Air Filter, Fiber Washer, and a BEAR

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Air Filter, Fiber Washer, and a BEAR

Postby hennesse » Mon Aug 11, 2014 9:22 pm

This story is about air filters - really.

There was some recent traffic about air filters on the OSKRG email list - about where to get replacements inexpensively. My local TrueValue hardware store had the best deal - $5.99 for a Fram CA77. They had to order it, and it took a week to arrive. The one on my bike was old, and a little dirty, but not too bad. What the heck, for $5.99, I'll get a new one.

My "new" 1962 XLCH was missing the generator and regulator, as the former owner drove it at Summit Point racetrack on weekends, and didn't need no stinking lights. After finding a generator and regulator, and rebuilding both, I was ready to install them. I removed the gen block-off plate, and to my surprise, found out the former owner had also removed the idler gear. I found an idler gear on eBay. I asked the seller if he had the fiber washer that went on the idler. He said he had had more than 50 Sportsters, and always left the fiber washer out. I found some elsewhere on eBay.

Installing the idler gear meant removing the cam cover, which meant loosening all the tappets, and also meant removing the magneto, which meant removing the carburator. I put the idler gear and fiber washer in, tightened the cam cover, put the magneto back in, and went to rotate the engine to the timing mark. But it would not rotate. At all. I pulled the cam cover back off, removed the fiber washer, and put it back together. It rotated just fine. I put everything else back together just as I had taken it apart. While I was at it, I threw in that new air filter. The bike fired up, and I drove it around a little, before giving it a good bath with the garden hose - especially the area behind the magneto where much grime had built up over the years.

The next day, I took it out for a good long ride. It ran fine at low speed, and accelerated fine, but ran quite roughly at any steady speed above 30 mph. Never did that before. What's going on? It seemed like an ignition problem, and I figured I had gotten some of water inside the mag, and it should dry up by the next day. So yesterday I took a longer ride, but the problem was still there, and it wasn't going away by itself.

Yesterday evening, after putting in my shiny new 4031 headlight, and redoing the wiring (much was missing), I wanted to take it for a ride in the dark to see how the headlight performed. I drove up and down my street (5 miles end to end) waiting for it to get dark. But it wasn't getting dark fast enough, and wearing just shorts and a t-shirt, it was getting cold. Three deer jumped out in the road in front of me, but not close enough to make me hit the brakes. And that's when I saw the bear. A big ole black bear came out of the woods, ambled across the road in front of me, and headed off into the woods on the other side. Remember that old advertising slogan: "You meet the nicest creatures on an XLCH". I figured I'd just go home and wait for it to get really dark. I cracked open a cold beer and waited. Still not dark yet. So I cracked open another one. By the time I finished that, it was pretty dark, but I figured I'd better not push my luck too far -- Mr. or Mrs. Ursus might be out there in the dark just waiting for me.

Today - time for action. I pulled the plugs - dry black deposits - too much gas. My first thought was to adjust the carburator, but I hadn't messed with the carburator, so I didn't. It had to be something I had recently messed with. So the next thing was to check the points, even though I hadn't actually messed with them. Dead on .015. Timing - right on. It sure didn't seem like anything to do with the tappet adjustment - they made a little noise when cold, but quieted down after the bike had warmed up. What could it be? Points - timing - tappets - I hadn't messed with anything else.

Oh yes I had! I had put in the new air filter. I was about to put the old one back in to prove my point - but then remembered - dry black plugs - too much gas. The old one must have been pretty crudded up and restricting the air flow, and required a richer setting. I cranked the carb's low-speed needle in (lean) 1/2 turn, and it ran much smoother in the garage. Took it out on the road, and problem solved!

So - replace that ancient air filter - it's probably a lot more crudded up than you think.

Dave
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Re: Air Filter, Fiber Washer, and a BEAR

Postby John R » Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:28 pm

Hate to disagree, but wouldn't a plugged air filter create a higher depression (vacuum) in the carb requiring a leaner setting? If so, you would have to richen for a less restrictive filter.

Perhaps your old filter wasn't plugged and the new filter is more restrictive!

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Re: Air Filter, Fiber Washer, and a BEAR

Postby hennesse » Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:51 pm

John R wrote:Perhaps your old filter wasn't plugged and the new filter is more restrictive!
John R


John,

You're absolutely right. The bike runs rough at steady speeds - like 35 or 45 in 4th gear, and stumbles before accelerating. Twiddling with the low speed needle seemed to help, but then it didn't.

Today, I took the SHINY NEW [email protected]#$%^& Fram CA-77 off and put on a GOOD OLD mesh-pack filter. It ran great - no rough mid-speed, no stumble. What a difference!

When I changed air filters, I tossed the old CA-77, but noticed that the construction was way different - the new one seemed to have more folds in the fabric and a tighter steel wire cloth outer band. Didn't think much of it at the time. Now I do. I'll have to go pull the umpteen year old one off my Gravely and see what it looks like - probably the same as the umpteen year old Sportster one.

I would recommend NOT buying a "modern" CA-77 at this point. The outside dimensions are the same, it has the same great orange color, but I think it might be a totally different air filter inside - made my bike run like dog-doo. Maybe someone else has a different experience - tell, tell...

Off to Davenport - alarm set for 2:30 am - ugh!
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Re: Air Filter, Fiber Washer, and a BEAR

Postby John R » Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:26 pm

Using the good ole interweb it seems the Fram CA77 is for 8 to 14 h.p. mowers and such like. They don't pull so much air and I guess are ok for them. We need a size for size with the same cfm demands. Any suggestions?

I'm also interested in replacement drop-in filters to replace the OEM felt type. Only laid hands on Custom Chrome. They have an over-pressure bypass valve at the base which bypasses all the time. Great! Also, you have to do away with the dip-stick.

Anything better out there?
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Re: OIL filters

Postby 1955KH » Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:36 pm

The Drop-in Oil Filter: After my rebuild I went straight on to the basic Custom Chrome filter, I never used the OEM variety.
However the superior blurb by Chrome Specialties re their "Super Filter" won me over and I have since used them. The previous owner had tossed away the dipstick but I didn't quite believe it was now unable to be used. I bought a new one and after careful measuring sawed a little piece off the end. I now have a good filter and a usable dipstick. The bottom end is not essential, I cannot imagine anyone running the oil that low!
I get these items from J&P Cycles, they have a good online ordering system, and seem to enjoy sending stuff overseas. Quite a few US firms appear to think it is too much hassle.
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Re: Air Filter, Fiber Washer, and a BEAR

Postby John R » Wed Sep 17, 2014 11:59 am

Sounds like a good call from New Zealand. The Chrome Specialties filter sounds vastly superior to the Custom Chrome. I bought three and they all have leaking by pass valves that just dump straight back into tank without any filtration.

But I have a bit of resistance to Taiwan stuff, so any other recommendations out there for good drop-in disposable oil filters?
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Re: Air Filter, Fiber Washer, and a BEAR

Postby John R » Fri Oct 10, 2014 6:31 pm

No further suggestions on oil-filters so I've ordered two of the J&P Super Filters. Thanks '55 KH. Re air filters, I've done a bit more searching on the good ole interweb plus a chat with K&N.

Seems the Fram CA77 should have been good but wasn't for whatever reason. Baldwin Filters list their cheap PA678 as a direct replacement for H-D 29036-56. K&N don't list a replacement for 29036-56 but with their expensive 1 million mile, clean and re-oil every 50,000 mile, guaranteed filter say their E-2470 is a superior match for Fram CA77. So I emailed asking whether it's good for our H-Ds. Kasia replied:

Hello John,
Here is the requested information:
KK/KHK (880cc) = 100.98CFM - 121.18CFM @6500rpm
FL/FLH (1213cc) = 117.78CFM – 141.34CFM @5500rpm
E-2470 = 214.75 CFM so this filter would provide ample amounts of air to your motor. For best performance, select an air filter that flows more air than your engine requires at maximum operating RPM.
Yes, it is washable and reusable with our Recharge kit. This filter lasts up to 50,000 miles before cleaning is required, depending on driving conditions.

Thank you,

Kasia Smith
Customer Support
K&N Engineering, Inc.
Phone: 800.858.3333 // Fax: 951.826.4001

So pay your money and make your choice!
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Re: Air Filter, Fiber Washer, and a BEAR

Postby EKHKHK56 » Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:04 pm

K&N Filters are outstanding. I always ran them on all my racing machines. And stock vehicles. They stop dust from entering your carb and engine period. Only raced motox, or dirt track, so this thin Alaska glacial dust was always a problem. Would also use a sock and clean that between heats. People with paper filters back in the 70s would flat seize engines around here from that fine dust passing through.
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