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Discussion Starter #1
This is going to be a slow-progressing thread. You’ve been warned! But I thought I’d document my tear down and rebuild, as I go. Already I’m seeing the “handiwork”of one of the previous owners. And I use that term loosely.

Here’s the start of the project. Best thing about it is the paint, which (for now) I plan to keep. It’s not stock but I like the color...







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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
It’s been brutally cold for the MidAtlantic and she was temporarily stored under cover, but outdoors. Enough was enough so on Saturday I finally went and rescued her from Old Man Winter.

Loaded up:




In the temporary “home”with friends:


Once she was “home” I drained the carb, of gas. Didn’t want any gas leaking in the unit! Looks like the carb leaks a bit through the overflow (even when the bowl is drained). So I’ll tackle the carb rebuild next.

We also found leaking through/around the petcock. Likely the O-ring inside. I have a new petcock, new lines and a new in-line fuel filter to put on. After the carb. As a precaution, we drained the gas tanks, too. A little floating rust and dirt in there. At a minimum, we will need to clean the insides of the tanks. And replace all gas lines.

You can’t see any leaks here. But you can see a really old filter...






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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I had big plans for today - removing and rebuilding the carb. That didn’t happen. Spent far too much time assembling the Pitbull lift I picked up last summer off Craigslist. So far, I love the lift. But wow... so much text and zero pictures with the assembly instructions. So it took a lot longer than expected. Then I had to make sure nothing was being pinched underneath. The oil line to the oil cooler was, so I tied it aside.

The lift works well.





Jack works well. Very stable. And yes, despite these pics, I strapped her to the lift.



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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Despite being a 1980 (single cable throttle) the bike has an S&S Super E carb on it. Remarkably, even without the idle cable, she runs really well and doesn’t stick ON. But as part of the rebuild, I’ll be changing her to dual cable.





At the end of the day, I started taking off the air cleaner and carb:



But the clock and my ignorance were working against me, so I stopped there. I went home, read the S&S install instructions and watched their video on installing this carb on a shovelhead:

https://youtu.be/3iYqyM-B0d4

They have another video for properly jetting it. Which should come in handy after I clean and rebuild it. Armed with the installation knowledge, I should be able to do all of that in revere to uninstall it!

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Way cool! Keep us updated with plenty of pics.

What are your plans? How far are you going down the rebuild rabbit hole?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I’m going as far as I have to. Regarding the engine, hopefully the crank case can stay in the bike during all of this. All other parts (engine and otherwise) are fair game - every bearing and race, every wearable item, every gasket and every piece of rubber needs to be replaced.

Immediate goals: rebuild the carb, stop the oil leaks.


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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Got a few things stripped off the bike this weekend. The battery was the first. Just didn't like having the potential for sparks when I still had to work with the gas tanks and lines. The negative wire was easy. The positive (hot) was not. I had to slide the battery out of the battery box BEFORE I could get to the terminals to loosen them. There was almost ZERO clearance between the terminal and the frame, so I slid a piece of cardboard in between, just to keep the terminal from hitting the frame. I didn't want to risk any sparks.


Once that was done, I dismantled the throttle grip and handlebar throttle assembly. The 1980 is a one wire throttle setup. The Super E is a 2 wire carb. This was a one wire throttle assembly. Go figure.

The only place I've needed to use PB Blaster has been on the small Phillips screws securing the throttle assembly. I then unhooked the cable from the carb, only to realize/remember the cable routed under the tank. So guess what had to come off next? Yep. The tanks. Seriously glad I took off the battery...

Here is removing the instrument console/dash:


And finally, with another set of hands to help, I got the tanks off:

Finally, I removed the carb and called it a (short) day:


According to the S&S video, there should be a bracket supporting the Super E carb. If it's pre 1980 the bracket will bolt to a threaded hole on the underside of the rocker. 1980+ models don't have the threaded hole so they use a bracket below the carb. My carb had no brackets. It was held on only by the two bolts to the intake manifold. Interestingly, my front rocker box DOES have the threaded hole underneath, should I want to add a pre 1980 style bracket. I feel like I should have some sort of bracket on the Super E, and not just rely on the two manifold bolts. Thoughts? I'm intrigued by what appear to be these 1979 (or earlier?) rocker box or boxes. Perhaps Harley just had older ones lying about when my bike was built? Mine are (poorly) painted black, which wasn't stock. So maybe the previous owner swapped them or replaced them or something. Who knows...

My plan is, once I take off the rocker boxes and heads, to clean them both, strip the boxes and then powder or ceramic coat them both black.

Current state:


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You coulda just fished the cable thru the tank tunnel.....I've run a single cable on a lot of S&S's...the throttle spring is plenty strong to handle snap back...take that filter and throw it as far as you can...you don't need it....I like the color....good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You coulda just fished the cable thru the tank tunnel.....I've run a single cable on a lot of S&S's...the throttle spring is plenty strong to handle snap back...take that filter and throw it as far as you can...you don't need it....I like the color....good luck.

I thought about fishing the cable but I wanted to clean the tanks anyway. They look good inside but there is rust. Before the tear down started, I rode 2 tanks of gas through her and the fresh gas I just took out was pretty ugly. So I’m going to clean them with a rust remover (white vinegar, Evaporust, etc) before putting them back. I’m probably not going to line them. But I’ll replace the petcock and filter and keep an external filter on, all the same. And I’ll keep the tanks full.

I was wondering about the single cable setup. You’re right. The spring was/is plenty strong. But I’m switching to a 2 cable anyway. It’s what I’m familiar with.

I like the color, too. The paint is in great shape except for one chip on a fender. It’s one of the things that drew me to the bike. That’s a grand or two that I don’t need to spend on painting. There’s enough to do everywhere else without needing to paint her!


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Discussion Starter #10
By the way, I WAS supposed to have a bracket on the carb. Went to a local indie store that was also an S&S dealer and he had them in stock. He also knows shovels well. So a Win Win for me. Got the bracket and a source for questions that might arise.


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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Back at it yesterday. After removing the carb, I set it aside. No sense rebuilding it and reinstalling it yet, when I have a lot to do to make the bike operational. So I moved to the front of the bike. The upper triple tree is cracked, so I’m going to replace that, inspect and (hopefully only) repack the steering head bearings, drain and refill the forks and replace wheel bearings. Brake service, too. I didn’t get near all of this done yesterday. I just got the wheel off and the bearings and races pulled. Pulling the calipers slowed me down. This one would give up either bolt. Destroyed two hex wrenches trying. Ultimately, they stripped. I’ll have to drill them out today.



With that caliper still attached to the fork, I didn’t have clearance to drop the wheel. So I had to remove the fender to get clearance. No worries. Wanted it out of the way anyway.

Snapped a pic of the broken speedo so I know how to install the new one. Didn’t notice the broken hex wrench in one of the disc bolts. No, I didn’t do that. It came that way...



This proved to be a challenge. And one of the other disc bolts was stripped, too. Someone before me had been in here and left their mark... After a lot of fussing with a vice grip I did get a pair of pliers on the broken hex tool and got it out. Still have to finish removing this right side disc. At least the left side disc came off ok.



Once I get them both off, I’ll give them a good cleaning and measure them. Undecided what I’m going to do about brake discs, calipers yet (rebuild or replace). TBD.

Not too any exciting pics here. As I said, I got the races out. They and the bearings don’t look bad, but I’m replacing them anyway. New rebuild, why not right? I’m not entirely sure how far to reinstall the races. The service manual has just one comment about how far to insert them. I think they go flush with the lip inside the hub. But they were not flush there when I removed them, so go figure. Thoughts?

Today should be a calm day. Drilling a few bolts and cleaning the wheel and front end. The forks are a mess so I’m going to try metal cleaner and Mothers metal polish on them.










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Discussion Starter #12
Speedout didn't work. I think it's probably a good idea for household bolts. But not the hardened bolts used in brake systems. The bit could just never grab hold. Especially against the rust and Loctite red. So I went to plan B and Dremmeled a slot in each and then beat the hell out of them, counterclockwise. It worked!



As you can see, making the slots also slotted my disc. So I need new discs after all. But, I measured them both and both were under the min thickness (0.20") anyway, so they were due for replacing.






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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I was on a roll and since I had bearings on the brain, I went towards the steering column. I got the handlebars removed and got the triple tree out.


You can see why I have to replace the triple tree:


I didn't open up the steering bearings yet. But I got a look at the grease. And, unlike in the wheel bearings, the steering grease looks old and dry. I'm hoping the bearings and races are on good shape and just need repacking. We will see next time.

I got the forks off, too. I drained them. They don't leak and the oil looked pretty clean. So for now, I'm just going to clean and polish them, refill them, and move on to other parts of this rebuild.

That's where I left it. Still need to clean and reinstall bearings in the front wheel. But I'll do all the bearing repacking at the same time.



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To clean the aluminum, use a white 3M pad. Works wonders. May need to use a green one first.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Today was Brute Force Day. I started by removing the upper tree and steering stem. And the steering stem bearings and races. Because of how the stem tapers, there’s no way to get a drift or anything under the lip of the races from the opposite side. This may explain why the service manual says to remove the entire steering head cups, THEN replace the races and then reinsert the cups. Since I don’t have a press, this wasn’t an option. I used the brute force method of working the races out with heat, a dead blow hammer and pry tool (screwdriver). Not optional but they finally came out. Why did I bother? Because the upper one was a little scored (see pic) and because I wanted to. The steering stem had obviously never been opened, cleaned or repacked.



After that, I turned to removing the stubborn right side front brake caliper from the fork.



Both hex bolts has stripped so more creative options were needed. I first Dremmeled slots in the bolt heads. Then heated the nuts, applied liberal PB Blaster to them, and used an impact hammer to try and loosen them. No luck. After fighting with them both for way too long, I got angry and went the destructive approach. Since the Dremmel was out, and since there was enough play in the calipers, I was able to get the cutting tool on the bolts and cut the caliper bolts in half (being careful not to score the forks). The approach worked and the caliper finally came off.



You can still see the head of the bolt stuck in the caliper in that pic. It won’t come out. Getting the other half out wasn’t easily either. It was stuck in there good! This fiasco removed any thought I had of rebuilding and reusing these calipers. I think I may go the custom bracket/Tokico caliper route when I reassemble. After all, by not pair some Japanese calipers with my Japanese forks, right? I’ve been chatting with FabKevin about getting such a bracket made. Something like this:



I wonder if I can use the stock master cylinder with Tokico calipers? Anyone know?

That’s where I stopped today. All of that took 4 hours and was exhausting. I’ve got the forks and front wheel nearby so that I can clean and polish them up as I find time. Oh, and I did spring (pun intended) for the Progressive fork springs. Those will go in once I clean the forks. They are shorter than the stock springs but with the included spacer the combination is a little longer. Maybe an inch or so. I measured and the stocks have only about 1/8”of preload compression on them when fully extended. So if I don’t trim the spacer at all, I’ll have more preload with them. I’ll probably just follow the instructions from Progressive, which say how to size the spacer.



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Thanks for the write up and sharing your pics.
One way to remove the races is to weld a bead all the way around them on the inside diameter and after they cool they come out easy.
When I polished my forks I believe I started out with 600 grit and worked down to wet sanding with 2000 grit.Then went with metal polish.
Here is what you can get them to look like.

 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Thanks for the write up and sharing your pics.
One way to remove the races is to weld a bead all the way around them on the inside diameter and after they cool they come out easy.
When I polished my forks I believe I started out with 600 grit and worked down to wet sanding with 2000 grit.Then went with metal polish.
Here is what you can get them to look like.


That looks good. I have some 0000 steel wool and Mother’s polish. Sounds like I might need a couple steps prior to those, however! I’ll look into the sanding as well. I’m also kicking around the idea of powder coating them black. Not sure what that costs but it would look good with the orange paint.


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Discussion Starter #18
The forks cleaned up pretty well. I may hit them with some more polish before I call them done. But this is a LOT better than what I started with! Ignore the difference in lighting. The BEFORE pic was taken at my storage locker. The AFTER pic was in my kitchen.







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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
The past two weeks I got the wheel aluminum cleaned (in the lower right corner of the pic below) and polished and the new bearing races installed. Just a note, the FXS cast wheels have “lips” inside that the races seat on. They don’t seat all the way down to the hubs themselves. Interesting. All wheels are different. Before I can set the wheel end play, however, I need to assemble the front end.

New steering races installed. New bearings installed. Upper and lower trees assembled.



Installed new Progressive fork springs, filled the forks. Sticking with the standard 10W oil until I see how the Progressives ride. Installed them. No, the lower tree cover isn’t installed yet.



I also got new (to me) pull back 8” risers, with new firm handlebar bushings. Thinking I’ll stick with the drag bars for now. So everything on the front end is installed. Nothing is Loctite-d or torqued yet. Just a fit check. I wanted the bars in place because I’m putting new brakes on and will need new lines. I did some fitting of the brakes (replacing the HD calipers with 2 piston Tokico calipers) and adapters. I’ll post pics of those once I’ve got them mounted.



Black lowers are looking better all the time.


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