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  1. #1

    Default 1980 FXWG face lift

    I thought I'd share this with the community. It's nothing special but I wouldn't mind some insight or criticism.
    I bought this back in September 2015 running and rideable for a decent price. 1980 FXWG. odo says 18k. I don't know if that's accurate.

    I rode it for a couple months before the winter came, as I live in New England.
    Over the winter I did basic maintenance on it and prepped it for a 2k mile trip planned for May of 2016.
    New rear tire. Had to replace cracked gas tanks. I attempted to fix them, but someone had previously attempted it and butchered it with brass brazing. So I stripped the paint off the replacement tanks and fender to match. Added a semi custom made sissy bar for luggage. Bought a pre bent gasbox sissy bar and welded it on to the factory sissy bar mounts.

    Here it is 1/4 of the way through the trip on the Blue Ridge parkway.

    I managed no major break downs on the trip. The inner primary cracked on the top of the case and it slowly spewed while riding, but didn't leak while parked. When I made it to my destination I drilled out the end of the crack, put a self tap screw in it and jb welded it. It stopped the crack from growing any larger and helped for a little bit but ended up leaking a couple hundred miles in to the ride back. I just frequently checked my oil and refilled as needed.

    It needed a top end job before I even left but I took it anyway knowing I'd tear it apart the moment I got back. So in between my busy work schedule I rebuilt the top end and took care of some other crap over the summer of 2016.

    First thing I did was pop open the primary and immediately found this.

    Blew my mind. I hung that one on the wall.

    Pulled the tranny and sent it off to my buddies for him to go through it.

    Tried to clean up the bottom end as best I could without going too crazy while I could get at it.

    I let the pistons soak for a while and cleaned them the best I could. The skirts were in decent shape and I didn't know yet at the time if I was gonna reuse them, which I ended up just getting new ones anyway. Anyone know what that divot could be from that runs adjacent to the valve? The valves and cylinder walls were fine. Previous disaster maybe and reused pistons is what I'm thinking.

    I walnut blasted the heads and valves. Then took a wire wheel on a 18v drill on the lowest speed setting to the stubborn spots.

    Cleaned up and rebuilt the oil pump.

    Got the cone and the heads stripped of their awful diy paintjob some one conquered, along with the cracking chrome.

    Got the transmission back and it was actually in really good shape. Also was given the main shaft support by my buddy. Thanks dog.

    Super quick clean up of the forks. They don't look as good in person. It's more than I wanted to do anyway.

    The bike came with the original Keihin butterfly which I wasn't a huge fan of after running it the 2k miles on the trip. I had this CV carb already so I just did a quick rebuild on it and went with it. I had to modify the throttle cable bracket to make it work. It tragically interferes with the idle adjustment screw basically making it useless. I put a hex head bolt in there instead to make it a bit easier to operate. Nothing fancy, just works for me.

    Made up a simple support for the carb out of some steel I had. I realized later that although it's supported, I'm still solely relying on the press fitting and loc tight of the flange to keep that carb on there. I've just been rolling those dice.

    The cylinders were a 3.5" bore if I remember correctly. I had them honed and dropped in some low compression pistons.

    I ditched the chain drive primary and electric starter. Went with a 1.5" BDL and some panhead tins.

    Bars I found in my old mans basement. No idea what they're from. He had many bikes over the years.

    The rear fender is off of a 2002 fatboy. My father had the tins painted this peach color and had some pin striping done. I had no intention on keeping the color. I actually hated it at first, but then it grew on me while it sat in mock up mode. A good buddy of mine paints, so he matched the tanks the best he could. The emblems were also on the old mans original tank. They were also hand painted to match the color scheme. I spent a little time on donor pipes I got off an IG purchase. Didn't go as planned and wanted to get on the road so I went with simple bolt ons from V-Twin.

    This is kind of how it's sitting now.

    I cracked the fender struts and fender during a trip this fall. Gotta sort that out before the spring so I'm most likely changing the color.
    Also plan on putting 10" hangers on it that I have. Have to extend some break lines. Also gonna ditch the electronics in the controls. Anyone know what bore a clutch lever off of an Ironhead is? Was thinking I could run one of those to minimize the clutch lever set up. I'm open to explore any other recommendations.

  2. #2
    Senior Member

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    Join Date
    Mar 2014


    Awesome Shovel!

    I see you are from the New Haven area. I'm in East Haven. I got an 84 fxs shovelhead and a 77 sportster and always looking for new people to ride and shoot the shit with.

    PM me sometime buddy.

    -Gary O

  3. #3
    Senior Member

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    Join Date
    Jul 2011


    its cool that you took this on the blue ridge parkway, I did that trip last summer on my fxr and it was great. nice bike and I give you props for putting some miles on her!

  4. #4


    It was worth every mile. Roughly 1200 of those miles were pouring rain too. Did CT to Blue Ridge Parkway to Frisco, NC. Stayed in OBX for a week then took a coastal route home. I was apprehensive about riding it because I wasn't sure if I'd be driving home in a van with a bike in the back or not, but it was all part of the adventure.

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