Timing a Pan

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Timing a Pan


Post by leroy » Fri Nov 23, 2007 11:35 am

Post by leroy on Oct 10, 2002, 2:59am

Pan head was running poorly, loss of power and hard starting.
Points very pitted, so I filed them clean and reset gap (.020).
Still hard to start, many more kicks than I care for and still seemed to idle rough. So I thought I'd look at the timimg. I haven't had to mess with timimg for about 3 years so I thought it was worth checking.
My old HD manual "Electra Glide 1959-1969" says that my test light, that I connected between coil and + battery, should come ON with points CLOSED and go OFF with points OPEN. Now I've done this test and set the timing several times the last 15 years and I don't remember the manual being wrong but I just did this and the damn test light is ON with the points open and OFF with the points closed, this is just the oposite of what the manual and I remember.

Anybody know what might be causing this??? besides old age, I'm 20 years older that the Panhead.

Post by kell on Oct 13, 2002, 3:12am

I think you connected the light in the wrong place. I was just reading the Clymer book and it says you're supposed to connect the light to a ground and to one of screws in the distributor -- can't tell you right off the top of my head which one.
But why is your light coming on at all? For this to happen there must be a complete circuit from the batt + through the light and to ground, somewhere. That is, there is some kind of path to ground other than through the points, since they are open when the light is on. Could be a short. Maybe you have damaged wiring or something wrong with the coil. Or maybe I'm wrong about the short and you just need a new condenser.
Good luck.

Post by dirtpandan58 on Oct 13, 2002, 4:50am

Doesn't matter if the light comes on or goes off. The only thing a light tells you is the exact time of the points opening and closing.
I've hooked it up both ways.One way the light comes on when they open. The other way it goes off when they open.
I used to use a rolling paper years ago. I would put the paper between the closed points and pull with very little preasure. Then advance the timer 'till the papar pulled out. That's when the points just began to open. If the paper tore, it ment I was pulling to hard,and the points weren't opening yet. Some people argued that you should use the cellophane from a cigarette pack,but that's to strong'and you can pull it out with points completly closed.

Now I just use a timing light.

Post by VintageTwin on Oct 13, 2002, 4:07pm

Yo! What year? The points are set to 0.022", up to 1960. 20's too skinny. I've had the same problem. Make the timing light come on or off just as you retard the spark from full advance after you position the flywheel mark in the correct place. Beware of reading the OE '59-'65 H-D manual. Their push rod adj. is for hydraulics, their timing can be for Electra Glides. Clymers tells you how. I love my '59 and '46...(choke)..just bawls me up inside to talk about it. But they both run manual timers and points set at 0.022". The OE 1940-1947 manual is the only one to give soild lifter push rod adj. and single lamp timing procedures.
My 74", '59 was running tip-top and snappy before our 120 round trip ride out to Campo. We ran them pretty good. When we were riding on that three-lane; if I decided I wanted to pull away from any traffic; I would just twist the throttle (therapy) and know what they meant when they called it the "King of the Highway". Way out in front. Power to spare. Then coming back on the last 60 mile leg my Pan started running "off", like timing. I think it's because the "cam" part of the eccentric screw that is in my timer, that holds the points setting in place, once you have tightened the points set screw; yep well, that eccentric screw head is the original one and that makes it 43 yrs old. It's all burred up. Cam action of the screw is rough and sloppy. I think that when I run the motor and run it harder than usual, that the eccentric screw loosens up and the points close a little. However, the last time it happened, 500 miles ago, I wrote a post called "Erratic Timing" here or on http://www.antiquemotorcycle.org/ with the same problem and that time the points had opened up or I didn't set them right in the first place; but a 0.22" blade would rack around the opened points. That weren't right! This time I'm first going to adjust my solid lifter pushrod lash (if needed); then use the single bulb timing method. Note:Hard starting, or one fire and no starting is many times a condenser. Note: If you can't get the timing bulb to light, as soon as you retard the timer from full advance; then your flywheel mark is in the wrong position. Look at a manual, for this flywheel mark position. Then, go and look at the timer shaft mark. If it is DIRECTLY under the points fiber, you're good to go. If the timers slash/mark is ahead or behind the points fiber, then loosen the timer head's timer adjusting stud nut (note: the timer stud gets scored and grooved, then stiff to move. Replace. It's a V-Twin part # 37-9235) and adjust the timer head so the points fiber is directly under the points fiber. Then tighten the adjusting stud lock nut. To make lamp go "on" when testing: Connect a (dual lead) test bulb to the low tension (rear) terminal of the coil and the other bulb lead to the positive pole of the battery. Make up a 12" lead wire w/clips. Clip one end on a Pan "D" ring, clip the other end to the negative pole of the battery. Lamp will light. TURN THE IGNITION "ON". Lamp will go "out". Have the flywheel mark in "correct" position. Have timing slash mark (on timer shaft) centerlining' the fiber rider on the points. Just as you retard the timer the lamp should light. If it doesn't, TURN THE IGNITION "OFF", re-check the position of the flywheel timing mark. Don't remove the timing plug until the flywheel mark is ready to appear (front intake tappet has just about bottomed out), or you'll get a blast of sump oil on your shirt.

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Re: Timing a Pan


Post by 58flh » Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:26 pm

Take your testlight & the wire from the light with the alligator clip on it-Put it to a motor bolt (GROUND!). Wreap a wire around the point part of testlight & tape it there!-Then connect the other end to the points screw where the condensor all hook-up!.--Bring the mark in genter of timing hole!-If you go past it DO NOT GO BACK!--Continue again until your on compresion stroke & set line in center of hole!.--NOW with points set at .022 ADV. the points cam Turn IG on first!-ADV. the points cam & at full ADVANCE the points should just start to open!--THE LIGHT WILL COME ON!---IF you see a wide gap at the points,-loosen the 2-plate screws & Retard it a smidge-tighten them & check it again,-with the points cam at full advance!--When the light comes on the points are open!-(you should not see a gap with the naked eye!) Its to small!--Thickness of a rollingpaper!. When you achieve this ,Check the points for .022 on both cam-lobes! ,.001 or .003 difference is nothing to worry about!--Its most likly from warpage in the plate!,& play in the pointscam!.--If your measurements are way off!--You will have to replace the pointscam!--I have seen this plenty of times!--Usually when a guy puts a timinglight on the motor & cant find the line or its all over the place (& hes holding a steady 2000RPM)--NEW-POINTS CAM!-Assuming all else is in order like timer shaft endplay & runout!,& no broken springs on the flyweights!. If you find you need a new pointscam--its usually because the owner forgets to dab a little grease on the cam!--Good points like BLUESTREAK & ECHLINS have a fiber follower that holds the grease & keeps it lubed!---NAPA Carries the ECHLINS (ask for 1970 or earlier chevy 6-cylinder points & condensor!)-Same for BLUESTREAK!--The ones from HD are crap!!!-The arms are chincy(no meat)& the points themselves are small surface area contact compared to the others I mentioned!--The ones I mentioned have a beefy arm & the points surface of gontact is significantly larger!--Also the Echlins & Bluestreaks have all the connections bolt-up!--Not that slip-on set-up that you get from Taiwan junk!--(The spring pull on HDs points is 19 OZs of pull!--The GOOD ones have 22OZs of sring pressure-pull!---Which means that if you have a hotrod motor, you wont have to worry about point-bounce at hi-RPM!---I have been using both since I was 13 years old & working with dad!--& since my first 69 shortster at 16!--Ill admit I tried Drag-specialties, & accels & stock HD,& none of them can compare to the 2 I mentioned!--just my 2 from EXP. SORRY for the long rite-up, but I hope this answers a few questions guys may have!---RICHIE 8)

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