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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello everyone....

So, as per my introduction post, I thought would be good to keep a thread rolling with the progress on the old Ironhead... and seeing as this is my first bike build ever, also a place to post all the questions that are in my head, not without using the search button before, yep I know the drill with forums :D

So, quick rundown for those that didnt see my introduction.
Im a keen mechanic, have a couple of jap bikes, but bobbers and chops was what got me into bikes in the first place.

Always wanted a chop/bobber with an old Harley engine.. money never allowed, till now!

Last week I bought a 1979 Ironhead...a beauty!!
The hardtail has been professionaly welded on, by inner tube and the bolts and the bottom were also welded and covered so you cant see it

Bike came with most of the original parts, 3 different rear fenders and loads of bits...
I think most of it is there, just needs fabrication! and that's where the fun starts! :D

the previous owner also opened the engine, cleaned it and sorted gearbox, so Im assuming its all working as it should.

I was looking at her today and..... dont have a clue where to start! hahahaha
I was trying to figure out something simple...mounting a bracket for the rear brake caliper, then I thought, well, but this will have to move when I adjust the chain...and then thought, well, if this has to move, then the rear fender will have to move... (i was hoping to fit one really close to the tyre)...

so you see how things are going in my head, the last week has been just reading here and other places on the internet.

So, here's some pics to start...hope its not too many!!




















 

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Damn man, looks great. My '79 is basically stock and I've had her since she was only a few years old, so no chopping. If it was a new purchase though, which I guess yours is, bad ass!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks!
Yeh, I bought her like that.

I've always wanted a chop/bob before, had a VN Drifter years ago… but my heart was set on a harley engined chop/bob, but money didn't allow for it.

This one is just in the stage I was looking for…. Not too much done to it so I can put my mark on her and a few bits and bobs..

The previous owner had her originally and he got the hardtail work done, not sure if all sporties share the same frame…. As I said before, I'm brand new to Harleys.. lol
Give me an old Land Rover to work on and I can strip, fabricate and weld the hole thing with no problem.. :)
 

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Looks Great!! Do most sporty's have the same frame? I am wanting to do the same thing you are with a sportster.
Sportster frames have changed over the years.

52-66 are roughtly the same with a few changes to the castings and the upper engine mount.

67-71 have a change in the seat post and a longer swingarm to accommodate the new electric start with it's larger battery.

72-78 have a few more changes to the castings to make them cheaper and they have reinforcement straps from the rear engine mount area to the shock mounts to keep that area from cracking.

79-81 the rear of the frame was redesigned to change the shock location.

82-83 and up they changed to the Evolution style frame with no more castings. All tubing and stamped metal with the backbone higher to make room for the taller Evo engine.

2004-now the frame changed to rubber mount.

A lot of the earlier engines(52-76) fit all the earlier frames(52-76) but after that, things get weird trying to fit later engines in different years. Later Ironhead engines have clearance problems fitting on the bottom with the kickstand casting of earlier frames and when they changed to the new oil pump(83?), forget it in earlier frames. The early Evos(85-2002) only fit in their years with a difference in 4 speed and 5 speed and the rubber mounts don't fit anything except the rubber mount frame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
yeh, Im not keen on the red rims..... the white wall im not sure about it, might suit the way the bike will end.
but if i dont like the red rims, its more likely I'll have to sell them and get a new set.
Or get it powder coated again....
 

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Sportster frames have changed over the years.

52-66 are roughtly the same with a few changes to the castings and the upper engine mount.

67-71 have a change in the seat post and a longer swingarm to accommodate the new electric start with it's larger battery.

72-78 have a few more changes to the castings to make them cheaper and they have reinforcement straps from the rear engine mount area to the shock mounts to keep that area from cracking.

79-81 the rear of the frame was redesigned to change the shock location.

82-83 and up they changed to the Evolution style frame with no more castings. All tubing and stamped metal with the backbone higher to make room for the taller Evo engine.

2004-now the frame changed to rubber mount.

A lot of the earlier engines(52-76) fit all the earlier frames(52-76) but after that, things get weird trying to fit later engines in different years. Later Ironhead engines have clearance problems fitting on the bottom with the kickstand casting of earlier frames and when they changed to the new oil pump(83?), forget it in earlier frames. The early Evos(85-2002) only fit in their years with a difference in 4 speed and 5 speed and the rubber mounts don't fit anything except the rubber mount frame.
Kickstart, thanks a bunch for the detailed info. Much appreciated.

Regards!
Bobby
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
quick question that is puzzling me at the moment... rear brake..

Now, my frame is like this on the right...



doing some research I found that the bit sticking out forward is something to do with the rear drum brake

on the left, my frame is like this..



a brake disc and caliper, which I still have to do weld a bracket for the caliper..

what are my options here? ditch the rear brake disc and revert to drum so i can use that bit of the frame? but the 79's had disc brake...?

or cut the bit off and weld a piece to shape it like the left side, and keep the brake disc?
 

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Hi JP

Bike looks great. The slot on the right side is for the drum brake locating bolt. Pic of mine below.

Good luck with the build and keep in touch.

Keith
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
this is a joke right? someone is doing this for a customer and doesnt have a say in the matter.
hey? what you on about?
I bought this bike the other day..... no customer, im putting it together for myself..
I understand you might say that because of the, in no doubt silly and newbie, questions.. but if I dont ask, I'll never learn.
if you are in doubt, here's the ebay add that was up before I went to see the bike and did a deal with the seller..

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/260995828657?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

that frame is set up for a drum, u'll need to do alterations for a disc
yeh, that's what I thought..
i think the previous owner had intentions of doing it as brake disc, even the spacers on the rear wheel have been done properly....

but i think i best go with the rear brake drum so I can just use the frame as it is...

the sprocket cover has the rear master cylinder for the brake caliper, so I guess its just a case of swapping the cover for an older version and get a drum brake, etc?
the 1979 had disc brake, so does anyone know if anything older will be a straight fit?

keeeef, what year is yours?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
right... spent the day doing some research.

so far, i found the drum brakes are crap, and will be a right pain to find a drum brake so Im going to keep the disc brake, seeing as everything is already there.

then I'll cut that bit off the frame and weld a piece of metal so it has the same shape as the other side.

good idea?
 

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jp, there are several ways to convert it but, the easyest that I found when I was going to build one for the wife is to use the bracket off of a softail. You'll have to flip it, the bracket stay will be on the left top rear leg instead of the bottom right rear leg but, everything else should work out just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
jp, there are several ways to convert it but, the easyest that I found when I was going to build one for the wife is to use the bracket off of a softail. You'll have to flip it, the bracket stay will be on the left top rear leg instead of the bottom right rear leg but, everything else should work out just fine.
Is that to convert to drum brake?
cause ive changed my mind and will be keeping the disc brake as everything is there and will be a right pain to find a complete drum brake...
 

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from drum to disk. ya might check with fab kevin also he might have a bracket.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Right... a small update..
and please bear in mind im brand new to all this, so what seem like a stupid/silly question to you...for me its all learning :)

any comment/criticism is welcome as it will only help me.

so... todays update.

Stopped by a local metal engineering place and got a load of offcuts to practice my MIG welding, they only had bits from 3mm up to 6mm... nothing thinner, so I brought what they had laying around.
Then got hold of 2 scissor jacks and got to work



my welds are getting better....


and here ya go.... frame jack!


So after getting the rear up in the air was time to investigate

So first was to check, if the wheel spacers were correct and if the sprockets were aligned. I pushed the wheel as forward as it could go in the frame slots so the wheel was dead straight.
Then I got a straight piece of metal, in this case a level and put it against both sprockets and it sits flat on both..... :mrgreen: Did I do this right? this is the way to check right?




then I got to see how this caliper bracket works and what needs doing.
So I found that the caliper bracket has a little grove so it can sit on the wheel adjusters, and so it gives it the 'right' position to be in



with the bracket sitting in that grove, i jammed a pencil so it wouldnt drop down and mocked up where the arm would go and where eventually a bracket with a slot will have to be welded so I can bolt the other end to it.


but then realised that if I start adjust the chain (at some point), I cant move the wheel back too much as the arm from the caliper will hit the frame, so I can only move it as back as this: (you can see the difference from pic above where its as forward as it can go)


Also, the adjuster threaded bolts are short, so if the wheel is pushed all the way forward they wont stick out enough at the back to get a nut in.
Cant see how this bracket/caliper is going to work in there, it would work if put and bottom of disc, but quite like it there between the frame legs.

Then I drew a template from the left side and copied it over to the right and marked where I have to cut the drum brake stay in order to look the same as the left side (its the thin line)


Guess it would be alright to cut it and then weld a little piece to make up for that chunk missing where the brake drum stay is cut? I have 6mm plate which is the same as the one there..?
 
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