1990 sportster 1200 PLEASE, I NEED HELP

Discussion in 'Engine, Fuel and Exhaust' started by rebelproud1986, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. rebelproud1986

    rebelproud1986 New Member

    So, I FINALLY bought my first Harley, 1200 Sportster. It ain't much, aint a soft tail like I'd like to have but I really love the bike and it's mine, bought and paid for. I bought it used, has like 65k miles on it. Black, I really enjoy it. I've been around bikes most of my life, my uncle used to take me for rides before I started school, had my own soon as I could, wanted a Harley, finally got one. ANYWAY. I've tinkered with it a decent amount, nothing big at all. I went to school for aircraft mechanics, have worked on cars most of my life, but not the best with part names etc. I got the bike, rode it around, every once it a while, it'd cut out, just randomly, never die or anything, just like it hit a dead spot. I dropped it riding on my lunch break in august and it has sat since because I either broke or sprained my ankle, not sure which, didn't go to the dr because I had to work. I have started it and let it run until it reached operating temperature at least every Wednesday until today. Today I decided to take it for a spin, finally got the bars I wanted on it, fits better, much happier. It's cutting out worse now, at least it seemed like it did the first little bit I was riding it, before I parked it. It seemed better, but still cut out, I'm talking +/- 20 mph, first gear. I didn't really ride it long enough to see if it improved because I had to go to work. I need help with this, it DOES sit outside uncovered right now, I know I'm horrible, I just haven't bought a cover yet, it will be in my sister's garage over the winter. Anyone have any idea why it's cutting out, my first thought would be, fuel, spark or air, either tainted/choked off fuel, it does have 87 octane in it right now because that's all the gas station sold when I had to stop last. Thought maybe a damp air filter sucking water in? maybe the ignition coil cutting out? fouled plugs or wires jumping spark? I didn't see evidence of this but doesn't mean it's not happening. Could the carbs just need slightly adjusted or the timing is a hair off making it not hit quite right from time to time. IDK. Please give me suggestions. I'm hoping it's an easy/cheap/quick resolve because I'm just not ready to put it up for the year to tear into it yet. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help me out guys. Also I'm having a hard time getting my bars/risers perfectly straight, good enough it didn't effect me riding today, but any advice? thank you.
  2. Joyflyin

    Joyflyin Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator

    Welcome to the forum, I'm not much on mechanics myself, but my first thought was that maybe something to do with the carburetor??? I can only suggest maybe running some Sea Foam through it, great stuff. :s

    HOWEVER, there are MANY great folks here that are good with mechanics and I'm sure they will be on soon enough to help you out. Take care of that ankle, and for the record, you are not horrible. :) If you wait until everything is 'Perfect'...You may never have the 'little' things in life that YOU want. :s

    Enjoy & take care of that ankle. :)
  3. Jeff Klarich

    Jeff Klarich Well-Known Member Contributor

    As Joyflyin suggested, run a couple oz of seafoam in the tank to help clean it out. A good tune, plugs, wires, fuel filter and carb adjusting would be a good start. Check and make sure all the power cables are clean and tight and the battery is up to snuff.
  4. HDDon

    HDDon Experienced Member Contributor Retired Moderators

    Well two good suggestions so far. The Sea Foam might help and some good gas won't hurt. Checking the battery cables to make sure they are clean and tight at both ends, and that the battery is fully charged. Wouldn't hurt to take the battery to one of the auto parts stores and have it load tested. It would help us here if we knew what type of upgrades you have done to the bike and if any work has been done to the carb. Sitting out is not the best thing for any bike and if you have an aftermarket air cleaner some of them can get wet. How long has it been since you changed or cleaned the air filter?
  5. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

    Here is your stock carb, see screw#34 if you look from the left side of bike thru the bottom of the cylinders you will see it. That will drain the float bowl. My guess is the carb is gummed up, take note the color of the gas that comes out

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member

    GOOD POST Jack.....

    Carbs are easy to take the Bowl off while still on the bike. Float level may not be kept full enough even though it is correct level..... Some Debris in the needle float seat...

    Carb off is not a lot to do... IF you have Philips screw heads, You may want to swap them out with 4 @ 5/8 long allen headed ones making sure the threads are the same, ? metric?... allen headed ones will come off and allow easy take off bowl while on the bike if and when needed Philips heads strip easily and make it tough even when carb is off...

    If it was running good before the drop, you may have an issue with the float level... IF you can take off bowl Carefully to see how much gas is in there and HOW (not) clean it is... Get a can of carb cleaner to use there while apart...

    Careful when com'n apart to see all the parts don't just fall out. Needle ,,,,,small wire holding it in place often LOST when you take apart HOLDING it as one unit to the float...Arm for the spray of fuel into the Venture usually has a rubber cover and that arm can come loose while monkeying with the float bowl... Make sure the arm hooks into the Hole for it to Press down and work that squirter when together.... Might check that First before ALL apart and look IF it squirts a good flow of raw gas When Twisting the throttle. Should be directed center into the carb. (air cleaner off)

    IF you know how to take the Slow speed jet out. SMALL bladed screw-driver and to one side of the Main jet, careful remove and clean in and around the jet and hole with that carb spray (tube on can)... That Usually needs GUM OUT Like Jack says... Jets need to be clean or Missing will occur...

    I owned a 95 883/then into 1200 BIG :D

    As far as the front goes...Loosen all that holds it straight and realign Straight. Tighten it back down...

  7. RedRanger7

    RedRanger7 New Member

    If you get some carb cleaner be careful when spraying it, some brands are really nasty and will take your paint off, I use brake cleaner for almost everything. I have a 84 Yamaha Virago 500cc for my bad weather bike, I drain the float bowls every couple of months into a white container to see what got jarred loose. Always something floating around in those old carbs!
  8. SledDog

    SledDog Senior Member Staff Member Moderator

    With the age of the bike, I would change the manifold seals. You've got the carb off anyway it's just a couple more bolts to remove.