Starter Swap With Basic Hand Tools | Hot Bike

Starter Swap With Basic Hand Tools

The Bump Start Blues

Starter Swap With Basic Hand Tools - Hot Bike Magazine

Side by side, the factory starter and Drag Specialties starter are nearly identical. Where the good stuff happens is inside. The Fat Boy’s factory starter was rated at 1.2 kw and our new Drag component is plus-sized to 1.4 kw. Getting the engine spinning will soon be no problem.

Side by side, the factory starter and Drag Specialties starter are nearly identical. Where the good stuff happens is inside. The Fat Boy’s factory starter was rated at 1.2 kw and our new Drag component is plus-sized to 1.4 kw. Getting the engine spinning will soon be no problem.

01. We started by removing the seat then removing the battery and hooking it up to a CTEK digital charger. To facilitate removing the oil tank, the fuse box mount was unscrewed and the ECM harness unplugged to allow wiggle room.

02. A 5/8-inch socket was used to spin off the drain bolt and the engine oil was allowed to drain.

03. Removing the stock oil lines required the decorative covers to be pulled away from the tank and attaching hardware.

04. No tools were necessary to undo the clips holding the oil lines to both the tank and the engine. A simple squeeze on the tabs and they pulled right out.

05. Hidden behind the splashguard are four attaching bolts to the oil tank. We used a 1/2-inch and 7/16-inch socket to get them off.

06. Three bolts hold the top mount in position and a 1/2-inch socket made short work of them. We removed the entire bracket and set it aside.

07. Normally at this point the faux seat post holding the ignition coil would need to be loosened too. Our Softail already had the entire post removed and the coil relocated so we slipped the oil tank from its home.

08. Moving on to the primary, we removed the drain plug with a 3/16-inch Allen and waited for the contents to flow into our pan.

09. Once the 12 outer primary bolts were removed, the starter motor jackshaft and pinion gear were next on the list. The lock tab was pulled away from the head of the jackshaft bolt and a 5/16-inch socket was used to loosen the bolt. We made sure to hold the pinion gear in place otherwise the shaft would just spin the starter motor.

10. We were then able to remove the jackshaft bolt, lockplate, and thrust washer assembly.

11. Back at the starter, we removed the nut and disconnected the positive battery cable, circuit breaker wire, and unplugged the solenoid wire.

12. With a 1/4-inch Allen, the two bolts mounting the starter to the inner primary were removed along with the starter motor itself.

13. Reassembly was the reverse of removal and the Drag Specialties chrome 1.4kw starter was the first to go on. We then plugged in the solenoid wire and reconnected the battery cable and circuit breaker ring terminal.

14. As we warned, having the proper gaskets and fluids makes the whole process smoother. The outer primary was cinched to specs after wiping the mating surface clean and installing the new gasket from the Harley-Davidson gasket service kit we picked up.

15. Completely back together with the proper quantities of primary fluid and engine oil in the bike, we were ready for the drum roll.

16. Our Drag Specialties 1.4kw starter didn’t disappoint. Stocked with a freshly charged battery and a more powerful starter, our Harley spun right to life without hesitation.

On one beautiful, sunny day as we prepared for an enjoyable ride from the coast into the local mountains, our steel steed picked up a gremlin. After riding to a friend’s house to meet up, our ’04 Fat Boy suffered a sudden starting issue. A quick diagnosis was performed and the cables, battery, switch, and relay were tested and cleared mechanically. After doing the dreaded running bump start and finding the engine lighting off without a hitch, we relegated ourselves to requiring a new starter. That fact was compounded as the machine was bump started at every stop along the way. Shoving a 700-pound Harley down the street is no picnic.

Upon returning home, a call was placed to our local shop and they ordered us a shiny new 1.4kw chrome starter from Drag Specialties. Drag’s starters are brand new and feature upgrades over the stocker for better power delivery and longevity. Our chrome starter ($346.95) featured a 1.4kw rating that is designed especially for stock to lightly modified engines. It fit the bill perfectly for this bike. Upon opening the package, a complete spec runsheet was included along with an extended jackshaft bolt.

Instead of taking it to someone else for the labor portion of the swap, we decided to do the job ourselves. The swap requires fairly basic handtools that most anyone would have if they work on their own motorcycle. A Torx and Allen set being as exotic as it gets. Removing and replacing the starter does require removing the Softail’s oil tank and outer primary, so be prepared with the necessary drain pan, gaskets, and replacement fluids. Refer to a factory service manual for proper torque settings and sequences on the fasteners. HB

Source:

Drag Specialties
dragspecialties.com

hot.bike@sorc.com

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