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Discussion Starter #1
Seriously considering a '76 FX Super Glide. Less than 1K on complete motor and tranny rebuild. This Shovelhead has undergone some old school mods including vintage rear tire, apes, some power coating and hi-rise sissy bar. Presentable but could use some good elbow grease. Slight engine oil leak but then again, par for the course since I consider it not excessive, mostly from seating idle and unused most of the time.

I was not able to take it for a ride since the Bendix went out but should be an easy fix.

I want a keeper and all opinions on reliability, upkeep, etc. is highly appreciated.
 

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IF you are a good mechanic with time,Patience and cash you may be happy with a Shovelhead.But if you want total reliability as in something that you just hop on a go you need to pass.
I have ridden my old Shovel for over 30 yrs and know it bolt by bolt and what tools and parts to carry with me. I wouldnt trade my old bike for 2 new ones but I realize it is old and not up to long hard rides.this is why I also have a Victory.One more thing if you cant do your own work on it it is VERY hard to find a shop that can do them right.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
IF you are a good mechanic with time,Patience and cash you may be happy with a Shovelhead.But if you want total reliability as in something that you just hop on a go you need to pass.
I have ridden my old Shovel for over 30 yrs and know it bolt by bolt and what tools and parts to carry with me. I wouldnt trade my old bike for 2 new ones but I realize it is old and not up to long hard rides.this is why I also have a Victory.One more thing if you cant do your own work on it it is VERY hard to find a shop that can do them right.
I know exactly what you mean. I have a couple of vintage cars and one in particular is very difficult not only to find a good mechanic for but parts, especially OE and most of the time NOS are quite expensive.

I just like the feel of vintage wheels, in the four and two wheel models. They have character and their own personality.

Hence I have a car for work, and a couple for play. I also have a late model bike. As you pointed out, one to cruise and another ride.

Thanks for your thoughts.
 

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Yes,, I agree with Gretch,, that's the issue at the moment,, how much..????
I wouldn't consider buying without a Gooood Test drive,, other-wise the price better be waaaay low..

Ftw & I might have a very interesting conversation over whisky and cigars..
I built my shovel in a 52 wish-bone 33 years ago and it turned about 230,000 7 years ago..

You must learn it and speak it's lingo..
If you give a crap, you will be it's best friend and mechanic, then it will be even more reliable than these new code-throwing Efi sickles that are common as RV's at the Home & Garden show..
Oooop's did I say that out loud..??????

I suppose the Bendix is a stock 36mm used up to 1975..
If it's an aftermarket 38mm Bendix you'll be happy..
If it were mine I'd slip on one a my old 38mm Keihins, they were used in 1976.. Course I'd make a couple other changes too, I won't go into that.. All cheap however..

How much..????
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Please keep the inputs coming. In particular, as I'm looking at this Shovelhead, what are the items on the bike I should be very mindful with/on. Thanks.
 

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Yes,, I agree with Gretch,, that's the issue at the moment,, how much..????
I wouldn't consider buying without a Gooood Test drive,, other-wise the price better be waaaay low..

Ftw & I might have a very interesting conversation over whisky and cigars..
I built my shovel in a 52 wish-bone 33 years ago and it turned about 230,000 7 years ago..

You must learn it and speak it's lingo..
If you give a crap, you will be it's best friend and mechanic, then it will be even more reliable than these new code-throwing Efi sickles that are common as RV's at the Home & Garden show..
Oooop's did I say that out loud..??????

I suppose the Bendix is a stock 36mm used up to 1975..
If it's an aftermarket 38mm Bendix you'll be happy..
If it were mine I'd slip on one a my old 38mm Keihins, they were used in 1976.. Course I'd make a couple other changes too, I won't go into that.. All cheap however..

How much..????
$6500. And yes the Bendix should be taken cared off by the seller this weekend. Then a test ride.

BTW, this isn't an image thing. Guess if it were, I'd go for the newer models with dripping chrome, stereo, GPS, custom bags, etc. I just like the older stuff. In part because I could only dream of them, back when they were new and at the dealerships.

Thanks for the insights.
 

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It looks like the seat is held on with a bungy cord,, not good craftsmanship on an ugly seat to boot..

The exhaust is a huge power burglar.. If mine, I'd cut down and slip-on some slip-on muffs..

Good wheels and Gma rear brake.. It doesn't get better than that,, it gets as good but Not better..

Even in poor tune it'll often start with a button soo, I'd request the "Expert" in charge to kick-it alive.. If it won't start,, it needs Goood tuning that apparently they are not capable of..
It Must start & run or deduct deduct deduct.........!!

It has a Narrow-glide.. Easy to change to Wide-glide, that would be up to Your preference..
Lift the front end to feel it's Fall-away and neck bearings and wiggle the wheel bearings..
Lift the rear and spin tire, listen for grinding or unusual sounds from the primary area and Tranny..
Wiggle the bearings..

I'd request inspection of the Primary chain & sprockets..
Look at the rear chain & sproc's..
Easy to replace,, just costs..

I forget already,,, is it Fat-bobs or a single tank.?
If Fat-bobs,,, with a light, peek down in the rear Gas tank mount area to spot if the tanks have been welded on around the Stud or even poss a wee wet from a leak.. If wet,, deduct 500.. If welded on be prepared to weld again.. That is almost one a those probs where it is "when" not "if" it leaks.. It's the weakest link in the old shovelhead chain and HD should be ashamed of themselves for it's poor craftsmanship..
That split/leak can be managed with correct spacing and shimming when mounting the tanks..

It's a swingin-arm and I only build Rigids so I cannot comment on what to be aware of with those barka loungers..

Poke at stuff and wiggle stuff, look for looseness that prob shouldn't be there..

If poss,,, when it starts, ask for an Intake Leak spray test..
If there is a leak it certainly is Not a deal breaker cuz it's easy as falling down to fix,, just good to know that it's there or Not..
That motor should have O-Ring intake seals..
I consider them the best seals HD ever used but require a wee bit a practice to install..
I have not had to mess with my O-Rings in about 6 years..

It should shift easy and find Neutral in a nano-second from 1st or 2nd.. The foot shift lever should snap back to center, if not, the ratchet-top needs attention or something's in the way that should Not be..

Foot-board brackets should be tight and Definitely look close for frame cracks,, you know,, that's a given..

Those NADA and Kelley and Edmunds prices are based on OEM units,, Not on tweaked "modified/customized" sickles..
Be prepared to offer waaaaay low and do Not be fooled into a high price for a "fresh" motor cuz you simply don't know WHO built the motor and how good they built it,,,, go after it as though the motor had 80,000 on it..

Looking at it again heck,,,, I bet they'll be happy to sell it for almost anything..

OK, I just saw the price,, I'd say get ready for some old fashioned horse trading, Buck-a-roo........
Bring cash,, the seller won't want to see that cash walking away if ya know what I mean.... Me,, I'd begin at 3,800K & walk at 4,800,, and that's even if I found everything fairly OK.. It's the economy..!

[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'm surely going to make an itemized version of the pointers and field strip this Shovelhead per the regs you passed on.

Should have a snap shot by this weekend and move from there. I'll share with the updates.

Again, thanks for taking the time and passing on valuable intel.

And yes, money is so hard to make and a heck of lot easier to spend.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Overlooked following in response to your pointers:

Bungy cord was just laying on the seat when I took the photos. Seat are mounted. Stock seat goes with Shovel but needs to be recovered. Also OE sissy bar, handlebar and front tins goes too.

O-ring chain but needs minor adjustment to check looseness.

Fat Bob tank.
 

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Sounds good, I'll have my fingers crossed..

I forgot to add this to the list,, heck about as basic as you can get,, big dummy me---------- a compression test and leak-down test..

I just realized I forgot another Vital thing--- the Paperwork..
It must be perfect, complete and All numbers matching.. If the motor numbers don't match, there must be a legal Bill of Sale to go with it even though the Title goes with the frame..
The frame numbers must match the title,, if Not,, simply walk away..

There's just no telling if this/these guys will go for all these tests/inspections..

Good luck..
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Sounds good, I'll have my fingers crossed..

I forgot to add this to the list,, heck about as basic as you can get,, big dummy me---------- a compression test and leak-down test..

I just realized I forgot another Vital thing--- the Paperwork..
It must be perfect, complete and All numbers matching.. If the motor numbers don't match, there must be a legal Bill of Sale to go with it even though the Title goes with the frame..
The frame numbers must match the title,, if Not,, simply walk away..

There's just no telling if this/these guys will go for all these tests/inspections..

Good luck..
Thank you, sir!

Already found a local shop that specializes in vintage bikes. I'm going to pay them a visit this afternoon and have a talk with the owner/mechanic. I will have them do the mechanical checks.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Update: Test ride & checks

Took the Shovelhead for a good 20-miler test ride yesterday. Following seat-of-the-pants observations:

- Looks like she has an exhaust manifold leak. Doesn't idle well. Runs lean and sluggish, and exhaust pops at acceleration/decel. Back fire.

- Brakes either needs bleeding or full service. Rear brakes start off alright from cold but continued use result in weak response. Front brakes when engaged has a clicking sound. Calipers are torque well but has slight movement when I wiggle them.

- Rear tail lamp could be OOC but might be as easy as just a blown bulb. No turn signals on the bike. Headlamp works but switch is notchy. Could use contact cleaning.

- Starter Bindex works and starter seems strong. Battery recently charged.

- Apes are good but a tad too tall already at max. height for state compliance.

- Oil seep around upper jugs. Could be a just a re-torque or worst, gasket replacements. Top-end motor work was completed less than 1K.

- Tranny shifts as well as could be expected from a 35 year design. 4-speed OE.

- Chain needs adjustment and lube. Good condition o-ring update and sprocketl in great shape.

- Cosmetics. Good possibilities. She's a 20-footer right now. Elbow grease and TLC should take her a notch up.

- Tires are good. Suprisingly, I found the rear replica tire rides well and steady. 38 psi front. 40 psi rear. Fresh brand name premimum unleaded in the fat bobs (split tank, dual filler). Definitely will change all fluids if I decide to pull the trigger.

However, as a classic HD, this Shovelhead rides well. Nice balance. Mellow cruiser. Pipes are on the abnoxious end but I like the symphony, my passenger wouldn't! Could just imagine how she will sing when the exhaust manifold issues are addressed.

My next step is to decide if I go the extra mile and have a local shop do the PPI (my expense - estimate $200 for the whole enchalada). I would expect a list from a thorough stem to stern inspection as pointed out by frisco-rigid (thanks again). If I do, I will arrange to take her to the shop at closing, leave her there overnight and have the shop do their inspection early in the a.m. when she nice, rested and cold.

Decisions, decisions.....

Well, looks like a nice, bright morning. I'm off riding on my "other" bike. Have a great Sunday everyone!
 
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