Question about 2003 Harley Davidson XL 883 R Sportster

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How should I properly cold start a 2003 HD Sportster. Specifically, how long should I choke it? It sputters after having the choke taken off (even after 3 - 4 minutes of choke). The carb has been re-jetted to a 46 from a factory 42 and it still takes a long time to warm up.

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Ok, as a general rule, I only run the enricher for as long as I need until I can keep the engine running with the throttle. If you run the engine too long with the enricher, you'll foul the plugs. The enricher is VERY rich.

Your bike is jetted correctly. There is one other thing you could do and that is to take the slide out of the carb. Then remove the needle. Put a 3mm flat washer on the needle from the bottom (long) side. Put it back together. What you are doing is raising the needle by the thickness of the washer, about 0.020". This will richen up the mid-range mixture just a bit. It seems to help.

Now, you don't want your engine to heat up too quickly. If it does, the mixture is too lean and a lean mixture is fine for a water cooled engine but death on an air cooled engine. I usually run my engine until I feel the rocker boxes getting warm. You also don't want to take off and run your engine hard when it's cold. You stand a good chance of blowing a head gasket. As the engine warms up, the cylinder and the heads "grow" due to the heat building up. When the engine is cold, the cylinder and the heads have the least amount of torque on them making blowing a head gasket or a base gasket more likely if you run the engine hard. Be patient and let your engine warm like it should.

Good Luck
Steve

Posted on Sep 09, 2010

Testimonial: "Thank you for your insight Steve I sure appreciate it. I will let the bike warm up gradually and take it easy."

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