Shovelhead Fork Oil

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jobo12
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Shovelhead Fork Oil

#1

Post by jobo12 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:49 am

I have an early cone-motor shovelhead (1973) I just rebuilt the forks, and I need to know what fork oil I need and how much of it to use. I know what the book says, but I need to know what CURRENTLY AVAILABLE oil is right, and what amount to use (7.0 oz. Is recommended), but it's of an oil that's not been available for a coupl'a decades.
Thanks,,
Joe



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Re: Shovelhead Fork Oil

#2

Post by nmaineron » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:53 am

ATF works.

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Re: Shovelhead Fork Oil

#3

Post by panhead_kicker » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:54 pm

...but it's of an oil that's not been available for a coupl'a decades.
https://www.harley-davidson.com/store/fork-oil

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Re: Shovelhead Fork Oil

#4

Post by jobo12 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:43 am

panhead_kicker wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:54 pm
...but it's of an oil that's not been available for a coupl'a decades.
https://www.harley-davidson.com/store/fork-oil
Thanks, I stand corrected, it didn't occur to me that original fork oil was still available. I have owned this bike since 1981, and it has been full-dressed most of its life. The factory (pre-Showa) front end with the stock fork oil frankly sucked-- it wallowed in the curves, and bottomed out under hard braking. I would like to try to do better than 45 year old stock performance. There's a lot of good stuff out there, I was hoping that the folks on this forum had come up with some good preferences.
As far as ATF goes, the viscosity may be good, but the seals I just pressed into the lower legs looked like they might have issues with the more volatile lubricants. In that regard, though, I considered 20 wt. hydraulic oil, but I'm paranoid about foaming. I obviously need to do more homework.
Thanks,
Joe

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Re: Shovelhead Fork Oil

#5

Post by pan620 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:33 pm

Go to a metric bike store, my local shop has 7wt, 10wt, 15, 20,30wt..... I would try 20 or 30w

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Re: Shovelhead Fork Oil

#6

Post by FL54 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:42 pm

A knowledgeable member on another forum who owns a shop advised using 30 wt lawnmower oil. I didn't even know such a thing existed. I found some at Home Depot and used it when I replaced the seals on a '72 FLH. Made a big difference.

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Re: Shovelhead Fork Oil

#7

Post by PanPal » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:04 pm

The last 2 sets I have serviced I used ...
PJ1 Motorcycle Gold Series Fork Tuner Oil 30wt Heavy .5 Liter 1.056 Pint Bottle.
Bought it off E bay, but your local metric bike shop should carry it also.

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Re: Shovelhead Fork Oil

#8

Post by jobo12 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:43 am

Thanks, guys, going to a 30 wt. fork rated oil is exactly what I was hoping to try. The '73 was the 2nd year for the front disk brake, and the front end dives pretty hard if you grab a hand full of front brake. I've lightened the bike considerably, and am hoping to coax a little better performance out of the front end without going to the Showa version. I'll try the metric 30 wt. and see how that works.
I've increased the horsepower, maybe I can get it to handle a little better.
Thanks, again,
Joe

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Re: Shovelhead Fork Oil

#9

Post by RooDog » Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:49 pm

You may also try adding a spacer, like one inch, or so, above the spring, or perhaps a pair of Progressive brand shprings to stiffen up the front spring rate just a little. It's not rocket science, and fairly easy to make changes to get the ride you want. And don't neglect those old worn out 13" rear shocks. You could try some later shocks speced for a Dyna. I've used 12" Dyna spec shocks for over 20 years now on my rides..... RooDog

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Re: Shovelhead Fork Oil

#10

Post by jobo12 » Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:26 am

RooDog wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:49 pm
You may also try adding a spacer, like one inch, or so, above the spring, or perhaps a pair of Progressive brand shprings to stiffen up the front spring rate just a little. It's not rocket science, and fairly easy to make changes to get the ride you want. And don't neglect those old worn out 13" rear shocks. You could try some later shocks speced for a Dyna. I've used 12" Dyna spec shocks for over 20 years now on my rides..... RooDog
Thanks for the tips, I just want to stiffen the front end action a little. Probably try to do it a little at a time to try to get the ride I want. I already swapped the original rear shocks with Progressive 11- inch units. I'm running a solo plunger seat, so the stiffness in the rear end should be tolerable. The bike is fairly fast, now, it would be great if it handled a little better.
Thanks,
Joe

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