View Poll Results: Do you use the manual advance/retard option?

49. You may not vote on this poll
  • Always and actively

    20 40.82%
  • Only when kick starting

    25 51.02%
  • Occasionally when I remember

    1 2.04%
  • Never bother or disconnected it

    3 6.12%
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Thread: Ignition Advance

  1. #11
    I was thinking of attending the harley drags in Iowa during the fourth of july weekend, It's been quite a few years since I've been down there and I heard they moved the location out of Humboldt, so I'll have to find out exactly where it went. Should be fun and at a bit over 200 miles from home, It's a good panhead ride! Mike
    64 Duo-Glide

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Las Vegas, NV
    Retarding the ignition allows me to make smoother slowing and accelerating thru turns in my 49 sidecar rig. The throttle control is just not as fine as the spark control.

  3. Re: Ignition Advance

    Lifting this thead a bit.

    I wonder what would be the proper way to use the spark advance on a 1928 j harley if i wanted to take as much advantag of it as possible.
    In the riders manual it only mention retarding it a bit using it on heavy load with low rpm. Is that just the only time i sould use it?? is it newer time to twist it all the way?....

    Im sure a lot of you have some thoughts.


  4. Re: Ignition Advance

    To be honest if the ride has a magneto ignition the rider must advance it and retard it by hand as needed. You have to retard it before kick strting the ride. One must advance it as the RPM increases. Then it usually must get retarded when the ride is idling at some stop light. It is just a manual version of the points ignition not some high tech ignition made by aliens in outer space.

  5. #15

    Re: Ignition Advance

    If you had a vacuum guage set up wouldn't you adjust for the highest vaccum? Thats what I'm planning when I get my J going to see how it responds. My unproven hypothesis is that the low compression engine will need more advance when used with contemporary octane fuels. In the day, 40 octane was typical so not so much advance needed back then.

  6. #16

    Re: Ignition Advance

    Will the next post be in 2014?
    64 Duo-Glide

  7. #17

    Re: Ignition Advance

    I always follow the standard starting procedure for my 21 Harley single racer. Works like a charm!

    Retard the ignition most of the way, open the throttle slightly. Doesn't have a kicker. I use a modern flat track remote starter that spins a castle nut on the motor sprocket shaft. Once it starts, I fully retard it for idle and to let the motor warm up. I advance the ignition to full advance for full throttle runs. Not sure it would start and run properly without adjusting the advance!
    Dave Morrill
    Sylacauga, AL. USA.

    Deadly Dave's Blog
    Lost Stories of Early American Motorcycling.

    1921 Harley-Davidson Model J Racer

    It will break a hundred, if dropped from an airplane!

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Puget Sound, America

    Re: Ignition Advance

    While retarding the spark is an aid for starting, I wonder if any of you guys have seen what happens to a crank pin when the motor is run for longer periods with the timing retarded?
    If not, I can dig deep into my past and find an example....
    52 HydraGlide
    59 Pan/Knuck Chopper
    77 Stroker Shovel FLH
    94 Evo Secret Components

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