Building a project bike

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Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 1:02 pm

Building a project bike


Post by Bear » Sun Apr 11, 2004 10:41 pm

I have a frame (swing arm), wells, tank, and the rest in buckets. The heads are internal oilers and so is the bottom end. If, I mean when, I start to drop $$ into this project, where do you recommend I begin. I have a buddy who is a good mechanic and we are building this together. Anyone recommend 'automatic' upgrades (besides electrics and carb - have been reading this site and love it, by the way). I will be here a lot as this goes on. My long term goal is to have a bike that is visually and spiritually a panhead, but not a true restoration. I need dependability.
Let the games begin.
ker (pronounced 'care')

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Bikes: 2010 road king at the moment. Won't last long

Re: Building a project bike


Post by dirtydistrict » Mon Apr 12, 2004 7:12 am

Hi Bear, dependable...even the space shuttle isn't so, this word means nothing for me, we wouldn't be there to talk and talk. This is what evo riders say when they look at my Pan "nice to see but not dependable" , you can make improvement for sure (look the panhead/wl home page) and most of all have pleasure when riding something different, that's my 0,3 cent advice. Cheers

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Re: Building a project bike


Post by Bear » Wed Apr 14, 2004 2:54 pm

this is my second harley, and I agree dependable is a relative term. I am looking for opinions from the wise as to where best to put $$ first. I am slowly forming a plan as I read through all the threads here. I have a pair of cylinders and they look kind of ratty. The heads look okay. The case looks good. The trany is in a bucket so the jury is out there. As I go through this, what are the things I should do NOW? It sounds like lots of you have built 'project bikes' and i imagine that there are some things you did later that were not so obvious. All advice appreciated and solicited.

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Location: Maine USA

Re: Building a project bike


Post by haggis » Thu Apr 15, 2004 7:17 am

The motors the whole deal, to do it your self is going to cost a nutsload more than if you can find a good local rebuilder. Unless you have pile of special tools balancers etc hanging around. Thats where I would spend the big bucks. Haggis

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Re: Building a project bike


Post by DuoDave » Fri Apr 16, 2004 1:21 pm

The first thing I would do is check your heads REALLY CAREFULLY. These heads are notorious for cracking. Get the heads cleaned up (vapour or bead blasted), then go over them looking for cracks at the valve seats, plug holes and around the steel inserts for the head bolts. Now is the time to get them welded up, if neccessary, or to budget for new heads if they are really bad. If you get them welded, make sure you get them skimmed flat afterwards, or you will be blowing head gaskets with monotonous regularity.

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Re: Building a project bike


Post by 57stroker » Fri Apr 16, 2004 10:12 pm

I ride a '57 FLH that I bought in boxes. I would send the engine cases and flywheels to someone that knows what they are doing and will stand behind their work. Others in this forum talk about someone they recomend - Stetts, I believe is the name. I had a local car engine balancer do my flywheels and had a lower rod race come apart with only 3500 miles on the new motor. I was very lucky that the rods didn't destroy my engine cases. Besides the couple of thousand $$$ it will cost, if you destroy the left case, you don't have an older Pan anymore. If the lower end is done properly, it should last you a lifetime. You could go the stroker route, but you end up trading a little torque and rideability for a few extra ponies. Break-in on the new motor will take a couple of thousad miles and is really important on a Panhead. I've put a lot of car engines together and didn't really feel a difference as the engine was breaking in, but the Pan I could. The engine begins to run better and smoother after a couple of thousand miles. When you get your lower end back together, come back to this forum and get more opinions. There are people here that have "been there - done that" and could save you money and grief. Even the local Shovelhead "experts" in my area don't know Pans as well as some in this forum. You have begun a journey down a very long road. It took me over 2 years of nights and weekends to put my basket together. I only gave up a couple of times! The end result IS worth the effort. GOOD LUCK!

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Re: Building a project bike


Post by BigMike » Sat Apr 17, 2004 12:01 am

Stroker speaks the truth, balance is the best investment, next imo, is the cases themselves, true the surfaces, alignments, bearing races, etc. spend all the time and money you can on building a bulletproof lower end.

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