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badfrogg New Reader
9/28/15 12:21 a.m.

I've never been a fan of Harley, always thought they were antiquated technology, poorly made and way over priced. I recently had the opportunity to ride (for the first time) and own a truly horrible example of a Harley of some unknown origin, history, or model for that matter because the title states the model as "Assembled Parts"... sketchy, real sketchy. This thing reeked of regret and bad decision making.

From about 20 feet looked pretty good. It was clearly customized with some CNC rims, big fat tire and a fat stretched tank, some cool looking exhaust and Ape Hangers! At 5 feet... was not so good. All this trick stuff was hanging on by a tread or, in this case, bolts that were basically falling out and stripped off. The guy says "runs good!"

Why would i want it? I've already stated what my presumptions of Harley motorcycles are. So what would posses me? Well just like most of us here at GRM there is something that overcomes sense and reason when it comes to automotive passion. Some kind of madness that plagues us to do some really stupid but equally fantastic thing. Maybe this could be one of those stories.

My first ride on a Harley: Okay so I know nothing about Harley but I just did the logical safety check. Brakes seem to work, bolts holding the tree and wheels appeared to be, well, holding. What could go wrong. Turned the fuel on. pumped the throttle a few times a pressed the starter button. The engine immediately came to life roaring with anger and intent. The vibration and noise was... alarming. No time to get the fear, I punched the shifter down to first and gave it the beans! IT WAS FRIGHTING! the wight of this thing and those ridicules ape hangers combined with torque that i have never experience with two wheels before made for a hairy first ride. I made it back after a sort run, wide eyed and a little shaken but still smiling.

Yes the madness had already begun to set in. This was something new and even though i still felt the same way about Harley, I still had to have it. Lucky for me it was stupid cheep. $500 for a running Harley seemed safe enough.

So i properly greased the seller palm with 5 benjies and sent him on his way. I Grabbed my jacket and some yellow glasses and now with those first kiss jitters out of the way i got to really settle in and enjoy.

I totally got it. I was sons of anarchy. I was the loan biker of the apocalypses. Harleys are antiquated, poorly built and most (not this one) are way over priced but when you ride them you are a bad ass! Or at least you are in your own mind. Madness...

OKAY! So with out further ado. My Harley Build (Because the current condition will not do)

I was so sketchy of the bolts falling out that i didn't even take a picture of it before i began to strip it down.

Trans_Maro PowerDork
9/28/15 12:30 a.m.

ddavidv PowerDork
9/28/15 5:21 a.m.

I like Harley builds by guys who don't really buy into the Harley mystique. This should be fun.

I think Harleys are WAY overrated...but I still think Sportsters are some of the coolest looking bikes I've ever seen.

Grtechguy UltimaDork
9/28/15 6:57 a.m.

Well, you really can't go wrong for a $500. Even if it is a Hardly ;)

Good deal, have fun with it.

Dusterbd13 UberDork
9/28/15 7:42 a.m.

This sounds like fun. Im not a bike guy, but I like your writing style.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
9/28/15 7:48 a.m.

Is it possible turn a bike like that into a café racer? That would be cool.

HappyAndy UberDork
9/28/15 7:58 a.m.

If I had a Sportster this is what I'd do to it. Kind of half way in-between café and street-tracker. It might still ride awful, but at least I would look cool riding it.

FSP_ZX2 Dork
9/28/15 9:42 a.m.
badfrogg wrote: I was so sketchy of the bolts falling out that i didn't even take a picture of it before i began to strip it down.

It is an FXD of some sort--not a Sportster, but an Evo powered big twin. And its worth well more than $500... Nice find.

octavious HalfDork
9/28/15 9:45 a.m.

Interesting. I'll be following this one.

Trans_Maro PowerDork
9/28/15 9:48 a.m.
Ian F wrote: Is it possible turn a bike like that into a café racer? That would be cool.

Harley did it themselves back in the 1970's.

Shame it didn't sell well.

Appleseed MegaDork
9/28/15 10:49 a.m.

There are cafe kits. They blow XLCR out of the water as far a look go. Dooooo eeeet.

wlkelley3 SuperDork
9/28/15 11:52 a.m.

Why can't I find deals like this.

badfrogg New Reader
9/28/15 2:47 p.m.

So this is what we’re dealing with. The engine numbers identify as an Evolution engine built in 1997. The frame numbers don’t really jive with Harley. The frame dose however match the title which I said in the beginning was an ASPT (Assembled Parts) title. From what I am to understand this is like a builders title of sorts. I do not know how this impacts the value of the bike but I’m not too concerned as long as I can legally sell it one day. The frame would appear to be a replica of a Dyna FXD- something the VIN number is not Harley.

Harleys are quite confusing things. The models are undistinguishable and clear cut knowledge is almost secretive. I imagine the Harley gurus as white haired old men that would never give you a straight answer thinking that their knowledge was somehow a precious commodity and you obviously can’t afford or simply don’t deserve the privilege of their grace.

I have news for you. The mechanics of a Harley is that of an OHV lawnmower engine. It is dead simple. Regardless I still like to have all the factory service manuals and as much knowledge as I can for any project. Even a lawnmower!

Let’s fast forward a little. I am actually a little farther ahead than this post is.

Here is the transmission case disassembled and pressure washed.

I used some good old aircraft stripper, BTW read the warning label on aircraft stripper. It sais “Do not use on aircrafts” I get a chuckle out of that!

After one good application of the stripper and another pressure wash. Ware eye protection this round. Aircraft stripper gives a good bite on the skin. Couldn’t imagine it in my eyes! Next will be the VHT wrinkle paint!

wearymicrobe SuperDork
9/28/15 3:10 p.m.

Just remember that all 500$ motorcycles shake rattle and refuse to stop not just Harley's. Once you get it road worthy you might change your tune even more positive then it already is. Also you are riding around on a MSO frame which can have some interesting rake to them might want to measure while you have the bike apart.

RealMiniParker UltraDork
9/28/15 3:31 p.m.

If you're going as far as taking the heads apart, email (paulhm68[at]yahoo) your address, and I'll throw some brandy-new rocker arm shafts your direction.

badfrogg New Reader
9/28/15 3:49 p.m.
RealMiniParker wrote: If you're going as far as taking the heads apart, email (paulhm68[at]yahoo) your address, and I'll throw some brandy-new rocker arm shafts your direction.

You just cant beat the GRM community! Thanks.

Yes i will be stripping this thing down to all of the bare castings and repainting. So far it looks like there is very little ware on the internals, but the oil leaking out of ever possible seam and seal has just made a mess of it. I want this build to be very clean when I'm done. Reassembly will be a very deliberate affair with all new seals and gaskets. I have chosen Cometic brand gasket kits for the engine and trans. Hope its good quality suff.

Appleseed MegaDork
9/28/15 4:40 p.m.

FSP_ZX2 Dork
9/28/15 4:55 p.m.

That is a Sportster; below are a Big Twin Cafes (Dyna based)...

badfrogg New Reader
9/28/15 7:29 p.m.

I definitely picked the right place to put this build. We are on the same page. This build will not be a Chopper, no ape hangers, minimal chrome, absolutely no skulls or flames!

I am going for something more along the lines of bobber, cafe, spoke wheels, maybe white walls, panhead solo seat. Here is some of my own inspiration picks. I want to do something with orange, not too much, just something to set off the black.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
9/29/15 11:48 a.m.

If you can get a running Harley big twin for five bills, with a title, you stole it. Regardless of whether it is a builder's title or not. That's a $2500 bike, easy, any day.

You have an Evo big twin. What's the number on the engine case? Any other markings on the case? That is, aftermarket or HD cases?

This forum: http://www.hdforums.com/forum/evo-classic-models-84/

can answer any question you may have about the motor, transmission, etc. But it seems like you have no fear of taking things apart.

badfrogg New Reader
9/29/15 1:02 p.m.

the VIN number on the engine case doesn't make any sense. Could it be a forgery? (A bad one at that if so.) VIN = BBL11FY018038 - from what I'm to understand that decodes like so:

BB =FXEF - 80 Fatbob

L =1340 Evolution

1 =Introduction Date

1 =check digit

F =1985

Y =York, Pa.


The engine code number makes perfect sense (the one on the inside) 1598042198 the data code on the trans also lines up with the engine so i think that they belong together

15 = 1340cc Evolution

98 = Model Year

042= Day of Production(FEB 10TH)

198= Unit Number That Day (production number)


The frame has a 17 digit vin that starts with SUN** (I tried to decode it but got some manufacture from Finland or was it Czech Republic) The frame also has the FL ASPT title number stamped in it along with a matching FL DOT sticker with those FL numbers that match the tile. This is in Florida BTW.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
9/29/15 1:49 p.m.

Is it a top or bottom breather? That is, the breather for the motor, does it come out where the carb cleaner backing plate bolts to the head with banjo fittings or is there a hose that comes out medial to the oil pump?

I agree that the motor number reflects a 1985, which would be a bottom breather. Although with a parts-built bike, anything could be anywhere.

Also, it is possible that the motor was a factory re-man. That would have a late build date, but the motor number of whatever was on the old cases that were sent back for the re-man. Do the motor numbers look like they were stamped with a punch or are they made from a bunch of dots?

badfrogg New Reader
9/29/15 2:14 p.m.

I'm fairly certain that the motor is a single cam Evo manufactured in 97 for the 98 production model year. Every date stamp on the inside of all the castings show 97.

Here is the inside engine number.

neon4891 MegaDork
9/29/15 2:23 p.m.

I'm not an HD guy, but I love it when these are built by non HD guys. Good luck.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
9/29/15 2:26 p.m.

If the outside has that same style of lettering (multiple dots,) it was probably a reman.

Why exactly did you take it all apart?

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