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wawazat
wawazat Reader
12/19/18 6:34 p.m.

I was just willed a 1972 H-D Shovelhead bobber that my Uncle built.  It's very cool and I'm honored that he chose to pass it down to me.  I've never done any street riding and I have no idea where to even start doing research on the bike.  I'll post pics soon but could use some help before spring to get me and the bike ready.

Woody
Woody MegaDork
12/19/18 6:39 p.m.

Cool/Sorry about your uncle. 

Get a big piece of cardboard or one of those galvanized drip pans, and the largest tube of Loctite that you can find. 

wawazat
wawazat Reader
12/19/18 8:03 p.m.

Thanks Woody.  He was a great guy and is sorely missed.

 

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
12/19/18 9:36 p.m.

Look into an MSF rider education course for the spring. They do a great job of teaching you where to look in turns and how to shift your weight around on the bike.

bentwrench
bentwrench SuperDork
12/19/18 10:01 p.m.

Here is my shovelhead

 

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
12/20/18 10:12 a.m.

A '72 shovel is one of the better years for shovels.  74".  Still a PITA, but much better than, say, a '79.  If it's well sorted, it should be very good for riding around town.  Make sure everything stays tight.  They tend to beat themselves apart.  I When the electrical system takes a E36 M3 on you, go with a Cycle Electric replacement.  They seem to last for people.  When I used to go cross country on my '79, found that every 10 MPH I cruised all day over 55 MPH caused one additional hour of wrenching that night.  Keep an eye on the oil level.  Top ends last about 25K miles.  Fortunately, you can rebuild the top end in a day if you have replacement parts like spare heads, jugs and pistons.  Probably a couple hours if you tried.  Bottom ends tend to last every other top end.  That's more of a PITA.  Get an O-ring chain and some quality sprockets, if it isn't set up that way now.


Keep in mind that it's an antique, built with 1950's technology.

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
12/21/18 7:50 a.m.

Custom bar ends?

wawazat
wawazat Reader
12/21/18 9:47 a.m.

Yeah, he had a thing with eyeballs, regular and those with wings.  

 

Thanks Dr. Hess.  I need a basic reference guide to this thing.  Simple stuff that he could have shown me in a short time face to face.  Things like shift pattern, why are their two filler caps, oil type and qty, who are quality chain and sprocket makers, what type of wrenching did you do regularly after a ride, he had a buddy "winterize" it-what does that mean, etc.  I want to learn about this before I take it on the road this spring.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
12/21/18 1:59 p.m.

Well, lessee.  First off, you need the Official Harley-Davidson factory shop manual for that bike. Try ebay.  Don't berkeley around with the clymer's, etc. 

Shift pattern is 1 down, 3 up.

The fill cap on the side of the tank under the seat is the engine oil.  Capacity:  4 qts.  Type:  Oh, man, can of worms.  The good thing about shovelhead oil is that you use so much, it doesn't really matter.  Down in Texas, we used to run straight 50 or 60 weight.  Up north, they looked real funny at you when you asked for 60 weight motor oil.  Today, a quality 20W50 or heavier would be fine.  Plain oil, not full synthetic.

The lower fill cap on the side of the transmission where the kick starter is, is for transmission oil.  I'm trying to remember off the top of my head, but it is around a quart or so.  You'll see a small plug in the side of the cover that takes an allen wrench.  You take that plug out and fill until oil comes out that hole with the bike upright. A good quality gear oil.  Full synthetic is fine, but whatever.

Unless you mean two caps on the oil tank.  In that case, the top "cap" is not a cap, per say, but the access point for the in-tank oil filter.

I haven't bought a sprocket since I got rid of my shovelhead.  You get what you pay for.  Spend a little, get crap.  Same with the chains.  Diamond and Tsubaki are two big chain manufacturers.  They both made top of the line chains and bottom of the line chains, depending on what you wanted.  When you need a chain, get a quality O ring chain and put new sprockets on, front and back.  Be sure to safety wire the bolts when you put the inner primary back on.  It's not a small job, but you can do it in a casual day's wrenching. You need a special tool to take the clutch hub off.  I've done it with a gear puller, but I would not do that today, as the hubs have become unobtainium.  A new hub will cost you much more than just getting the right tool in the first place.

Shovelheads are known as "bottom breathers," like Evo motors up til 92.  After that, the motors were "top breathers."  Why this is important to you is that bottom breathers, when they sit for a while, will drain the oil out of the oil tank and into the crank case.  All Harley's are dry sump.  When you start it up, oil will start gushing out the breather.  This is more or less "normal" after it has been sitting a while, so have an oil pan under the breather tube, which will be a tube/hose coming off the back of the motor and pointing down, maybe to an air filter or maybe not. Don't add more oil until you have started it up and the oil is pumped out of the crank case back into the tank and no oil is coming out the breather.  Assuming they left oil in the tank.  If there's no oil in the tank at all, I'd put a half quart in, pull the plugs and crank it a bit just to make sure.

Dunno what your buddy meant by "winterize."  Usually, that means filling the tank up with gas and putting some Stabil in.  Could mean anything else too.

As for wrenching when on the road, I tended to run cheap chains on a heavy bike, so that meant adjusting the chain every night, and adding a spray coating of chain lube.  Then going around the bike looking for loose bolts or anything that is loose and likely to fall off.  Dressers have a lot more things to fall off than choppers. I used to run 500 miles a day out on the road.

wawazat
wawazat Reader
12/22/18 7:54 a.m.

Thank you very much for all your advice good doctor!smiley

Are the manuals year or model specific?  I ask as I don't know what type of '72 H-D he started with.  I'll do some digging today.

On the cap question, please see the pictures I posted.  What I assumed is the fuel tank in the close up shot has a filler cap on both side of the speedometer.  Are they both fuel or is one fuel and one oil?  

I REALLY appreciate your detailed note.  I'll review it when I back to where the bike is stored.

 

 

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
12/22/18 9:57 a.m.

You have two gas tanks, so two filler caps.  Left and right.  One should be vented, the other not, so the caps are not interchangeable.  They have not had a gas and oil tank like that since the 1920's. The oil tank is under the seat.  You MUST check it at each gas stop, at least until you learn the usage pattern, then check it once a day before you ride.  They are not oil tight.  They will use oil.  There is even a chain oiler that drips oil on the rear chain.

Shop manuals are year and vehicle specific, generally.  Post your VIN and we can see what the bike started out as. It's on the neck.  It should have "FX" or "FL" in it, indicating what model.  Today they have a butt load of models.  1972, not so much.  What you need is this:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1970-1971-1972-Harley-Davidson-Electra-Super-Glide-Service-Repair-Shop-Manual-X/352286953031?hash=item5205f04e47:g:cVIAAMXQNo5TYowJ:rk:3:pf:0

 

but that one is a tad pricey.  Note that even at that price, it is still worth every single penny and will pay for itself the first time you use it. Look for a used one.  I have had a lot of bad experience buying CD versions of shop manuals on ebay.  I try and try and every time, I get crap. 


Lessee:  Part number 99482-78 search:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=99482-78&_sacat=0

That's a lot better.  Even the (bootleg) spiral bound reprints for forty bucks look OK, but genuine factory printed is always better.  You know that one has nothing missing, blurry, etc.

The Parts List is also very helpful, but shop manual more so.

 

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
12/24/18 8:20 a.m.

Having owned a bike with no front fender, think about getting one.  Pebbles, rain etc. comes right back.

wawazat
wawazat Reader
12/24/18 1:40 p.m.

Thank you again Dr. Hess!  Ebay shopping engaged!

Thanks for the fender tip too 914Driver.  The bracket is on the bike.  I need to locate fender in my Uncle's shop.

 

wawazat
wawazat Reader
1/3/19 2:46 p.m.

Manual purchased and in motion.

maj75
maj75 HalfDork
1/5/19 8:02 a.m.

Replace the tires.

wawazat
wawazat HalfDork
3/25/19 7:53 p.m.

Thanks for the tip. Are motorcycle tires date coded like car tires?

I signed up for my motorcycle rider safety course.  Two nights of class room sessions (4 hours each night) and two riding sessions (8 hours each).  Boots came in today. Gloves due Wednesday.  Closed face Simpson helmet is ready.  My uncle got hit while riding this motorcycle.  He wasn’t seriously injured but the scans he got when he was in the hospital were the first signs of his lung cancer. 

wawazat
wawazat HalfDork
3/25/19 7:54 p.m.

No luck finding the fender so I’m looking for a new or used one. 

wawazat
wawazat HalfDork
4/12/19 5:41 a.m.

I've finished my two classroom sessions this week and do the range and road riding portions this weekend.  Saturday is supposed to be 57 and sunny.  Sunday is supposed to be 40 and rainy.  Should be interesting.

 

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
4/12/19 12:04 p.m.
wawazat
wawazat HalfDork
4/14/19 7:10 p.m.

Thank you Dr Hess. 

I finished up my Harley Davidson Academy riding course today. Yesterday was 57 and very nice. Today started with 35 and freezing rain and then warmed up to 37 and regular old rain...cold...and all...day...long.  Had a smile most of the day and passed the riding test and written test with flying colors!  I’m looking forward to venturing out on my own and with a new riding friend I met in class who lives two miles from me!

wawazat
wawazat HalfDork
7/18/19 6:55 p.m.

Well fast forward a few months and the bike finally came to its new home.  It needed a new battery and I broke the tie down my uncle made from a thin black pleather belt.   New belt acquired and will be mounted up tonight. Insured today and title transfer and plates tomorrow.  I drive her around the block a few times to start breaking in the neighborsdevil

wawazat
wawazat HalfDork
7/18/19 7:00 p.m.

I also got to learn all about long stored HD wet sumped issues!  After filling the catch can my uncle rigged up and resealing a big spot on my asphalt driveway I did some research.  Hess’s post above not dry sump system was playing in my head.   Started her up with a pan underneath as the draining slowed down.  Pulled the plug on the catch can to get the rest out and it stopped leaking out of the drain.   Plates and some miles tomorrow then an oil and filter change.   

wawazat
wawazat HalfDork
7/19/19 4:41 p.m.

Coming home 

Cleaned up a bit

Got a temp plate today as I wait for personalized plate.  My Uncle's name was Rich so I got UNKLR.  I took her out for a bit today but wearing ATGATT was a bit toasty so I kept it short.  Tomorrow is a local C&C so I'll head over for a quick tour.

ATGATT is Shoei modular helmet, Cosmo helmet light with brake function, Aplinestar's gloves, Dianese '72 perfed jacket, TCX boots, and long pants.  Good airflow only goes so far though.

wawazat
wawazat HalfDork
7/20/19 9:10 a.m.

First significant ride today!  Went about 25 miles.  Seat is a bit hard (cast iron I think), ignition or fuel causing the engine to break up at higher revs, and I learned about vibration loosening on this thing.  I was tweaking my sole rear view mirroring today for best sight lines.  I pulled up to a stop sign and looked down and it was gone!  The set screw on to a steel bar must have loosened up and mirror vanished!  I had already decided I wanted a RH side mirror so now today I get to buy two mirrors!

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
7/21/19 8:16 p.m.

Yeah, they do that.  Loctite is your new friend! 

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