new round here and i have a chain question

Discussion in 'Sportster Models' started by drewschwartz, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. drewschwartz

    drewschwartz New Member

    I just got a 91 sportster for a good price, and it only has 4900 miles on it. looks great, and rides good. I am waiting to find a manual but I have a few questions..
    The chain in the back has a lot of slack in it, at least 3, 3 1/2 inches from top to bottom. How do I tighten that up, is there a tensioner for the wheel, or will just moving the wheel back work. And is that smart either?

    As far as I know, this bike is the 883, but the guy I bought it from said that the guy who owned it before him did the conversion and made it a 1200(?). is there a way to check that? Not sure I believe him.

    Also, which manual is best, or what would be most beneficial to a new harley owner? I appreciate all help, I am sure I will be around here a lot
  2. sanec1

    sanec1 Active Member

    Welcome to the forum drewschwartz. Good thinking, getting a manual. That will answer most of the basic questions. I'm not familiar with Sportsters but that sounds like way too much slack. If the wheel can be moved back, thats how to adjust the slack. On my old shovelhead that worked. Just make sure both sides are adjusted equally. Probably get the manual from the dealer.
  3. Breeze3at

    Breeze3at Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the forum Drew. You do have too much play in the chain. It should be about 1/2" up/down in the middle of the bottom. I don't have a XL manual at hand, that's a big twin spec. Loosen the axle nut, then tighten the 1/2" (?) nuts that are at the end of the swingarm. This pulls the wheel backwards. Do a few turns, exactly the same amount on each side, until the chain is in spec. Roll the bike or spin the wheel and check several places, too loose is better than too tight. Tighten the axle to about 50 ft. lbs.
    The only reliable way I know of checking the engine size is to measure the bore when a head is off.
    The HD manual is the best in my opinion, but Clymer is good.

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member

  5. drewschwartz

    drewschwartz New Member

    Thats what I was hoping they were for. I will give it a go this week...

    Thanks a lot for all help!!!
  6. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Correct chain tension should be 1/4" mid way along the bottom run on the tightest section of the chain with a rider seated on the bike
    I would happily give it a wee bit more than that up to 1/2"
    rear axle nut torque 60-65 ft-lb or 81-88 n.m

  7. The4opps1

    The4opps1 Junior Member

    All of the replies regrading the chain are spot on. 1/2" play and torque to the appropriate specs. As for the cu" of you engine. If there is a speed shop near you, they might have a volumetric cu" tester around. In my younger years, there was a local drag strip that would routinely check your cu" if you ran a tad too fast (a total waste of time as drag racers never lie about engine specs). Anyway, if memory serves, the unit was manufactured by P&G automotive, and they were quite popular at the bigger races. So much so, that their company name stuck with the required testing that became routine after a great run. You';d always hear some guy saying, "Yeah, I hit a low 11, but they P&G'd me and found out that my rat motor wasn't a 396 but a 427"....
  8. speedyron

    speedyron Active Member

    once you get nuff posts you can probly download your manual from this site and just print the pags u are using at the time
  9. trainman

    trainman Member


    This is a bit messy but if each cylinder is 600CC then it should hold .6 liters or 20.28 liquid ounces of oil. You might have to use a turkey baster or something
    like that to remove the oil after checking volume.

  10. drewschwartz

    drewschwartz New Member

    I just got my manual last week, and it does seem to be an 883, I rode next to a friend with a 96 sporty with a 1200, and he dusted me in most gears.. :)

    And i got the chain sorted out too, it is running well. I think I might replace it though, it does have a few spots which look a little rough.

    Thanks for all the help..