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Sportster Motorcycle Engine Conversions Advice, questions, and tips for 1200, 1250, 1340, 1450 etc... for Sportster and Buell motorcycle engine conversions

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  #1  
Old 27th June 2009
jessearias's Avatar
jessearias jessearias is offline
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I just wanted to expand on my head/cam thread and encompass the whole combination. For the experienced builder this may be old news but, for all the newbies and those wondering what will work best, I hope this answers your questions.

These are my suggested build combinations and advice based on my own experience and in reviewing all the various builds in the forum. You may not agree with me on all this but, based on actual results I have seen; I believe these are the best combinations for success.

The hot street combination is the one that Mister T, Terp1984 Alum, myself and many others have used to get over 90 HP with stock TS heads. So, it is a proven combination. The rest of the combinations are just variations of this very successful build.

The key is matching heads and cams, quality 2-1 exhaust, programmable ignitions/FI Tuners, quality A/C and fully tunable Mikuni carburetion.

I know you can use this part or that part instead of what is listed but, I am trying to make things really simple.

THE BEST PARTS FOR USE

Best Pipes: Thunder header 2-1, Supertrapp 2-1, Kerker 2-1, D&D Fat Cat, RB Racing
Best Carburetor: Mikuni 42 mm (best for tuning and drivability)
Best Programmable Ignitions/FI tuners: Daytona Twin Tec, Dyna, HD Race Tuner
Best Air Cleaner: NRHS Hurricane
Best Pistons: NRHS Hurricane forged
Best Heads: 2003-older Buell Thunderstorm, 2004 up Buell XB/1200R
Notes: I recommend using Buell Thunderstorm heads on older bikes because they match the cooling fin style of the older cylinders, are inexpensive compared to 1200R heads and they perform almost as well as the newer 1200R heads.

ABOUT THE 1200/1250 COMBINATIONS

All of these combinations use the SE cams which deliver nice broad HP and torque curves. Depending on the head/cam combination, torque curves will start a 2000 RPM and pull strong to 5000+ RPM. Power will come on at 2000 RPM and pull strong to 7000+ RPM. Expect about a 4% increase in power when using a 1250 kit.

The SE Cams do not require any cam case machining or special parts. You can use stock lifters, pushrods and rocker arms. They will require some small modifications like grinding in the rocker boxes for clearance, shorter pushrods for milling ECT.

2000-2003 1200/1250 (and 91-99 as well) MILD STREET 80-85 HP
• Stock Thunderstorm Heads w/ radius valve job
• HD Factory TS 10.0:1 pistons and rings (Forged 10.5:1 w/ 1250 kit)
• Cometic .030 head and .010 base gaskets (or as needed to adjust squish area)
• Fully programmable ignition
• Any of the pipes listed
• SE 497 cams
• CV carburetor
• NRHS Hurricane Air Filter

2000-2003 1200/1250 (and 91-99 as well) HOT STREET 85-90+ HP
• Thunderstorm Heads w/ radius valve job, guides cut down, Heavy Duty springs and retainers and milled .010 to straighten mating surface.
• NRHS Hurricane Forged 10.5:1 TS pistons and rings (1200 & 1250)
• Cometic .030 head and .010 base gaskets (or as needed to adjust squish area)
• Fully programmable ignition
• Any of the pipes listed
• SE 536 cams
• Mikuni 42 mm carburetor
• NRHS Hurricane Air Filter

2000-2003 1200/1250 (and 91-99 as well) STREET/ STRIP 95-100+ HP
• Thunderstorm Heads w/ NRHS Stage 2 porting
• NRHS Hurricane Forged 10.5:1 TS pistons and rings (1200 & 1250)
• Cometic .030 head and .010 base gaskets (or as needed to adjust squish area)
• Fully programmable ignition
• Any of the pipes listed
• SE 536 or SE 575 cams
• NRHS Hurricane Air Filter

2004 UP STOCK BUELLXB/1200R HEADS and CAM COMPATABILITY NOTES FROM NRHS:

"But we have found that when using cams with lifts of .550 or less that the new beehive spring kits from HD work excellent. By using these springs you not only save money but also eliminate the need for rocker box clearancing and put less strain on the valvetrain components. The perfect choice for cams such as SE 551, SE536 and Andrews N4s."

2004-UP 1200/1250 MILD STREET 80-90 HP
• HD Race Tuner
• Any of the pipes listed
• SE 497 cams
• NRHS Hurricane Air Filter

2004-UP 1200/1250 HOT STREET 85-95+ HP
• Radius valve job and milled .010 to straighten mating surface.
• NRHS Hurricane Forged 10.5:1 TS pistons and rings (1200 & 1250)
• Cometic .030 head and .010 base gaskets (or as needed to adjust squish area)
• HD Race Tuner
• Any of the pipes listed
• SE 536 cams
• NRHS Hurricane Air Filter

2004-UP 1200/1250 STREET/STRIP 95-100+ HP
• NHRS Stage 2 Standard head work
• NRHS Hurricane Forged 10.5:1 pistons and rings (1200 & 1250)
• Cometic .030 head and .010 base gaskets (or as needed to adjust squish area)
• HD Race Tuner
• Any of the pipes listed
• SE 536 or 575 cams
• NRHS Hurricane Air Filter

DO NOT FORGET TO DYNO TUNE YOUR BIKE!
THE BEST COMBINATION WILL FAIL WITHOUT PROPER TUNING!

I hope this saves you some time browsing through the Dyno Chart Reference Sticky.

It basically condenses all the information on the most successful builds.

Last edited by jessearias; 1st July 2009 at 13:21..
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  #2  
Old 27th June 2009
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This is a great thread and needs to be a sticky.
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Old 27th June 2009
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Originally Posted by Aloysius View Post
This is a great thread and needs to be a sticky.
+1

That was nice to provide the research and suggestions...
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  #4  
Old 28th June 2009
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Quote:
The SE Cams do not require any cam case machining or special parts.
Does everyone agree that no cam case clearancing is required on a 2007 using SE536 or SE575 cams?
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Old 28th June 2009
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No. I believe the .575" cams need clearancing at times.
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  #6  
Old 28th June 2009
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I have an '06 using SE .575's and I did not have to do any clearancing in the cam chest. I did have to clearace the rocker boxes though. That's with the full stage II heads from NRHS.

Jesse, I noticed the BUB Rinehart 2-1 isn't on your list of good 2-1's. Do you not consider it a good pipe to use? I don't have any actual data either way I'm just curious what your thoughts are.
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Last edited by drummerboy4as; 28th June 2009 at 20:30.. Reason: added info
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Old 28th June 2009
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To the best of my knowledge, the SE 575 does not require any cam case clearancing because it is a small base cycle cam. So, having a smaller profile allows it to squeeze into the cam case. (Reference NRHS Section; 536 vs 575 comparison) (I bolted a set of 575's in my 2002 with no problems) On the 2007 and newer bikes, they may have made a change to the cam case and/or engine that I am not aware of. This may require the knowledge of Aaron or Dan. But, for everything older it "should" bolt right in. But, it never hurts to check! Hopefully, Dan or Aaron can chime in and clarify the issue with the newer 2007 up engines.

There may be a few pipes I have left off the list because I did not see any dynos on them. It does not mean they are not good but, just awaiting results. The Bub Rinehart 2-1 should be fine.

There are a few parts here and there I may have left off but, I was trying to condense all the information into something easy to follow.

To Answer Bob F's questions:

Heres a quote from NRHS regarding BuellXB/1200R heads and cams compatible with them in stock form. "But we have found that when using cams with lifts of .550 or less that the new beehive spring kits from HD work excellent. By using these springs you not only save money but also eliminate the need for rocker box clearancing and put less strain on the valvetrain components. The perfect choice for cams such as SE 551, SE536 and Andrews N4s."

When you go to 575 cams, It is reccomended that you use NRHS Stage 2 "Standard" with HD valves, springs, retainers ect. And you WILL NEED to clerance the rocker boxes with the bigger springs.

This is not the ten commandments but, just some sound suggestions and advice.
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Last edited by jessearias; 29th June 2009 at 08:56..
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Old 28th June 2009
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Rocker box's are not the same as cam case's though, I think maybe thats where there is a confusion?
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Old 28th June 2009
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I have 536's on my 2007 with Stage 2 883 Heads. No clearancing required for the cams. I did have rocker covers clearanced for the springs (these are the NRHS full-on Stage 2 springs...not the lite version).
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Old 29th June 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob F View Post
Does everyone agree that no cam case clearancing is required on a 2007 using SE536 or SE575 cams?
I was thinking of the rocker covers, when typing my earlier reply. As confirmed by others, the 575 may require rocker box clearancing, but should drop right into the stock case. They are my cam of choice, when I take that next step.
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