So that's what a v-twin sounds like.

So what a week it's been. I got the parts I ordered, the pod filters and the spark plug socket. I changed out the remaining two spark plugs, pulled the stock airbox, and put the pod filters on. I cranked her up hoping for great things. My luck rarely seems to run that way these days. She ran like ass upon starting her up. I thought it was b/c I was low on gas again, so I limped her to the gas station around the corner. On my way out of the gas station, she couldn't even get out of the lot. I didn't realize it at the time, but I had a tear in the fuel line. So I limped her back home resolving to clean out the carb the next day.

The next day, I started out by checking the spark plugs. Curiously enough, the front cylinder's plugs looked pearly white on the ceramic insulator. It was as if the cylinder hadn't even been firing. The rear cylinder's plugs were nice and tan though. I began to suspect something was seriously wrong with the front cylinder. I thought, maybe, just maybe, the front carb is so clogged she's not even firing. I was fearful of something worse, but I tried to remain optimistic as I pulled apart the carb.

Once I had the carb apart, the real story became apparent to me. The jets for the front cylinder were so ridiculously clogged that there's no way that the front cylinder was firing. This would explain everything. Why the spark plug looked like it had never seen combustion, why the front header primary never got that hot, why the bike couldn't get up to speed on the interstate. I proceeded clean out the jets and everything else in the carb. However, I didn't have new seals and o-rings to put in, so I was a little concerned about whether everything would seal up again.

I got a nice surprise while disassembling the carb. She had aftermarket needles in her and an aftermarket pilot jet. Oddly enough, the main jets appeared to be stock. However, it means that the previous owner had jetted the carbs to match the exhaust. It's always nice when a bike you picked up for $1000 comes with more than you thought it had.

The one hitch in the road to a quick reassembly was that I destroyed an o-ring for one of the pilot screws. This resulted in a trip to Autozone for a mutli-pack of o-rings. The multi-pack didn't have the exact right size o-ring, but it had one with the right inside diameter. I came home and shaved down the outside diamter and put her back together. I also replaced the fuel hose upon seeing that it was torn and was the likely cause of the previous night's poor running. However, I'm kinda glad I didn't realize it was just a torn fuel hose sooner. If I had, I wouldn't have pulled apart the entire carb and I'd still be running on one cylinder. Hilarious.

Long story short, she's a totally different beast now. I wanted more power, and I got double the power. To be honest, it's kind of a good thing that I learned how to ride with one cylinder out. That means I had a mighty 323.5cc under my command. I had 500 miles to get used to the bike and all the controls. Now, with the added power I can focus on riding instead of having to concentrate on working the controls. So it's kind of lucky. A lot of riders buy a cheap 250cc to learn on, then sell it when they're ready for something bigger. In my case, I learned on something cheap and gutless, but then I didn't have to sell it to get something bigger, I just cleaned the carbs!

Anyhow, here's two videos. The first is before the carb cleaning, the second is after.

It's so obvious now that something wasn't right before. Of course, I didn't realize the sound was off; that's just how green I am when it comes to v-twins and motorcycles in general. Anyhow, it's been a learning experience. Now I've just gotta order a jet kit for her so I can get her air/fuel dialed in right.


Make her a little nicer than she was before

So I've put about 400 miles on the bike since I got her. So far she's been running great, but there's just one nagging problem. I can't get her up over 85mph on the interstate. Yep, that means I'm the moving roadblock in the HOV lane. Going up hills or into a headwind, she's lucky to maintain 70mph. Now I know this bike isn't supposed to be a top end monster, but I don't even have any passing power on the freeway. Thus begins the process of tuning her up.

1) I bought new spark plugs today. I was only able to change out two of the four (each cylinder has two plugs). Two of them I simply couldn't reach with my standard spark plug sockets. I ordered the OEM spark plug tool.

2) While I was ordering the OEM spark plug tool, I ordered the uni pod foam filters. They replace the stock airbox and apparently open up the top end a good bit. From looking at the plugs, the engine is running pig rich, so a little more air coming in isn't going to push things into the lean zone.

3) I really need to sync the carbs. I messed around with it a little today, but I think I just made it worse. I need to get the right fittings to secure my vacuum gauge to the intake port. I just might make myself one of those homemade manometers if I can't get things tuned well from checking each side individually. Apparently the front & rear cylinders need to be within 40mm Hg of one another. Hopefully I can do better than that and she'll be running smooth as butter. Right now they're obviously not in sync. The front looks rich and the rear looks disgustingly rich. I don't think the rear cylinder's plug is even getting up to self cleaning temperature for the most part.

Anyhow, hopefully the stuff gets here by this weekend and I can hold 80mph up hills on the interstate.