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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 14th December 2019
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Default Trans/Year Interchangeability Question

I'm a natural pessimist and reading of the many transmission gear failures (2nd gear countershaft and 3rd gear mainshaft) I decided it would be a good idea to know which of the different year transmission assemblies would fit in my '83 XLH.

I have the Sportsterpedia articles and know that there are different gear ratios for different years, but then checking eBay for prices, I noticed a seller advertising a complete transmission that he says "fits 77-81" Sportsters.

My manual is the FSM and is for 79-85 models Sportsters, and groups the trans for my year as "1979-Early 1984".

Will any '79-early '84 complete trans fit my 1983, regardless of ratios???

My idea would be to buy a complete usable (or rebuilt) trans and upgrade it with the two Andrews gears and put it in...next winter.
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Old 14th December 2019
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Basically, ‘74 and up gears and shafts will work in your ‘83. A full ‘74-‘76 will need the trap door and pawl carrier modded for left side shift and ‘77 and up are already set up for left side shift.
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Old 15th December 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doodah man View Post
...and ‘77 and up are already set up for left side shift.
So, say, a complete '81 or '82 will slide right in like a VHS cassette cartridge???
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Old 15th December 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferretface View Post
So, say, a complete '81 or '82 will slide right in like a VHS cassette cartridge???
so precisely, you'll want a new drug!!!
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Old 15th December 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doodah man View Post
so precisely, you'll want a new drug!!!
I need a new drug. I can't remember crap.

I was downloading transmission threads and Sportsterpedia transmission articles yesterday and noticed a graphical representation of a gearset with blanks for filling in your own measured gear clearances. It also mentioned the allowable clearances published by H-D. Now I can't find it.

Edit: I found them. -





Can this be used as a guide to determine if a swap meet trans is in spec???

Last edited by ferretface; 15th December 2019 at 21:43..
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Old 17th December 2019
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Got another question...I see some of the transmission covers here, on eBay, even in the FSM have a cutout on the forward edge of the trapdoor. What is that for??? Is it essential???
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Old 17th December 2019
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that cut out in the trap door is for the gear shifter shaft. not present on '76 and earlier because those years used right side shifting components. '75 and '76 used linkage to make them left side shift with mainly right side shifting components so no notch in trap door for them. '77 started true left side shift and was the first official year with the modded trap door.
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Old 17th December 2019
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Default Trannys

Used or ebay trannys are such a crap shoot whats wrong with your tranny. They seem intimidating. I was scared my first time in a tranny. Theres alot of good tranny threads on here even if u get a good tranny your gonna have to set main and counter shaft end play once in your cases
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Old 17th December 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mct496 View Post
Used or ebay trannys are such a crap shoot whats wrong with your tranny.
Many here in those threads you mention have stated unequivocally that the ironhead transmission gears will explode. My idea is to be proactive and replace the gears that are the problem before the big boom. It's a radical idea, I know. Having a spare trans ready to go in may be unnecessary or impossible. I may just buy the Andrews gears and wait for the explosion. (If I can figure out what gears are in my '83).

If the engine case explodes as well, like that thread with the gear actually sticking out of the hole in the case, then I'll part the '83 Sportster out and buy a newer model. Assuming I can still walk after tumbling down the expressway.
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Old 17th December 2019
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I think if you replace the problem gears with like Andrews I don't think your have a problem with it exploding.
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