OMG – She’s Broken….

Over the last couple of months I have been going to the workshop on a more or less regular basis to try and get the work done on the FatBoy… weather permitting….


Yep, snow IN the workshop… brrrrrr.

The new handlebars arrived along with the clutch actuator etc. a few months ago and now I really must get on with it to get the bike ready for the USA Tour.

The first thing is to fit the internally wired switch gear.  This means I have to extend the wiring as the bars a quite high so the existing wires are not long enough.  Once done I can fit the new hydraulic clutch and brake reservoirs; I managed to get a set from the US, Harley only fit hydraulic clutches to the large touring models so I have bought a second hand set but in very good, actually pristine, condition.

Internal wiring all done so I take the Fatboy off the road to do all the works. First thing is to remove the exhaust pipes in order to fit the new hydraulic clutch actuator which sits under the exhaust.  Well, of course nothing goes to plan and after much effort I do manage to get the rear pipe off ok, however the front pipe is a different story.  I did get one nut off but the last one is a bugger. I cannot move it, so I ask my mate Spin to give it a go and yep the stud snaps off!!!! Shit!!!  It’s impossible to get onto the broken stud in a straight line to drill it out so that means I have to take the front cylinder head off completely to drill out the broken stud and replace it.  I will fit stainless steel studs, but the rear studs won’t come out and I am anxious not to snap them so will leave the old ones in there…. unless I remove the head and take them out… mmmmm.

So off with the petrol tank… petrol everywhere…. then I strip out the cylinder head.

I have a few other jobs to do so am going to leave this til last…. now where are those bars?

I fit the bars temporarily to see where the brake and clutch pipes will enter and then drill the holes.  The pipe I am using is the same as on the Panhead, Goodridge Sniper II and is very thin, very flexible pipe.  The pipe enters the bars with just 3 inches exposed so I am very pleased with the result.

The clutch pipe then crosses over the gap and enters the main frame at the top, travels through the frame to exit near to the clutch actuator.  It’s quite a fiddly job to get the pipe all the way through but once completed I am very happy with the results.


I’m so happy that I decide to hide the rear brake line in the frame too, so drill a hole at the front for the pipe to enter the frame, a hole at the rear isn’t necessary as the frame is open at the back so the pipe can exit there to loop over the swing arm bracket and into the brake caliper.

You can really see how thin the pipe is here where it attaches to the front caliper.


In case you are wondering, the big shiney lump attaching the brake line to the caliper is a little device that I have moved from bike to bike and it acts like ABS to prevent wheel lock up under heavy load.  They are made by TCB, (Traction Control Brakes), and I have found them to work well.  In fact I think I will get one for the rear caliper too….

Onwards…. I decide to change the indicator lights next.  Dropping the wheel out of the back its a fairly straight forward job to replace the rear indicators and again am pleased with the results.


The front indicators, however, are another story entirely….

The original indicators were attached to the handlebars and I have never liked that position so the plan is to attach these to the forks just above the bottom yoke.  I have bought some shiney clamps but when I put one on I don’t think it suits the bike.  There is very little chrome on the bike so they look a bit out of place.  I have also added some adjustable levers to assist with the hand problem; I have very small hands and the stock lever placement is a bit of a stretch so I really like adjustables.  I have put Oberon levers on my V-Rod and I had the same on the 48, but this time I have gone with RSD, (Roland Sands Design), as they suit the look of the bike better.

So I order a set of RSD fork indicator mounts.   When they arrive I realise that I am going to have to drop the forks out of the top yoke to place the mounts on the bike… this takes forever as I forget to loosen the top nut on each fork leg… grrrr.  I eventually get them on only to find that the indicators won’t fit… seriously!!  Well, not one to be easily deterred I set about modifying the mounts to make them fit.  Drill out the hole and thread it, but as I don’t have a 10mm tap I over drill and fit an M10 helicoil… nightmare…. I get one indicator on eventually only to find it bashes into the bottom yoke if I push it all the way down to where I want it so now it is sitting a couple of inches above… not a happy bunny..


I modify the other side and plug the indicators in… they are all working so that’s a plus, but I’m still unhappy with the front and will have a think about how I can solve the problems, but they will do for now.

Having become pretty peed off with things I decide to change out the cadmium bolts I can get to easily, ie without having to dismantle anything, for stainless steel.  This is time consuming but again I am happy with the results.  The original owner had put shiney plastic covers on some of the most obvious bolt heads; not only do I not like them but some have decided to turn black so are looking pretty nasty.  That done she is looking very smart indeed 🙂


I also took the opportunity whilst the rear wheel was out to have a new tyre fitted, the other one was pretty bald… oops, but putting the rear wheel back in turns into a farce… because the caliper is off and drained of brake fluid the pistons keep dropping out and the brake pads are loose so everytime I try to fit the caliper back on the bracket it falls apart… serious swearing going on I can tell you!  After many attempts I finally get the back wheel in place, whew!

So now there is no avoiding it….. I have to drill out the broken stud in the cylinder head.  I have bought a drill guide to hopefully ensure the drill is straight, if I go off course the drill will damage the head and I will have to get a replacement.. expensive!!

During this time I have also begun to plan my trip to the States so more about that next.

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