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jcdied4me
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Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:06 am
Bikes: 61 FLH: Pan-Shovel

Electrical questions

#1

Post by jcdied4me » Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:59 pm

I have a 61 FLH Pan-shovel that my pops left to me when he passed away 4 months ago.

I've added an a556 Mallory distributor, and a bluestreak 2.8 ohm coil so I could easily start the bike. Works like a charm. Starts and runs beautifully, however, after a 30 mile ride last week the bike sudenly began to shut down. I can still kick it over and it starts up but only for a second or two. If I wait 15 minutes to cool down it starts again but only runs for a minute or two; once it gets hot again. The generator light shines brightly until it starts. Once it is about to die, the gen light pulsates dimly until it shuts down where it turns on fully again. I believe the engine shutting off feels more like a shutoff switch was enabled than it felt like a stall which leads me to believe this is an electrical issue.

Ok, so here are some specifics that I noticed when looking over the bike. The batery shows a 12.5 V charge when off which tells me the batery is good and the generator has been working. However, when I took the seat off to check the batery, the oil cap was left off by the mechanic. Oil everywhere from my 30mi drive. The terminals were soaked on the batery. I looked around the area and found that the relay box where all the wires connect right under the seat got a bit of oil in there as well. I also noticed that my headlamp's low beam was dead, I replaced it since; the headlamp was an old 6.5V 40/50 way double fileament and I replaced it with a 12v double fillament lamp. Speaking of 12V, the system is 12V so I'm not sure if the lamp being half dead could have be the issue? But it has been changed. I also noticed that my running lights are no longer working. My tail light is fine, it's the two running lights beside the tail lamp that are off. I tested the bulbs using a 9v batery to see if they work and suprisingly they lit up. The wires leading to the running light go from the junction box, across the batery(oil drenched), then splits out at the back fender between the taillight and the running lights. My ignition switch is a little touchy but seems to wedge into a good solid connection with the generator light being strong and steady. I also can turn the lights on and they burn steady and bright.

My question is... Well... Let me see how to word this. Can the oil on the wires and terminals cause a loss of power transfer from the batery to the system when the engine heats up? I know oil is an anit-conductor so I'm wondering if that is the problem or if it's something else. If so, what is recommended in order to remove the oil from the wires, bolts, nuts, and terminals? Water and soap?

Also, could those running lights and dead headlamp be the cause of the engine shutting down after the engine heats up?

Lastly, if I can still start the bike up until it gets warm, could it by my new distributor or the coil being faulty. The coil had a little bit of oil on it's backside but nothing near it's terminals or the plug holes.

Thanks! I'm new to this bike and want to keep my fathers legacy alive. I never really liked working on engines until now. But I have rebuilt a few car engines before out of necessity so I am fairly aware of mecanics and wiring mechanisms. This engine reminds me a lot of a VW engine. Love it :).

Jeff C



duoglide58
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Re: Electrical questions

#2

Post by duoglide58 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:41 am

I have had similar symptoms on cars with a bad ignition condenser/capacitor. I have had them go bad right out of the box. The car would start and run fine but after it operated for a while, the engine would die. I would have to wait a while before it cooled down enough to run some more. One time it happened to me I spent a couple of hundred dollars replacing parts and chasing rabbit trails because the entire ignition system had been replaced, so I mistakenly believed it couldn't have been the ignition components.
When I had coils act up, they ran rough and poorly before they died. That may not be true for all folks, but that has been my experience.
Doug

jcdied4me
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Re: Electrical questions

#3

Post by jcdied4me » Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:52 am

Thanks for the reply, Doug.

So, what you are saying is that the new coil or the new electronic distributor could be the cause of the problem? I certainly hope not but if it's then I should get it handled.

Anyhoo, how would I go about testing such things?

Also, I am assuming that the cycle is using DC current. So any tests would have to be done on the DC setting of the testing device, right?

FlatHeadSix
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Re: Electrical questions

#4

Post by FlatHeadSix » Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:52 am

jcdied4me wrote:Anyhoo, how would I go about testing such things?
Digital electronic components, such as the Mallory ignition, are "black boxes", and really can NOT be tested using standard testing equipment. Your best bet is to go back to the way it was; a set of points, a condenser, and a coil. You then have only 3 components in the ignition system, if it doesn't work, a simple process of elimination will tell you which one of the components went bad.

Your problem sounds very much like a bad condenser, but if it is encased inside an assembly with a bunch of other components, you will never detect it.

Pull the Mallory, stick the original timer back in there, time it correctly, and go from there.

I'm sorry if this wasn't the advice you were looking for but it’s the best I have to offer.

mike

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Re: Electrical questions

#5

Post by steve_wood » Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:32 am

Check your fuel lines and filter(s). Also check inside the tanks to see if their is loose stuff floating around.

Sometimes the filters get clogged up after the fuel has flowed for a while. Stop the bike, which stops the fuel flow, which allows some of the material to fall away from the filter. So then the bike starts up again, but dies as soon as the debris is re-sucked in to the filter.

Just a thought....

jcdied4me
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:06 am
Bikes: 61 FLH: Pan-Shovel

Re: Electrical questions

#6

Post by jcdied4me » Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:06 pm

Doug, Mike, and Steve,

thank you all for your help. Steve was right. Argggg... so simple and right under my nose.

I have an old V-5 repareable filter made by Alondra, Inc.. They seem to be out of business. Real solid state feel. Metal, real metal, and a glass housing with a cleanable filter. So I drained all the gass and cleaned all hoses and the filter. Worked like a charm. Rode it this afternoon. I am so thankful for your help. It was such a relief.

Thank you all here for such a great resource.

Take care and happy fathers day.

Jeff

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Re: Electrical questions

#7

Post by FlatHeadSix » Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:16 pm

Jeff,
Glad that you fixed the problem and it wasn't inside the "black box". I'm always amused when questions about electrical problems are answered by fuel system solutions, just the way it is when you have an old pan.

anyway, happy father's day to you too, and to all the other dads out there in pan land!

mike

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