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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 January 2011
dc45 dc45 is offline
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Default New 73' Ironhead project (and introduction)

Hey,

Just picked up my first project bike, a 73 Sportster XLH. Transmission was stuck in gear (shifter also missing, which could have something to do with it) and cam cover was unbolted...I bought it off of someone who had got it from an estate sale, so I dont have much info. Cams look good, took off primary cover and clutch looks brand new (nice and shiny, lockwashers look really fresh).

What should I do first as far as figuring out what kind of work the engine needs? I've stripped everything else off the bike, most of which looked original. Bike has about 28k on it. Should I start a top end rebuild or try to get her running first as is? I'm assuming I have to get into neutral first to start with the electric start (no kick on the xlh). I am very much a newb, so I appreciate any help. I'd like to do as much work myself as I can, so if I dont need to do any bottom end work, that would be great.

Thanks!

Clint
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  #2  
Old 19th January 2011
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Welcome. If it was mine, I would at least take the top end off and check things out. There probally is a reason why the cam cover is off, I would check it out pretty carefully.
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  #3  
Old 19th January 2011
Wooley Wooley is offline
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I'd look at the trans first, then the top end,were it me.
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  #4  
Old 19th January 2011
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Look at the engine cases very carefully for cracks/welds that look bad...if ok pull it all apart without splitting cases yet.On second thought,is it the shift LEVER or the rod coming out of the tranny area thats broke/missing?
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Old 19th January 2011
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If you can get the trans into neutral, then you might want to adjust pushrods and do a compression test. The trans sounds like a problem though. I wouldn't ride it until I knew what was wrong in there. If the trans comes apart while you are riding it, you could blow out the cases and have a really nasty rebuild on your hands. If you do the top end, you might as well check the crank bearing clearances while you have it apart.
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  #6  
Old 19th January 2011
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Welcome. How about some pic's.
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  #7  
Old 19th January 2011
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First question is "Is it seized up or not?" Without a shifter it's gonna be hard to get it into neutral without pulling the transmission. You can jack up the rear wheel and since you have the primary cover off, make a pry bar out of something with two bolts spaced so they will fit into the holes in the compensator nut.... pull the plugs, squirt a little oil into the cylinders and see if you can rotate the crank with the compensator. It should turn over fairly easy.

Also look in the plug holes with a flashlight to see if anything is obviously scored up, rusted, etc.

Since the gear case is already unbolted, I would suspect that the cam endplay is out of whack and possibly the cam alignments. Sounds like your going to have to at least check everything, short of cracking the cases and most of the major sections of the engine is going to have to be re-assembled.... checking and fixing stuff every step of the way. Also since it was partially torn down and you don't know the history of why..... it looks like you are going to be getting real familiar with your new (to you) Ironhead.

Take your time and study your manuals. You'll be surprised at how much you will be able to do yourself..... then you'll be hooked, just like the rest of us.

Welcome to the forum!
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Old 19th January 2011
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Oh yea, get the FACTORY service manual AND the parts catalog. They arent real cheap, but trust me, they are worth they're weight in gold. Your gonna need them to do any major work on your ride.
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  #9  
Old 19th January 2011
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Welcome to the XLForum.

Quote:
get the FACTORY service manual AND the parts catalog. They aren't real cheap, but trust me, they are worth they're weight in gold.
+1 Fix the tranny first. There's a reason the cam cover was off. Keep us updated and don't forget the photos.

My first Harley was a brand new 1773 XLCH a lifetime ago.
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  #10  
Old 19th January 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob F View Post
Welcome to the XLForum.

My first Harley was a brand new 1773 XLCH a lifetime ago.
Man, your old Bob, they had IH's back then??...
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