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Can't start it

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Can't start it


Post by kaptekarev » Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:48 pm

Sorry for another bike kick starting question but here it is. Got my first Harley last week, a 1961 FLH Pan. So far, I've only been able to get the bike started and ride it once. Daily I tweak things mechanically, and try to get it started with little to no luck. If it starts, it will happen within the first 10 kicks for about 30 seconds and then all I get is a workout. If this keeps up, my right leg is going to look like one of those Olympic speed skaters.
I've tried to read all the posts I could find on kick starting. I'm trying to develop a starting routine, but it's really hard when the bike never starts. If the bike could not have been this hard to start originally I'm guessing something is wrong. So what I would like is a systematic list of things to check.

This is what I've already done:
-Removed and cleaned the carb (original Linkert), found no blockages, but did notice the venture is loose and held in place by main jet (is that normal?) Also can anyone suggest a vender where I can find a carb and manifold gasket/o-ring set?
-Checked the fuel lines, rubber lines, no blockages
-Checked the fuel filter screen, no blockage
-Checked spark - healthy visible spark on both

I have a manual coming so I intend to check:
-Valve clearance
-Timing: is it still necessary to set timing even with the left hand grip adjustment?
-Compression: what the min working compression?

Am I missing anything? If I still cant get the thing to run after all this, does anyone know of a good shop that works on Pans? I'm located in Santa Cruz, CA.

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Re: Can't start it


Post by Skip » Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:41 pm

Try your electrics...battery, voltage reg, wireing...sounds like a weak battery to me???but I'm no expert...Skip

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Re: Can't start it


Post by Cotten » Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:35 am

Your shrunken venturi is typical. Although it makes precision tuning difficult, it should not prevent easy starting.

To cut to the chase, please pressuretest your manifold as per" onclick=";return false; Once we are certain there are no leaks, we can go on to the carb itself.

Good luck,


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Re: Can't start it


Post by fourthgear » Fri Feb 24, 2006 1:54 pm

Definitely check for the dreaded manifold leaks as Cotten has said , you may be surprised how a little leak can screw things up. As far as timing ,yes , mechanical timing and of course point adj. are critical to proper starting.The manual is a must for any thing you do on your NEW Panhead. Even the Clymer manual has great info in it and it pays to have both HD factory and Clymer and throw in the factory parts manual in too. You will find a lot of good info on trouble shooting in the manuals. By the way, nice Pan. Good luck.

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Re: Can't start it


Post by VPH-D » Fri Feb 24, 2006 4:40 pm

Are you familiar with the starting procedure for a Linkert carb? choke/throttle position/spark?
Was the bike running when you bought it, or has it been sitting a long time?

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Re: Can't start it


Post by kaptekarev » Fri Feb 24, 2006 6:05 pm

I can try the manifold leak test, but it sounds like it might be just as much work as replacing all the O-rings and gaskets. So why not just do that? Where is a good place to get gaskets and O-rings?

I've got manuals on the way, a Clymer and shop manual. And just got the Kirk Perry book yesterday.

Starting procedure for a Linkert...............not sure. From reading posts, I have been doing 3-4 prime kicks with ignition off and choke closed. Then turn on the ignition, open the choke two clicks, fully retard the ignition, and kick. I've noticed that my bike likes a bit of throttle too.

The bike did sit for a while before I bought it. The previous owner did install a new coil and points, but from what I can gather it sat for months at a time over the course the year he owned it. Not sure what happened to the bike prior to that.

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Re: Can't start it


Post by panfreak » Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:00 pm

Can you smell gas when you're kicking? With three or four primer kicks, mine would let me know there was gas there.

Get a nice sealed manifold, new condenser/ points (they are cheap) set the gap and timing, check battery. Really not that much work, then you'll have a good baseline to go from there.

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Re: Can't start it


Post by Cotten » Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:52 am

You pressuretest whether you replace the o-rings or not.

You pressuretest while you install the new o-rings to prevent over-tightening.

You pressuretest because you want your machine to start easily.


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