Last year I had bad vacuum leaks at the base of all carbs. I installed ALL new manifolds which helped alot, but I still can stall the engine by carefully spraying choke cleaner at the base of the carbs.what else can I do to get rid of the leaks? Any suggestions appreciated. Has anyone heard of this before -venture or v max owners???
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I would suspect a vacuum leak somewhere. I'd start by running a compression check on the engine. Each cylinder should have about 125 psi compression and no more than 10% variance between the two cylinders. But since you said both cylinders do run from time to time, I doubt this is the problem. Then, I'd check to make sure the vacuum hose was not pulled off the nipple on the backside of the carb that goes to the VOES and the vacuum operated fuel petcock. On at least on occasion, I had an FXR that was doing exactly what you are describing. It turned out to be a vacuum leak in the fuel petcock itself. The diaphragm had become dislocated somehow, possibly a "spit back" through the carb, and caused a vacuum leak. Check the petcock for a vacuum leak using a hand operated vacuum pump. If it won't "hold" a vacuum, then the diaphragm may be bad. Either replace the petcock with a new H-D unit or a high quality manually operated valve like a Pingle. You also may need to replace the intake manifold gaskets at the heads and the seal that the carb plugs into. Your bike is 15 years old and if these are the original gaskets and seals, they may have failed. They aren't expensive nor difficult to replace. Just make sure that you get the intake properly aligned before you tighten the bolts that hold the intake to the heads. Put the carb in the intake and bolt the air filter backing plate up before you tighten these four bolts. This aligns the intake properly. Harley makes a tool that they used to do this with but you really don't need it if you do the job like I described.
Might check: Air filter, choke malfuntion or sticking, dirty carb (idle circuit), valve adjustment, and sometimes a weak spark (cap, plug, wire). Could need a new top end (check compression after adjusting valves) or a vacuum leak in the intake manifold (cracks, petcock line off...not sure if this model uses a petcock vacuum shut off). Good luck.