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  1. #1
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    Default Late Ironhead kick start conversion questions

    Does anyone know if this is possible? I've ordered my hardtail and am preparing to chop my '83 XLX, the plan is to chop it this summer and then tear the engine down for cams/porting/hi-comp pistons/etc this winter. I'd like to do the kickstart conversion when I do the performance work. From looking at it, the place I normally see the kicker shaft on the older ironhead has a boss cast into the case, but no hole. If I find a good machinist who knows ironheads, can I just get it drilled for the kicker shaft and order a kickstart conversion? I have no idea if transmissions are the same on my '83 as the 60s/70s bikes, but it seems like this might be doable. I'd love to get a mag, lose my battery, and have a homemade CH...

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    So I've heard.... 79' is the last year that a kicker conversion is made for. Might be more worth getting the whole tranny chopped off and dropping a baker in.

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    The expense involved in doing so is way more than just getting a different motor set up for kick start. It can be done, but you have to have a damn good machinest too. It is more than the hole on the cam cover side. The shaft travels right behind the motor, and into the case behind the clutch basket. They bind bad enough stock if not aligned right, I could only imagine if it weren't 100% machined right aftermarket. Then there has to be the mounts for the mechanism, a different clutch basket, and does your rear motor mount already have the holes in em also for the shaft to come through? It is cool and all, but if you look at my Sportster Ankle thread right now, you can see how badly I wish I had a button also this week. Then I'd be riding not drivin my pick-up. I don't think I'll be adding one, but it's cause mine is a CH and wasn't supposed to ever have a electric start. It can be done, but you may wanna just build the bike you got electric, and find a old one to do a kicker with. I'm lookin for a 60's myself. Like the look of the primary without the hump in for the electric start. Good luck with your choice bro.

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    Quote Originally Posted by imtheslime View Post
    So I've heard.... 79' is the last year that a kicker conversion is made for. Might be more worth getting the whole tranny chopped off and dropping a baker in.
    That is another idea. Lop off the whole tranny, and you could even get a 5 speed kicker. Might be cheaper still too. But now that I think of it, Slime might be right. It might not be possible at all.

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    I've asked my local mechanic (he knows fucking everything). he said that it is possible to mount a kicker conversion kit into motors till first quarter of the 1980s production. You just have to look if the motor has a plugged hole in the primary case, right behind the sprocket of the secondary chain.

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    I don't want to chop the tranny off, I like the unit production sporty and am building the bike with the frame as is. Going to a separate tranny would require a frame with the seat post in a different location. I actually like having a sporty, just wish I had a kicker...

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    Quote Originally Posted by SportsterBob View Post
    I've asked my local mechanic (he knows fucking everything). he said that it is possible to mount a kicker conversion kit into motors till first quarter of the 1980s production. You just have to look if the motor has a plugged hole in the primary case, right behind the sprocket of the secondary chain.
    If it's the right side of the case, it appears to have the boss, but no hole machined - not a plugged hole. I'll look again this evening when I'm back home...

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    Quote Originally Posted by timhypo View Post
    I don't want to chop the tranny off, I like the unit production sporty and am building the bike with the frame as is. Going to a separate tranny would require a frame with the seat post in a different location. I actually like having a sporty, just wish I had a kicker...
    I hear you, I like my sportster too. I'm thinking about cost. The machining to accomplish this could add up quick, plus getting/modifying the kicker parts and if it's not done right.....
    Well shit, anything is possible.... Go for it! Post some photos. You can use the tranny lob job as a plan B if it don't work out. Don't have to be a baker either, find a swap meet special.

    http://strippeddowncycles.com/wordpr...php?page_id=64

    Hey Bob. What did your mechanic mean by "first quarter of the 1980s production"? The first 3 months of 1980? Or the first 2.50 years of the 80's?
    Last edited by imtheslime; 06-08-2010 at 9:33 PM.

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    I'm guessing by the first quarter of 80's production, he was speaking of the period when they were still ironheads ('80-85). Someone, years ago, told me the same, but I can't remember who, when, or where...

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    Quote Originally Posted by timhypo View Post
    I'm guessing by the first quarter of 80's production, he was speaking of the period when they were still ironheads ('80-85). Someone, years ago, told me the same, but I can't remember who, when, or where...
    I'm confused??? Wouldn't five out of ten years be a half not a quarter?

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    Quote Originally Posted by imtheslime View Post
    I'm confused??? Wouldn't five out of ten years be a half not a quarter?
    I think he meant the first quarter of 1980.

    I looked into this as I was not afraid to bore a hole in the case but looking at older cases then seeing my '83 I just figured it was easier to go buy an older bike. Your gonna tear the thing down to empty cases as I had it figured. Not worth the effort in my opinion.

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    Its gonna be a HUGE PITA if not damn near impossible. And from what I've heard a cammed up hi comp sporty is harder to kick over than any big twin. Besides buttons hide stalls better

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    I looked at what I think is an early 1980 engine today. The rear motor mount has the shaft pass through in it still. The boss area is flat and evident on the back of the primary housing. You could probably get away without splitting the cases if you were able to drain it real good, true the engine on your mill on it's side, tape it up nice and locate the center precisely. I guess they changed the case design after 80 as the rear mount becomes integral to the case after that. I couldn't see trying that without splitting the cases. You'd also have to find a way to seal the case sides around the shaft.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MIKE47 View Post
    I looked at what I think is an early 1980 engine today. The rear motor mount has the shaft pass through in it still. The boss area is flat and evident on the back of the primary housing. You could probably get away without splitting the cases if you were able to drain it real good, true the engine on your mill on it's side, tape it up nice and locate the center precisely. I guess they changed the case design after 80 as the rear mount becomes integral to the case after that. I couldn't see trying that without splitting the cases. You'd also have to find a way to seal the case sides around the shaft.
    The boss is definitely still evident on my mill, that's what started this train of thought for me. So, prior to 1980 the rear motor mount was separate from the motor? I can't remember if mine is built in or not. I'll take some pictures this evening if I get time to play in my garage. What type of documentation should I put together if I decide to try to do this? I have a machinist who's also into choppers that would probably be amenable to this...

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    Also, I have access to another 70s sporty mill that my buddy's rebuilding. I wonder if I could use that boss to determine where to drill this one...

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    so! here you can see the plugged off hole for the kicker!
    1980 sporty




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