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  1. #1
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    Default FXR primary/transmission conversion questions

    So I sold my last running bike yesterday and Iím not sure what to do with myself now. 🙁 This is the first time in 16 years I havenít had something to ride...on to my question though

    Right now everything is in the conception stage. Iím planning on taking my time and trying not to run into any road blocks ( or wasting $.) Iíve mostly dealt with sportys so big twins are new territory for me.

    I have an 85 evo fxr basket case to work with that I sorta inherited. Iím leaning towards using an fxr style frame from Paughco but it uses the 93+ touring driveline with the oil tank under the transmission.

    My question is basically, is this a fairly easy swap, or are there any compatibility issues using an 85 motor with a later year primary/transmission?

    Thanks in advance for any insight help. 😁

  2. #2

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    If you have an '85 Evo FXR Basket-Case...…...you might be money ahead ($$$) if you use the original frame...….and just modify it to allow use of the later "Bagger" Transmission that uses the oil-pan under it...…..it really is a simple conversion.

    Also, read up on the use of a Transmission "splined" main-shaft...…..and newer-starters vs. the "Inner-Primary" mounting holes.

    Things that you might want to read up on here and over on the V-Twin Forum (FXR-Section) is about this conversion.
    Another item to read up on is the use of a Baker OD6 Transmission builders-kit if you are going to be using this FXR for a lot of long miles.

    Regards, RichardS
    US Army, RET

  3. #3
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    I did the bagger box swap and LOVE it. I strongly recommend you convert during your build! The early transmission/starter combo with the snappy (as in breakage prone) clutch fork and weak Hitachi starter is worth losing, though you can bore the case for a Denso and change ring gears or use a later primary drive while bolting in a later five speed though that may need clearancing. (vtwinforum has good info on ring gear and primary options.) You want an All Balls single piece starter jack shaft.

    While the beautiful Delkron inner primaries appear to be permanently out of production (I'm on the Solenberg's waiting list) it turns out Ted's make a repop that supposedly fits fine or you can drill a bagger inner primary to run mids which handle better and protect your spine on bumps because you can stand up. I keep forward pegs for highway use and downshift and brake with my heels if needed in emergency.

    http://www.chopcult.com/forum/showthread.php?t=45078 Used bagger inner and outer primarys are cheap as are repop FXR inspection covers with the shifter hole

    Putting the oil sump below the trans was the best thing HD ever did with them. No more wet sumping, MUCH more battery box space/accessory space, easier servicing, total win. Some aging collector autists who think snipping the stock crossmember (and ditching it's shitty bendy Sportster style stand which doesn't belong on big twins) is like torching off a stock Knuck neck to rake it with scrap metal. Fuck them.

    Study "twin cam FXR" threads. I made a stronger than stock crossmember which unbolts so I can drop the oil pan in the frame because not being able to drop an oil pan is stupid even for baggers that came that way. You can do it from scrap for the cost of the hardware. Make two narrow plates, drill for bolt holes, bolt to your crossmember, check assembled location, tack weld, then finish weld. Make sure your oil pan will pass by the brackets.

    The '93-up style drive train is a bolt in after modding the crossmember (mid controls have a couple of solutions, I like the Dyna right side and left the FXR left side since it doesn't conflict) and if ya want you can bolt in a Twin Cam. I use Dyna controls on the right side. I prefer black (easy recoating vs chrome) and got mine from a swap meet but they're easy to find. Bike is down for post-powder coat reassembly but there are plenty of other FXR pics in Chop Cult. get the Dyna brake rod because it's plenty long enough to shorten and re-thread.

    Jiffy stand mounted to front highway peg. I ran this for years with a (waste of time, don't buy one because the bagger box has the good Denso starter I later converted to a bagger box to get) kickstarter but I did add the third bolt hole wehn I tore down for coating by welding in a tapped hunk of steel sliced off a junk Softail frame since it was handy. You could weld in any tapped steel to match the traditional HD mount pads if you care. It ain't rocket surgery. Align new part/nut through the stand plate using the bolt which will go there, tack weld, remove bolt and plate, finish weld, check fit.

    http://www.chopcult.com/forum/showth...l=1#post670486

    After I did that I sourced a bagger box, cut out the crossmember with the drivetrain installed by laying the bike down on grass (I'm lazy and that made locating it easy, but you can do it by measurement), welded the bottom then rode for a while until I scored an S&S cheap and had motivation to tear it down for powder coating and weld the top for neatness. I used much thicker plate than the kits because that plate is now a floor jack point.

    Here's a pretty kit. https://www.fxrdivision.com/twin-cam...conversion-kit but I still wouldn't use a Dyna stand. All non-traditional-non-Jiffy stands cause genital (all genders) gangrene and bend under stock loads besides sucking to replace when bent which is why I did my first swap.

    The conversion is easy, the stock frame is stronger than any but an identical copy, and you own one with (we hope) a title.

    I ran tall stock (European) final drive since I bought it new in 1988 and went even taller to drop highway speed vibes. The engine doesn't care, it's an Evo. I just bought an OD6 and have to gear back down so I don't risk lugging the more sensitive S&S but my stock Evo only sort of needed a top end job at well over 100K miles. (Figures I find the S&S just after doing the top end, but shit happens.)

    If you decide on a Baker (they make beautiful parts) you can easily install that later without removing the transmission case. I pulled my case for cleanup. If you go for more HP the later splined shaft clutches bolt on. vtwinforum and Harley Tech Talk have useful info. the vtwinforum FXR thread is the best part of their forum and has many sharp members. The rest is Boring Boomers With Baggers but the info is good. Jockey Journal and Chop Cult helped me greatly. Study all three thoroughly. I replaced the delicate aluminum shift arm with the later steel Dyna part which doesn't strip splines, and I always Loctite splines (an intended use for Loctite) and shifter arm screws. Some use the longer Dyna mid control shift arm for more positive throw and I did that too then drilled my steel trans arm closer to the pivot to get extra throw. The stock shifter linkage is literally chromed riding mower parts so I bought aircraft Heim joints cheap off Ebay and used the stock center "turnbuckle" which has right and left hand threads.

    Replace every rubber mount and inspect the transmission swingarm pivot bore which can be easily bushed if worn.

    All you seek lives in forums. Fab Kevin has some great, relevant TC threads. All the work is easy and FXRs are the closest big twin to a Sporty and have a low seat height. My Sportybro who still prefers them for single rider use loves his for two-up and less vibration thanks to rubber mounting.

    Upgrading to later 39mm forks with FXRT length tubes and Trackerdie damper rods is a very good idea. If you're short, FLXR tubes fit midgets but I converted because travel = comfort. Sporty 39mm forks bolt on though may need stiffer springs to suit your preference. I use Progressives and have no exotic suspension needs. You WANT four piston disc brake calipers the later front ends with adapters or latest 39mm dual disc sliders offer. Single piston calipers suck unless the rider grew up with drum brakes in which case buttsex with a burning cactus is an upgrade. Adapters to take variety of calipers exist or even better, find later dual disc sliders. You can add the forks later if yours are good as it's an easy swap like the equivalent Sportster.

    Make a new wiring harness. See wiring threads. 1985 was a very long time ago. Use new circuit breakers and new handlebar switches and a new ignition keyswitch. I get about ten years from generics. Later Sporty headlight buckets with modern bulbs fit. I forget my year since it came from a swap meet.

    Start a build thread with lots of clear pics and detailed questions to help Chop Cult help you. If not sure about basket parts, post pics. We try to get people to post pics but until board software has a remote waterboarding function that's difficult.

    Buy a factory service manual for your year and the year bagger box you use. and every factory FXR parts book later than yours. They pay for themselves! You'll thank me later.

    Strategy since money usually matters: Determine why your basket IS a basket and what parts provoked teardown. KNOW your engine condition (pull plugs, USB borescopes are cheap) preferably by leakdown test. When you know what makes sense to save you can plan wisely. You can always do a bagger box later without a teardown because I did it painlessly (I'm lazy so I'm efficient) if you need money for other parts. You can install the bagger crossmember with any transmission if you want to do it in advance.

    Correct bagger box example. I was looking to convert my 1994 FXLR after I do my '88 so I found this on Ebay at a good price. (No affiliation to seller.) You'll need a bagger oil pump cover (can be installed in-frame without removing the pump) to route the oil fittings out the bottom). [ 26267-92 COVER, OIL PUMP (BLACK) ]

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/98-Harley-D...d/333282302257

    Online parts info is your friend but Ronnie's service famously sucks. I just had to interrogate them by email about an order status. That's not how modern companies do business. They blamed a new computer system but their reputation precedes that. Use their numbers then buy via Ebay or ask your local dealer since most local dealers will drop ship if you pay there, or you can pick up. I go Ebay first. Their images aren't really copy-protected, impossible on the internet. Ctrc-C or screenshot what ya want to save.

    http://partsfinder.onlinemicrofiche.....asp?make=hdmc

    I'd use 1998 part numbers to search the other parts as that will be the latest listings.

    BTW Baker have a military/veteran discount so if you are, it's worth using.
    Last edited by farmall; 02-05-2020 at 11:21 PM.

  4. #4
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    Wow! That is sooo much info! Thank you both!!

    More info on what Iím working with:

    The stock frame was hard tailed...which I would have been down with 4 years and 3 surgeries ago (definitely outta the question now, I need an actual suspension) So using that is out, hence looking for a new one.

    Iíve got the entire 85 drive line. I agree the splined shaft trans and updated starter are definitely on my list of must haves so Iíll probably unload the stock trans and primary to help with $$$. I guess my biggest unknown is whether they changed anything on the motor output shaft (compensator sprocket?) that would make converting the primary more difficult. 🤔 (Iíve already found a used later model kit with all the primary drive guts - front sprocket, chain, tensioner, clutch etc)

    Already have a newish (03-04?) 39mm narrow glide front end with dual disc set up, stock wheels, a modified 04 sporty tank I may or may not use...and a 6 speed gear set (softtail case though) that might be usable...dunno yet.

    This is along what Iím thinking
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    Which, imho, looks way better than this...purist Iím not 😂
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I plan on doing as much of the work as I can and have access to a mig welder, mills and lathes at work, (for small stuff, canít cut into production 😬 ) a compressor and pretty much all the hand tools I might need...

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    Motors all swap so no problems The Paugho frame is a safe bet. I would make the crossmember removable since it's so easy to do, Bolt transmission in place with swingarm to centralize it then measure for and make crossmember brackets. I'd run a stock width rear tire for best handling and less expensive tires.

    Five speed/six speed transmissions swap between five speed cases. See Baker install videos for both. I'd bolt in a complete bagger box and see if you even want six gears. I bought a Baker because why not and I had the cash but it wasn't out of need. vtwinforum has some final drive/primary gearing charts. Stock final drive is low for a solo rider. Bare bagger cases are less common than twin cam cases so getting the complete trans reasonably is a low-effort choice.

    If swingarm has damage you can run later bagger swingarms. Read a bit on that if needed.

    Since the Paugho frame is blank where mids go you can make a couple of blocks (square ended is fine, fill the small gap with weld) and run Dyna controls on both sides (after temp installing the engine and transmssion to locate them. Any master cylinder ya like is fine. I used a stock bagger style cylindrical master with a length of Tygon tubing as a small reservior like the crotch rocket folks do.

    The square master cylinder bracket hole pictured is easy to duplicate or cut that bracket to suit. See how it's done on Twin Cam conversions: http://www.bitterendchoppers.com/FrameParts5.html

  6. #6

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    Hey Farmall, would or does Paughco make a FXR frame with a removable crossmember to use a later transmission??? Or could they make one??

  7. #7
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    I'm sure they could. Call and ask. You'd have to spec precisely what you want since they can't read minds. Their frames are intended for buyers who will add their own finishing touches but money talks. All they'd have to do is fab a removable version of their solid crossmember since they already use the forward mounted sidestand. Do you want mid controls?

    I'd just buy a titled FXR frame in the first place (about $1800) and mod it but different buyers have different desires. You can compare costs for what you want then decide. As frames get more expensive you can do the math on buying a runner vs building from scratch. Complete machines tend to be cheaper unless you already have most of the parts and/or do nearly all the work yourself.

    BTW Dynas ride a bit more comfortably while FXRs handle better. FXRs aren't magic, they're just very good by Harley cruiser standards but that's like being the quickest kid at the Special Olympics.

    What do you have and what do you want?
    Let your goals choose your process.
    Last edited by farmall; 02-06-2020 at 4:19 PM.

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