Dynatek 2Ki Ignition System Upgrade


There’s a fine line between owning a cool vintage bike that’s fun to ride and owning a newer bike that’s comfortable and reliable. Late Shovelhead-era bikes are a great place to start to achieve that balance, and that’s what Milwaukee auto mechanic Zach had in mind when he purchased his father’s 1981 FLT a few years ago. The bike had been modified somewhat over the years, including ditching the Tour Glide fairing in favor of an Electra Glide Sport nacelle and a conversion from the original electronic ignition to a points/condenser setup.

The black Shovelhead bagger is as badass as bikes come, and although it runs, it doesn’t run nearly as well as what it could for Zach to ride and commute in Milwaukee year-round. So, we’re commencing Project Daily Trouble Shovel with the goal of upgrading the ’81 with the latest mechanical, comfort, and performance technology without sacrificing the classic Harley’s style or character.

Our first task is to get the bike running well as it was tough to start, had poor throttle response, and idled erratically. All that can be attributed to an old and worn-out ignition system, so that’s where this project starts. We ordered a Dynatek 2Ki ignition and coil kit (#D2Ki-5P/$432.99) which comes with a single-fire, single-plug DC6-5 coil and fits 1970-98 carbureted Harleys. For those wondering, Zach’s bike had a dual-fire coil, which means every other spark is wasted.

The Dynatek 2000i ignition module is modern ignition at its finest. It offers four different tuning curves and four maximum RPM settings, which you can read about in the attached sidebar. Additionally, it can be run in normal advance mode or retarded timing mode to account for forced induction or nitrous-equipped bikes. In normal mode, which most bikes will use, the timing reaches full advance by 1500 rpm under a light engine load, which makes for good throttle response and fuel economy. The built-in tach driver works with the factory tach, and delivers a smooth, linear signal for an accurate reading. One of the best features for these old bikes is Dynatek’s Active Dwell Control, which continually adjusts coil current to maintain maximum spark energy to redline while eliminating coil stress caused by overcharging at idle. The Dynatek coil’s efficient design also reduces battery draw for easier starting and lower charging system load. For those who want even more specific tuning, all 2Ki ignitions can be programmed by a PC, which can also extract the built-in data recording.


With an entirely new ignition system going in, we couldn’t leave the existing aftermarket plug wires, so we also ordered a new 7mm black silicone Dyna wire with graphite suppression core (#DW-1100/$14.99). The wire kit comes with everything needed for a variety of different installations for a completely custom install. They’re built to handle the new high-performance ignition and reduce electrical noise. Also, we had to pick up a new H-D Evo-era gold timing cup (#32402-83/$11.12) and mounting screw (#2611C/$2.99), which is required for any Shovelhead installation. The stock silver timing cup used in 1980-83 Shovels won’t work. Luckily, our nearby dealer had one in stock.

The install is straightforward thanks to Dynatek’s easy to follow instructions and the general ease of working on a barebones Shovelhead. The tuning and timing procedure is also remarkably easy, making for an all-around positive experience. After his first time riding it, Zach reports an “unbelievable” improvement in throttle response, and he was even blown away starting it for the first time, saying that the bike had never started so easily or idled so well. Check out our Facebook and Instagram pages to see a video about Project Daily Trouble Shovel and its new Dynatek 2Ki ignition system in action.

How-To Guide
For step by step instructions of this install, pick up issue the May/June 2017 issue of American Iron Garage at GreaseRag.com

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Install • By Tyler Greenblatt

Dynatek • 800/928-3962 • DynaOnline.com

Harley-Davidson • H-D.com