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Sportster Motorcycle Motor - Top End Discuss Sportster Motorcycle Top End issues. Rockerboxes, Valves, Cylinders, Pistons, Rings, Lift Rods, etc...

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  #1  
Old 15th November 2011
BoogLexus BoogLexus is offline
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Default XB Buell heads over 1200?

Bought a 96 883H last winter. Supposedly right at the dealer brand new the 1200 kit was put in. Not sure what "kit" or parts were used, but contacted the dealer and was told that they usually put 1200 heads on when doing the conversion. Got the rear casting number 1662-86B or it might be 1667-86B, heads are still on the bike as i'm still riding. The front I could not read.

My buddy has a set of XB9 heads he's selling, and was considering using them to gain some more power. Now i'm wondering if I already have 1200 heads, would putting these XB heads on even be worth it? I have no idea what parts are inside. I do know i have a stock carb, and stock ignition (as far as i can tell). Cams? no idea. I do have a 2:1 SuperTrapp and the bike was just dynoed today made 53hp and 61 trq.

From what I've read 1200 heads are 1.715" and 1.480" with 67cc. Where as XB's are 1.810" and 1.575" with 62cc. Is spending $500 on these heads really worth the power i'm going to gain? If so would N4 or "D" cams be another thing to consider to go with? any info is mucho appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 15th November 2011
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XB heads are a far superior head to anything with an 86B casting number. Much bigger valves, much improved ports, and a much better chamber. $500 for a used set is a lot, though. I see them go by on Ebay for $300 or even less.

That said, if you're at 53hp now, something is really holding it back. Even stock 883 heads can support more than that. Putting on a good set of heads like a set of XB heads is a wonderful thing, but the root cause of the poor result needs to get fixed too. Now it's entirely possible that the heads on the bike are causing the issue. A leak-down test would tell you a lot.

In terms of compatibility, the big question is what kind of pistons you currently have. If your conversion was done with flat tops, then the XB heads will work and give you 10:1 compression or thereabouts. If your conversion was done with a dished conversion piston, the XB heads will give you 8-9:1, depending on the specific conversion piston used. If your conversion was done with domed pistons, it's highly unlikely the domes are compatible with the XB heads. The only way to tell for sure is to pull a head off.

I once took on a project 1995 Buell S2. Before I went to work on it, I dyno'ed it, and it made a whopping 55hp. Taking it apart, I discovered it had Lightning heads and SE bolt-in cams. The thing was just wore out. When I finished it, it made 111hp. The guy could tell the difference But my point is, the low hp reading may be coming from almost anything: poor tuning or excessive wear are real possibilities. Throwing a great set of heads on it would not have fixed it. I've made over 70hp with stock 883 heads in the past. You need to work on what's holding your motor back.
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  #3  
Old 15th November 2011
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Read this: http://xlforum.net/vbportal/forums/s...ad.php?t=14000
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Old 15th November 2011
BoogLexus BoogLexus is offline
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aswracing: i've kind of been keeping my eye open for xb heads on ebay but can never find a set. i'll have to keep look'n, as i thought $500 was a bit too much also. but as far as my numbers, this must not be too impressive for a 1200 conversion? if what they say is true when they did the conversion at the dealer the engine will have around 19k-20k miles. Possibly just wore out? I've never had it tuned either so there's another possibility.

Are 86B heads not to saught after? I was gonna get ahold of the local HD dealer and ask what they came off. Sounds like I will have to start by taking a head off to see what pistons I have and go from there.

Bob F: I'm on quick lunch now but I will read that tonight when I get home. Thanks again for all the help guys. Mucho appreciated
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Old 17th November 2011
BoogLexus BoogLexus is offline
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wowwwwwza! that was a great post. im definitly gonna be on the look out for 04-06 1200 heads now. maybe find a cheaper set than the buell ones. the only thing i don't quite get is, when describing the xb heads you said this...

"This head is 3.670" in height, which is .020 shorter than the prior XL and Buell heads. by itself, this is not enough to necessitate shorter pushrods. If the head is decked, and used with thin gaskets to optimize squish clearance, pushrod length can become an issue."
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  #6  
Old 17th November 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoogLexus View Post
wowwwwwza! that was a great post.
Thanks, glad you like it, but I wrote that a LONG time ago and it's getting pretty dated. I have an updated version here: http://www.hammerperf.com/ttxlheads.shtml

Quote:
im definitly gonna be on the look out for 04-06 1200 heads now.
Smart choice. One of the things I show in the new article is how much better the bowls are in those ports:


This is an 88-03 1200 head, although the 86-87 ports aren't much different. If you look down into the ports, around where the stamped numbers are, see that sharp angle in the roof of the port (actually the "bowl")?

Now look at that same place on a Thunderstorm head:

See how it's not nearly as sharp of an angle?

Now look at an XB head:

You can see they've radiused the bowl even better.

This is just one area where the ports have been progressively improved, though. The floor and short side are much, much better too.


Quote:
the only thing i don't quite get is, when describing the xb heads you said this...

"This head is 3.670" in height, which is .020 shorter than the prior XL and Buell heads. by itself, this is not enough to necessitate shorter pushrods. If the head is decked, and used with thin gaskets to optimize squish clearance, pushrod length can become an issue."
The overall height of the head, from the rocker box surface to the deck that sits on the head gasket, is 3.690" for most XL heads. But the XB heads, which first came out on '03 Buells, and the XL1200 heads from 2004 and on, are all 3.670" in height. The late model SE head is a 2004-up XL1200 head that's been decked .050", so it's 3.620" in height.

You care about this because the height of the head directly affects the length of pushrods you need. Your stock lifters will self-adjust over a range of about +/- .050", but get much outside of that range and you need to either get adjustable pushrods or get pushrods of the correct length.

Excessive head milling (cough ... SE heads ... cough) causes other problems, too, like reduced piston to valve clearance, manifold fit issues, and exhaust fit issues.
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  #7  
Old 17th November 2011
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Something else I should point out, too ... since your heads have an -86B casting number, it's entirely possible that they are some of the ultra-rare 1986/87 heads with the bathtub chamber and large valves. That article on heads that I linked to has a description and pictures. If you have those heads, they may well be worth putting a little money into, as opposed to buying new heads.
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  #8  
Old 19th November 2011
Bailey28 Bailey28 is offline
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Hi guys, I've been lurking for quite some time. My question is that if the new SE 1200 heads have problems with being decked to 55cc rather than 62cc, stiffer than needed valve springs, deep cut spring pockets, etc. then why even bother with them?


The SE 1200 heads (16677-05) go for $799, then I have to buy .050" shorter pushrods to work with them.

Using the NRHS calculator and the SE 55cc heads with a 1250 kit and flat top pistons, .030" quench, and a 3.60" ID head gasket I get 11.38:1 static compression. With the +3.63cc domes I get 12.05:1 static.

The same combo with the 62cc heads is 10.2:1 with flat tops, and 10.8:1 with the +3.63cc domes.

How can one go about getting a complete head assembly with the 62cc chamber and stock valve springs? (Besides buying an '04+1200)

I have no idea how much the MOco would ask for both heads assembled, even if they would sell them to you stand alone.
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  #9  
Old 19th November 2011
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Good questions Bailey. Welcome to the forum too.

The XL is treated as a bastard step child. I mean, look at all the great heads they make for Twin Cams. For the XL world, they take a stock head, molest it, stick a Screamin Beagle badge on it, and try to pawn it off as a performance head.

Yes, you can buy stock heads brand new. HD does not offer them in assembled form, but we sell them assembled and with stainless valves for the same price the dealer charges for all the parts.

Or, you can do what most people do, and pick up a set on Ebay. I've bought sets for as low as $225 there although $300-$400 is more the norm.
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  #10  
Old 19th November 2011
Bailey28 Bailey28 is offline
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Thanks for the quick reply and the welcome!

My intent is to find a pre rubber mount 883 sportster, 98-03 for under $4k.

I wanted strong low and mid power for the time I spend on the street. I really don't intend to rev past 6,000 rpm and want a strong broad torque curve under that area.

I think I can do it like this:

1250 kit
Stock '04 up 1200 62cc heads, clean up the ports and transitions a little
+3.63 domed forged piston, 10.8:1 static
.025 cold squish
Singh grooves (don't flame me too much)
W cams or Andrews N2
Mikuni HSR 42
Forcewinder intake
2 into 2 1 3/4" header with a crossover and quiet pipes (I want to build broad torque without the "dip" in the 3500 range)
Keep the stock 28 tooth countershaft sprocket
Adjustable curve ignition, or be able to take timing out as the revs build due to the tight quench and closed chamber heads.

I'm not looking for huge hp numbers. I wanted something that will be a great street engine. An engine with strong torque and a broad torque curve to 6k.
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