Panhead Hydra glide year 49

All other topics
Forum rules
Please do not start new topics here, but here: New Panhead and Flathead topics
Post Reply
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:25 pm

Panhead Hydra glide year 49


Post by kvikgrip » Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:29 pm


I `ve just got me a 1949 Hydraglide in original condition with original carburettor on.

How many kicks is needed at normal conditions to get it started ? Asumes that everything is working properly , but the weather is cold.

From the factory at that time - how many kicks was ment to normal to get it started in cold weather (5 degrees celsius)

kind regards
And happy new year

Posts: 6912
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2002 9:09 am
Location: Central Illinois
Has thanked: 100 times
Been thanked: 268 times


Post by Cotten » Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:07 pm


After proper priming kicks with the ignition off...
It should still start with a single decisive kick with the ignition turned on.

Lower temperatures only make it harder to kick.

If timing, battery, and all other tuning concerns are in order, and hard starting persists, there are (at least) two likely causes:

If the machine cannot be kicked fast enough, the original hydraulic units at the top of the valve pushrods may not be able to receive enough oil to "pump up". Most modern owners have replaced the pushrods with solid conversions to avoid this circumstance.

The next likely problem for a '49 is a vacuum leak. Early '49's used a steel manifold that is very malleable, and also prone to leakage at the three stake marks inside, where it was held together for silver-solder assembly.
Note sealer has been painted upon the stake dimple inside this example:

Vacuum leaks are detected by pressuretesting with soapy water:

No leakage is acceptible!

Good luck,


john HD
Posts: 3695
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 7:24 pm
Bikes: '42 WLA X 2, '55FL, '93 Ultra Classic, '91 Fatboy, '97 883, '03 Rokon Trailbreaker, '83 GPz 750.
Has thanked: 52 times
Been thanked: 77 times


Post by john HD » Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:18 pm

what weight oil do you have in it?

i have gone on plenty of cold weather rides with my pan, thick oil can certainly make it a challenge to get started.

you might try 20w50 for winter use if you haven't already. the panhead repair manual and the rider's handbooks have pretty good recomendations for oil in cold weather.

cotten is correct, after priming the bike should start right up!


Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2007 6:38 pm
Location: Charlottesville, VA


Post by Fixman » Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:59 pm

kvikgrip - Don't let anyone tell you that these bikes will start each and every time on one hot kick. There are way too many variables. The bikes also start differently depending on the temperature. That's why the Harley-Davidson Rider's Hand Book Talks about different starting procedures for different weather conditions. Here is the cold engine starting procedure out of the Hand Book:

Move the choke lever down to the fully closed (prime) position, open the throttle 1/4, and with the ignition-light switch off, kick the starter pedal down once or twice to prime the cylinders. Then set the choke lever at the 1/4 or 1/2 closed position in mild weather, or 3/4 or fully closed position in extremely cold weather, and with the throttle nearly closed, turn on the ignition switch and start engine with vigorous strokes of the starter pedal.

Note it doesn't say start engine with a vigorous stroke of the pedal.

Each and every bike will start a little different, even if they just came off the assembly line. You must learn the peculiarities of your bike, and what is required to start it. your individual starting factors will change as things wear, and as conditions change. It's what gives our bikes soul.

My bike, in cold weather, currently takes four priming strokes, and two or three hot kicks with the choke fully closed. In the hot weather It currently is one priming kick with full choke, then 1/4 choke and one or two kicks.


Posts: 6912
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2002 9:09 am
Location: Central Illinois
Has thanked: 100 times
Been thanked: 268 times


Post by Cotten » Sat Dec 22, 2007 3:34 pm

If my machine doesn't start with one hot kick, I don't blame the machine.


Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:43 pm

Note it doesn't say start engine with a vigorous stroke


Post by pandit » Sun Dec 23, 2007 11:19 pm

Yes, it does!

Post Reply

Return to “General/Miscellaneous topics”