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-   -   65 XLCH ironhead help (https://www.hdforums.com/forum/ironhead/92527-65-xlch-ironhead-help.html)

supergwit 03-14-2007 05:28 PM

65 XLCH ironhead help
heya - its me again

i just had a few questions and i know you guys can help me out.

1) the kid who i bought the bike from said this is an 1000, but a few guys i've spoken with said that it is a 900 - anybody know the truth?

2) what kind of spark plugs should i put in it? what type of chain should i buy to replace the old one? what kind of oil should i use? basically: what are all of the bike-specific things i need to buy that i can save all of the trial and error time finding by myself if i just ask you guys?

3) what is a good website to buy NOS, used, or new parts for this rig?

4) is anybody as excited as I am about this bike? because i can hardly contain myself!

thanks in advance,


p.s. i've included a better picture of the bike - best 2k i've ever spent - let me know what you think


supergwit 03-14-2007 05:32 PM

RE: 65 XLCH ironhead help
here's one more picture


piniongear 03-14-2007 08:45 PM

RE: 65 XLCH ironhead help
Congrats on getting your ironhead. In regards to both of your photos I can relay the following to you from looking at the photos:
I cannot determine if the engine is a 1965 or not. It is definitely 1969 or earlier though.
It is a 900cc displacement, not 1000 as the former owner claimed.
1000cc engines started with 1972.

Let's address the non standard items I see on the bike first, then we will get back to the engine.

The frame, the fenders, the fuel tank, the seat, the handlebars, the forward controls and the tail light are all aftermarket items.

The front forks are off a 1973 or newer Sportster.
The front wheel with double disc brakes are likewise off a newer Sportster. Disc brakes first appeared in 1973.

The oil tank is an original item. (I'd love to have that!) So hang on to it.

The engine:
As I said, it is 900cc displacement. Looking at the left side photo, the primary cover appears to be a chrome aftermarket item. The original had a series of horizontal ridges running the length of it, most likely done to stiffen the sheet metal.
Looking at the right side photo I see the engine has a magneto and no electric starter. This tells us that it is an XLCH model, rather than an XLH. The XLH model had a distributor, battery and an electric starter for that machine.
The timing cover is smooth. This indicates the engine must be a 1968 or 1969 engine. Earlier engines had horizontal ridges across the cover and were not smooth. 1970 did away with the magneto and went to an electrical ignition system on both the XLCH and the XLH models.

The sprocket cover verifies that this engine has a dry clutch. Dry clutch was used 1957 to 1970. 1971 was the first year of the wet clutch.
A dry clutch is fine, just do not allow oil to get into it. The clutch hub on yours has a gasketed bonnet bolted to the clutch hub and an oil seal around the clutch shaft inside. This prevents primary case oil from fouling the clutch plates.

Your rear brake drum and wheel hub are original. It appears that your rear rim is a 16 inch and carries a 5.00x16 tire. Not original, but a frequent modification done by Sportster owners back in the days gone by.

As to your questions:
Use #4 or #5 spark plugs. You can get them at an HD dealer, or go to the parts house and get the equivalent in Champion.

The rear chain is a 530 size.
Get yourself a Diamond 530 ENP (electro nickle plated) chain. This is a 5/8 pitch x 3/8 inch width. Be sure to buy it in a length of at least 116 pitches long. The length needed depends on what tooth counter shaft sprocket you are using. You may as well buy a good chain break tool while you're at it.

Oil: Get Harley-Davidson Grade 75 from your dealer if he carries it. This oil is equal to regular 60w, which is a really odd weight oil. That is why H-D used it I have always assumed. This may or may not be sold in your area. I cannot get it here in Houston TX. I use Castrol 70w in both the engine and transmission. If you ride in a really cold climate then 50w will work.
Whatever you do.....DO NOT use automatic transmission fluid in the tranny! Some people say to use it and that is just plain wrong. The engine oil and transmission/primary oil mix to a certain extent, so use the same oil in both engine and trans. The trans oil goes into the primary case of course and fill until it flows out of the overflow level screw hole in the primary. Then replace the screw and cover.

For parts supply, the easy answer is J&P Cycles. Good to the website and order yourself a catalog. They sell almost anything you will need, and a lot of stuff you do not need!

Get yourself a parts manual. Do not buy a Clymers or Haynes manual, but rather a honest-to-God Harley publication. You will be looking for Service Manual 1959 to 1969 Sportster. It will have a Bl

wolf1477 03-14-2007 10:31 PM

RE: 65 XLCH ironhead help
My advice: Listen to Piniongear<G>
I can't tell ya how much time/effort/money he's saved me with his knowledge.

Other'n that, it's a great looking bike and I hope you get many miles of entertainment out of it.

Wolf, and I'll restress...buy the HD manual! It's a lifesaver

xxxflhrci 03-15-2007 01:06 AM

RE: 65 XLCH ironhead help
If you need a parts manual, I have a nice spare. It's yours for 20 bucks shipped.

As far as chain brand go, I ran Tsubaki nickel plated chainsfor years. They are expensive and only lasted about 10k miles before stretching. A while back, I bought a Western Powersports nickel plated chain for about 30 bucks. It appears to be a good chain.



supergwit 03-15-2007 01:24 PM

RE: 65 XLCH ironhead help
pinion - wow. that was one hell of a response, my friend. you know your stuff! thank you tons.

xxx - i'll take that manual. you have paypal? email me please: [email protected]

thanks guys.

any other tips / comments / feelings about my bike will be gladly welcomed.

thank you guys!

xxxflhrci 03-15-2007 01:55 PM

RE: 65 XLCH ironhead help

I sent you an email.

piniongear 03-15-2007 01:59 PM

RE: 65 XLCH ironhead help
That's a fair price for the parts manual. I don't even have one myself, so it's a good find.
The views will help you determine how the parts fit together and what parts are involved in a particular area.
Continue to search for the H-D service manual. This you will really need if you plan to work on the machine. Meanwhile, if you have any questions just ask. I will try to answer if I can and will tell you when I do not know the answer.
I can also scan material and send it to you in an email as a PDF until you get your own service manual.......pg

supergwit 03-16-2007 05:46 AM

RE: 65 XLCH ironhead help
pinion - i have to ask - do you think i got a good deal for 2k? it runs - it sounds good - it looks great - what do you think?

low69 03-16-2007 07:49 AM

RE: 65 XLCH ironhead help
I'd say you got a good deal. You would be looking at 2k for the rolling chassis.
Tell ya what, if you ever doubt you got a good deal. I'll give you your money back https://www.hdforums.com/micons/m6.gifhttps://www.hdforums.com/micons/m9.gif

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