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  1. #1
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    Default Question - Working on my bike (Sportster)

    whats up nastycity here , Just recently joined CC to learn how to work on my bike...
    .
    long story short , I bought a 1989 sporty xlch 1200 and the thing grenaded , two days after i bought it... So i had to buy another motor , and have a shop install it for me.. it cost me $3000 with labor.

    Me being a dumbass , scrounged everything i had to get me back to riding...

    enough with ranting. basically I want to do all the work on my bike and not pay a shop anymore!!! FUCKKKKK

    so what are the basic things that I can do in my apartments??
    are there any how to guides to doing basic maintenance? I tried searching I found nothing.. Im either blind or a dumbass.

    thanks CC!!

  2. #2
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    Welcome dude. Similar scenario got me into building and chopping my own shit. 300$ for new valve guide seals and 1200 for a clutch...I was flat broke and pissed when I found out I was perfectly capable of doing that work myself.

    Get yourself an owners manual from HD on your year sporty. Keep up with regular maintenance (oil changes, fork oil changes, chain up keep, clutch adjustment, ect.) and you'll be well on your way to not needing anyone to help you. eventually you can start playing with taking things off that aren't needed and putting your own little custom touches on to make it your own.

  3. #3
    nunez8853
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    if your gonna do ride man do as much as you cab on your own.

    true story. the same day I got mu bike I took it for a put around the block and a small chunk of rust clogged my main jet on the carb I call a mechanic he came to my place clane the rust out and charged me 80 bucks... never again will I get someone to do something for me. I'm to broke to pay a guy to fix my shit.

    you need to go to sears and get ypur self a mechanic kit. best 100 you'll invest. next as said. get a manual not a knock off fet an hd that is one of few things you should get hd. then get your self a bfh (big fuckking hammer) torx keys and alan keys all together you should drop about 200 or lesswith those 4 things you can do much more than you think. other stuff rent or barrow as needed. example I rented a 35mm socket for my forks. that's a 22 dollar socket. I. not down right now. so barrow. once you start getting into it and doing your wiring and cutting shit then buy your tools.

    thts jst been my experience man also if you can make friends with an indy shop I be freined some old school dudes that have been choppin since the 60s and trust me iv learned a ton from them. also if they like you they hook it up with freebees every now and then .

  4. #4
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    HDForums is a good source for info as well.

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    I am by no means an expert, but in the few months that ive had my bike, everything done to it has been done by me with the occasional guidance of a friend (Exhaust, AC, conver to Mids, etc). Now granted none of this is really all that difficult to do, but this was my first bike, and ive been surprised how easy most everything is on a bike. Not saying im ready for an engine tear down, but so far so good. And like the other guy said, allen and torx keys are your best friend.

  6. #6
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    Get a factory service manual.
    Other than machining or a few odds and ends there isn't much out of reach if one is armed with decent tools, an FSM, a little imagination and the ability to read and follow the FSM.

  7. #7
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    Learn to do everything you can yourself and over a lifetime you will save insane amounts of cash and get things the way you want them.

    Quality tools are cheap compared to modern labor rates, and no one will love your ride like YOU love your ride.

    A digital camera is your friend and the pics you take a valuable reference.

    You can do almost anything in an apartment. I had one and 3/4 Ironheads in pieces stuffed into the wall lockers in my dorm room when I was a young Airman.

  8. #8
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    much appreciated everyone!!

    I definitely will be purchasing a manual for my sporty. Just wondering would the cheaper clymer version i find on fleabay suffice? or should I purchase OEM? ill also drop by sears to pick up one of them kits on payday. whats a decent brand to purchase ?

    @farmall , Saving cash + knowing you fixed your bike , is definitely whats swaying me to learn the basics. thanks for serving as well buddy!

    side note : I have burly slammer shocks , Will I need to lower the front forks once i install em?

    thanks !

  9. #9
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    Get a Clymers manual for $30 new off amazon. Fuck the factory service manual. Same shit, color wiring diagram, etc. Anything you cant figure out from it, there is always the internet.

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    Ya might wanna check out this place...

    http://xlforum.net/vbportal/forums/index.php

    ...for Sportster specific info. Hope ya like yer motorsickle. Ain't nuthing quite like a Sporty. I'm kinda partial to the older machines, but I have a feeling yer gonna get a lot of good times on yer two wheeled freedom machine. Now the time has come for you to post a pic. Not a photo of you! A pic of yer bike, dammit!!

    Until you post a pic of yer bike, this will have to do...


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnakeArms View Post
    Get a Clymers manual for $30 new off amazon. Fuck the factory service manual. Same shit, color wiring diagram, etc. Anything you cant figure out from it, there is always the internet.
    do NOT get the clymers, get the HD manual! the clymers covers more years and is half the pages, how could that be the same?! i have both and the clymers is more like cliff notes and leaves out a lot. being a total novice, you need the step by step provided by the factory version. this is not the place to penny pinch since it will be used for everything you do.

  12. #12
    dazed84
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    ,sevice manual from bikes builder is only way to go ,,clymers NOT

  13. #13
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    Umm, I personally would steer clear of Clymer's. Most mistakes I have seen on rebuilds/repairs are from following things in a Clymer's Vrs. the proper FSM.

  14. #14
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    The factory books pay for themselves.

    Skimping on tech data for your Harley is like collecting used condoms from your friends to save money. Just because you probably can doesn't mean you should.


    Sears often has kit sales. They have a very wide and frequently changing variety of kits, but "get the most tools for the money" at the time is a good rule of thumb. US sizes or mixed, socket and combination wrenches etc.

    After that you can fill in any blanks. I used to buy one tool per payday when money was tight. That strategy is much older than I am and works very well. Doesn't have to be an expensive tool, just good quality, but one tool per payday.
    Last edited by farmall; 05-03-2013 at 7:39 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by vin View Post
    do NOT get the clymers, get the HD manual! the clymers covers more years and is half the pages, how could that be the same?! i have both and the clymers is more like cliff notes and leaves out a lot. being a total novice, you need the step by step provided by the factory version. this is not the place to penny pinch since it will be used for everything you do.

    IDK man, works fine for me.. It may be bare bones, but I dont need my hand held through things. Just a quick reference. Myabe it covers more years on rigid evo's (86-03 is a big span) but not so for the rubbermounts. And the Clymers is 600 pages.. FUCK, if thats the cliff notes I would hate to see the HD manual!

  16. #16

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    internets your best friend man... Manuals are great, and should definitely have the CORRECT manual at your hip at all times... But sometimes there are things that may not immediately click just by reading the manual. That's when youtube and "for dummies" explanations in forums come in clutch... I started working on bikes 4 years ago, no experience whatsoever (never even took auto shop in high school), but from the help of forums and online vids, I can pretty much take my bike apart and put it back together...

    And for tools, hit up your local flea market/swap meets... I pick up random made in murrica tools all the time for as cheap as a $1... some tools don't have to be new and shiny to get the job done.. sometimes theyre even better old

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by dexxx View Post
    ...
    And for tools, hit up your local flea market/swap meets... I pick up random made in murrica tools all the time for as cheap as a $1... some tools don't have to be new and shiny to get the job done.. sometimes theyre even better old
    +1 on flea markets

    Keep in mind that father's day is coming up next month so sales on tools will be plentiful

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