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  1. #41
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    Having a plan for what kind of performance is your first step. Just slapping a few parts that are "high performance" is a great way to grenade an engine.
    Formulate and decide what your engine build will be, what you will be using it for.

    This book should be required reading for anyone who gets an Ironhead.

    http://www.amazon.com/Harley-Davidso...Torque+monster

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishironhead View Post
    Hey guys love the thread! I am an IH first timer and have had most of my questions answered right here. I have an 84 IH with alternator. What would be the smartest way to go about upgrading the charging system?
    Get a alternator conversion from saddlebagrail he is on a few forums notably the xl forum and does a conversion on a 40amp alternator for these its pretty sweet and puts out good power,i want to try to jump start my truck with it to see if it can do it..the smaller 17 amp one i have heard is a cheesy wannabe and costs the same,the 40 amp one is the price of a new generator.

  3. #43
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    Default fabrication complete......but no oil pressure...lol

    This bike build has been through a broken marriage, 2 fucked up little stripper bitch girlfriends and damn near a bankruptcy. Somehow , I have been able to get this thing somewhat complete. Then ....when we go to start it......and no oil pressure. It sheared a key way in the oil pump is what Boston Mike seems to think. I guess when they sit a long time with no oil running through the "aluminum" pump, the "steel" gears will rust or "ca rode". I've got a couple other bikes I ride so this has just been a project that sat on the bench for a while sometimes. I have a lot to learn about these old IH's. I love the way it turned out though. Not real crazy about the color. Going to do something with the tins. Need's some black. Iron Works mag wants to do a photo shoot this weekend, so hopefully we'll see it in the mag. I'm defiantly riding it to Willie's this Oct.

    I really want to thank everyone that replied to my questions on this blog. The help I got from everyone is incalculable and was greatly appreciated. I would shake all your hands and buy you a beer if you were in front of me.

    Thanks again guys,
    Billy
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails my 74 020.jpg   my 74 0002.jpg   my 74 0001.jpg  

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hendrixbilt View Post
    people used to race these things. I know they can produce horsepower. I guess I'm looking for reliable horsepower. Not a ton, just 80 reliable HP.
    Yeah, they used to race them; against other motorcycles that were designed almost 60 years ago. If you want a fast and reliable Ironhead , you can built one for a ton of money. If you just want a fast Sportser, start with an Evo or preferably a Buell. You'll be starting with an engine that makes more power stock than you will get reliably out of an Ironhead.

    Bob

  5. #45
    TwoLaneFever
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    ,,did you air bleed oil pump?remove sending unit turn eng over off /no start till you have pumped 5 fluid ounces of oil then replace the sending unit ,,oil pump has to be air bled if oil lines removed ,,,,
    Last edited by TwoLaneFever; 05-29-2013 at 7:50 PM.

  6. #46
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    twin plugging heads is cheap and easy way to get more power out of them

    also the dog ugly 77-78 xlcr and 79 xlh Siamese header pipes work very well

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoLaneFever View Post
    simple formula 1,15/16 intake valves ,veglia cams,1,3/4 exhaust valves mild port,, s/s super carb s/s python pipes 21 tooth sprocket in front to 47 rears18 inch rear wheel, my77 sporty did a honest 145 mph in street trim,,did you air bleed oil pump?remove sending unit turn eng over off /no start till you have pumped 5 fluid ounces of oil then replace the sending unit ,,oil pump has to be air bled if oil lines removed ,,,,
    We did everything you would normally do when your trying to get oil pressure. We pulled the sending unit, spun it over. Kicked it over. Nothing. Thought we had an air lock. I took a air hose and tried to blow oil from the tank to the pump. When I did, you could here a rattle in the cam gear case. Right where the oil pump bolts up. Sounded like it was spinning freely when the air hit it. I talked to Boston Mike in Sanford, and said the same thing that another mechanic said. Sounds like a broken key way.

    It's been so long since we started on this thing. I just want to ride the bitch. Hopefully I can get it fixed by the weekend.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobscogin View Post
    Yeah, they used to race them; against other motorcycles that were designed almost 60 years ago. If you want a fast and reliable Ironhead , you can built one for a ton of money. If you just want a fast Sportser, start with an Evo or preferably a Buell. You'll be starting with an engine that makes more power stock than you will get reliably out of an Ironhead.

    Bob
    That's what the original plan was, but it didn't work out that way. I picked this one up so freakin cheap, it was a steal. It kind of just fell into my lap. I was going to flip it and get an evo, but that fell through. My brother got a little ahead of me in the shop one day and cut the rear frame section off. Once we started hard tailing it, I liked it. We just picked him up a 69 xlh he likes it so much. They are not as cheap as they were though. They are going for as much or more than the evo sportys are now. There is lots of love out there for these old bikes all of the sudden.

    I know I'm not going to go up against a built up evo sporty. That's not what I'm looking to do. Just a fun bike that will spank some stock evo's. There are plenty of those out there. And plenty of dumb asses out there that will take that bet.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by dondoucette View Post
    Well I have to agree with most of what has been said here.
    I started with what was supposed to be a runner only to find out my engine had many issues all outlined here http://www.chopcult.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19820

    After a lot of research I decided on the following. Wiseco 10:1 forged pistons, there is lots of discussion about double plugging or power grooving but either way the hemispherical heads in an ironhead hide the flame from some of the air/fuel mixture so addressing this issue will net more horsepower and better fuel efficiency.

    If you're going to build horsepower you MUST address all areas of the engine or you will be plagued with failures and reliability, Mike Sorensen of Sorensen Performance, a local Shovelhead guru has the bottom end of my IH, everything will be rebuilt and the rotating assembly balanced when I get it back, I can't recommend this enough, the IH will vibrate anyway, an unbalance bottom end will just rob horsepower and eventually will cause reliability issues.

    I also CAN'T stress the importance of the IH transmission, ANDREWS can solve most of your issues in this regard but lets not forget the clutch, I chose a Barnett Scorpion and also thanks to Mike Gattone I upgraded the ball and ramp to a hydraulic set up. The IH stock clutch is fine for 40-50HP but will show its limitations soon after that.

    I chose the R5 cams from Andrews as the best I could get without too much head work, I will of course be porting a polishing to improve increase flow. YMMV

    I LOVE the look of drag pipes but a two into one thats tunable like the SuperTrapp in my opinion is the way to go.

    I also got rid of the generator all together and went with POWERAYTHOR alternator, its smaller and has an integral regulator, I do not want charging issues to plague me, also on the idea USE GOOD WIRES!!!! 30 year old crap is just that CRAP! While your at it install a decent starter, smaller with more torque, you're going to need it, I also am installing a kick on my bike too, I have no idea if I will actually be able to kick it (im not installing any decompression valves) but I like the looks of a kick so I'm hoping my fat ass will be able to kick it.

    I wish I had time to test several ignition systems, I'm tempted to go with points for the simplicity but I am also looking at electronics for reliability, the Jury is still out.

    Use the best parts you can find, be prepared to spend some DYNO time to get it dialed in, spend now or spend later, it's way easier to buy good parts now and touch everything on the engine than it is to half ass it now and deal with failures later. If you think a grand or two is gonna do it I wish you luck, think triple that unless you can TIG, machine, test, and assemble everything yourself.

    Good Luck with your build I am subscribing to this thread to see how you get along.
    I appreciate your interest in my build. I started to read through your "shit the bed" blog and can't quit reading it. I've got to get back to work though. Just wanted say that the lighting you choose is absolutely bitchin. Especially the tail light. I've never seen one like that. You have some really good parts put together for your build.

    The funny thing about these bikes IS these issues. All the problems you came across with your Ironhead motor, but I bet that bitch was running when you bought it. Probably ran fine, just noisy and smoked a little...lol. People absolutely destroyed these Ironheads for years back in the day and now when we start busting them open, you can't understand how they ran. When you get finished with yours, it will be a great bike for a long time. I hope mine is just a key way though. Reading through your blog kind of scared me a little.....lol. I'm going to check back on your progress. Hopefully the tough shit is behind you. Good luck to you.

    I posted some pics on my thread if you want to take a look.

  10. #50
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    Y-cams, ported heads 10 to 1 pistons, and a crane hi-4 with a super e and a 1100 Ironhead would put out 70hp at the wheels. Having a dedicated cam for every valve is tits.


    -Steve Beard

  11. #51
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    People absolutely destroyed these Ironheads for years back in the day
    They had quite the mortality rate back in The Day too, and it didn't take high mileage to manifest.

    They are a "mechanics motorcycle" so be one (best solution) or pay one (ouch). It could be worse, they could be British.

    Take constant care of them and be very observant and you'll be alright. A large oil cooler is a very good idea as on any Harley.

    I like the looks of a kick so I'm hoping my fat ass will be able to kick it.
    Kickstarting is all timing, tuning, and technique. Even small folks can do it properly once they know how, so don't be intimidated. I don't run kickers for looks, I run them to use since their weight is trivial and they are sweet to have if your battery runs low.

  12. #52
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    This thread is the shit!!! came looking for just a little info and found a wealth of knowledge....I bought my IH last fall as a roller and finished it late this winter. I took it for its first trip this weekend and she ran like a champ ( minus the gen crapping out) I read all the way threw this thread and got some great ideas!! I will be upgrading my charging system and hope to get an electronic ignition soon! the one question that I seem to get mixed answers on is can you put a kicker on a 1981 Iornhead..... some say yes and some say no and I am not sure why you couldn't????? any ideas?? I am proud to see some love for these old dogs because I love the look and the sound!! I attached the photo because this is not only my first build but my first bike period and thought you other ironhead guys out there might enjoy.... Thanks, Bubba J

    PS couldn't get the image on here so check out my profile if you care to see my bike!! lol < not computer savy!!
    Last edited by BubbaJ; 05-29-2013 at 4:44 PM. Reason: could'nt get pic on here

  13. #53
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    An ironheads a great looking motor, I have big plans for one as well..

    4 5/8 Truett and Osbourne flywheels, 2-1, flowed, high compression pistons, and some other goodies you'll have a monster. I'd love to find one with a busted trans, chop it off and throw a 6 speed behind it.. one day, when I get rich :P

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoLaneFever View Post
    ,,did you air bleed oil pump?remove sending unit turn eng over off /no start till you have pumped 5 fluid ounces of oil then replace the sending unit ,,oil pump has to be air bled if oil lines removed ,,,,
    What happens if you didn't do this, Its a little to late already as i didnt know this.

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by BubbaJ View Post
    the one question that I seem to get mixed answers on is can you put a kicker on a 1981 Iornhead..... some say yes and some say no and I am not sure why you couldn't????? any ideas??
    79 was last year of factory fitted kickstart

    early 80 had the holes in the crankcase for the kicker shaft (filled with frost plugs)

    late 80 the holes were no longer in cases

    81 you could possibly machine the holes in the cases / build up cases if necessary with weld if you wanted to fit a kicker but it would possibly be easier to find an earlier set of cases or live with the electric foot

  16. #56
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    Default ironhead performance impossible?

    Wanted to give everyone an update on this damn Ironhead. It's up and running down the road. I have had my fair share of issues with this thing though. The last problem was the oil pump. It sheared a key way. Not pumping oil for sure. Got it fixed........which was no easy feet. Had to pull the damn motor back out to do it. The frame stops the bolts from coming out of the pump. But.......It's done and back together and running. BUT.......now I have an oil leak from behind the ignition. Pulled the ignition and cup and can see oil leaking from around the seal behind the cup. It almost looks like someone put the seal in backwards.....maybe.

    Does anyone have any ideas? I'm hoping I can replace that seal without pulling the cam cover.

  17. #57
    TwoLaneFever
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    if you got a seal puller used in auto work ,may be able to pull it with that .tool has little hook points, kinda pry seal out if you got the space .others have more tricks,, I,m sure,, ih performance 1,15/16 intakes, mild port,polish intake manifold 1,3/4 exhaust valves ,mild cams, s/s python pipes, and ss super carb, tall gears in front sprocket 18" rear wheel ,I saw a honest 145 mph on street bike,1977 sporty ,,had veglia cams not sure of their profile in , 1984,,was my ride ,a no shitter

  18. #58
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    You do realize Jim Fischer holds a Bonneville AMA speed record with his Ironhead the "Grey Ghost", at 146.5 mph. This machine is a 4 5/8" stroker with massive amounts of engine work, backed by Warner Riley. 145 mph ??? I'm sure it was fast but, speedo's lie. The "Great white dyno" doesn't.

    Ironhead Red

  19. #59
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    I have a build going right now where I should be right around 61-62 and it will be very reliable (although I took this thing down the the crank pin replacing every single known weakpoint/bearing inside of it in a shop that has built thousands of ironheads in its day)

    .030 10.5:1 pistons
    Redshift 505 cams
    XLR vavles and will do a bit of porting/dual plugging
    S&S Super E with thunderjet
    Dyna S ignition
    Zipper's billet trap door and replaced a few gears with some Andrew's

  20. #60
    TwoLaneFever
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    Quote Originally Posted by IR0NHEADRed View Post
    You do realize Jim Fischer holds a Bonneville AMA speed record with his Ironhead the "Grey Ghost", at 146.5 mph. This machine is a 4 5/8" stroker with massive amounts of engine work, backed by Warner Riley. 145 mph ??? I'm sure it was fast but, speedo's lie. The "Great white dyno" doesn't.

    Ironhead Red
    not bullshitting anyone,, sure speedos could be way off ,but that's what she said,,stock gauges so who knows how far off they where,,, don't have the bike still so cant try it again,,don't know what other goodies where in this bike ,,,but was built before I got it,,it was built by Bobby Handy ,outta Christiansburg/radford va also was bored .040 over..
    Last edited by TwoLaneFever; 09-21-2013 at 6:19 PM.

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