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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 19th December 2009
bobber58 bobber58 is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: XLH bobber
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Default Cam cover and Mag questions

I have two XLH engines, a 58 and a 64 and I need a cam cover. What year covers will work on these engines. I've heard that only to 66 will work, and I've heard that any of the distributer covers will work thru 69. Can the newer cams and covers from the 70's and 80's iron heads be interchanged? What are the differences besides the ignition set up?

Also, will the Magneto from any other model work on the 900 and what mods need done to make it work? I know the K model mag will, but what about the mag from any of the big twins?
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  #2  
Old 20th December 2009
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Hi, bobber58

K/KH cam cover won't fit on Sporties. Since they look the same, beware what you're buying... The different bit is the bush for the gene idler gear. K/KH have a shaft fixed in the cases there, like on WL, while Sporty have the shaft locked to the gear and the bushes are in the cases.

57 to 70 interchange no sweat, same inside machining, but outside has fins from 68.

As long as you change cams and ignition as well, all covers from 71 up to 85 will fit on earlier models. Only one screw doesn't fit but it's not dramatic. I used to run a 76 timing cover, with aftermarket dual fire ignition, on a 67...

Any magneto fitted on WL, K, KH will slide in a Sporty no sweat either.

No magneto from big twin will fit, the shafts are too long.

Can't remember off hand the diffs after 68, it's just a clamp to fix the timer on XLH, I'm sure someone will pop in for clues on fixing mags on these later 68/70 covers

Patrick
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  #3  
Old 20th December 2009
66xlch 66xlch is offline
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A magneto from a big flathead will work also, although you're not likely to find one, as they were not stock. I would stick to '67 and earlier, and any sportster cover will fit. Inspect the bushings closely, as they aint simple to swap out (you need special tools and reamers). To install a mag you need the base plate and some bolts. They made a manual retard device, but you dont need one really. I used to use a spring, and unhook it to retard and rehook to advance after starting.
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Old 20th December 2009
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Monte03 Monte03 is offline
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I believe 68 and 69 are Identical, 1970 looks the same but is missing a Milled Relief around where the Mag Drops into the Cover but can be made to work
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Old 20th December 2009
66xlch 66xlch is offline
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any cover to '70 will fit and work (except Ks). Late model will work, but you'll need the matching cams and ignition. I said I would stick to '67 and back becuase I hate mismatched covers. I do however like '68-'70 covers with the fins machined off on full customs. Both your bikes originally had the pre '67 cover which I think is the coolest, personally.
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  #6  
Old 21st December 2009
bobber58 bobber58 is offline
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Ok, I think I got the jist of it now. But if I use, say a 76 cover and cams on my 64 engine, do I use the 64 oil pump or do I need to switch it as well the the 76 pump?
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  #7  
Old 21st December 2009
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Post 72 till 76 gear oil pumps have longer breather timing and higher scavenge ratio, I run these towers on all me bikes, irrespective of years...

Early pumps have their feed and return fittings on top of the cases, while 72/76 have the feed directly on the back of the pump.

Patrick
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Old 23rd December 2009
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I believe the finned covers are 67-70; with or without cutaways for electric start depending on XLH or XLCH.

Mags for big twin flathead are the same as for sportsters.
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  #9  
Old 23rd December 2009
66xlch 66xlch is offline
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'67 XLHs still have the single bar down the center, just with a starter cutout. '68-'70 have multiple fins.
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Old 24th December 2009
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I stand corrected!
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