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Old 12-30-2020, 10:39 PM   #1
Blackhat
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Default Shovel 74" or more? Seeking sound advice!

Evenin gentlemen, first time posting after hopefully giving a satisfactory introduction... so here goes.. Not necessarily a green horn when it comes to old Harley's, but haven't built a motor since my 84" pan about 8yr ago. Current bike is a 77flh 74"er, came to me in boxes with the cases already split.. front rod side to side play is just shy 3/32, rear almost zip.. flywheels appear to run true, cylinders look good (not miked yet), pistons are 020 over. I humbly come to you men asking for some good advice on how I should put this here critter back together? I live out in the country, I ride mostly solo, cruising on 2 laners with hills, usually in the 60 to 70mph range is where I have the most enjoyment.. bike will be a full fendered but stripped down flh (stripped frontend, 3.5 fatbobs, no bags, kick only).. if anyone is familiar with horses, I'm thinking Belgian/quarter horse cross rather than Arabian as far as performance.. meaning: good amount of grunt and passing power when I need it (remember back country traffic) rather than high-tailin around the streets like one of them city slickers.. hope that makes since? Can I get it with 74 inches? That's what I'm having trouble deciding. I've come up with two maybe three options and trying to stay good with the ol gal. I have done business with the boys at T&O in the past and that's probably the outfit that'll get my business as far as the work I can't handle myself. Looking for advice on parts and recipes if you will.. I already have s&s e, Andrews a, Dyna s ign, heads are stripped down, will be replacing pistons (size TBD after cylinders chkd), everything else is stock..
Option 1: simply just bump compression 8.5/1 cast pistons/rings making sure everything is checked/balanced/assembled properly, stick with A grind or possibly throw in l3s cam with recommended springs and such.. s&s E.

Option 2: early Evo crank assembly (will '88 and earlier bolt right in?) Bore cylinders to 3 1/2, 8.5/1 compression cast pistons/rings for 80", stick with A grind, s&s E.

Option 3: don't know if budget will allow a stroker with stock bore...

These are the options I'm considering fellas, I hope that my writing and punctuation is understandable (using phone). Not looking for a hotrod obviously, but just want to be able to haul this heavy bike up and down the road at good gallop and still have some fire in case the urge to get a mite ornery should arise. I'm a simple man just looking for pretty simple and inexpensive procedures for achieving this here goal.. is it possible with the formulas I've put before you? Like I said it's been a while... I'm open to all suggestions and criticism from you can-dos and know-hows. Thank you for your consideration. -Blackhat

Almost forgot, not interested in dual plug heads.. don't believe it's necessary for me. Thanx
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Old 12-31-2020, 05:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: Shovel 74" or more? Seeking sound advice!

Hey black. Welcome to the board!

Firstly, re what you currently have before you delve into options. .20 Over is going to give you probably the best part of 80+ inches, for what you're suggesting you want to do 60-70 will be very doable on that motor. My old 54 pan which was tired and in nowhere near the shape and tolerances you''ve got would do 65 all day.

It boils down to how much time do you have, and how much cash do you want to spend? If everything is in good shape, you could happily put that badboy back together and it'll satisfy your desired outcome. You can even consider your gearing, going down a little will offer you more grunt.

Others may disagree with me, but I think you could happily run what you're looking to achieve on what you have, without too much sweat, for many years.
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Old 12-31-2020, 08:43 AM   #3
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Haha.. I thank you sir for taking the time to consider my thoughts and situation.. I figure with a little bit more compression (thinking round 8.5), since I'm replacing them pistons anyhow, might just make for a right pert little 74 (proper gearing applied). Would that A grind and 8.5/1 take well? What valves/springs/collars etc. might be suggested? I like to do things by hand my own self and wouldn't mind running some sandpaper to them heads before they get their treatment.. What types of hardware might a man throw at this here lowly bronc to get her walikn tall and feelin pert? What say you gents runnin the range on an ornery little 74? I realize there's hear tell out there and I've been studying, but best ways I figure is direct from the horses mouth! Thank you kindly to all for your consideration and offerings to a stranger.. -blackhat
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Old 12-31-2020, 08:56 AM   #4
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You can never have too much power
Consult your budget
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Old 12-31-2020, 11:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: Shovel 74" or more? Seeking sound advice!

Are you kicking this bike to start it, or using an electric foot? Or both?
Fairly stock gearing? Belt or chain primary?
What do you hope to achieve using Evo parts?
Two-up or solo most of the time?

Even with those questions, I certainly think a higher-comp stock 74" shovel with a nice A- or J- grind cam, well jetted carb with intake and exhaust should be perfectly doable at your desired speeds for that machine.

IMO, gearing is going to play a big part in what you're doing. I think you'll wind up with a mill with good low-end and mid-range power, but you'll have to do a bit of final drive ratio math to keep it in the sweet spot.
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Old 12-31-2020, 01:14 PM   #6
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Govmule, I thank you for your comments and encouragement.. This will be a mostly solo with the occasional packed, long journey.. Kick only bike. Electric start will be stored away to save weight and while it is equiped with chain primary, I do enjoy the ease and further weight savings of the belt drive (something 'bout the little karate dude on the karata outfit tickles my spirit so).. Now, I asked if the early Evo crank will bolt right in.. I was figuring thoughtfully to myself that the cases are already split and my dollars already dedicated to new pistons, why not gain a couple extra giddy-ups fer a few extra pesos and the humble boast of 80" right? Well, now I've been encouraged twice toward a refreshed 74" with a mite of compression... What's the grocery list for this tasty recipe? Heads need everything.. I'm figuring on cast pistons, Hastings rings 8.5/1.. have the ol trustee A grind cam.. should I be huntn up something else since valves/springs/collars/guides etc are in store? Thanks fellas!
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Old 12-31-2020, 03:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: Shovel 74" or more? Seeking sound advice!

I mean, you could go wilder on the cam, but I don't think it will help based on how you'd like to ride.

And as far as the 80" swap, I'm not sure an Evo rotating assembly gets you a lot (stronger rods, but do you really need those?) unless you can hunt a runnable one down for really cheap. That's likely to need work at this point, too, so why not just keep what you have and refresh it? It's only six inches we're talking here. That said, if you find one, I guess it can't hurt anything. I'd personally want a 5-piece, not a 3-piece, if I was allowed to be picky.

Stock motor, low-end grunt cam, and the usual bolt-ons would seem on face value to deliver what you are looking for, IMO.
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Old 12-31-2020, 03:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: Shovel 74" or more? Seeking sound advice!

we only install the A2 andrews today as he developed it for the new gas and we now stuck with - but its my opinion in the shop

if you go T&O the 4 1/2 stroke is more power same reliability and 3 1/2 bore gives you 86 inches - my all time favorite stroke is 4 5/8 but electric start thats 89 inches at 8 to one is great combo some have lasted 90 thousand miles but again it riding it like a human being

light machine 24 up front sprocket 72 frame and rear wheel is drum rear brake so its 51 tooth then belt drive it and 70 MPH riding is doable
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Old 12-31-2020, 04:34 PM   #9
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Alrighty, I'm liking the way yer thinkn Govmule.. and thank you again for taking the time.. some good points to keep under the ol hat so to speak.
Johnjzjz! In my recent studies of the ol 74" air cooled v-twin pony, I've been paying especial attention to some of your posts. 8.5/1 compression, cast pistons... How do you feel my A grind would take with that? Would you have a suggestion on which valves/springs and the like for such a combo? I'm running solid lifters and an S&S E by the way and am quite fermilliar with these parts.. just looking for parts advice I 'spose for a STRONG runner. Thanx again -blackhat
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Old 12-31-2020, 07:38 PM   #10
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Default Re: Shovel 74" or more? Seeking sound advice!

Black, hopefully the info and opinions offered here give you sound mind regarding cam choice, pistons and gearing. I think as Liam has mentioned is your gearing choice and the math you'll need to get through it will make a huge diffrenece on the outcome you desire for your bike. Definitely doable though!
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Old 12-31-2020, 09:46 PM   #11
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Well shoot, I reckon I owe you gentlemen some thanks.. I been chewin on this here motor build for the last few days trying to figure out how I can spend up all my money.. Well, I finally get the nerve to start asking you fellas on this forum some questions for my own self and now I'm startn ta feel like I may just want to keep some of them dollars in my pocket! I think an ol boy just oughta hone them cylinders real nice and pick up some pistoneys (with my previously designated and overly-repeated specifications), have the heads built at my favorite shop with some nice new top-o- thee line doo-dads, slap that A grind back in it button her up all nice and perty like and consider that ol bronc a worthy steed.. you know gents, mosta them ponies the real cowboys were runnin back in their time were only nigh 14 hands and them stocky little critters were getn it DONE day in and out brothers! Thank you again greatly to all who took the time to consider a stranger out on the range and allow a small and lowly sort to visit a while bout his unimportant hunk of metal.. adios til next time hombres! -blackhat
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Old 01-01-2021, 11:17 AM   #12
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Default Re: Shovel 74" or more? Seeking sound advice!

Need pics.
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Old 01-01-2021, 10:04 PM   #13
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Default Re: Shovel 74" or more? Seeking sound advice!

What parts do you have? How much money to spend? Boring .020 74'' cylinders to 80'' is a waste. '87 evo cranks were 3 piece and shook the cast in bearing support loose in the left case. In '89 the factory got rid of the insert and started mounting the bearings in the aluminum case as a cure. The pinion shaft change in mid '81 and ran thru '86 and pinion and cam gear changed mid '77.
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Old 01-02-2021, 04:12 PM   #14
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Default Re: Shovel 74" or more? Seeking sound advice!

you kind of jumped around a bit

evo wheels have followed the S&S equal thickness wheels and the rear rod has a dog leg at the bottom - S&S does not - for the semi closed chamber design of the cylinder head - in a shovel pan it shakes lot more using it - have seen those motors come in the shop - evos are smoother then the older engines at hi speed - the reason

oem wheels in 2 different thicknesses is what harley did for a reason and it wasn't they wanted to add weight to the bike - they will do 2 things - one it takes longer to spin up in gear -- and the good side of that is they make more torque in a linier fashion - a good thing for cruising in hilly country - most of us catch a benefit form that design and its the reason we ride what we do

A cam andrews - MY opinion its out dated - yes its solid but the A2 says hyd but just like the original H harley used it fine as a solid - calling andrews as a cold call no telling what they will tell you - but as a 40 year customer we get different info then the public -

if your shop hopefully with re balance the engine and you said T&O will be your builder they will do right by you - yes on the 8 1/2 to 1 compression but depends on your age a physical condition - older guys we have been 7 to 1 as the power difference is not what we care about as its actually not very much - but its ease of starting some need to pay attention to
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Old 01-02-2021, 10:46 PM   #15
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I'll second what some of have said, if you have those usable parts already and are cost conscious, any departure from that is just money you don't need to spend, for which you'd see nominal return. You'd easily spent twice as much money on a rebuild, and for what? If you didn't already have some of those parts, that might be a different story.

The one thing I like on a 74" (some may disagree) are the 10:1 cast pistons. The dixie/superior cast pistons are tried and true, and cheap. I always get the 10:1, same price (i.e. inexpensive), and totally manageable. Clearance is straight forward (the clearance on non-cast pistons make me nervous, and the cost each rebuild is significant ), and the weights are so similar that I don't worry about balancing. Frankly I'm not sure it even buys much, but I prefer the resistance when kicking a bike.

If you were really looking for more oomph and had to stay with a shovel (and numbers/correctness don't matter), I'd keep what you have on the shelf as a nice 74", and get a crate s&s or ultima 96" motor. You'd spend the same amount buying all the same upgrades and labor building your existing motor.
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Old 01-03-2021, 04:01 PM   #16
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Well, I surely do appreciate you men for taken the time to consider and respond to my situation, truly I do! I also want to thank you for the encouragement to stick with the ol 74" which I have decided to do.. and honestly, I'm pretty dang excited now (kinda saw a fun and differnt angle with my own cow-pony ramblings couple days back) and that's what this here's all about anyhow right?! I hadn't run a 74" since before my pan was stroked out to 84" (almost a decade ago) and my last shovel was a right perky 80"er (not stock), so's that was my main concern.. "would 74 do the trick" I think you fellers bout got me convinced. Again, I thank you seasoned "mossy horns" and you young rustlers for helpin this ol boy put a rope on the right figuring.. maybe I can work up enough courage to post a few pictures in the days to come when I get this here critter all saddled up and trail ready.. thanx again pards -blackhat
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Old 01-03-2021, 06:46 PM   #17
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Default Re: Shovel 74" or more? Seeking sound advice!

Yippy tie eye yo.
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Old 01-04-2021, 12:27 PM   #18
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Default Re: Shovel 74" or more? Seeking sound advice!

There's something about a 74" motor. So smooth on the highway. Easy to start. Enough power to have some fun from time to time. Durable. Plenty of parts available. The result of hundreds of thousands of engineering and refinement hours over the years.

When I was in my late 20s, I turned my 74" shovel into a 93".

It was fun for years.

But I kept breaking things. I learned the driveline and chassis weaknesses and fixed them to be stronger.

I failed to consider my body as being part of the equation.

Put about 100K on that setup. Still have it.

Now that my back is shot and I ride a little slower, I find myself taking the stock 74" panhead more often than the 93".

Something to consider.

Jason
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Old 01-15-2021, 12:53 PM   #19
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Default Re: Shovel 74" or more? Seeking sound advice!

I run 88CID using Evo 3 piece flywheels and 3 5/8 bore. My setup is what I settled on after a lot of experimentation. My goal is a bike that idles as smooth as a flathead but can lift the front end and rev out to 4500 rpm with power. I used the Stock Evo 4 1/4 flywheels in 1982 Shovel cases. I used a Comp Cams VThunder SHV-4000 cam with .450 lift and very short 232 degree duration. No headwork needed, 1975 heads(late Shovel heads only take about .430 lift stock, earlier can take around .480). Solid lifters. Major torque off idle compared to a hot cam designed to produce power from 3 to 6 grand. I went with 3 5/8 cylinders and KB pistons. Kicks medium easy with it's 9:1 compression. 3rd kick cold every time, one kick warm every time. Idles with zero lope, just lalalalala like a flatty or my Aspergers. This 88CID build is the most enjoyable street ride I have ever had. It does burnouts that slowly lift the front wheel as it gains traction until I let off at about a foot or so off the ground.
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