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"Wheels Through Time" in Maggie Valley is well worth the stop. Someday before I'm too old, I want to do an east coast ride on my BMW 1600GLT. I just have too many irons in the fire right now. Health is better after a heart clean out a few months ago. If my knee holds up in the next few years, I'm going to try it. My speedster is getting done in 2 weeks so that will need some attention too.


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So as it turns out there, @Sacto Mitch, the carbs weren't out of sync as much as I thought...

When I got everything back in there, I cranked the starter for about 25 seconds til the oil light went out - Everything's cool and the starter sounded great.  After that I replaced the coil wire and started it.  It turned over really slow, but caught right off and that was when I thought it was running slightly rough, but I thought it might be old gas with lots of Seafoam in it.

Since then, it's turned over very slowly and sounded labored, but it would start on the first turn.  The battery is 7 years old, so maybe it has passed it's prime so I bought a new battery.

No change.

OK, so it might be corroded electrical connections, so I cleaned everything up.

No change.

OK, so it must be the starter, so I got a new one from NAPA.

No change.    Hmmmmmmm.....................   What the heck is going on?

Sat back and thought about it and just for the heck of it I checked the ignition firing order:

1 - 3 - 4 - 2    Should be 1 - 4 - 3 - 2       Sonofagun.....................

Flipped #3 & 4, it turns over really fast, started on the first turn, idles great and purrs at 3K rpm.

It's always something with these little cars......   (Usually mechanic error around here...)


Yeah, Gordon, I don't get the big deal about firing order. You'd think as long as all the plugs are hooked up to something, it should run pretty good, right?

But seriously, folks. Is there not a little lesson here?

Look how screwed up the timing can be and the engine will still run — if maybe 'a little rough'. Now think how subtle the outward signs might be if all the wires are hooked up right, but the dizzy is missing on a cylinder or two, maybe every third go. Or even less noticeable if the advance is fluttering back and forth around 10 or 15 degrees on random jugs at random times.

Must be dirt in the carbs, right?


Last edited by Sacto Mitch

@Michael Pickett.

Thanks…….   I know damn well that I checked those wires at least twice and they were still crossed.  What really amazes me is that it would start, and then run well enough (on two cylinders) to drive around town.   Wow…

But then, I was listening to Sting singing “Shadows in the rain” at the time I checked them, getting lost in Kenny Kirkland’s amazing Jazz keyboard work.  Hard to keep concentrating when you’re listening to Sting, yah know?

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

Honest to Pete - With 3 & 4 crossed it acted just like the carbs needed syncing.  General roughness, low end occasional popping and nothing had a rhythm but it would still drive OK off idle and smoothed out a bit over 1,500 RPM.  

I should have suspected crossed wires sooner but I never thought to remove the coil wire to crank it and check the voltage drop.  THAT would have found it much sooner.

As I get older, I seem to be forgetting a lot of things I “just did” to quickly trouble shoot things when I was (a lot) younger.

I mentioned this to Alan Merklin but it bears repeating:

”It sucks getting old!”

This is funny! Happened to me, too. Don't feel too bad Gordon, it happens.

Some of you remember me resurrecting Max Zimmer's widebody Speedster from its wheels-in-the-air-on-jackstands place of shame in the back corner of the garage. Once we got the firing order correct, we rebuilt the carbs, applied my linkage heim-joint fix(not patent-pending) and then synchronized. He said it never ran better. It had a ton of spunk for a 2109(76x94) with twin Weber 40 IDF.

So, what was the source of the firing order problem? It seems our friend Rocky Cimbrec did it to us, reversed 3-4 at the cap. He'd looked at it and was there once when I was scratching my head under Max's rear decklid. I'd LOVE to think it was accidental, but we'll never know! He was quite a kidder, that guy! I miss him.

Got back from a mini-vacation and went out for a ride to warm it up and then re-set the timing (moved it from 30º to 32º-ish @ 3K rpm) and sync’d the carbs.

The carbs themselves, separately, were great, but the linkage was pulling one side off-sync both at idle and at speed (believe me, it doesn’t take much for that difference).  Got all that fixed and we’re back to smooooth running.  

LET THE DRIVING SEASON BEGIN!   (Just as soon as I give her a bath and get some miles on my new bike).  

I also found that wearing snowmobile boots when syncing the carbs keeps your feet from cooking from the engine’s hot air out the back.  Just a “Speedstah Guy” Mechanic’s tip for the SOC.  
And for you Bikers out there, Motorcycle boots would work, too.

You may not be a fashion plate, but your ankles and tootsies will thank you.

Last edited by Gordon Nichols
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