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  #1  
Old 15th September 2014
BuellDaddy208 BuellDaddy208 is offline
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Default X1 Lightning Cam/Valvetrain questions

Hello forum peeps, new to the site. Long story short, past week or so my X1 has been making much louder than normal sounds from the rocker boxes. Yesterday, it started running on one cylinder. It's coming apart. Short diagnoses is a collapsed lifter, with possible carnage on the valvetrain. Pretty bummed as it is my only mode of transportation outside of sharing a car with my girlfriend.

Does anyone make solid lifters for XL engines? What is the largest cam grind a Thunderstorm 1203 will take before aftermarket pistons are required? Will the factory fuel system support a large cam? A lot of questions, I know. Just trying to formulate a gameplan at this point.

Sidenote: S&S stuff as good as it is said to be? I get a killer discount through work, the savings would be appreciated.

Thank you for any input
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  #2  
Old 15th September 2014
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aswracing aswracing is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuellDaddy208 View Post
Hello forum peeps, new to the site. Long story short, past week or so my X1 has been making much louder than normal sounds from the rocker boxes. Yesterday, it started running on one cylinder. It's coming apart. Short diagnoses is a collapsed lifter, with possible carnage on the valvetrain. Pretty bummed as it is my only mode of transportation outside of sharing a car with my girlfriend.

Does anyone make solid lifters for XL engines? What is the largest cam grind a Thunderstorm 1203 will take before aftermarket pistons are required? Will the factory fuel system support a large cam? A lot of questions, I know. Just trying to formulate a gameplan at this point.

Sidenote: S&S stuff as good as it is said to be? I get a killer discount through work, the savings would be appreciated.

Thank you for any input
Yes, JIMS makes solid lifters for XL's & Buells.

The hardware in the 86-03 heads is good to about .500 of lift. However, max lift isn't what gets you into trouble with piston to valve clearance, because max lift happens with the piston well down the bore. The numbers you have to look at are the "TDC Lift" figures, which describe how much the valves are open as the piston passes through TDC on overlap. The stock heads and pistons really can't handle much more TDC lift than your stock X1 cams already have.

Yes, the fuel system will support more cam, but tuning may be in order. Check out ECM Spy, it's pretty much the preferred tuning solution for the Buell DDFI system.

Most S&S stuff is excellent, some not so much, in my opinion.
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  #3  
Old 16th September 2014
BuellDaddy208 BuellDaddy208 is offline
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I was under the impression the 99-02 thunderstorm heads were a healthy step above standard XL1200 units? How much of the top end has to be traded out to see noticeable hp gains?(10-20 at the tire) I have an ECMspy cable, a friend has a dyno locally and deals exclusively with Harley twins, I'll be sure to pick his brain once the engine is back together. Thanks for the input AWS, just figured since it's coming apart, it should breath a little more fire once it's running again. If the heads have to come off, might as well go for broke with the build

Also, noticed this got posted in the wrong section! If a mod could relocate, would be greatly appreciated.
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  #4  
Old 16th September 2014
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aswracing aswracing is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuellDaddy208 View Post
I was under the impression the 99-02 thunderstorm heads were a healthy step above standard XL1200 units?
That's true, for that generation of bikes. But in 2003, Buells came out with a much improved head, the "XB" head, and these improvements were rolled into XL1200 heads in 2004. It's worth probably 4-5hp more than Thunderstorms at any given prep level. The Thunderstorms are still a fine head, and they were head & shoulders above the other offerings of their day, they're just not the latest and greatest anymore.

Quote:
How much of the top end has to be traded out to see noticeable hp gains?(10-20 at the tire)
Well, a typical stock X1 put about 85hp to the back tire. The most direct path to a 10-20hp gain would be a combination of cams, 1250 kit, and head work. Here, let me show an example:



This is a sheet a customer sent us, after CRUSH head porting, CRUSH 600 cams, and a HAMMER 1250 kit with trick 30 degree reverse dome pistons. He had done some log tuning with ECM spy on his own and then rolled it on the dyno at a bike rally for a few pulls and got this. We have other customers who have done similar X1 builds with milder cams and those tend to come out in the 100-105hp range.

Think of the pistons, cams, and head work as a matched set. They're matched in many ways.

If you're up for it, much more is readily available ...



Another X1 ... SLEDGE XB heads over an 88 inch kit.
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  #5  
Old 17th September 2014
BuellDaddy208 BuellDaddy208 is offline
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Im always up for more thrust, sadly, my wallet isnt. Was really hoping to squeeze a few more ponies out of the stock heads and bottom end. If it isnt really possible, then im SOL. I still have to pull the motor apart and see what went wrong. If the heads are still good, im just gonna fix the lifters/pushrods/rockers. If its REALLY bad in there and heads have to come off anyways, ill build it right. Out of curiosity, what kind of price range am I looking at for somethinglike the engine on the bottom, parts only?
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  #6  
Old 17th September 2014
NRHS Sales NRHS Sales is offline
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I don't want to step on my competitors toes by posting my prices here but if you are interested in what a build like that costs from NRHS shoot me a pm or call me.
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  #7  
Old 17th September 2014
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aswracing aswracing is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuellDaddy208 View Post
Im always up for more thrust, sadly, my wallet isnt. Was really hoping to squeeze a few more ponies out of the stock heads and bottom end. If it isnt really possible, then im SOL.
Yeah, that's something of a dilemma with Buells, because they're pretty reasonably tuned in stock form. The heads, cams, and pistons are pretty well matched. Even the exhaust and air cleaner works really well. A Buell is not like a Sportster where there's lots of low hanging fruit and it's easy to swap a few parts and get massive gains, it's already set up pretty decently right out of the box.

Quote:
I still have to pull the motor apart and see what went wrong. If the heads are still good, im just gonna fix the lifters/pushrods/rockers. If its REALLY bad in there and heads have to come off anyways, ill build it right. Out of curiosity, what kind of price range am I looking at for somethinglike the engine on the bottom, parts only?
Well, a build like that is going to run $5K, plus or minus. But a good portion of that is services, not just parts, for example the head porting and the case boring. A lot of the money goes into the breathing and the parts to support it. Also, most people who go into that big of a project do crank work at the same time, depending on the miles on the motor and the condition of the existing crank. Sometimes it's crank failures that are the catalyst for doing a build like that, too ... a guy will lose a big end bearing and figure hell, I have to tear it all the way down anyway, might as well go big.

Keep in mind, too, that a build like that is a handful in a Buell chassis. I have a 90" S1W, just as an example, that "only" has 122hp - I intentionally held back it's power level because I wanted to use aluminum cylinders, and you're taking a big chance with your cases when you do a high power big motor build on aluminum cylinders. Anyway, the little S1 is pretty much overwhelmed by even 122hp. It's on it's back wheel all the time. Often when I don't expect it, like rolling on the throttle as I'm exiting a turn in 3rd gear. The bike scares me, it's just so overpowered for it's little short chassis. I get off it and my heart is racing and my hands are shaking. So just keep that in mind, when you're talking about a Buell chassis, they're short and light and a big pile of power kind of throws it out of balance. An XL chassis however is a whole 'nother animal, and 120hp feels just right.
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  #8  
Old 18th September 2014
BuellDaddy208 BuellDaddy208 is offline
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If the odometet is correct, crank should only have 16k on it. Im geussing a big bore XL (88") is stock stroke, just massive pistons. Does this limit rpm range? Do the big motors overheat easier? Kind of loking into the big inch build after some thought.
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  #9  
Old 18th September 2014
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Big Build ?
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  #10  
Old 19th September 2014
BuellDaddy208 BuellDaddy208 is offline
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Wont be that bad brudda, get a wicked discount from Parts Unlimited. Machine work will be the only thing I'm not getting at slightly above cost. Will the belt drive handle that kind of torque? Would I be able to have my thunderstorm heads ported to handle a big cam setup, or would I be better off having XB heads worked over? Thanks a ton for all the input guys. Lot of experience with metric bikes, first time tearing into an Evo
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