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  #1  
Old 29-11-2009, 08:03 PM
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dridgy dridgy is offline
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need advice on shovelhead engine

i have just bought my first big twin, its a shovelhead 1981 vintage.
the engine has already been stripped down by the previous owner a few years ago so it needs putting back together.
im not sure if its a 1200 or a 1340 ill try and get in touch with the previous owner again to ask.
what i want to know is are there any mods worth doing to the engine before i attempt to rebuild it.
i was told it may need new piston rings, so would it be worth getting a big bore kit?
i wouldnt want to go too big and i dont want to spend a fortune on the engine, can you get a mild bigger bore kit that doesnt need the cases machining?
for instance if its a 1200 engine will the harley 1340 barrels go on instead?
Also are engine parts still available for a shovel and where could i buy them from.
Can these engine run on unleaded?

any advice on anything i may need to know about these bikes would be much appreciated.

many thanks
John
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  #2  
Old 29-11-2009, 08:34 PM
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girlyglide girlyglide is online now
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Re: need advice on shovelhead engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by dridgy View Post
i have just bought my first big twin, its a shovelhead 1981 vintage.
If it is a 1981 model then it's a 1340cc (80 cubic inch).
Quote:
Originally Posted by dridgy View Post
the engine has already been stripped down by the previous owner a few years ago so it needs putting back together.
im not sure if its a 1200 or a 1340 ill try and get in touch with the previous owner again to ask.
Measure the bore, 74s and 80s had the same stroke.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dridgy View Post
what i want to know is are there any mods worth doing to the engine before i attempt to rebuild it.
There are millions of mods you can do to a shovel, but only a few you should.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dridgy View Post
i was told it may need new piston rings, so would it be worth getting a big bore kit?
i wouldnt want to go too big and i dont want to spend a fortune on the engine, can you get a mild bigger bore kit that doesnt need the cases machining?
for instance if its a 1200 engine will the harley 1340 barrels go on instead?
In my opinion keep it stock. You can make a shovel go but no quicker than you can earn cash
1340 cylinders will fit but why bother if your cylinders will clean up or a rebore return them to usefulness.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dridgy View Post
Also are engine parts still available for a shovel and where could i buy them from.
I can't think off hand of a part that is unavailable for a shovel either from oem or aftermarket. They can be obtained from any good Harley shop. Check out the suppiers section. Join the club and get invovled and get a club discount from many businesses advertised in the suppliers section.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dridgy View Post
Can these engine run on unleaded?
From memory the 1981 models could run on unleaded without modification but either way the seats can be replaced with hardened seats etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dridgy View Post
any advice on anything i may need to know about these bikes would be much appreciated.
Before starting to rebuild the engine clean everything thoroughly and list all parts that are outside wear limits. Buy a Factory Workshop manual and Parts List for your model - they are invaluable - and make yourself familiar with the internals of the engine.

Seek specialist help for the jobs you cannot undertake yourself. Join the club and you also get access to the club tool loan scheme. Personally I give more attention to club members asking for help than non-club members after the first few occasions.
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  #3  
Old 29-11-2009, 08:58 PM
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kevscrivener kevscrivener is offline
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Re: need advice on shovelhead engine

Good sound advice from Phil there, especially the "only a few you should", couldn't agree more!

John, the Shovel is a brilliant engine but you have to remember that even the newest ones are now 25 years old. My advice is to do your best to make it reliable and oil-tight rather than make it go fast, especially since it's your first big twin.

You can break both your heart and your credit limits trying to make a Shovel go like stink. Have a look at Kiwi Dave's recent Shovel build thread on here and see what can be achieved without spending silly money.
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Old 29-11-2009, 09:07 PM
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Re: need advice on shovelhead engine

Got to agree with everyone else who posted ,let a shovel breath ie air filter a pipes but apart from that keep the engine stockish it will last longer lovrly engine with loads of torqueand smiles per mile
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  #5  
Old 29-11-2009, 09:55 PM
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the_monster the_monster is online now
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Re: need advice on shovelhead engine

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Originally Posted by spinlondon View Post
Shovels are actually faster than Twin Cams, as they are not Rev. limited. As long as you can stand the vibrations.
Make certain everything is glued or wired on, especially the exhausts.
I'll vouch for that one - getting them to haul arse isn't a problem but getting them to haul up is !!
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  #6  
Old 29-11-2009, 10:45 PM
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Panhead Boris Panhead Boris is offline
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Re: need advice on shovelhead engine

Agree with everything said here - 1200 or 1340 can be pretty rapid. You won't want much more power than standard without major upgrade of the brakes IMHO.

The 1200 is reckoned to be smoother thru better balanced components.
I'm a big fan of either size.

What ignition are you running? The standard early 80's ones were dreadful, as were the standard carbs. These are both useful improvements. Anything more radical than that is gonna cost big!

Have fun with it.
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  #7  
Old 30-11-2009, 01:15 AM
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Phil Phil is offline
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Re: need advice on shovelhead engine

My first question would be; Why did the previous owner strip the engine? People usually do not strip down a good running motor. Does anything need to be fixed?

How far is the engine stripped? Have the flywheels been removed from the cases?

If they are, now might be the time to get them professionally rebuilt. It isn`t a job for a beginner.

The first Harley that I ever had was a 1980 FXWG Shovelhead. It was a great learning experience & a blast to own!

Like Kev says; Phil (Girlyglide) is a great resource, who knows his stuff. As Kevs says again; KiwiDave just rebuilt his Shovel, & he knows a thing or two.

Good luck!
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  #8  
Old 30-11-2009, 07:21 AM
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Hawkeye Hawkeye is offline
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Re: need advice on shovelhead engine

Thought this might be an intersting link for you

Shovelhead Forum - Powered by vBulletin
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  #9  
Old 30-11-2009, 07:22 AM
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dridgy dridgy is offline
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Re: need advice on shovelhead engine

Hi guys thanks very much for all your advice.

The previous owner stripped the engine down to get the heads gas flowed and i think change the piston rings.

the crankcases have not been split, the top end is off along with the clutch etc.

i wasnt interested in making it go fast, i just want a reliable hog.

I just thought if it maybe needed a rebore, it may be as well to just buy a slightly bigger big bore kit that has all the bits with it.

How much would a rebore cost roughly?

ill join the club as advised.

Thanks again

JOhn
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  #10  
Old 30-11-2009, 07:54 AM
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Batman Batman is offline
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Re: need advice on shovelhead engine

I recently had a set of Sporty barrels rebored, which cost 40.00 for the engineering work, and a further 90.00 for pistons,pins and rings.
I would guess about 200.00 would well cover it.
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