FACTORY DARKENING DONE RIGHT
WORDS: Chopper Dave
PHOTO: Chopper Dave
Harley-Davidson has finally gotten the message, people want to be able to change everything on their bikes to their liking! Yes, it sounds like basic custom motorcycle knowledge, but it isn’t. Harley’s dresser line uses the black and chrome motors exclusively, but now thanks to H-D’s Parts and Accessories line you can black-out the entire motor on your bike or even just choose the pieces you’d like black. This makes it so you don’t have the downtime that you would normally have if you decided to take your motor apart and have it painted. In short, they made it easy!
Harley-Davidson now sells black rocker boxes, cam covers, transmission side covers, transmission top covers, points covers, primary covers, horn, and derby covers so you can take a day and make almost your entire motor black! We added some head bolt covers and a horn bracket to this install as well. While the parts that H-D sells are almost complete, you are still missing a few things if you want a total black-out. One is the addition of black pushrod covers and tappet blocks. For these, as you can’t get them black, we bought a set of the Screamin’ Eagle quick-install pushrods (MSRP $146.95) for this motor as at some point down the road, we are going to want to go with cams. You will need them for that and it also comes with a set of pushrod covers that we promptly sent to the powdercoater along with a pair of new tappet blocks ($128.95.) This way we can do it all at once with the help of Harley-Davidson of Westminster.
01 First off, as almost always, we disconnected the battery. This removes any chance for miss-starts or damage due to having the bike under power while it’s being worked on. Always a good idea!
02 We then pulled the gas tanks, exhaust, and air cleaner off. At this point, we needed to drain the primary oil so we wouldn’t get a big mess when the cover came off.
03 We were left with the bare motor and transmission. Next, the fun part comes: taking all the covers off!
04 Rocker boxes keep all our hardware organized so it can go back together cleanly. We made sure we took the rocker arm blocks out carefully as they would be under pressure from the cam and push rods. We also removed the stock tappet blocks then as well.
05 Once we took the boxes off, we collapsed the pushrod covers and set them aside along with the stock pushrods, which we wouldn’t be reusing.
06 The cam cover was very straightforward. As with the twin cam, there is no cam support bushing or ignition in the cam cover. It came right off.
07 For the two transmission covers, the lid and the side cover are pretty straightforward, but as the clutch cable is attached to the side cover, we broke that loose before we took it off as well as loosened the clutch cable as it would need to be readjusted (the clutch that is) once put back together. The lid has a few screws that might be hard to get to, so we just took our time with them.
08 As for the right side, our primary was dry by then, so we pulled the cover off and set it aside.
09 This part makes all the difference. We go over every gasket surface to get them all spotless, on the bike and on all the parts, especially any parts that were sent to powdercoat. Often there will be a sharp edge that will extend onto the gasket surface. This edge needs to be smoothed down to get the best possible gasket seal. We recommend an Emory board, then some Scotchbrite to just go around the perimeter.
10 We made the edge a little less sharp. We made sure to push towards the inside of the cover. If you push towards the outer edge, if the powdercoat isn’t all that great, it can chip, so be careful.
11 For the cam cover, primary cover, horn cover, derby cover, tappet blocks, and transmission lid, this is a straight remove/replace job. We made sure to use new gaskets of course.
12 For the transmission end cover, we removed the clutch-release mechanism from the cover and moved it to the new cover.
13 At this point we needed to do the pushrod covers and the new rocker boxes. We recommend doing the pushrod tubes first. We needed to use the springs, washers, and inner tubes from the original pushrod covers. We made sure to replace all the O-rings and not leave any out. We installed the pushrods from heads down into the tubes. It was just a simple rocker box re-install. Once our boxes were on, we needed to refer to the instructions to properly adjust all the pushrods.
14 We also got a black Screamin’ Eagle Heavy Breather air cleaner for the bike so that as the air cleaner was off we could install it as well. It makes a nice addition and is a good-looking performance piece for the bike. We were then ready to reinstall everything else! Exhaust, gas tank, battery etc. And voila! We blacked-out a Twin Cam!
15 This is the first of much blacking-out to come on the Road Glide thanks to H-D. Many thanks to Harley-Davidson of Westminster for the install and “tech extraordinaire” Wes for tolerating us taking pictures of him doing it!
HARLEY DAVIDSON OF WESTMINSTER