Модификация Sportster 883->1450, Tom Metty

30.03.99 Quad Cam 88 — проект начат!

Я приобрел новый XLH883 с целью установки цилиндров Axtell 88«. Около месяца я собирал запчасти и на прошлой неделе мотоцикл прибыл ко мне. Узнав о моей цели, дилер проявил сообразительность и не стал предлагать расширенную гарантию 🙂 Однако, он сообщил что заводская гарантия все-таки частично пригодится, посмотрим!

Чтобы облегчить задачу, я стал разбирать мотор,когда он был еще в раме. В процессе меня ждало несколько сюрпризов:

— когда я собрался ослабить винты, которые крепят зажигание, я обнаружил что их нет.

— пришлось высверливать один из болтов, крепящих крышку двигателя. Видимо, головка винта была посажена на резьбовой фиксатор, когда я открутил ее, она вывалилась из рук.

— одна из шайб  была на своем месте лишь наполовину, другой же не было. Когда я говорю «не было», то имею ввиду что она свободно болталась по полости мотора и никто никогда не пытался ее закрепить. Может это и есть причина шумной работы харли? 🙂

— шатуны имели следы долгосрочного хранения. Видны небольшие пятна — «призраки». Это не выработка, просто измененный цвет. Также видны следы давно залитой смазки, а вкладыши не идеальны.

— когда харли переместили метку коленвала на правую сторону мотора? Я вижу по номеру двигателя что мой 98 года , потому наверное в прошлом году.

Итак, крышки сняты, мотор разобран и готов к апгрейду. Головы цилиндров Edelbrock готовы к отправке в Zippers для сверления 2 доп. отверстий для декомпрессии. Сейчас моя главная загвоздка- балансировка коленвала под новые поршни.

Список запчастей для двигателя:

• цилиндры Axtell
• поршни JE с плоским верхом
• кольца Plasma Moly
• пальцы Axtell
• головы цилиндров Edelbrock «Performer RPM 1200»
• карбюратор S&S «Super E»
• воздушный фильтр S&S «Super»
• манифолд Edelbrock
• распредвалы Edelbrock #1743
• гоночное зажигание Crane HI-4
• катушка зажигания Crane 3001 single fire
• толкатели Crane
• выхлоп Carl’s speed shop
• кевларовое сцепление Barnett extra plate
• натяжитель первичной передачи M-6
• балансир сцепления Sun-Tech CL200
• балансир маховика Sun-Tech FW900

Список запчастей для ходовой:

• передний тормоз Harrison Billet Mini-6
• тормозная магистраль Russell, крепление суппорта GMA
• пружины в вилку Race Tech .90 kg/mm
• амортизаторы Progressive Suspension 412, 13.5″
• стальное заднее крыло Sport Bob со стопсигналом «кошачий глаз»
• седло Corbin Gunfighter
• спинка Lazy Rider 10″
• стоковые колеса

Украшательства:

• покраска в черный
• крышки, цилиндры, головы цилиндров- матово черный (харлеевская «шагрень»)
• другие крышки — сейчас полированные, посмотрим

Неделя вторая. 02.04.99

Как я говорил ранее, следующий этап моего проекта — балансировка маховика. Я отвез его в Sun Tech для этого. Кстати говоря, я получил мотоцикл с 1 милей пробега на одометре и никогда его не заводил. Я показал шатуны Бобу, сервис-менеджеру в дилерстве, и спросил, почему они так выглядят. Он сказал: «они стояли без движения слишком долго, надо тебе еще поездить с ними…» задумался ненадолго..вы когда-нибудь видели сервис-менеждера, самостоятельно загнавшего себя в угол? Когда мы проверили историю хранения байка после его производства, он наконец-то позвонил настоящему механику. Я добавил что обнаружил засохшую смазку.Он ответил «это неправильно!». И было это задолго до вступления в действие гарантии…и я купил шатуны S&S.

Я предложил им сказать что клиент пришел жаловаться на клацающий шум в картере и они обнаружили описанные ранее проблемы, «нет мы не могли», ага…

Я отвез головы в Zippers, кое-что в Axtell и решил заняться делом. Чтобы новое седло соответствовало раме 99 года и более широкому крылу, я переделал фиберглассовую основу при помощи тепловой пушки. После приклепывания обивки обратно, я поставил седло на место и впервые сел на свой байк. Я отлично смотрелся, имитируя звуки двигателя, но так и не смог уговорить жену толкать меня вокруг дома 🙂

Также я переделал топливный краник, выбросил обе диафрагмы и задние крышки. Это отбрасывало любые сомнения на тему низкой скорости выхода топлива из-за низкого вакуума.

10.04.99 Неделя третья.

Приехали мои запчасти из Zippers и Axtell, отправленные ранее, я обнаружил что они классно сделаны!

0203 04

А  пока я снял фару, амортизаторы, колеса, ремень, маслобак, спидометр, крепление батареи, зеркала, повортники, руль и филку. На раме не осталось ничего лишнего, только проводка. Поставил новое сцепление Barnett, но не стал ставить более жесткую пружину. Я не хочу увеличивать жесткость рычага сцепления и оставить некоторые «ходы» в сцеплении, ремне вторичной передачи и заднем колесе. Также я переделал проводку стоп-сигнала, но не могу проверить ее, пока не поставлю что-то из электрики обратно на байк…например стопсигнал. И поставил Custom Chrome «Rainbow Strobe» в фару. Процедура проста- вынуть лампочку, поставить Strobe (см картинки), поставить лампу обратно.

KU-2141 strobe

Когда свет выключен, можно увидеть радугу в фаре.

Я разобрал вилку, и поставил новые пружины и картриджи Race Tech’s «Gold Valve». Это потребовало сверления доп. отверстий и подрезания прокладок на вершине новых пружин. Сжатие регулируется винтом на специальном клапане, и работа на пробой определяется вязкостью масла. Race Tech реклмендует 2 оборота и масла SAE 30 для обычной езды.

Я поставил набор Thunderjet на карбюратор. Рассмотреть инструкцию удалось только с помощью лупы 🙂

На этой неделе пришли цилиндры и поршни из Axtell. Большие дырки! Нет…БОЛЬШИЕ дырки! Они такие здоровые, что можно присваивать свой почтовый код 🙂 Они такие здоровые, что поршень от 883 болтается внутри совершенно свободно!

06 07 08 09

Я подобрал из из каталога Miller`s Parts from Hell. Когда одни мой друг открыл коробку, он воскликнул: «Черт возьми, для чего это??». «Для спорстера». Он опустился на колено и поцеловал поршневое кольцо 🙂 Реально здоровая поршневая!

На прошлой неделе я отдал шатуны дилеру, но они так и не дали ответ…Шатуны S&S более «мясистые» и это потребовало шлифовки маховиков. Я сделал это вчера ночью, посчитал статическую балансировку.

10.04.99 Балансировка

Об этом отдельно, потому что тема важна и почти не затронута ранее. Первым делом, немного металла должно быть убрано с маховиков. S&S предупредили меня о необходимом зазоре между шатуном-«папой» и внутренним ободом маховика. Шатуны S&S «Heavy Duty» сделаны из хром-молибденового сплава со сталью, с более широким двутавровым профилем, большими радиусами, обработаны термически и выдержат небоскреб!

Я разработал упрощенный метод балансировки, основанный на обычной балансировке. Комбинация из маховика с коленвалом сделана из одной отливки, окружность маховика имеет общий центр с валом. Т.е. ось вала совпадает с центром окружности. Я предположил, что если маховик поставить на ровное стекло, то он остановится так, что тяжелая часть будет внизу. Это не кажется надуманным, балансировка маховиков методом укрепления грузов на продолжении вала и вращении конструкции на «лезвии ножа» применима и для Axtell и для Zipper’s. Метод работает хорошо, за исключением случаев, когда больший диаметр вращения делает регулировку менее точной.

Сначала веса:

• задний поршень в сборе — 535.2 г
• передний поршень в сборе — 536.9 г
• верхний конец шатуна-«папы» со втулкой и пальцем — 230.5г
• верхний конец шатуна-«мамы» со втулкой и пальцем — 248.4 г
• общий вес поршневой — 1551 г
• 60% веса поршневой — 930.6 г
• палец кривошипа с гайками и шпонкой — 47.9 г
• нижний конец шатуна-«мамы» со вкладышами и смазкой — 365.8 г
• нижний конец шатуна-«папы» со вкладышами и смазкой — 571.8 г
• общий вращающийся вес — 1420.7 г
• общий вес балансировки — 930.6+1420.7=2351.3 г
• половина балансирного веса — 1175.7 г

Задний поршень легче, потому что юбка была подпилена, для того чтобы не мешать двигаться переднему поршню. Если вы рассчитываете 60% веса поршневой, то этот метод называется «балансирный фактор 60%».

04Маховики балансируются отдельно: половина веса балансировки, прикрепляется к маховику, если баланс соблюден, значит все сделано правильно.  Я прикрепил гайкой палец кривошипа к маховику и вывесил шатун-«папу» с вкладышем. Это «метод притяжения»: вес шатуна с пальцем кривошипа будет равен весу неподвижно и соосно закрепленного на коленвале балансира(см картинки). Т.о. шатуны в сборе должны весить 717.1 г. Через палец, вставленный в верхний конец шатуна, я пропустил винт и стал добавлять на него маленькие шайбы. Все они были внутри пальца.

Я положил кусок стекла на край стола и вывесил шатун. Оказалось, что противовес перевешивает маховик с валом и конструкция падает. После уравновешивания этого конструкция катилась по стеклу. Следующий сюрприз ждал меня, когда маховик остановился. Стоковый маховик харли сделан для поршней 883 и балансирные отверстия пришлось сверлить заново. Я рассверлил все 4 заводских отверстия до 1/2-20« и посадил болты на фиксатор. Срезав их ножевкой, я зашлифовал заусенцы. Однако, этого оказалось мало и пришлось сверлить еще пару отверстий на 1/2 дюйма.

Как упоминалось ранее, такой метод не очень точный, поэтому я  изменил схему на «балансирный фактор 59%» и попробовал 61%. Полагаю, что несколько процентов-хорошее приближение.

16.04.99 Неделя четвертая.

На этой неделя я застраховался, страховка на 883 недорогая, всего 109$ за год. А пока я ждал части двигателя, я вернулся к раме и прочему.

Я заметил что траверса GMA мешает установить колесо, пришлось подточить на станке.

11

После установки вилки, я установил более высокие стойки руля с отклонением назад. Проводки и тормозной магистрали хватило, а вот спидометр был слишком сильно задран вверх. Возможно, в дальнейшем я бы выкинул этот спидометр и поставил бы хороший тахометр, но пока оставил как есть. И я решил переустановить зеркала и поворотники.

Поставил тормозной суппорт Harrison с 6 поршнями. Я залип на стоковом диске 11.5« и не думал о 13-дюймовом, хотя это сулило солидное улучшение. Стоковые болты крепления суппорта были длинней чем надо, я их укоротил. Суппорт стоит немного по-другому, нежели стоковый, и пока я не поставил колесо и крыло, понять, нормально ли пойдет тормозная магистраль, было невозможно.

Наверное, хорошее время рассказать вам остальную часть истории. В феврале я искал черный спорти 883, но первый вариант подвернулся только в апреле. И еще один попался в марте. Я внес залог за оба и стал ждать, параллельно я искал друга, кому понадобился бы спорти. Такой друг нашелся и когда приехал черный спорти, я снял с него колеса, крылья и бак, переставил их на второй мотоцикл, а аналогичные запчасти со второго спорти поставил на свой. Кому-то это покажется неразумным, однако мне не пришлось сидеть дома в хорошую погоду и ждать мотоцикл 🙂

Вчера я покрасил крыло, но нашел несколько недостатков, но еще есть время их исправить.

Привезли картер и сразу стало очевидно, почему его расточили под поршни 3-13/16″, для 3-14/16″ просто не было места 🙂 Отверстия были столь большими, что некоторые из масляных каналов были сточены! Вокруг было еще достаточно металла, поэтому о прочности беспокоиться не стоило, но вот смазывание… Особое внимание я уделил прокладкам, немало поиздевавшись над ними, чтобы цилиндры сели плотно.

Вспомнилось, что в 60-х мы никогда не использовали динамометрические ключи и затягивали Ironhead со всей силы, чтобы не текло масло 🙂

23.04.99 Неделя пятая.

Как часто бывало у вас такое: вы едете в аэропорт и вспоминаете, что забыли покрашенные детали в печке? Летите назад, выключаете печку, вынимаете детали и назад, на самолет? Ненавижу это.

Это не лучшая моя работа, но кто заметит морщину на краске при 100 миль/ч? Звонили Zippers и сказали что отправили головы цилиндров. Исправил покраску заднего крыла.

Я получил несколько вопросов насчет своего руля. Я хотел добавить как можно больше веса в область ручек. Я не хотел беспокоиться о тряске, потому заполнил руль свинцом.

Приехали маховики из Sun-Tech — работа выглядит отлично, но как это будет работать? Я еще раз проверил балансировку и вспомнил старую фразу «когда-нибудь я найду инженера, сделавшего это, и пристрелю» 🙂

Оригинальный текст.

Quad Cam 88 — The project begins! 3-30-99

As some of you listers know, I ordered a new XLH883 with the expressed purpose of putting Axtell 88″ cylinders on it. I’ve been collecting parts for a month and the bike arrived last week. After the dealer found out what I had in mind, he showed uncommon good sense by not offering to sell me an extended warranty. He did suggest, however, that the factory warranty could still be of some use to me. We’ll see shortly.

I disassembled the motor while it was still in the frame to make it easier to lift the cases out. There were a couple surprises during disassembly.

-When I went to loosen the screws that retain the ignition module in the nose cone I found both screws were loose. That would have probably caused the timing to drift over time, or worse.

-I had to drill the head off one of the derby cover screws. Apparantly the head of the screw and it’s washer were Loctite’d to the cover. Once I got head removed, the rest of the screw spun out with my fingers. The blue stuff goes on the _threads_ Mr. Davidson.

-After I removed the cam cover I found that all 6 of those «custom sized, hand selected, carefully fit» gears were size coded white. Smack dab in the middle of the 7 available sizes. Imagine the odds, with 42 gears to select from, and I got a perfect motor! Yea, right, it looks like Harley figured out what Sifton, Crane, Andrews, etc. already know. This was also the point I decided to switch from Red Shift 567V2 cams to Edelbrock #1743 cams.

-One of the connecting rod thrust washers was only half-heartedly staked into it’s flywheel, the other one wasn’t staked at all, IT WAS LOOSE!. When I say loose I mean that in 2 ways, the washer is a loose fit in the flywheel, and nobody even attempted to stake it. I wonder what the long term effect of it rattling around in there would have been?

-The crankpin and rear connecting rod have evidence of long term storage. You can see «ghosts» of the rollers in the races of both pieces. It’s not wear, just a discoloration, the rollers all look good. There are also brown stains on the crankpin that look like the reminants of a lubricant long since dried up. The stains can be felt with your fingernail and don’t come off with chemicals. Damn, the most important bearing in the entire engine and it isn’t perfect. I’ll have to talk to the dealer and weigh my options.

-When did Harley move the timing plug to right side of the motor? I see the engine case part number is «-98» so I’m guessing it was last year. That should make it easier to time it with a light, if that’s your preference.

The cases are stripped and ready to ship to Axtell for boring and the installation of a windage tray. The Edelbrock heads are also ready to ship to Zipper for the addition of 2nd plug holes for the compression releases. I should have ALL of the new parts here this week. By the way, I bought most of my parts through Miller’s Parts from Hell (www.hell-mi.com). Don’s been giving me great prices, I think he’s almost as excited about this as I am.

My current distraction is balancing the bottom end for the 3-13/16″ pistons. More on that next time.

Final list of engine stuff:

* Axtell cast iron cylinders
* JE flat top pistons
* Plasma Moly rings
* Axtell tool steel wrist pins
* Axtell Teflon wrist pin buttons
* Edelbrock «Performer RPM 1200» heads
* S&S «Super E» carb
* S&S «Super» air cleaner
* Edelbrock intake manifold
* Edelbrock #1743 cams
* Crane HI-4 «race» ignition
* Crane 3001 single fire coil
* Crane adjustable pushrods
* Carl’s speed shop exhaust
* Barnett extra plate Kevlar clutch
* M-6 primary chain tensioner
* Sun-Tech CL200 clutch balancer
* Sun-Tech FW900 flywheel balancer

Final list of chassis stuff

* Harrison Billet Mini-6 front caliper
* Russell front brake line GMA fork brace
* Race Tech cartridge emulators
* Race Tech .90 kg/mm fork springs
* Progressive 412, 13.5″ rear shocks
* Sport Bob steel rear fender w/cateye
* Corbin Gunfighter seat
* Lazy Rider 10″ backrest/bag
* Factory laced wheels

Trim

* Sheetmetal-Vivid Black
* Cases-Black wrinkle
* Cylinders-Black wrinkle
* Heads-Black wrinkle
* Covers-they’re polished now, we’ll see

Quad Cam 88 — Week 2 4-2-99

As I indicated in my last email, the next step in my project is to static balance the bottom end so I can ship a flywheel to Sun Tech for installation of their active balancer. I also told you I didn’t care for the condition of the races on the crankpin and rods in the new engine, which means I can’t proceed until I get replacements.

For reference, I picked up the bike a week ago with 1 mile on the odometer and I never started it, much less rode it. I showed the rods to Bob, the Service Manager at the dealership, and asked him why the races looked that way. He said «It’s been sittin’ too long, ya’ gotta ride it more.» …(pause to reflect)… did you ever see a service manager moon-walk himself into a corner? After we clarified the custody of the bike since its manufacture, he called a real mechanic to the counter. Feeling the need for a little edge, I sat the flywheel with the un-staked washer on the counter and asked the mechanic «What’s wrong with this picture?». «That’s not right!» he said. It wasn’t long before they agreed to call H-D for a warranty. 2 days later they claim Harley hasn’t called them back. … I’m pricing S&S rods.

I suggested they could tell Harley that a customer came in complaining about a clinking noise in the bottom end and found both the washer and bearing problem. That way they could collect for some labor to ease their pain. «No, we couldn’t do that!» he said … yea, right.

I shipped the heads to Zipper’s and the cases to Axtell so while I’m waiting I’m doing some of those other little jobs. Today I disassembled the Corbin Gunfighter seat I bought from Bulldog Willie and used a heat gun to reshape it’s fiberglass pan to fit the ’99 frame and the wider Sport Bob fender. After riveting it back together I installed it and sat on the engineless bike for the first time. I’m getting pretty good at making engine noises but I couldn’t talk my wife into pushing me around the driveway.

I also disassembled the stock fuel shutoff and discarded the diaphrams and both rear covers. I made a new cover plate out of .063″ 2024T4 aluminum, and cut a new gasket out of rubberized cork. That should settle any concerns about low fuel flow during low vacuum (high throttle) conditions.

Last night my buddy Paul stopped by on his Road King Classic and insisted I stop working and take it for a ride around the block, what a pal. Tonight I was riding by his house and saw him working in yard so I insisted he stop working and take a ride around the block on my Goldwing. Ahhh, Spring.

Quad Cam 88 — Week 3 4-10-99

As I mentioned last week, I shipped the Edelbrock heads to Zipper’s for dual plugging, and the cases to Axtell for boring and a windage tray. According to UPS tracking they all arrived last Monday, and I found out today my cases are on their way back! Cool. In the meantime:

I pulled the headlight, shocks, wheels, drive belt, oil tank, battery tray, speedo, mirrors, turn signals, handlebars, and forks off. There’s nothing left but a frame and wiring harness, but at least there’s nowhere to go but up!

-I installed the Barnett «extra plate» clutch disks in the clutch basket but I didn’t install their heavy duty spring. I don’t want the increase in clutch lever pressure, and I’m trying to leave some links in the drive train weaker than the transmission, like the clutch, the drive belt, and the rear tire.

-I wired the «Back-Off» tail light modulator in the brake light wiring. I can’t test it until I put some of the electrical system back on the bike … like a brake light.

-I installed the Custom Chrome «Rainbow Strobe» in the headlight. It’s a simple matter of removing the bulb and putting the «Strobe» in the hole before putting the bulb back in. Even with the light turned off you can see the rainbow effect in the reflector.

-I took the forks apart and installed Race Tech’s «Gold Valve» cartridge emulators and their .90 kg/mm springs. It required drilling extra holes in the damper tubes and adjusting «Race sag» by cutting spacers for the top of the new springs. The compression damping is set by adjusting a nut on the valve, and the rebound damping is determined by the viscosity of the fork oil. Race Tech recommends 2 turns and SAE 30 for street use. The local Honda dealer had to order the oil for me, they’ve never had anybody ask for 30 wgt. before.

I installed a Thunderjet on the S&S Super E. With a magnifying glass I could see the pictures in the instructions clear enough. The installation requires a vertical mill:

* Spotface, drill, and tap for the Thunderjet itself.
* Spotface, drill, and tap (metric) for the external air bleed jet.
* Drill and tap to plug the internal air bleed.
* Spotface, drill, tap the floatbowl to feed the Thunderjet.
* Tap the original float bowl vent to plug it.
* Bore a new 5/16″ vent at 45 degrees through the side of the carb.

They sell fixtures to make it easier. The Thunderjet goes in 11 degrees off vertical, the fuel feed is 22 degrees from horizontal, and the external air bleed and float bowl vent are at 45 degrees. My Smithy handled it fine.

The cylinders and pistons arrived from Axtell this week. BIG holes! Wait, that doesn’t say enough. BIGBIGBIG holes!!!. Nope, still not enough. The new cylinders are so big … (altogether-«how big are they?») … they’re so big they have their own zip codes. Seriously, if you lay a new cylinder down, you can roll an 883 piston through it sideways. They’re so big you can drop an 883 piston in right side up, reach in and turn it over, and then pull it back out upside down. You have to see it to believe it.

I picked them up from Miller’s Parts from Hell and there were 4 rough looking Big Twin guys hanging out at the counter. When Don opened the box one of the guys said «Damn Don, what are THOSE for?». Don replied «This guy’s putting them on a Sportster». A hush came over them and they dropped to one knee and kissed my ring. Really BIG cylinders.

When I left you last week I had dropped my rods off at the dealer to see if H-D would warranty them. A week later the dealer claimed they hadn’t received a call back from Harley. I called my salesman and reminded him about the customer satisfaction card that Harley sends to all it’s new owners and then I hung up and ordered a set of S&S heavy duty rods. The dealer called yesterday and told me Harley just keeps saying «He did what?!?»

The S&S rods have a bit more meat on them and a little grinding is required on the flywheels to get them to clear. I did that tonight and then weighed all the parts and calculated the bob weights needed for static balancing. I’ll get this in the mail and tell you how that comes out next week.

Quad Cam 88 — Balancing 4-10-99

This is a special edition because balancing is an email’s worth of stuff. I did the static balance today so I could ship a flywheel to Balance Master on Monday.

First some material had to be removed from the flywheels. S&S warned of interference between the male rod and the inner flywheel rim so I ground the required clearance. The S&S «Heavy Duty» rods are made from drop forged 4140 Chrome moly steel with wider I-beams, larger radiuses, and extra gusseting. As if that weren’t enough, they’re heat treated and shot peened. Their «Supreme» rods could probably support a skyscraper!

I devised a simplified method of balancing based on the conventional balance procedure. Since each flywheel/shaft combination is machined from a single casting, the circumference of the wheel is concentric with the shaft. I reasoned that if the flywheel were rolled on a piece of glass the heavy side would stop at the bottom. This doesn’t sound far-fetched when you consider most places, including Axtell and Zipper’s, balance flywheels by plugging on a shaft extension, and rolling it on «knife edges». This method works the same except the larger rolling diameter makes it less sensitive, more on that in a minute. First some weights: Rear piston w/rings, pin, buttons … 535.2g Front piston w/rings, pin, buttons … 536.9g Small end of male rod w/wrist pin bushing … 230.5g Small end of female rod w/wrist pin bushing … 248.4g Total reciprocating weight … 1551g 60% of reciprocating weight … 930.6g Crankpin w/nuts and woodruff key … 47.9g Big end of male rod w/bearings and lube … 365.8g Big end of female rod w/bearings and lube … 571.8g Total rotating weight … 1420.7g Total bob weight (930.6+1420.7) … 2351.3g Half bob weight … 1175.7g

The rear piston is lighter because it has material removed from one skirt to clear the front piston as it goes by. Did I mention these jugs are BIG? If you use 60% of the reciprocating weight in your calculation, you’re using a «60% Balance Factor».

The flywheels are balanced individually, the half bob weight is attached to a flywheel and then that flywheel is balanced. I attached the crankpin to a flywheel with a nut and then hung the male rod w/bearing on it. Since this is a gravity method, the rod hanging down from the crankpin would be the same as making a rigid weight concentric with the crankpin. The crankpin/nut weighed 458.6g so the rod assembly needed to weigh 717.1g. I put a wrist pin through the small end of the rod, put a bolt through the wrist pin, and added small washers to the bolt. (For you purists, the washers fit inside the wrist pin and the bolt was a close fit to the washers)

I layed a piece of tempered glass on the edge of the bench and let the rod hang down over the edge. It turned out the 2.5 lb. bob weight outweighs the flywheel shaft, and the flywheel wanted to fall over. I chucked a 1 lb. peice of round bar stock in the lathe and bored a hole to fit the pinion shaft, now it rolls on the glass. The next surprise was when the heavy side stopped on the bottom. It appears the raw flywheel from Harley is weighted for a 1200, so holes have to be drilled opposite the crankpin to compensate for the lighter 883 pistons. Since I’m hanging 1450 pistons on it, they were going the wrong way! I have to remove material from the crankpin side. Like the lyrics in «Alice’s Restaurant», «Rather than bring that pile up, we decided to throw ours down», I drilled out and tapped all 4 factory holes to 1/2-20 and loctite’d bolts into them. I hacksawed them off and ground them smooth. That still wasn’t enough so I drilled some more 1/2″ dimples on the crankpin side.

I mentioned earlier about this method being less accurate so I changed the weight of the half-bob to a 59% balance factor, and verified the crankpin rose to the top. I also tried it with 61%. I figure if I’m within a few percent it’s close enough.

The cases come back from Axtell in a few days but there’s not much I can do with them until I get the flywheel back. Guess it’s time to paint some wrinkle.

Quad Cam 88 — Week 4 4-16-99

I’ve been having trouble with tailwheel shimmy on my BD-4 so I called Scott Aviation …. oops, wrong hobby.

I got insurance and ordered my Michigan plate this week … «QC88». Boy, insurance on an XLH883 is cheap, full coverage for $109/yr. It would have cost more if I had a 1200.

Interestingly, I tried to enter «1450» on Progressive’s website but it came back with «number must not exceed 1201». Well, I tried.

While waiting for engine parts to come back I started assembling frame stuff.

I noticed the GMA fork brace cleared the front fender by more than a half inch and only griped the lower fork tubes in 2 quarter inch bands. I set up a boring bar in the mill and bored the brace a quarter inch deeper. Now it still grips the quarter inch where the dust seal trim used to go, and more than a half inch on the tube below that. I have a picture that explains it better.

While I had the handlebars off I took the opertunity to melt lead and pour the last 8″ of the bars full. Man, that sure added some heft, I almost needed help putting them back on. For reference, the 883 Standard uses the same bars as the 1200S.

With the forks permanently mounted I installed the handlebars on 3″ pullback risers. The brake line and wiring still reach but the speedo is tipped straight up because of the pullback. I may want to scrap the speedo and go to a good tach some day so I’ll let it go for now. I’m spending more time sitting on it, I really like the seating position with the pullback riser. I also decided to re-install the stock mirrors and turn signals for now.

I installed the Harrison 6 piston caliper on the front. I’m sticking with the stock 11.5″ rotor and not springing for the 13″ floater, this should still be a BIG improvement. The stock banjo bolt was too long and bottomed out in the Harrison caliper so I ground it down and chased the threads. The banjo is oriented differently than the stock caliper but until I get a front wheel and fender on it I won’t know if the hose routing is ok.

This may be a good time to tell you «the rest of the story». In February I went looking for a Black 883 with laced wheels but the first one available wasn’t due until April. A blue one with cast wheels was coming in March so I put deposits on both of them. While I was waiting for the first one to arrive I searched for a friend who might want the extra one. At the last minute I found him. Here’s the deal, I bought the Blue w/cast and tore it apart. When the Black w/laced comes in next week I’ll swap the fenders, tank, and wheels .. and my buddy will have his very own blue w/cast 883, and I’ll have my black w/laced. Seems kinda silly to most people but if I waited for the black one in April, I doubt I would have had the heart to tear it apart during riding weather …. and now you know the rest of the story.

I painted the Sport Bob fender yesterday but found a couple flaws today, looks like it’s back to wet-sanding. I’ve got time before I need it.

The cases arrived and it’s obvious why Axtell settled on 3-13/16″ … because there’s not enough meat for 3-14/16″! The new spigot bores almost expose the sides of the alignment dowels, and it does cut into the oil drain holes. There’s still plenty of material around the studs so strength shouldn’t be a problem, but leaking might. I’ll pay special attention to the gaskets. I mocked it up once to make sure the cylinders fit, man it’s tight!

I had Axtell install a windage tray. The theory is, if you can get rid of the oil flying off the flywheels, you get less drag and hence, more horsepower. They have 2 of their own windage trays to choose from plus they offer to install one from Zipper’s. I have no idea which one I got, I just told them to install one. It consists of a stainless steel scraper that faces forward and sits close to the flywheels to peel the oil away and guide it to the scavage pump sump, then a wire mesh screen sorta thing reaches behind the flywheels to keep the oil from slopping back up. Again, a picture is available. I sent an email to Axtell to ask them how close I should set the scraper. I also asked them what to head torque to use on this «Ironjug».

Flashback-I’ve seen a few discussions on the list about head torque. When I worked for a dealer back in the ’60s, we never used torque wrenches on Ironheads, we just pulled ’em down as hard as we could, they never leaked.

I shipped left flywheel to Sun-Tech on Monday and I found out they shipped it back (2nd day) on Thursday so I should have it back in a couple days. No word from Zipper’s on the heads yet. Things should start getting interesting next week.

Quad Cam 88 — week 5 — Closing the cases 4-23-99

How often has this happened to you: You go to the airport to shoot some paint and go flying. You’ve taken off and gone about 30 miles when suddenly you remember … «Damn, I left a set of Sportster cases in the oven!!» Don’t you just hate it when that happens? I flew back, ran into the hanger, turned off the stove, then ran back out to continue my flight.

It isn’t my best wrinkle job but at 100mph who’s gonna notice? Back in the shop, I bled the Harrison caliper and installed the stock mirrors and turn signals. Zipper’s called to say they shipped the Edelbrock heads back, they should arrive by the time you read this. The paint on the rear fender looks good, I’ll rub it out after it’s cured a little longer.

I received some questions about the lead in my handlebars. I wanted to add as much weight as possible in the grip area. I figure my hands won’t care if the whole bike shakes, as long as the very ends of the handlebars stay still. I clamped the bars in a padded vise with the outboard bend as the low spot. Then I melted a small amount of lead and poured it down a trough into the end of the bar. With the cooled lead acting as a plug, I turned the end up and poured it full.

The flywheel came back from Sun-Tech complete with their tracking number stamped in the rim. It’s a good looking job but there’s no way to tell how effective it will be until D-day. Earlier I had speculated that once the mercury ring was installed in the flywheel I wouldn’t be able to perform a static balance … ever again. Wrong! I don’t know what I was thinking, the mercury obeys the laws of gravity just like the rest of the static balance process. I re-checked the balance one more time and then followed the old addage «Sooner or later ya gotta shoot the engineer and just build it» … one more dead engineer.

Assembling and trueing the flywheels … I’ll cut right to the wisdom. If you don’t remember anything else I tell you about truing flywheels remember this. Treat the 2 joints where the crankpin meets the flywheels like really stiff balljoints. Write that down.

The process involves installing the crankpin on the pinion side flywheel and torqueing it with Loctite (install woodruff key, align oil hole, yadda yadda yadda). Then assemble the bearing cages, rollers, and rods to the crankpin and install the other flywheel loosely. Use a straightedge to get the alignment close and torque that side down with Loctite. Check the sideplay on the rods and tighten it down some more if they’re loose. After that, all the alignment is done with a BFH. I tried sneaking up on the alignment by progressively tightening the crankpin nuts between adjustments but that was a waste of time. Just tighten ’em down first. You need a heavy hammer that’s slightly softer that the steel flywheels. A 2# brass or copper hammer works best, don’t use lead, rubber, or plastic, it’s a waste of your arm.

I chucked the assembly between centers on my lathe and used a dial indicator to check runout on the shafts while I turned it by hand. I eventually got one shaft to less than .001″ and the other needle didn’t move at all, but it took 4 hours of learning to get there. I wasted some of that time trying to true one side at a time because I thought the tapered crankpin joints were self-aligning and rigid, WRONG, repeat after me «they’re like really stiff balljoints». They can be moved in any direction with the application of hammer blows, C-clamps, hardwood wedges, or combinations of the above.

You really need 2 dial indicators so you get a better picture of the misalignment. For instance, if both indicators move in the same direction you need to «wedge» or «C-clamp». But if they move in opposite directions you need to twist the flywheels. I eventually disciplined myself to measure both shafts before I made any decision. The service manual gives a good description but they left out some stuff. They pointed out 3 modes of misalignment but didn’t suggest the misalignment could occur at, say, 30 degrees from the crankpin. You had to be there. Once I had the right attitude it took less than an hour to finish.

With the «trued» crank temporarily installed in the right case half I set the windage tray scraper about .020″ from the flywheel and then installed the windage screen. Next I installed the crank in the left case and pressed the outer sprocket bearing onto the shaft. I don’t have the special bearing tool so I borrowed a tip from Buzzelli’s book and heated the bearing with a torch and tapped it on. At this point there’s nothing to do but close the cases. I put on a small bead of Loctite 515 Gasket Eliminator and dropped the other case half on. As the gap disappeared, a gratifying bead squeezed out along the seam. I stopped to take a picture and pat myself on the back, it’s coming together!

For a number of reasons I decided to install the engine (we can call it an engine now!) back in the frame in it’s lightest configuration, like right now. I don’t know how many people it takes to install a fully built Evo but I’m pretty sure I can’t do it alone.

Once the front and rear mounts were tight I set about attaching stuff. Eventually I installed the pistons and cylinders to check deck height … did any of you spot my engine assembly error in «week 5»? Once I had the sprocket shaft main bearing installed the next step was supposed to be: «Install the pistons and cylinders in the left case half and check for clearances. Rod to cylinder, cylinder to cylinder, piston to flywheel, piston to piston, etc..» Well, since I skipped that step of course I had a problem. When I installed the pistons and cylinders with the engine in the frame I found the pistons collided near the bottom of the stroke. For reference, the front skirt of the rear piston has a cresent carved out to allow the front piston to go by. I called Axtell and they told me the clearance they machined into the rear piston should have been enough. We briefly discussed rod length and deck height but it was apparant the relief wasn’t deep enough.

I adjusted the boring bar in my Smithy to 3-13/16″ to simulate the size of the front piston, and mounted the rear piston at a 45 degree angle to simulate it’s orientation to the front piston. Axtell recommends .060″ clearance so if they were hitting, that would be the minimum cut. After carving .100″ I tried it again and it still hit. I cut another .100″ and they finally cleared. I removed the front cylinder and shimmed the front piston to the center of the spigot bore to get a dimension for the final cut. After the third cut all is well. This would have been a lot easier before the cases were closed. Live and learn, next time I won’t forget. (Next time!?) I’m sending some pictures to Axtell for a final blessing.

I picked through the transmission but for the life of me I couldn’t find anything I needed to adjust or change so I plunked the chunk in the case. Add a clutch basket, front sprocket, and primary chain and the left side is ready to cover. On the right side I installed cams, tappets, and oil pump and it’s ready to close.

I used a die grinder to smooth out some of the cast iron roughness between the bottom 3 fins on the cylinders to make room for 2 gold chains around each. I feel all that black wrinkle needs a little sparkle to break it up. I was going to use Rolex watches but they’d cover up the Axtell logo, and that makes quite a statement all by itself. This is some of the finest bulk gold chain you can buy in Mexico … I needed 8′ of the stuff … big cylinders.

The Edelbrock heads arrived from Zipper’s with an extra spark pulg hole installed. I shot ’em with black wrinkle and set them aside to cool. Meanwhile I calculated the combustion chamber volume required for the 10.5:1 compression ratio recommended by Edelbrock.

The deck height without a cylinder base gasket measured .002″, the copper head gasket provided by Axtell is .045″, and the base gasket is .020″. The target squish for these cast iron cylinders is .040″ to .045″ cold. Houston, we have a problem. If I use the provided gaskets the squish ends up being .063″, almost useless. I could machine .020″ off the top of the cylinders or I could modify «1200» gaskets to fit these cylinders … or I could leave the base gasket out. Loctite 504, 510, and 515 Gasket Eliminator are all flexible anaerobic flange sealants that should work. Worst case, it drips and I do something different next year. In any case, assume the squish is .043″, Squish .035 .040 .041 .042 .043 .044 .045 .050 10.5:1 68.5 67.6 67.4 67.2 67.0 66.8 66.6 65.7

that requires a combustion chamber volume of 67cc. I measured the valve reliefs in the top of the pistons and they’re each .5cc so subtract 1cc from 67cc = 66cc. The Edelbrock heads are made for the 1200 Sportster and come with 62cc chambers so I have to carve out 4cc from each. While I work on that, I’ll weigh my options on gaskets.

Quad Cam 88 — week 6 — Head work 4-30-99

The votes are in and thanks for playing. After considering many gasketing options including shortening the cylinders, modifying Bartel gaskets, and going gasketless, I finally called Axtell (duh!). I told them I had a deck of .002″ and they said «Yea, that will work fine.» «But», I said, «that doesn’t leave room for base gaskets». «Base gaskets??, we don’t need no stinking base gaskets». They went on to say the case boring leaves so little material that a base gasket would just squash and get squeezed out. I asked if they could recommend a sealer … «Yamabond 4».

Not wanting to admit I never heard of the stuff I used a search engine on the web. That goo is famous! I found references everywhere from Sports Car Club of America to the 2-Stroke Racing League. I stopped by my local Japanese bike dealer and asked for some, without even looking he reached over his shoulder and grabbed a tube. I’m guessing most of you have heard of this miracle stickum.

With the gasket situation solved I could go on with cc’ing the heads. I had determined for 10.5:1 compression ratio and .043″ squish I needed 66cc (67cc minus 1cc for valve reliefs in the pistons). I borrowed a professional buret and dove in. The buret is a transparent tube about 30″ long that’s mounted vertically with a valve and nozzle at the bottom. It’s graduated down the side with zero near the top and 100cc toward the bottom. I used rubbing alcohol but I understand everything from automatic transmission fluid to parts cleaner are used. The cylinder head is shimmed level and the combustion chamber is covered with a piece of 1/4″ plexiglass. A thin smear of grease makes a leakproof seal and a small hole in the plexi is used to fill-er-up.

You over-fill the buret and then drain it down to the zero mark. Position the nozzle over the hole and open the valve. It fills the head at the rate of about 1cc/second so it takes a minute to fill. As it nears capacity a large bubble forms and then, drip, drip, drip, done! Read the capacity off the tube and man the die grinder. First you have to drain the alcohol back into the bottle, I suppose with a little more forethought I could have used a different liquid and emptied it with a drinking straw, but after a couple «rounds» I wouldn’t have been able to read the buret.

The initial reading for the «62cc» head was 63.4, probably due to the extra spark plug hole and the 2 spark plugs. I used a flexible shaft die grinder with a round nosed, conical, spiral flute bit. I made shavings for a while and measured again. On the third session I hit 66.2cc, … which is what I really wanted all along … honest. I was a little more careful on the other head and snuck up on 66.2, it’s more important they be equal than exact. Time for another pat-yourself-on-the-back break.

As luck would have it I got an email from Rickko that evening with a question about heat expansion that got me thinking. If an Evo cylinder inhales a half a compression ratio as it warms up and an iron cylinder doesn’t, did Edelbrock remember which one I was using when they recommended 10.5:1?? Rats! (and thanks Rickko) I called Edelbrock’s tech support line and waited 28 minutes on hold, it was that important. After reaching the right tech I got a «Hmmm, I didn’t think of that, your right, I wouldn’t go above 10:1» … back to the charts. After reviving the Compression Ratio Engineer I had shot the night before, I fired up the die grinder and headed for 70.5cc. It’s a good thing my education is staying ahead of my experience … or my luck staying ahead of my … well … you know.

Next we «clay» the pistons to check valve-to-piston clearance. I assembled a ringless piston and cylinder and taped a piece of plumbers wire solder over each valve relief on the piston. After bolting on the head and dropping in a couple Crane adjustable pushrods I turned to get a rocker assembly when I realized the rocker installs in the lower rocker box casting … which I had just bead blasted and hadn’t wrinkled yet. Do you believe that, painting now took precidence over wrenching, nuts. After some quick painting I positioned the piston just into the power stroke and bolted on the rocker assemblies. I had soaked the tappets in parts cleaner for a few weeks so they bled down as fast as I adjusted the pushrods. When the tappets bottomed out I locked the nuts and rolled the motor forward one revolution.

The reason for this exercize is to verify that the valves don’t get too close to the pistons or to each other during «overlap». My cam specs say the intake valve is open .166″ at TDC during overlap and the exhaust valve is open .192″. Since Edelbrock designed these cams for use with these heads I wasn’t worried about valve-to-valve clearance but with .043″ squish and JE pistons would the valves hit the pistons? Axtell said «no» but I’ve been apologized to before. By rolling the motor through overlap with soft wire solder on top of the piston I got a frozen image of the clearances. It showed the reliefs in the piston were properly aligned with the valves and there is plenty of clearance. Cool. Take it all back apart and put some rings on the pistons.

The top compression ring gets hotter than the second compression ring so they expand differenly and have different end gaps. Axtell recommends .006″ per inch of bore for the top one and .004″ per inch for the second one. I found they came from the manufacturer with almost no gap, imagine the damage skipping this step would cause! Axtell has a picture of one in their catalog, visualize the immovable object and the unstoppable force … your wallet loses every time. I found the best way to file the ends of the rings was to hold the ring around my waist like a hula-hoop and grind it with a belt sander (gratuitus big bore reference). Once set to .024″ and .016″ I installed them on the pistons. Looks like tomorrow I’ll be loading both barrels.

* Axtell recommended some starting jet sizes for the carb: 31 intermediate, 78 main, 100 Thunderjet, 160 airbleed.
* Axtell cautioned me to run a colder plugs.
* Axtell recommended I torque the heads to 42-45 ft/lbs.
* We’re down to the last day in April and no word on my «other» bike. I wonder how Dean will feel about having bald tires on his new bike??
* I’m still waiting for the correct intake manifold, Edelbrock makes a special one for the S&S carb.
* I secretly ordered a Fisher Damper, don’t tell my wife. I don’t plan on installing it until I get a feel for the vibration without it.

-I’m waiting for my oil tank to come back from the airbrusher, I offered to let Don (from Hell) put his shop logo on it in gratitude for the thousands (literally) that he saved me on parts. The other day Don asked me if I’d ever worked on a shovelhead crank. I told him the last time I worked at a dealership the shovel was too new to need bottom end work. He thought that was funny, I feel old:(

Quad Cam 88 — week 6.5 — Cranking it over 5-3-99

While doing the final assembly of the cams I measured endplay and found #3 cam (front intake) had ZERO clearance! I used a depth micrometer and found the inboard bushing was .023″ «taller» than the rest of them. I started making a tool to face it down and I had just finished turning a pilot shaft when «I wonder … «. I set a large brass punch against the offending bushing and gave it a whack (technical term), it let out a hollow «clunk» and then felt solid. Yep, my «perfect» motor showed it’s true colors again, it looks like they pressed the bushing in by tightening the cam cover on.

I installed the pistons on the rods and installed teflon plugs to hold the wrist pins in place. These pistons are symetrical. The wrist pin isn’t offset to reduce piston slap like the stock ones. This will make the engine noisier when it’s cold and the EPA won’t like it but it won’t cost any horsepower. Axtell doesn’t care about noise, they don’t have to, they’re Axtell.

I opened the Yamabond 4 and brushed a thin film on the base of a cylinder and the case. This stuff is thin and pastey which makes it easy to spread with a small brush. The Loctite 515 I used on the case halves is stringier and wouldn’t have brushed out as nice, which is important because I didn’t want the sealer squeezing out and restricting the oil return holes.

Speaking of oil return holes, a note of trivia. There is only one drain hole in the case for each cylinder but the cylinders have 2, to make them interchangable. Wait, that’s not the curious part. The heads are not interchangable for a dozen reasons so the heads only need one drain hole each, like the stock heads. For some reason the Edelbrock heads have 2 drain holes in each head, so any oil that manages to get into the «upper» drain hole will be waiting to surprise the next poor sucker who pulls a cylinder off. I guess I could have plugged them, but where would the fun be in that?

I made a ring compressor from a strip of aircraft aluminum and a 4″ hose clamp. After seating the cylinder I put the dowels, o-rings, and copper head gasket in place. A shot of WD-40 on the threads, drop on the head and torque the head in increments to 45 ft/lbs. One more time and it looks like an engine. I dropped in the Crane adjustable pushrods and installed the rockers. I adjusted the pushrods longer and counted the flats until they bottomed out at about 30. Since the tappets were dry I could turn them by hand. I chose a value of 24 (4 turns) …. just because. I suppose I could have set them anywhere from 1 to 29 and never noticed the difference but this way they won’t hammer as loud while they pump up for the first time.

Everyone who has been waiting for Tom to make a mistake can take heart. The heads came without studs and I figured it would be easier to install them with the heads firmly anchored (installed). That worked really good until I came to the front motor mount. Some of you are laughing now but I didn’t know. Think about it, if there was room for a bolt, they would have used a bolt like all the other mounting points, but if there isn’t room to put a bolt in, there isn’t room to put a stud in either! Time to take a break and ponder.

The upper motor mount didn’t line up very well so I was planning to loosen all the mounts again anyway (yea, right). With the upper and front mounts removed I loosened the rear mounts and let the motor sag. I was able to lean the motor to the left enough by hand to install the stud. I kept a little left english on it when I re-tightened the rear mount and the upper mount lined up good.

The ’98-’99 XLH’s have the ignition module in the nose cone. I capped off the original ignition module plug under the frame and installed the Crane HI-4 module in the nose cone. I routed the wiring harness up under the seat and forward along the top frame tube to the coil location, it was exactly the right length. I found the white w/black wire that fed the original coil and connected it to the new coil. The red, white, and black from the HI-4 connect to the new coil also, that’s it!

I chose the «race» setting on the ignition module which doesn’t allow the use of VOES. Axtell warns against using VOES in their motors for the simple reason they make too much power. They rationalise that when you come to a hill, you don’t move the throttle enough to signal VOES to retard the ignition. The extra load with the extra advance from VOES generates excess heat so Axtell says «Hell no, we won’t VOES». The tilt switch also went in the trash but I kept the handlebar kill switch.

I couldn’t resist putting the plugs in and hitting the starter just once. The starter was REAL unhappy. It just sat there for a few seconds growling at me, then rrrrrrrrrrrOWLFrrrrrrrrrOWLF. You guys with strokers know what I’m talking about. I’m starting to be afraid.

Quad Cam 88 — week 7 — It … it …… Idles!!! 5-7-99

Dean’s bike finally showed up, but not without fanfare. We’ve both been calling to find out why it didn’t show up in April as promised. It got to where they would say «Look, we’ve got 2 stars by your name, when it gets here, we’ll call!» (there’s another moonwalk coming). Dean went to the dealership Wednesday and cornered a salesman. He pulled Dean’s file and said «You’re waiting for the police bike, right?» … silence … «remember, you called a couple weeks ago and changed your order» … stunned silence … «yea, after you called we moved your $500 deposit to the ‘Glide and put the black Sportster back in the pool.

After Dean regained conciousness they put the whole story together. Apparantly somebody with a name that sounds like Dean’s called and changed his order. They inadvertantly pulled Dean’s file and made the changes in there. «Where’s my bike now?!?» asked Dean. «It came in last week and nobody wanted it. A guy came in yesterday and said he’d take it if we change the color to red….let me see….yea, they’re pulling the fenders off right now.»

I know what you’re thinking, «What a piece of fiction, this can’t be true, you’re making this up. You’re trying to tell me nobody wanted a black Sportster with laced wheels??» Hard to believe, isn’t it?

Dean got the paperwork done and they prep’ed the bike. I picked it up yesterday, switched the wheels and bodywork last night, and Dean rode away on it today.

While I was waiting this week I rubbed out the Sport Bob rear fender and installed it with the stock turn signals. I also relocated the front turn signals from the handlebars to the top triple clamp, bled the front brake, installed the pegs and pedals, installed the oil tank, battery, and exhaust, and primed the oil system. Today I put the wheels, front fender, and tank on, and took the bike off the lift, now I can sit on it … ahhhh. All that’s left is the carb.

Edelbrock lists 3 intake manifolds for their Performer RPM 1200 heads. 1678 flange mount, 1679 spigot mount, 1686 for the S&S Super E. I’ve been having trouble finding the 1686 so today I called their tech support line and talked to Tom. He took my number and called me back with the best and worst explanation you can imagine. «We don’t actually have a 1686, we’re still prototyping it.» … stunned silence from me this time. I’m supposed to call him back next week and he’ll see if they have a prototype they can send me.

….. intermission ….. talk amongst yourselves … smoke ’em if you got ’em … take 5 and collect your thoughts … visit our snack bar … WHAT THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NOW????????

I’m too close to quit now so I threw the instructions away and attempted to install the Super E with a 1678 manifold. I used a quarter inch spacer block and got the carb to bolt up but the throttle linkage is so close to the front head that you can’t move it. What the hell, I hooked up a fuel line, poured some gas in the tank, opened the petcock, pulled up the enrichner, turned on the key, and hit the starter.

LOOK OUT IDAHO, WE’RE MAKIN ‘TATERS!!!

IT IDLES!

Quad Cam 88 — week 7.2 — Throttle response 5-08-99

Even with the throttle linkage binding on the front head, I found I could get a high idle by twisting the throttle kinda hard …. so I went for a ride through the neighborhood. I idled up the hill, then idled down a side street, then I idled into Paul’s driveway to say «Hi», then I idled home again. This bike sure idles nice.

I’m not waiting for Edelbrock to provide an intake manifold so I fired up the die grinder and made the carb fit. I should probably clarify for those of you conjuring up images of mutilated carburetor parts, I chamfered an edge on the rear head to clear the external main air bleed jet, I removed 1/16″ from the corner of one of the fins on the rear cylinder to clear the float bowl, and I ground a relief in one of the corners of the front head to clear the throttle return spring. Now let’s see what it REALLY sounds like.

I was totally unprepared for the throttle response this animal has. The closest thing I’ve heard like it is when a fuel dragster stages. It idles rough and lopey like it can barely contain itself, then, in an instant, the chassis twists and the engine barks out one gigantic snarl … and then it’s idleing again. You never hear it change rpm, it idles, then it barks, then it idles. A few weeks ago I had trouble describing the size of the new cylinders, but nothing short of an audio recording will convey a semblance of this experience.

The air cleaner w/K&N element are installed but I still have to fabricate a support and the head breathers aren’t connected to anything yet. Screw that, it’s time to ride. My adrenylin was pumping as I grabbed my helmet, checked for gas money in my wallet, hit the garage door opener, and prepared to get prematurely gray. I threw a leg over as the door raised, rats, it’s raining cats and dogs.

I sat on the bike in the garage for 4 hours waiting for the rain to quit and at 8pm, it did. Seriously, while I was waiting I installed a set of Harley forward controls and filled the tank with premium. It was 54 degrees and getting dark when I clicked it in gear and headed for town. Actually I hit Dexter, Ann Arbor, Whitmore Lake, and Hamburg in the next hour and covered 40 miles. A cager crossed the center line on Mast road and I dodged a deer on Huron River Drive but I smiled the whole time.

First impressions … fistfulls of fun. In high gear you only have to think about changing speed, there’s no noticable movement of the throttle. A sneeze is about 5 mph. I haven’t used more than a quarter throttle and I haven’t had it over 50 yet, but for robust acceleration to 50 you don’t need more than a quarter and you don’t need to spend more than 1 second in each gear. You people with strokers know exactly what I mean, this is a LOT of fun, it’s exactly what I was trying to build.

I’m not the right person to assess vibration, I haven’t been on a Sportster since 1975. At 50 mph I took inventory of my extremities and noted no discomfort. I guess I’ll have to look for a volunteer to make an objective observation. It’s no Goldwing but it’s pretty smooth.

I haven’t checked the timing, there are 4 fixed jets and several screws to fiddle with on the carb, and I still have to work on the air cleaner mounting but for all practical purposes, it’s finished. It’s been exactly 6 weeks and 4 days since I bought the bike. Several people have written me with questions and I’ll be responding to them all soon. I have more pictures to post and a .wav file to make, and I’ll be working up an expense report but you have to promise not to share it with my wife.

A special thanks to co-conspirators Maurice and Rickko for helping me bounce ideas around, and to Doug Mansfield (obviously) and Mitch Hibbs for posting my stuff, and to all of you who privately wished me well.

P.S. Did you know S&S recommends a 2000 mile break-in for their rods? The fools.

Quad Cam 88 — week 8 — Now we’re havin’ fun 5-14-99

I just got back from a 200 mile ride. With over 500 miles on the bike I’ve been going a little faster, in fact I’ve been into triple digits a couple times, by accident! One time I was passing 2 cars on M-36 and when I pulled back in I looked at the speedo, yeoww!!, I’ve got to be more careful. That calculates to about 5000 rpm in 5th gear and it was still pulling strong, I’m sure it will pull 6800 rpm (140 mph) without a problem. The bugs get really hard at those speeds too.

Edelbrock simply doesn’t have an intake manifold for the S&S carb, they said try calling back next fall. I sawed the mounting ears off the S&S air cleaner backing plate and screwed the breather adapters into the heads. I had to shorten the enrichener lever and I haven’t supported the air cleaner yet but installed this way, the air cleaner is 1/2″ closer to the engine than S&S intended, and with the forward controls your knee rests on the air cleaner.

The oil temperature has been running around 160 degrees which is a little cooler than I would like to see, but after a 30 miles at 75 mph on US27 it got up to 200. We’ll see what the summer temperatures are. Oh yea, remind me to change the oil.

I ran some compression tests and got 195 psi cold, and 200 psi hot. It looks like Zipper’s was right, 9.8:1 would have put it closer to 175 than 10:1 did. You’ll notice with iron cylinders the pressure increases as it warms up. The higher-than-planned compression isn’t causing the starter any problem though, probably the short stroke is the reason. My earlier starter concern was due to excessive voltage drop in my temporary battery cables, it turns over with vigor now.

Fuel economy isn’t too bad, the first tank netted over 45 mpg. Since I’ve been picking up the pace it’s fallen into the lower 40’s, I get about 130 miles before I hit reserve. Axtell’s catalog says their 88″, 9 second, 154hp «Street Fighter» gets 43 mpg on the street! I’ve found that at 50 mph I can just pull the clutch in and it only picks up a couple thousand rpm, you just don’t need much throttle.

I sometimes lose track of what gear I’m in, all 5 of them are capable of uncomfortably strong acceleration. My favorite launch is to twist it a little harder in each gear so each gear pulls harder than the one before, trouble is, that usually leads to exceeding the speed limit, and I don’t want to do that, yea, that would be wrong. I did some roll-on testing in 3rd gear to assure myself the front end will stay planted, I think it does between 40 and 60 anyway (3000-4000), I’m still working up the courage to wind it tighter. I actually had the throttle all the way open for the first time today, I did a roll-on at 70 mph and had about 4 seconds before it got to 100, I took a second grip and felt it hit the stop, this won’t happen very often.

This is insane, I’m either worried about going too fast, or looping it, what kind of a monster did I build … and why can’t I stop grinning?

Handling has been supurb! With the Goldwing I sometimes got a little too deep into a corner and had to drag something, the Sportster has always got room to spare and that really inspires confidence. The Progressive rear shocks are set on their lightest setting and the front cartridges are set where Race-Tech suggested for street use.

The Harrison Mini-6 front brake is great, even with the stock 11.5″ rigid rotor it STOPS! The cartridge emulators control the dive and I hardly use the rear brake for anything. «If you want to stop, add 2 fingers of Harrison.»

Dean stopped by my office last Tuesday to see the bike, (I keep my bike WITH me). I said «You want to» «YES!!» «take it for a ride?» He was gone for 15 minutes and came back grinning. He noticed all the obvious differences between his 883 and «Beast» but I asked him about vibration. He said the difference is very noticable. I’ve read stories about Sportster vibration being so severe at 70 mph that you can’t even see the mirrors, much less what’s in them. Hear this, you can balance a nickel on my mirrors at 70 mph! Sure, the bike shakes and vibrates here and there but after 200 miles in the saddle today I didn’t find any objectionable vibration at any speed, which is going to make it difficult to quantify the Fisher Damper if I put it in. I think it’s safe to endorse Sun Tech’s Balance Masters.

I also endorse the «Rainbow Strobe». I paid particular attention to cagers at stop signs today and saw something remarkable. Some cars would actually wait for me from 2 blocks away! NO cars pulled out within hundreds of feet of me. I really think they thought I was a Police bike or emergency vehicle. Works for me.

I can’t endorse the Harley Sport Windshield though. It looks really cool but creates such a buffeting on my helmet that I can’t even hear the exhaust! It lasted 5 miles.

I took some pictures but had the camera on a lower resolution than usual. I sent a composite to Doug to post anyway, and I promise some audio files soon, and maybe an expense report, and maybe a dyno run, and maybe some ET’s.

P.S. A customized softail passed me on the expressway today without even waving, probably running one of them little 80″ one-cam motors.

Quad Cam 88 — How much did it cost?? 5-22-99

I’ll run through the costs assosciated with my project, but a couple things you need to know. First, I was able to obtain a lot of the parts at dealer cost, you have my permission to envy me. Second, don’t tell my wife, she won’t understand like you do.

Let’s start by buying a bike. I chose the XLH883 Standard ’cause it’s dirt cheap. And of course you have to get the optional laced wheels.

Harley Davidson XLH883   5345.00
Black                       0.00
Laced wheels              320.00
Prep and Delivery         375.00
Tax/title/license         393.00
Out the door         6433.00

You could stop right there but what kind of a challange would that be. Let’s get some go-fast stuff from Axtell. And of course you need to get your cases bored.

3-13/16″ Cylinders        470.00
JE Pistons                177.00
Plasma Moly Rings          34.00
Tool steel wrist pins      28.00
Teflon buttons, head
gaskets, dowels, etc.    83.00
Bore cases, install stud
kit and windage tray,
shipping                203.99
Subtotal              995.99
Total parts so far    995.99
Throw in a bike      7428.99

You could stop right here but with 883 valves you won’t gain much. You could have Zipper’s hog out your existing heads for about $550, or you could put STD monster heads on it for $2000, but I wanted to try some closed chamber heads with medium sized valves in a quest for midrange torque. I chose Edelbrock’s Performer RPM 1200 heads. And of course you have to get the matching manifold.

Edelbrock heads           800.00
Edelbrock manifold         53.00
Subtotal              853.00
Total parts so far   1848.99
Throw in a bike      8281.99

You could stop right here but without bigger cams you won’t get a good cylinder fill. I originally chose Red Shift 567V2’s but later changed to Edelbrock 1743’s. They’re both similar cams but Edelbrock got the nod because no headwork was needed. And of course you can’t use the stock pushrods anymore.

Edelbrock cams            310.00
Crane adjustable pushrods  68.00
Subtotal              378.00
Total parts so far   1886.99
Throw in a bike      8319.99

You could stop right here but a bigger carburetor is needed with those bigger cams. I chose the S&S Super E, just because. I bought the S&S carb kit and ended up with an intake maniflod and gaskets left over. And of course Zipper’s says you need a Thunderjet to make it work right.

S&S Super E               305.00
Thunderjet                 55.00
Subtotal              360.00
Total parts so far   2246.99
Throw in a bike      8679.99

You could stop right here but at this point you really should consider a single fire ignition system. I chose the Crane HI-4 because Axtell recommended it. And of course you need Crane’s matching single fire coil.

Crane HI-4                180.00
Crane coil                 95.00
Subtotal              275.00
Total parts so far   2521.99
Throw in a bike      8954.99

You could stop right here but with the stock exhaust system you might as well take the bus. I chose Krome Werks ARII staggered duals mostly for the looks. I also have a set of Carl’s Speed Shop staggered duals to try. More horsepower is waiting in the warehouse’s of Vance and Hines, Supertrapp, and the like. And of course you need the matching heat shields.

ARII exhaust system       249.00
ARII heat shields          60.00
Subtotal              309.00
Total parts so far   2830.99
Throw in a bike      9263.99

You could stop right here but the stock clutch may not be up to the task. I chose the Barnett «extra plate» Kevlar clutch without the heavy duty spring. And of course you’ll want to install an M-6 primary chain tensioner while you’re in there, and while we’re guilding the lily, lets install Sun Tech’s Balance Masters on the clutch and in the left flywheel. And of course you’ll want to replace your stock connecting rods becausetheFactorycan’tdecidewhetheryour originalonesshouldbereplacedunderwarrantyandyou’dstillbewaitingfor themifyoudidn’thauloffandbuyanewsetofrodsfromS&S.

Barnett clutch kit        125.00
M-6 chain tensioner        80.00
S&S heavy duty rod set    240.00
Clutch Balance Master      68.00
Flywheel Balance Master   212.90
Subtotal              725.90
Total parts so far   3556.89
Throw in a bike      9989.89

You could stop right here but the suspension and brakes suck. I chose Race Tech’s Gold Valve cartridge emulators and springs for the front, and I found a set of used Progressive 418’s on the web. I also picked a Harrison Billet Mini-6 front brake caliper to use with the stock rotor. And of course you need a fork brace.

Race Tech emulators       120.00
Race Tech springs          85.00
Used Progressive 418s      55.00
Harrison front caliper    365.00
GMA fork brace            115.00
Subtotal              740.00
Total parts so far   4296.89
Throw in a bike     10729.89

You could stop right here but it isn’t really done yet. There are some odds and ends that need to be included:

Valve gasket set           28.00
Throttle cable             18.00
Return cable               18.00
Oil temperature dipstick   25.00
Tail light modulator       31.00
Rainbow strobe             25.00
Use Corbin Gunfighter     110.00
Rear fender               130.00
Subtotal              286.00
Total parts so far   4681.89
Throw in a bike     11114.89

All in all I’m quite satisfied with the way it turned out, I could have spent a lot more and got a lot less. Of course there’s a lot of labor involved, Zipper’s quoted me $6700 to build just the motor, and that didn’t include Balance Masters, ignition, or clutch … and you’d still have to do the chassis work.

It turns out the extra spark plug holes I had added to the heads are not necessary for either ignition or compression release, but they are a conversation starter. The Fisher damper hasn’t been installed yet, and won’t be until I can quantify the existing vibration.

On a sobering note, it got away from me once already. I remember seeing 100+ on the speedo seconds before I lost my line on a sandy exit ramp and drifted too close to the curb. Fortunately when I touched the curb I was back on track, unfortunately I also broke my shifting foot. Now I have a lot of free time to learn patience. Anybody wanna borrow a bike for 6 weeks? 🙁

Ok, ok, John let the cat out of the bag. 9-20-99

It was really kinda innocent, my wife sent me to the carpet store to get a gallon of rug shampoo. After strapping it to the bike I noticed the Harley dealer across the street was having an open house. The thing that caught my attention was the «Dyno Shootout» sign and nobody in line … so I pulled in.

Imagine if you will, my Sportster fully equipped to sanitize carpets, strapped to a dyno and making a roar that shocked the dyno operator. When they unbuckled it and backed it out, the operator rode it out the other side of the shop and took the long way around to the parking lot.

«That’s a nice torque curve, who built the motor?» he said. We looked at the curve together, there was a straight line running all the way across the sheet. It came on the page at 80 lb/ft of torque at 2000 rpm!! At 4000 rpm it was 90 lb/ft and stayed there until the torque curve crossed the horsepower curve at 5252 rpm. That explains why riding this bike makes you smile (right John?).

Gary at GM cycle (32 National records on an 88″ Axtell Sportster, and builder of «The world’s fastest 1200 Sportster) warned me I had too much Thunderjet for my carb/air cleaner/exhaust combination. It hadn’t bothered me because the bleed orifice on the Thunderjet delays it’s contribution until 4500 rpm where the world is moving by at triple digits and fuel economy is a 4 letter word. But the curve showed it’s effect, the torque curve fell sharply in the low 5’s when it got too rich, limiting peak horsepower to 90 at 5200 rpm.

With a little tinkering we agreed another 10 horsepower could be had, and with a different exhaust system the torque peak would reach 100 at 3000 rpm!! If you check my article you’ll see my target was to keep the horsepower under 100 and concentrate on torque, I think I succeded.

By the way John, on my way home I was following a couple wannabe NASCAR drivers on US23 for a while at 90 mph … until it was time to pick up the pace … have you ever gone so fast that the curves on the interstate seemed sharp?? I held it in triple digits for 40 miles … I was back in Hell in no time 🙂

Quad Cam 88 update 8-14-99

The foot’s fine and I’ve put 3000 miles on QC88 so far. I ride it to work every nice day and park it in my office. While my broken foot was mending we referred to it as «the worlds fastest wheelchair». One of the guys at the shop took a video of me riding through the halls of the Plant with my foot in a cast and a shop towel wrapped around my exposed toes.

I came up with a frame of reference you can all relate to. Wrap a piece of masking tape around the throttle grip and stick a small pointer to the switch housing next to the grip. Mark the masking tape in 1/8″ increments from closed throttle to open. Warm it up and see what top gear speeds you get at each mark and then let’s compare notes. I’ll go first.

First mark (0″) = Idle
Second mark (1/8″) = 60 mph
Third mark (1/4″) = 90 mph
Fourth mark (3/16″) = 110 mph

I need a volunteer to check THE OTHER 5 MARKS!!

Throttle friction is extremely important, you need enough to maintain speed hands-off, but not so much that you can’t make SMALL corrections, remember 1/8″ is 60 mph. You control the speed with your mind, kinda like making a turn, you don’t really move the handlebars, the bike just seems to follow the road. Same thing.

I tried to use a tape recorder to capture the essence of a ride but I learned something about the bike’s vibration. Every time I’d pull the trigger, the recorder would turn off. It turns out that when you open the throttle the bike shakes … HARD! Trust me, you don’t think about vibration when you’re turning gas into noise, hell you’re lucky if you remember to breathe. The vibration at normal speeds is not objectionable but the throttle’s almost closed most of the time. I’m almost ready to install the Fisher Damper and see what changes.

Some stories:

My little brother Pete was in town for a week so I borrowed Paul’s Road King and we went riding. When Pete was 12 we used to balance him on a Duo-Glide and start him down the road. He would go to a circular driveway a mile down the road and we’d catch him when he came back in the driveway. Pete’s been riding a long time. It was a lot of fun watching somebody wring my bike out in front of me, the effortless acceleration, the puff of smoke and the twitch from the rear wheel when he shifted, the noise, God, the noise, I could listen to that music all day, what a rush.

I took the long way home last week and came across a ’97 Honda VTR1000 sitting on the side of M-36 reading a map. He was looking for a twistier way back to Detroit so I offered to take him about 5 miles to Bull Run. We saddled up and rolled out. Once under way I gave the international hand signal for «Wagon’s Ho» and we both stood on it. I didn’t see him at all until we were in triple digits when he crawled by tucked so deep in his fairing you could only see his butt. As he slowly moved ahead his hand peered out of the fiberglass and gave me a thumbs up. We sailed through some corners and rocketed down some chutes until we got to our destination. He told me he didn’t normally enjoy riding with Harley’s but he’d ride with me anytime. I think he was impressed.

I looked up the VTR1000 later, it’s a 90 degree Ducati-like V-twin layout with near-4″ pistons running a 2.6″ stroke. Makes 105 horsepower at 9000 rpm and 60 lb/ft of torque at 6000 rpm. Big bore, short stroke, V-twin, my kind of bike.

I was sitting at the stop sign that marks the beginning of my favorite quarter mile when 2 bikes stopped on the other side of the intersection. I was going to wait for them to turn left in front of me but they waved me through, their funeral. I pulled the trigger harder than I ever had before, the front tire only touched the pavement a few times in the first hundred feet and the 2 bikers probably had heart attacks when I shifted at 7200. I stayed in it to about 120 in 4th gear and then came back to reality. Later, when I came back through the intersection, there was a strip of rubber about 100′ long! Yea, Metty needs a 98″ motor, they’ll need a whole wall for those x-rays!

Tom Metty tmetty@umich.edu ’99 883/1450

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