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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a 64 FLH that has a pan bottom/shovel top end. As with most pans, it leaks from the primary...my understanding is that this is how the final drive chain gets its lubrication. Also, the primary cover has a few tabs broken off, so it doesn't seal well. The time has come to replace the primary chain and I was wondering if there was a primary belt system for it that would fit within a stock ( or stock looking) primary cover. I do not want an open primary. Would I have cooling issues with a belt drive enclosed in the primary cover? What about clutch lubrication???? Obviously, I would have to manually oil the final drive chain, but I see that as a small price to pay.
 

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100thevo said:
I've got a 64 FLH that has a pan bottom/shovel top end. As with most pans, it leaks from the primary...my understanding is that this is how the final drive chain gets its lubrication. Also, the primary cover has a few tabs broken off, so it doesn't seal well. The time has come to replace the primary chain and I was wondering if there was a primary belt system for it that would fit within a stock ( or stock looking) primary cover. I do not want an open primary. Would I have cooling issues with a belt drive enclosed in the primary cover? What about clutch lubrication???? Obviously, I would have to manually oil the final drive chain, but I see that as a small price to pay.
Having run an open belt for 15 years now I would recommend against running an enclosed belt. They are much narrower and don't hold up over time. I have seen so many enclosed belts with half the teeth stripped off. If you do go with an enclosed belt, you run a dry clutch. As for venting, you can buy vented inspection cover and derby covers. Or you can just use a few spacers and space out the derby cover. Personally, I would keep the chain drive and just fix all the problems rather than replacing it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Springer,

I've seen a few of your posts and you seem fairly knowledgable (or enough more knowledgeable than me that I think you're fairly knowledgable) of the pre-Evo bikes. This is the 1st pre-evo that I've owned. I hate stuff that leaks. I realize that a pan that never leaks is probably an oxymoron, but how much leakage can I expect from a "correct" primary on a pan. I know it'll leak some as that is how the chain gets lubed. I don't want an open primary for two reasons. 1. I think the pan primary cover looks kick-ass. 2. Whenever I see an open primary I always wonder what would happen if a pant leg got caught in the belt.

If I go to a belt, I can expect to have to convert the clutch to a dry clutch system, correct? What kind of life expectancy would I get out of the narrow belt. This is a 2nd, sunny day only, barhopper, close to home bike. The engine is a low compression 74 inch pan-shovel that is not ridden hard. Ever catch anything in your open primary system?
 

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100thevo said:
Springer,

I've seen a few of your posts and you seem fairly knowledgable (or enough more knowledgeable than me that I think you're fairly knowledgable) of the pre-Evo bikes. This is the 1st pre-evo that I've owned. I hate stuff that leaks. I realize that a pan that never leaks is probably an oxymoron, but how much leakage can I expect from a "correct" primary on a pan. I know it'll leak some as that is how the chain gets lubed. I don't want an open primary for two reasons. 1. I think the pan primary cover looks kick-ass. 2. Whenever I see an open primary I always wonder what would happen if a pant leg got caught in the belt.

If I go to a belt, I can expect to have to convert the clutch to a dry clutch system, correct? What kind of life expectancy would I get out of the narrow belt. This is a 2nd, sunny day only, barhopper, close to home bike. The engine is a low compression 74 inch pan-shovel that is not ridden hard. Ever catch anything in your open primary system?
I agree with Springer's comments on an enclosed belt. I've seen them fail quite a bit. The open ones can be rather durable due to the large size.

As to the leak in the primary, as I recall the Panheads had a little oil tube that was fed by the oil pump. You could add shims to a small screw on the pump to get the oiling up to so many drops per minute. That's why whenever you would see a Panhead (or Knucklehead ) parked anywhere, it would always leave a little puddle of oil. That was primary chain oil leaking out of the tin primary.

If you have leaks, I'd work on the leaks. They can be made rather leak proof if you work on it. I'd keep the chain and do what you can to fix the basic problem. My Shovelhead is pretty good on primary leaks when I put in a new gasket. Problem is, I've been using the same primary gasket for the last ten years. :)

.
 

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You wont be able to make the tin primary stop leaking. Probably the only type of gasket is a cork gasket for a tin primary, which will eventually leak. Even if you found a way to seal it, I dont think you would want to. You are pumping oil in, eventually it has to come out! You may want to experiment on the amount of oil coming in from your pump. You want enough to keep the primary chain damp , and thats all you need. It will drip a little. Too little and your primary chain will start to turn orange and that aint good. You can lube the rear chain manually as required. Park it over some oil absorbent clean up mats in the gargage. Be proud of the parking spot it marks for you at the pub!

Tired of Kickin'...
 

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I have rode cross country twice on pans with belt primaries with out a problem. Always carried a spare belt but never needed it. On '36 to '64 knuckles and pans the best thing you can do if you really intend to ride the bike is to put the belt primary on. They make sprocket shaft seals for early and late. Install one. Shut the oil supply off to the primary at the pump by turning the adjuster screw in till it bottoms. This eliminates all the oil mess and frequent chain a adjustments. You know what a PIA it is to have to adjust both chains half way through a weekend trip. The tin primary is not sealed and you will not have the excessive heat problems that you have with the sealed aluminum primary of the later bikes. Installed correctly, pulleys aligned and belt tension right, the belt will last longer than an open set up because it stays clean, no abrasive road dirt dirt. Why would you have to convert to a dry clutch,YOU ALREADY HAVE A DRY CLUTCH. All you need for the clutch is a $10 tamer. The dry clutch basket is notorious for walking out when released causing the clutch to drag, especially with the belt. There are a few other things you can do like modify the breather to get that out of the primary, but you probably aren't going to listen anyway since I'm disagreeing with the resident "experts".
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Work w/ me here

...I've never played w/ the clutch on the pan. If the clutch is inside the primary case and the primary case is filled w/ oil, how can it be a dry clutch? I'm not flaming, I don't understand. As comparison, on my 2004 Lowrider (I know, not a pan and 40 years of difference in the bikes), when you pull the derby cover it is very apparent that the clutch is bathed in oil. Please explain the "tamer" this is a term that I am not familiar with.

Reading through the posts again, perhaps I am missing something, maybe I should go read my service manual. Does the oil pump for the engine send oil through the primary for both the primary chain and the final drive chain? My understanding was that the primary was filled w/ oil (similar to my Lowrider) and then it weeped oil through an orifice onto the final drive chain, effectively a total loss system if not maintained. Is this not correct?
 

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D.Ed said:
......but you probably aren't going to listen anyway since I'm disagreeing with the resident "experts".
This forum is about opinions, why not just post your opinion without the smartass remarks?

My experience has been far different than yours. I will disagree with your statement about the open belts not holding up as long. I have a 3" open and I have beat the chit out of it for over 10 years before I replaced it. I do wheelies and burnouts with it as well as ride it and depend on it. I replaced not because it failed but because I went with an all new 3" beld drive system. As for the little 1.5" primary belts, I have replaced many of them that are a year or two old with half their teeth sitting in the bottom of the primary cover.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Springer,


Any additional info. one the one's where you have seen the early failure?%[email protected]

# of miles
Engine mods (compression, strokers, etc.)
Riding style of owner
Maintenance schedules

While I enjoy the hell out of watching other people's, wheelies and burnouts are not on the agenda for my pan.
 

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100thevo said:
Springer,


Any additional info. one the one's where you have seen the early failure?%[email protected]

# of miles
Engine mods (compression, strokers, etc.)
Riding style of owner
Maintenance schedules

While I enjoy the hell out of watching other people's, wheelies and burnouts are not on the agenda for my pan.
Most of the failures I have seen were on later model bikes. Milage unknown because half of them I have seen were on the side of the road and since I owned a Van at the time I would stop and offer to load it up and take them someplace. The failures I have direct experience with were on EVO's and Shovels. They tend to have more torque than an old stock pan, this could have a lot to do with the milage you may get out of it.
 

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Geez, If you think that was a smart ass remark you haven't heard nothing yet. I have no opinions here just facts. We are not talking Evo or Twinkie. We are talking about a pan lower end with a tin primary. All 4 speed bikes up to '84 had a dry clutch. The primaries were not filled with oil. If you tried to fill a tin primary with oil it would just run right out on the floor. It was not the greatest set up because of the presence of oil used to lube the chain which eventually got on the clutch plates and part of your routine maintenance was to remove the plates and clean them. The oil pump added oil to the breather which blew it on the chain. Then the oil was slung off the chain where it ran to the bottom of the primary and out on the ground. Read constant loss primary. In '65 they started with the aluminum primary that was sealed and the oil was sucked back into the motor using crankcase vacuum. If you filled that one with oil, which is happening alot these days at harley dealers, it would suck the oil back to the motor, pump it to the oil tank till the tank was full and then blow the rest out the breather. Granted a belt primary is not the greatest set up but is 100 times better than the original set up on the early tin primary bikes only and I do recommend obtaining a spare belt when you purchase the drive just because the correct belt is not easy to find should you need one far from home. The big advantage you have with the '64 and earlier bikes is the ability to move the trans to align and tension the belt correctly and if done right and mantained you will get many miles from your belt with out all the oil mess and constant chain adjustments. Now, yes the 3" open belt is a tougher set up but will not fit in the tin primary if you are trying to mantain a stock look. It also needs to be kept clean so abrasive road dirt doesn't eat the belt and pulleys up, which is not a problem for people who are anal about such things, and the sealed bearing on the hub does eventually give up. The 1 1/2 belt in a aluminum priimary has a short life due to the excessive heat held in the aluminum and the inabilty to adjust belt tension and alignment. Venting helps a little, but not much.

100thevo, I should not have used the word tamer, the correct term is clutch hub retainer. It is a piece of delrin plastic that slides on your ten stud hub and replaces the tin piece that holds your bearing in place. It has a larger outside diameter and bears against the basket keeping it from sliding out when the clutch is released.

Springer, I maybe a smartass but I'm a smartass with 40 years of riding and wrenching Harleys under my belt, National records from the AHDRA hanging on the wall, 25 years in business for myself rebuiding all years harley motors and a strong desire to ride right into my grave.
 

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D.Ed said:
Springer, I maybe a smartass but I'm a smartass with 40 years of riding and wrenching Harleys under my belt, National records from the AHDRA hanging on the wall, 25 years in business for myself rebuiding all years harley motors and a strong desire to ride right into my grave.
That was MUCH better. Back to the discussion.....
I have never been anal about my bike or ever put any special effort into cleaning my 3" belt. I can take pictures of the last pulley I took off and show you were I picked up a rock, the pulley and belt "processed" the rock and spit right through the belt leaving a hole. That hole was still in the belt when I changed the whole system out a couple years ago.

When I mentioned running a DRY clutch I meant just that. All the oil has to be removed from the entire primary system so not to get oil on the belt itself. I wasn't implying that they run a wet clutch alternatively. It was a definition/clarification problem on my part. I probably should of said that you have to run a dry primary (meaning NO oil).

We have had different experiences with enclosed primary drive belts that obviously lends itself to our differing opinions. I have no problem with you posting your opinions and experiences, after all that is what this board is all about.

I am not here to fight with anyone and welcome all constructive posts whether agreeing or disagreeing with my posts or suggestions. One thing I am always ready to do is learn something new. As I stated earlier, all my experiences were with later model bikes and not Pans or Knuckles. With the shovel top end I was using my experience with shovels when replying. Certainly your experience with Pans and belts should also be considered by 100thevo in making his decision..

No hard feelings, if you make it up for Laconia 06, the first beer is on me. :cheers:
 

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What was much better? I don't understand why you took offence to being called a resident expert. I don't understand why I have to meet your approval in how I post. I have not attacked or even given anyone a hard time. Obviously we are not fighting because I don't see any blood on the walls. And you don't want to offer me a beer because I get mean when I drink.
 

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I'm not trying to start anything here. Just felt like I was being graded by springer and trying to see if you guys have a sense of humor or not.:2flips:
So lets put this to bed and I'll just keep to myself from now on. See ya.
 

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D.Ed said:
I'm not trying to start anything here. Just felt like I was being graded by springer and trying to see if you guys have a sense of humor or not.:2flips:
So lets put this to bed and I'll just keep to myself from now on. See ya.
Sorry to hear that. Someone with the experience you stated is always more than welcome around here. I certainly don't have a problem with you posting or disagreeing with me. It is the many varities of ideas, experiences and opinions that make this forum so great, IMO.
 

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There is one more way to look at this of course. How many times has the MoCo ran an enclosed primary? Only a couple of times that I know of and considering I own one of these I know a thing a two... They are nice and quiet and hold up if you maintain them properly. Simple fact is though that Springer is right, a well maintained chain or open belt will last much longer and can handle more power, but if you are just gonna ride a 74" or 80" and aren't gonna drag race them the enclosed primary will work too, you just have to keep an eye on them. And look at this way, when was the last time you heard of someone being stranded on the side of the road with a broken primary chain? Broken enclosed primary belt? A couple times myself with the belt...Just my two cents...
 

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Ive run every flavor of primary belt made on pans and shovels, open or closed. I had the first karata belt with the trapazoid teeth. That piece of **** shelled in the black hills and I rode home on a vega timing belt. Only thing I can say is that Ive never broke a primary chain!
 
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