1956 FLH Carb is fixed!

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sprucecreek
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1956 FLH Carb is fixed!

#1

Post by sprucecreek » Fri Jul 11, 2008 9:06 pm

Well, I had been having some problems with my 56 (it had been sitting for who knows how long before I got it 6 months ago) and I knew that they were not ignition related since I had replaced plugs, points, condenser, plug wires and even the coil (in my experience coil problems can be quirky and often intermittent). But, even so some times it would start fine cold, other times be a real SOB, almost like it wasn't getting any gas. Then other times it would seem to run really rich ....the thing was all over the map. Finally, when the float stuck and the bowl overflowed all over the place, I knew where to look.

When I pulled the carb and opened it up, the float had come loose from the float lever and had swollen so much it looked like a small inner tube. I had to break it up to get it out of the top of the bowl. There was a lot of gunk in the bottom, which probably did not help matters much, and the float valve flunked the "suck" test (miserably).

So, I ordered a rebuild kit from J&P and a float from Cotten (liberty@npoint.net) which went in like a charm (I just had to file down the "nut" holding it on a bit to make it tight). I also figured this was the time to check for the dreaded intake manifold leak, so I ordered a pressure tester (from mbskeem@yahoo.com--this is a nice gadget, and perfect for the job; a real bargain). Passed the leak test with flying colors.

I didn't mess with the top of the carb (I am from the if-it-ain't broke-don't-try-to-fix-it school) since I figured I could always tinker with the jets later after I knew I had the bowl problems fixed. Put it together, fired it up, and of course it immediately started to rain. :)

Got it out yesterday, though, and it runs fine. Plus, I managed to fix an oil leak from the right rear of the front cylinder by tightening up cylinder nuts while the carb was off (bought a torque wrench to do it right so I didn't pull the studs out of the aluminum cases).

I have been more of a reader than a contributor to this forum, but the graybeards (in terms of experience, not age) on this forum who so generously give their time to answer all kinds of questions, silly or otherwise, are just terrific (you folks know who you are, and thanks). This group has made working on an old harley a dream--I haven't had so much fun in years.

Here is a picture of my ride. I want to keep it as stock as possible, and am always looking for advice on what is off. I know from the Palmer book that the dual pipes are not right, that the shifter knob is wrong and that it should have FLH decals on the oil tank. Any other observations are welcomed.
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1950 Bobber

Nice!!!!!!!

#2

Post by 1950 Bobber » Fri Jul 11, 2008 9:26 pm

A BEAUTIFUL picture of an absolutely GORGEOUS motorcycle! Great job....

john HD
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#3

Post by john HD » Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:13 pm

spruce,

you will like your bike alot more now that you have tom's float and have verified you have no leaks. i installed his float this spring and since i got it dialed in it is now truely a one kick machine hot or cold.

your bike looks great! got a pic of the other side?

the only thing i would say is out of place would be the buddy seat spring yoke. i think you have it on backwards. refer to palmer's page 456.

the bend in the top should follow the fender.

all in all a very nice looking scooter!

john :D

sprucecreek
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#4

Post by sprucecreek » Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:29 pm

John-

Yes, it looks as if you are correct with the buddy seat spring...I will try to turn it around. Hopefully, it will clear the rear safety guard ok. I have a solo seat on the bike now, so never noticed the spring was backwards...thanks! Here is the view from the other side.
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john HD
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#5

Post by john HD » Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:48 pm

spruce,

even better!

john :D

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#6

Post by PanPal » Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:56 pm

VERY NICE JOB! It's time to enjoy it now!

You may have 58 to 62 heads if they do indeed have 2 fins cut out at the spark plugs.

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#7

Post by Panacea » Fri Jul 11, 2008 11:10 pm

Spruce, nice bike! The one thing I spotted was the 58 up exhaust system, (the same one I got stuck with on my 51). the front of the muffler should be up near the tranny. in order to make the muffler clear the lower frame tube, a four piece pipe set is needed to kick the pipe away from the frame. http://aaok.com/images/product_images/0 ... 3005-7.jpg Mike

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#8

Post by PanPal » Fri Jul 11, 2008 11:44 pm

You know........... True duals can still be correct and gets rid of some extra connection points that can leak. There is a difference between a rigid frame rear true dual pipe and swing arm duo glide rear pipe. The curl near the head on the swing arm pipe curls more.

I couldn't find anything in Palmer's book that states true duals are incorrect for my 59. Mine sounded, looked cleaner and ran better after I installed the true duals.

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#9

Post by FlatHeadSix » Sat Jul 12, 2008 1:35 am

Spruce,

From an AMCA perspective, accessories neither add nor detract from the point value of the bike, as long as they are "period correct". So, if they appear in an aftermarket catalog of available accessories that were available when the bike was new it is perfectly OK to have them on your ride.

If you like it, and it works, keep it on the bike, its your bike and don't let anyone tell you its wrong.

I agree totally with some of the other guys, the true duals are both attractive and functional (and they sound good too!), don't touch 'em!

Just remember that vintage pans are a very "hands on" machine, they will provide many miles of enjoyment if you do the maintenance by the book.

Of course you have to know that I will always remember you as the "old geezer" in the parking lot after VT posted that first photo. But you're also a rider and a wrencher like the rest of us, so, welcome to the club! also remember that there's no such thing as a stupid question.

Beautiful bike!, ride safe

mike

sprucecreek
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#10

Post by sprucecreek » Sat Jul 12, 2008 1:36 pm

FlatHeadSix-

Yep, but I am one happy old geezer. :D

I knew that this bike would require attention on a regular basis, which is one of the fun things about it. The more I work on it, the more I like it.

PanPal-

Nice catch on the heads--you are spot on. I will have to wait until I pull the heads off sometime to see what I really have here, since the casting marks are under the rocker covers for post-56 pans. They must have been replaced by the newer versions somewhere along the line.

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#11

Post by Ohio-Rider » Mon Jul 14, 2008 4:52 pm

Wow... Yours makes my 56 look like crap. Nice job. I'm drooling over here. :) Is it as fast as it is good looking? -Steve

sprucecreek
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#12

Post by sprucecreek » Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:45 pm

Took it out today and since the carb fix, it runs like a charm.

Guest

#13

Post by Guest » Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:02 am

Thanks for the heads up on the buddy spring, John. I guess driving around with it upside down is sort of like walking around with my fly down--thanks for pointing out the problem. So, I flipped it over and it looks right. One question, though--I figured the spring should be held in the bracket by spring tension, so that I could pull on the spring to get it out. Mine is mounted so that the spring is totally collapsed, so that there is no "play" to get it out without undoing the bolts holding the spring to the frame. Am I missing something?

Panacea, I agree with your observation regarding the muffler. There is a problem, though, with the tool box--it is mounted so low that it would be hard to get a muffler underneath it. Does the 2-into-1 muffler sit lower, or is the tool box mounted too low?

sprucecreek
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#14

Post by sprucecreek » Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:05 am

Whoops--I posted the previous reply without logging on...it was me.


:D

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#15

Post by FlatHeadSix » Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:04 am

Spruce,

My helper spring rod does the same thing and I have never figured out what the cure is. If I do not have it clipped to the seat and want to store it tightly in the fender clip without having it rattle, I have to loosen the nuts under the big springs, place it under the clip and tighten the nuts back up. It has never been a no-tools quick change operation to pull it out of the fender clip and put it under the buddy seat, or back again.

Not much help, but if anyone has an answer I'd love to hear it.

Have you got the Linkert dialed in and learned what your bike likes for a "one-kick" starting procedure? Don't be afraid to try all kinds of different combinations. For the longest time I always adhered to the "nearly closed throttle" theory and I used to kick my brains out when the bike was hot, frustrating and embarassing. Hot starts are no longer a problem once I learned that mine likes about 2/3rds open throttle when its still hot.

have fun!

mike

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