Optimize Your Timing
You Might Find a Little Free Power
Upgrading high-flow heads, carburetors, camshafts, or free-flowing exhaust systems are all items that can improve the output of your engine. It’s not that difficult to add a little power if you have enough money to spend. The strange thing is, the easier the part is to install, the more expensive it is to buy. You’ll save money in labor but pay for it with your initial purchase. Conversely, the cheaper the part is — a cam for instance — the harder it is to install. It requires special tools and more time, making your labor costs higher.
There are things you can do to improve the way your bike runs, without having to max out your credit cards and going further into debt. Some exhaust systems have removable baffles that can easily be taken out to provide more flow. You can even check your jetting with an exhaust gas analyzer and dial your carburetor in for a few free ponies.
We decided to optimize our Big Dog’s 107 TP Engineering engine by fine-tuning our ignition system. While the stock ignition system on the Dog works great, it requires a special interface cable and software that we didn’t have lying around to tune it. We also just happened to have a complete Dyna 2000i ignition system in our office that we were looking to put to good use. This Dyna module is very adjustable and offers four different curve variations that can be altered by hooking up or disconnecting the VOES (Vacuum Operated Electric Switch) wire. Also included in the system is an ultra high-output single-fire coil that easily fits in a standard-sized coil housing.
We contacted our good friend Terry Stewart at Dynatek to see who he’d recommend to help assist a tuning session on a dyno. Terry immediately suggested long-time Harley drag racer, Bill Chambers of Bill Chamber’s Racing in Montclair, California.
Bill wanted to prove to us that we could most likely find an abun-dance of free power just waiting to be unleashed once the proper spark curve was discovered. And Terry Stewart from Dynatek dropped in to give us some information on the finer points of the system while Bill and Bob worked on the bike.