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Old 11-17-2003, 07:47 AM   #1
vroddrew
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Backfire or ?

You've really got to love riding motorcycles to go out in chilly, damp, overcast conditions like we had here in the midwest this weekend. But thats what I did - and something interesting happened, and I'm curious if anyone knows what it might be.

In short, as I was rolling along in third gear at about 40 mph, I heard a definite sharp "pop" sound. I rolled on the throttle, and the engine responded normally, and there was no repetition of the noise. Could this have been a backfire?

I'd been riding for about twenty minutes when it happened. The temperature was about 38 F, with high humidity. I'd had the bike on a fairly fast, twisty run; and was slowing down as I entered a small town when it happened. I also should say that I have an '02 model, and have not done the IAT relocation. I guess I'm theorizing that the air temperature shown at the sensor (near the cylinders) was different from that of the air going into the airbox - and that this may have led to an incorrect mixture going into the combustion chamber.. but again, this is the theorizing of an amateur.

My question is, if it was a backfire, what causes it, and will it do any permanent damage? And should I do anything different to avoid it?

Thanks in advance for your answers..
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Old 11-18-2003, 07:13 PM   #2
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Try relocating the IAT first.Then go from there.I too love to go for a ride when it's cold,something in the air.I have an '03.I don't get the popping you are talking about.I get some crackling,when I'm downshifting.
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Old 11-18-2003, 07:25 PM   #3
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vroddrew if it was a single pop and your not able to duplicate the condition the odds are it could have been a piece of carbon or any other minor problem that passed through the system. Usually backfires are caused by lean fuel conditions and timing settings. Backfires usually do no damage at all, the greatest risk is to the air box or velocity stacks. Remember the combustion chamber gets up to 9000 explosions a minute and is made to handle that a backfire is just an explosion that came while a valve was open. That could go back to a piece of carbon stuck in the valve or fuel quality that popped off from heat or a very lean condition that caused it to spit back.

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Old 11-18-2003, 07:36 PM   #4
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vroddrew - there's a discussion of v-rod "detonation" in the owner's manual. Could that be what you heard? The manual says it's supposed to do that under some conditions.

I've heard a pop at times, too, but it doesn't sound anything like backfiring on other HDs. On my bike, it's not as loud and seems like it's over faster without the jerking that goes along with backfires on the other HDs.

I'm not quite sure where my manual is, or I'd look it up and give you page number.

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Old 11-19-2003, 12:54 AM   #5
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I don't think VRods like humid weather. My has been hard to start after almost a week of sitting in cold and humid weather, but after using a battery tender, it has been starting better.
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Old 11-19-2003, 06:51 AM   #6
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Thanks for you help. I think most likely it is as Max suggested and was simply a little piece of carbon etc. causing a slight mis-fire. I'm not going to worry too much about it.

One thing I think I will do (most probably next year now..) will be to do the IAT relocation. Its obviously something that Harley thought was important enough to change on the V-Rod - and while I don't think it had anything to do with this little incident, its something that probably should be done.
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