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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi I just picked up a 1997 XLH 1200C with 19000 miles,it has aftermarket straight pipes and possibly a Screaming Eagle air cleaner assembly on it.
I do not know much about this bike as the previous owner spoke very little English, So I have no clue if the carburetor was re-jetted when they changed out the air filter housing and exhaust with what looks like cheap aftermarket dual exhaust.
I only drove it home 60 miles when I purchased it the other day and it seemed like the power was OK. Since I drove it home with no license plate and haven't gone over it with a fine tooth comb looking for lose or missing fasteners and other potentially crappy work I took it easy on the ride home.
the front header tube looks like it has more rust further down the pipe than the back one which may or may not mean anything.
before I start riding this bike I am going over each and every fastener and I plan on draining the tank inspecting it and replacing the fuel filter( screen ) or entire petcock. I also plan on rebuilding the Stock carburetor. does anyone know what jet size the stock 1200c carburetor comes with? I did a stage two years ago on my wife's 06 1200c and no longer remember any of the sizes. plus the 97 may be different. I am considering just saving up and buying a SS Carburetor and filter kit and getting better quality pipes.
before I do anything I am borrowing my friends color tuning kit to get a idea if the bike is rich, Lean or just right before touching it.
I am on a fixed income and I do not want to just toss money at this bike replacing stuff for no reason. I am not looking for a drag bike or even a fast bike. I just want a reliable loud enough bike to be heard if you know what I mean. My wife's 06 1200C was pretty damn responsive when I finished it to the point it felt like it wanted to take off out from under me. and she just had a complete Stage 2 kit with screaming eagle slip on mufflers I do not remember if I took the baffles out or not. while the 97 has good pulling power I sure do not get the same refinement or responsiveness from the 97. SO I am pretty sure they may not have changed out the jets or the screen may have debris stuck in it. or the lack of baffles and or back pressure is causing the lack of responsiveness. anyway you look at it I want to make it right inexpensively at first then upgrade it as I can afford it. thanks for any help you may have to offer.
:feedback:

I mentioned upgrading my wife's 06 1200c to stage two when it was in fact it was a stage one upgrade that I did. the cobwebs are slowly clearing out after many years not working on her 1200c.
 

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I believe stock is
175 Main
42 Pilot


With those pipes, try
180 Main
45 Pilot
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies, yeah I have no problem with rebuilding the stock carburetor I am just not sure who has done what to it. I will know more once I get it apart. most of the work done to this bike seems professional except for the LED under glow lights that I will be pulling off.
I looked online at HD and it seems they do not have much for the 97
Its been a while since I worked on a Harley I think I have to order a catalog find what I need then go to the dealer or find a supplier online.
again thanks for your help.
 

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J&P's has pretty much anything you'll need for your Sportster. As for the carb I would change the pilot jet to a 45 - 48, main jet size is for top end so the stock jet should be ok.
The first H-D tool you buy should be the H-D service manual, it'll set ya back about $60.00 but best money for the tool buck !
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the information and links. they will surely be used. I am starting to remember the difference between my 97 and my wife's 06 1200C that she had.
her 06 1200c had dual spark plugs and perhaps better HP and torque stock.
So I am guessing if I want similar performance to my wife's 06 1200c I will need more
performance upgrades than a stage two setup. or live with what I get once this bike is properly tuned.
Again I am not looking for a speed demon or anything just power and reliability when I need it. we have many non driving fools in Florida , when I twist the throttle to get out of a sticky situation I need to know its not going to just sputter backfire and die. LOL

I got my tag today, warmed up my bike and just took it around the block a few times to get a better feel for what it does from a dead stop. it defiantly seems a little sluggish from idle to around 2000 rpm then it clears up. I also hear some sputtering and backfiring so I and thinking I may have some leaks both intake and exhaust. before I do any more I will pull a compression test and like I said check if its running rich or lean. Yeah I agree a factory service manual is in order ASAP.
I have one for my wife's 06 but I feel the years are so far apart it would just lead me down the wrong path.
Thanks again for the info.
 

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As others have said, rebuild the carb, I think you'll be very surprised at the difference. I had a 98 883 punched out to a 1200, I rebuild the carb, the difference in performance was like night and day. In my case, lots of crud in the bowl. Just my .02
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Went over the bike today

I took the seat off today exposing the rats nest of wiring left behind by whom ever installed this junk LED lighting system. I removed every trace of the aftermarket crap then removed the drop-crash bar that I cant stand.
I discovered a few missing fasteners one that attaches the fender to the frame under the seat. and one exhaust bolt. I wanted to pull the tank today so I can see all the wiring clearly but the rubber Vent elbow is completely dry rotted I may have to drive this before my parts come in so I left the tank alone for now.
I gathered a list of items that I will need to start with. the links that was provided to me will come in handy right away.
I pulled the ignition chrome cover to find a screaming eagle module in place of the factory one. so I am somewhat assured the jets would have been addressed.
I am just going to order a carburetor kit and rebuild it even if it looks spotless. I wont be happy until I see the right jets in it.
From what I can tell it looks like the stage one kit was done so I just need to address the obvious and like many of you have said it should be fine.
Thanks again for all your help.
 

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clearly but the rubber Vent elbow is completely dry rotted I may have to drive this before my parts come in so I left the tank alone for now.
I don't remember what I did, as a fix, but if you get a crotch full of cool its gas coming from that elbow, right after a fill up. Watch this could be a problem until fixed.

Glad your on track, sounds like your heading in a good direction.
 

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the needle makes a big difference in throttle response too. There are different tapers out there and some carb kits have their own special needle and emulsion tube in case the PO may have changed anything. A lot of people swore by the '88 needle (N65C I think) but mine didn't like it (bogged it down) The one I found in A EZ CV carb kit worked best in my '95 883-1200. (NOKH) Good luck.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
no Elbow part number on partslist

I don't remember what I did, as a fix, but if you get a crotch full of cool its gas coming from that elbow, right after a fill up. Watch this could be a problem until fixed.

Glad your on track, sounds like your heading in a good direction.
Thanks, I looked up all the parts I need with the provided link, I found the rubber elbow but it is labeled number 15 with the fuel tank parts,However the diagram parts list starts at number 16?
I may have to source this elsewhere. I have seen these elbows on many cars normally used with vacuum lines with early to mid 80s MAP sensors so it shouldn't be too hard to find.
I notice a strong smell of fuel after a ride even with the fuel petcock shut off. today I am taking my bike to the Doctors and when I get back I will shut the fuel off and let it run till it drains the carburetor completely to see if the strong smell still persist.
Early this morning I just happened to notice the front exhaust pipe has a heat shield that gets pinched between the rear brake pedal and the exhaust pipe!!! what hacks LOL its amazing this bike looked clean ( bad eyesight I guess ) and professionally modified.
Yet the more I look at it the more stupid things like this I find.
I have been a mechanic since 1985 and one would think I would have spotted this kind of crap before I bought this bike. Not that its a deal breaker because no matter what I would have changed the exhaust out with a set that is designed for the 1997 1200c not a semi universal fit. there is nothing worse than trying to get a boot full of rear brakes when needed and have the travel limited by a cheap exhaust system. I remember why I didn't notice all these things. when I inspected this bike I had two very large pits barking three feet away, this guys neighbors dogs was just on the other side of his very short chain link fence and the dogs were going
nuts because my wife had to bring our small dog with us.
I guess thats another life lesson. never let your wife bring your pet along when you go to buy anything that needs to be inspected outside in a strange environment.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
This why I was considering a new SS Carburetor

the needle makes a big difference in throttle response too. There are different tapers out there and some carb kits have their own special needle and emulsion tube in case the PO may have changed anything. A lot of people swore by the '88 needle (N65C I think) but mine didn't like it (bogged it down) The one I found in A EZ CV carb kit worked best in my '95 883-1200. (NOKH) Good luck.:)
Yeah the more I look into just rebuilding the factory carburetor the more convinced I am that I need to start off with a new one.
There is so many things that could have been done to this carburetor I am not sure with my poor eye sight I could know the difference between stock emulsion tubes or cheep aftermarket ones. Looking a J&P Cycles they have all kinds of crap to buy some of which would require drilling the main body out and other undesirable modifications if not done right.
I think my new question will be. should I order a New Stock Carburetor if I can still get one then put the stage one Screaming eagle kit in it. or get a S&S Carburetor and filter kit. Anyone I know that ran the S&S said it was a bitch to setup and install but was well worth it once dialed in.

While looking into the S&S Carburetor setup, one common issue is with the throttle cables. many have complained about having to buy new cables and not knowing about it until they go to install the kit. this has brought to light yet another thing I missed when inspecting this bike. some idiot left off the return cable on my bike. LOL
I am just glad I am taking the time to look over this bike many times before riding it.Now I wont even consider riding this bike any further until I know everything that has been done by all the different hack mechanics over the years. I have had many bikes over the years and it never occurred to me to look for the second cable, I have been focused on loose or missing bolts, leaks etc and didn't even notice the obvious stuff slapping me in my face.
I guess I have been out of the loop way too long. So if any of you are riding a motorcycle and trust your mechanic or even do the work yourself and your bike
was purchased second hand. Please take the time to look it over good and even get a second set of eyes on it if needed. and do not trust any mechanic no matter how good they are. they will service or repair your bike many times with blinders on because they are not getting paid to look beyond what you hired them for. I have worked on cars trucks motorcycles most of my life and I am looking for crap like this yet each time I look at it I find something else I missed which is crazy because pretty much everything is easy to access and spot yet just as easy to overlook.
 

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The s&s is an easy conversion and very easy to tune the stock cables work fine btw I havnt ran an idle cable for years won't hurt anything
 

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Ive run both. If it were my choice, Id go with the CV unless you are expecting to make over 100 HP.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well it took a while for me to dive into the problem I was having with this bike because I have been having a hard time with my back and neck. however I finally got around to tracking down and fixing this bike. the symptoms were a choke was needed for and extended period, once the bike was warmed up I could stop using the choke and the bike ran kind of crappy with the common Harley cough or hick up under light acceleration it would backfire under deceleration and seemed to lack power. I found the carburetor had slipped out of the rubber intake gasket enough to cause a vacuum leak, this was because of a missing gasket on one side of the carburetor to air cleaner spacer which allowed enough space for the carburetor to be pulled back when tightening up the bolts that held the carburetor to the air cleaner this caused the rubber intake gasket to move around causing the vacuum leak. while I had the carburetor out I took it apart and put it in my ultrasonic parts washer and inspected all the parts. I found all the replaceable parts were fine with just a little debris in the bottom of the float bowl. once I got it back together this bike ran great it has lots of power no more Harley hick up or backfiring I only need full choke for a few seconds then partial choke for a minute or so. I think the rubber gasket that was loose caused the hick up and a dirty needle and seat caused the backfiring and fuel to come out the float bowl overflow line once. so I am sure the bike was getting too much fuel in the float bowl intermittently. the main jet I think was a .170 since it runs great I do not think I will mess around with swapping it out to a different size. I am glad I didn't change the carburetor out to an S.S that would have been a waste of money since it only took a few bucks to fix the problem.
 

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