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Does a build-up shorten life span

2470 Views 14 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  bigal51
Looking hard at a "bobbed" '04 Road King that is just plain bad. 10K

It was built out with nothing but quality parts. SE heads, Feuling oil pump & lifters, SS 510 gear drives. All of this done by the dealers best wrench.

My question is regardless of quality of parts & workmanship does the build-up shorten the life of the motor which is engineered as the mild TC-88.

I appreciate the insight or things I need to look for when buying a used built up bike.

I throw this out: I trust the seller completley!

Really stuck between this and Street Glide.

The attraction here is the one-off bobber look that at its core is still a Road King.
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Jack-Jack said:
does the build-up shorten the life of the motor which is engineered as the mild TC-88.
Using anything to access, even a toaster, shortens the life of a mechanical object. I know lots of people who own pristine Colt Pythons (they have delicate timing issues), and I owned one that went back to Colt every year or two because I actually shot mine.

I have knives that are "drawer queens." I'm carrying a two month old Spyderco Calypso Jr. that has 'love scratches' and that has been re-sharpened a few times.

My bed has a headboard with a few dents, if you catch my drift.

It's metal, it wears. I drive a 95-inch motor. I drive it whenever I can, and sometimes I drive it like I stole it, especially if I ride with Mickey Foster.

Enjoy the bike. Figure it this way, someone's going to ride it for fun. That can be you, or the guy who is bequeathed it in your last will.
For what it's worth, my 92 Evo had a ton of work done to it in about 94. I ride it pretty hard and have never had any problem. Some friends with stock 90-93 Evos have had engine troubles and they ride very mild.
I think if you like it, buy it and ride it however you want. It will last as long as it lasts..... when my 92 ever dies, I'm going to put a bigger motor in that thing and ride it some more.
By the way, a bobbed Road King sounds great.
I don't think with the quality of parts you have listed that there should be a question of reliability. All things being equal, part "A" form Harley is no more or no less than it's replacement from a reputable manufacturer keeping in mind that there are always going to be "one off" manufacturing defects. A bike built with time tested materials and assembled by qualified personnel won't have any reliability issues, most of those are related to the rider/owner (riding style and/or maintenance procedures).
some shortened life

Every engine mod from the OEM will have some affect on engine life. Some actually extend while most will shorten. Generally I've read from aftermarket manufacturers that mild cams will have minimal affects, boring has minimal affects of engine life, stroking and high compression have the most affects.

S&S give the decreases as a percentage of OEM: over sized pistons 97%, high compressions (10 +:1) 85-90%; stroked 75%. These are general numbers from their catalogs.

In reality your the one that will shorten the engine life far easier than any build. Running that engine at constant high limits, use poor quality oil, oil changes, are something you can control.

Think of it this way: a Twinkie seems to have 120,000 mile engine life (common v-twin form information) if you only got 75% of that you'd still get 90,000 mile. ANd then for a few dollars more you can have the engine brought back to full rebuild for another 90,000 miles.
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As with anything mechanical clean fluids and parts keep within specs, torqued correctly, in the case of a motor driven within the rpm's advised you should have no problems. Quality parts doesn't mean they were installed with care. No insult to the "best wrench".

To your specific question "does the build-up shorten the life of the motor" I would say no. I personnaly believe the modifications bring out the full capabilities of the motor which are dorment because of mileage rules, emmissions etc. My own history with scoots and cars and modifying them has been do it right with quality parts and change the fluids more often than you might with a stock motor then go and have some fun..

As long as you're not Drag Racing (I mean at the track) everyday, that scoot will still outlast you. Stay on top of it's maintenance! Don't worry about it and enjoy the hell out of it!
It may decrease the life, but will you notice that? As long as it doesn't leave your stranded in the near future I wouldn't care.

It seems 95" is pretty common, from what I hear should still get a pretty long life. Is it 60k?80K?100? Who knows. Just another rebuild.

I vote for enjoy it.
Ride it, enjoy it, don't sweat it. It will never look as good as the first day you get it. It's the journey aquired on that motorcycle that will never be forgotten. That is if you don't lose your mind worrying about it.

Any performance mod such as compression or stroking will shorten it somewhat. The quality of the build will deternin how much. Nobody knows what the life expectancy of a twinky is. Well maintained I would expect well over 100,000 closer to 200,000. On my 103" I'm expecting at least 100,000.
It may shorten the life of the motor a little but will you ever find out, I doubt it. A bobbed RK sounds like an around town bike and a short weekend trip rider. Will the bike ever see 90k-100k miles on it. Most people never come close to that number on a motor. Buy it, ride it, and enjoy it.
Use good oil and change it regularly and it it out last you.
Cams within reason, heads, and boring out the cyclinders will not shorten the life of the engine. Riding it like a manaic will shorten the life of the engine.

Stroking the motor usually means more torque at the expense of some engine life, but not always, depending on the builder and the rider.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. ;)
I agree with very high compression being the worst engine shortener, especially if you then try and run crappy gas and ping it all the time. High stroke probably puts on more stress as well.

Like others have said though, if you keep up with maintenence, will you really care if you get 80k out of it instead of 100+?
There are numerous modifications that will enhance the rideability and longevity of your bike...if you stay awat from high compression, high lift cams about the only affect on life will be to your own if ya ain't careful...
2 years ago several of us were out riding and This older guy and his GF asked if they could ride with us. Sure- Noticed his bike was smoking way more than normal and at the next stop asked him how much oil he usually used in between changes. He told me he had over 240,000 miles on the moter(early 90's evo) and only had the heads off one time to replace the oil seals. The speedo did register around 220,000. He claimed to have run nothing but H-D petroleoum based oil, changed at, or around 3000 miles. He was only using around a qt between changes on a stock motor.
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