Can I install S&S VFI or IST on my 2004 bike?
For model year 2004 Harley-Davidson began using a serial data bus to communicate information to devices like the Speedometer, Tachometer and Malfunction Indicator Lamp (Check Engine Light). Basically what this means is that a single wire on the bike has information related to the vehicle speed, engine speed and check engine light status (on or off). The speedometer, tachometer and check engine light monitor this wire to determine what their readings should be. In previous model years, these devices were controlled by separate wires. In other words, the speedometer used the signal from the vehicle speed sensor to determine how fast the bike was going, the tachometer used the tach signal wire or the negative side of the coil to determine how fast the engine was running and the ECU grounded a wire to turn the check engine light on. S&S has updated the IST so it is completely compatible with 2004 and up Harley Davidson motorcycles. S&S is currently working towards having the VFI system compatible with 2004 and up Harley Davidson motorcycles by the fall of 2006. If you are building a carbureted custom bike, feel free to use any year wiring and components in conjunction with the IST. If you are building a custom bike using the S&S VFI system, please be sure to use pre-2004 wiring and components to avoid any issues.
How can I find the year of manufacture?
S&S serial numbers begin with the following manufacturing year codes. Year codes coincide with S&S Cycle's fiscal year, which starts on Oct 1st of the previous calendar year. A product with serial number beginning with the letter “A” was manufactured in fiscal year 1978, between 10-01-77 and 09-31-78, or in the fiscal year 2000.
How can I tell if I have an intake leak?
An often overlooked condition is an intake leak. These can often cause inconsistent problems and conditions. The symptoms vary, hesitiation, lean conditions, overheating and many others. An intake leak will not be limited to just the manifold seals. It could be worn throttle shafts, cracked or hard vacuum lines (i.e. V.O.E.S. hose), loose mounts and many others. The easiest way to check for leaks is the following. Fire up the motorcycle and hold it at a steady RPM (2000). Using an aerosol lubricant or cleaner (being careful of painted parts) spray all possible leak points one at a time. If the bike revs up or dies when an area is sprayed, it has a leak and needs repaired. If the condition persists double check your work. New gaskets can be damaged when installed.
What exhaust should I run on my S&S engine and are drag pipes ok?
If you have an existing 2-into-2 system that uses slip-on style mufflers, whether it is an OEM or an aftermarket system, we recommend the new S&S slip-on mufflers.
S&S dyno tests achieve almost 8 more horsepower and 5 ft. lbs. of torque on a stock Twin Cam 88 engine using stock header pipes and S&S slip-on mufflers, and S&S Super Sidewinder engines have produced 1-1.1 horsepower per cubic inch using stock style exhaust and S&S slip-on mufflers. These mufflers will allow your engine produce more horsepower and torque than straight-through drag pipes in street and highway driving, and work equally well on both stock and large displacement engines. If you don't already have an exhaust system that accepts the S&S Slip-On mufflers, and you need to buy a complete exhaust system, the RevTech staggered dual, or Python 3 systems work well.
Exhaust selection is critical for optimal performance. Open drag pipes work reasonably well for peak horsepower numbers on some engines but limit low speed performance on the street and can be nearly impossible to carburet. S&S has not had good results with baffled drag pipes due to the increase of exhaust gas restriction (back pressure).
Special low restriction Cycle Shack XP baffle is available through most retail suppliers, and will help with tuning in some cases. Overall, drag pipes are a poor choice for street use. Drag pipes offer nothing to break up the reversion wave pulse. This wave goes down the pipe and then the wave returns back up the pipes. When this wave is in proper time sync to hit the exhaust valve when it is open (pipe length affects the rpm that this happens) it allows the wave to enter the cylinder and when the intake is open during cam overlap it travels across the top of the piston (it is near top of the cylinder at this time) and out the intake valve. This wave continues out the intake through the carb where the next intake stroke draws it all in again. Each time this wave passes through the carburetor the venturi adds gas and makes the next incoming charge richer creating a flat spot or stumble or worse a blubber at this rpm. The longer the duration cam the worse this situation is. Also larger diameter drag pipes and fishtails seem to make this situation worse.