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Discussion Starter #1
My 03 Deuce is my first Harley, and im beginin to realize if im gonna work on the thing I should invest in some new tools. It seems like just about everything on the Harley is either torx or allen head. I already have a set of Craftsman torx sockets. However I already found one location where those didn't fit (takeing the t50 bolt out under the passenger footpeg that holds the factory exhaust bracket). I also have a set of normal L shaped allen wrenches, but those are a pain in the ass. So, im thinking about buying a set of t-handle torx, t-handle allen, and allen head sockets. What do you guys use? I assume all the bolts are standard not metric sizes. Is that correct? Are there any other tools that are commonly needed to do most basic work on a Harley other than a typical socket set and real basic stuff?
 

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Be sure the torx set includes a T27....most are only every 5. A good set of inch combo wrenches of course. Be carefule with the smaller ball-snds....i have snapped off more than a few and getting the ball out of whatever it snapped off inside of can be tricky. The T-handles are a good idea. Allen sockets are a must for getting torque values right (you do have/use torque wrenches right?). You might even get torx sockets. The battery seems be the only metric at 10 mm.

These guys aren't super cheap but good stuff: http://www.wihatools.com/
 

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Basic tool kit

Unless you are planning on doing major modifications to your new bike (i.e. installing performance cams, etc.) you probably won't need too many of the dreaded special service tools. However, for general maintenance and installing accessories I'd recommend the following:

1) Torque wrenches - get both 1/2" and a 3/8" drive units. I like the old "beam" type, since they don't require recalibration (unless you drop them) and are generally cheaper to buy. Most every fastener on the bike has a specific torque value associated with it, and it is a good practice to keep things within specification. You'll also need allen head drivers for use with torque and ratchet wrenches.

2) The Harley shop manual for your bike. Even if its a new bike and you aren't planning on pulling the cylinder head yourself; it contains a lot of useful information and can help you be an informed consumer when you DO need to take your bike into the shop.

3) The correct oil filter wrench attachment for your bike. The strap type rarely seem to work very well for me.

4) A good quality air pressure gauge, with a flexible air hose and a pressure release switch. Checking and maintaining correct air pressure regularly will greatly increase the life and safety of your tires. I also use a floor-type bicycle pump to add air to my tires when needed.

5) An inexpensive electronic voltmeter/multimeter. Very helpful in checking battery voltage (the first step in any electrical repair), and also in fixing or maintaining any electrical accessory.

6) Ball-end allen head wrenches. Often you find that the fastener head has limited accessibility, so the ability to hold the wrench at a slight angle is a big plus.

7) A plastic-headed mallet. Often accessories will need a little gentle "persuasion" to go into position or to come loose. Use this one carefully...

8) Check some of the larger fasteners on your bike and compare them with your socket and crescent wrench inventory. Some, like the axle nuts and fork nuts are quite big - so you may need to add to your collection.

9) One "special service tool" I can recommend is Harley's HD-35381 "Belt Tension Gauge". Maintaining drive belt tension lengthens the life of this part. Its also pretty easy to check on most Harleys.

10) You may want to invest in a lift, since many procedures are much easier with the bike raised and the wheels clear of the ground. Make sure that any lift you buy will fit under the frame rails.

11) Unlike most other manufacturers, Harley does not include a tool kit with their bikes. This is not much of a loss, since the quality of tools supplied with such kits is pretty atrocious (except for BMW). Instead I would recommend you buy one of the "multi-tools" sold by CruzTools and carry it with you on any long rides. I have used mine more than once to tighten up a fastener that started coming loose when I was many miles from home. Try and find the model of multi-tool best suited for your bike - i.e. some tools have spoke wrenches on them, which is not much use to folks with cast wheels.

I also like to keep a small supply of spare parts for my bike. These include a maxi-fuse; headlight, taillight, turn signal and running light bulbs, and a new oil filter. All of these parts (except the oil filter) I take with me on any long runs, especially on the weekend when bike shops are closed.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the input guys. Thanks for reminding me about the torque wrench too. I have a 1/2" drive, but I have been meaning to buy a 3/8" drive. Im sure when I put on my Pythons I probably cranked the bolts too tight. Its hard to get my mind off cast iron V8 and on to aluminum V-twin.
 
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