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Carb jetting problems solved


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I had a hell of a time jetting my carb. You will probably have a chuckle once you find out why it wasn't working for me and what the eventual fix was. As for me, I'm glad the frustration is over. I was so frustrated with my stage 1 mod and carb jetting problems that I decided to just put the bike back to stock. I was in the process of putting in the original jets and needle when I thought to myself, why doesn't this needle fit properly in the plastic nylon retaining piece. It seemed as though the needle wouldn't go in all the way. I went to the dealer to see if I could get a replacement part. When talking to the service guys he told me I was installing the needle wrong. The order is needle into the slide then plastic retaining part then the spring. I was trying to insert the needle into the hole through the plastic retaining part not below it. They embarrassed and relieved at the same time I had been at this for a couple of weeks explaining to everyone that the bike was running rich even with a 38 pilot and a 170 main jet. Well no duh, I had the needle effectively shimmed up by about oh 1/2 an inch. I was basically trying to tune the idle from the main jet. I was tempted not to post this out of suffering public embarrassment but I thought my mistake would benefit others. Plus a little humiliation is good now and then to keep the ego in check. I rode the bike approximately 700 miles this weekend to Lassen National Park at elevations from sea level to 8,500 ft and temperatures ranging from 40 to 95 with no problems. I'm running a 45 pilot 180 main and a N65C needle. Eventually, I'll fine tune the carb trying the plug chop method then the dyno but as for now I'm just happy to ride again.
Before jetting my carb, I read everything I could from other sources before beginning the work. The postings where everything went perfect were not as much help to me as the postings like yours that actually tell you how NOT to do it. Without knowing what to avoid, you feel like a total screw-up when your results are not perfect as expected. Thanks for sharing your mistake and passing valuable information to everyone who is contemplating doing this. Most of the procedures written by veteran wrenchers leave out a lot of detail - assuming that everyone will just understand and do it right. For me, the procedures WITH PICTURES give the best results.

Glad to see you figured it out on your own. The only thing worse would have been admitting defeat and turning it over to the dealer.
I never trust my memory with something as important as working on my bike. Next time, have a pad and pencil handy, or a digital camera. This way, you can make a diagram or snap a bunch of pictures that show how things were before disassembly. If you even suspect that you are making a mistake, you have something to refer to to get it right. Your own diagram can often be better than the service manual. Another trick, I like to have some corrugated cardboard handy. With this, I can make a diagram of whatever assembly I am working on, and then actually stick the bolts, screws, whatever into the cardboard diagram at their proper place. This not only shows where they go, but also keeps them from getting lost. I especially need this because I have a nasty habit of starting a project and then getting distracted and not returning until two or three days later.

That is awesome you found it! No reason to be embarrassed. I am sure we have all done something dumb like that. It makes us one with our bike!
Everyone who has had a pre-fuel injected Harley has had some issue with jetting, no need to be embarrassed. Example was having problems with my Old FXRS (1984) S&S, decided to rejet also being a dummy figured i would seal the carb with that blue silicone DO NOT EVER EVER EVER do this, had a small piece of the sealant block one of the holes took me 3 weeks to find out what was wrong as well as 400 + $, so don't feel embarrassed just learn from the mistakes.