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Sportster Motorcycle Engine Conversions Advice, questions, and tips for 1200, 1250, 1340, 1450 etc... for Sportster and Buell motorcycle engine conversions

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  #21  
Old 11th May 2015
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Craig list have some or press out the gear and voilà. The W with 883 heads is a nice combo.
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  #22  
Old 11th May 2015
NRHS Sales NRHS Sales is offline
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yes you can swap the gears if you know what you are doing and have access to a press.
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  #23  
Old 11th May 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dyoungblood357 View Post
What size cams should I be looking to get with the stock heads? Should I go with different pistons if I go with new cams? I'm quite a novice so I don know if I would have toget the heads machined if I get new heads as well.
Here's the deal when installing cams with stock 883 heads. Stock 883 heads have the valves very close together, and also very close to the pistons to begin with. They're like this because to make the valves fit within the 3" bore of the 883, they made the valve stems longer and the chamber shallower.

As a result, a lot of cams that are "bolt-in" for 1200's will cause piston to valve clearance issues with stock 883 heads. I've seen cases where even N4's cause valve to piston interference when used with stock 883 heads. So be careful going down that path. In reality, to be safe, you need to choose low overlap cams, as reflected in lower "TDC Lift" figures.

Well, overlap is major opportunity to raise power. So limiting overlap limits the effectiveness of a cam change. The other big opportunity for making more power with cams is to push out the intake close point. But doing that tends to rob from Peter to pay Paul. Here, let me show you an example:



This is a set of "E" cams, the .551 lift SE cams. The test bike is a 2004 883/1250 conversion. E cams are often used with stock 883 heads, in fact the factory Stage 2 1200 conversion package comes with "E" cams for use with stock 883 heads, because they're low overlap and have low TDC lifts.

You can see what happened. They gained a little on top, but they gave up power over most of the rpm range to get there. That's because they move the intake close point out from the stock 41 degrees (D cams, which is what's in your bike) to 44 degrees. So that's what you get for your cam change with stock 883 heads. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to sell you a set of cams, but I'm not going to mislead you about what they'll do for you just to make a sale.

Now if you do head work as well, this changes pretty radically. Now more room can be made via the head prep, allowing higher overlap cams, and gains can come in across the rpm range. Carefully matched to the pistons as well, you can get some very impressive gains. You'll notice that in our conversion performance packages, cams and head work come in together, at the 80+hp level. There's a reason for this.

If you really want to cam a bike with stock 883 heads, at least be smart about it. Here's some food for thought ...



Same bike as the above in red. A stock '07 883 in blue. The '07 has "W" cams - it also has EFI, but your stock CV40 carb is not much of a restriction at this level. This difference is mostly the cams. The "W" cams have about the most overlap that will safely work with 883 heads, and that combined with an earlier intake close point makes a nice gain over the whole rpm range.

On top of that, W cams can often be picked up fairly cheap, so this is a cam swap for stock 883 heads that makes sense. Just be sure to get a set that has the machining for the timing cup - nearly as we can tell, they stopped machining for the timing cup sometime during the '06 model year. As far as the gear pitch issue goes, this is easily remedied by moving your #2 drive gear, as explained here: http://www.hammerperf.com/ttcamgearmove.shtml . In fact, I'll do if for you for nothing if you'd like, it's not a big deal at all.

All this is described in FAQ #1 in our tech article on conversions.
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  #24  
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For a daily drivers 883 to 1200/1250 conversion with 883 untouched heads, reverse dome pistons, under 5000 rpm those W cams are second to none.

I did five convy pre 2004 this winter and they all love the lower power band, all under 1000$. I match them with gronked cycle shack OEM exhaust and K&N AC. Just backing the ignition slightly. I use green loctite for the cams press in.

Not everybody has the +2500$ is needed for heads work, new cams and the rest. Doubling the 883 power is enough for most people.
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Quote:
E cams are often used with stock 883 heads
His bike is a 1999 so E cams cannot be used with his stock 883 heads as they have way too much lift for the stock valve springs and guides. Those would only work on 2004 and up 883 heads with the beehive springs
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  #26  
Old 11th May 2015
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Post 2004 883 heads, they are cheaper than a set of beehive spring on ebuy.
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  #27  
Old 12th May 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulpitt View Post
the way I understand it, you will get the best results by matching all the engine components to the cams. Figure out what cams would be the best for your needs & go from there. The N4s were a good cam but I don't think they are a 100HP cam
Egg zactly. Heads, cams, and the pistons need to all be a matched set.

We once had a guy come to us who was at the end of his rope. He had bought an engine kit and got his 883 heads prepared elsewhere. The shop sold him cams that had TDC's of just .001" and .006" higher than the N4's. But the pistons didn't have well designed pockets, and also not enough clearance had been gained by the head work. He had piston to valve clearance issues and the motor made a racket.

When he complained to the shop that sold him the stuff, they put him into a set of shorter pushrods. So not only did they not understand how badly 883 heads compromise valve to piston clearance, they also didn't understand how a hydraulic lifter works. A shorter pushrod has zero chance of gaining any additional valve to piston clearance, because the lifter is self-adjusting and just lengthens itself to the extent the pushrod is too short. So of course the motor still made a racket.

So this guy was beyond frustrated, and he came to us for help. We prepared a new set of heads and put him into some properly designed pistons and got him all fixed up. He was ecstatic to finally start his bike and not hear it making a racket. Made good power too.

The moral of the story is, be careful using aftermarket cams with 883 heads. Don't underestimate what it takes to do it right. Think matched set. The three work together and have to be properly designed to work together. Not only for proper flow and i/e balance, but also to mechanically fit together and work properly.

That's one of many many times I've seen 883 heads not work with high overlap cams. You have to be careful and know what you're doing to make high overlap cams work with 883 heads. Otherwise, you should stay safe and go with W's, IMO.
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