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Ironhead Sportster Motorcycle Talk (1957-1985) For all those that wanna talk about Ironhead Sportster Motorcycles

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  #1  
Old 1st June 2008
xtp45lc xtp45lc is offline
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Default cams/cover interchange

greetings-starting to think about gathering needed parts for a '58 XLH-among theese are cams and cover-looking on e bay,I notice the later cam covers are way cheaper...I have more time than money and access to machine work on the cheap. is it possible to stick one of the later covers on my '58 and shave off the points housing,adding a provision for the orig ignition on top? are they the same as far as the bolt on part,would I also have to use later cams,etc. is this a bad idea and should I just spring for the right stuff?
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  #2  
Old 1st June 2008
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SpringerSam SpringerSam is offline
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Check out the IR Fitment Sticky that Gary published...
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  #3  
Old 1st June 2008
xtp45lc xtp45lc is offline
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I didnt notice the cam sets the first time-I will be getting books asap and before buying anything... I am assuming here until someone or a book says otherwise that the cam covers will likely bolt on to anything up to '70 at least but I would have to alter a later cover to accept the earlier ignition ,or use later ignition along with the later cover-cams seem to interchange but the drive for the mag,points,etc. from an earlier bike will work with later cams? sorry if my wording is confusing-
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  #4  
Old 1st June 2008
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Default XL Cams

From 1957 to 1967 XLs had the solid bar cam cover,
1968 thru 1970 had the finned looking cam cover,
yes you can interchange the covers if you are not concerned about the look of a stocker for your year bike (better resale trying to stay stock)
also be aware that some covers had the round cut out for the electric starter XLH that came out in 1967>
yes you can slap a cover on and wing it, BUT the proper way is to have the cover line reamed when the motor is apart so the cam cover and the right case half are a match in tolorences..
1957 thru 1970 had cams designed for an ignition to be mounted on top of the cam cover, these cams are not interchangable with post 1971, what can be called the 'cone' cam cover.
early XLs had XL cams, 1966 thru the 70s had hotter cams known as P cams,
1970 on had the larger 1 15/16s intake valve with pistons to match (piston had a relief cut into the dome for the larger valve clearance)
optional cams were known as PB cams, a bit more umph than P in the upper mid range.
P cams are frequently seen for sale on ebay...
when hunting for parts you want to ask, 'Pre 1971 or Post 1971' for cams and covers including the sprocket cover.
confused yet? leave the 71 and higher cams n covers for those post 71 years (my opinion)
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  #5  
Old 2nd June 2008
xtp45lc xtp45lc is offline
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THANKS! excactly what I needed to know-a great place,this site.
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  #6  
Old 2nd June 2008
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The cover you need goes for about $100-125 on eBay used, a new one is far and few between but I have seen them (3) and they go for about $200-250. Be sure to look at the pictures carefully, it was common to chop or modify this era cam cover for racing. The actual cams are easy to find and go for $50-125 a set.

The primary cover has the round cut out for electric start (some don't, they were on kick only models) on 1967-70 and it is the finned aluminum cover. The sprocket cover "matches" cam cover on the 1958-66 models on the 1967-70 they were smooth..

Here is one that has the "bar"... it has been cut also..

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/HARLE...spagenameZWDVW

I have seen one nightmare.... early pre-1971 tranny fitted into a 1979 ... crazy stuff. The bike belongs to a guy with more money than brains... plus he doesn't work on it... actually a nice hardtail except for this MINOR problem...

Jim
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  #7  
Old 2nd June 2008
xtp45lc xtp45lc is offline
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I was bidding on a correct cam cover and decided to stop and research this stuff more.I am better prepared now for the next one. the one I wanted went for 76 bucks I think today-the cut one is (other than being cut up) the same.thanks-much to learn for me.
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  #8  
Old 2nd June 2008
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xlh1958 xlh1958 is offline
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Ive learned a lot about my 1958 mostly original however, not too much about the motor-mine is unopened as far as I can tell...
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  #9  
Old 2nd June 2008
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xlh1958 xlh1958 is offline
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Let me knowif i can help
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  #10  
Old 2nd June 2008
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jamnjc3 jamnjc3 is offline
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Hey, Ive got 2 spare cam covers for a 1960. I can let one of em go. PM me if interested. Jamnjc3
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