This POS AMF-era Hardley Ableson (1980 Sportster) has beaten me. I publicly concede defeat.
The bitch will not start. Well, the shitty electric start system will not turn the engine over. You hit the starter button and the solenoid engages, the starter spins – but the engine does not turn over. Visual confirmation (with primary cover off) that the Bendix drive clutch/gear “jumps” forward as it should when the solenoid is actuated. It meshes with the big ring gear on the back of the clutch basket. But then it (Bendix) freewheels.
Yes, the Bendix is new. The second new one.
Shitty ironhead engine is not locked up. I thought of that, too. Confirmed engine rotates normally (for a Hardley) by jacking the ass up in the air and turning the rear wheel by hand with the shitty four speed transmission in gear, per the book.
I am ready to smash the ugly hateful thing to ruin with a ball peen hammer.
It has a new starter; new solenoid. Several new Bendix drive clutches. New needle bearings for the rod the Bendix gear rides up and down on. No noticeable damage/wear on teeth of gears. Everything looks right, like it ought to work. But the bitch will not spin the engine.
I have disassembled, checked, replaced everything I can think of that could possibly be causing the problem.
I’m stumped. Filled with loathing, too.
Do any of you have any experience with one of these pieces of shit?*
* Oh, it’s an appellation that’s well-deserved. Want a sample? To adjust the tension on the primary chain, there is a 5/16 stud that you thread into the bottom of the case. Turn it in to increase the tension. But then, to secure the setting, you tighten a 5/16 nut on the stud. Which rotates the stud as you try to tighten it. Increasing the tension on the primary chain. It is all but got-damned impossible to set the tension and tighten down the locknut on this effing thing.
And that’s just one example.
How about the way the rear master cylinder sits directly under an exhaust pipe, so that it is physically impossible to check the fluid level inside without partially removing the master cylinder? Did I mention the business about no way to rotate the engine without jacking the ass of the bike up in the air, then turning the rear wheel by hand with the tranny in gear? Then there’s the breakers (no fuses) that have exposed contacts just an inch or so away from the jiggling battery. No castle nuts/cotter pins on critical fasteners such as the rear axle bolt. A generator.
On a 1980 model bike.
Removing the gas tank involves a Rube Goldberg-esque sequence of disassembly that involves multiple spacers, removal of the ignition coil and getting at and removing a pair of hard to see/get a tool on bolts. Even the seat is a pain in the ass to take off. The “peanut” gas tank holds maybe two gallons of fuel. I guess the designers knew you weren’t going to get very far… .
If I had the money, I’d buy it – so I could roll it out into the field and shoot the son-of-a-bitch full of lead.
I am glad this bike is not mine – and that I experienced Harley engineering without having to buy a Harley.
Never do this.
You’ll be sorry if you do.