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Thread: 1996 FXD, a few lessons learned

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    1996 FXD, a few lessons learned

    Hi all,

    About 6 years ago I bought my first Harley, a 1996 FXD. I didn’t think it was running or handling particularly well and so as usual with my bikes I set about trying to improve it. It’s done now, I’m happy with the bike and don’t really want to spend any more money, and I thought I’d share a few discoveries and opinions. I've replaced quite a few parts I’m not going to mention, more or less routine wear and tear items or just cosmetic. I’ve also made a lot of mistakes and tried quite a few things that didn’t work.

    I took the bike to Boz (now at V-Twin in Rye) to install Torrington cam bearing. I wanted a reliable bike to tour Europe and I had read that the OEM bearing can fail. I ended up with a new cam, re-bore, top end rebuild, carb set up, DTT ignition and a ton of good advice. I’d definitely ask Boz to tune the engine if I ever bought another Harley.

    The engine tends to pink on regular fuel if it gets hot. I may have the timing a little too advanced but it runs well in normal conditions and I hate to lose that performance to protect it a small amount of the time. I’d been using Shell V-Power but then read about Millers Petrol Power EcoMax, an octane booster. Not only cheaper than using V-Power but works better on my bike, in fact the engine runs smoother at all RPMs. It even idles better.

    It had V&H short shots when I bought it which looked great but I hated the sound and read that a 2 into 1 would be best for the engine. I bought a V&H Pro Pipe. It’s fine but I wish I’d bought a SuperTrapp Supermeg, the one where you can change the number of discs at the back of the tail pipe.

    I recently changed the OEM clutch (the one some people call the grenade clutch) for a Barnett extra plate kit. The old clutch felt like it was dragging all the time and the new one really works well. I fitted a DiamondBack cable at the same time. I had a Clutchlite for a while but took it off. It made the clutch too difficult to adjust, it had to be spot on, and I wouldn’t trade off displacement for leverage like that again.

    I bought a Motobatt battery because I didn’t want to pay the Harley price. For the 6 years I used it it never failed to start the bike but it didn’t turn the engine over very fast and starting often wasn’t very easy. I recently switched to a Yuasa GYZ20HL. Expensive, but excellent - it spins the engine noticeably faster and it’s easy starting every time now.

    The OEM suspension was poor front and back and I bought Progressive shocks for the back and fitted Intiminators and progressive springs at the front. It’s better now but if I could go round again I’d probably buy a more expensive shock and look for a better arrangement at the front. Maybe later, stronger forks and cartridge internals, I’m not sure.

    I fitted a Harrison 6 pot caliper and floating disc. It’s much better than the OEM brake but with hindsight I should probably have either switched to twin disc forks or gone for Harrison’s 13” disc.

    I went for years without properly checking and adjusting all the spokes for tightness. This sounds really stupid but I literally spent two years wondering why the front end felt so vague, and changing / adjusting stuff to fix try and fix it. Anyway it was loose rear wheel spokes all along. Idiot!

    Cheers,

    Chris Rolleston

    Join the Harley-Davidson Riders Club Great Britain

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    Re: 1996 FXD, a few lessons learned

    Good stuff!
    Really interesting to read about the journey that we take with a new bike...
    No two are ever the same!

    Sent from my SM-G390F using Tapatalk
    1989 FXST Softail Standard

    1988 FLHS Electra Glide Sport

    Living well is the best Revenge...

    Join the Harley-Davidson Riders Club Great Britain

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    Re: 1996 FXD, a few lessons learned

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris R View Post
    Hi all,


    I bought a Motobatt battery because I didn’t want to pay the Harley price. For the 6 years I used it it never failed to start the bike but it didn’t turn the engine over very fast and starting often wasn’t very easy. I recently switched to a Yuasa GYZ20HL. Expensive, but excellent - it spins the engine noticeably faster and it’s easy starting every time now.
    Good to read about your journey with the bike. Biggest change to my 1973 FLH was getting the starter motor serviced and replacing the leads from the battery. The bike cranks over like a champ now.

    Join the Harley-Davidson Riders Club Great Britain

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