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1977 Sportster Partial Rebuild

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  • 1977 Sportster Partial Rebuild

    Well, in terms of what many have provided as build threads this wouldn't be an extensive build - more like going back and fixing a bunch of things wrong. But what I would like to do is treat it as a build post for practice because I will start a build in the near future on a 1983 XLH that is a rolling frame and disassembled engine. I know that the 83 isn’t antique yet by our AMCA standards but I think by the time I get started on the build and then finish it, it will be within the required 35 years.

    In March of 2016 after having completed a rebuild of an 1982 XLH I was wanting something to work on again so I started searching. I missed on a couple of 70s FXs that were in need of extensive rebuilding but had been sold just prior to me discovering their availability. I then came across a picture of a 1977 Harley Davidson XLH that looked pretty complete on what they call The Man's Yard Sale on Facebook. The advertisement also said that any sale included an 83 XLH with the motor disassembled. Price for the pair was just under $3,000. I went and looked at the bikes and early on was optimistic that the 77 XLH, which the owner said started ran then would not start again could be low hanging fruit to get it back going again. My only experience at rebuilding is the 82 XLH that was in pretty rough shape. My inexperienced eye though did not pick up on some things that I should have caught like significant oil on the cases and toward the rear of the bike and some significant wiring issues. Looking over the 83 XLH the rolling frame looked in pretty good shape, original and complete - the 83 engine looked pretty decent as well with what appeared to be major components all present and cylinders that looked good. I figured I could give these two projects a chance and gave the guy $2,800 for the two and a bunch of extras. Extras included some nice parts that included two S&S Super Bs, an S&S intake manifold, air cleaner cover and backing plate, a classic Pirelli MT53 flat-track or trail tire, a new NOS HD oil cooler, mid 70s FX fuel tank, Corbin-Gentry seat, etc. Many of the items I have sold already and used the funds to defray costs of purchasing missing items on the two bikes.

    Here is a photo of the 77 XLH

    IMG_2743.jpg

    Here are a couple of problems I found initially. As can be seen in the photo there is no seat. Some previous owner had come up short of a seat for the 77 so instead of making sure he had the right seat and mounting hardware he mad some modifications. I am hopeful to be able to reverse them. Here is one modification. The 77/78 and earlier XLH had a seat mount using basically two plates welded to the top frame bar just to the rear of the fuel tank. The most in this case was bent downward on each side and the holes in the plate I assume were used to secure bolts from a modified seat and through the plates and tightened into place with a nut. I will need to heat and bend these back up into a vertical configuration and I'll show more of that as I address the repair.

    IMG_2763.jpg
    IMG_3782.JPG

    Here is a photo of another seat modification. This provides a static bolt through the fender to hold the back of the seat in place. Basically some scrap metal to hold the bolt in place. The previous owner put a lot of creative effort into rigging up a non-OEM seat configuration

    IMG_2764.jpg

    I will provide a few more of the problems in next posts. Feel free to offer suggestions or helpful comments.

    Thanks

    Mike Love'
    AMCA # 19097
    Last edited by ihrescue; 12-05-2020, 01:27 PM.

  • #2
    So I need to get back on this member bike build thread and the best way to make progress is to schedule it in my event calendar for everyday at the same time with a notification.

    Since I first started the thread I have made progress and really if I button up a few areas it will be a big push forward. I have removed, cleaned, examined and completed the factory recommended maintenance most recently on the rear suspension fork, final drive, rear wheel hub and rear drum brake. I will mention mistakes I made at the right time.

    Getting the rear components together will lead to me giving the engine it’s first start in many years and that will be a big boost for me. A few things to do before I can reassembled the rear. For one I need to clean the area of the front final drive sprocket before hooking up the new chain.

    So here is the early stage of getting the rear end together. I. love the case that every component is its individual project. Doing a rear drum brake maintenance and ultimately rebuilding it was a big first time go at it. The fender struts on this bike were for an OEM sissy bar and saddle bag arrangement and I discovered that they do not have the counter sunk bores for joining them and the fender. The OEM fender screws and the turn signals that were on this bike all required a count sunk bore so that was a project. I did need to go out on eBay for the fender bolts and found them for a reasonable price. I also needed a better replacement for the rear fender front bracket and cushion were all tore up. It looks like it got hooked up with a final drive chain that may have come of because it is pretty robust steel and it was literally rip up. Again another eBay find and instead of the outrageous cost for the foam cushion I am using a nominal stand-in of pick up camper to bed self stick foam insulation. It also works well to fusion the smaller AGM batteries in the OEM battery box which formerly had a larger lead-acid battery.


    IMG_6225.jpg

    Here is how it looks now. With the rear fork back in place and brake drum attached. More on the side projects of brake maintenance and rear for and wheel hub as separate comment posts.

    ​​​​​​​
    There - one post in 15 minutes while waiting for my pizza order.

    Back at home with the pizza for lunch, I ran to get lunch as logistics for my wife and daughter on cookie duty today.


    IMG_6222.jpg


    Half of the cookie crew.



    IMG_6224.jpg



    One batch cooling - oatmeal with butterscotch bits.



    IMG_6223.jpg

    Mike Love
    Attached Files

    Comment


    • #3
      Here is the parts manual blow-up of the rear fender front bracket part number 59795-52A and Rubber Buffer 59798-52. This part is attached to the lower frame where the rear fork pivot is. It is in no way attached to th rear fender it just provides that cushion as the fender flexes and moves. the only place that the rear fender is securely fastened to the bike is four screws into the fender struts. The front of the rear fender has two large access holes so that the bolts for the bracket can be accessed and tightened as needed. Again the foam rubber camper cushion (say that five time real fast) is an excellent replacement for OEM and even if it breaks down sooner than designed I have a whole roll that I will continue to look for things to use it for.


      IMG_6231 copy.jpg

      Mike Love
      Last edited by ihrescue; 12-07-2020, 02:58 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        IMG_6226.jpg


        So here is the left rear fender support also known as fender strut part number 59934-73. You can see where I drilled in counter sink bores for the HD part number 2272 screw (5/16-24 X 1-1/4 oval counter suck posidrive. Again each of these needs result in a side project of the whole. The furthest rear bore is for the turn signal which uses a hollow round turn signal support. Could be the supports I have are after market. If didn't mention it before I wanted to preserve this bike as much as possible in its previous live modification. This is what I have done on all my projects and I am very comfortable with it being "as is" but I make as good safety and dependability wise.

        Mike Love
        Last edited by ihrescue; 12-05-2020, 02:39 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          IMG_6228.jpg


          The transmission sprocket part number 35197-52 looks good so I am retaining it and the final drive sprocket for the rear brake drum is good as well. I just need to do a little tidying up here and I will reassemble as one of the next steps then re-assemble the brake lever parts, covers and chain guard.


          Mike Love

          Comment


          • #6
            IMG_6227.jpg


            I will cover the rear brake overhaul in a later post because, again it was a big first time project for me but here it is as part of the rear as a whole..


            Mike Love
            Last edited by ihrescue; 12-05-2020, 03:35 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              I was happy to get a call from one of my fellow Chesapeake Chapter members offering first purchase dibs of exhaust bits that came from his father's bikes. One is the OEM crossover dual exhaust from the 1979 XLH and the other was from an 81 Superglide. The beauty is, these all are complete with all mounting hardware and I am happy for the price he accepted for the lot. Now I should find an 81 Superglide to go with the OEM exhaust HaHa. These 79 dual crossover exhaust, and if you can tell me the actual commonly known name I would appreciate it. Anyway these are some of the typical OEM parts that are removed by the truck loads and are often just thrown away. They can be difficult for someone who is completing a project to find these kinds of parts. I was also able to find the OEM 2 into 1 exhaust for the 1977 XLH featured in this Member Build Thread and these too are hard to find, complete. The 2 into 1 will replace the straight pipes that were on the bike when I purchased it. I am an OEM exhaust kind of guy. I know I said I was keeping this 77 XLH "as is" but the exhaust and the carb were must do-overs. The 77 XLH came to me with an S & S Shorty complete and these are way more carb capacity than a Sportster needs so I sold it and four S&S Bs and really got enough accumulated income to buy all the replacement parts I needed for this project. A final note about the pile of exhaust in this photo, the79 mufflers have some surface rust and one area that went a little further - disappointing but its minor cosmetic and this system will also fit the 77 XLH. These piles were on the OEM 77 and 78 XLCR but in flat black. In case anyone is interested the exaust part number is left muffler 65359-79; left exhaust pipe 65486-79; left muffler support 65313-77; and right muffler 65358-79; right exhaust pipe 65487-79; right muffler support 65314-77;


              IMG_6230.jpg
              Last edited by ihrescue; 12-06-2020, 04:20 PM. Reason: Had to redo the image as it wasn't showing up when published.

              Comment


              • #8
                So one of the projects involved in bringing this bike back to safe and effective use is to restore the frame bracket that solidly attaches the front of the seat to the frame. Some previous owner instead of using the right parts got creative in attaching the seat. Possibly they ended up with a seat not designed with the Sportster mounting hardware or they were missing some of the seat hardware, or a little of both. So what they did was bend the sides of the frame bracket from vertical to horizontal and were using screws through the two bores in the bracket screwed into a seat pan. The seat they did this with was not part of what I received with this bike so I never saw the outcome of this rig.

                Here is a photo of the bent bracket.


                IMG_3782.jpg















































                What I needed to do was return those sides of the front seat frame bracket from horizontal to vertical so that OEM seat hardware would work as designed. First I tracked down and purchased a complete set of New Old Stock parts.

                The hardware used includes the following:

                Front bracket (52549-71) Attaches to the seat pan.
                Clip (52117-61A) Attaches to the front bracket
                Bolts (3767B) -20 X 5/8 hex hd. Used to hold the front bracket and clip to the seat pan.
                Seat Front Mounting Pin (59841-70) and (2) Retaining Rings (11000)
                The pin goes through the two bores in the side up rights of the frame welded bracket and are secured in place with a retaining ring on each side of the pin.

                The back of the seat attaches with bolt (2551W) -20 X 1 hex hd. It goes through from underneath the rear fender and crews into the seat pan which has a bolt welded into the steel seat pan.


                I started out returning the sides of the brackets to OEM by carefully hitting the upward with a large ball peen hammer. Then I used a flat faced vice from a bench (see photo below) as a clamp to bend both sides simultaneously to the upright position. Once I got the sides vertical it was apparent that they were not going to be aligned properly to allow the pin to sit in the bores and be in the proper position to have the pin held in by the two retaining rings, one on each side. You can see in the photo below the seat bracket in the vice to the left of the center screw of the vice.



                IMG_3783.JPG




                Seee in the below photo the bracket after initial straightening and with the OEM pin placed in the bores. What didn’t work in this procedure was that the top of the bracket moved back into position but each side of the bracket's lower end near where it was welded to the frame stayed out of alignment slightly. So I needed get those bottoms to bend back into alignment straight and true and keep the top straight as well.




                IMG_3784.jpg














































                I would need to hold the top and the two bores in place and secure while I worked on bending the bottoms in to the true straight up condition. To perform the final tweaking and get the sides in the correct position I combined heating of the steel while using some all thread and many nuts on the thread to hold the bores in one secure position while I used the big hammer and a big cold chisel to knock the sides into proper position. It took awhile but I was able to get it so it was close enough to effectively work for the seat attachment. See the photo below for this set-up.



                IMG_5853-1.jpg













































                So I needed get those bottoms to bend back into alignment straight and true. I would need to hold the top and the two bores in place and secure while I worked on bending the bottoms in to the true straight up condition. See the photo above for how I kept the top in place where it needed to be while tweaking the bottom of the bracket. To perform the final tweaking and get the sides in the correct position I combined heating of the steel while using some all thread and many nuts on the thread to hold the bores in one secure position while I used the big hammer and a big cold chisel to knock the sides into proper position. It took awhile but I was able to get it so it was close enough to effectively work for the seat attachment.


                IMG_5863.jpg














































                ​​​​​​​


                Comment


                • #9
                  Obtained some exaust systems

                  I was happy to get a call from one of my fellow Chesapeake Chapter members offering first purchase dibs of exhaust bits that came from his father's bikes. One is the OEM crossover dual exhaust from the 1979 XLH and the other was from an 81 Superglide. The beauty os these all are complete with all mounting hardware and I am happy for the price he accepted for the lot. Now I should find an 81 Superglide to go with the OEM exhaust HaHa. These 79 dual crossover exhaust, and if you can tell me the actual commonly known name I would appreciate it. Anyway these are some of the typical OEM parts that are removed by the truck loads and are often just thrown away. They can be difficult for someone who is completing a project to find these kinds of parts. I was also able to find the OEM 2 into 1 exhaust for the 1977 XLH featured in this Member Build Thread and these too are hard to find, complete. The 2 into 1 will replace the straight pipes that were on the bike when I purchased it. I am an OEM exhaust kind of guy. I know I said I was keeping this 77 XLH "as is" but the exhaust and the carb were must do-overs. The 77 XLH came to me with an S & S Shorty complete and these are way more carb capacity than a Sportster needs so I sold it and four S&S Bs and really got enough accumulated income to buy all the replacement parts I needed for this project. A final note about the pile of exhaust in this photo, the79 mufflers have some surface rust and one area that went a little further - disappointing but its minor cosmetic and this system will also fit the 77 XLH. These piles were on the OEM 77 and 78 XLCR but in flat black. In case anyone is interested the exaust part number is left muffler 65359-79; left exhaust pipe 65486-79; left muffler support 65313-77; and right muffler 65358-79; right exhaust pipe 65487-79; right muffler support 65314-77;



                  IMG_6230.jpg

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Mike, very cool thread about the partial '77 rebuild! I still have my '77 XLH I bought from the original owner back in 1979 or 1980. Not to hijack your thread, but here is my '77. I still have the stock exhaust but just can't get myself to put it back on since I like the performance from the baffled drag pipes. image_26424.jpgStock Exhaust.jpg
                    Last edited by craig (DE); 12-07-2020, 06:27 AM.
                    Craig (Delaware)
                    Perkiomen Chapter
                    AMCA Member #1011

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by craig (DE) View Post
                      Mike, very cool thread about the partial '77 rebuild! I still have my '77 XLH I bought from the original owner back in 1979 or 1980. Not to hijack your thread, but here is my '77. I still have the stock exhaust but just can't get myself to put it back on since I like the performance from the baffled drag pipes. image_26424.jpgStock Exhaust.jpg
                      Happy to have the first person to comment Craig, thanks. This is a different kind of project since other than ChuckTheBeaterTruck's excellent build thread on his XLCH there are few to no Sportster builds. That 77 of yours is beautiful. So again my goal is to preserve this bike as found, fix the problems and where necessary I will put different parts on in that repair process. I am replacing the rear fender with a well used OEM part the I have painted because I just don't like those 3/4 duck tail bob like fenders, not to mention it had too many cracks from being over attached to the frame. I am also replace=ing the front fender due to it being bobbed as well, guess its the prerogative of the re-build plan. I do have the two-into-one exhaust like you posted that I am going to use in place of the straights. Thanks again Craig and I sincerely do want any comments people have so I can consider and learn.

                      Mike love

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Rear fender front bracket replacement

                        Finding a replacement was moderately difficult at the time I was looking. The Rear Fender front bracket that came on the bike was pretty chewed up, possibly by a wild final drive chain based on the damage and its adjacency to the final drive.


                        IMG_6237.jpg

                        The bracket as pictured above should have about 1-1/2 inches and a curve to the left.


                        Screen Shot 2020-12-07 at 3.10.09 PM.png



                        The one I did obtain was used and somewhat bent up. But I did get it for an "as is" price. I was able make it right by banging, bending and burnishing also known as a "BQubed" preservation technique, and got it into pretty good shape to be repainted.




                        IMG_6178.jpg













































































                        Oh shoot I messed up the whole punch location in the rubber foam but a little adjust was good enough. Don't judge me. .


                        Here is the rear fender front bracket mounted to the frame. This has been in the parts catalog since 1952 so I am thinking this was on the Harley- Davidson K Model. At some point they anticipated the flexion of the rear fender and fixed the fender to the fender supports (struts) only and not the frame. So the rear fender actually hovers like a cantilever over the wheel not unlike some of the modern motorcycles.


                        IMG_6234.jpg



                        Never did find a reasonable replacement rubber pad that serves as the cushion for the movement of the rear fender so I improvised with rubber foam camper to pick up bed insulation seen in use above). It was the nominal width of the OEM pad and the price was right - inexpensive and a big roll of it.



                        IMG_6238.jpg




                        Last edited by ihrescue; 12-07-2020, 03:37 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Nice fix on the fender bracket.

                          How do you post the large pictures right in the body of the text, copy and paste?
                          Last edited by craig (DE); 12-08-2020, 12:28 PM.
                          Craig (Delaware)
                          Perkiomen Chapter
                          AMCA Member #1011

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by craig (DE) View Post
                            Nice fix on the fender bracket.

                            How do you post the large pictures right in the body of the text, copy and paste?
                            Thanks Craig. As far as images in the text first of all I always get my photos the way I want them in my my photo manager in my MacBook Air which is called Preview. I open every photo in my file that I am going to post and size it as large as possible, clean up any poor image issues and then save it as a jpeg.

                            To place it in text, I write the text and leave about five lines and put the cursor at the beginning of lne space three. Then I go to the editing boxes and click on the picture of a mountain and sun and it opens the image manager. I click on Upload and then click on Choose File. click on the image file in my file manager and it will show the image file location from your computer's file manager, then click of Send It To The Server. The dialogue box then reverts back to the Image Info in the Image Properties dialogue box. Then I go up to I go up to Alignment and most often I click on Center and the click on the red "OK" button at the bottom. It loads the photo to where my cursor was and leaves two line spaces above and two line spaces below.

                            It seems to help to have all your text typed into the post or comment before placing your image because then after you place your photo you can just move down the page using your arrow button.

                            Does this make sense? If not just follow up with questions or comments.

                            Mike Love

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ihrescue View Post

                              Thanks Craig. As far as images in the text first of all I always get my photos the way I want them in my my photo manager in my MacBook Air which is called Preview. I open every photo in my file that I am going to post and size it as large as possible, clean up any poor image issues and then save it as a jpeg.

                              To place it in text, I write the text and leave about five lines and put the cursor at the beginning of lne space three. Then I go to the editing boxes and click on the picture of a mountain and sun and it opens the image manager. I click on Upload and then click on Choose File. click on the image file in my file manager and it will show the image file location from your computer's file manager, then click of Send It To The Server. The dialogue box then reverts back to the Image Info in the Image Properties dialogue box. Then I go up to I go up to Alignment and most often I click on Center and the click on the red "OK" button at the bottom. It loads the photo to where my cursor was and leaves two line spaces above and two line spaces below.

                              It seems to help to have all your text typed into the post or comment before placing your image because then after you place your photo you can just move down the page using your arrow button.

                              Does this make sense? If not just follow up with questions or comments.

                              Mike Love
                              Thanks Mike! I will try your suggestion the next time I post a picture. Let me know if you need any stock photos on parts or other items since my 77' is stock other than some chrome.
                              Craig (Delaware)
                              Perkiomen Chapter
                              AMCA Member #1011

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