Friday, February 25, 2011

A Timely Story

I don't know about you, but when I look at all what is going on in the world, it is tough not to get angry. There are rulers killing their citizens without remorse. There are those who plot the genocide of whole nations. And still other governments keep their citizens on the verge of starvation while they live in luxury. On the home front things are not much better. It seems we have a nation that is intent on committing financial suicide, not to mention the forces who are outraged with the mere suggestion that, as a budget consideration, taxpayer money should no longer be used to pay for the murder of babies. Yep, keeping your temper in check seems to be getting increasingly more difficult to do, and yet we have Jesus command to love your enemies!

One place we can read about this kind of love is in Luke 10

Luke 10:25-29 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

Here we have two great commands. Love God, and love your neighbor, In fact, elsewhere in the New Testament, Jesus calls these two the greatest commandments. In the parable that follows, we not only learn how to answer that question of who is my neighbor, but a little more about what love consists of.

Luke 10:30-37 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

To better understand the depth of this story, one needs to know a little about the relationship between the Jews and the Samaritans. You see, the Samaritans were descendants of those tribes of Israel who were on the wrong side of the divided kingdom. And not only did they side with the wicked kings of Israel, they intermarried with the local population who God had specifically commanded them NOT to marry. By the time of the New Testament, Samaritans were despised and looked down upon by the Jews to such an extent that the Samaritan woman at the well was shocked that Jesus would even speak to her.

With that in mind, the story of the Samaritan who acted out of love, and acted as a neighbor to someone who probably hated him just for who his ancestors were, should provide an example for us as to who we should love as our neighbor. In other words we should even love someone who hates us.

So what else can we learn from this? Real love, as shown in this parable, is revealed in actions more so than words. Love, as it is shown to us here, is very closely related to what we commonly call charity because those actions are for the benefit of someone who cannot repay us. In that respect it is the same type of love shown to us by Jesus Christ. He died paying the penalty for our sins, and he showed that love to us, who have no possibility of repaying him.

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Christ showed what the Bible calls the greatest possible love when he laid down his life for us. And he did that when we were repulsive sinners. Jesus Christ is the one we are to look to as an example of how to love others. He is the standard, and it seems a standard that is impossible to live up to. And of course it is impossible, at least if a man relies on himself. But with God, all things are possible. So how is it that we can show others the kind of love that God has shown us? It begins when you repent of your sins and put your faith in Jesus Christ.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Setting Pinion to Cam Gear Lash

This is one of those tech tips that I have considered writing several times, but each time I considered it, I decided to put it off until I could provide some pictures to go along with it. But, it seems that I never have an engine at that point when I think of doing this post, and never remember to take pictures when I do. So, we're all going to have to tough it out without pictures, as though we were adults.

Noisy motors are something that are a source of annoyance, and sometimes even embarrassment. The following is directly applicable to Big Twin from 1940 to 1999 as well as most S&S motors, and also can be applied to some extent to Flatheads and Sportsters. With the abundance of cams on the market, and the frequency with which they are changed, whether due to wear or for performance, this is always a timely subject.

First things first. Let's debunk an old wives tale having to do with "a matched gear set." While old wives are the best kind to have, particularly if you are an old husband, it has been my experience that they are an unreliable source for Harley technical advise. The "myth" of the matched gear set stems from the fact that the Factory did (maybe still does) sell a cam and pinion gear set. Trouble is, all that means is that the set comes with both gears in the middle of the size range. There are absolutely no guarantees that size combination will be correct for your engine. After all, if the factory could make a gear set that would fit all of their motors correctly, there would be no reason for them to make more than one size pinion gear and one size cam gear.

But they do, and they have since sometime back in the 1970's. The reason is to compensate for manufacturing tolerances in the center to center distance between the pinion shaft and the cam bearing in the crankcase as well as the pinion bushing and cam bushing in the cam cover. What did they do before different gear sizes were available you ask? Well, I guess you just had to live with a little extra noise.

Now, it is important to note that there are two separate types of bad fitment that will lead to noise: too tight and too loose. Too tight is actually a much bigger problem than its opposite. Too tight a fit between the pinion gear and the cam gear will result in a pronounced whine, and whining is never a good thing whether it emanates from your friends or your engine. In the latter case, it can lead to localized overheating and destruction of the gears. In the former cases it can lead to localized overheating of your temper. Neither is a good situation but the situation with your engine is easier to remedy.

Too much lash between the cam and pinion gear, on the other hand is generally harmless. Annoying but harmless. In fact, often times, a set of perfectly innocent lifters will be blamed for the "ticking" noise caused by pinion gear fitment. But lets get to the point of this post. Setting up proper cam to pinion gear fitment.

When installing a cam and pinion gear combination of unknown fitment, I have found that the best way is to test fit the combo, and be prepared to spend some time getting it right. If dealing with a rebuild where bushings have been replaced, it is worth installing the cam gear in the case without a pinion gear. This is particularly important on an early engine which uses a bushing in the crankcase rather than the late style Torrington. Install the cam with some lube on each end, and without a spacer or thrust washer. Once the cover (with gasket) is tightened, the cam should rotate freely with only light finger pressure. If the cam is binding in the two bushings you need to address that first so that you will be able to "feel" the fitment after you add the pinion gear.

Now that you know the cam is not binding, you can install the pinion gear, cam (again without thrust washer or spacer) and cover. Reaching in through the lifter block hole you should be able to slide the cam in and out easily. That is why you left the spacers out; so there would be plenty of end play to give a good feel. If you cannot slide the cam back and forth easily with just finger pressure, then it is too tight and it will whine.

So, what if by some stroke of luck the cam slides easily back and forth at this point? Are you done? Fat chance. This party is just getting started! If the cam does slide easily without bind, you need to check this at different points in its rotation. That means turning the engine over by hand. If the engine is in the chassis, jack the rear wheel up and with the plugs out and the trans in high gear, turn the wheel to rotate the engine. You will want to check the fitment at at least four places in the cam's rotation. If you find a place where the cam does not slide easily, it is too tight. If the cam will slide easily throughout its rotation, you have established that the fitment is not too tight.

The next step is to check to see if it too loose. Again, reach in through the lifter block hole but this time try to move the cam back and forth in its rotation. If you can feel, or hear a slight click as you move the cam back and forth, it is looser than you would like. Proceed as before and check this fitment in multiple locations in the cams rotation. Perfect fitment is when the cam can be easily slid in and out at any point in its rotation and likewise no lash can be felt or heard when attempting to move it back and forth.

Trouble is, you will rarely find a combination that is perfect. The culprit again is manufacturing tolerances. If the the cam gear and the pinion gear were each perfectly concentric and the crankshaft had zero runout, then there would be no need to check the fitment at more than one place in its rotation. But they aren't and so you do.

The next step, as you have likely already guessed, is to try another size pinion gear, but before you do, it might be helpful to make some notes of what you just found with the present combination. Personally, I always check the fitment every 90 degrees (4 places) in the cams rotation. My note might look like this: blue gear very loose 3 of 4/ slightly loose 1 of 4. The logical next step would be to try the next size larger pinion gear.

Conveniently both S&S and Jim's Machining offer a full range of color coded pinion gears. Though there are pins available which enable you to measure the gears, I find that they are really only of much use when dealing with a gear whose color code is no longer legible. Other than that, simply consult the color code chart from the appropriate catalog to guide you in selecting the next gear to try.

From there the process is repeated with your next selection of pinion gear. Use some common sense here. If the fitment was either extremely loose or tight, you might want to skip one color size to speed the process up. Remember, you will seldom get a "perfect" fitment between the gears, but you will always be able to get a "best possible" fitment - even if you wind up trying every pinion gear available. That is where those notes can come in very handy. Don't be surprised if you wind up going back to a size you already checked as the best possible combo.

One thing you want avoid is a situation where the the fitment is tight at any point in its rotation. Say for instance the fitment feels good 3 of 4 spots in the cams rotation, but is tight enough in one spot that you cannot slide it back and forth with just finger pressure; that combination will whine! I once had a cam that felt good in every place in its rotation with the exception of a short span of one or two teeth, where it took a screwdriver to pry the cam back and forth. I decided to try it, and surprisingly, it was a real whiner! The best coarse of action in such a (rare) case is to replace either the cam or cam gear. Hint: If a combination is tight in two spots in the cams rotation,180 degrees apart, the discrepancy is in the pinion gear or crank runout (since the pinion gear rotates twice for each rotation of the cam). Conversely, if there is only one tight spot, the out of round issue lies with the cam gear.

The best possible fit will be the largest pinion gear that has no bind. Don't be surprised if it checks something like this: good 1 of 4/slight lash 2 of 4/lash 1 of 4.

I guess by now it has become clear that it is beyond the reach of most guys installing their own cam to obtain the "best possible" cam to pinion gear fitment, what with 8 different sizes of pinion gear available, and each of them retailing for over $80. If you then multiply that by the four different styles of pinion gear (splined for Knuckles and early Pans, full length tapered for late Pans and early Shovels, stepped tapered for late Shovels and early Evos, and then of coarse late Evos) at least you can see why your local shop doesn't work for free.

So what are you to do? Well, the cam manufacturers know the danger of fitment that is too tight. That means that they provide cam gears that are on the small side of medium so you are much less likely to have a tight fitment than a loose one. A little ticking caused by gear lash won't hurt anyone, but the whining.... that's got to be fixed, unless of course it is coming from your friends, in which case there may be no cure.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Measure of Faith

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

The measure of faith. Interesting term. If I read this correctly, God deals out, or measures out a specific amount of faith to each person. And by that I mean that each person may not receive the same amount of faith.

That faith is a gift of God is shown several places is scripture. For instance:

1 Corinthians 12:8-9 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

We tend to look at faith as something that is ours in that it comes from within us. Sometimes this has the potential of being a source of false pride. In fact, if we add Ephesians 2: 9 to verse 8 it reads "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." It is true. If your faith came from somewhere inside yourself, then you would have something to boast of.

But that God gives this gift of faith in differing amounts is a thought that may be even more foreign to many of us but is made quite clear in the Bible. Have you ever noticed how often Jesus used the phrase "Oh ye of little faith"? Often he was speaking to his apostles and he said it many times.

Luke 17:6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

We read that verse and see great faith, though Jesus calls it as small as a mustard seed. Then there is the story of the centurion:

Luke 7:9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Have you ever looked upon another Christian (perhaps a pastor or a missionary) in awe, thinking they have such great faith? That may explain why we tend to assume that faith is something we generate; seeing someone with more faith shows us our own lack. But maybe the truth is we were not dealt the the same measure of faith.

So if God deals out the faith to us and he gives each person a differing amount does that mean we are "off the hook" so to speak? After all, if God only gave us so much faith, then isn't it natural for us to only act in accordance with that faith. Maybe.... But on the other hand we also see from scripture that the amount of faith we have is not a constant, unchanging amount.

Luke 17:5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

The apostles obviously knew where the faith came from, and who to ask for more. And that it is possible to get more is also shown in scriptures.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;

"Faith that groweth exceedingly". Wow, I want some of that!

It is pretty clear that faith is extremely important.

1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Peter 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Yes, that makes faith extremely important. Scary important in fact. But there is one more verse that gives me a lot of comfort when I contemplate these things.

Romans 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

That means God will not change his mind or take his gifts back. Some Bible versions use the word irrevocable in place of "without repentance". That means that this faith that Romans 12: 3 tells us is a gift, this faith which 1 Peter 1: 5 says God will use to keep you unto salvation, is something he will not change his mind about. Whatever the measure he has dealt you.

However, with that said, shouldn't we all, as the apostles did, ask the LORD to increase our faith?