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  1. #1

    Default How to learn more about Harley motors?

    Posted this in the How to section earlier...my bad.
    Im new to motorcycles. I want to actually learn about how all the different Harley motors work so I REALLY understand them and can fix the thing. Im looking to buy an Ironhead, so I know Im going to need to wrench on it. Where should I start? I have watched a lot of online stuff on youtube etc... I really want an Ironhead, but dont want to get into something like that before I learn more. As a male nurse, a very manly profession as you know, understanding problems with the human body is just intuitive for me...I want to develop that knowledge with the motorcycle engine. Any help is really appreciated.

    ps. Sorry for the 'help me' first post...Ive been reading on this site for about a month, I just dont have anyting to add to help any one out yet as a newbie. Thx again.

  2. #2
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    Read manuals. Its a good start.

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    You're at the right place. Best thing to do is digest it in small bites. Get yourself a repair manual. I'm not an ironhead guy so others here may have the best recommendations. Check the broledex for cult members near you. Even if you don't know anything most here won't turn down a helping hand, especially if u show up with a six pack.
    No body took me under their wing, I learned by reading books, asking stupid questions on forums, and becoming a regular customer at my local bike shop. Don't just show up and expect someone to share all their knowledge with you. Explain what your doing and get all your parts from him if possible. This builds trust, and usually they are more than happy to help get you on the road.

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    There's a LOT of how-to stuff on youtube. I'm always amazed what you can find there. That'd be a good place to start.

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    Manuals, forums and youtube are really where you start. But best way to really learn is to get your hands dirty. With an engine in front of you so you can visualize everything. If you have never been inside one of these engines, they will be foreign and you will have a hard time understanding the manuals until you do so. Not to mention there are some differences between years with certain parts.

    Lowbrow carries a couple how-to DVD's http://www.lowbrowcustoms.com/p1547/...rkshop-manual/

    Many youtube how-to's as well.

    I'm still new to American bikes as well, so learning as I go.

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    well they are VERY simple. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-twin_engine

    one you start stacking on all of the parts that make a complete working engine, it gets more complicated. start at the basics and work from there.

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    Manuals, YouTube, the Lowbrow Ironhead DVD and forums are good but the way that I became familiar with Ironheads was when I bought one. For the first few months of owning the bike every time I rode it, it would break down and come home in the back of a truck. That was the best way for me to figure out how the bike works. When I had to fix it my Ironhead I was forced to become familiar with everything on the bike.

  8. #8
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    A) Buy one
    B) Rip it completely apart
    C) Get a manual
    D) Read it
    E) Start trying to put it back together

  9. #9
    xllance
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    Get on your ironhead and ride to the post office to get your FACTORY service manual.

  10. #10
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    Get the bike and start fixing. You can read all you want, but until you start turning bolts and ripping things apart you won't make sense. Also, you might read something that has nothing to do with the bike you buy and it just might wind up confusing you.

    I'm new to motorcycles also. I was (fortunately) given my 90 Sporty and haven't really turned a wrench since replacing the water pump on my 74 Nova back in 94. I'm pretty savvy and not mechanically stupid. However, Having problems to fix on a specific model has made learning easier (including the difference between models) than reading and viewing blindly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lilmad View Post
    A) Buy one
    B) Rip it completely apart
    C) Get a manual
    D) Read it
    E) Start trying to put it back together
    This right here.
    If you are smart enough to study and become a nurse you can figure out an engine. I have found many similarities between the human body and internal combustion engine theories of operation. seriously.
    READ everything and invest in manuals and parts books.
    H-D has always (mostly) revised their engines over the years such that an ironhead is similar to an Evolution Sportster and the Evo is similar to the XL/XB rubbermounted Sportsters currently in production.
    You are going to need to build your vocabulary: camshaft, crankshaft, lifter and it's alias tappett, gerotor oil pump, pushrod, rocker arm, etc. I found it helpful to take a correspondance course when I was starting out, remember the Sally Struthers commercials?

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    First get the bike. Then fix stuff as it breaks. There is no way to just read a book or a thread and understand whats going on. Ive been working on my bike for years and I will still read a thread where I have no idea what is being discussed. Not that you cant learn from the threads or books, its just using your hands and actually seeing what is happening is exponentially more beneficial to your learning process than reading about shit you have no foundation to understand. You'll pick it up from the books and threads too, just in much smaller chunks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FredoSNR View Post
    First get the bike. Then fix stuff as it breaks. There is no way to just read a book or a thread and understand whats going on. Ive been working on my bike for years and I will still read a thread where I have no idea what is being discussed. Not that you cant learn from the threads or books, its just using your hands and actually seeing what is happening is exponentially more beneficial to your learning process than reading about shit you have no foundation to understand. You'll pick it up from the books and threads too, just in much smaller chunks.
    Couldn't have said it better, "First get a bike, then fix stuff as it breaks" Then you'll know what tools to buy too.

  14. #14
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    if your getting an ironhead you will learn quickly....

  15. #15
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    I agree with . . . get the bike and fix it as needed. If you have read up and watched some vids then you should have a general understanding. Buy the manual and the lowbrow DVD and you will be fine. Jump right in like the rest of us! If you can't fix something, someone here can more than likely walk you through it. good luck!

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