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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all and welcome to my holiday mystery novel! This is my first post on the HD forums and I would like to thank each and every one of you for your contributions in subsequent posts that got me to were I am at this very moment with my sportster. Let me set the stage...

I purchased a 2006 Sportster 883 XL Low with 2,600 miles after owning a brand new Husqvarna Vitpilen 401 that was totaled in a hit and run in the beautiful, sunny, and downright treacherous MadMax-type driving conditions in South Florida.

The sportster ran rough when I took possession with the issues being a very low idle rpm, constant blipping of the throttle to keep it lit, black smoke on idle, and an annoying carb cough (rich condition misfire to be specific). Already installed upon purchase was a Screamin' Eagle stage 1 air cleaner, Screamin' Eagle ICM, and Screamin' Eagle exhaust pipes. THATS IT!

I gave the carb a thorough clean and rebuild with new gaskets, diaphragm pump, float needle and the works. I have left all jetting as I found it. 42 pilot, 165 main, and an aftermarket needle with the washer set third slot from the top and three washer spacers beneath it.

After putting 1,400 miles on the bike since purchase I have not been able to shake a consistent rich fuel mixture condition! She'll start up just fine and run like a top at speeds but at idle the rich fuel mixture symptoms keep haunting me.

Up until this point I have done as follows:
New spec spark plugs and gapped to manual's specifications (they keep fouling after riding for short periods and I keep cleaning them off with no luck with my attempts to solve the issue)
New spark plug wires
Carb thoroughly cleaned and rebuilt
Air filter (K&N) cleaned and oiled
Tested intake manifold gaskets (wd-40) with no signs of leaking
Intake manifold to carb boot replaced
Vacuum operated petcock (stock) was leaking a bit and thought fuel might be finding its way into the carb through vacuum line - replaced with standard petcock and vacuum nipple plugged on carb

Additional info:
During rebuild, float needle was replaced and float readjusted as per manual's specifications
When adjusting fuel mixture screw (aftermarket knob-style) the bike will start to stumble at 1/2 turn out from full seat. even when running at this fuel mixture setting, spark plugs are still fouling.
This bike is daily driven approx 10 miles. 5 miles to work, and 5 back. It is not ridden hard, never taken on highways, and rarely gets past 50mph.

Things I think are causing the issue at this point in time:
Stuck/faulty enricher circuit - Its possible I missed the enricher port and cleaning deep inside with a small pipe cleaner and it is possible the enricher circuit is not fully seated therefore allowing excess fuel into the throttle body at idle causing this persisting rich condition
Faulty ICM
Faulty Ignition components (coils etc)
Faulty crank position sensor (dash is not throwing any cods for CPS but will check with multimeter regardless)

Through all of this, the bike is still fouling plugs quickly and causing a misfire (backfire through carb) only when revving throttle at idle or from idle. No issues in mid range/top end whatsoever!

I've done all of these diagnostics myself and am hoping to get to the bottom of it after spending all of this time and research, and I want to keep my hard earned Benjamins for some cool bike parts down the road instead of giving it over to the Harley dealership mechanics!

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Fingers crossed I can get my mystery solved!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, I thoroughly cleaned the enricher port and replaced the enricher assembly and am still running rich at idle, soiling plugs and coughing a bit. Still running a 42 pilot jet with 2 turns out on the mixture screw. Turing the mixture screw got the bike to idle high and had to lower idle via the idle screw to get it to stumble. I am baffled! should I try a 40 pilot jet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The 42 pilot jet is lean to start, usually replaced with a 45 jet.
Also verify the needle jet is installed right side up, it goes in either way. Looking into the carb throat at the jet top should appear concave not flat where the needle enters.
I have read a lot that points to the 42 being small and I have bumped to a 45 for a little bit a while back but it’s obviously not helping the already existing rich condition. The needle jet collar (silver concave piece above emulsion tube) is installed the correct way. Any possibility as mentioned above that the needle is shimmed too high and letting fuel into the idle mixture via the main jet and needle?

my next plan of attack after changing the enricher circuit is to install a stock needle, 175 main and 42 pilot to bring the cab back to factory jetting specs
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Have you tested the VOES function yet ? If you plugged the vacuum port on the carb the VOES won't function. Can you reinstall the original jet needle so that all the jets are back to stock again ?
can you elaborate on the VOES function? I’ve done away with the vacuum petcock and plugged the vacuum nipple on the carb and did not notice any difference in how the bike runs. Aka, still running rich at idle as before with vacuum petcock. I will be installing stock needle and jets to manufacture spec later today and will update on what I find.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Have you tested the VOES function yet ? If you plugged the vacuum port on the carb the VOES won't function. Can you reinstall the original jet needle so that all the jets are back to stock again ?
I will check to see if my bike has the VOES later today but I don’t believe it does. It’s a 2006 and literature online suggests they moved to mapping after 2003.
The only vacuum nipple after the butterfly on the carb used to lead to the vacuum operated petcock, not to a VOES system, so I don’t think this has to do with my issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Oh, and verify the VOES wire is connected.

interesting history of VOES and changes to ignition timing systems throughout the years.
I don’t have any codes on the dash showing any faults with the ignition system, but that doesn’t entirely rule out the possibility. I am still going to go back to stock with the needle, pilot and main jets and see if the bike starts running lean. I’m hoping it’s a possibility the current needle installed is allowing way too much fuel in from the main jet (so much so that it’s getting into the carb throat at idle) and if that’s the case I should see some improvement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My bad, you're correct. Last year for the VOES was 2003. I wasn't paying attention to the model year. MAP sensor replaced the VOES apparently.
alright, so I installed a stock needle jet from my rebuild kit last night. Unfortunately I did not have a 175 main like I thought I did but left the 170 main that was already in the carb, and left the 42 pilot as well. Had some interesting things happen that ate up most of my night…
-____-

After installing the stock needle and reinstalling the carb, when firing up the bike she flooded like nobody’s business. Couldn’t keep her running, no choke needed, and was billowing smoke and leaking fuel out of the air cleaner. Took the carb off, rebuilt the accelerator pump and float bowl with new gaskets, reinstalled the carb and same issue. Took the carb BACK off, reinstalled the aftermarket adjustable needle that was in the bike when I bought it, and took out two of the three washers below the C-Clip to thin out fuel delivery. Put her all back together and she fired up no problem. It ate up most of my evening and was just relieved it would get me to work in the morning so I did not get a chance to clean the plugs and check to see if my rich condition was still there at idle. The exhaust still smells rich to me and I had a couple misfires when revving up last night and this morning on the way to work. Will check plugs before heading home from work today.

I’m starting to second guess myself I’m thinking maybe this is normal? I know I want my plugs running just right, but could the carb cough/misfire be due to excessive fuel delivery from the accelerator pump fuel delivery from a few blips from the throttle at idle? I still think I’m running too rich But everything checks out it seems…still Totally baffled and more frustrated than ever and the HD Dealership is looking more and more appealing
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
That sounds like the float needle wasn't sealing. Another thing to watch for is that the carb vent hole isn't covered by the AC backing plate gasket. The hole is at the 10 o'clock position, looks like a screw hole.
I thought the float needle was the case as well, and checked it with the bowl off and petcock open, operating the float gently with my finger. The fuel flooding issue persisted until I put the aftermarket needle back in… maybe the aftermarket needle is only compatible with the emulsion tube installed… I didn’t want to open that can of worms and the issue went away when reinstalling the aftermarket needle.

the carb vent hole is not covered and always aligned properly with the gasket. On my model it’s at the 2 o clock position
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
for UPGRADE Parts & Tuning & Troubleshooting RECOMMENDATIONS try:

www.CV-Performance.com

They stock the correct emulsion tubes & a "sportster" Needle Valve that I have installed on my 1340cc V-TWIN ( 1995 DYNA Convertible ) with decent results

NOTE: the PO ( Previous Owner ) may have replaced your emulsion tube - as well as that Needle Valve with the groves & washers, etc Etc ETC

[email protected]@D LUCK

the WiSeNhEiMeR from Richmond, INDIANA

COOP

I think I might have found the issue, but I won't know until I get the bike back and adjust accordingly.

I caved and brought the bike to my local Harley dealership. They advertise having a dyno and claim that people from all over the state come to their dealership to get work done... I am not impressed!

Long story short I dropped it off and explained all that I had found, from the rich idle condition to the coughing and my findings etc... Got sold on a 5k service as well (figured better them do it in the shop than in my parking garage after all this carb headache). A few days later they told me my clutch plates were shot - found by debris in primary oil- and I gave the go-ahead on that. When they called to tell me my bike was ready, they told me the techs didn't find anything wrong with the carb and they adjusted the idle mixture screw, claiming the bike was running rich and that was my problem.... I dropped the damn thing off with the idle mixture screw at 1 turn out! Additionally, told me they gapped my plugs (Ive already done that to manufacture's specs).

I'll have a few words when I pick it up but here's what I think might be up and I'm hoping you could shed some light on if this may be causing my problem.

When reassembling the carb, there is an aftermarket needle in it, and it is a dynojet kit. When disassembling and reassembling I aways put the needle back in as I had found it, which had the 3 washers below the c-clip, needle holder, then spring. Upon finding dynojet's installation guide, those three washers are supposed to go on top of the c-clip, then needle holder and spring.


So.. I'm thinking that since I bought the bike and have put that needle back as I found it, those washers are lifting the needle out of the emulsion tube allowing extra fuel to enter at idle! Right?! Once I get her back I'm fixing that as per dynojet's instructions.

Valuable lesson learned to never take my bike back to a dealership... I'm no mechanic but Jesus Christ.... I would have expected them to take the damn carb apart an do some thorough work, not just get me for a new clutch pack and totally disregard my main concern.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
That needle seems really high to me. The needle shouldn't affect the idle normally, but an aftermarket needle up high - maybe??
Not sure how I missed this comment before but you are correct. The PO installed the washers backwards and confirmed after reading dynojets installation instructions.
 
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