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  #1  
Old 5th May 2019
Brichey Brichey is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: XL1200S
Sportster/Buell Year: 1996
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Default 96 1200 budget bike

So back in the fall (2018) I traded a 74 Nova rolling project and a 454 for my first Harley. What I got is a new to me 96 XL1200S. Got the bike as a running and registered work in progress.


The bike ran great and was a blast to ride
It has it's issues though:
1. The rear shocks are so stiff I can jump up and down on the bike and they don't budge, yes I adjusted them to softest setting.
2. The only wiring on the bike is the headlight, brake light, toggle switch ignition, push button starter, and ignition system.
3. The rear tire was not straight and was rubbing fender bolts on right side.
4. Broken terminal on coil.
5. Mix matched mirrors.
6. Only 1 switch housing and it had the wires cut super short.
7. No front turn signals.
8. No speedometer or other gauges/indicators.
9. Single throttle cable.
10. After ridding a couple months front head gasket blew out.

I'll go into each part of the build bellow, stay tuned.
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  #2  
Old 5th May 2019
Brichey Brichey is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: XL1200S
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Default Parts

So, with the bike down with a blown head gasket it was time to start hunting down parts. I'm on a tight budget so most items are from classifieds or Amazon (got a free Prime membership with my new phone plan).

The bike came with a bucket of parts including a seat and shocks. I took off the 11.5 inch stiff shocks and added the 13 inch factory parts from the bucket. While these were definitely softer, I couldn't stand the way the bike looked that high. Next I tried adding the the seat which I think came from a newer model bike, mounting holes didn't line up. Again I did not like the way this made the bike look. So time to shop.

A few days online found me shocks, solid struts, grips, both switch housings, side mount license bracket, 12 inch apes (stock 72 model I think), and Screamin eagle air filter for $100.

Another stop and I got a springer seat and 2 helmets for $60.

Trip to the local bike shop got me a Genuine James MLS top end gasket set.

Some more online browsing got me mirrors with LED turn signals, handlebar switches with extra long wiring, and phone mount for $125

Local auto parts had the generic LED flasher relay to make my own wiring harness. $12
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  #3  
Old 5th May 2019
Brichey Brichey is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: XL1200S
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Default Shocks and Seat

The shocks I got were off a newer 48 model and measured just over 11 inches. They have 5 settings for stiffness and feel pretty good just sitting on the bike. stiffest setting hardy budges and softest setting might be a little to soft. I'll get them dialed in once bike is back on the road.



Got a solo seat and spring frame but liked the looks of the solo seat I had so just kept the frame and used my seat. Again this was for a newer bike. I had to flatten out the mount in the front and add a little bend in the middle to follow where the frame is welded together on the bike.





I figure with the new shocks and spring seat I should have a much nicer ride out of the bike.
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  #4  
Old 5th May 2019
Brichey Brichey is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: XL1200S
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Default Rear Tire

Sorry I didn't get any pictures on this one. After pulling the rear fender and inspecting things, the tire pointing to the left and rubbing the right side fender bolts in the rear. I made the special tool described in the manual (piece of stiff wire with a hook bent on the end ). Side to side distance from the tool hole to axle was off by almost an inch . Loosened the axle nut and adjusted side to side distance to be equal while maintaining the belt tension listed in manual, I think it was 9/16 deflection with 10 pounds of force but can't remember for sure. Put the fender back on and no more rubbing!
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Old 5th May 2019
Brichey Brichey is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: XL1200S
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Default Extreme budget coil fix

Not sure how long this repair will last but hoping long enough to save up money for a new coil. The front ground lug on the coil was broken off and had just a little bit showing. Solution, for now, I got my soldering iron out . I simply primed the lug and wire connector both with some solder. Then I held them together and let solder and heat do it's magic. Bike fired right off! not sure how long this will hold up to vibration once bike is on the road.

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Old 5th May 2019
Brichey Brichey is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: XL1200S
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Default Top End disassembly

At this point while searching for other parts I started into the top end. Make sure you follow the procedure in the manual so you don't twist or warp anything while removing parts.

Once I got the rocker assemblies off the front cylinder I found the front inner head bolt sticking up and removed it by hand . The other three bolts broke loose with minimal effort so I'm guessing that head was never torqued from whoever built the motor last. I was extremely concerned about warping or other damage. Thankfully everything measured good and flat using straight edge. Guessing since all the bolts were not torqued the head lifted evenly until it blew out about 1/2 inch of the fire ring on the head gasket.

There is a little rubbing in the cylinder from the piston but it's not scratched, finger nail doesn't snag anything when dragging across it. Assuming this is normal wear from the piston skirt as the skirt was shiny where it lined up with the mark in cylinder, also rear piston and jug have same marks. Let me know what you guys think about it. Thinking I should be fine to re-use jug and piston.





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Old 5th May 2019
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Sprtstr1200s Sprtstr1200s is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: Sportster XL1200s
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Just for the hell of it, put Total Seal gapless second rings in her.
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Old 6th May 2019
Brichey Brichey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprtstr1200s View Post
Just for the hell of it, put Total Seal gapless second rings in her.
I was under the impression that top ring should be gapless and secondary should actually have a wider Gap. Keeps pressure from building up between the rings.
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Old 6th May 2019
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Under the impression you were going to scotchbright the cylinders and reinstall pistons and rings. Second ring suggestion might help sealing. Get second opione but top ring transfers the most heat to cylinder.
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