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Timing is way out... no seeming adjustment

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Old Aug 19th, 2009, 06:51 AM     #1
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Ride: 1998 FXSTS Softail Springer
 
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Timing is way out... no seeming adjustment

This all started with my thread from back on July 11th (New Engine rattle - 1998 Springer Softail - Harley Davidson Community (New Engine rattle - 1998 Springer Softail)) regarding a strange rattle that I thought was a lifter problem.

After several suggestions from the fine and knowledgeable people on this site I decided to check the timing rather than get into the lifters. That opened a whole new can of worms as is covered in the thread started on August 16th after I had opened the cone and removed the Sensor Plate and broke one of the Sensor Plate Studs. (see Broken Timing Sensor Plate Screw - Harley Davidson Community (Broken Timing Sensor Plate Screw))

After having a new Sensor Plate Stud machined at a local machine shop I was in the process of putting everything back together and finally decided to remove the forward exhaust pipe (#1 Jug) to make access easier in an earnest attempt to get everything done right.

At that point and as I was removing the exhaust, I found that one of the two exhaust pipe studs at the head was gone. The flange was loose and that was the rattle I had heard for such a long time. Oh my... after looking everywhere for the rattle I ended up doing so many unnecessary things.

Anyway.... installed a new exhaust stud and buttoned everything back up.

Followed the manual for setting the timing.

First they say do the static thing with the vertical mark on the fly wheel in the site hole and adjust the Sensor Plate until the voltmeter registers the change from 5 VDC (+/- 0.5 volts) to 0-1.0 VDC.

I never could get comfortable with that because I had to attempt a make shift test cable since I don't have the called for Deutsch Socket Housings as shown in the manual to make the proper test harness. I finally decided to resort to the Dynamic timing.

Got out my timing light. Used some of my wife's bright nail polish to make the vertical notch, single dot notch and double dots (on the flywheel) very visible, installed the clear plastic view plug and cranked her up.

Two things here....

First of all, in researching as much as possible on this site I remembered reading (Glider I think it was) someone saying that one could really do some nasty stuff to the engine if the timing was too far advanced.

Secondly, on the Sensor Plate it's self I could see the impression of where the Sensor Plate Studs had been before I started all of this so I initially set the plate at that point because actually the bike was running pretty good and I didn't need to do any of this if I had known the exhaust bracket was the guilty culprit with the rattle at certain RPMs.

So... engine is warmed up to operating temp... site glass is fine... idle set at about 1000 RPM... bike is starting hard and not running good at all...

Adjust the plate all the way each direction.. slowly... back and forth checking for the timing marks on the flywheel.... never saw them... not once...

Decided maybe the site glass was causing too much blur so tried to see the marks without it... saw nothing but a lot of oil on my glasses.... goodness!

All of this left me nothing but an attempt at how I used to time my old "first car"... 1949 Chevy... BY EAR....

The only way to get a sweet and smooth sounding machine again is to advance the timing as far as it will go and back to what I referred to earlier, I sure didn't want to leave it that way based on Glider's caution about the timing being too far advanced.

I ended up setting the Sensor Plate back where it was in the beginning based on the marks where the studs were originally, buttoned it up and went for a ride.

I can barely pull up a hill. Almost no power at low RPMs. If I crank it open it seems to kick in at higher speeds.. almost like the speed curve on an old 2 cycle rice burner... but still nothing like it was.

So once again gentlemen... and ladies... I'm lost...!

Hate to say this again (seems like so many times already) but I need help... sadly I can't just trailer the bike and take it down to the local dealer.

Hope to hear from you!

Cheers!
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Old Aug 19th, 2009, 06:57 AM     #2
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Re: Timing is way out... no seeming adjustment

Remove timing plug and find timing mark. clean with qtip with small amount of paint thinner. paint timing mark with model paint pen or the like, bright yellow or white. Does your bike have a VOES switch? Have you tested it? I know with a bad VOES it will ping like mad...
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Old Aug 19th, 2009, 07:39 AM     #3
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Re: Timing is way out... no seeming adjustment

Try these things:

Setting Timing On An EVO - Harley Davidson Community (Setting Timing On An EVO)

TQ
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Old Aug 19th, 2009, 08:14 AM     #4
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Re: Timing is way out... no seeming adjustment

Check the VOES switch and the intake boots.

Vacuum Operated Fuel Valve - Harley Davidson Community

Finding An Intake Leak - Harley Davidson Community (Finding An Intake Leak)
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Old Aug 19th, 2009, 10:44 AM     #5
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Ride: 1998 FXSTS Softail Springer
 
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Re: Timing is way out... no seeming adjustment

Thanks TQ and Jammerx...

Followed the timing link to the "T". Was using that along with my manual the whole time. I really don't think the marks are there.... well they are there but is it possible somehow everything could be 180 degrees off? Maybe that's a dumb question?

Either way, they are sure not visible when doing the Dynamic timing.

Just read that "no power" means timing is too retarded.... still worried about setting it with too much advance...

I'm looking into the VOES switch... need to find where it is located first...

Tomorrow... <sigh>

Cheers
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Old Aug 19th, 2009, 11:30 AM     #6
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Re: Timing is way out... no seeming adjustment

OK, this is not a pix, but it will give you some idea of what you are looking for. Follow a hose from the back of the carb area to the vacuum switch. It should be mounted somewhere back behind the carb. Definitely need to check that out to make sure you get the right reading for the vacuum range. I do not have my book with me, but I think you have a manual as I recall. At the very least, change out the hose. It is probably old and cracked and not holding a vacuum now anyway.

CAM POSITION SENSOR & VACUUM SWITCH - 1998 Harley Davidson FXSTS


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Old Aug 19th, 2009, 01:21 PM     #7
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Re: Timing is way out... no seeming adjustment

I would imagine it could be 180 out, if you were on the wrong part of the stroke. Its been awhile since I did the EVO timing thing but to static time it dont you have to have it up in the air and move it to TDC on the compression stroke? (front cylinder) You have verified this? I would double check that. I had an 89 with stroker flywheels, branch evo heads, a Comp Cams 3050, yada yada yada and I never changed the timing off of the the static mark. ( I did have a dyna ignition module) You should be able to set that right on the money and go with it... especially with a stock bike. I would check vacuum lines, VOES switch and intake gaskets like he said. If you have too much advance, it will probably ping like mad, and heat up a bit. If its too retarded it probably wont make any power. I think if its pinging (due to fuel issues maybe?) you may want to retard it just a bit... I think (if I remember correctly) that if the timing mark in the hole is at the left side of the hole(running, timing light whole nine yards) that would be retarded and if the timing mark is to the right side of the hole it is advanced. So then if you move the sensor plate clockwise it would retard the timing and counter clockwise would advance the timing ... I am going to double check this with a friend of mine....
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Old Aug 19th, 2009, 01:53 PM     #8
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Re: Timing is way out... no seeming adjustment

At this point with the difficulties you are having, I would reset the timing plate back to where it was in the beginning as referenced by the marks on the plate from the hold down screws. You can usually go 1/2 to 1 line to the advance side without a problem. If you try starting it and get starter stall, then there's usually too much initial timing dialed in.

If you aren't sure which way to go in rotation of the plate, loosen the screws a bit so you can move the plate and with the engine running, advance the plate in one direction and if the engine speeds up, that's advancing the plate, If it slows down, it's retarding the plate (timing)
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Old Aug 23rd, 2009, 10:35 AM     #9
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Re: Timing is way out... no seeming adjustment

Ok... got the ride back on the road. Not running too bad now. I have a couple of questions that I know I have read on this site somewhere but can't find them now.

The bike starts fine. Exhausts are in place with good gasketing and not leaking.

I still get an occasional "pop" on acceleration when at low RPMs as in taking off. There still seems to be a pronounced power jump on hard acceleration... as if it is not getting enough fuel initially and then it powers in... not sure if I am explaining this correctly.

Also, I have noticed that now in addition to the normal blue color from the heat at the bends in the pipes there is a yellowish color showing up down below the blueing. Read somewhere that is an indicator of a timing maladjustment... is that true?

I followed Glider's instructions regarding setting the carb at 2 1/2 turns out... but if I then try to get a higher RPM by turning the screw out a little more, I detect nothing.

As I said the bike is running pretty good but I feel there is still some fine adjustments that need to be done.

Questions....

1.) Is there anything to the yellowish color on the pipes?
2.) In attempting to get the optimum adjustment to the carb should I go the richening route first or should I make it leaner. I heard somwhere one should turn the screw in to make it lean until the engine starts to slowdown and then back it out a half turn... is there anything to that?

I still haven't been able to see the timing marks through the site glass... so tomorrow I will clean the flywheel with paint thinner and paint the marks with white paint... one more question is I have the vertical cut on the flywheel, the single dot on the flywheel and also the double dots on the flywheel. I know to be in best timing one of the dots... (either the double or the single) should be centered in the glass... in one place I read the double dots are not applicable to this model... (1998 FXSTS 1,340 Evo) is that true?

Thanks so much for all your help...

Glider, TQ and Jammerex.... you gentlemen are the absolute greatest! You actually make these minior problems a lot of fun!

Cheers and have a great new week!
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Old Aug 23rd, 2009, 10:45 AM     #10
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Re: Timing is way out... no seeming adjustment

The "surge" on acceleration is probably due to the incorrect jetting in the carb. You should have a #45 or #46<< low jet in there. This is one of the biggest problem causers in most carbed bikes is not enough fuel and the cause of the surging ahead as you accelerate. The carb circuits overlap and when you feel the extra power is when they are overlapping while the low speed popping is probably too lean on the low circuit (low speed jet)

CV Carburetor Jet Adjustment/Trouble Shooting - Harley Davidson Community (CV Carburetor Jet Adjustment/Trouble Shooting)

CV Carb Circuits - Harley Davidson Community (CV Carb Circuits)

*Twin Cam CV Carb Rejet Suggestions - Harley Davidson Community (*Twin Cam CV Carb Rejet Suggestions)

Many posts on the carb adjusting. It's usually 2 1/2 turns out from lightly seated that will get you in the sweet spot (highest and steadiest RPM) provided you have the correct jetting.

As far as the pipes discoloring, that will happen if the jetting is off too.
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