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Thread: 1946 Chief runnung issue

  1. 1946 Chief runnung issue

    I recently took the 46 out for a 100 mile ride. The first 80 miles it ran great at speeds up to 60-65 mph. Then around the last 20 miles of the ride it began developing a sputtering & backfire issue at higher RPM's in any gear, around 50 mph in 3rd for example. If I slowed down it ran fine again but as I began speeding up it would occur. Any ideas what would cause the sputtering and backfire to occur at higher RPM's?
    Thank you

  2. #2

    Re: 1946 Chief runnung issue

    Points closing or starving for fuel

  3. Re: 1946 Chief runnung issue

    Yes, indianut mentions the two most common causes of running problems. Make sure the points arm has a drop of oil on the pivot pin. A dry pivot pin can cause some really odd intermittent ignition problems. Make sure the gas tank caps are vented, and make sure that there are no rust particles creating a partial dam in the fuel line. Make sure that the carbon button on the inside of the distributor cap has a firm consistency and a dark color. If that carbon button is whitish or chalky (soft), the cap should be replaced. Spark plug wires can also cause intermittent problems. Run metal core plug wires, and keep them away from the cylinder heads. Make sure that the points are clean and adjusted. If the points appear to have a very short life time-wise and mileage-wise - suspect a failing/failed condenser (capacitor). If your battery seems to be using a lot of water, consider an excessively high line/system voltage. A high system voltage will shorten the ignition points life. There could be some weird mechanical problem, but I wouldn't go there until the easier to check ignition and fuel systems are checked-over first.

  4. Re: 1946 Chief runnung issue

    Thanks for the suggestions! I check these areas for anything that may be suspect.
    Thank you.

  5. #5

    Re: 1946 Chief runnung issue

    I had similar symptoms on my Chief a couple of years ago, and after checking all the above possible causes with no cure I found the fault to be play in the distributor shaft bushings allowing the rotor arm to touch the inside of the distributor cap. I discovered it by chance when I touched the distributor when it was idling and it coughed and spluttered.

  6. Re: 1946 Chief runnung issue

    Just to follow up I check the gas lines to make sure it was getting to the carb ok, which it was. I removed the carb bowl to make sure the float was ok and replaced the gas filter. All seemed well so I checked the points. The points seemed fine but I had a new spare so I went ahead and replaced them while I was at it. Everything else looked ok. I started the bike and it ran great. I took it out for a 25 mile ride and it ran just file at all speeds. I did notice that the points I removed were set to a .25" gap instead of the .20" noted in the repair manual which I set on the new points. Maybe it was the .25 points gap that affected how it ran previously?
    I appreciate all the helpful suggestions!

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