Backfire vs. Afterfire on Honda Shadow – and how to fix both!

on July 15, 2019

Today on the blog we’re talking backfire, afterfire, which is which and how to handle each scenario for your Honda Shadow bobber. Stay tuned!


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A customer wrote in asking, “Help! My Honda Shadow is backfiring on deceleration – how can I fix this?”


If your Honda Shadow is backfiring (or after-firing) on deceleration, here’s your solution.

First of all, you can rest assured knowing this is a pretty common issue we hear from TJ Brutal Customs customers and other custom bobber owners. We’ve seen it firsthand, so here’s how to handle it.


What does it mean?

If your bike is backfiring on deceleration, it most likely means your pilot circuit is too lean.


What’s the fix?

Start by adjusting your Honda Shadow’s air fuel mixture screw—or screws, depending on which model and bike you have. If that doesn’t fix the problem, then you most likely need to go up a size in your pilot jet.


Go one size up on your pilot jet and see if that fixes the problem. From there, start working with the air fuel mixture screw and backing it out again.


Could it be something else?

The “backfire” sound could also be indicative of a gas leak or a valve adjustment being out. Sometimes it even means a vacuum leak. While it’s pretty rare, that can cause a backfiring, too. If you’re not sure which it is, it’s time to take it to the professionals.


Backfire vs. afterfire

While we’re at it, let’s clear up some terminology here. Backfire means the sound is coming out of the carburetor and afterfire means it’s out of the exhaust. So in actuality, what our friend asking the question above means is “my bike is afterfiring” – unless he means to say his carb is coughing. Coughing out of the carb is indicative of a lean condition. Again, the same treatment applies—work with the air fuel mixture screws and enrich the mixture at idle. When you let off the throttle on your bike, you are now running off your pilot circuits. If those circuits can’t keep up, you’re going to have afterfire or possibly a backfire out of the carburetor.  


Air fuel mixture screws

Trying to adjust a D-shaped mix screw underneath and behind your carb while tuning your bike requires some serious agility and maneuvering. The TJ Brutal Customs Long-Handled Air Fuel Mixture Screw makes adjustment to your Air/Fuel mixture without the use of tools. All you need is a riding glove. Simply reach underneath the carb and make a simple adjustment to your Air/Fuel mixture.


The handle is numbered so you can count your turns in and out for more precise tuning. Check it out here!



For more details on this whole process, check out this helpful video!



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Does your bike need a little rejetting?
Get a TJ Brutal Customs tuning kit you need for your bike! 


Shop ALL Performance Tuning Kits HERE 

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Looking for something else? Explore our Honda Shadow collections below: 

VT600 Collection
VT750 Collection
VT1100 Collection
Phantom VT750 Collection

Aero VT750 Collection

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