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Thread: Harley Shovelhead Sidecar 1972 Information Wanted

  1. #1
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    Harley Shovelhead Sidecar 1972 Information Wanted

    I have a good friend who just bought a real nice complete and original early 1970's Sidecar. He has a 72 FLH and wants to hook the two up and find a 3spd and Reverse Trans. As far as hooking up the Car, is there anything out there in print or online that gives him any info as far as what he needs to do as far as alignment, adjustment, etc, etc, etc? Any info would be appreciated and if you know of or have a 3R trans available for that 72 FLH let me know please? Thanks, 56

  2. #2

    Re: Harley Shovelhead Sidecar 1972 Information Wanted

    56,
    H-D put out a booklet for sidecars. There is also a section in the Panhead Service manuals about setting them up. The '72 is the last year round swingarm so he will need the appropriate mounts. Unless he wants the reverse for the novelty of it he is better off with a 4 speed. Sidecars are easy to move around. Easier than a two wheeler since you don't need to balance them, just roll them.
    Robbie

  3. #3
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    Re: Harley Shovelhead Sidecar 1972 Information Wanted

    I have the opposite opinion of the advantages of having a reverse gear in a sidecar combination. Just think: would you like to own a car without reverse, that you have to open the door and push backwards every time you wanted to or needed to? Just assume that you can, to back up your car; imagining that it's light enuf, would you want to open your door and get outt and push it backwards out of every parking space, (maybe uphill), or every time you had to back it up?

    Personally, I consider 3+Reverse indispensable in a combination. But I put a door for my lady, Leeesa and my best buddy, dog Spot, in the sidecar, so as not to inconvenience them, getting up in years and somewhat arthritic (the ten year old canine, Spot, I'm talking about), I consider it an affront that the MoFo MoCo dropped the sidecar door as a family-friendly feature after 1936; but that's another subject.

    On the thread subject of Reverse gear, it is as convenient a feature on a sidecar rig as it is in a car; it is essential, to me. Otherwise, the driver must constantly ask himself, "Oh, can I get back out of this situation? Which way should I approach this?"

    The Harley engine has plenty of torque to be flexible enough to run anywhere using only 3 gears, sacrificing only a little "jackrabbit performance." They did for years, when they weren't nearly as powerful as a '72 Shovelhead. A combination is not a hi-perf speed demon. The transmission "pie" is cut in only three slices instead of four, but high gear is still 1:1 at the output sprocket, and top speed is not affected. It takes barely longer to get there, is all, and you may feel limited, needing to drop to second to top a steep hill, but that doesn't bother me. It's a sidecar, after all!

    Any operator quickly realizes a sidecar is most like a small, 3-wheel assymetrical truck, and learns to drive it that way, taking full advantage of brakes and throttle to maneuver, but sidecars, especially with passengers in the luxury seat, can take full advantage of the torquey motors to get where you're going, and not suffer the indignity of having to be pushed backwards to clear the parking space at your favorite restaurant after dinner!
    Last edited by Sarge; 04-11-2012 at 10:24 AM.
    Sarge, Gerry Lyons, Fla.
    F.O.G. member: http://flatheadownersgroup.com/
    www.37UL.com
    "It's a 1937, and the downside is, it's out of warranty"

  4. #4
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    Re: Harley Shovelhead Sidecar 1972 Information Wanted

    Thanks for the info Robbie. Seems like I can always count on you to take the time to help and I do appreciate it! Sarge- As far as 3+R's I guess it is up to the individual who owns the Bike and what his needs are. I do know my friend has some leg and or foot medical issues and that is why the Sidecar was obtained. He's just a guy who always liked to ride. Now like most of us who are not getting any younger he wants to still enjoy himself. Thanks guys. 56.

  5. #5
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    Re: Harley Shovelhead Sidecar 1972 Information Wanted

    And thank you Sarge also. Although my friend is not a member here I will encourage him to read your post. Sometimes someone elses opinions and info shed new light on our own personal thoughts. But when it comes down to it all it is up to the individual who owns the rig and his desires I guess. Thanks again guys and my friend thanks you also. 56

  6. #6
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    Re: Harley Shovelhead Sidecar 1972 Information Wanted

    There is very little to aligning a Harley sidecar, actually. The frame front ball-joint is fixed, and goes on first. The rear ball joint is attached by a rubber-bushed swinging connector to the swingarm, and the only necessary adjustment is for the "sidecar frame brace," 87094-36, which is clamped to the diagonal front of the sidecar frame. It sets the "lean-out" making the bike turn left to counteract the pull of the sidecar to the right, so that the rig goes straight down the road.

    The only necessary tool for the shakedown run is a 5/8" wrench in the pocket as you leave on your test ride. Start with about 1" of the frame brace exposed at the end near the sidecar wheel. That should be very close, unless the brace has gotten bent some time in its life. To adjust, simply stop and lie on the ground next to the sidecar and loosen the four 5/8"-head bolts and slide the frame brace in to increase lean and out more to decrease it. Caution: insure that the bolts are well-tightened before trying it out, again! If that thing slides, as under stress, in a corner, things get very scary very quickly! But, as usual, Harley's design, assembled correctly, is very reliable.

    Even with the rigidly mounted sidecar wheel, you'll feel a little difference depending upon whether the sidecar is empty or occupied. Find the happy medium, and it will go straight. It will also "shake its head" when just beginning to accelerate or decelerate, but that's normal, and what the bike's stock steering damper is for.

    Learn to handle it in all situations on a clear parking lot, and don't get overconfident too soon: sidecars are unique vehicles, unlike anything else on the road, and require the drivers to treat them with the greatest of respect.
    Sarge, Gerry Lyons, Fla.
    F.O.G. member: http://flatheadownersgroup.com/
    www.37UL.com
    "It's a 1937, and the downside is, it's out of warranty"

  7. #7

    Re: Harley Shovelhead Sidecar 1972 Information Wanted

    56,
    The only other consideration your friend needs to think about is changing the triple trees for the correct adjustable Sidecar type, they make an enormous difference on handling.
    Robbie

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