• Harley Davidson CV Carburetor Upgrade


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  • FileName: Harley Davidson CV Carburetor.pdf [read-online]
    • Abstract: Harley Davidson CV Carburetor UpgradeHarley Davidson started equipping models with the CV carburetor in 1989 and hasutilized the same carb ever since. A CV carburetor (Constant Velocity) incorporates a

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Harley Davidson CV Carburetor Upgrade
Harley Davidson started equipping models with the CV carburetor in 1989 and has
utilized the same carb ever since. A CV carburetor (Constant Velocity) incorporates a
vacuum operated slide that varies the venturi size within the carburetor, thus
maintaining a constant velocity. The slide also holds a needle that when lifted by the
opening slide varies the amount of atomized fuel delivered. This ingenious design is
believed to have been developed by racers who altered British made carburetors and
was eventually put into production by Keihin. Modifications to this reliable carb
continue today in the form of race tuner kits, hybrid slides, and Stage 1 Kits.
Due to the CV carburetor's stable metering characteristics,
Harley then commissioned their own version to replace the
aging butterfly style carburetors. The stock CV carburetor
when properly tuned delivers more than adequate
performance to any stock or slightly modified Harley
while still maintaining good gas mileage.
A Harley CV carburetor by far outperforms it's butterfly style predecessors, namely the
Keihin, Zenith, and Bendix. This brings us to the subject of upgrading these older
Harley "Soup Cans" to the newer CV style carb. Harley Davidson motorcycles prior to
1989 used a standard butterfly carburetor and are excellent candidates for upgrading to
the newer CV carburetor. The upgrade is quite straight forward and for the majority of
models only requires a Flange Adapter be fitted between the carb and the manifold.
Pre-1989 Harley's used a two bolt flanged manifold, whereas a CV carburetor simply
slips onto a rubber boot and is held in place by the air cleaner's backing plate. Total
conversion shouldn't cost more than 200 bucks... less if you can find a buddy with a
spare CV carb in good condition.
A CV carb also requires the use of a dual throttle cable system where one cable operates
the throttle (open) action and the other cable functions as the idle action in closing the
same throttle. Mid to pre 70's bikes used a single throttle cable configuration which
should be upgraded. Though many have used the CV carb using a single cable the
chance of the throttle not closing due to the cable binding makes this a risk not worth
taking. If requiring an upgrade to a dual cable system there are several sources to do so
including the dealer or online.
Parts required to complete the CV carburetor upgrade:
• CV Carburetor
• Flange Adapter
• Dual Throttle Cable Kit
• Stage 1 Jetting Kit if using a used CV carb.
The carburetor for the conversion should be in known working condition (if used) and
include a enricher (choke) cable. The choke utilized on a butterfly carburetor is different
and therefore won't work for this conversion.
Step 1 - Unbolt the old carburetor from the manifold. Disconnect the fuel line and
vacuum hoses. If the original dual cable setup is to be reused label them for reinstalling
on the CV carburetor.
Step 2 - Loosely place the flange adapter on the carb and align with the manifold bolts.
Mark where the adapter should be permanently aligned on the carb so that the carburetor
is horizontally level. If using the press fit type of adapter a small amount of JB Weld
should be applied to the adapter to affix to the carb. Press the adapter onto the carb and
allow the adhesive to cure.
Step 3 - Attach the throttle cables to the carburetor. If upgrading from a single to double
cable system this should be completed prior to this step. Attach the new choke
(enricher) cable to the carb body.
Step 4 - Attach the fuel line with a new clamp. Connect the vacuum line from the VOES
to the top-rear inlet. If the carb is equipped with a overflow coming from the bottom of
the bowl (this is NOT a vacuum port), direct a piece of vacuum hose down between the
cylinders toward the bottom of the frame. Some prefer to plug this tube instead.
Step 5 - Pass the choke cable in between the cylinders and locate a mounting place on
the left side of the engine to hold the choke knob. This may require a fabricated bracket
or using one from a newer model Harley. Mount the CV carb to your current manifold
using a new stock gasket. Recheck all hose connections and make sure the throttle
operates smoothly without binding. Adjust the throttle cables as needed.
Step 6 - If using an aftermarket or S.E. air cleaner attach to the carb along with the
breather bolts to each head. When using your stock air cleaner assembly it may require
the holes on the backing plate to be re drilled in order to align with the three holes on
the face of the carb.
Step 7 - Turn on the fuel petcock, engage the choke and start the engine. This may take
a moment since the fuel bowl is empty. Adjust the idle and follow the tips under Harley
CV Carburetor Tuning to get your bike fine tuned.
Congratulations, you've just upgraded your carburetor! Not only will you benefit from
the same performance and reliability as newer Harley's, but think of how much you
saved compared to the cost of a high-priced "super" carburetor kit.
Harley Davidson started equipping models with the CV carburetor in 1989 and has
utilized the same carb ever since. A CV carburetor (Constant Velocity) incorporates a
vacuum operated slide that varies the venturi size within the carburetor, thus maintaining
a constant velocity. The slide also holds a needle that when lifted by the opening slide
varies the amount of atomized fuel delivered. This ingenious design is believed to have
been developed by racers who altered British made carburetors and was eventually put
into production by Keihin. Modifications to this reliable carb continue today in the form
of race tuner kits, hybrid slides, and Stage 1 Kits.
Due to the CV carburetor's stable metering characteristics,
Harley then commissioned their own version to replace the
aging butterfly style carburetors. The stock CV carburetor
when properly tuned delivers more than adequate
performance to any stock or slightly modified Harley while
still maintaining good gas mileage.
A Harley CV carburetor by far outperforms it's butterfly style predecessors, namely the
Keihin, Zenith, and Bendix. This brings us to the subject of upgrading these older Harley
"Soup Cans" to the newer CV style carb. Harley Davidson motorcycles prior to 1989
used a standard butterfly carburetor and are excellent candidates for upgrading to the
newer CV carburetor. The upgrade is quite straight forward and for the majority of
models only requires a Flange Adapter be fitted between the carb and the
manifold.
Pre-1989 Harley's used a two bolt flanged manifold, whereas a CV carburetor simply
slips onto a rubber boot and is held in place by the air cleaner's backing plate. Total
conversion shouldn't cost more than 200 bucks... less if you can find a buddy with a spare
CV carb in good condition.
A CV carb also requires the use of a dual throttle cable system where one cable operates
the throttle (open) action and the other cable functions as the idle action in closing the
same throttle. Mid to pre 70's bikes used a single throttle cable configuration which
should be upgraded. Though many have used the CV carb using a single cable the chance
of the throttle not closing due to the cable binding makes this a risk not worth taking. If
requiring an upgrade to a dual cable system there are several sources to do so including
the dealer or online.
Parts required to complete the CV carburetor upgrade:
• CV Carburetor
• Flange Adapter
• Dual Throttle Cable Kit
• Stage 1 Jetting Kit if using a used CV carb.
The carburetor for the conversion should be in known working condition (if used) and
include a enricher (choke) cable. The choke utilized on a butterfly carburetor is different
and therefore won't work for this conversion.
Step 1 - Unbolt the old carburetor from the manifold. Disconnect the fuel line and
vacuum hoses. If the original dual cable setup is to be reused label them for reinstalling
on the CV carburetor.
Step 2 - Loosely place the flange adapter on the carb and align with the manifold bolts.
Mark where the adapter should be permanently aligned on the carb so that the carburetor
is horizontally level. If using the press fit type of adapter a small amount of JB Weld
should be applied to the adapter to affix to the carb. Press the adapter onto the carb and
allow the adhesive to cure.
Step 3 - Attach the throttle cables to the carburetor. If upgrading from a single to double
cable system this should be completed prior to this step. Attach the new choke (enricher)
cable to the carb body.
Step 4 - Attach the fuel line with a new clamp. Connect the vacuum line from the VOES
to the top-rear inlet. If the carb is equipped with a overflow coming from the bottom of
the bowl (this is NOT a vacuum port), direct a piece of vacuum hose down between the
cylinders toward the bottom of the frame. Some prefer to plug this tube instead.
Step 5 - Pass the choke cable in between the cylinders and locate a mounting place on the
left side of the engine to hold the choke knob. This may require a fabricated bracket or
using one from a newer model Harley. Mount the CV carb to your current manifold using
a new stock gasket. Recheck all hose connections and make sure the throttle operates
smoothly without binding. Adjust the throttle cables as needed.
Step 6 - If using an aftermarket or S.E. air cleaner attach to the carb along with the
breather bolts to each head. When using your stock air cleaner assembly it may require
the holes on the backing plate to be re drilled in order to align with the three holes on the
face of the carb.
Step 7 - Turn on the fuel petcock, engage the choke and start the engine. This may take a
moment since the fuel bowl is empty. Adjust the idle and follow the tips under Harley
CV Carburetor Tuning to get your bike fine tuned.
Congratulations, you've just upgraded your carburetor! Not only will you benefit from the
same performance and reliability as newer Harley's, but think of how much you saved
compared to the cost of a high-priced "super" carburetor kit.
Harley Davidson Carburetor
Performance Tuning
Tuning your Harley Davidson carburetor is simpler than most think and can be performed
with a few common tools. This simple procedure is a great Harley tech tip that applies to
all Harley carbs from 1989 to present that use the CV style Harley Davidson carburetor .
Earlier models equipped with the older butterfly style carbs (pre-89 Evo's, Shovelheads,
Pans, and Ironheads) are excellent candidates for upgrading to a modern Harley carburetor
.
Read more about how to upgrade your Harley carb
Note: Before proceeding to rejet your carburetor it is recommended that you perform the
following tuning procedure. Once the the mixture has been properly tuned there is often no
need to rejet the carb.
Preparing the carburetor for tuning will require removal from your Harley-
Davidson's engine but this is easily accomplished. Begin by shutting off the
petcock fuel valve and starting the engine to allow all fuel within the
carburetor bowl to be emptied. Remove the aircleaner assembly including
the backing plate which is attached to each head with a banjo bolt. This is a
good time to inspect these bolts for obstructions in their passages. Remove
the choke cable from it's mounting bracket on the opposite side of the bike.
The choke cable will stay attached to the carburetor during this procedure. Disconnect the
fuel line from the fuel inlet on the carburetor or the opposite end connected to the fuel
petcock, whichever is simpler to access. The hose is likely fastened using a special
crimped clamp. This may be cut or pried off to remove since you won't be using it again.
Be sure to have a new hose clamp available.
Next loosen both throttle cables from their adjusters located just beyond where they exit
the throttle grip. A couple turns is usually all it takes to give you enough slack. If you
count how many turns each adjuster is loosened then you can return them to the exact
adjustment when reinstalling your carb. This is a good time to label each cable to avoid
any confusion when reconnecting them to the carb's throttle cam. A simple "Top" and
"Bottom" should suffice when tagging each cable.
Now that you have enough slack in the cables you can pull the carburetor away from the
manifold. A Harley carb is only held to the manifold with a slip fit rubber boot. Gently
rock or twist the carb back and forth as you pull it away from the engine. Remove the
cables that you tagged and remove any vacuum hoses. If your model has multiple
vacuum hoses it would be a good idea to label these as well.
With the carb removed, place upside down on a sturdy work surface. Do not remove the
bowl at this point to prevent debris from entering the carburetor.
The CV style Harley carburetor has a small cylindrical tower
protruding from the bottom rear of the spigot (behind the
bowl). The tower is plugged with a soft metal insert covering
the mixture screw. Gaining access to this screw is key to fine
tuning and must be remove. The metal plug is very soft and
only requires a household drill and 7/64" to 1/8" bit. Secure
the carb in either a vise or by other means that will allow the
carburetor to remain steady. Drill a hole into the plug making
sure not to "punch" through too fast. You don't want to
damaged the mixture screw just below the plug. Allow the
drill to slowly cut into the plug rather than push.
Tip: To keep from drilling too far into the plug, it has been suggested to wind electrical
tape around your drill bit quite a few times about 3/16" from the tip. This will create a
stop to keep the bit from drilling too deep.
Pry the plug out using a pick or awl. You can also thread a sheet metal screw into the
drilled hole and use this to pull the plug out. Now that the plug is removed clean the area
around the mixture screw so no metal fragments remain. At this point there are two
methods for adjusting the mixture.
Adjustment Method: Using a small flat head screwdriver turn the screw clockwise until
it gently seats. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN AS THIS WILL DAMAGE THE NEEDLE
SCREW. Count how many turns it takes to reach the closed position. Mark the
screwdriver if needed to properly count each turn. Now turn the screw out counter
clockwise stopping at a 1/4 turn beyond that which you originally counted. For example,
it you turned the screw in 1-1/2 turns then unscrew it 1-3/4 turns. This is your base
starting point and alone will allow your idle mixture to be slightly richer than the
factory's EPA setting. In many cases this will be the ideal setting.
As an alternative to adjusting the mixture screw with a screwdriver,
many prefer using an EZ-Just mixture screw to ease adjustments and fine
tuning.
If the mixture screw has been reset by the dealer or previous owner (evident by the plug
already being removed), turn the screw clockwise until it seats. Now turn the screw
outward 2 turns to establish a starting point. The same procedure applies if using an EZ-
Just screw.
Reinstall the carburetor back on your bike by reversing the steps taken during removal.
Be sure to replace the fuel hose clamp and vacuum lines. It may be a matter of dexterity
but I prefer to install the cables before pushing the carb back onto the manifold. Make
certain the carb firmly seats back onto the manifold boot. Test the throttle for binding and
smooth operation. Double check each hose and connection.
The air cleaner assembly MUST be installed prior to starting the engine, not only to hold
the carburetor in place but to prevent having the carb backfire in your face while tuning.
Start the engine as normal and bring up to operating temperature prior to fine tuning. Let
the bike idle for no more than 5 minutes. The modified carburetor should allow your bike
to run well enough for a mild test run around the block to speed up the warm-up process.
With the engine warmed up and at idle you may now fine tune the idle mixture screw for
optimal performance. Acquainting yourself with the adjustment screw location at the
bottom rear of the carburetor prior to running the engine is advised, which also prevents
burning your hands. You will need a small screw driver for adjusting the screw unless an
EZ-Just has been installed. With the engine idling slow (no more than 900 rpm), turn the
screw inward (clockwise) SLOWLY until the engine starts to stumble. You are working
with the screw upside down so check to make sure you are turning the screw clockwise or
inward.
Note: Be careful not to allow the screw to fall out as there is a very small spring, washer,
and o-ring that will fall out as well. These items known as the mixture screw packing are
not available from the dealer or manufacturer, however if you should lose these parts
there is an aftermarket replacement kit available. Contact Contact Harley
Performance for availability.
If the engine will not idle on its own during this procedure, adjust the idle set screw on
the throttle side of the carburetor until it idles correctly. Now turn the mixture screw
outwards (counter-clockwise) until the engine begins to run smoothly, then add 1/8 of a
turn. Maintain proper idle speed and repeat the adjustment each time you adjust the idle
speed. Blip the throttle a couple of times and observe the results. If the engine responds
quickly with a smooth blast and no backfiring through the carburetor, you have your idle
mixture right. If backfiring occurs through the carburetor then adjust the idle mixture
screw out another 1/8 turn. Normally, the mixture screw should only require 2 to 3 turns.
Anything above 4 turns indicates the pilot jet is too small.
Twin Cam Harley engines have a mixture screw sweet spot approximately 2 to
2-1/8 turns out from seat, whereas Big Twin Evo and Sportsters can require up
to 3 turns. Adjusting the mixture screw out to far will result in an overly rich
fuel mixture in the low RPM range. Avoid tuning too rich, thus leading to poor
gas mileage and fouled plugs. Set this just beyond the point of backfiring
(coughing) for optimum performance.
Take your newly tuned bike for a ride and note how it idles and responds off idle. If you
experience any coughing through the carburetor, adjust the mixture out another 1/8 of a
turn. Black smoke seen from the exhaust at idle or a feeling of sluggishness off idle
indicates you may have set the mixture too rich. If your bike is now idling steady and
responds well from a start then you are all set. If your engine still runs lean you should
move on to rejetting your carburetor. The same stock Harley Davidson carburetor has
been used on all production bikes from 1989 to 2006 due to it's reliability and ability to
adapt to different conditions. With just the right amount of tuning there's no reason why
you can't have some of the same performance gains advertised by the major racing carb
manufacturers. Stage 1 modification kits are available for those who wish to take their
carb to the next level of performance.
Harley Carburetor Jetting
Harley carburetor jetting should only be performed after completing the fine
tuning procedure described under Performance Tuning and your Harley is still
running too lean. A good rule of thumb is to replace the Pilot Jet first and only
replace the Main Jet once the engine's idle and midrange are satisfactorily
tuned. The Main Jet is only used at 3/4 to full throttle and has no effect on the
idle or midrange mixture. Main jet replacement should be reserved until after
the slow idle jet is replaced and mixture is tuned unless a lean condition is
apparent during full throttle. Harley carburetor jetting can be accomplished
with minimal mechanical knowledge.
Tools to perform this task include just a simple set of
screwdrivers. You will also need an assortment of jets or
a Stage 1 kit. Remove the 4 screws securing the bowl to
the base of the carburetor and remove the bowl. Using a
narrow 1/8" flat head screwdriver unscrew the Pilot Jet
from within the orifice pictured. The jet size is stamped
into the top of the jet (i.e. 42). Be careful not to strip the
head of the jet.
Pilot Jet location
With a flat head screwdriver unscrew the Main Jet from
the brass needle jet holder (aka Emulsion Tube).
Note the jet size stamped into the top of the jet (i.e. 165).
There is no need to remove the emulsion tube unless
required for cleaning. I don't recommend "Power Tubes"
as they change the mixture and ability to tune with stock
jets.
Main Jet
Replace the Pilot Jet with one size larger. This of course
assumes that you are starting out with the stock jet size.
Harley Davidson Pilot Jets for CV Carburetors are
normally sold in sizes 40, 42, 45, 48, 50, and higher. A
Stage 1 Carb Kit will normally offer you a proper range
of jets for your particular model. If your stock jet was a
#42 the next size larger will be #44 or #45. Only increase
the jet sizing one size at a time to avoid an overly rich
idle. An EZ-Just mixture screw will also assist in fine Pilot and Main Jets
tuning once you have the correct jetting.
Only replace the Main Jet with one size larger after properly tuning your slow/idle jet
settings. Main Jets are sized incrementally by 5, so if your stock jet was a #175 the next
size larger will be #180. you should only increase the jet sizing one size at a time. Avoid
installing jets that are too rich as this will create a sluggish feeling at full throttle as well
as contribute to plug fouling.
Many Twin Cam models (except California) are already appropriately
jetted with a main jet that will allow for a good starting point for tuning. As
mentioned, proper mixture adjustment is key to proper jetting and should be
performed first.
Reinstall the bowl making sure to align the accelerator pump shaft and rubber boot.
Install the carburetor back onto the bike and perform the tuning procedure as described
under Carburetor Tuning.
As you can see, Harley carburetor jetting is a fairly simple procedure that under most
conditions will yield greater performance when requiring a richer fuel mixture.
Enjoy the Ride!


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