Question about Harley Davidson XLH 1000 Sportster Motorcycles

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How do you adjust the primer chain on a 1976 sportster

Posted by Anonymous on

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  • Harley Davidson Master
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Hi Anoymous, place a drain pan under primary cover, remove primary cover. Primary chain should have no more than 5/8" to 7/8" total up and down movement with the engine cold and 3/8" to 5/8" with the engine hot. loosen lock nut on adjuster and adjust as necessary. Also inspect primary chain adjuster shoe and replace if necessary. Use grease or gasket cinch to hold new gasket in place an tight primary screws in a criss cross pattern to 10 ft lbs. Install 24 oz. of clean fresh motor oil and go for a ride. Good luck

Posted on Apr 17, 2015

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

wd4ity
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SOURCE: Adjusting timing on Harley Davidson 1976 sportster

The advance timing should be 35° before Top Dead Center. This is how you find out which mark this is.

Get the rear wheel of the bike off the ground, remove the spark plugs, shift the bike into fourth gear, and remove the timing plug from the left engine case.
Now, take an ordinary PLASTIC DRINKING STRAW and insert it into the front spark plug hole. Do not use anything else or you stand a chance of it breaking and then you'll have to pull the head to get it out. The plastic straw will bend but not break.
Bump the rear wheel in the direction that it turns while riding down the road until the piston pushes the straw all the way up and just barely starts going back down. Look into the timing hole. You should see a timing mark. This is the Top Dead Center mark. Now, bump the rear wheel BACKWARDS until you see another mark. This should be the ADVANCED TIMING MARK. The piston should 7/16" down from top dead center.

On this model Sportster the timing is advanced by a mechanical advance mechanism. These units are notorious for wearing out and not contolling the timing very well. You must remove the breaker plate to inspect this mechanism. Mark the position of the plate before you remove it. If the pins and holes in the flyweights are worn, replace the unit. Replace it with a good needle bearing unit. Replace the points and reset the gap at 0.018 - 0.020".

Posted on Sep 24, 2009

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Ride Safe
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Loose chain


Loosen the axle nut and the lock nuts for the chain adjusters on each side of the swingarm. Turn the adjuster to move the rear wheel to the rear to tighten the chain.

You want to adjust the chain so that you have 1 inch up and down play in the chain. By this I mean 1/2" above center and 1/2" below center of the chain as it sits on the bike, 1" up and down inclusive. Adjustment should be made at the point where the chain is the tightest. Roll the rear wheel while checking the chain tension. Find the tightest point to make your adjustment.

Move both chain adjusters the same amount to keep wheel straight within the swingarm. Once adjusted, roll the wheel a couple of turns and check the adjustment of the chain again. Once finished, tighten adjuster lock nuts and retorque the axle nut to 50 foot pounds of torque.

Good Luck, Steve

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