Technical Discussion Topics related to Technical Issues

Tuning after moving needle position

Old 04-23-2005, 01:03 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Portland ORegon
Posts: 43
Tuning after moving needle position

I realize this site gets a lot of tuning questions so let me apologize upfront for something that has me scratching my head.

Regarding raising the jet needle, does this require an adjustment of the pilot screw to maintain appropriate air/fuel in the low range? Also, does anyone have a tip on an alternate tool to the D-shaped head to adjust the pilot screw?

Background, my SuperHawk is new to me. Erion pipes and unknown brand jetting. It had a wicked misfire at 3k rpm but other than that ran great. I raised the needle one clip and at the same time adjusted the TPS to as low as I could get it without bending anything (600 ohms). I removed the PAIR equipment to eliminate the exhaust popping. Things seemed great at first, the misfire and the popping went away completely, but it ran horribly below 3k rpm and it seemed to vibrate more on hard acceleration. I havenít had the bike long enough to know if the vibration is much worse. Itíll idle very low when cold and then high when warm, plus itís all over the place. I checked all of my work, making sure there were no air leaks from the PAIR removal or around the carb boots. I was hoping a carb synch would help but they were well within spec, right on at 4K. It runs slightly better when warm but it has to be very warm, temp gauge straight up. My plugs are dark although I havenít done a proper test, just pulled them to see. Iím getting spark though. Seems to me like an air leak or vacuum issue but I don't think I'd be so close on carb syncronization if that was the case. Any insight would be much appreciated before I start replacing jets.

Dutch is offline  
Old 04-23-2005, 09:32 PM
Senior Member
Thumper's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,015
Thumper is an unknown quantity at this point
Re: Tuning after moving needle position

This is a good reference for chasing CV carb problems and fine tunning.

Copied it for the Factory Pro Jet Kit web site. I have used it numerous times on different bikes mine and others and it has never failed me.

CV Carb Tuning

High RPM engines


Follow steps in order....First, dial in:

1. Top end (full throttle / 7.5k to redline -
Best Main Jet must be selected before starting step 2 (needle height)!
Select Best Main Jet
To get the best, most even top end power (full throttle/after 7500 rpm), select the main jet that produces the highest top speed / pulls hardest at high rpm.
If the bike pulls harder at high rpm when cold and less hard when fully warmed up, the main jet is too large. Install a smaller main jet and retest until you find the main jet that pulls the hardest at high rpm when fully warmed up. This must be done first - before moving on to the other tuning ranges.
If the bike doesn't pull well at high rpm when cold and gets only slightly better when fully warmed up, the main jet is too small.
In order to properly tune the midrange and low rpm carburetion, THE MAIN JET MUST FIRST BE PROPERLY SELECTED after 10 to 15 minutes of hard use!
Do not pay too much attention to the low-end richness when you are changing main jets - you still need to be using the main jets that produce the best power at high rpm. You will deal with the low-end / cruise later - after step 2.
2. Midrange (full throttle /5k-7k)
Step 1 (Best Main Jet) must be selected before starting step 2!
Select best needle clip position
To get the best power at full throttle / 5k-7k rpm, adjust the needle height, after you have already selected the best main jet.
If the engine pulls better or is smoother at full throttle/5k-7k in a full throttle roll-on starting at <3k when cool but soft and/or rough when at full operating temperature, it is too rich in the midrange and the needle should be lowered.
If the engine pulls better when fully warmed up but still not great between 5k-7k, try raising the needle to richen 5k-7k.
If the engine pulls equally well between 5k-7k when cooler as compared to fully warmed up, the needle height is probably properly set.
Do not pay too much attention to the low-end richness when you are changing needle clip positions - you still need to be using the clip position that produces the best full throttle / 5k-7k power in conjunction with the main jets (Step 1) that produce the best power at high rpm. You will deal with the low-end / cruise next.
3. Low end (full throttle / 2k-3k)
Step 1 (Best Main Jet) and Step 2 (needle height) must be selected before starting step 3!
Float height (AKA fuel level & how to..)
To get best low-end power, set float height (fuel level) so that the engine will accept full throttle, without missing or stumbling, in 2nd gear from 2.5k to 3k rpm at minimum.
Float heights, unless otherwise specified in the installation guide, are measured from the "gasket surface" of the carb body to the highest part of the top of the float - with the float tang touching but not compressing the float valve spring.
If the engine has a "wet" rhythmic, soggy area at full throttle / 3k-4k rpm, that gets worse as the engine heats up, lower the fuel level by resetting the float height 1mm greater (if the original was 13mm - go to 14mm). This will lower the fuel level, making full throttle / 2k-3k rpm leaner.
If the engine is "dry" and flat between 2k to 3k rpm, raise the fuel level.
Example: change float height from 15mm to 14mm to richen up that area.
REMEMBER, since the main jet WILL affect low speed operation, the MAIN JET has to be within 1 or 2 sizes of correct before final float setting.
Warning: If the engine is left with the fuel level too high,, the engine may foul plugs on the street and will be "soft" and boggy at part throttle operation. Adjust Floats to raise/ lower the Fuel Level.
Base settings are usually given if a particular application has a history of fuel level criticalness. The Fuel level height in the float bowl affects full throttle/low rpm and, also, richness or leanness at cruise/low rpm.
Reference: a bike that runs cleanly at small throttle openings when cold, but starts to show signs of richness as it heats up to full operating temperature, will usually be leaned out enough to be correct if the fuel level is LOWERED 1mm. Check out and RESET all: Suzuki (all), Yamaha (all) and Kawasaki (if low speed problems occur). Needless to say, FUEL LEVEL IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!!
If there are low-end richness problems, even after lowering the fuel level much more than 1.5mm from our initial settings, check for needle wear and needle jet (part of the emulsion tube). See Worn Needle and Worn Needle Jet diagram. It is VERY common for the brass needle jets (in the top of the "emulsion tube") in 36mm, 38mm and 40mm Mikuni CV carbs to wear out in as little as 5,000 miles. Check them for "oblong" wear - the needle jet orifice starts out round! Factory Pro produces stock replacement needle jets / emulsion tubes for 36mm and 38mm Mikuni carbs. Click here
4. Idle and low rpm cruise
Fuel Screw setting (AKA mixture screws)
There is usually a machined brass or aluminum cap over the fuel screws on all but newer Honda. It's about the diameter of a pencil. Cap removal details. Newer Honda carbs have no caps, but use a special "D" shaped driver, usually supplied in the carb recal kit. We do have them available separately, too. 800 869-0497 to order -
Set for smoothest idle and 2nd gear, 4k rpm, steady state cruise operation. Set mixture screws at recommended settings, as a starting point. For smoothest idle, 2nd gear 4000 rpm steady state cruise , and 1/8 throttle high rpm operation. (pj tuning information)
Pilot fuel mixture screw settings, float level (but, you've "fixed" the fuel level in Step 3 - which you have already done!) AND pilot jet size are the primary sources of mixture delivery during 4000 rpm steady state cruise operation.
If lean surging is encountered, richen mixture screws (turn out) in 1/2 turn increments. Alternative pilot jets are supplied when normally required.
Pilot fuel mixture screw settings, float level and pilot jet size also affect high-rpm, 0 to 1/8 throttle maneuvers. Too lean, will cause surging problems when the engine is operated at high rpm at small throttle openings! Opening the mixture screws and/or increasing pilot jet size will usually cure the problem.
NOTE: A rich problem gets worse as the engine heats up.
If the throttle is lightly "blipped" at idle, and the rpm drops below the set idle speed, then rises up to the set idle speed, the low speed mixture screws are probably set too rich: try 1/2 turn in, to lean the idle mixture.
NOTE: A lean problem gets better as the engine heats up.
If the throttle is lightly "blipped" at idle, and the rpm "hangs up" before dropping to the set idle speed, and there are no intake leaks and the idle speed is set at less than 1000 rpm, the mixture screws are probably too lean: try 1/2 turn out, to richen mixture. Be sure there are no intake leaks and the idle speed is set at less than 1000 rpm!
Carb Kit Design is a combination of science, art, intuition and and at times, a fair dose of wizardry. There is no dyno that "tells" one how to assemble or modify the carb to deliver proper power and response.
Perfect Carb Kit TUNING requires patience and perseverance and "reasonable" feel to feel the changes - of which - most motorcycle riders have a good ability to do.
When a dyno "operator" says he/she has to ride the bike after dyno tuning to do the final tune for cruise smoothness - that's what they are doing. Avoid any dyno operator who says that they don't have to do that!!!
The only dyno that I know of that will duplicate and visually display the engine smoothness is the EC997 dyno (yes, I know, we make it) - that's one reason why, if you can, you'd like to use one for tuning - a smoother engine IS getting the best mixture. Other dynos claim to "tune to an "A/F Ratio" - probably the biggest marketing scheme in the dyno industry at this time - and they never can equal the quality of tune as designed -
These tuning kits have been thoroughly tested to ensure easy, trouble-free, optimized performance.
Please note: If you have installed the kit and gone through the optional screw settings, clip positions and main jets, and still have a persistent flat spot/problem, we ask you to call us. Unique engine / exhaust / filter / altitude / temperature combinations may require individualized setups. We are here to help. The information gained to your solution will be installed in our computerized reference database. PLEASE CALL!
We ask that upon completion of installation and tuning, that you call us with specifications of your installation, (pipe brand, filters, advancer, altitude, humidity, temperature and final carb settings) to be entered in our TUNING DATABASE. The database allows us to include the "most used" jet sizes and setup specifications in every kit.
Thumper is offline  
Old 05-05-2005, 08:04 AM
Senior Member
Back Marker
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: East Tennessee
Posts: 208
Re: Tuning after moving needle position

I had some tuning problems after getting my hawk from a PO. After messing with it a while I decided to get a dyno just to check the A/F ratios out and discovered it was way off. The jet kit was setup way to rich on my pilots and I had to drop from 50 to 45, after which it was perfect. I think seat of the pants tuning works in some cases well but if the initial setup is a mile off you really need the dyno data to get the basic carb setting right.
99Hawk is offline  
Related Topics
Thread Starter
Last Post
Technical Discussion
09-28-2010 10:39 PM
Technical Discussion
12-07-2008 08:31 PM
06-29-2007 12:07 PM
General Discussion
03-13-2007 07:52 AM
General Discussion
11-02-2006 06:06 PM

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: Tuning after moving needle position

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.