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  1. #1
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    Default Ironhead cams...which ones do you prefer and why?

    I have a 79 Ironhead long bike. I am not interested in speed or performance as opposed to good sound and cruising. With that said I run a set of paughco short drags, .030 pistons and currently a set of Andrews Y cams that came with the motor when I purchased it. It had a higher tone from the exhaust and a pop style lope instead of a thump style lope at idle if that makes any sense. I am in the middle of rebuilding the motor and am curious what others are running for cams and how they like them. I have another sportster and it has a deep exhaust tone with the same style pipes as my long bike, which I love. Any suggestions?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wizardsbane View Post
    I have a 79 Ironhead long bike. I am not interested in speed or performance as opposed to good sound and cruising. With that said I run a set of paughco short drags, .030 pistons and currently a set of Andrews Y cams that came with the motor when I purchased it. It had a higher tone from the exhaust and a pop style lope instead of a thump style lope at idle if that makes any sense. I am in the middle of rebuilding the motor and am curious what others are running for cams and how they like them. I have another sportster and it has a deep exhaust tone with the same style pipes as my long bike, which I love. Any suggestions?
    I've always been told that P cams are a great all around cam. If you want a little bit more , maybe some PB's. If you're doing valve train work have you thought about any headwork? A good set of cams will get you some ponies, but headwork opens everything up. You can get the biggest, baddest cams on the market, but if your engine isn't breathing at full potential its just wasted power and efficiency. I'm sure Jesse will be around soon, and will have a better answer than what I can provide.

    Love your bike by the way, saw it at fuel cleveland
    Last edited by Benny74; 10-15-2017 at 5:36 PM.

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    That's pretty much it ... ^^^

    Andrews lays it out a bit more ... Good read ...

    .../// http://www.andrewsproducts.com/motor...s/choosing-cam \\\...

    For years on end when I build up a motor I always had a chat with Jimmy Leineweber, that is at the end of those days being Jimmy is just about stone cold deaf and can no longer talk on the phone....
    (Think the "Barn Job" had a little to do with his condition)

    .../// http://www.nationalmcmuseum.org/feat...ture-barn-job/ \\\...

    His son "Justin" is taking over .... And I can tell ya the apple didn't fall far from the tree with that young Lad .....

    Tidbit of useless info about Jimmy...
    His family was from Chicago, his grandfather owned a Cigar store across the street from the Biograph Theater on Lincoln Avenue ...



    John Dillinger went to see a show there, the FBI was tipped off to his movements and set up a capture lead by Melvin Purvis ...

    Dillinger, with his two female companions on either side, walked out of the theater and turned to his left. As they walked past the doorway in which Purvis was standing, Purvis lit a cigar as a signal for the other men to close in.

    That cigar was bought in Jimmy's grandfather's store who witness what happen to Dillinger ....

    Five shots were fired from the guns of three FBI agents. Three of the shots hit Dillinger, and he fell face down on the pavement. At 10:50 p.m. on July 22, 1934, John Dillinger was pronounced dead in a little room in the Alexian Brothers Hospital.

    End of Story ....
    Little known History can be fascinating ....
    Last edited by Dragstews; 10-16-2017 at 12:45 AM.

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    Dragstews good stories man. Appreciate the share.

    Benny74 Thanks for the compliment on the bike. But yeah, I am not interested in any head work. Its a cruiser, plain and simple. But with that said I'm more after a lower end sound from the engine and exhaust, if its even achievable. Just fishing to see if anyone pops up and says this is the combo for that. haha. I'm not too familiar with the different cam sizes and such, but the little i do know about them doesn't lend much knowledge to specific sound characteristics from different cam sizes.

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    If you are running open pipes on an Ironhead try PB+ intakes and PB exhausts or even P exhausts.
    Dusty

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    Quote Originally Posted by DustyDave View Post
    If you are running open pipes on an Ironhead try PB+ intakes and PB exhausts or even P exhausts.
    Dusty
    I am running open pipes. What will those cam sizes do?

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    Cut's down on the dead spots that open pipes cause. Make it pull better around an idle while still helping the top end. This was a common combo in the 70's. Sporty exhausts are way over optimal size. More modern fixes like reversion cones and washers work too. But I always liked the sound of a sporty with that combo.
    Dusty

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    Quote Originally Posted by DustyDave View Post
    Cut's down on the dead spots that open pipes cause. Make it pull better around an idle while still helping the top end. This was a common combo in the 70's. Sporty exhausts are way over optimal size. More modern fixes like reversion cones and washers work too. But I always liked the sound of a sporty with that combo.
    Dusty
    Thanks dude.

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    When I get windy I forget what the main topic is all about..
    I meant to mention a set of used cams that I have on hand for sale ..

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    These are Andrews DX Grind and are Bad Boy cams that work super well in strokers up to around 76 cubes..
    Be way to much cam for Oem stroke....

    Thought I would put these on the table for three C notes in case you decide to up the ante in the future ..
    Last edited by Dragstews; 10-16-2017 at 7:37 AM.

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    I had an old ironhead that I had a set of Sifton cams (pretty sure this was before Sifton was bought out by Taiwan Ted.) They worked well for my set up, but it's tough to recommend cams unless we know a few things. What (if anything) has been done to the engine? What kind of riding do you do? What kind of performance or power band do you want? There are still a few options for cams for ironheads, but getting to be fewer. If you don't give a rats ass about performance and just want to putt on it, you might think about trying to find someone to trade the Y grind you have for a set of stock cams. Not sure how easy it would be to find, but might be worth trying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WillSCB View Post
    I had an old ironhead that I had a set of Sifton cams (pretty sure this was before Sifton was bought out by Taiwan Ted.) They worked well for my set up, but it's tough to recommend cams unless we know a few things. What (if anything) has been done to the engine? What kind of riding do you do? What kind of performance or power band do you want? There are still a few options for cams for ironheads, but getting to be fewer. If you don't give a rats ass about performance and just want to putt on it, you might think about trying to find someone to trade the Y grind you have for a set of stock cams. Not sure how easy it would be to find, but might be worth trying.
    I'm with you on this. The engine had stock heads w a .030 piston size and short drags. It's a long bike so cruising around town and chill highway stretches is what I'm after. Doesn't need to be a ripper. A friend of mine mentioned a set of stock cams as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DustyDave View Post
    Cut's down on the dead spots that open pipes cause. Make it pull better around an idle while still helping the top end. This was a common combo in the 70's. Sporty exhausts are way over optimal size. More modern fixes like reversion cones and washers work too. But I always liked the sound of a sporty with that combo.
    Dusty
    It's hard to explain I know but w that combo you mentioned does it give the motor a lower end thump sound as opposed to a higher poppy sound? I'm after the low style sound w this one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wizardsbane View Post
    It's hard to explain I know but w that combo you mentioned does it give the motor a lower end thump sound as opposed to a higher poppy sound? I'm after the low style sound w this one.
    So you care more about how it sounds rather than how it performs???? Get minus minus cams.......... Or just plain old stock cams......

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    People just reject common sense when it comes to these old agricultural motors. A tractor is a tractor is a tractor. Not much new under the sun for these unless you convert that ol Ironhead to full on Buell XB Specs and custom build your own fuel maps for the ECU & EFI.
    Factor in oversized drag pipes (Major HP loss), probably a poor choice in carb, jetting and adjustment and it just converting Hydro carbons into noise and a Honda 350 will smoke it without a sweat.

    If you want top end power, theres a formula on how to create it (And generally really unpleasant on the street),, If you want a hot rod that starts easy, has a ton of torque enough to give you whiplash from off idle up to 70 mph then there IS a formula for that too. (Way more fun for the street).

    Improved performance over stock regardless is a package deal. That means heads and valves (Bigger is NOT better), Cams, Ignition, exhaust (2>1 is hands down the best on a sporty) and tuning it properly. Difference is night and day. No lack of builds out there to copy,, but just throwing cams in it and expecting much is a lesson in disappointment.

    Learn what stage 1-2-3-4 tuning is. The principle applies to all bikes, but the HD one is very well documented. Or go online and buy the Sportster performance handbook. The tech applies whether its Ironhead or Evo,,
    See: https://www.amazon.com/Harley-Davids.../dp/076030307X

    Ton of builds on the XL forum and many posters helpfully post ALL the parts used, part #s and then tuning details and dyno charts to chronicle the results.

    Back in the day with an Ironhead, there is a shop still around today that everyone took their Harley-Triumph-BSA- Norton heads too. See: http://www.baisley.com/ People from all over the US sent their stuff there and the old racing community is a Who's-who of national champions used them. I rode a half dozen IH sporties before and after they redid the heads on them. The difference was night and day. Price per smiles per mile was reasonable as well.,, couple that with some other sensible mods and parts and you had one of the hottest bikes on the street in the 1970s (and race tracks).
    Iron head heads will benefit for some simple mods that will make a huge difference.

    But its ALL a package deal. Its all well documented if you care to look. But my advice is probably stock cams based on your description. Nothing is more embarrassing than trying to start or ride away on a awesome looking custom and it wont start or runs like crap.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Tattooo View Post
    So you care more about how it sounds rather than how it performs???? Get minus minus cams.......... Or just plain old stock cams......
    Hustler's would also be a good choice ....

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    Had this set save back for one of my bikes (1974 CH)
    But sold them recently ....
    Last edited by Dragstews; 10-17-2017 at 3:02 AM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragstews View Post
    Hustler's would also be a good choice ....

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    Had this set save back for one of my bikes (1974 CH)
    But sold them recently ....
    Jesus Mary & the Orphans look at the duration on those puppies!!!!

    (PO tato PO tato PO tato)

    Another idea, is you can buy a very interesting tool and do back to back testing right on a desk top...
    Build your motor or the theoretical one you WANT to build, then run various cams, intakes, exhausts on it and see what they will do and how they compare. But the real value is with back to back tests you can see WHERE you improve and where you lose power. Torque is where its at on the street,, and for a street bike, especially a chop you want off idle and low end power but also a comfortable cruise speed for the freeways.
    Silly pursuit of HP power at RPMS you will never see or your motor would grenade well before is only useful when bench racing with lots of beer involved and those stories are 98.9% bullpuckey anyway.

    So, its a super useful tool assuming you take some time to LEARN about how cams work, and input correct data. (Big point of reference is the 20 thou vs 50 thou reference point and lobe centers.)
    I have used this tool extensively over the years for a lot of Brit bike builds and was useful for educating owners about what worked and what does not. Helped me make some suggestions on what parts to buy vs what they read in a magazine, on the net or their Brothers uncles cousins next door neighbors setup that is so shrouded in mythology that someone lights a candle every time THAT story is told.

    The older versions I had were much more limited, but newer ones are pretty flexible and can most any motor on them. (Earlier ones had some limitations such as 3 inch bore or larger that was tough to work around, plus the early stuff was heavily tilted towards car applications, not bikes) But now current versions even have a version you can buy that you can Briggs & Stratton racing engines on them for those little kids dragsters.

    I have yet to do much with any Harley or Buell grinds but collecting data and will run a bunch of back to back testing this winter when the weather turns bad.

    https://www.summitracing.com/parts/cca-186011

    We will be shopping for cams for my wifes 69 Chevelle project this winter as well, Its her first full engine build, (She is learning to weld too) The softwares comes with thousands of grinds in the data box already loaded but not much for HD, but you can enter that data in.
    For those who doubt how well this works its a tool like any other. Its how well you use it. IMHO its best suited for making educated decisions and comparisons.

    I have read that compared to a actual Dyno these things come pretty close to accurate. But the truth is ALL DYNOs lie. I have actual print outs for my monster Buell motor and I dont believe any of it. The Prev owner spent a small fortune on that motor and I believe the printouts were to make him happy.

    Dynos from one to another are useless, only the same motor tested on the same dyno over and over is useful. Anything else is just a reference point. (Construction and operator vary widely, plus crank HP or rear wheel? Method of testing?)

    Seems to me the money invested in this software package could be very useful and cost effective. ($50 bucks well spent IMHO)

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  17. #17
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    Handy tool for dialing in the timing for welding the lobes on ...

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragstews View Post
    Handy tool for dialing in the timing for welding the lobes on ...
    Holy crap! That requires cajones! nice work..........................

  19. #19
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    Cajones ..Huh ... ??

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    Not so sure about dat ....

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    I did the weld on lobes to my Turbo-ed Buell ....

    ES-5T from Leineweber ....

    Exhaust timing is way out there ...
    Last edited by Dragstews; 10-17-2017 at 4:24 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougtheinternetannoyance123 View Post

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    Man I'm glad to know that you think of me all the time..... I'm flattered.......

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