Panhead kick start help

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Panhead kick start help


Post by bpaulson » Tue Dec 13, 2005 7:35 am


This is my first post in the forum so let me start by saying hello. I just got the bike I have always wanted, a 1957 Pan. It's not exactly stock but close enough to make me happy. It has an S&S carburetor and runs great once I get it started. The challenge is getting it started. I would love to hear tricks others have used to get a 57 Pan with an S&S carb running on the first kick.



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Re: Panhead kick start help


Post by mbskeam » Tue Dec 13, 2005 2:12 pm

go down the list:
new plugs
plug wires okay, not just by looks , are they good
timing set right
points good, not pitted or oxidized, this is what I find on mine after sitting during the winter.
and check for intake leaks at the head, as it has been that the gas in diff. parts of the USA will eat up the O-rings, and this will make it real hard to start, I know, and so do many others.
and are the valves set correct (pushrods and such)
as for the S&S others will let you know on that, my carb don't have an accelerator pump on it.


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Re: Panhead kick start help


Post by 64duo » Tue Dec 13, 2005 7:25 pm

''bpaulson wrote:
, running on the first kick.

Hello & welcome.
What? 1st kick, how you gonna get your daily exercise? Really though, you have hopeful dreams to get your bike to start on the 1st kick. I would love to know that secret. I have looked at all the angles, as mbskeam has pointed out, starting with intake leaks. I'd be happy to have my bike start consistantly on the 10th kick. Somedays 8, lots of days 300. I LOVE my pan but......... The big thing I haven't tried is a different carb, right now I'm running a S&S super E. When the bike is running it is so nice.........just always been tough getting it started.
Good luck, I love following these starting your bike threads, everyones machine is so different. Again welcome.
Jonathan 64FLH

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Re: Panhead kick start help


Post by 57pan » Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:07 am

Welcome aboard Bob,

You're going to get lots of opinions on this topic, but it's definitely not a one-size-fits-all solution. These old bikes definitely have personality and you just have to spend time with yours to learn its quirks and foibles.
I just finished my third season with mine and finally feel like I'm getting to know her. I have a Keihin carb, not an S&S, and I always used to hold the throttle open just a little when starting it. I think (now) that that was too much throttle. Now I leave it closed but turn the idle screw in 1 full turn, then gradually turn the idle screw back out as it warms up.
I almost never do anything with the choke - that just fouls your plugs. And, as Mksbeam said, make sure your manifold isn't leaking.
Enjoy your new relationship.

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Re: Panhead kick start help


Post by Frank » Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:48 am

I had a similar problem with my Pan. The pushrods were jsut a little too tight on the rear cyl which was preventing the bike from pulling in a good intake charge not enough vacum) and the timing was slightly off to making things worse.

Just my 2 cents

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Re: Panhead kick start help


Post by FlatHeadSix » Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:21 am

Welcome to the 1 or 2 kicks dreamers club Bp!
Like everyone says; check for manifold leaks, learn your bike's 'personality', and always try to park at the top of the hill.....

have fun

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Re: Panhead kick start help


Post by caschnd1 » Thu Dec 15, 2005 6:09 pm

I don't think 1 or 2 kicks is a dream at all. I think it's a reachable goal. My pan starts almost always on one kick in the summer. The winter routine is 2 kicks with the key off and 1 final kick with the key on. Does that count as 3 kicks or just 1?
Seriously though, I rarely have to do more then I just described. 8 or 10 kicks is almost unheard of and it's always my own fault because I flooded it.
I attribute this easy starting to the following:

1) No intake leaks
2) Correct pushrod and timing adjustment
3) Electronic ignition (PowerArc)
4) Keihin CV40 carb <== BIG contributor to fewer kicks

I also have the heads dual plugged, but I'm not sure this helps w/ starting. My panhead is also a daily rider, year round. I think it helps a lot that the gas has never been in the tank more the a couple days, and the bike never sits unused (2 weeks when I was out of the country has been the longest). But typically 14 hours without being ridden would be about normal.


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Re: Panhead kick start help


Post by Rainjester » Fri Dec 16, 2005 7:12 am

I've got an original Linkert on my Pan and 1 or 2 kicks is all it takes to start it (not counting the 1 or 2 primer kicks).
I almost gave up on this carb when I first got the bike but figured if the guys in the olden days could do it, so can I. I had also noted that folks were having trouble with just about every make of a carb and it's just a matter of getting it set up right. This site's been a great resource.
Sure enough, once I got everything dialed in where it belongs (which included the intake leak and electronics repairs) it fires up every time, hot or cold!



Re: Panhead kick start help


Post by dj » Fri Dec 16, 2005 10:52 am

Bob, welcome to the forum!
Started mine in 5 kicks the other night in a 20 degree chill. I was beginning to think I flooded it because I gave it 4 or 5 squirts on the Bendix. The usual is 2 or 3 squirts. I let it warm up real good and looked out at the road and decided best not ride on ice and snow. I shut it down and it fired again on the 1st kick. With an accelerator pump, if I even look at the throttle wrong when its hot, it will flood. It starts in above freezing temp in 3 kicks cold and 1 kick hot almost every time.
Bob, when you get your '57 running, then shut it down, how long does it take to refire it hot?
Everything everybody mentioned above needs to be as close to "good as it gets" to be a consistent starter....I suppose. But it sure feels good when it fires right up even with people watching.

[edit] Make sure your clutch is not slipping also. Been there, done that.

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Re: Panhead kick start help


Post by bpaulson » Sat Dec 17, 2005 2:08 pm

First let me say thanks to everyone for the assistance. Smile I can see this forum is going to be a great help as my 57 and I develop a relationship. Yes, I found myself talking to her the other day as we were negotiating the starting ritual.
I think my demise has been flooding her in the enthusiastic desire to hear her fire up. What I am finding seems to work is to prime kick her 2 times then turn the key on give her about about an 1/8 inch turn on the throttle and away we go.
Let me say that I love this bike, she runs strong and the ridged frame is a blast in the turn.
Again, thanks for your speedy assistance and I will be an avid follower of this panhead community.


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Re: Panhead kick start help


Post by 56panman » Sat Dec 17, 2005 9:09 pm

Welcome Bob, I agree with all the advise given to ya here and would like to ad my 2 cents. You mentioned that your bike has a S&S Super -E-. As 57Pan said they all have their own personality and no amount of cursing at it will change that. I was where you are now 3 yrs. back when I acquired my 56 it was a real bear to get running. The thing I've learned over the years with my S&S carb is to never ever...ever touch the throttle in an attempt to get her running. If she won't start on 3rd kick then play around with different positions of the enrichener but don't touch that throttle. -Steve

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Re: Panhead kick start help


Post by fourthgear » Sat Dec 17, 2005 10:23 pm

I talk to my Pan every day, telling her how pretty she is.

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Re: Panhead kick start help


Post by Billy » Sun Dec 18, 2005 5:34 am

Yes I agree-

Establishing a dialog w/one's bike(s) is a good beginning.
Plus never try to k.start in front of young "hot Babes"..
Bike will get jealous, & make a fool out of ya.. ;D

(Seriously) w/S&S using enrichener should NEVER use throttle (as previously mentioned) cause it doesn't properly work w/throttle cracked...
I have had more bikes that want enrichener ONLY,
& less that require a couple squirts of throttle & NO enrichener.
You gotta figure what your machine likes..
Starting on a couple kicks is a reality. But does require all things to be spot-on..correct.
An ol timer told me it takes 5 yrs to truly bond w/a Pan.

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Re: Panhead kick start help


Post by daveyb » Sun Dec 18, 2005 9:10 pm

one thing you'll discover is that once you find the perfect combination, it'll never work the next day. on mine the procedure will vary with 5 degree changes in temperature. eventually you'll get a feel for what it wants when it doesn't fire right up. more gas, less gas, enrichener, throttle etc. then you'll be the ONLY one who CAN start it! as far as kicking in front of an audience, it always amazes me how many "experts" who've never kicked a bike over in their lives come out of the woodwork!

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Re: Panhead kick start help


Post by Cotten » Sun Dec 18, 2005 10:54 pm

You modern carb guys are making Linkerts sound great!

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