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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 06-14-2011, 02:10 PM
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"Shovelution" '85/6 FXWG tranny

I'm thinking of swapping the stock cowpie 4-speed tranny in my "Shovelution" '85/6 FXWG for one of those nice "5-in-a-4" trannys, partly for the reliability/maintainability (parts etc.) and partly for the nicer ride it is reputed to give.

BUT! In the catalogs it always seems to say "fits '70 to Early '84 FX/FL, will NOT fit '85/6 Softail". Now i believe the '85/6 "Shovelution" FXWG is essentially the same as the '85/6 4-speed FXST (Softail) other than for the rear suspension set-up. So this all suggests that the aftermarket 5-in-a-4 trannys won't fit my bike ...

But why not? I thought the tranny was unchanged from the previous few years of cowpie trannys, so what's the actual difference (in nuts 'n bolts terms), and can it be overcome?

Anybody know ...?
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Old 06-14-2011, 07:04 PM
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So is yours a softy or a swingarm frame, if its the latter it should pop rt in there.
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beebster View Post
So is yours a softy or a swingarm frame, if its the latter it should pop rt in there.
Sorry, mine's an FXWG, so old-style swingarm frame.

I hear tell elsewhere that they changed the mainshaft for those two years ('85/6, presumably for the diaphragm clutch), and the manufacturers of the 5-in-a-4 trannys have understandably not bothered to offer that option as it's such a rare thing. If that's the only difference then presumably i could use the older (up to '84) clutch assembly, but maybe with a diaphragm conversion kit, and that should work ... no ...? Anyone able to confirm?

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Last edited by MONTY; 06-15-2011 at 10:25 AM..
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Old 06-15-2011, 05:22 PM
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Belt or chain final drive? I'm guessing belt!
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:37 AM
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I have a customer that has done it will fit. I think he had to get creative with the oil tank for clearance. The mainshafts in the 4 speeds are all tapered so there shouldnt be any difference there. What brand tranny are you looking at? I can call Baker to ask if theirs will fit but I am pretty sure it will.......
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:36 AM
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before you think about replacing a key shaft clutch hub with a spline shaft hub, theres a whole lot of difference there.
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pushrod243 View Post
I have a customer that has done it will fit. I think he had to get creative with the oil tank for clearance. The mainshafts in the 4 speeds are all tapered so there shouldnt be any difference there. What brand tranny are you looking at? I can call Baker to ask if theirs will fit but I am pretty sure it will.......
More info: It has an aftermarket wrap-around oil tank (with battery pocket in the middle, like this: OIL TANK FOR 4SPD S/ARM FRAME.650218.OIL TANK FOR 4SPD S/ARM FRAME.BODY AND SEAT.OIL TANKS.14.07.650218-P / Custom Chrome). It has belt final drive, which i think was standard for the '85/6 "Shovelution" FXWG, but i don't mind converting to chain. I also believe all the '85/6 FXWG had the diaphragm clutch, and that's maybe where the question of changes to the mainshaft comes from - is the mainshaft any different for the diaphragm clutch (as opposed to the old coil-spring clutch) or not? Of course i could convert to the old clutch, although then i guess i'd need to go with belt primary and vented cases so the clutch could run dry ... and it all gets to be a more complicated and expensive conversion.

I really just want to know what's possible and what's not, if anyone can be definitive about it ...?

Thanks for the help so far guys

p.s. I was thinking of the RevTech 5-in-a-4 on the basis that (a) they've got a lot better with quality now, so i'd be confident in it coping with a near-stock Evo motor, and (b) i can't really afford a Baker, fantastic though they are!!
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Old 06-17-2011, 05:07 AM
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the early evo tranny had a keyed shaft but the key had a nasty habit of rolling on the shaft then they went to a splined shaft and a diaphram clutch. The bearings in the inner primary are different also and the jackshaft.
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Old 06-17-2011, 05:18 AM
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Quote:
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the early evo tranny had a keyed shaft but the key had a nasty habit of rolling on the shaft then they went to a splined shaft and a diaphram clutch. The bearings in the inner primary are different also and the jackshaft.
Ah. OK.
The key in the tapered shaft sounds like the same as the 4-speeds, in which case i would assume that's what the 5-in-a-4 trannys have (so they change out with minimum hassle) and so that might also mean that the diaphragm clutch fitted to mine might also fit the old-style shaft, and so could stay if/when i get a 5-in-a-4...? That would be nice!
But the jackshaft being different would also suggest i need to mess with the starter motor assembly? But would that only be if i changed the primary cases for some reason (bearing in mind the starter arrangement is all mounted off of the back primary case, independant of the tranny)? If I end up having to use the old-style clutch and a belt primary then i'd need to vent the primary cases, but other than that I was planning on leaving the primary alone as much as possible.
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Old 06-17-2011, 05:35 AM
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the tranny shaft in the early evo was smaller in diameter than the 4 spds, probably why the keys rolled. Do you have the late fixxed mount 4 spd or the early adjustable 4 spd? Those also have a different diameter shaft.
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:13 AM
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There's no adjustment screw like on the earlier (tin primary) bikes, but then it will have a chain tensioner in the primary so i guess they felt they didn't need a tranny adjuster too - i've never checked, but it would make no sense for them to fit adjusters anytime after 1970, or even '65, once the ally primary (and chain tensioner) were in use.

BTW, my tranny mounts with the same four nuts underneath which mount it to the tranny plate, which in turn mounts to the frame, just like the other 4-speeds, but i notice the front bolts that mount the plate to the frame are "coach-bolts", i.e. with a very shallow domed head, and where these bolts pass through, the front corners of the tranny plate are raised and then there's little spacers between them and the frame. Dunno what that's about ...

The UK system says my bike was registered new here in 1988, but i know these bikes were only made for 1985 and '86; the later year of registration might (or might not!) indicate that it was definately one of the last, so '86 would be a good guess, but still only really a guess - i could check the frame number out with the books i have at home (i'm at work right now) to check the year.
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:43 AM
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It'll work. Any issues would be with clutch release lever clearance, the kickstart arm clearance, oil tank clearance etc. The incidentals.

84-90 diaphram clutch will fit. Or the earlier type.
There might be some difference between the ring rear offset on the 85/86.

No adjuster/trans tension bolts on the plate cause of the primary.
Lot of changes during those years while the 4 to 5 speed, and softail was coming in, as well as chain to belt. Most of it can be made to work if you don't mind bastardizing some of the small things.

Good luck!

Last edited by gypsy chopper; 06-17-2011 at 06:48 AM..
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:24 PM
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Thanks Gypsy, sorry for delay in responding, i've been a bit busy. Main thing standing out was the clutch - if the diaphragm clutch wasn't gonna fit then it was a whole bigger deal with the belt primary etc., but sounds like that won't come into it. Like you say, I can easily fix the other stuff.
Cheers
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Last edited by MONTY; 06-22-2011 at 01:31 PM..
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Old 06-23-2011, 09:24 AM
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Harley-Davidson Transmissions and Alternatives | Motorcycle Parts and Accessories Blog

Calculate MPH from RPMs

If both a four speed and and a five speed have the same final drive what is the net gain in switching to a 5 speed? I have in the past switched from a 32 tooth tranny sprocket to a 34 tooth and noticed a couple of hundred RPM difference. Everything else being the same. while 200 rpm doesn't sound like a lot it kept me from feeling like the motor was running to high at mere 75mph. With the bike I am building I am going with a 34/65 tooth set up , as I wan tto be able to ride this for hours on end. I know some people like torque monsters , but that is a luxary I can't afford right now. For the money and aggrevaytion you are going to go through you may want to look at something else. I know you folks pay more than us for gasoline, so it may make a difference. Just my thoughts.
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Old 06-27-2011, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
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Harley-Davidson Transmissions and Alternatives | Motorcycle Parts and Accessories Blog

Calculate MPH from RPMs

If both a four speed and and a five speed have the same final drive what is the net gain in switching to a 5 speed?
I realise that for cruising speed etc. it's only final drive ratio that matters, and i can easily change sprockets (or in the existing case "pulleys") to mess with that. The main reason for fancying the 5-in-a-4 is the better reliability, longevity, availability of parts and nicer operation altogether of the 5 speed tranny. I still have a 4 speed in my bobber, but things like the clunky change and the short-lived mainshaft seal are a bit of a pain in the arse on a bike i expect to put more miles on.
Plus the tranny in the "Shovelution" is the later cowpie version of the 4-speed, and i hear bad things about that "rotary top" as compared to the ratchet top in the older ones.
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