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  1. #1
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    Default committing to buyin a shovel

    any words of caution other than watch out for other peoples half ass projects? saw one on cl for 4800. it was leaking in the picture pretty bad, and th epicture had tools laying all over the place. that seems like a clusterf-er. saw several others around 5000 with little describing them. what should i be looking out for before i get there to take a look, and what should i be prepared to decide on if its too much of a money pit to fix?

    leaks aint bad right? is there anything a new gasket cant fix?

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    also, i see a couple with new engine rebuilds... would i be better off spending 7000 on something like that?

  3. #3

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    Dude how many threads you going to start on the same topic? Your previous threads have the info in them you need - people have already given you their time and experience why ask for that again?

    Now for the last time here is my 2 cents - others may disagree but for your 1st HD if you insist on a shovel try and minimise the risks

    In short buy the lowest mile closest to original late as possible bike (think 81 to 83) - keep at least $1k for tools and initial service work including BUY THE HD FACTORY SERVICE MANUAL AND PARTS BOOK

    $6K should see you pick up a nice FX or even maybe a FLH or FXWG - just take your time and find the right one - repeat after me "the lowest mile (Sub 30K) closest to original (original paint and 99% of OEM parts) and late as possible bike (think 81 to 83)"

    Do NOT bother buying a shovel FXR or FLT - Solid mount is the way to go

    "Rebuilt" engine means zero to me unless there are detailed receipts from a well regarded shop/builder - anything else is just words

    Post wanted ads on every forum you can and put what you are looking for in your signature on the forums too

    Visit every bike shop in your area with a little flier clearly stating what you are looking for

    Start looking at as many as you can that are for sale so you get a real understanding of what is a good value bike

    The MOST CRITICAL PART IS THE TITLE AND VIN - rather than starting another thread on the same topic invest time in researching how VINs should look and what fuck ups people have around titles

    BTW there is no need for them to leak and issues can be MUCH worse than just a gasket repair - ie tranny mainshaft leaks etc

    One last time buy the lowest mile (Sub 30K) closest to original (not fucked with) late as possible bike (think 81 to 83) shovel and you'll have the greatest chance of getting a good one
    Last edited by panheadpete; 09-26-2016 at 9:52 PM.

  4. #4
    SamHain
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    Don't buy an original bike if you're going to make a cluster fuck out of it, just buy someone else's clapped out-thought they wanted a chopper project. You can't trust other people's work so rebuilds don't mean shit, hell I can't trust my own either, shit breaks, learn how to fix it by breaking it worse and hating yourself and existence. They're gonna leak until you replace everything three times and they're going to be a fucking money pit. One piece at a time and it cost me every dime. Love it or buy something with square cylinders.
    Good vins are great but I don't give a shit about titles, especially if it's out of the system, your state may vary but this shithole wins in the most bureaucratic nightmare most the time, and it's not that big of a deal to get a title here.
    Last edited by SamHain; 09-26-2016 at 10:01 PM.

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    im kinda bein an ass, i understand pete...thats about the last of all the questions i had to ask. thanks for all that help brotha.

  6. #6

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    there really are some super shovels out there in my area for 7k that dont appear to need anything.

    at around 7k the guy prob has way more into it than he would like to admit.

    i paid 5k for mine and wish id of gotten a nicer one for 7 or 8k. mine ran and drove fine but just didnt have the power my previous one did so i tore into it.

    well everything was clapped out and needed a total rebuild on the engine, tranny was fine.

    if its got a 35 mm front end its gonna suk.handleing suks, brakes suk. so i went with a newer 39mm front end now all is fine.that upgrade with a new spoke wheel and a used sporty single disc brake caliper cost me aroun 500 buks.well maybe 600 buks since i had to add a internal fork stop as well.

    new tire front and back about 300 buks.pirelli and dunlop, hate to cheep out on tires and the bike is so light they will last for years.

    the tires and front end and brake upgrade actually saved my life a couple weeks ago when a bitch left turned in front of me in a giant suv. it may not of killed me but i would of had broken bones if i could not of stopped as quick as i did.

    oh, stock shovel starters suk also. new all balls starter and lever solenoid.

    so now i have a 10k in a bike worth maybe 6.5k. i dont really mind as she is good to me and i will prob never sell her.

    just kinda letting you know what your getting into. again if it was me id get a good stocker that i could ride for a year or two before i took the torch to her.

    who knows she may grow on yu and you wont want to do anything. one thing about a shovel in my area is no one even knows what they are.so if you show up at a ride or bike nite they already think its been chopped lol. of course not like i give a fuk what a bunch of twink riders think.

  7. #7
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    . of course not like i give a fuk what a bunch of twink riders think.[/QUOTE]


    obviously im real new to this... never knew how how much these twincam? guys dont know about bikes... isnt that the territory that comes with it? ....knowing your machine?????!!!!

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    I'm hardly a shovel guru (but I did stay at a holiday inn express last night....) but I've got one in the works atm.

    As someone else mentioned on this (or another?) thread, I don't trust other peoples work. "Engine rebuilds" and bullshit like that. I waited patiently for mine and after about 7 months during the winter I picked it up for $3000. I had already planned on doing a complete engine teardown and rebuild, but other than leaking valves it wouldn't have appeared to need all that. During the teardown we found a chipped pinion gear shaft- so yeah it was a good thing I did the teardown now because I was going to have to do it later.

    Point is, any bike that's older than you has been through a couple of owners and theres absolutely no way to really say whether one is good or another is not. I assume shit, so I buy things priced accordingly and then I build them back up. Either way you're spending money on it, but I now KNOW what has been done to the bike and what I can expect out of it. I also have (had?) a nice sporty chop (that no big twin owner would like...) that ironically was an evo and was my "die hard" bike until it blew the hell up... whatever. I'm patient enough to rebuild it all and not make mistakes on the shovel that I did on the sporty. Whether a "leak" is serious or not really depends on where its coming from. Its like telling a doctor "I have a headache." It could be from a hangover or from Aids.... you know?

    Titles- I'd say they're a good thing even though they're easy to get in PA. I wont buy a bike that doesn't have a matching title, but I wont go that extra mile to go special construction if I drop it in a new frame or anything. I'd say make sure you legally own it before you really do much with it.

    If this is your first foray, expect to have issues, expect to have to spend money, and expect to be absolutely frustrated. Shits happened to me with my last build (one reason for a complete rebuild of the shovel...) and if you don't like the idea of spending that much money and time (or have little of either), buy a S&S crate motor. You'll get the looks and the modern equipment with it, but you wont learn anything...

  9. #9
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    my son in law picked up a 79 shovel last summer. He didn't have a lot of money so price was a factor. It needed a shit load of work but he got it for $4300 running and driveable. He figured he would build it the way he wanted over time and as he got the money. It did have a pretty bad leak from the transmission main seal. I pulled the tranny and found why it was leaking. Got it sorted out for under a hundred bucks and reinstalled the tranny and it runs great. Installed new front and rear brake pads and it's on the road. He wants to build a custom swing arm chop out of it so he didn't want an "original" condition shovel, just a bike with a good motor and tranny to work with. I guess it all depends on what you want to do with it. Around here you can get a nice shovel for around $4500-$5000.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scoobydude View Post
    any words of caution other than watch out for other peoples half ass projects? saw one on cl for 4800. it was leaking in the picture pretty bad, and th epicture had tools laying all over the place. that seems like a clusterf-er.

    leaks aint bad right? is there anything a new gasket cant fix?
    Pass on that and any other Shovel that is in the type of condition listed.

    Lots of people will make you believe that a Shovelhead or Ironhead are leakers no matter what.... wrong!

    I picked up an 84' Lowrider 2 years ago for $5k numbers matching and a full rebuild with receipts to show for everything. Since then, I only had to replace a snapped clutch cable. Other than THAT, the only money and time I threw at it was for personal stuff and thats the way it can and SHOULD be even for the old Harleys.

    Prior to buying the 84', I looked at a lot of Shovelheads that were in the description you said (leaking everywhere and tools all around it). Walk away. Then there are the dudes asking $10k for a basic run of the mill shovelhead. Again, dont even waste your time with that nonsense.

    Good deals are out there. Just use your head
    Last edited by garystaven88; 09-29-2016 at 2:23 PM.

  11. #11
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    so much good info and stories. thank yall very much

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    I would rather buy a worn out factory original Shovelhead than a "new" rebuilt one. If the ad states "completely gone through" you can safely disregard that ad and move on to the next. Also disregard any ad with the word "rare" anywhere in it. When I see the word rare in an ad I imagine a little boy running around pretending to be a tiger. One is as significant as the other.

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    This thread needs Boobs.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuxBitza View Post
    I would rather buy a worn out factory original Shovelhead than a "new" rebuilt one. If the ad states "completely gone through" you can safely disregard that ad and move on to the next. Also disregard any ad with the word "rare" anywhere in it. When I see the word rare in an ad I imagine a little boy running around pretending to be a tiger. One is as significant as the other.
    Somewhat true- I wont take away from the guys that actually have rebuilt their bikes, but they're far and few between and you quickly deduce if a guy knows his shit once you start asking questions. For the most part, "completely gone through" means he did a pre ride check.....

    My favorites are bikes that are "meticulously maintained" or as you mentioned "completely gone through" but wont start because they've been "sitting for awhile." You expect me to believe you checked your valves, ring clearances, and flywheel runout, but dammit just didn't have time to change a goddamn battery or empty the carb bowl before you put it away?

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