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Cycle Shanty

Q’s, A’s and Tech Tips – Page Three

Q’s & A’s – Tech Tips – Page Three

Stroke and Bore

                     Well, folks, it isn’t as simple as you may think on new bikes. Yes, you can do it, however, the cost could be astronomical and there are other ways to increase performance.

                 On the pre-control module (computer) bikes this was relatively easy. You were able to stroke, change or replace your crankshaft, cam, etc. to accommodate an increased stroke. Most people, owning a V Twin, favored bore in that Harley’s were natural strokers, no change of crankshaft was necessary, and, subject to qualification, derived greater horsepower from decreasing compression. While this is a truism on diesel engines I can’t state as a fact the same is true for gas engines.

                   Bare in mind, you will need more than mechanical changes to make that engine run, with the new ICM (Ignition Control Module) engines, replacement of the stock ICM is mandatory to ensure proper ignition timing, and may have to be designed specially for your engine. Just how much do you want to spend for an ICM? I would imagine OEM’s spend millions on design (engineering) and “tooling” just to produce them.

                 I understand you want more power. There are a few very good performance oriented shops around America and you’ll find a few of them on the Shanty Wall -Places and Things page and I might add, those also appearing may welcome general repairs as well.

             What you should be aware of are the number of so called performance ICM’s out there lacking enough of what you need to give you the desired effect. Remember, these are sales organizations catering to the recreational rider. I have been in contact with, and will be in contact with again, a very professional “ICM” designer and builder. Their method of design, in a sense, defies a lot of the traditional bologna you’re handed by the CSO’s and if I can convince them this is the way to go we will have performance as we’ve never known it before.

                     For specific issues don’t hesitate to contact me.

Can’t get it started?

                 So your bike won’t start again? Well friend, just like the last bike that wouldn’t start at 75K miles and neither would mine for the same reason at 100K miles, mine is experiencing the same problem now. Okay, in your case, the bike just wouldn’t start plain and simple and in my case the bike did start after I jumped it with a better battery.

                Well, this is what I did. First, is your battery charged? I didn’t check the weather in your area, however, here in north Texas, we had a cold snap and sometimes that can run a battery down quick. First, voltage check your battery. Its okay? Be sure your kill switch isn’t flipped and isn’t shorted out. Ohm out your ignition switch or if that’s a problem for you voltage check the switch. I might add, if you have lights and your horn is working your ignition switch is probably good. Check you neutral starting switch, your kickstand switch and your clutch switch. All is well? Check your fuses, if your equipped with a diode, check your diode. All is well?

              Now you are at a point where there are only three things that can be wrong. Your wiring and or your starter motor and or your gears. First, make sure all of your connections are clean and secure (tight). This means starting at the battery terminals and taking it all the way through to each component in your starting system. All is well? Check your starter. Before you go wild check it out twice. First get a heavy wire, at least a six gauge wire, there is a lot of amperage going through it and a thin wire will burn up and will burn your fingers as well, Jump the starter directly between the battery and the starter positive terminal, it should spin, if not then pull the starter out and bench test it the same way. It still won’t spin? Replace your starter. It will spin? Check your engagement system, there are a few gears to look at. It means removing your left side cover and taking a look.

               Hey, if this doesn’t work, you have some serious engine problems and you will need a good shop since your engine will be coming out. With your mileage, if you pull the engine your mechanic will be able to tell you if its worth rebuilding.

               Best of luck to you, let me know if this was helpful and how you made out.

Still can’t get it started?

               Okay, lets try again. This time you say when you flip the ignition switch on nothing happens. No light, no horn, no anything. It sounds to me like a main fuse. If power is there then the main fuse is shot. You also said you charged your battery and had 12.47 volts. Check that charge again and don’t be surprised if your down to 10.4 volts, yes, its a dead battery. Strange things happen in this world. Now then, main fuses, 30 amp Bussman type do go out even when the fuse isn’t burned. they can have a minute crack in the green plastic and if enough current goes through it the green plastic will crumble. This would be obvious. Also, always remember as your voltage drops so increases your amperage and amperage is what burns you. You better ohm out your diode again. Sounds like your battery died, you charged it, it died when you tried it and blew your main fuse. You probably also blew your diode. If you’re going to replace that main fuse try buying it at an auto parts store. The new blade fuses, Bussman that is, have a light on the top that’ll glow if the fuse is shot, try it. The diode? Well you can try a electronics supply house, although, you’ll have less aggravation, if you just buy it from a dealer.

                 Another problem in general is corrosion on the connectors. You can clean them with electronic spray cleaner and when the connectors are dry definitely apply some dielectric grease to the female connector.  Don’t be afraid to put a little grease on the ground wire at the starter motor. Any time you disconnect an electrical connection use the dielectric grease when connecting it and you’ll save yourself a lot of grief in the long run.

About batteries!

              Well, folks, at some point in time you will need a battery. Which battery do you really need? Quite possibly not the one your friend or the salesman recommends and why? Well, the salesman is going to sell you whats best for the salesman and that is usually the wrong or most expensive battery. The dealer will sell you the most expensive battery. What to do?

                 First lets take a look at the various types of batteries. There is the dry charge battery, the battery the shop fills with electrolyte, charges up for you and installs in your bike. This type of battery can sit on the shelf for decades and still be fresh and ready for you. There is the factory sealed type (leak proof in that glass mats absorb the electrolyte) and as long as it hasn’t sat around for over a year you should have no problems although if its been around for 5 years you’ll be lucky if you get one full year of service out of it. There is the AGM battery (glass mat design and a wee bit different than the factory sealed type). This type may not need electrolyte maintenance, however, may need to be charged from time to time. Finally there is the lithium type battery which I know very little about other than the fact I have not yet seen an OEM spec it for a bike and that they are the most expensive available.

              Charging your battery can either restore it or destroy it depending upon how you charge it. A dry charge battery can handle about 45 – 60 minutes at 10 amps before its sealed and if additional charging is necessary thereafter be sure and remove it from your bike and use a two amp charge rate for as long as it takes to bring it up. Now then, you do have to check the charge about every 20 minutes to avoid overcharging, and yes, even with a “fully automatic” charger. Don’t let it go above 12.7 volts. The best way to go is with a constant .9 volt trickle charge over night. A factory sealed battery usually should not be charged at 10 amps (11.1 max) for more than 30 minutes or 1.5 amps for more 2 hours with out checking the battery voltage. The AGM battery must be charged from time to time and the best route to go is to take it out of your bike and bench charge it, again, the charge rate should not exceed the rate for the factory sealed battery. The lithium battery I can tell you very little about since I don’t use or install them. I will amend this paragraph as soon as I have factual info to share with you.

                   Battery chargers and your battery must be compatible. The older chargers gave you only one option for charging and that is referred to as “standard”. New chargers on the market offer a switch to go between standard and AGM. Why? The AGM battery has a different charging “rhythm” and charges in the same fashion as the AGM battery charges and discharges in your bike. If you use standard with an AGM you may be killing your battery. A factory sealed battery should also be charged with the charger in AGM mode and yes even a dry charge battery can be charged in AGM mode. To avoid problems find a battery manufacturer that sells a charger for your battery (or primarily as a motorcycle battery charger) and use as per the instructions.

                   Your motorcycle has an alternator and an electronic charging system and it is designed to charge the battery spec’d by the OEM. Just a hint, don’t use a factory sealed or AGM in a bike that was designed for a dry charge or you’l have the same “standard” charge screwing up your new battery. You can use a dry charge to replace the factory sealed or AGM in that the dry charge should not be affected by the difference in charging rhythm. I will also mention that the dry charge is much less expensive in that the factory does not have to activate and seal it.

               Where to buy? Beware of retail outlets selling every type of battery on the market and hawking other non related products as well. When these companies started out they sold only batteries and maintained corporate stores. Today they can sell a lot more batteries plus a lot more unrelated products if they “franchise” the store to someone who knows nothing about batteries or the industry, the franchise becomes a perfect dumping stations for slow moving items and out of date items. So, they go broke? The franchiser will sell it to another sucker. Either pay through the nose at an OEM dealer or buy it from a reputable bike shop in that they both buy more batteries a year than you will ever buy and they will get things fresh and reliable or their supplier will be losing a commercial account.

                     Have a question or concern? Get with me via the contact page and I do what I can to help you.

Adjusting your valves?

                     Great! Properly adjusted valves are really very important. I will start off by saying if you are not a real mechanic don’t even try it.

                  First, what are you planning to adjust them with? Hey, some valves can be adjusted with basic tool box tools and some require specialty tools (OEM). Yes, if your a real mechanic you should be able to manufacture your own tools, however, the question is, how much time do you want to invest? Think about that and then see if you can buy one from a tool supplier or if its necessary, wait about a week and get the OEM’s tool. Hey, if you’re a shop you may want to buy the OEM’s tool in that a valve adjusting wrench isn’t going to wear out and your great great great great grandson will be using it and many more generations there after. Next, consider the quality of you feeler gauges. Never buy cheap feeler gauges and if you do then mic them out before you use them in that the cheap Chinese gauges may or may not be the thickness they stamped on the gauge.

                  What are you going to set the clearances at? The OEM gives you an ideal +- a tolerance. Before you set anything be advised that less clearance may hold your valve open and you will probably lose compression and experience backfiring and for sure a rough idle. If they’re too loose you’ll hear them real good and the valves won’t open enough to allow adequate fuel to enter the cylinder or all the exhaust gases to leave the cylinder, the end result may be stalling or lack of power at high speeds. What to do? I suggest setting the clearance to OEM specs and if you do a lot of cruising in hot ambient temps then run them a little loose so as to only hear a faint valve tapping. Oh, by the way before you adjust them make sure the piston is at TDC on the compression stroke. You really don’t want to make a serious mistake or you’ll be doing over again and if your riding a water cooled bike there could be the hassle of disassembling half of your cooling system.

                     Need more help? Get with me via the contact form.

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