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  1. #1

    Default Questions about 1980 shovelhead

    1- Just bought a 1980 shovel, then learned that this year was rubber mounted (live and learn I guess) is there anything different about the engine, can I still rigid mount this engine into a rigid frame? Is the caring any different in the engine ?

    2- this is also the year with the mated 5 speed, can I still use a ln earlier year 4 speed with a difffernt inner primary ?

  2. #2
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    Dec 2018


    Yes to both of your questions.

    The shovel motor in the FLT or FLHT (the rubber mount models) is the same as the shovel motor in an FLH or FXE, when it comes to mounting it in a different chassis. There are some small differences in the oil pump fittings, that is all, and those can be easily changed.


  3. #3
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    You came to the right forum.
    From now on ALWAYS learn to be specific and post the MODEL as well as the year.
    Precision helps others help you and will always pay off, as does thinking precisely about all things mechanical.

    Your project must have a title (title passes with frame) so when you change frames have a proper plan to get one. Many projects die because owners do not systematically plan everything. Your state DMV has the info and you can expand on details here when you have questions. Nothing that is not law is law so read the law. Check the title thread. Does your state have motorcycle inspections? That affects what's legal to run.

    You have a rubbermount five speed transmission and there are various ways to make use of them, however the best one is to get a complete later splined shaft Softail five speed and primary setup and sell off the older box and primary if you wan the classic chopper look. Rigids exist for the rubbermount drivetrains but they don't have the classic look. That gets you many superior components (and a far better starter which even if you don't think you want one now is a very good idea to have the option open!). There's little worth installing into a fresh built Shovel chopper from earlier bike drivetrains except the Shovel engine and you can use any aftermarket rigid frame designed to fit Evo Softail drivetrains.

    Your tech library is vital (as is backing it up, easy to do using Google Drive or whatever.

    If your bike is a complete runner I suggest inspecting everything and possibly riding it (if you have no other HDs) until you build a complete roller to receive the engine. The rubbermounts aren't pretty like a chopper but they're a fuck of a lot more comfortable and using an engine is THE way to find and debug it before swapping it over.
    It helps others help you to know condition, and one way is posting (clear, well lit) pics of anything you're not sure of.

    Is the bike a complete runner, a garage sitter that doesn't run, or a wreck? Type us a book. First thing to do with a new-to-you motorcycle is a cold compression test. Post the numbers and inspect the spark plugs or post clear, well lit pics so we can read them for you.

    There are some useful Facebook groups but Facebook attracts a lot of morons so forums are by FAR better. This group is a good one and stays on-topic. It has all the books you will need and downloading is free so pig out. You'll need to study thoroughly every component you're going to use and factory books (not aftermarket Haynes or Clymer) are the way to go. Study with the goal of eventually becoming your own expert.

    If you're not proficient at wiring study that too, Chop Cult has some good threads and starting a "what should I buy" thread for tools and parts is also cool since there's no consolidated wiring thread (and there really should be).

    Always ask before buying parts until you become proficient and you'll save money and get better results. Lots of stuff that looks really cool isn't necessarily smart so ask about the pros and cons of your front end, rake and everything else. Bikers here are happy to help but if we could read minds we'd be rich.

    Collect photos of what you think you want and decide how you will actually USE the motorcycle. Choppers can range from reasonably practical daily rides to gaudy useless anti-functional jokes. Fortunately you have the internet instead of word of mouth and (usually bullshit) dead tree magazines. If you start a build thread from the very beginning all your conversations will be in one place. Decide if you want it to stop well by modern standards or if you don't care about brakes since that has much to do with styling choices. Ignore old wives tales and study the physics of how motorcycles stop if not completely sure. A hydraulic front end leaves you more future braking choices and you already own a Wide Glide.

    Many project builders who do it wrong give up and if you buy their mistakes at the right price (never go shopping hungry) you can score, for example frames with MSOs or even titles (no papers? Pass since it's your first time), front ends, wheels etc. People selling projects are usually sad they gave up and want them gone.
    Last edited by farmall; 09-24-2020 at 12:44 AM.

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