R100 Sputtering At Speed

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by senatorperkins, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    Well Chobro. You might have to start another thread because this one is really veeeery long. And you can't have the same things happening, can you? Stumbles at speed? They were working on carb float level when it died so maybe that means that was it? Check carb float levels.

    Points ignition can have high speed misses from too little dwell. The points set too wide do not stay together (dwell) long enough at higher speed.

    What do your plugs look like?
    #21
  2. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

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    The "floats parallel" is an initial adjustment. It's correct most of the time. The fuel level in the removed float bowl is a good "as built" fuel measurement. On my /5, I used a spring-loaded center punch to put a small "ding" mark on the back corner of my float bowl at the correct distance down from the lip. Now all I have to do to check is remove the bowl and set it on a level surface to check.
    #22
  3. senatorperkins

    senatorperkins Adventurer

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    no updates yet - waiting for new points/condenser from BMW of Grand Rapids. I'm going to solve the weird ignition issue before moving onto other things.

    when I was inspecting the bike when I first got it I checked the float levels with the fuel level-in-bowl method, and both of my carbs were low at around 18mm if I recall correctly. Snowbum says they should be 24mm from bottom for 32mm carbs. This even when they were parallel to the carb base.

    on my first trip I had similar issues to what I described in the OP, and in doing damage control I raised the fuel level to 24mm among other things like retarding the ignition.. something seemed to solve the issue, but when I took it to the mechanic he set the floats parallel again, and all was fine for many miles.

    I think I'll try raising the level to 24mm once I get the ignition functioning again.

    chobro, please let us know when you solve your issue..
    #23
    RVFlyer likes this.
  4. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    You don't have to have the carb upside down to check the floats parallelism. Just adjust so the gas shuts off when the float is parallel to the carb body while the carb is on the bike. That adjustment gets you real close the same height gas in the bowl every time. After all, it all depends on how you look at the gas wicking up your measuring stick. I have double checked a LOT of 32mm carbs. I think 24mm is a bit deep but, again, that all depends on how you look at it. Maybe that accounts for not disconnecting or pinching off the the fuel lines right above the carbs? I always do.

    Checking float bowl level without the floats in the bowl doesn't check their buoyancy very accurately at all. You have to check the fuel height WITH the float in the bowl for that. Lots of carbs you do just that.
    #24
  5. Chobro

    Chobro spinning the wheel

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    Well, my plugs look gray. They have 8k on them and the right one looked like it had gotten hotter than the left at some point, kinda rough looking texture on the tip. I checked my coil connections, cleaned them and put on some newer plug wires. I discovered my points had closed up a bit, to around .008, I regapped them and ran out of time to work. I'll check the timing tonight. I'm hoping that resetting the points helps my high speed stutter/stumble/sputter. I'll keep posting my findings and keep an eye out for other developments.
    #25
  6. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

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    At an .008 point gap, the dwell ("coil magnetic saturation") was way low and the timing retarded. It should oughta run betterer by just opening the points up... :huh

    You did use a points cam lubricant, yes?
    #26
  7. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    When I am working on a bike with points that isn't running right, the first thing I look into is the points because chances are that's the problem.
    #27
  8. senatorperkins

    senatorperkins Adventurer

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    UPDATE: New points and condenser did not fix the double/weird timing issue. Thinking of going to an electronic ignition, which one isn't sensitive to bent camshaft nose/mechanical advance?

    Does anyone know someone in SE Michigan with some airhead coils I could try? I'd like to eliminate every variable first. In a related note, does anyone want a new condenser and points?
    #28
  9. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    I'll try asking in this thread: I have heard that BMW points are now junk? What brand is everybody using? Maybe BMW points aren't junk? I rarely work on bikes that still have them so I am a bit out of the loop.

    Right now I have two RD350s in the shop. On of them already has the inevitable aftermarket electronic ignition. Guess which one runs WAY better? Points on a two stroke is twice the trouble! Per points set!
    #29
  10. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    The problem with BMW over the counter points sets was two years ago. Supposedly the problem is gone, has been gone for some time. What happened was the rubbing block on the points that rides on the advance cam was too large. When installed these points could not be adjusted. Some riders got around the problem by filling down the rubbing block.

    The solution was that after market suppliers had the Norris brand of points and we all got them they worked fine. Eventually the dealers started selling Norris points. As far as I know the dealers and everybody now sell Norris points.

    Blame was placed on the Chinese for making inferior parts. Somebody had to get blamed. The Chinese don't seem to mind, they lowered the price and cornered the market in inferior ignition points. :freaky

    That's how I remember it.
    #30
  11. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    I think it's the Dyna III (made by Dynatec) that most use to cure the double image. That is if they are going to use the electronic ignition conversion to cure this problem. There are two magnets for the Hall sensor and they are set separately. I had the hardest time getting this to work and eventually had to use another method after I blew the module up by trying to balance carbs by removing plug wires. (with any electronic system do not balance carbs by removing plug wires) (we are supposed to not ever do that with points/condenser systems either, but for different reasons)

    There is another method for curing the double image. It is not exactly fixing the original problem sort of thing but it is closer to fixing the original problem. Here is a page from Duane Ausherman that talks about the whole issue. His article is about the /2s but then he explains the differences for the /5s and the basic idea is what's important anyway. After you read this if you want to discuss it more then we'll start on that.

    http://www.webring.org/l/rd?ring=bmwbikering;id=136;url=http://w6rec.com/duane/bmw/

    Like I mentioned, I tried the electronic conversion like you are planning and this is maybe the most common solution for most but I had trouble with making it work and ultimately I was happier I think with being able to keep the points and later adding a Booster box which has some advantages over the Dyna III. (Booster costs about $80, Dyna III cost almost $300) ( just a guess really)

    There are several other people here who went with the Duane Ausherman method of fixing the double image. They'll be around shortly.
    #31
  12. senatorperkins

    senatorperkins Adventurer

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    I read Duane's page long ago, but didn't have the balls to try it.

    But I just went out and measured my point gap at both lobes of the advance, and sure enough one was tighter. My points (which, by the way, are made in China...) seem to angle towards each other just a little, so I could tell based on how far the feeler gauge slid in before it encountered the slightest resistance.

    Got out my punch and hammer and tried Duane's method.. and I seem to have the point gap now equalized, but my double timing issue is still occurring. It's funny though, the region between idle and full advance seems to be steady - i.e. as the S idle marks leave, they become one image (and the sound of the engine changes, it seems to get more even), and as the full advance dot comes into view it's also steady and one image, then it becomes dull and two images, about 10-15mm apart. Maybe one the pins that control the stop and start position is bent?

    So.. I think I'll try swapping back my old advance with pitted lobes and see if anything changes.

    I'm liking the idea of an alternator-mounted electronic ignition so there's no way there can be a double image, and I can leave the points in place in case it fails, so swapping back on the road would be easy. Maybe it's time just to bite the bullet. But what if it's somehow my coils? ergggg
    #32
  13. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    I haven't been keeping up with this thread but it sounds like you might have a worn out timing chain?

    My dad use to bang on the cam with a plastic mallet, start it up and go by the timing light but he use to do it all the time way back in the day.
    #33
  14. senatorperkins

    senatorperkins Adventurer

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    that's a possibility, though I'd be surprised at 32k miles. Is there a way to check for this?
    #34
  15. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    SS is right. A bad timing chain can be so loose that it presents a double image. When I had this problem I did the timing chain before I tackled the cam tip for just this reason.

    There is also the issue of the large gear on the cam end of the chain. These are not supposed to go bad. I don't like that. They don't want me to change the large gear? But they do not have a reason I can accept for the uneven firing. And the cam bearing, nobody ever says to change the cam bearing. Why not?

    There's a lot of stuff on this issue. But nobody seems to know why it happens.

    It is most important what it does at full advance. I rode mine with the double image for quit awhile.

    I also like the idea of a crank mounted distributor. I had one. I got rid of it. I decided I didn't like the electronic advance idea. There may be nothing wrong with it but it wasn't for me.

    This was also several years ago and the units available were rather flimsy. I think they are better constructed now.
    #35
  16. R100RT Mark

    R100RT Mark Been here awhile

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    Every time that I have compared results by measuring the fuel height in the bowl after setting my floats using the float horizontal dribble on/off adjustment method the fuel has been low vs. the published "ideal" height. With the 32mm Bings on the R65, R100RT and R100R I have owned/own the typical measurement has between 21mm and 22mm. For a long time I have used the fuel height in the bowl method. The picture shows the simple tool I made which makes measuring the height a cinch. It is a short piece of stiff wire (actually piece of coat hanger) with a notch at 24mm (28mm for 40mm carburetors).

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    #36
  17. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    9,116
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay area
    I always get around 22.5mm doing it that way. Time after time with no problems whatsoever. AFAIAC, 22.5 is what it 'should' be. I call it 28/32nds. I have been making that measurement with a machinists ruler for decades. It wouldn't be the first time my experience does not add to snowbums but at least his 24mm height will work.
    #37
  18. senatorperkins

    senatorperkins Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    43
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    has anyone ever ground off one of the cam lobes on the advance and installed a second set of points 180 degrees opposite the first? Then run a second condenser and a 12v coil for each spark plug? If the second set is adjustable it should be easy to dial in spark on both cylinders, and it would be unaffected by imbalanced advance or bent cam nose.

    Just a thought..
    #38
  19. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    12,308
    Location:
    Silver Spring, Md
    I suppose that would work. Not a lot of space there but you might make something like this work.

    But I have never heard of anybody doing something like this on an Airhead.

    Ordinarily a dual point ignition does something different. It makes the points last longer and work better at higher RPM. They do this by have one set of points handle the function of closing and the other set of points handle the function of opening. Mallory still makes V8 distributors that have dual points. Had them on a pair of Ford 427 motors in a boat a few years ago.
    #39
  20. R100RT Mark

    R100RT Mark Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    312
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    Not sure what's being said here but British twins typically use/used two sets of points. Later BSAs used 12v coils and independent systems giving a long dwell time for the coils to energize. Some Triumphs used 6v coils in series with a wasted spark meaning that each cylinder could be timed independently but both would fire each revolution.
    #40