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Setting Holley Carb Float Levels on 98 Sportster


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After two years of frustration and trouble shooting from gas tank to fuel pump and everything in between, I finally corrected the bogging at high speed problem. It was something wrong with the carburetor. I rebuilt the Holley 4010 with a Holley rebuild kit purchased from Summit Racing. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary with the carb but I suspect the float needle was sticking closed on the secondaries thus causing the bog at high speeds. Now I need to adjust the float levels which the Holley instructions says can only be done with the engine running and the carb level. There are plugs on the side of the float chambers that you remove and then once the float level is set properly the gas should be just at the plug hole. And therein lies the problem. Even with the trailer tongue on the ground, the carb is still not anywhere near level. If anyone has any suggestions for the setup please let me know. The boat runs great, idles great and seems to be back to its good ole normal haul butt self.

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I'm not a mechanic, but I think in this application that you set the float levels with the boat level, even though the carb will not be level. Someone else should chime in with some advice.

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Find a hill you can park on. I would have thought the engine needed to be level unless they put extension tubes on the secondary jets...

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The height of the fuel in the bowl should be set with the boat (or vehicle) being as level as possible in the "normal" operating position. Many engines are pitched a bit in both boats and cars and you want the fuel level to be at the correct height when at this position. If it doesn't run with the carb being level then don't try and level the carb. The fuel should just slightly seep out of the sight hole on the side of the bowl...

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Thanks for the feedback and suggestions from everyone. It does seem to make sense to set the float levels based on how the boat sits in the water. I've got a digital level that I'll take with me on the water so I can reproduce that position on land. Through trial and error, and with the engine running, I was able to set the primary float level so gas just seeped out. At first it was a deluge and with the engine running I wasn't too thrilled with the potential for disaster. Not a big fan of leaking gas over a running engine to setup anything. I didn't adjust the secondary to seep gas, it was still dry in the inspection hole so probably on the lean side there which is okay. Thanks again./BBC

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