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Old 03-16-2011, 01:44 PM
grandall1983 grandall1983 is offline
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Default Hello, and a I need help with my 1966 Harley Ironhead

Hello everyone, just got my first Harley, (Custom Chopper with 1966 Ironhead engine in it), and I have a few questions. I would appreciate any help you could give me on these questions.

I just got this Hardline custom chopper, titled by the 1966 Ironhead it has powering it. It has a few of the Harley seeps, and I would like to get to those later. Right now it seems to take off just fine but as soon as you get to higher RPM's it starts to stutter and really hesitate. If you shift it runs good again until it hits higher rpms, and if you are easy on it you can get it all the way to 4th gear with no problems as long as you shift early and keep the rpm's low.

What would you say is the problem then, if you can send a link or help explain how to do the fallowing?

1. How do you replace and tune the points system on the 1966 Ironhead Engine?

2. I think it is the standard carb on the bike, but how does one go about tuning the carb?

3. How to adjust the Clutch tension on the ironhead?

Thank you for any help you give me,
Gregory T.
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Old 03-16-2011, 01:54 PM
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No service manual I take it?

If you go to the XL forum (just google it), you'll find all the things you need to do over there in the technical sticky at the top of the page in the ironheadsection.

Definitley worth checking out, oh and congrats on the first Harley!
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Old 03-16-2011, 02:03 PM
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Sounds to me like not getting enough Fuel .. I would check the Fuel Supply or Possibly the Carb ..
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Old 03-16-2011, 04:07 PM
straydog13 straydog13 is offline
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sounds like fuel to me too....i would make sure its gettin g plenty of fuel before i started adjusting the carb.the petcock may be clogged or maybe it has an inline fuel filter.if your getting plenty of fuel at the carb then you know its not those things.
nice bike.i am a little surprised to see an ironhead engine in that bike honestly.you get it running right you should have a fun ride.

i have an 81 and i am not sure of the differenvces in a 66.....stay tuned and some one will be along shortly that can be more specific.
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Old 03-16-2011, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grandall1983 View Post
... I just got this Hardline custom chopper, titled by the 1966 Ironhead it has powering it. ... Right now it seems to take off just fine but as soon as you get to higher RPM's it starts to stutter and really hesitate. If you shift it runs good again until it hits higher rpms, and if you are easy on it you can get it all the way to 4th gear with no problems as long as you shift early and keep the rpm's low.
...
1. How do you replace and tune the points system on the 1966 Ironhead Engine?

2. I think it is the standard carb on the bike, but how does one go about tuning the carb?

3. How to adjust the Clutch tension on the ironhead?

...
Hey Gregory, Welcome! to IronHeads!

As others have already pointed out it sounds like a fuel problem. It could be that the fuel level in the carb float bowl is set too low; or as already mentioned it could be a clogged fuel filter.

If there are two filters, one in-tank and one in the fuel line, you should eleminate one. Two will restrict fuel flow. If there is an external fuel filter you should replace it with one that is known to be for a motorcycle with no fuel pump. Many times a car/truck fuel filter has been installed - these will not work.

You need to get these two manuals, they are essential tools for the IronHead owner ...
99451-78B parts catalog
88484-78 service manual
These can be purchased from any HD dealer, any catalog company such as J&P Cycles, or from eBay.

I cannot help with the points. You need the manual to adjust the clutch. The procedure is detailed, has 6 steps some with sub-steps. It is not like adjusting the clutch on other bikes.

Here are some notes ...

Cleaning a Carb

1. Removing it from the bike should be straight forward. First thing when it is out is to check the pilot screw setting. Turn it all the way in until gently seated counting the number of 1/4 turns; then write this number down; then reset it.

2. I put mine in a vice to remove the screws, and for much of the following work. Wrap in a shop towel; close the vice gently taking extra care with the choke and throttle linkages. The vice is a needed extra pair of hands.

EDIT: A better choice than a plain vice ...
Click the image to open in full size.

3. You must be very careful handling the float so as to not change the level. You must have the official specs for setting the level as in the FM, and check it, every time you dismantle the carb, as the last thing before putting it back together.

4. The jets are made of brass, a soft metal that is easily damaged. Use an exact correct size screwdriver. I ground a medium flat blade screwdriver down to exact size on my bench grinder to access the slow jet.

5. The general appearance of the inside of the carb is not necessarily a good indication of its condition. It can look spotless and have clogged jets, or look cruddy and have clear jets.

6. Clean each individual part. Do not allow any solvents to contact any rubber parts [tip of needle, o-ring seal for bowl]

7. Make a list of all of the jets and passages for your carb using the carb manual or the FM for the bike. Then ensure that you can blow either compressed air or carb cleaner thru each one.

8. Remove the pilot screw and clean the parts and the passage. The passage contains in this sequence: pilot screw, spring, washer, o-ring. These are very small parts, especially the washer and o-ring. Usually the spring will easily fall out. One time i thought the spring was not in there because it would not fall out; i obtained a new spring and could not get it in! The technique for removing the washer and o-ring is to use a pipe cleaner: stick it in the hole, twist it around, remove it - you should see the washer and o-ring on the end of the pipe cleaner.

EDIT: the washer and o-ring are part of the pilot screw assembly for 1979 on. They are not in the 1978 and earlier Keihin carbs.

Remember that the purpose of the washer is to protect the o-ring from the spring and you will always get them back in in the correct sequence.

9. Dismantle the accelerator pump assembly noting carefully the sequence and orientation of the parts. Clean and inspect the parts. Replace the diaphragm if it is cracked.

10. Check the float level then carefully put it back together. I personally find it very confusing trying to decide which way to bend the tang if it is not correct. If the fuel level is low is the float high or low? Do i need to bend the tang up or down? On the bench the carb is usually upside down, adding to the confusion. Sort all this out before making an adjustment.

Best to replace the original Phillips screws for the bowl with stainless steel socket head screws.

Setting The Pilot Screw on Your IronHead

If the carb is old and dirty the pilot screw passage may be gummed up such that you will not be able to "gently seat" the pilot screw reliably. If this is the case remove the carb from the bike and clean it up. Some guys try to do carb work with the carb in the bike. IMO this is a very bad idea.

In the pilot screw passage there should be, in this sequence: screw, spring, washer, o-ring. [Often POs have installed these parts in the wrong sequence; remember that the purpose of the washer is to protect the o-ring from being damaged by the spring]. The screw usually comes out easily. The other parts may require some work. The best technique is to stick a pipe cleaner in the hole, twist it around, and, like magic, out come the other parts on the end of the pipe cleaner.

EDIT: The above info on the pilot screw applies to 1979 and newer carbs. For 78 and older there is nothing in the passage except the screw itself.

1. You need to have easy access to the pilot screw, easy enough to reliably judge "screw it in until gently seated". Loosen the front fuel tank mount bolt; remove the rear fuel tank mount bolt; prop the rear of the fuel tank up on a piece of 2X4; on some bikes this will not be necessary.

2. With the engine cold [so you do not burn your fingers] turn the pilot screw in clockwise until it is gently seated. Count the number of 1/4 turns as you do it; write the number down. Back it out to the original setting. You may need to return reliably to this setting after experimenting.

The "normal" starting point for this process is 1,1/4 [according to the 79 - 85 FM] or 1,1/2 [according to usual practice] turns out.

EDIT: An old HotXL magazine article recommends for Keihin butterfly carbs between 1/4 and 1,1/4 turns out. My experience is that this works best. If you are more than 1,1/4 turns out your pilot jet is too small.

3. The engine must be at full warm up. It will have very hot parts; to avoid burned fingers have a well lighted, comfy place to work.

4. Set the engine idling at about 1000 RPM. You want it to be idling at the slowest speed that is consistent with a smooth idle so that you can hear or feel slight changes.

5. Turn the pilot screw in clockwise until the engine idle becomes worse; tending to stall. Count the number of 1/4 turns as you do this. Then turn the pilot screw out counter clockwise until the engine idle gets good, then becomes worse, tending to stall. Count the number of 1/4 turns as you do this.

6. The best setting for your bike will be somewhere between these two settings. The FM says to use the leanest setting [most screwed in] consistent with a good idle quality. Some guys say to go between the two settings.

It should be between 1/2 and 1,1/2 turns out from gently seated. If it is not within this range you should change the slow jet.

EDIT: I follow the advice from the old HotXL mag article - set it between 1/2 and 1,1/4 turns out.

7. You may have to adjust the idle speed.

8. Make sure that the spark plugs are clean, then ride the bike around your neighborhood for 10 minutes. Keep it under about 15 MPH so that you are on the "idle port", not the "idle transfer ports", the "mid range port", or the "main jet" [see carb diagrams in FM]. Hopefully the plugs will come out a nice medium gray or tan color. If they are too dark you can screw it in another 1/4 turn; too light screw it out 1/4 turn, and try the ride again.

9. If they are really light or really dark the problem may not be with the pilot screw setting. For example, too light might mean an intake or exhaust leak, and too dark might mean the slow jet is too large [among other possibilities].

10. My experience with this process is that after making a change i have to clean the plugs and go for a good ride [say, a half hour or more] before i can trust that the new results are reliable.

Ironhead Push Rod Adjustment

Do this procedure with the engine stone cold. I usually do it first thing in the morning.

1. Remove the spark plugs. Remove A/C to make room to work.

2. Using a flat blade screwdriver pry the spring keeper off of each push rod; the bottom of the keeper pops out first, then the top. Alternately, use a 3/4" open end wrench to push down on the top of the spring retainer, then pry out the spring keeper with the screwdriver.

3. The lower push rod covers may be stuck tight against the bottom o-rings, but they can be loosened by pinching between thumb and finger [or carefully using a shop rag and a pliers] and twisting or rotating. Lift these up and secure each with a tall-S-shaped piece of 12 or 14 gauge household wire [not cable] [or a long piece of Plumbers solder such as 95/5 hooked over the rocker cover and under the push rod cover.

4. Jack up back end of the bike so that rear wheel is off the ground, shift to 2nd gear, rotate wheel until it clicks, repeat until you get to 4th gear. Now by rotating the rear wheel you are rotating the engine. Almost impossible with the plugs in; very difficult in lower gears.

5. To adjust a particular push rod, its valve must be fully closed [the valve spring is relaxed]. Valve position for a particular cylinder is determined by observing the corresponding push rod of the other cylinder. For example, when the rear cylinder intake valve tappet is raised [valve fully open, spring compressed], the front cylinder intake valve is fully closed, and the front intake push rod can be adjusted.

6. Check [and adjust if necessary] the push rods:

[a] use the rear wheel rotate the engine so that the rear cylinder exhaust push rod tappet is fully raised. The front cylinder push rod is adjusted correctly if it has no vertical or horizontal play, and you can just rotate the push rod between thumb and forefinger with no trace of binding or dragging.

[b] to adjust if needed: hold the adjusting screw in place with a wrench; with another wrench loosen the split locknut. Then turn the adjusting screw using fingers only until the pushrod's ball end is seated in the tappet with a "slight amount of play". Then tighten further as follows:

Option 1: Adjust on the tighter end of the range: There should be no vertical or horizontal play, and you should be just able to rotate the push rod between thumb and forefinger with no trace of binding or dragging.

Option 2: Adjust on the looser end of the range: Set the adjusting screw to finger tight so that you cannot turn the push rod between forefinger and thumb. Undo it a tiny bit so that it is just barely loose. Then loosen it 1 "side" for an exhaust or 1/2 "side" for an intake. "Side" refers to one side of the 6-sided adjusting nut.

EDIT: Experience here is that Option 2 is the better and most likely the correct choice.

[c] hold the adjusting screw in place with the one wrench; with the other wrench tighten the locknut.

[d] recheck the adjustment; it is common for the adjustment to go out as you do step [c], in which case [b] and [c] must be redone.

[e] repeat for the other push rods.

7. Use a flat blade screwdriver to push the upper push rod covers up, and seat them into the upper o-ring or cork washer.

8. Install the spring keepers, top end first, by prying them in under the bottom with a flat blade screwdriver.
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:43 PM
scottfisher scottfisher is offline
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Hey nice looking bike....welcome to the forum.

lots of good advice already, too.

best advice is the manuals.

Points. Pop the top off the breaker (the screw in the front comes out to take it off)
points are right on top(inside). Gap should be .020in on the highest point on the cam and should align square. Your's is the auto advance...so, underneath the base is the weights and springs...these should be checked for wear, condition and looseness.
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:38 PM
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I know this thread is 2 years old but as I was doing a search for 'rocker box bolts' I ran across this. Hope you solved all your problems and nice looking bike BTW!
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Old 02-23-2013, 09:30 AM
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Welcome!!! To the Forum, As for seting your point's go to youtube. Type in How to set points on Harley Sportster Ironhead. Watch the move it show's you everything you need to know.. Step by Step. As for the carb Also again look it up on youtube and watch the move on that also. Looking at your pipes being so BLUE let's hope it's not BURNT VALES. Good luck on the bike and let us know how it's running after you got her running again..
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Old 02-23-2013, 09:39 AM
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Oh I forget you just might want to Change to Single fire ignition. NO MORE Points to deal with. And you can set the revlimiter from 4000 RPMs to 8000 RPMs. Belive me it save the motor.. $234.00 of INS.. Just a thought!!
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:48 AM
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Tommy,,what do you mean?Belive me it save the motor.. $234.00 of INS..
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:48 AM
 
 
 
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