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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 3 Weeks Ago
Scott Scott is offline
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Default Cam cover swap

Again, I need someone to tell me this won't work. Below are two cam covers. Top is from my bike, which is confused as to whether it is a early or late '81. It has a build date of 11/80, which should make it early, but also has some late '81 features. The lower cover, which this forum helped me identify, is '68-'70. I really would like to use the older cover with a mag on my bike. The pinion shaft is about .17" too long, but in another thread, Ryder Rick indicated that drilling the cover's hole a smidge (my term) deeper wouldn't hurt anything. My question is about oil passages. I spoke with someone who seemed to know what he was talking about. He told me my cover would work on an early '81 but not a late. I'd like to get an opinion or two here on whether I can bolt this to my early/late/whatever '81 and not mess anything up. Thanks!

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  #2  
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you`ll also need the older cams
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the late 81-85 cam cover besides the oil passage difference the brake pedal cross shaft is smaller and has allen screw installed in it.does yors have the allen screw?
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The brake pedal hole, without the bushing, measures .7450”. The ID of the bushing is .6250”. If there were an allen screw, would it be in the cover? My cover has none.

More importantly, will the oil passageway difference cause a problem? My cases are out getting media blasted or I’d show that too.

There are some very smart people here.
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If you can bolt the older cover to your cases then I believe you can do this. You already know that you will need an older cam set. If the oil holes don't match up it would be easy to cut a shallow groove in either the case or the cover to line them up. Then modify the gasket. The extra bolt hole in the older cover near the #2 bushing will need to be plugged or oil will leak. You'll have to figure some sort of breather valve. Like a foo-foo maybe? You'll need a fitting in the cover for the vent hose to the oil tank. Looks like it's already drilled and taped?

You say that the newer pinion shaft is longer. It is also a smaller diameter so you would have to put in a smaller bushing and machine the shoulder so it sits lower by the amount the shaft is longer.

Expect some interference between the mag and the case where the VIN is.

First thing to determine is will the cover bolt holes line up.
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This is just one part of the project. I'm running XR heads, homemade (not by me) aluminum cylinders with XR1000 dimensions, and homemade (again, not by me) rocker boxes that use modified ironhead internals. Andrews said they can make any cam combination for me, so if I can make the early cam cover work, I'll need early style cams with the rear cylinder intake and exhaust reversed.

I have a lot more questions, but will wait until I get my cases back before going there. One big question is this - how will I know (before it's too late) if my cams are getting oil through that passageway? Is there any way to tell before the engine is buttoned up?

Thanks again for all the advice.

EDIT; Yes, there is a 1/8" NPT hole in the old cover not far from where the '81 vent hole is.
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Any time you change cam covers you run the risk of the cover not aligning properly with the cases. If you cases are apart, you can line bore the cams. Otherwise you can take your chances, but be sure the cams spin freely.
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So, I started thinking again. I looked at the early cover and realized there's no type of breather by the generator hole. Just a stamped piece of metal and what looks like a hole with pipe thread to attach a hose barb. Did early ironheads suck in air and dump out oil? I will need to run a line from that vent to a puke bottle. Would that and a PCV valve plumbed in have a benefit similar to a foo foo valve?

I happen to have a '68 crank assembly in the shop, and took some measurements from it and compared them to my '81. I never realized the end of the pinion shaft is a smaller diameter on my '81. All the below measurements are plus or minus a foot.

1968 pinion shaft end (where it goes into the bushing) is .6235" diameter. 1981 measurement is .5615".

Overall pinion shaft length on the '68 is 4.072". The '81 length is 4.2795".

I wonder if the later pinion shaft bushing can be mounted in the early case - meaning is the OD of both bushings the same? I don't know how I'd find out without pulling the bushings, and I've never removed a bushing. Yes, the cases are apart.

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Did early ironheads suck in air and dump out oil?

They "breath" when the pistons go up, air goes in, when the pistons go down ,air comes out.A very fine oil mist maybe. look up generator slinger
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Scott Scott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 72 Ironhead XLH View Post
They "breath" when the pistons go up, air goes in, when the pistons go down ,air comes out.A very fine oil mist maybe. look up generator slinger
Thanks for the explanation. I wanted to be sure I wasn't missing anything. I never knew what a foo foo valve is, until I spent some time last night doing a search around here. See the "generator" and oil slinger below, just like the one I used on my '41 WLD road racer. The one on the 45 had a hole in the middle tapped for 1/4" pipe and I put a hose barb in there, and vented the hose to a puke bottle. Never had more than some very light condensation in the bottle (not sure if it was oil or water). I was planning to use this one on the IH.

EDIT: If you look closely at the second photo (best I had), go to where the genny belongs and you'll see what I'm talking about.



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