1990 Sportster - Runs then stalls, won't restart. Help!

Discussion in 'Sportster Models' started by NYBill, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. NYBill

    NYBill New Member

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    I have a 1990 Sportster that had work done to it before I bought it (about 3 years ago). I have two problems. Not sure they are related, but that may be.

    The older problem, I have been replacing the battery about once a year. I assume it's a short of some sort. I will be able to track this down, but thought it would be worth mentioning here.

    The new problem is, I started the bike and it started right up. I let it run a couple of minutes and got on to ride. I got about 1/4 of a mile away and the engine started puttering. It took more gas to get it to move, then it puttered and stalled. I, then, could not get it to start again and almost killed the battery trying.

    I got the bike back home (pushing quite a bit) and put it back on the battery tender. A week later, with the indicator telling me the battery was charged, I did the same thing and it died again. It seems like it's not getting fuel, but it went another 1/4 mile or so the second time.

    I assume this might be a fuel issue, but I'm not sure and wanted to look for some advice.

    I have some engine work experience (on older cars, not bikes). I guess I'm asking where I should start and what someone with some experience might start and what steps you'd take.

    I appreciate any help or guidance anyone could offer. I just can't afford to bring it into a mechanic right now and I'm frustrated that I'm losing riding time. I would love to get it fixed before next Spring.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

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    Almost sounds like your using the fuel in the float bowl (1/4mile) and it is not refilling as your riding. Tank strainer, tank sock, filter, float needle valve is what I would be checking. Maybe just go through the entire fuel system and carb re-build. Can't go wrong with doing that and it's not a lot of $.$$
     
  3. NYBill

    NYBill New Member

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    Awesome - at least that's a place to start. I'll start looking into how to do this. I won't be re-building anything on my own, but I can start checking through the system. If I'm (basically) mechanically inclined, is this something I can do or should I be going to a mechanic?
     
  4. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

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    You might try "Bike Bandit" for exploded views of your fuel system. Bike Bandit sells parts and may have your exact year and model listed. This way you can see what the parts cost and what is involved.

    It sure sounds like a fuel issue to me also. Realize I am a thousand miles from the bike, but my 1st "lottery guess" would be the tank sock/filter is clogged. There may also be a strainer in the carb inlet that is clogged.

    Some of the other HD carb guys will chime in with advise. I have owned carb bikes, but not a Carb HD.
     
  5. NYBill

    NYBill New Member

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    Awesome. I'll go there and take a look. Thanks for the advice.

    If anyone else has more, please keep it coming. I appreciate the help.
     
  6. Z1HD

    Z1HD New Member

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    Check the lower unit in the cam cover. They are noted for going bad. If you want to truble shoot it easy, get a hair dryer and heat up the sensor in the cam cover. If it doesn't run or runs on 1 cylinder that's your problem. That unit has to be replaced! The way you are describing the problem sounds like it. What happens is you run it and get heat in the cam cover and the lower unit shorts out. When you pull this out the backend where the epoxy is supposed to be hard, NOT SOFT!!!!!!!!!

    Good luck......

    Z1HD
     
  7. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

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    As a quick test of fuel flow pull the fuel pipe off the petcock and stick anoyher bit of similar diamiter pipe on the petcock turn the petcock on and see if it flows out ok catch the fuel in a clean containor and put it back in the tank after the test
    i think that if fuel very slow going into float bowl you wouldnt get 1/4 mile

    do try heating up the ignition parts in the cam cover as they can be a wee bit of a problem after time

    Brian
     
  8. Rad2112

    Rad2112 New Member

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    I am having the same trouble as NY Bill but mine has NO SPARK at all . I started it up set the fast idle for a couple of min to warm it ,Then went to go for a ride turn it down and it stumbled ... sputtered .... and DIED ! I have no spark at all , Would not restart had backfire thru exhaust , I see ZH1D said they are noted for sensors , How about the Module, or would the VOES switch have anything to do with Start up ? Thanks Rick
     
  9. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

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    Again if there is no spark the the most likely thing to be the problem is the ignition parts in the cam cover
    if the cover is riveted on just drill the rivets out and when you need to refit the cover use self tapping screws
    if the voes was faulty then it would always idle ok it would be a problem only when increasing the engine speed as it is part of the ignition advance system

    Brian
     
  10. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

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    Understanding CV Carbs - Harley Davidson Community Have a look here, your battery dieing is a whole new can of worms, These were noted for alternator problems