User avatar
By Slappy
Good afternoon all
I finally have my 1991 500 Bullet running of sorts, it had been someones display bike for a number of years.
So this is what I have done so far full service, new points new condenser new plug, cleaned the tank of old dead fuel stripped the carb cleaned and replaced all seals and gasket ( oh it is the standard carb ) set the pilot air screw to 1 1/2 turns out and lowered the slider so it is touching the carb body, new rubber gasket between carb and head and static set the timing as per the hosts tech sheet, so Monday eve after a lot of kicking and moving of the baseplate to try to change the timing a little and it rad very vast all the time so called it a night, last night rechecked the points made sure the carb was adjusted again and refitted the standard air cleaner just to get it up and running again lots of fafing about and it eventually went this time the tick over is better but it wont idle as soon as you drop the throttle off it dies and the you are back to lots of leg breaking, only thing I have my doubts with is I had to retard the base plate as far as it would go before it ran any sense at all, could it possibly be that one of the gears has bee put back in slightly off, before I pull the timing gear cover off looking at pictures on the net the cam gears and the timing gear have markers but that seams to be it, can anyone point me in the right direction I would love to ride the bike some time this year while my right leg still works.

Thanks Dave.
User avatar
By Adrian
So you've cleaned the old petrol out, I'm guessing you also checked the flow of the fuel tap and the tank cap breather hole. Assuming you didn't miss any teeny bits of crud in the carb, and it's all sealed properly, and there is abundant but not excess fuel, your hint that it could be ignition-related bears further investigation. If the ignition timing has been disturbed I think I would want to re-set it again. You might also try a different ignition coil just to make sure the one on there isn't on its last legs (terminals?).

If you briefly had it running too fast when it's supposed to be at idle you might have a snagged throttle cable stopping the slide from closing properly.

User avatar
By stinkwheel
The points cam sits on a taper. It could be put in at literally any orientation. As such, any marks on the timing gears are irrelevant. There is absolutely no garauntee it waqs set right to begin with.

There is a special tool you can use to dismount the points cam from the taper then reseat it again in a different position OR you can move the timing pinnion round a tooth.

It's easier (and arguably better) to lock the advance unit in the fully advanced position and set the static timing at that point. Easier because it's not constantly rocking over TDC, better because it will spend most of its life running fully advanced.

And after all that, someone on here measured the backlash on a standard bullet ignition timing and as I recall, it was into double figures so your trial and error approach has as much merit as anything else. Static timing with a gauge is just going to be a rough ballpark anyway. Set it so it starts easily, advance it until it doesn't then back it off a bit.

Make sure your battery has a good connection, especially the frame earth
As the bike has been stood for so long, clean electrical connections and earth points, you get corrosion due to dissimilar metals being in contact with each other.
Make sure auto advance/retard unit is ok, check sideways play on cam, set static ignition timing as carefully as you can, once set, it should run reasonably enough to set carb up.
Check tappets.
Warm up engine to set up carb.
Make sure the choke is coming off properly, also check for air leaks between carb and cylinder head, you can check by spraying carb cleaner around the manifold area, with engine running, and see if revs go up, if they do, there is a leak.
Check colour of spark plug, if it is sooty, its getting too much fuel, ( choke or flooding, float level too high), if it is very dry and light coloured, it is not getting enough, too lean, (air leak, or fuel starvation, low float level).
Best of luck.
User avatar
By Slappy
Thank you for all the very helpful replies gents

I will take a look again tonight, I was a auto electrician and have replaced all the bad earths and dodgy bullet connectors so the electrics seem ok.
User avatar
By Slappy
And it is still fighting me, so with the timing in mind I have decided to go back to basics and check everything so like you do you think I will just remove the screws from the timing cover they are only screws how wrong can you be so every screw needed the help of the impact driver and the very last one oh guess what that don't move at all every means possible even heating with my hot air gun for a long time so finally half the head snapped off, um guess I will be getting the die grinder out to finish the job, that will be tonight's episode of Man V's Bullet.

By Andy C
I can understand your frustration - so the bike was on display for many years, it would be nice to know if it was a runner prior to it going on display - any way of finding out?, you might be doing unnecessary work, but at least by pulling the timing cover off you can assure yourself that all is well in that area.

If as you say it takes ages to start and when it did it ran very fast I would be inclined to suspect the carb firstly - running very fast at idle can be a symptom of running very weak, which would also make it a pig to start, so it might be worth pulling the carb off and going over it again, also check the mounting for leaks.

You say that you fitted a new plug - it is not unknown for new plugs to fail, so might be worth trying another plug, also what pug cap are you using - is it s supressed one? they can be a real pain, if you have a supressed cap I would change it for a non supressed version, same as the plug lead - you cannot beat copper cored cable.

Just a few thoughts - good luck.
By ChrisD
Slappy – congratulations on having the courage to attack a 90’s Indian bullet. I also have one, a 1996 and it has given me endless garage time – always out of the wet, so that can’t be bad. Mind you, when it runs, it is a joy.
The manufacturers practice is to set the cams/pinion “on the dots” (image). A more recent common practice is to retard the inlet by one tooth but beware to ensure good clearance between valve and piston – you really should measure this, as follows. Remove head, cover valve area of piston crown with plasticene, replace head, turn over SLOWLY, remove head, measure depression in plasticene and you need 60thou clearance after retarding.
Replace head, etc, seek ~0.8MM BTDC (on pwer stroke) or ~8mm at full advance for points opening. If you can’t get the points to open there, place a bulb/buzzer across the points and with ignition on it, the light should come on or the buzzer buzz.
Mine too was a display model with only 18kms on the clock - took a bit of fiddling to overcome the issues caused by unenlightened fiddlers, but good fun.
Cheers, ChrisD
User avatar
By Slappy
Thank you for your reply Andy , I am not frustrated at all just love to write a little saga now and again to cheer up folks days, I managed to speak to the previous owner the other day as I brought it from a dealer, he only rode it for about 30 miles as he had trouble starting it and the just had it as his display bike from then on, so I will go through it all again now and also take a look at the cap as you suggest, and maybe a coil as well

thanks Dave.
User avatar
By Slappy
Chris D
Thanks very much great detail and more needed information, sounds like your bike is very similar, when I had it running on Tuesday eve it sounded great, don't get me wrong I love build and making stuff I am normally working on my rusty old cars but to have a bike again after all this time is great I am really enjoying the challenge of getting it up and running and mot'd
so I can fix it at regular intervals at the road side in the pouring rain, I had been wanting a real British bike for years and didn't want a triumph and the Enfield is what I have always been looking for it will be with me for many years to come and hopefully I will learn all of it's little pranks and tricks to catch me out

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