We did it! We left Galveston! Some of you might have thought we would be there forever. We almost thought the same thing. In fact, we only limped out of Galveston, and forty miles from Mission, Texas, our final destination in the US, the exhaust pipes started to scream, pop, hiss, and breathe fire. However cool it may sound, we lost power due to the excitement.
While in Galveston, we had been trying to eliminate some erratic behavior in the tuning of our machine. The hard starts, the loss of mid-range power, and occasional failure to start. We came to find out, when everything was said and done, all we needed was one of Jen's hair ties--well at least to help with figuring out why we were failing to start. After our last job with Tim, on the West End of the island, we couldn't get the bike to start. I figured it was just the points acting up again. I checked for a proper spark first. None. So we followed the connection back through the plug wires, and to the coils; when I got to the kill switch and hardwired it, the bike fired up and ran. So I cleaned the contacts on the switch and reassembled it to work normally. With the bike running, we buttoned her back up and started for home. Once we got on the highway, the engine cut out. I had missed something, or had I? I looped Jen's fabric rubber band over the ignition's kill switch, helping the contacts in the switch complete the circuit and transmit the necessary twelve volts to the coils. It worked again. When we got home that night, I took the switch apart, cleaned it up real good, made sure all the parts were functioning as they should, and presto, old is the new, new. Well, almost.
The engine is still hard to start/won't start. Jet Ski Joe, mechanic extraordinaire, and friend of Tim, an Adventure Rider (Princess Jamaica), told me our hard starts have something to do with the scratching sound we hear when the engine is starting, and that it is an air leak. To find out where the air is leaking, he advised us to spray starter fluid around where the carburetors mount to the engine head. If the leak is around the intake valves, the extra fuel will cause a spike in the engines RPM. To check the exhaust valves we will have to hold a burning match up to where the exhaust pipes mount to the engine, and watch for any movement in the flame. This will tell what gaskets need to be remade or ordered to fix the problem.
During our last days in Galveston, I bought a sort of insurance policy. New coils, four in fact. I figured we had replaced almost all the other ignition parts, short of installing an electronic ignition. Two of these coils were meant to be returned. I was able to find some car coils that were a match for the coils already on the bike and needless to say, the ones on the bike are not the right ones. So, I also bought the right Hitachi type Cm 11 coils for the bike, from MikesXS and had them shipped to Mission, Texas. My logic was that we could return the one set we picked up in Galveston when the right ones arrived and no one would be the wiser. Why the hassle? The idea was that if we did break down, and we did need the new coils between Galveston and Mission, we would have them. Guess what? It was a damn good "policy" I bought. When we broke down, I found one of our old coils was leaking oil. I think this is what caused our backfiring, but alas, when I changed them out, the problem persisted. We checked our spark, it was great; reset the timing, and fiddled with the carbs a little bit. Before we called it a night, I could get the bike to start up for about ten seconds, and then it would slowly die out. It would allow me to do this every fifteen minutes or so.
So that is where we are at. Oh, and the best part. We got a ride to Mission, Texas. I wasn't sure what to say when Mike, the second person to stop and ask us if we needed help, offered to throw our bike in the back of his van. I assumed it would be too large, and too heavy, but we did it.
Again, so this is where we are at. The bike runs, but only for a few seconds. Is it the carbs, or is it the valves? The engine running says to me it is not the valves, but the carbs, and the dying off to me sounds like there is blockage in one of the jets on the carbs. I guess there is only one way to find out. Pics coming tomorrow, or whenever we are at an Internet connection that will allow us to upload our pictures.