J&P Cycles Technical Forums

Come participate in our American V-Twin and Metric motorcycle tech forums
Welcome to J&P Cycles Technical Forums Sign in | Join | Help
in Search
Latest post Fri, Jun 16 2017 4:23 PM by FX. 7 replies.
Page 1 of 1 (8 items)
Sort Posts: Previous Next
  • Thu, Jun 15 2017 1:38 PM

    Head Bolt Removal '84 XLH

    Hello all

    I am trying to do the top end on my 84 XLH Sportster but having a devil of a time getting the head bolts out. I've seen some suggestions on You Tube and in my service manuals but not having any luck. This bike has been in storage for a while, it has never had the top end done before so these are original bolts. They are 7/16 12 point hex bolts. I am wondering if there is some trick I am missing. 

    I have tried wrenchs with WD40/Liquid wrench, extension wrenches, breaker bar. I have tapped them with a punch. I have an impact wrench which I have not tried yet (sockets on order). 

    I saw a video about using heat on the bolt and let some wax into the threads and it worked great on the video, but these were exhaust bolts off the bike.  Would anyone comment on trying this with a propane tourch on the head bolts? The bolts are so long I am not sure the wax will actually get to the threads. And Im not sure about using the torch near the rocker covers. 

    Is there a trick I am missing? Anyone have any suggestions? 

    Thanks in advance! 

  • Thu, Jun 15 2017 2:14 PM In reply to

    • FX
    • Top 10 Contributor
      Male
    • Joined on Sun, Mar 12 2006
    • Tonawanda NY
    • Posts 5,108
    • Moderator

    Re: Head Bolt Removal '84 XLH

     Soak them up real good over night with the liquid wrench ( that I have found to be better than most), and hope some gets down to the threads. A lot of times with a situation like that try turning them clockwise (tighten) a bit to break them loose. Make sure your wrench fits securly, you don't want to strip the head of the bolt. Use a long breaker bar.

    Bernie, this, and future questions can go to the Harley Teck section under 'Sportster' I'll move this one over there for you.

    FX

    Don't force it, get a bigger hammer.

  • Thu, Jun 15 2017 3:56 PM In reply to

    Re: Head Bolt Removal '84 XLH

    Thanks Ill check over there (new member , sorry for the mis post)  Thanks for the advice Will try tonight 

     

  • Thu, Jun 15 2017 4:01 PM In reply to

    • FX
    • Top 10 Contributor
      Male
    • Joined on Sun, Mar 12 2006
    • Tonawanda NY
    • Posts 5,108
    • Moderator

    Re: Head Bolt Removal '84 XLH

    That's okay Bernie. Let us know how you make out...

     

    FX

    Don't force it, get a bigger hammer.

  • Thu, Jun 15 2017 8:28 PM In reply to

    • Ironhead
    • Top 10 Contributor
      Male
    • Joined on Tue, Mar 21 2006
    • Near Sunset at Sunset Beach, O'ahu, HI Oct 23, 15
    • Posts 2,587
    • Moderator

    Re: Head Bolt Removal '84 XLH

    Bernie - i don't have my good manual handy, but if I remember correctly they are torqued at 65 foot pounds (I have also heard 65 lbs plus what ever else you can pull on them).

    good news is they are steel head bolts into the steel jugs, not steel bolts into alunimum cases (like an EVO).

    By the sounds of where you are at right now, you are only about 3 hours away from being able to completely remove the engine from the frame, pull the jug off the piston and take the head & jug to a machine shop to get them removed.

    If you are having this much trouble gitting them off, I might sugest replacing them with new bolts on re-assembly.

    hope this helps.

    The first tool out of the box should be the "book"  Geeked

  • Fri, Jun 16 2017 12:57 PM In reply to

    Re: Head Bolt Removal '84 XLH

    Ironhead, yea , I was considering that option as well, but my pride was getting in the way Big Smile. I agree on the replacement on re assembly as well. 

    Anyway good news is I finally broke them. Here's what I did and a few things I found out. 

    I re-soaked them with liquid wrench as suggested above and then tried again with a  bigger breaker bar (21"). After putting all of my 220 lbs against the bar I finally broke the left side bolts.  The right side were a different story. The service manual states (correctly) that the head and rocker cover must be removed together as there is not enough room to get the rocker cover off. But there is NO way to get anything around the righ side bolts except a puny 7/16" box wrench and there is no way to generate enough torque, even with an extension on the wrench (wrench was bending).  So I loosened all the rocker cover bolts and was able to slide it around so I could get at the bolts from the top using a small extension on the breaker bar and broke them too!! Finally. You cant remove the rocker cover bolts, the frame is in the way, but you can loosen them enough to lift and move the cover a bit. 

    I also saw in one of the manuals the Harley makes a 'head bolt wrench'. Apparently it has some sort of bend in it. But this seems over kill for me as a small time user. The part number is 94589-29A or 94590-30. I guess the difference is different bends. The description says something about a 9/16 end, by my bolt head were 7/16, so I not sure if the above wrench would actually work. Just a FYI for reference. 

    Thanks guys for the help. I'll probably be back for more advice. 

    Bernie 

  • Fri, Jun 16 2017 1:17 PM In reply to

    • Ironhead
    • Top 10 Contributor
      Male
    • Joined on Tue, Mar 21 2006
    • Near Sunset at Sunset Beach, O'ahu, HI Oct 23, 15
    • Posts 2,587
    • Moderator

    Re: Head Bolt Removal '84 XLH

    I found with my '77 that I had to use a "wobbly" extension - good quality 7/16 socket w/ 3/8 drive then size-up to 1/2 drive for the breaker bar / torque wrench.  Helps to have a "guaranteed" wobbly extension as I have broken a few this way.

    that almost sounds like the wrench used to tighten the nuts at the base of the cylinder - similar (same?) as the 60s GM distributor wrench?

    The first tool out of the box should be the "book"  Geeked

  • Fri, Jun 16 2017 4:23 PM In reply to

    • FX
    • Top 10 Contributor
      Male
    • Joined on Sun, Mar 12 2006
    • Tonawanda NY
    • Posts 5,108
    • Moderator

    Re: Head Bolt Removal '84 XLH

    Good news Bernie. Auto parts stores have those bent box wrenches, and I think Harbor Freight...

    FX

    Don't force it, get a bigger hammer.

Page 1 of 1 (8 items)