bummer

Discussion in 'Softail Models' started by HDshark1, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. HDshark1

    HDshark1 Member

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    I have a '97 STCustom that I took out of the garage yesterday, cranked it over...had problems starting then it made a grinding noise, came to life, but idling strange. Then I noticed the rear cylinder wasn't firing (zero heat on the head, exhaust) and I turned it off and parked it.
    This is a bike that has never given me a lick of trouble until a few weeks ago when I decided to paint the garage floor and the bike had to sit outside in 20 degree weather until the paint cured (four days) then it failed to start (dead batery). Finaly jump started it, took if for a ride and parked, other than the hard to start part, didn' t notice anything out of whack. Then came yesterday's episode now I'm super bummed. I've been told by my mechanic (phone conversation) that it could be bad gas and told me to drain the tank, fill with new gas and try again. Any ideas. I could use any insight you can share.

    Thanks,
    shark
     
  2. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    Before you go nuts, check the spark in that rear cylinder. First look to see if the wire is on all the way and check the tip of the plug where the wire snaps on to and see if it is screwed on tight. Maybe swap the plugs and see if the problem moves to the front cylinder or just put in a new set of plugs. How's the plug wires?

    If all checks out there, then check to see if you have compression in the rear cylinder. If you don't have a compression gauge, remove the plug, ground the plug wire and hold your thumb tightly covering the hole for the plug. Crank it over a few turns and see if the motor can blow your finger off the plug hole.

    After that, it's on to the fuel tank. Not knowing if there is any water or sediment in it, if you aren't the original owner, it may be wise to drain remove/clean and flush the tank and refill it with fresh gas.

    You may want to also bleed the carb float bowl with the brass screw in the bottom rear of the bowl. Run a few ounces out with the petcock open after you add fresh fuel. You should see the drain screw between the two cylinders viewed from the horn side and you can access it with a long thin screwdriver. It only needs to be opened a turn or so to get some flow. Do it a couple of times.

    This is what you are looking for.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. R. Lewis

    R. Lewis Senior Member Retired Moderators

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    Not claiming to know anything here andthat's why I'm asking ---but what would be making the "grinding noise" and how long did you crank on it before it did start???
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2008
  4. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    The grinding noise could be when the engine attempted to fire and over ran the starter clutch momentarily, then re engaged again. Sounds like it's tearing the teeth off the clutch basket when it happens. Eventually it could too.
     
  5. HDshark1

    HDshark1 Member

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    The grinding was for an instant, about 2 seconds...not the first time that it had happened but definitely the loudest and 'sickest' of the sounds I've ever heard and the results are what I had posted last night.
    thanks for your interest and help,
    shark
     
  6. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    It could also be a problem with the starter drive if it happens on a recurring basis.
     
  7. HDshark1

    HDshark1 Member

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    Do you think these are issues I can take a look at myself or is it time for an $80 an hour with a 3 hour minimum guy look at it?
     
  8. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    3 hour minimun??? You need a different mechanic.

    These aren't difficult things to deal with yourself if you are mechanically inclined and have a factory manual.

    Problem is the correct diagnosis before throwing parts at it which is difficult to do over the internet.
     
  9. HDshark1

    HDshark1 Member

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    Yeah, the dealerships are not going to cut me any slack. I'll begin in the morning. We'll see what happens.
     
  10. HDshark1

    HDshark1 Member

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    Changed out the plugs, wires charged the battery and it started right up. No funny noises, not hesitations just the glorious potaopotatopotatopotatopotatopotato that I love.....:guitar Rode hard all day with 70 degree weather and almost a full day of sushine:D
    Thanks bros...shark
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2008