Running right…

Was having a hard time getting the ’88 Sportster running right. Had some issues with the swap meet find CV carburetor. She would start and run with the choke on, but would not idle without the choke at least part open. She would go down the road until I really tried to get on the throttle, then she would start to sputter and stall, this was not quite as bad if I left the choke open. It really didn’t really matter what pilot and main jet combination I tried I just couldn’t get it to run right. The carburetor was set up with an aftermarket slide and an aftermarket needle jet.

I have a box with a bunch CV carburetor odds and ends. I found a CV carburetor stock slide and a stock needle, since I have no idea of how or why it was set up the way it was I swapped out the aftermarket stuff with the stock stuff. Then started out with a 42 pilot and a 165 main, the carb part number says it is a ’96 so this is the stock jet set up for a 1996 883 (based on the Clymer manual I have). Close but not quite right. Ended up with a 45 pilot and a 165 main – idle mixture screw is out about 1 3/4 turns and she runs like a top. Idles without the choke once she warms up for a few minutes and runs great going down the road – good throttle response, good acceleration.

Also found this sick looking chrome Harley Davidson carburetor top cover in the box of parts.
Sportster Carburetor
So she runs great and looks good 🙂 Took her for a couple runs around the block, she is fun to ride for sure. Will get her antique tags once the DMVs open back up.

I think the issues I had were due to the aftermarket needle. The carburetor was probably set up fine for whatever it was being run on before. This old Sportster was having none of that, but it’s all good now. Having a box of parts odds and ends you can swap out helps for sure (this is why I don’t get rid of much – the best way to have a need for something is to get rid of that something). If you are looking for a great resource on getting things set up right; this thread on XL Forum – All things Carburetor- Tuning, Jetting, How-To is fantastic!

Hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day weekend. Be safe, be well, have fun…

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