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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 13th June 2012
TheHighLife TheHighLife is offline
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Default Common ironhead problems

I'm still pretty new to these engines. I always hear that ironheads are great engines but you should prepared to be wrenching on them as often or more than you're riding them. So, I'm curious what are the common ironhead problems? What should I look out for? Are there any preventative measures, besides the obvious, that are unique to these engines?
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Old 13th June 2012
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Mainly just keep a check every so often to make sure everything is tight esp if you have elec start.
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Old 13th June 2012
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check out the stickies in the red. The Technical sticky has some great info on specific procedures on some of the things you may be asking about.

http://xlforum.net/vbportal/forums/s...d.php?t=465866

Also use the search feature for the forum for things you have in mind.
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Old 13th June 2012
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common problems, worn or wearing parts,getting out of performance range.. lack of maintanice.. fresh oil,filter keeps wear low on those parts..if your starting with a bike thats worn .its going to act like that..poor performance...trobles..good fuel..90% or better octane..these stock engines..are excellent avarge 55 hores.. they don't like long sastained hi speed runs.. they were not designed that way..but we push them and we pay.
these are not long hall speedsters.. good balanced tires true rims..cut excessive vibes.. look at it this way..if you have operating guide lines and you follow them you'll
be ok..but who the hell does that on a sporster.. fasteners use blue locktight..i swaped out stock fastners for stainless steel and fiber locks..have a long tear intimite realtion ship..with every part of your scoot
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Old 13th June 2012
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#1 advice:

Be anal about your chain adjustments. Your primary chain > tranny > drive chain is your weakest link, and am micky mouse system to my mind.

You have the primary pulling the mainshaft in 1 direction, and the drive chain pulling it in the other- putting constant pressure on bushings, roller bearings, etc.

If you have either chain too tight, you provide increased tension on the system, and will have tranny problems sooner rather than later.

if in doubt, too loose far better than too tight.

#2- learn how to trouble shoot your charging system. Test components before they go, so you know what a working component should test at. Plenty of tips on this in the stickys. Charging sytem weak link #2

mechanically, they run forever if taken care of.

I strongly recommend any IH owner change sprocket ratio on drive train- I went up un the front, and run 65 at about 3500 on the tack.

Balance Masters on both flywheel and clutch hub, are like having your engine balanced. Day and night difference and I run them in both sportys. Takes away the vibration like it was a rubber mount, and at 65 my mirror is as clear as if sitting still, and thats on a rigid.
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Old 13th June 2012
FJ1100 FJ1100 is offline
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Default Balance Masterz

What is Balance Masters?
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Old 13th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FJ1100 View Post
What is Balance Masters?
http://www.balancemasters.com/motorcycles/index.html
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  #8  
Old 13th June 2012
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A lot of people like to put the ironheads (or any other model Harley) down saying that they are unreliable. NOT TRUE ! I put mine together last summer and have fallen so in love with it that I just sold my 06 softtail. While the ironheads are a little more maintnance than a new model, the only major issue I have encountered is vibration.( since reading this I think I'm going to try out the balance masters mentioned above) But I ride HARD and 1000+ miles per week on it. Keep the oil changed and every so often just check for things coming loose and you'll soon be in love.
Just look at it as a high maintnace bitch. Ya want a fat girl tha doesn't complain, or some eye candy that you have to spoil a little ? LOL I get my picture taken or video recorded EVERY time I take the IH on the highway...........Never happened on the '06 and it was chromed to the max and Jockey shift as is the Ironhead. I have a love hate relationship with this web site here (as I'm not computer savy)........ESPECIALLY now that I can't post pics anymore. But this was my first build and honestly found every bit of info needed when I would get stumped on this site. So thanks a million guys ! I hope you enjoy yours as much as I do mine. And honestly I get more compliments on the way the IH SOUNDS than any other harley I have owned. I previously looked at sportys as a girls bike ha ha and still do but not the ironheads
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  #9  
Old 13th June 2012
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Oh and the BEST advice is the first thing you should buy for it is a repair manual. Good advice above about the generator also.
LOTS of locktite, lockwashers, and locknuts, on EVERYTHING
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  #10  
Old 13th June 2012
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Winter project, do this stuff every year ...

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resi...MAHi-O00sWopD8

Regular maintenance, check this list occasionally during the riding season ...

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resi...PaqPetoRVZLRbg

Tech data, keep track of this ...

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resi...Af8i7eNgS6gJ5w
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