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Chronicle of a 1974 Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster Project

Chronicle of the Sportster Project: Ivy
Black 1974 Harley-Davidson XLH - Iron Sportster

Ivy Arrives at Her New Home!

It's a Shovelhead Damnit!!! - August 29th 2018

While she looks to be intact the reality is that there has been much amateur tinkering and abuse, as many of the bolts are missing, loose, stripped, or otherwise randomly butchered. She's been lowered (ick) ... Fuck Me! I started the last story the exact same way, didn't I?? Hay, cut and paste will do that to you... But the reality of it is that Ivy was indeed in the same sad sorry state of affairs that Alice had been in when she first arrived.

Okay, so the original issue that allegedly got her parked...like 6 or 8 years ago, was a stripped bolt on the primary adjustment, and a lack of understanding of how to put the clutch ramps back together. Now as to how - the hell - they got into that situation in the first place, was never really addressed. So we had the story, as the story was, and that was the story ... What we had to proceed with during the resuscitation - resurrection... - process. Which rather quickly turned into quite a process indeed ... Because pretty much everything we touched was ever so slightly royally fucked the hell up..

So... Day 1, which actually started at about 8 O'clock at night, was not nearly fruitful as we'd initially hoped. First we started with the electrical stuff, and then we promptly decided to tear the bike apart because nothing worked. Nothing...

Actually, technically... It was less than nothing, because many parts of the nothing we had weren't even there.

But this was something we would begin trying to address the next day, which also quickly went to complete shit.

So, how bad could the wiring be you ask?? Well...

All factory color code have been ignored here.

And ScotchLocks have been liberally used.

Then there's that Dead Sexy coil mount, and the generator wires running outside the frame.


Friday: August 30, 2018

So I'm home from work, it's 6:00pm, and my brother scared up a battery and some other stuff that might give us a fighting chance of getting her started ... Or not... I get the wiring - such as it is - sorted out, Helicoil the stripped primary bolt, and assemble the primary with the new - since it was missing - clutch release mechanism. And all was well in garage land ... Until we hit the starter button.

Something was turning, but it wasn't the engine. It also didn't sound very happy either. It sounded like the starter clutch was kaput. And it was.


Saturday: September 1, 2018

We were up until 2:00am, and I'm hungover as fuck...

You ever try to find a part in a hurry on a holiday weekend, that hasn't been in use in the past 30 years? It ain't fun; the local Harley Dealer just laughed; the indy shop up the street said they don't usually stock any; and my next most likely option was 20 miles away.

Then I remembered a new shop that had just opened about a year ago called Brick City Cycles. It was on the way to the other place, so I popped in to ask if they just might happen have one they could sell me...which they did not. However the rather pleasant fellow in the shop did have a good used one that he was quite happy to just give me. I thanked him, and left in a stunned silence ... People just don't do shit like that these days.

Solid old school folk, that ain't far from the house ... I will definitely be using them in the future!

So home I go after a short side trip to AutoZone to do battle with the starter housing ... Which of course was also stripped the fuck out. Well, at least we have a theme for the project... Stripping! Fuck...

Between this little fiasco, and stripping off the rest of the borked wiring took the rest of afternoon. Now this evening has been reserved for drinking, and tomorrow is the Webster swap meet, so we are quickly running out of time.


Sunday: September 2, 2018

We get absolutely nothing accomplished, but we do find a bunch of good stuff in Webster. The most important bits found being a complete set of stock mid-shift controls for the project. Foot pegs, foot peg mounts, rear brake pedal, and rear brake rod ... All of which had been missing.


Monday: September 3, 2018

The weekend is about to be over, so it's time to quit fucking around! I hit the garage about 9:00am; the ignition switch has been rewired; everything else is still yet left to do.

I button up the primary, which took a few tries, because nothing on this bike wants to be cooperative. I guess because she's pissed about her treatment over the past several years. But all finally goes back together, works, and frees me up to have - yet another - go at the wiring.

I lay out the runs for the backbone using as close to the factory colors as I can find on a weekend. It did require a few substitutions, dark yellow for orange and dark blue for violet (which most folks call purple). But that's not catastrophic if everything else tracks the factory color code ... which it does.

My brother shows up around noon(ish), and we have one more side trip to make which ties up the next few hours, but we're back at it by 3:00pm. The lower wiring is done, so he puts the oil tank and battery box back in so I can start tying the back end together.

Shortly after 11:00pm we hit the starter button and she roars to life for the first time in many years. Which said to me I vana live! Now I don't know why the hell an American motorcycle had a Russian accent...but that's what I heard. So I suggested to my brother that we name her Ivana...which almost immediately got shortened to Ivy.


Friday: September 28, 2018

My brother is in town, and it has been officially decided that the smooth (e.g. slpineless) shifter shaft is not going to work out. The shift throw is an atrocity, and the lever just keeps slipping ... Current assertion is that these two points are - directly - related..


Sunday: September 30, 2018

Online at eBay:

Shift Lever Shaft - Splined 34628-54A 1954 - 1974 $21.50