1983 ironhead?

Discussion in 'Sportster Models' started by UsMc16, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. UsMc16

    UsMc16 Member

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    Hey gents,
    My father n law just bought a 1983 1000cc sportster, whats the pros n cons and the difference between the 1983 1000 xl-h and 2005 883 xl? I know a lot to ask but were not too sure on what expect. We obviously know the "looks" difference. the Ironhead 83' is in great condition, no leaks etc.
     
  2. Slapp

    Slapp Junior Member

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    I love old Sportsters and have had many of them in my past (eight of them to be exact). Once, in my younger days I rode a 78 iron head from Maryland to Washington State and the down through Oregon and the California coast to San Diego and back to Maryland. What a trip great memories and times. Ok enough reminiscing. Here is what you will notice right off the bat the 883 is lighter, quicker and sleeker than the old Iron Head. However the old Iron Head has that whole nostalgic thing going on. Iron Heads in my past have all had the same problems spark plugs. If they are not tuned and jetted properly you will foul plugs, carry an extra set. Change the oil frequently (every 3 thousand) and use the good stuff. The best thing is that with any of kind of mechanical knowledge you can work on it. Treat it right and it will take you wherever you wish to go.

    One more thing use BLUE loctite on everything (except points cover and plugs) as they tend to vibrate alot.
    Good luck, I envy you, I have been looking for a project sporty for a while now, seems like every time I find one something happens and I hafta spend the money on something else.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 23, 2011
  3. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

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    Belt drive vs chain, also the older trannys had a trap door for pulling the gears out, newer models you have to split the cases
     
  4. UsMc16

    UsMc16 Member

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    ya the ironhead is in need of some plugs, We tried to start it, it was backfiring like crazy, it was getting boggled down when we accelerated etc. So took off the carb cleaned it out. took off the tank and emptied it to find a bunch of smuck n dirt in the bottom. Goin to get a new wet filter which the shop had to order of course. Hopefully it all turns out. Thx
     
  5. NEWHD74FAN

    NEWHD74FAN Experienced Member Retired Moderators

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    Since you own an 05 883 carbed version, you will find a big difference in performance, vibration and most all the reasons why the Sportster evolved to modern one. As said earlier, chain drive and a bit more maintenance. May want to look at the history of the Sportster in this extract from the Self Help General Section...

    http://www.hdtalking.com/archive/t-43243.html
     
  6. Slapp

    Slapp Junior Member

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    Flush the tank and ensure there is no rust in there, if rust is present you may want to buy a tank coating kit. Make sure you follow the directions. Ya might also wish to invest in a good fuel valve as well (recommend a Pingle). I always found that a Super E or G "SS" works great on those old Iron heads (I prefer the E though). Like others have said break down buy a manual and read, do research and read some more. Once you get it right it will purr like a kitten and produce many years of fun.