for tomorrow anyway.
 

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JP,

IR guns can be had for $30 from Amazon (or cheap Chinese supplier of your choice).

I have found it to be an invaluable tuning tool for everything from intake leaks to timing and carb tuning.

Jason

pedantic suggestion channeled from my 11th grade math teacher: Never change more than one variable at a time. If it works, which change caused it? Back to square one. Try the jet changes independently and note results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
JP,

IR guns can be had for $30 from Amazon (or cheap Chinese supplier of your choice).

I have found it to be an invaluable tuning tool for everything from intake leaks to timing and carb tuning.

Jason

pedantic suggestion channeled from my 11th grade math teacher: Never change more than one variable at a time. If it works, which change caused it? Back to square one. Try the jet changes independently and note results.
I agree with that approach, I tend to do one change at the time, even if I already know what's the likely cause - so I can prove I was right on my thinking.

the result from the 72 main is no difference, other than no smoke on the idle when starting, less soot on the exhausts, so to me that means the 74 was too big and was burning unnecessary fuel, no change on the riding, maybe slightly better on the pull, more responsive and fast, so i think i'll be keeping the 72 instead of the 74.

the 0.031 was way too big on the inter, the slow speed feels rough, too many turns on the idle mixture, so I'll be going back to the 0.0295, that was perfect - once I had the turn to stumble each way, the mid way point was exactly 1 turn and quarter from fully seated.

Today, running the 72 and 0.031 this was my plugs after the run at 60mph and engine shut off. Heat strap has a good colour halfway down it, so I believe it's ok.
I'll look into those heat guns, didn't know they were so cheap, had the idea those gadgets were on the expensive side.

 

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I see areas of your plugs that are fluffy black. I also see snow-white insulators.

I haven't seen it suggested here yet, but I'm about 99.87% certain I can tell you why you have that combo with jetting that seems perfectly reasonable for your motor: the plugs are too hot.

Try a step or two colder (RN11YC or RN10YC).
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
ohhh that is a good shout on the spark plugs!
I was looking at the plugs threads to see if there was huge discolouration on them and not really, but could well be it needs a cooler plug.
I'll order the them both, both steps down - luckily over here the Champion plugs were used in land rovers and other brit cars, if you look for them related to harleys you pay something around £10/£15... do a search related to the cars.. its £2.50 each.

I've ordered the plugs. and also ordered an IR temp gun.


On another note, I been running the 72 and I'm not sure if its the placebo affect, but the bike feels faster and more responsive. not that it was bad before with the 74, but the 72 just feels better - I think. might be the voices in my head again.

Anyway, my plan of action:

Return back to a .295 inter as the .031 feel real bad at lower revs.
take bike out for a ride and use IR gun to check temperatures.
Change 2 steps down on the plugs ride for a while and then check temperature again.

I'll keep this updated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
right.. got the gun in the post today but no spark plugs.
changed the inter to .295, main still 72.

went out, air temperature about 62F

Full tank of fresh 99 octane petrol (all I use)
done about 20 miles, then the last 5 ripping at 60/65mph
Stopped the bike after riding the last mile at maybe 70mph, jumped off and grabbed the gun with the engine running I had:

Front pot
Exhaust out the head: 184F
Cylinder: 300F
Head: 313F

Rear pot
Exhaust out of the head: 210F
Cylinder: 305F
Head: 330F

The, I rode about another 10 miles at a gentle pace, no heavy acceleration...
when I stopped, engine running, heads were at about 270F

what you reckon? maybe worth putting one step down on the plugs and go with the RN11YC?
I have ordered the cooler plugs, once I have them here I'll put it on and go test again same route, same speeds.
 
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