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Discussion Starter #1
Hi. Im seriously considering a 1998 Anniversary model Ultra Classic here in Norway. 103000 km. 1340cc. The owner has had it for 10 years and has had virtually no problems. He has only done regular oil changes and new brakes. The gas guage and air guage don’t work which is apparently common for that model. Requires a new back tire. He said that occasionally the bike will overheat and shut itself off if idling for too long as was the csse when he was riding in a parade. But hw said for regular driving it isnt an issue. He took me for a 20 min ride and it ran well. My question is what should i look out for? I assume the belt needs to be changed. Any other things i should consider?
 

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Did they change the oil themselvess? And by changing oil, do they mean just the primary, transmission and engine oils and not doing anything else?

There's some pretty specific service intervals. Definitely get a factory service manual, not sure what the 1998 touring model schedule looks like, though I am sure it is similar to the softails. A factory service manual (not aftermarket manual) will tell you all maintenance procedures and how to perform them and how often. You can usually find a used factory service manual on eBay. Most of the time, though most things are to be inspected every 5,000 miles (8.050 km), most things won't need anything for at least 10 times that distance (unless you're rough with it).

I would probably do a full service to be on the safe side, may include (but not limited to):
• grease steering stem/neck bearings
• clean, inspect and repack wheel bearings and check wheel bearing endplay (check wheel endplay before repacking bearings)
• inspect and lubricate all cables (clutch, throttle, idle)
• inspect final drive belt (replace if really old, if it was the original belt from the factory, probably a good time to replace it at 22 years old)
• replace front fork oil
• complete brake fluid flush/replacement (DOT 5 [silicone] brake fluid should be replaced every 5 years, all other brake fluids [polyethylene glycol 2, 3, 4, 5.1] every 2 years). *I know you're in Norway and brake fluids may be differently listed for international, I gave the SAE/"American" brake fluid standards because those are what I know.
• Inspect, clean and/or lubricate all other indicated lube points (swingarm bushings are the only other thing I can think of off-the-top-of-my-head, which are often a neglected part of inspection, mostly because it is a pain in the butt, inspect these if you happen to need to replace the final drive belt since you will already be in there)
• Inspect all electrical connections
• Check all mounting bolts are tightened to torque spec (engine and transmission)
• Check primary chain adjustment and clutch cable adjustments
• Check throttle/idle cable adjustments

That's a large portion of the major 50,000 mile (80.500 km) service interval

Otherwise, it should be fine if it rode fine, though I would investigate the overheating shut-off.

I also have a 1340 Evo (one year older than that one as a matter of fact), and it should not shut off like that. The Evo motor is air-cooled, so if you're sitting in traffic or idling for a long time, it can overheat, but the Evo motor (when mostly stock) actually runs cooler than later motors (Twin Cam, M8). It shouldn't overheat under normal riding conditions as long as you are moving.

Riding in a parade (such slow speeds) would definitely cause some overheating issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you so much for your valuable tips. I think i will see if i can have him bring it to a shop for an inspection and if that turns out ok ill try and negotiate a deal that includes a new tire and complete service like you said. Ill definitely get a repair book.
 

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It's actually really easy to work on these yourself as long as you have the official factory service manual and a decent set of tools.

Many on this forum are highly knowledgeable as well if you run into problems.

To be honest, I have no issues with mine. Many things in the service intervals, I skip them because I do them when it makes more sense to do them. For example, I don't worry about the wheel endplay and wheel bearings at the service intervals. I check my wheel bearings and check the endplay and repack them whenever I get new tires. But, I also have the tools to do almost all the work myself. When I need new tires, I remove the wheels and take them to a shop to have them put the new tires and tubes on (tubes are only necessary if you have spoked wheels, though it doesn't hurt anything to have them on "tubless mag wheels"). When they finish putting new tires on the wheels and balancing them, I check the bearings myself and remount them myself.

The factory service manual will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Many of the things I listed might already have been done before.

Other things I forgot to mention:
• check headlamp adjustment
• check final belt tension and rear wheel alignment (alignment can be checked with a home-made tool very easily, you don't even have to make the tool as the manual states, mine is just a wooden dowel with a fixed screw on one end and an adjustable taped pointer on the other)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you. I just contacted the seller and apparently the bike will be picked up by another buyer tomorrow. That’s what i get for waiting so long. But the right bike will come. Any suggestions on a specific year/model up to 2010 that is better than others?
 

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Not really. Evos (1984-2000) are maybeeasier to work on than Twin Cams (2001-2018?), but if you get an Evo, you want one 1993 or later (year of the last update to the Evo engine design), but Twin Cams aren't excessively hard to work on, though that doesn't matter if you're not doing your own work.

I couldn't recommend the best year for Twin Cam engines as I have no experience with them.

As for the model... that's entirely personal preference. Go with whatever feels good and feels right. That's more important than how easy it is to work on or not. Try a few different kinds. If you can, test ride a Sportster, an FX softail, a dyna model, a lighter touring model (Road King for example), an FL softail (like a Heritage), and see how you like them compared to that big Ultra Classic. They all have a little different feel, whatever is best is what suits you best.

And, they're mostly all easily customized to fit you even better (different handlebars, different seat, forward vs mid controls, etc) for your height and the feel you like.
 
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