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Old 04-07-2005, 09:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Rocker box cover (wrench) help

I hope someone has an answer other than "your screwed" on removing my rockerbox cover. Doing a bunch of work on an '86 FXR lowrider which also includes pulling some of the covers and polish/buffing them. (won't list all the upgrades here) When I got ready to pull the rockerbox covers made a scary discovery. The left two bolts on the rear cover are smack under the frame. Both have about 1/2" clearance between the top of the bolt and the bottom of the frame. Even if I can manage to make a special allen wrench by cutting hardened steel (doubtfull) there isn't enough clearance to unthread the bolts enough to remove the cover.

Does anyone know of an "...hey...all ya got to do is...." to take the covers off short of pulling the engine? Besides, warm weather is here and I want to get the ride back on the road.

Any help?
JJ the DIY guy (most of the time)
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Old 04-07-2005, 10:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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yup your screwed
you have to pull the rear head with the rocker box because of clearence problems
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Old 04-07-2005, 10:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You read the situation right but you're not screwed. You will need to lower the engine in the frame. Do this by removing the front mounting bolt while supporting the engine on a separate jack (the bike is on a stand already at this point). With the mount disconnected, lower the engine so that the whole assembly rocks forward, hinging on the two rear mounts. As this happens you'll get enough clearance on the rear cyliinder to remove the rocker cover bolts.

Another trick I've seen is an access hole drilled directly above the bolt head through the frame. This eliminates the need to lower the engine.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-08-2005, 10:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks guys,
Last night when I discovered the problem with the bolts I was seriously looking at drilling two holes through the frame to acces the bolts. Glad I'm not the only one. Wondered why Harley in it's infinite wisdom didn't do that as part of the frame manufacturing process. Since the frame is basicly two formed channels at that location it shouldn't weaken the frame enough to be an issue.

Thanks FXR2, as to dropping the engine, no can do on this year/model. There is only 1/2" between the front of front head and the frame, 1/2" between the primary case and the frame and about 1" between the engine case and the mounting cross bar if the bracket is completly removed. Don't think I can get enough clearance. The front of the engine would only drop 1/2" max which would equal about an extra 1/4" max at the rocker bolts. Good idea though.... (Yup, the bike is on a stand)

Wrencher, it looks like your right. Other than drilling the frame I don't see any other way of getting at those bolts.

Do other models have this same problem or is this unique to the 86 FXR?
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Old 04-08-2005, 11:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Interesting. I always thought that the lower-engine method applied to all Evo FXR's. I know it worked on mine, and even though it's a 1999, it's the same 84-94 FXR frame with a Evo motor.

Understand, I'm not talking about a lot of engiine movement--you only need to move those bolt heads down a little bit and you'll still need to use a shortened allen wrench. The bolts themselves aren't very long, so there's not all that much to unscrew.

Check this link:

http://www.v-twinforum.com/forums/ar...p/t-10968.html

Anyway, this is how my local shop does it--I know they don't remove or dismantle the engine.
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Old 04-08-2005, 01:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the link FXR2, looks like I'm not the first to discover this (obviously). I'm still curious about the clearance with the other frames. The 84 FXR drilled the frame to access the bolt and the others mentioned seem to be a 94 bagger, a sporty and your 99 FXR. Slight changes in frames clearance between the front of head and primary could make a big difference. I still wonder if anyone has done the tip the engine on a '84-'86 FXRS. The lowrider frame wraps pretty close on both the rear rocker bolts. I'll try and take a digital when I get home tonight and upload.
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Old 04-08-2005, 01:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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My Vote!

Drill the frame. There is absolutely no weakening of the frame with that hole size in that area. Moving an older rubber mounted motor fore and aft can create different additional problems including alignment issues, leading to excessive motor vibration. Been there done both! my.02
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Old 04-14-2005, 08:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I've drilled the frame on several bikes for this purpose. Talking to the Snap-on tool salesman and he turned me on to a rocker box wrench made for this purpose. Made by KASTAR, #6529. It has worked well the 3 times I've used it since purchase.
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:40 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Last night I was at a custom Harley shop picking up my carb after having some work done on it before putting it back on the bike. While there I asked about access to the rear bolts etc and the reply was "through the access holes in the frame". Huummmmmm.... Getting back to my earlier thought, did Harley figure out in '87 that the '86 was screwed and pre-drill the frame? Curious if anyone knows for a fact if and when Harley modified the FXR frame for better access. Inquiring minds want to know.....
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