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Bobber Build by a total Newb

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by dilbone, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. dilbone

    dilbone XS650 Addict

    Thanks John

    So I went out earlier to run it a bit with the newly installed clamps and some fresh 15w40 Mobil 1300 Delvac diesel oil. I had it up to 90mph to see if I had any clutch slippage and everything seemed to be going fine until I started to get a miss. I couldn't tell if it was a gas or spark issue and first thought maybe I had sediment floating around in the bowls. There was really no pattern to it, it was on and off and got a little worse as I got closer to home.

    I got home and took it up and down the road one more time after I checked it over to make sure there was nothing obviously loose and falling off and it seemed maybe a bit better. Once I parked it and let it idle, which it did very smoothly, then it just died. I now have NO spark. I can smell gas when I give it some kicks and when I hit the starter there is no pop whatsoever like there's no spark at all.

    I opened the electronics tank to see if there were any wires that had obviously come apart and everything looked good
    pamco fuse is good
    coil reads 2 or 3ohms
    I checked the pamco itself to make sure nothing was loose

    I don't know what the issue is or where to even look next. I'll pull the plugs and see what they look like...maybe they're fouled? I haven't adjusted the mixture screws since I put the shorty baffles in but I didn't change anything last time I used baffles in the stock header pipes either...

    I don't know I'm kinda at a loss. This thing has pulled like a train ever since I got it started the first time last summer and I've never had an issue with it not running well. I know some guys have had a terrible time getting theirs dialed in but I haven't had any such issues so this is coming from out of nowhere.
  2. Johnt3

    Johnt3 Still learning...

    Sounds like electrical to me,but of course you already know that.
    Go back and check all of your connections and wiring,all it takes is one...
    Good to hear your clutch is working good for you.You'll get it man. 90 mph! Good golly Batman!:D
  3. dilbone

    dilbone XS650 Addict

    I think I peed a little bit...

    I just checked the coil and it's fine, I've got 2-3ohms across the primaries and 21.5kohms from plug to plug. I was just reading Pete's directions of how to test the pamco so I'll try that next. I'm sure it's something stupid...I just have to find it...
  4. dilbone

    dilbone XS650 Addict

    I have power at the pamco red and at the coil. Timing light confirmed no spark.

    I sent a PM to Pete so I'll see what he thinks. I can't believe it's fried but I don't know what else it could be.
  5. dilbone

    dilbone XS650 Addict

    I looked at the back of the circuit boards of both the sensor and the advance and they each had a small burn area at one or more connection points.

    I sent those pics and an email to Pete and he is sending me a new set. That guy is a class act and treats his customers better than they probably deserve.

    He told me to check the voltage at at 3000rpm and see if it goes above 15Volts once I get it going again. He thinks the regulator may be to blame. I'm still not sure why the fuse wouldn't go before the device would.

    I have a feeling regardless of what turns out to be the cause of the failure...if i ever figure it out... I probably won't be checking the clutch slippage at high rpm for a while...
  6. Johnt3

    Johnt3 Still learning...

    Can't say enough about how Pete treats his customers.
    Yes, he is a class act for sure. I'm glad your getting it figured out man.
  7. dilbone

    dilbone XS650 Addict

    Well the new PAMCO came in yesterday and I installed it last night. I had a panic moment when I still had no spark at first...forgot to hook the coil back up.

    Got it running and set the timing, then checked the voltage at rest and it was upper 14 volts while at 3000rpm it was 16.9v whoaa...
    Check the harley battery, 14.6volts...wife's car 14.55volts...had a meter prob.
    Changed battery in the meter this morning and it reads 12.78v at rest and 14.5v at 3000rpm, right on spec.

    I still have no idea what caused the failure of the last unit. I did change the fuse from a 10A to a 7.5A so hopefully it will actually protect it from any overload.

    Probably will be taking it easy on it for a while...little nervous now...
  8. Johnt3

    Johnt3 Still learning...

    Dilbone you might want to check that voltage again on your XS just to be sure.
    The lower amperage fuse won't stop the voltage.
  9. dilbone

    dilbone XS650 Addict

    double checked it John and I'm at 14.6v max at 3000rpm, I emailed Pete again to see if there are any other factors that could cause a failure.

    I took a short ride this afternoon, with the new exhaust clamps and taking it easy it was such a nice smooth comfortable ride. I don't know if keeping the exhaust from jackhammering back and forth really reduced any vibes in the bike but it sure seemed quieter and smoother...maybe it's just in my head. Also, I'm wondering if the timing was off on the old PAMCO. I had set it before break down but didn't check it after, it seems much smoother at idle now than it was.

    Also, shifting and finding neutral is much smoother with the 15w40 diesel oil I changed to so I'm looking forward to getting some miles on it this fall before the weather turns.:thumbsup:
  10. dilbone

    dilbone XS650 Addict

    I am so pissed I can hardly see straight...

    less than 35 miles in on the new PAMCO and it's gone

    After I changed the battery in the meter and double checking the regulator I thought all was well and I'd ridden 20-30miles with the new unit with no issues.

    I was riding home tonight from a short ride into town and wound 2nd gear out a bit more than I had been since installing the new PAMCO and took it up to 5,500rpm. As soon as I did it started to pop badly at the exhaust like the timing was off or the fuel was low in the bowls. It exploded so badly at one point I knocked a baffle loose. I down shifted at the stop sign I was approaching and rolled through with it still running but by the time I got to the next sign I had to stop and as soon as I pulled in the clutch it died. I tried kicking it and I got one little pop like it tried to fire then nothing at all with kick or starter. I checked the 7.5A fuse on the PAMCO and it was still good. I ended up walking it home...well over a mile...I suppose it could be worse.

    I checked the coil once home 2.4ohms, infinite from primaries to core, plug wires 21.1k from cap to cap. Power at the coil and PAMCO checked out.

    I have no idea what could be happening. I checked the advance circuit board and didn't see anything unusual. I checked the sensor circuit board and saw a burn again on the back side same place as the last time.

    I rode almost 600miles before break down for paint with no issues now I can't get this to work. 2 failures in 200 miles...actually 2 failures in less than 35miles and both of those following rpm's over 5,000.

    I'm at a total loss. I emailed Pete again to see what he says, but I just went out and checked the old motor I still have and grabbed the points and the spring advance unit. Tomorrow I'll be figuring out how to install those...I'm over this electronic ignition thing. The honda CB550 I had with points was never an issue. I'll have to look up how to hook all this up, but I may never look back.
  11. dilbone

    dilbone XS650 Addict

    Well, while I'm waiting to hear back from Pete about this one I thought I'd gather some parts. A 1.82ohm ballast resistor and a condenser

    Then I went out to the old harness and chopped off the old coil connection

    Now I've got to figure out where/how to mount the resistor and condenser so I can get back on the road. Hopefully since I have the Coil wire connector I can wire a whole new set up without chopping up too much of what I already have. Pretty simple wiring that should be able to be changed out if/when I figure out what the issue is with the PAMCO.

    Funny thing is I was kicking myself when I was painting the frame for not cutting off the little tabs by the coil where the flasher relay and some other rubber mounted device was, but now I'm thinking I have an easy place to mount this stuff.

    Hopefully I'll get this going tomorrow. I hope it runs well.
  12. dilbone

    dilbone XS650 Addict

    Today I was able to hook up everything. I have the two points wired together and connected to a condenser on one side of the coil. The other side of the coil has power but through the 2ohm ballast resistor(so about 4.3ohm total with coil). Everything seems to be checking out but I am only getting an intermittent spark...not enough to actually fire the motor. Every once in a while I can see the timing light flashing, but it is on and off again...but mostly off.

    I don't know what the condition of these points is but I set the gaps to .016" and played with the timing by eye at least to see if the points begin to open somewhere near TDC. I used some 600grit between the contacts to clean those a bit but they actually look pretty good.

    Is there anything I'm missing here? I've been checking my connections and rechecking them. I can't figure out what's going on.

    Slightly frustrating considering I hadn't had any issues with this bike until about 150 miles after assembly...
  13. dilbone

    dilbone XS650 Addict

    Told my wife I was going out to crank on it one more time before closing the chickens in and coming to bed. I had put it on the charger for a while too because all of the starter cranking was wearing it down a bit. Well I finally got it running. It took over 35 min to get the two timing marks of the separate points to line up and get them at the right time. They aren't perfect but they're pretty darn close. The advance wasn't working right at first but it finally started coming in as things warmed up. I'm not sure of it was the advance not working at first or the two cylinders were too far off to even get it to rev up to 3000rpm. It was a little late to get it out and take it for a spin so I'll have to check it tomorrow.

    Now I can at least check some other things with it running again and see if I can't get to the bottom of of this mess.

    I'm wondering if I should pick up some non resistor caps for running the points now...these are 5k ohm
  14. dilbone

    dilbone XS650 Addict

    I was able to get out on it tonight and get around the country block a couple times. The advance is definitely sticking some. At first it was sticking badly, as it warmed up it got a bit better since everything is freshly greased I figure this is somewhat normal...but it still is a bit on the sticky side. I may end up clipping on coil off a spring and see if that doesn't help.

    I'm not sure how much of what I was feeling was advance that was inconsistent or just running rougher with points than with the PAMCO. Hopefully in the next few days I can get it out and put it through the paces. I still need to hook up the voltmeter and see what the regulator is putting out at over 5,000rpm.
  15. dilbone

    dilbone XS650 Addict

    I clipped one coil off of one spring and now my idle is pretty much rock steady. The problem is that it seems that the weights may be a little slower to extend fully now. I'm not sure if one coil can make that big of a difference or not, but it just seems like it's a little sluggish on the advance.

    I drove it over to TCBros today to show it to Tyler. Their shop is about 50mi from me and I was nervous to be that far out with the issues I've been having with the ignition lately. I had only gone about 10 miles on it the other night to test it a bit so this would be a real test. I was taking it very easy on it and it ended up being a perfect ride there and back... mid 70's low humidity and clear blue sky.

    I noticed that on this ride I now have a popping in the pipes that I didn't have before with the PAMCO. Would a timing difference, or an advance that retards too quickly on deceleration cause this? Also, I'm still using the 5k ohm caps that I was using with the pamco...haven't had a chance to get no resistance caps. Possible contributor?

    When I got back from the ride I checked the timing again to make another adjustment after being able to get some miles on it and after I cut the coil off the spring. I think it retarded the timing a bit with the weights fully retracted so I was able to get both sparks spot on and right in the F range. Even after the timing adjustment it pops on decel. I want to believe that the timing is just retarding too quickly during decel, I hope so because with E ignition the carbs were tuned near perfectly and I don't want to open pandoras box again.

    Also, Tyler suggested a 31T rear sprocket for a more comfortable ride at cruising speeds. Any opinions on that?
  16. dilbone

    dilbone XS650 Addict

    I took it out and ran it a bit and took a few pics(ok more than a few) and when I got back I hooked up the voltmeter and checked it again at higher rpm. At 5000+rpm I was getting a max of 14.77v so I don't know what could be the issue. The only other thing that could make sense as a suggestion is that the frame and engine connections becomes intermittent at high rpms and somehow fries the PAMCO. I had it up over 5000rpm a few times today with no ill affects with points. I don't know if it will eventually do any damage but for now it isn't. I will do one more test and check continuity between the motor and frame at high rpm and see if something shows up there. Ultimately I might just put a heavy copper strap from the frame to the motor and hope that solves it. However, if I don't ever nail down a positive cause for the PAMCO failure I won't feel comfortable going back to it.

    On a positive note, I've had 2 guys stop and take pics of the bike while out this weekend. Once at B-dubs, and once while parked at a salon helping my wife who cleans it for salon credit. Pretty funny, but also kinda cool for other people to think it's "F#@*&ing BadAss" as the guy at B-dubs told me:D. I had to stop myself from looking on craigslist for an old sportster to hardtail...the last thing I need right now is another bike...:doh:

    Here are the pics...
  17. Johnt3

    Johnt3 Still learning...

    Bike is looking great dilbone! Your paint turned out looking good man,I like that color.
    Damn thing reminds me of mine! :)
    I've been looking for another one...
    Happy and safe riding! :bike:
  18. dilbone

    dilbone XS650 Addict

    I finally got around to finishing the exhaust. I really didn't want to use the wrap that I picked up a while back. I was concerned about the added heat in the pipes doing damage and possible rust issues, but I did it anyway. First I hit it with VHT ceramic header paint then got the wrap wet and started to put it on. I had to use stainless hose clamps because ties that came with the wrap were worthless. It was a total pain in the butt and I'm not even sure I like the look, but it's done and I'm ready to keep riding!!


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