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Old 14th February 2010, 15:03   #1
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Default Harley knocking - Help needed

I have been having a problem with my Harley for some time now, and I need some help from TBhpians to try and sort it out.

I have ridden so far about 3500 kms on my Sportster, and since day one, I have noticed that I need Speed97 to prevent engine knocking, especially during hard acceleration. I tried Harley branded fuel additive, but no help. I have yet to try Octane Boosters, but they seem hard to find. The only pump that sells Speed97 in my place is about 15kms away, so now I keep about 70 lts in jerry cans at home. Since my Nightster comes with a smaller "Peanut" tank, my capacity is only 13.3 Lts. So, this fueling at home solution doesnt always work on longer rides. I fill up with normal Speed, which I believe is 93 RON, and I feel like I am damaging the engine riding with the knocking. I am looking for a more permanent fix.

Since my bike is EU spec, it has fuel rating of 95 RON. But other superbikes like Honda CB1KR are rated for 91 RON. So, I dont see why Harley engines cannot run on lower rating.

When Harley rolls out their bikes in India, I wonder if they will keep the same fuel requirement.

So, here comes the help from Bhpians part.

What do other Harley owning Bhpians do to solve this? I am trying to contact Harley India, but no contact method mentioned on website. I know some of you have met the Harley India team and maybe I can get some technical assistance through your contacts?

If this is an ECU setting, can a Power Commander solve this issue? Can Bhpians with Power Commander programming experience know if this is an adjustable setting?

Any and all help appreciated.
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Old 15th February 2010, 11:18   #2
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I doubt Harley localises their bikes at all, since they are imported as CBU. Unfortunate, but the allergy to regular Indian fuel is one outcome of non-localising. Can make things terribly inconvenient to owners.

Am going to forward your thread to Harley and get a reply out of them. Hopefully, they have a solution for you.
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Old 15th February 2010, 11:34   #3
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Octane Boosters?

Regards
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Old 15th February 2010, 18:04   #4
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ghtang, Anyidea what's the compression ratio on your harley?
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Old 15th February 2010, 22:32   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I doubt Harley localises their bikes at all, since they are imported as CBU. Unfortunate, but the allergy to regular Indian fuel is one outcome of non-localising. Can make things terribly inconvenient to owners.

Am going to forward your thread to Harley and get a reply out of them. Hopefully, they have a solution for you.
Thank you.

I hope that Harley does something about this because it will discourage a lot of prospective non-metro living buyers. I personally know 2 friends who are ready to buy bikes, but are put off by this fuel conundrum.

"ghtang, Anyidea what's the compression ratio on your harley?"

From what info I could gather, my model comes with a 9.7:1 compression ratio, but that is US spec. As far as I know, Harley has US domestic spec, International spec, and Japanese spec. But I doubt that compression ratio will differ much. Usually its the exhaust, sprocket size, speedo, etc.

From my limited knowledge, I feel that 9.7 is not that high a compression to warrant 95 RON, so it must be a ECU setting for emission control.

Hoping a Power Commander might help. Awaiting guidance from PC guru, if any out there.

Regards.
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Old 15th February 2010, 22:37   #6
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@gthang.
I ride a Dyna here in USA and the fuel rating is 91+ octane.
You can add fuel additives which keeps your motor parts clean from carbon deposit. There are several brands, the purpose is that you only add this 4 or 5ozs every 1000miles and it flushes your fuel tank/engine and every part and keeps it clean..

I use a brand called "seafoam" and it gives me the desired results

check this link out if you wanna see what I'm talking about

Seafoam motor treatment - Harley Davidson Forums

Last edited by shrini78 : 15th February 2010 at 22:45.
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Old 15th February 2010, 22:52   #7
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First thing first,
why do u need a Power commander?
I have a PC-v on my dyna...if you go for a PC then basically you have to remap the whole system...
you need to change your air filter to a SE filter or SE heavy breather or K&N filter which is washable & reusable. I have Arlen Ness Big sucker which is again washable & reusable.
You need to change your exhaust pipe for better air/fuel mixture...
After all this is done you need to dyno tune your bike, there are who might not agree with me but if you dont dyno tune your bike then your bike will run lean and it is not good on longer run.

Can you do all this in India? certainly not because dyno tune is run on a machine where they place your bike and the ratings go to the computer and they fine tune it at all 6 speeds so there is nothing like this in India that I know of or I dont think there is a trained professional to do this work

Your dealer might say you dont need all this but if you change at one place you need to keep your hand everywhere for desired result, but this will not solve your knocking problem.

Your best bet get seafoam or something similar to that which is avaiable in India

Last edited by shrini78 : 15th February 2010 at 22:56.
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Old 15th February 2010, 23:14   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shrini78 View Post
@gthang.
I ride a Dyna here in USA and the fuel rating is 91+ octane.
This statement got me thinking, and I did some searching. US spec Harleys are all 91 RON rated !! EU spec are 95 RON rated. Same compression ratios on the engines. 9.7:1 on the 1202cc sportsters and even lower 9.2:1 on the 1584cc Big Twin Evolution engines like Shrini78's Dyna.

So, its fixable, but how? Indian Govt has approved only EU spec bikes for 800cc and above, so I suspect that all Harleys coming to India will be like this. Will Harley India knowingly reprogram the ECU as it will violate their import clause?

Man, the deeper I get into this, the solution seems harder.
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Old 15th February 2010, 23:24   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gthang View Post
I fill up with normal Speed, which I believe is 93 RON,
I think it is 91RON
Quote:
my model comes with a 9.7:1 compression ratio,
AFAIK 10.1 and above demands 95RON and above,
correct me if i am wrong

what about octane boosters?

^^is the CB doing fine with normal fuel?
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Old 15th February 2010, 23:28   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shrini78 View Post
First thing first,
why do u need a Power commander?
I have a PC-v on my dyna...if you go for a PC then basically you have to remap the whole system...
you need to change your air filter to a SE filter or SE heavy breather or K&N filter which is washable & reusable. I have Arlen Ness Big sucker which is again washable & reusable.
You need to change your exhaust pipe for better air/fuel mixture...
After all this is done you need to dyno tune your bike, there are who might not agree with me but if you dont dyno tune your bike then your bike will run lean and it is not good on longer run.

Can you do all this in India? certainly not because dyno tune is run on a machine where they place your bike and the ratings go to the computer and they fine tune it at all 6 speeds so there is nothing like this in India that I know of or I dont think there is a trained professional to do this work

Your dealer might say you dont need all this but if you change at one place you need to keep your hand everywhere for desired result, but this will not solve your knocking problem.

Your best bet get seafoam or something similar to that which is avaiable in India
Sorry, but I am not sure you understand my problem. I dont have a dirty fuel problem, smoky exhaust, or carbon deposits on my 3500 km old engine to need "Seafoam" type "detergent" additive.

From my limited knowledge, I feel a Power Commander might give the option to remap my engine according to my need. Just because I have a Power Commander does it mean that I have to go the whole nine yards and put on every aftermarket performance upgrade available? I am already using a Screaming Eagle performance air filter which the stock ECU has already adapted to. I dont want to spend the moolah on a PC and find out later that fuel requirement is not a changeable option.

If you have a PC-V, do you have the software that comes with it? Can you see if fuel requirement setting can be altered?

Regards.
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Old 15th February 2010, 23:35   #11
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Get octane booster's STP used to have good stuff. OWS i think has one, if so you can contact them in Chennai and they can definitely ship it to you in CBE. This is the cheapest and safest route if you ask me. Normal gas in 91 Ron and Speed is available in 93 and 97.

Power commander and all if you have the knowledge or access to people who can set it up properly. Otherwise it will be total waste of money.
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Old 16th February 2010, 01:12   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gthang View Post
From my limited knowledge, I feel a Power Commander might give the option to remap my engine according to my need. Just because I have a Power Commander does it mean that I have to go the whole nine yards and put on every aftermarket performance upgrade available? I am already using a Screaming Eagle performance air filter which the stock ECU has already adapted to. I dont want to spend the moolah on a PC and find out later that fuel requirement is not a changeable option.

If you have a PC-V, do you have the software that comes with it? Can you see if fuel requirement setting can be altered?

Regards.
I'll try explaining as detailed as I can.
Harley stealership try to only sell "race tuner" which is equivalent to a "PC", so the stealership will be equipped to run the diagnostic on race tuner than PC
If you go to power commander website www.powercommander.com they usually have maps configured for bikes that is running with a certain pipe+certain filter+certain PC. If you have that same set of pipe + air filter + power commander you can download the map and adjust your air/fuel ratio.
I didnt do this because I went with AN-BS stage I air filter+ python 2-1 pipes and they dont have maps for that.

that was the reason I had to do a dyno tune of my bike. The tuning guys will put your bike on machine and check at 6 speeds and optimize your air/fuel ratio.

Every bike is different and behaves differently under conditions so its always advisable to do a tune rather than just get maps from the power commander site.

As I posted earlier you've to go the whole nine yards because when you go PC route then you remap the sytem, if you remap the sytem then you get better exhaust which has good flow. I'm not saying you should & must change your stock exhaust to some slip ons/aftermarket ones but its more advisable and you'll love it
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Old 16th February 2010, 01:25   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
Get octane booster's STP used to have good stuff. OWS i think has one, if so you can contact them in Chennai and they can definitely ship it to you in CBE. This is the cheapest and safest route if you ask me. Normal gas in 91 Ron and Speed is available in 93 and 97.

Power commander and all if you have the knowledge or access to people who can set it up properly. Otherwise it will be total waste of money.
Octane boosters seems to be the solution for now. The bottles are small enough to carry in a tool bag. But I have been having tough time finding some. I recall seeing STP branded boosters few years ago in several places, but now nowhere. I have tried most big auto spare/accessories shops in cbe, but no luck. Can you give me OWS contact in Chennai?
I will be in Mumbai for 2 days next month, so if someone has seen some in any stores in Mumbai, please let me know the address and I will pick up a few bottles.

I have send a query to PowerCommander and hope to get reply soon. I would rather have Harley fix it, though.
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Old 16th February 2010, 01:37   #14
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Not into bikes. But can you retard the ignition manually? That should fix the knocking and allow you to use fuel with lower RON.
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Old 16th February 2010, 02:10   #15
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octane boosters is your only BEST solution..
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