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83 1000cc Ironhead Starter Housing

1312 Views 9 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  83XLX
Can anyone help me tighten my starter housing? I have my starter off but the housing that bolts up to the block or primary cover is loooose. I took the starter off thinking there has to be a bolt or two but all i see is the ass end of the bolt that looks like its coming from the block to the starter. No head to tighten. It seems to me I have to take off the primary in order to get to the head of the bolts. Any thought?

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I'm pretty sure you're right.

It wasn't until 2007 that you could remove the starter on Big Twins without taking off the primary.... pretty sure Sportsters are the same.
God, why do i have to be right this time, out of all the times I wanted to be right this was not one of them. This is the first bike I have owned and have never worked on them lol. Well gotta start somewhere.

Next question how much oil does that primary hold? Once I drain it and pull primary I will need to buy a gasket for when I put it back on?
1.5 pints. There is a Phillips screw just ahead of the gear shifter that is the oil level screw.
You'll need a new copper crush washer for that.

If you're unsure on the age of the gasket, I'd change it.
OK this might sound dumb but I'm going to ask it anyways. On an 83 1000cc the engine oil and Trans fluid is one correct? I have what looks to be a drain plug underneath towards the back of the primary and then on the bottom towards the front there looks to be maybe a drain screw or plug but not for sure because someone has put blue sealer of some sort on it as if it was leaking at one point. If I pull the back plug won't that allow me to drain the fluid in order to pull the primary?
If I'm not doing a good job at explaining it I will take a couple pictures and post it tonorrow. By the way thank you for helping a newbe out ;)
Yeah, there are two big allen head bolts that hold the starter on, and you have to remove the primary cover to get at them. If you don't want to drain the primary, you can lean the bike over to the right a little, resting against a wall. That way, all the primary lube runs to the transmission. You will have to slack off the primary chain adjuster to get the cover off, too, and be careful not to let the clutch actuator fall out of the inside of the cover.

That said, if I was going to all that trouble, I think I'd put fresh oil in it (unless it's been changed recently). It holds about 24 ounces.

The engine oil and primary/transmission oil are separate. I wouldn't touch any of the drain plugs under the bottom of the motor...they are easy to strip out. If you want to drain the primary, just put a pan under the cover and unbolt the whole cover. The engine oil is carried in the oil tank on the right side, and it's drained by a hose that's clamped to a post under the battery tray.

You will save yourself a lot of headaches if you buy a shop manual for it.
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I'm assuming the chain adjuster is one of the what looks like to be a big inch and half or two inch flathead bolt. I'm also assuming it's the top one? I have to buy a tool in order to slack the chain and just back it off a half turn or so?
First off, before going any father, GET A FACTORY SHOP MANUAL!!!
Yeah I kinda figured that would help. However I have a charity ride this Sat. and what turned out to be a simple starter tightening job am has turned into a pretty big job.
If it's not too loose, leave it alone for now and ride it as-is if you need to. Get a manual before tearing into it, or do an internet/youtube search on removing the primary cover. BTW, the primary chain adjuster is on the bottom of the primary cover, near the front. It is a headless bolt with an allen socket hole in the end, with a locknut on it against the case. You slack off the chain tension by loosening the locknut and unscrewing it. The two large aluminum plugs on the side of the primary cover are for checking the primary chain slack (upper plug) and for adjusting the clutch (lower plug).

Taking all that stuff loose without some sort of guidance is a good way to screw stuff up bad enough to miss the weekend ride...
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