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View Full Version : Ironhead oil filter "to be or not to be"


The Duke
6th December 2011, 01:50
ok got an 1980 motor in a 1982 frame biulding a custom ride for myself. i have added a oil cooler to the front. my problem now is whether or not i need an oil filter the vintage big twins don't have them. why does an ironhead. i could put the filter in its proper location for this frame but then that eliminates forward control option. so i'm torn between comfort and mechanical purpose. does an ironhead create excesive dirt or metal shavings other than these reasons i don't see a purpose for it. all opions welcome thanks.

ezmerf
6th December 2011, 01:54
@ bottom of this pg google oil filter and read some the pro & cons.You'll also find different places to put them.

ryder rick
6th December 2011, 02:10
There is NO good reason NOT to have an oil filter!

Unless you are doing a 100 point restoration....

nikki
6th December 2011, 02:19
ok got an 1980 motor in a 1982 frame biulding a custom ride for myself. i have added a oil cooler to the front. my problem now is whether or not i need an oil filter the vintage big twins don't have them. why does an ironhead. i could put the filter in its proper location for this frame but then that eliminates forward control option. so i'm torn between comfort and mechanical purpose. does an ironhead create excesive dirt or metal shavings other than these reasons i don't see a purpose for it. all opions welcome thanks.In the 80 motor the oil filter was under the seat ,in82 it was moved to the front motor mount on the left side .I would use a oil filter on the motor as far as forward controls it is minor inconvenience to take the controls off to change the filter , and save a major brake down on the road . Nikki

hogmania
6th December 2011, 03:37
keep the filter, your engine will love ya for it :)

IronMick
6th December 2011, 04:10
Many IronHeads have run for many years with no oil filter. It is optional. It is not necessary. Change the oil often.

I run with an oil filter.

hasselme0
6th December 2011, 05:53
my 79 did not have one, I put one on just for piece of mind.

cafe carl
6th December 2011, 14:49
Since your building a custom ride, I wouldn't feel too stuck with one design. I've seen some really trick custom filter mounts and filter cooler combos posted here from time to time. Functional and cool looking. I figure even with clean oil, if a little grit drops in when your pulling the cap, a filter would stop it from being cycled around over and over.

beardo
6th December 2011, 17:45
Many IronHeads have run for many years with no oil filter. It is optional. It is not necessary. Change the oil often.

I run with an oil filter.

I have to take issue with that. Just because can, doesnt mean you should. What a selfish waste of nature resources just because one is after a 'look'. My 72 CH obviously didnt come with one stock, but the PO added a remote filter.

KEEP THE FILTER!!!

piniongear
6th December 2011, 19:45
And I cast my vote to NOT put a filter on the bike.
An oil filter is just another piece of garbage hanging on what should be a clean, lean looking machine.

The bike was manufactured with no oil filter and the reason is because it is not needed.
There is a screen inside the engine to prevent any chunks of metal from entering the oil pump scavenger section, should something break.

The way you keep the engine in top shape is called.......Change the oil and change it often.
Running a filter is going to tempt you to run longer between oil changes and that IS NOT what you want to do to any engine.
pg

nikki
6th December 2011, 20:17
And I cast my vote to NOT put a filter on the bike.
An oil filter is just another piece of garbage hanging on what should be a clean, lean looking machine.

The bike was manufactured with no oil filter and the reason is because it is not needed.
There is a screen inside the engine to prevent any chunks of metal from entering the oil pump scavenger section, should something break.

The way you keep the engine in top shape is called.......Change the oil and change it often.
Running a filter is going to tempt you to run longer between oil changes and that IS NOT what you want to do to any engine.
pg
PG I respect you but an 1980 and up ironhead has no screen in the cam case that is why they put oil filters on 1980 and up. Nikki

beardo
6th December 2011, 20:49
And I cast my vote to NOT put a filter on the bike.
An oil filter is just another piece of garbage hanging on what should be a clean, lean looking machine.

The bike was manufactured with no oil filter and the reason is because it is not needed.
There is a screen inside the engine to prevent any chunks of metal from entering the oil pump scavenger section, should something break.

The way you keep the engine in top shape is called.......Change the oil and change it often.
Running a filter is going to tempt you to run longer between oil changes and that IS NOT what you want to do to any engine.
pg


The reason the oil change intervals were so short back then were two-fold. No filter, and the nature of the oil manufactured back then.

Both have made leaps and bounds since the 'olden days'

Filters actually do filter the impurities, and the oil is made to last much longer than before...

piniongear
6th December 2011, 21:31
PG I respect you but an 1980 and up ironhead has no screen in the cam case that is why they put oil filters on 1980 and up. Nikki
Opps! Pardon me Nikki.
Once again I put my foot in my mouth regarding a bike newer than 1974.
I guess I will never learn. :doh
pg

ryder rick
6th December 2011, 21:32
What you do with your bike is up to you, however why would you recommend someone else should risk their investment / riding pleasure to please your idea of aesthetics?

This is how cookie cutter bikes became mainstream.
A concept bought into by Sheeple marching to someone else's drummer thinking they are cool, but not realizing that the tune being played is a false shallow veneer that has no substance beyond it's shinny finish.

If you don't think you need an oil filter, take off your oil tank, dump it out, and look at the mud laying in the bottom of the tank. That stuff does not drain out with the dirty oil, it stays in the tank to pollute the clean oil you pour in. In fact most tanks you can't get all the dirty oil out, this leaves the worst of the garbage still in the tank until you take it off and wash it out. No one does that until after their motor has blown up and many not even then.... It just seems way smarter to catch that carp with a filter before it gets to the tank.

The motor company is not known for making wise decisions. The era that Ironheads came from is fraught with deficiencies, in fact as I understand it, many NEW bikes did not even run or if they did had serious problems when received by the dealers to sell.

And Indian Larry put those oil filters on his bikes just because they were Orange and Black....

nikki
6th December 2011, 21:59
Opps! Pardon me Nikki.
Once again I put my foot in my mouth regarding a bike newer than 1974.
I guess I will never learn. :doh
pg
No problem pg we are here to teach each other . I still change the oil and filter every 1250 miles after 500 mile before the first 500 miles I change the oil and filter every 100 miles as oli and filters are cheap as dad use to say , motors are not . Nikki

ezmerf
6th December 2011, 22:36
As far as the sludge at bottom of tank is the way it was meant to be.Eng.supply is above bot of tank.The cleaning the tank with kerosene is advised.Pour it in rock the bike from side to side then drain do this until your getting clear kerosene,to make sure you have all out of tank lean it over.
I just wanted him to look and learn.I see it as another place to have a problem.

The Duke
7th December 2011, 01:31
thanks for all of your opions it has been very usefull i have decided to find a place to mount the filter and still keep my forward controls. once again necessity and logic combine to become engeneering improvement. thanks again.

Rog48
7th December 2011, 02:03
My 68 VW with 150K miles seems to be doing fine with no oil filter.

DirtyCory
7th December 2011, 02:19
PG I respect you but an 1980 and up ironhead has no screen in the cam case that is why they put oil filters on 1980 and up. Nikki

i think its 77 and up aint it??? my 78 doesnt have one.

Smerch
7th December 2011, 03:39
i think its 77 and up aint it??? my 78 doesnt have one.

My 79 has neither the screen nor a filter. Although I would not argue with those who are "pro-filter", mine is running good on year 32 with regular (<2000 mile) oil changes.

That being said, pro-actively keeping crap out of your engine is a must. If someone is in a dusty area with a so so air filter they are asking for trouble.

60weight
7th December 2011, 03:49
Who has a 71 XLCH bought new..still runnin strong an sounds sweet...Im goin with P.G. again here.

Mosey
7th December 2011, 03:58
I don't know what year they started using them, but my old Shovelhead has a filter mounted inside the stock oil tank. Ya can't see a filter hanging off the bike but there is one, nonetheless. I can't see anything wrong with using an oil filter. Works for me...

This pic shows the mounting point for an '82 Sporty. A black filter practically disappears in this location.

http://i879.photobucket.com/albums/ab353/Shacknasty_photos/IMG_0696.jpg

If ya come up with a cool, custom mount be sure ya show us!

ozark
7th December 2011, 04:20
ok got an 1980 motor in a 1982 frame biulding a custom ride for myself. i have added a oil cooler to the front. my problem now is whether or not i need an oil filter the vintage big twins don't have them. why does an ironhead. i could put the filter in its proper location for this frame but then that eliminates forward control option. so i'm torn between comfort and mechanical purpose. does an ironhead create excesive dirt or metal shavings other than these reasons i don't see a purpose for it. all opions welcome thanks.

If it was mine I would just consider relocating the filter part of the cost of the forward controls. All motors make a little steel. A filter may buy you a lot more miles.

Ozark

RRB
7th December 2011, 05:37
The KHs had filters in the side oil tanks that were later included in the sixties versions of the XLHs. It was the CHs that didn't have the filters back then. The Hs did.

60weight
7th December 2011, 06:46
The KHs had filters in the side oil tanks that were later included in the sixties versions of the XLHs. It was the CHs that didn't have the filters back then. The Hs did.
Yep...smile newbes...