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MSD for Panhead: an ignition unit for pans

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kell
Posts: 404
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MSD for Panhead: an ignition unit for pans

#1

Post by kell » Tue Aug 27, 2002 3:05 am

MSD makes an ignition unit for pans but not for the short-shaft distrib my bike has. So I took the MSD out of my car and wired it up to the bike. Just some wires to connect, you don't take the points out or anything. But it's a bigass box for a bike. I drilled out the rivets and found a lot of empty air in the box, so I cut it down to about half the size and siliconed it back together. The nice thing is if it fails you just disconnect it and you're back on the points.



panhead
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Re: MSD for Panhead

#2

Post by panhead » Wed Aug 28, 2002 7:26 am

My pan has a similar set-up. A local workshop made a electronic ignition unit. Runs with dual-plugs and S&S, already over 10 years with no problem.

kell
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Re: MSD for Panhead

#3

Post by kell » Thu Aug 29, 2002 3:20 am

I don't know if the MSD will work, it seems to have killed the battery. The MSD website says 6 amps is the maximum the MSD 5 ignition will draw. I don't know if this generator is rebuilt, it's a '52, I just got the bike. I need some way to gauge the behavior of the charging system, either a volt meter or an ammeter, or even both, to look at while running the bike. Would a stock 1952 generator just be too feeble to run even five or six amps over what the headlight and taillight require of it? Was riding at night when it pooped.

panhead
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Re: MSD for Panhead

#4

Post by panhead » Thu Aug 29, 2002 7:34 am

I converted my electrical system to 12V and changed the generator, so I had no problem.

59pan
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Location: dallas

Re: MSD for Panhead

#5

Post by 59pan » Wed Dec 11, 2002 11:38 pm

Hey guys. I have converted my 59 to 12v and use an electronic distributor and an Accel hot coil. The bike starts okay but not great and when I check the spark with the plugs out it is still yellow. Did you get an improvement in the starting when you put in the spark enhancer?
Thanks.
Ron

kell
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Re: MSD for Panhead

#6

Post by kell » Fri Dec 13, 2002 4:46 am

If your spark is weak, maybe you should find out what is wrong with the setup you have before you try adding more stuff. Could be low battery voltage/bad charging, or crummy spark plug wires (or the wrong ones -- some will put out interference that affects certain computerized ignitions). What kind of igntion do you have? Is the resistance of the coil primary matched to the requirements of the ignition? Electrical problems can seem mystifying at first, but the good thing about pans is how simple they really are, so troubleshooting should not be a headache. You need a basic volt/ohm meter first and foremost, that's what the doctor says.

59pan
Posts: 40
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Location: dallas

Re: MSD for Panhead

#7

Post by 59pan » Fri Dec 13, 2002 4:33 pm

Kell:
Thanks for the note. I don't remember who makes my distributor. It was a drop in replacement for the original unit. The coil is high intensity Accell unit that may be wired for either single or dual fire. The bike runs great and I have no complaints. Mainly I was just complaining about the hard cold starting. I use a Bendix carburator and even though I have an FLH model, I used the lower compression FL pistons so as not to overload the old motor. I have had good luck in the past using MSD boxes and was thinking of mounting mine inside of my tool box since there really isn't a good spot on the bike otherwise. To your comment on wires, I have not changed them from the stock set that came with the coil but I think that all the parts are compatible. I use a Westco acid mat 12v battery and don't think there is a problem there. I am not the saviest guy with electrical problems so any further advice would be appreciated.
Ron

darkjuju
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Re: MSD for Panhead

#8

Post by darkjuju » Sun Aug 31, 2003 2:56 pm

ive seen two sites that say that MSD will work for all Harley big twins

http://www.prfactorystore.com/2mcpulse.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.factorydirectperformance.com/pulse.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

have they changed anything on these, made improvements?

after 13 years of jumping up and down and hyperextending my knee. i need relief!

kell
Posts: 404
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Re: MSD for Panhead

#9

Post by kell » Sat Sep 06, 2003 4:51 am

From my experience during the last year with my bike I think any electronic ignition will give you the ease with starting that you're looking for; you don't need expensive multiple-spark units. For a couple of hundred bucks you can get a Mallory -- that's a whole new breaker, not an add-on box of electronics. Starts easier than points. You could try the Quick-Start 2000 Electronic Ignition, which is a points-replacement unit that has a collar that slips over the shaft of your breaker and what I assume is a hall effect sensor, that goes where the points were. I saw a good review of it in The Horse magazine.
Don't remember the price of the MSD units, but I recall them being expensive. I had taken the big automotive MSD 5 box out of my car and put it on the bike just to try it out but it's back in the car now. The bike doesn't need that kind of thing on it, in my humble opinion.

weezeo
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Location: South Florida

Re: MSD for Panhead

#10

Post by weezeo » Sun Sep 07, 2003 12:49 am

What is a MSD? What Pan dosen't have a short shaft Distributor? as compared to Sportster. How much do those MSD cost? Not familar with them. Do you have to change the distributor? what is meant by a short shaft Distributor? Not familar with this subject/post that is talked about here I looked up the sites mentioned but haven't studied yet.

weezeo
Posts: 117
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2004 8:47 am
Location: South Florida

Re: MSD for Panhead

#11

Post by weezeo » Sun Sep 07, 2003 12:56 am

I look at the sites mentioned about MSD and read a little will read more I have never seen one in operation would lke to know more about this setup as I been switching from Auto Advance distrib to Magneato and back over the last 30 yrs. have never ran manual advance distributor when I bought my Pan it came with auto advance and then went to Morris mag and then back to Distrib. as it wouldn't start in the winter with Mag. now getting ready to put it back on road with Magneato. Those MSD are expensive must work very good

kell
Posts: 404
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2004 2:58 am

Re: MSD for Panhead

#12

Post by kell » Sun Sep 07, 2003 6:35 pm

When I made the first post on this string I had just bought my pan last year and didn't know the difference between a sportster breaker and big twin breaker -- I thought the big twins had the short breaker shaft and the sportsters had the long one. It's the other way around. Somebody I had talked to on the phone when I was shopping for an aftermarket breaker had it wrong and I got confused.
MSD stands for "mutliple spark discharge". You get several sparks on each firing cycle instead of just one. I have a 1973 International Harvester Scout II that was hard to start especially in cold weather. With the MSD winter starting is a lot easier. The MSD 5 I intalled in my International cost like ninety bucks. That's cheaper unit, MSD 6 and others cost more but not a hell of a lot.
MSD's bike stuff costs so much more, seems like the bike aftermarket in general is that way -- and the Harley aftermarket is worst.

darkjuju
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Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:55 pm

Re: MSD for Panhead

#13

Post by darkjuju » Thu Sep 18, 2003 11:13 am

can someone recommend me to a wrench who knows how to install MSD on Pan?

thanks in advance... pun intended

in Central Texas

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