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Thread: Converting 1936 VLH with sidecar to solo unit

  1. #1

    Converting 1936 VLH with sidecar to solo unit

    I am wanting to get rid of the sidecar and run this as a solo unit. I would prefer to swap out my 3 spd with reverse for a 4 spd tranny. Anyone going the opposite direction wanting to swap transmissions?

  2. #2

    Re: Converting 1936 VLH with sidecar to solo unit

    Quote Originally Posted by silentgreyfellow View Post
    I am wanting to get rid of the sidecar and run this as a solo unit. I would prefer to swap out my 3 spd with reverse for a 4 spd tranny. Anyone going the opposite direction wanting to swap transmissions?
    It may be hard to find someone willing to do so...
    but we keep thumbs for you

    MOA
    Last edited by marcina; 08-24-2017 at 03:02 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Converting 1936 VLH with sidecar to solo unit

    almost all VLs are 3 speed, a 4 speed is very rare and not as a good a design as the 3 speed

  4. #4

    Re: Converting 1936 VLH with sidecar to solo unit

    Enjoy it as is or put a later 4 speed in it. Not too big of a job and a huge upgrade. Seadub

  5. #5

    Re: Converting 1936 VLH with sidecar to solo unit

    That VL four-speed transmissions are rare is almost an understatement. I think Buzz has one in his VL, but that was just a happy accident. The standard VL trans was Harley's last very simple sliding-gear three-speed-type and 1936 four speed VL gearboxes when introduced were almost in the realm of "experimental" and are very, very rare.
    The transmission didn't get seriously upgraded until everything got redesigned for the 1936 61-cubic-inch Overhead Valve "Knucklehead," released in about April, 1936. That gearbox went through upgrades until it was "perfected" by nineteen thirty-nine, which is the number you'll find on many of the parts in one. That's the rock-solid four-speed with-a-reverse-option that they used, basically unchanged, until the nineteen-eighties.

    Whether you slice the pie into four slices or three, both types of transmission will get you to the same destination at about the same time. Final drive ratio of both is 1:1. You could probably rig up the later four-speed trans to work in a VL, but it would be inauthentic, and probably be a nightmare. The clutch would also probably also need to be changed.

    Simplest thing you could do is put a nut and bolt through the slot in the fuel-tank gear selector gate, simply locking out reverse there, and enjoy the bike as it was designed, as a three-speed. Three-speeds are fun like they are. Good luck!
    Last edited by Sarge; 09-12-2017 at 06:44 PM. Reason: gramur
    Sarge, Gerry Lyons, Fla.
    AGENT ORRNGE Survivor. So far.
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    "It's a 1937, and the downside is, it's out of warranty"

  6. #6

    Re: Converting 1936 VLH with sidecar to solo unit

    Sarge

    3sp+R has different gear ratios than standart 3sp
    lot of people report it as 'unconvenient' on a solo

    I have 4sp in my VLH and second incomplete one
    and its simply later 4 speed resized to fit VL case

    I dont know if design was bad (heard about bearing problems if oil was not maintened rligiously)
    but due to rarity I treat it as a jewel upgrade to 36 VL bike
    and ussually gears are in better condition than standard VL as it was not a 'crashbox' but constant-mesh design

    rumors are there were only about 200 of them made

    Best
    MOA

  7. #7
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    Re: Converting 1936 VLH with sidecar to solo unit

    I saw a 4 speed sell for $6,500 at Wauseon a few years ago. Last week a guy let a 3 r tranny walk for $ 900 on ebay. You can make your 3 r into a 4 speed. takes a little machining. steve Lipolt (sp) in MD. can do it or walk you through it.

  8. #8

    Re: Converting 1936 VLH with sidecar to solo unit

    Try contacting Steve Slocombe at VL Heaven in England. He was making a 4 speed for VL's. Not sure if he has any left but he might be able to make on for you. I think he was getting 5 or 6 grand for them at the time. He at least can tell you what the differenc is and what you might be able to do.

    Rollo

  9. #9

    Re: Converting 1936 VLH with sidecar to solo unit

    Don't forget a side stand. Going to difficult to park otherwise.
    Last edited by night-train; 08-25-2017 at 09:02 PM.
    Grooving in Shovely sunshine

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