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Panhead tune up tips, what do you think?

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Scrap
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Panhead tune up tips, what do you think?

#1

Post by Scrap » Sun Dec 26, 2010 4:26 am

Attached to this post is a copy of an article about Panhead tune up tips in a 1973 issue of that late great magazine, Big Bike. Back then I was the new owner of my 57 FL, I was also the only one my friends that had a Pan. I had only worked on British bikes and had no experience with HD's. I followed the instructions carefully. When I was done, starting and performance improved dramatically. The Linkert advice, while pretty basic, was the only info I had ever seen. For those of you who know what you're doing, the tips may seem bush league but you'll get a kick out of the pre PC text and the advertisements. For those of you flying blind or too embarrassed to ask for advice, this might be a useful guide, written in a way that is fun to read and easy to follow. The only thing I did different was to remove the hydraulic lifters and bleed them before adjusting the valves. I had a buddy with a Superglide who bent the valves on his Shovel after a valve adjustment, after that, I always felt that it was better to be safe than sorry. If that's a waste of time, please let me know what you think. I also use a strobe for timing if I'm in the mood, but I can't say it makes a big difference. Anyone out there who insists on using a strobe light?
Thanks
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Re: Panhead tune up tips, what do you think?

#2

Post by Bigincher » Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:19 am

Cool old stuff. I might even have that copy, myself. I dig those older magazines and the articles in them--- got a few in my own stash that I've managed to hang onto since the day I bought them.
Thanks for posting that!

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Re: Panhead tune up tips, what do you think?

#3

Post by Bosheff » Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:55 pm

I always static time initially, and then use a strobe to recheck my work. The only problem with using a light is it takes two people. A baggy over the end of the timing light keeps oil off the light. If yer good and quick you won't have to take much of an oil bath....bosheff

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Re: Panhead tune up tips, what do you think?

#4

Post by Panacea » Mon Dec 27, 2010 12:02 am

I've found with the timing light method it helps to have a buddy lean the bike over to the right while running the motor with the timing plug removed, almost no oil escapes. Using the timing light this way, if the point gap is off a tad, you still get correct timing...Mike

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Re: Panhead tune up tips, what do you think?

#5

Post by indianut » Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:16 am

I just can't imagine feeling the need to use a timing light on a Panhead!?!? Or any old Bike for that matter, Especially one that does not have an Automatically Advancing Distributor/Timer. What is the point? When you set the Timing....the Timing is SET.

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Re: Panhead tune up tips, what do you think?

#6

Post by Scrap » Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:34 am

indianut wrote:I just can't imagine feeling the need to use a timing light on a Panhead!?!? Or any old Bike for that matter, Especially one that does not have an Automatically Advancing Distributor/Timer. What is the point? When you set the Timing....the Timing is SET.
When I use a strobe, there is usually some correction to be made, but I can't say I really feel the difference. How about the hydraulic lifters, do you or anyone else remove them and bleed them before adjusting the valves? It's a pain in the ass but I always do it.

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Re: Panhead tune up tips, what do you think?

#7

Post by Bigincher » Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:50 am

indianut wrote:I just can't imagine feeling the need to use a timing light on a Panhead!?!? Or any old Bike for that matter, Especially one that does not have an Automatically Advancing Distributor/Timer. What is the point? When you set the Timing....the Timing is SET.
I totally agree...! I've been setting the timing on panheads for 36 or 37 years, and I've NEVER used a timing light. Matter of fact, I've never used one on my shovel or my evo, either.....

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Re: Panhead tune up tips, what do you think?

#8

Post by Panacea » Mon Dec 27, 2010 4:36 am

Mine does have the auto advancing timer, the light is just a double check.

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Re: Panhead tune up tips, what do you think?

#9

Post by Cotten » Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:36 pm

I have always static timed to start the machine,
and then strobed it for perfection,
even with manual advance machines.

Sometimes its dead-on, but most often it is slightly retarded, due to gear lash.
(That's how folks get away with magnetos with no retard.)

Back to the chopper rag article,
It totally ignores manifold leak testing, and suggests glue.

We have come a long way since then, I hope!

.....Cotten

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Re: Panhead tune up tips, what do you think?

#10

Post by Bosheff » Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:56 pm

In my mind, when adjusting hydraulics, ya gotta start from scratch which means breakin em down and cleanin em out, put em back together, and then adjust. This may take more time, but if ya ain't got the time to do it right, then don't do it, or send it out to someone who does. There's a lot of truth to the old sayin, "never enough time to do it right the first time, but always enough time to do it twice." Been doin this a long time, and never bent a pushrod....bosheff

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Re: Panhead tune up tips, what do you think?

#11

Post by Scrap » Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:33 pm

Bosheff wrote:In my mind, when adjusting hydraulics, ya gotta start from scratch which means breakin em down and cleanin em out, put em back together, and then adjust. This may take more time, but if ya ain't got the time to do it right, then don't do it, or send it out to someone who does. There's a lot of truth to the old sayin, "never enough time to do it right the first time, but always enough time to do it twice." Been doin this a long time, and never bent a pushrod....bosheff
It was fear of a bent valve that motivated me to always remove the lifters but I must say It feels like a real chore. Am I paranoid or is the failure to do it really responsible for damage and why. Can the lifter get pumped up higher while sitting than when running?

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Re: Panhead tune up tips, what do you think?

#12

Post by Scrap » Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:35 pm

Panacea wrote:I've found with the timing light method it helps to have a buddy lean the bike over to the right while running the motor with the timing plug removed, almost no oil escapes. Using the timing light this way, if the point gap is off a tad, you still get correct timing...Mike
Those of you who use a strobe, there is a clear plastic "lens" that threads into the inspection port. I don't know if they are still available, but they work, sort of.

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Re: Panhead tune up tips, what do you think?

#13

Post by Scrap » Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:42 pm

Cotten wrote:I have always static timed to start the machine,
and then strobed it for perfection,
even with manual advance machines.

Sometimes its dead-on, but most often it is slightly retarded, due to gear lash.
(That's how folks get away with magnetos with no retard.)

Back to the chopper rag article,
It totally ignores manifold leak testing, and suggests glue.

We have come a long way since then, I hope!

.....Cotten
Cotten, may I make a suggestion? When the time comes, in your last wishes, you might suggest they do a leak test on your coffin. I have seen pricey ones that can be evacuated and sealed.....but does anyone test them?

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Re: Panhead tune up tips, what do you think?

#14

Post by Bosheff » Mon Dec 27, 2010 11:04 pm

Used the clear plastic plug once. Couldn't see the mark through the oil on the plug. Good in theory. In reality it was a waste of time and money....bosheff

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Re: Panhead tune up tips, what do you think?

#15

Post by john HD » Mon Dec 27, 2010 11:29 pm

ditto on the clear plug. it is in the junk drawer in my roll away. static timing is ok by me, assuming you only rotate the motor forward to account for lash.

john

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