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Old 09-09-2010, 08:06 PM   #1
lake_harley OP
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Location: Uniontown, MO
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Thinking Of Resurecting My '73 Sportster

My '73 XLCH has not been ridden in 17 years. I've owned it since '74 and it still has less than 12,000 miles on it. I just never cared to part with it, but really had no particular desire to ride it in all these years. While pondering a potential "next" project bike I've thought .... why get another bike, just get the Sporty back in shape to ride some.

One particular thing was always a problem years ago .... the charging system. I'd hate to guess how many armatures I put in the generator. Are there any conversions to maybe go to a more "modern" alternator system?

I'm sure I'll get all the "pirate" comments, but I'm ATGATT, don't have a German helmet (Nolan flip-up), have no intent to add tassles or a get-back whip, just wanting to ride the old Sportster and let my son (almost 20 now) ride what I cut my motorcycling teeth on when I was barely older than he is now.

Thanks in advance for any help or direction to seek out info on a charging system and maybe ignition upgrades.

Lynn
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:48 PM   #2
anonny
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Try here............... http://xlforum.net/vbportal/modules/Jig/index.php
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Old 09-10-2010, 04:55 AM   #3
small_e_900
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You went through a lot of armatures? That's unusual. The 65-A generator is pretty reliable.
Do you mean that you went through a lot of voltage regulators?
Much more likely.

The Cycle Electric, electronic voltage regulator is a very reliable unit .
As a regulator/rectifier, it also eliminates the need to polarize the gererator.
Failure to polarize the generator any time electrical stuff is monkeyed with is the primary cause of charging system failures on the early Sporties.

Fix that old Sportie. Done well, they have a cool factor of 11, possibly 11.5.
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Old 09-10-2010, 05:26 AM   #4
Lokey
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+1 on the -65A generators, I have had the same one on my '62 pan for going on 29 years now. The only thing that I have done to it is to clean the commutator and replace the bearings once in a while. It is very critical that the mechanical voltage regulators are polarized when put in service. Also make sure that the regulator (whether mechanical or electronic) is PROPERLY grounded.

The most common problem with electrical systems is bad (loose or corroded) connections.
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:12 AM   #5
England-Kev
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Hey Lynn, get it back on the road, but take lots of pictures while you are doing it, so we can share your journey...
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:17 AM   #6
Sniper X
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The only harley I ever had was a 1974 Sportster. I got it as a POS and it stayed that way, but I loved that damn thing. I rode the shot out of it for a few years in the Army and it was a Trolling machine! At the same time I had a CB750F and a CB900F and neither l\picked up chicks like that Bowling Ball Sporty. Yes, it was an AMF.
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:43 AM   #7
Yarddog
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The second bike I ever owned was a '72 XLCH, and I learned so much from owning that bike! Like how to kick it over, and how to absorb the pain when it kicked me back!!!

You're gonna find a whole 'nother world out there since you put that Sporty away...you're gonna find that all the Harley shops are gone, replaced by 'Harley Boutiques'...you're not gonna find any parts men who know anything about your bike behind the counter...and they are NOT gonna want to sell you anything for it...They will, on the other hand, try to sell you a new bike.

So, forget dealer support...it ain't there...but J&P Cycles DOES support your hobby, DOES sell parts, DOES employ knowledgeable people...and in SoCal, anyway, there are still private shops around who can help you, so hopefully, you'll find a local source where you live, too...otherwise, Internet here you come...

I had charging issues with my '77 XLH also, and as I recall, I tried replacing the regulator first, didn't work, also had to change the armature...but today's technology has probably worked in your favor... If there is a chronic problem with your armature, and that was my problem too, somebody's taken the time and effort to build a better mousetrap.

So, it's time to get on the 'Net, time to order that J&P catalog, and find out if there is a better mousetrap...otherwise, when you order a ndw armature, order two...so you can keep that old warrior where it belongs, on the road!!!

Good luck, and good for you for keeping your friend instead of selling it...
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:02 PM   #8
lake_harley OP
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Thanks for the encouragement and suggestions for additional advice and parts. I'll check them out.

"Back in the Day" I had the distinction of having the fastest Sportster in town....of course that's with a town of about 100 people, but hey, there were 3 or 4 Sportsters in town back then. We all had one guy, George, to blame for wanting Sportsters, with his 40" drag pipes making the hair on the back of our teen-aged necks stand on edge when he blasted away from his house. George still has his '69 Sportster too, BTW. I'm not so much into loud pipes any more so may even try to polish up the stock pipes and mufflers that I've kept all these years and put them on. Before I do that, I may let my son ride the loud version.

I do remember having to do the polarizing thing with the generator/regulator, but will have to dig out the manual to refresh my memory on the process. I don't recall having regulator problems, but maybe that was the root of the problem and it was taking out the armatures? I'll spend some time making things as right as I can, now that I'm older and have a bit more patience.

I do regret having ever sold the stock front wire spoked wheel after I put cast aluminum wheels (Lester wheels, maybe?) on it in the early 80's. I think the front hub is unique to the '73 year. As I recall it might have been the first year for front disc brakes, and the caliper, etc. was changed for the '74 model year. I may search eGay, and go back to the wire-spokes. Somehow that would just seem "right".

Thanks again for the responses.

Lynn
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:24 PM   #9
AustinJake
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:28 PM   #10
Yarddog
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You are right on for wanting to go back to the original front wheel... if you're running straight pipes, you're throwing away horsepower, but if you put tapered dual mufflers on the drag pipes, you'll gain it back AND quiet it down, AND it will look 'right'... If you have 40" drag pipes, you may have to cut some off of them to get 'em to fit...
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:52 PM   #11
flemsmith
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alternator...

I have a 73/74 sporty, and I put an alternator on it. I can't remember exactly where I got it but at the time I was using all the standard aftermarket catalogs looking for stuff; J+P, Custom Chrome, Texas Iron, now kaput, etc. What I do remember is that the damn thing cost $450. It's actually been sitting for a few years after it developed a short, and I ended up with other bikes that needed work first. I may get back to it in the next year or so. One time my buddy and I were riding it and my 79 Bonneville out in the country (Sporty was quicker in a straight line, Bonnie is a lot beter in the curves). I looked back and my buddy was nowhere to be seen, went back to see about him, and the damn carb had fallen off it! We ended up tying it back on with his belt and my shoelaces, rode it home that way. I have a picture somewhere.roy
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:02 PM   #12
lake_harley OP
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Location: Uniontown, MO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flemsmith
I looked back and my buddy was nowhere to be seen, went back to see about him, and the damn carb had fallen off it! We ended up tying it back on with his belt and my shoelaces, rode it home that way. I have a picture somewhere.roy
I can relate, but my similar story was with a lawnmower. Few tools where I was and no bolts to be found, but I did have some packing tape. Problem solved!

Lynn
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:58 PM   #13
83XLX
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Here you go, but it ain't cheap...

http://www.jpcycles.com/product/380-...+274603&Nao=10

I have over 45,000 miles on the gen on my '83 and have had no problems with it.
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Old 09-11-2010, 03:08 AM   #14
Hughlysses
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yarddog
You are right on for wanting to go back to the original front wheel... if you're running straight pipes, you're throwing away horsepower, but if you put tapered dual mufflers on the drag pipes, you'll gain it back AND quiet it down, AND it will look 'right'... If you have 40" drag pipes, you may have to cut some off of them to get 'em to fit...
...and leave the 18" rear wheel on it, so it looks like a proper Sportster and not a mini-cruiser.

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Old 09-11-2010, 03:40 AM   #15
LasseNC
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I say do it! Pref. in offroadtrim too :)
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