Posted 1/23/2016 11:48 AM (#87618) Subject: Liberty Build on '03 FLSTSI
Location: Dallas, TX
Hey y'all, I'm new to the forum, and have yet to ride a "hack." My wife and I are about to buy my father-in-law's 2003 Harley-Davidson Heritage Springer (FLSTSI) with my expressed intention of putting a sidecar on it for our daughter, presently one-year-old. I found this forum this morning and have done a bit of reading on safety (i.e. riding with the wife in the car when riding two-up), rake/trail mods, and downloaded a couple books on riding with a sidecar. Below, I will list my build ideas; I appreciate your scrutiny. I'd say I'm 99% locked onto the Liberty. My rationale is that a Heritage Springer is effectively a repop '48 FL, making the Liberty effectively period correct. I could be wrong, but I think DMC's Champion Legend and Tomahawk are nods to classic Indian sidecars, ruling them out. …As would be any British sidecars.
•Increase displacement from 88 c.i. to 95 c.i.
•Kompressor heads (10.5:1 CR)
•SE-257 Cams (for increased mid-range torque)
•Liberty 5º raked tree
I'm a H-D tech, and I remember watching training video on TLE sidecar setup, and I know it's a lengthy process. On that note, how difficult is it to remove the Liberty if I want to put the bike on the dyno? Is it even worth exploring how the 88 c.i. handles the additional weight or just go ahead and hot rod the motor?
•Harley-Davidson six-speed transmission? Lower RPMs make better fuel economy, but is direct drive preferable to overdrive when cruising 70+ mph with a sidecar? How about changing pullies?
•Suspension upgrades (that won't detract from the nostalgic look)? Some posts described changing rockers. Who recommends tree vs. rocker? Does it make any sense to do both? Does anyone recommend Progressive's Softail shocks as an improvement to ride quality?
•Does chroming the top leaf spring have any negative effect on the passenger's ride? I'm worried it might be stiffer or somehow less functional.
•Other cams/performance mods I should consider? I read one post that described a hack/trike cam from Andrews, I would like to find more information on that.
Before my daughter was born, my Harley was my daily driver, and I really want the sidecar to get me back there. Ideally, I will regularly use the sidecar to take my daughter to and from school, and the three of us to dinner. I would also like to ride family day trips anywhere in length (one way) from 45 minutes to 5.5 hours. Solo, I might ride as far as GA. I already use his bike for touring, as it's worlds more comfortable than my V-Rod, so I'm not deterred from the springer's ride as it relates to long distance. Plus, we want to keep the bike in the family, so a Touring model isn't really on the table. Any other suggestions for comfort?
100th Anniversary Specific question: I would like to match the car's paint to include the centennial tape. I found it 4' in length from killer-decals.com, but I don't have any experience with the company. I'm wondering if the tape should wrap all the way around, one piece, or what? Any advice or recommendations for matching the silver/black centennial paint scheme is greatly appreciated. My goal is to make it look as though it came from the factory.
Posted 1/24/2016 12:52 AM (#87622 - in reply to #87618) Subject: Re: Liberty Build on '03 FLSTSI
Location: Northern Illinois
IMHO you've got a great motor and stock suspension/frame set-up. In my experience it has always been better to build the rig and then change what needs to be done rather than guessing. May I recommend Tom at AMS in Texas for you're motor build up he is sharp. Have you been to the HSOA website? Tons of great info and people. Best wishes.
Posted 1/24/2016 1:41 PM (#87632 - in reply to #87618) Subject: RE: Liberty Build on '03 FLSTSI
Location: Boise, Idaho
I had good luck with my StreetGlide/Liberty rig with Liberty trees and the Harley 103CI upgrade. I have no experience with extended rockers on the springers. Since an overhaul is recommended after about 10K with them I would imagine the extended rockers would cause more stress and wear.
The 6 speed top gear is about useless with a hack. A slight headwind and a rise and you'll be hard pressed to maintain 70MPH in 6th gear. You'll get a better power range (and better gas mileage) with a 5 speed tranny, or just using 5th if you have a 6 speed box.
The Softtails with a hack will ride better with a shock upgrade.
The SE257 cams sound good but I haven't heard from anyone who chose this option whether it was worth the expense.
The Liberty cars have a chromed top leaf and a very nice ride. They ride much better than the rigid chassis TLE Bananas.
I used the 2 into 1 SE exhaust with the cat gutted for better performance.
Added tape should be clear coated with urethane for best results.
Posted 1/25/2016 10:40 AM (#87640 - in reply to #87618) Subject: Re: Liberty Build on '03 FLSTSI
We also offer the Champion Vintage, just have not gotten around to putting it on our web site yet. The Vintage uses pretty much the same styled body as the Liberty. Only advantage to the Vintage over the Liberty as they are both very well built sidecars is lead time. Champion is usually under 2 months, no idea where Liberty is currently but they are often over a year out.
We modify rockers, when we do so we change the rocker at both ends of the rocker so the spring load stays the same. The Springer really is not the best front end but will work. I see no real need to change the rest of the bike, it has enough power for the sidecar and adding an additional gear more then likely is in a ratio that is not all that much usable however you could pick up reverse at the same time. Never ran one but I hear Baker makes a 6 speed with reverse. I do not know how Liberty hooks up their brakes, in the case of our sidecars and Champion the brake is on a quick disconnect and as such the sidecars will come on or off in about 10 minutes. Other then the unknown with the brake Liberty's sidecar should also come off in about 10 minutes. I also do not know how Liberty makes their mounts for your bike. I know they have some applications where the upper rear is a weld on. Our mounts are 100% bolt on.
I would be glad to speak with you on the sidecars we make and or are a dealer for. You can also phone Liberty and ask them about their sidecars which will also give you some idea as to the technical support you can expect from what ever company you purchase from.
Posted 1/25/2016 3:28 PM (#87645 - in reply to #87618) Subject: Re: Liberty Build on '03 FLSTSI
Location: Deckerville, Wa.
I put a 175/60 on the rear of a '07 Heritage raised the rpm half a gear do to smaller circumference very good for 75 mph in sixth with 96 cid raked trees and car tire are not recommended for solo use.
That said. had a Pan with a raked neck and Speed Grip '60's flat tread bios ply Did not know it was dangerous at the time, put lots of miles on it, there is a difference in raked trees and raked neck.
Posted 1/31/2016 3:54 AM (#87723 - in reply to #87618) Subject: RE: Liberty Build on '03 FLSTSI
Location: Dallas, TX
Thanks for the input, everyone, I appreciate it. I've been reading a lot, and have some new thoughts.
Woody, I did a Google search for HSOA, but I'm not sure of exactly which site you're referring. As to the motor work, I am a certified tech, and actually started my own shop in '14, and would do it myself. On that note, I put a few miles 2-up on the bike today and I think I will cool my jets on a high output motor build. The 88B is tame, but the bike is comfy… I can't decide yet. Reading more of Kendall's books, I may fiddle with final drive gear ratios first. I just want to make sure I don't mess with the speedometer. It works on the Hall effect in gearbox, but I'm not sure if changing the number of teeth will change the revolutions per mile. P.S. — I just saw that Baker does offer a speedo recalibration kit. Research continues!
Lonnie, I think you're right about the suspension. We went over some bumps and dips that about launched the Mrs. out of the saddle! My father-in-law is much larger than me, so I assume his shocks are preloaded on the heavy side, but I didn't actually verify this. All I know is it was bouncy, LOL! I'm a big fan of 2-into-1 exhaust, and Supertrapp makes some fishtail 2-into-1 pipes that should fit the Springer. That would also be more "period correct," if only I could find a fantail exhaust tip! H-D used to have some in their P&A catalogue, but they're long gone, obsolete. Price, however, may restrict me to slip-on mufflers. I just know I don't like the slash cut mufflers it has now.
Thanks for your input, Jay. I'll keep the Champion Vintage in mind as I draw closer to pulling the trigger on a sidecar. It probably won't be until next year, so I'll still be doing lots of brainstorming. I did a Google search for "springer with sidecar," and through process of elimination, I think I have figured out what the Champion Vintage looks like, but I'd still be interested in more info if you have a link or brochure. I just did a little reading on Baker's reverse, and they do offer a direct drive 6-speed with reverse. I have read that H-D used to offer reverse for their sidecars long ago, so I may go that route. Going to look into it further.
Dawg, from what I have been reading in Kendall's book, flatter auto tires suit sidecar outfits, since they have similar demands as a car. Do you mean to say they don't perform as well as MC tires on an outfit when riding by yourself (as opposed to with a passenger)? Or, were you saying that those changes wouldn't ride well, were I to disconnect the sidecar and ride solo? I have been looking into tires all night, and interesting of you mention it, I've found Coker's Firestone Deluxe Champion 500/525 bias ply. Couldn't get the link to work, but I found them via Coker's search engine. They fit 3.00-3.25" rims, 16" diameter. They appear as though they'll fit under my fenders. I've only just started searching the Darksiders forums, but haven't found anything on these tires or sidecars specifically, yet. From what I have seen, those guys seem to be more interested in modern interpretations than classic looks. I saw you mention riding on a Coker on another thread. What do you think?
Posted 1/31/2016 12:22 PM (#87727 - in reply to #87723) Subject: RE: Liberty Build on '03 FLSTSI
Location: Deckerville, Wa.
riding solo (without the sidecar) on car tires or with raked trees is not recommended. I ran the radial ply tires from Cooker on my '07 Eglide with TLE they are a tube type tire and have a different bead that does not go over the bead lock on the tubeless m/c wheels it took almost 90 lbs of air to seat and distorted the tires. I have heard that machining the bead lock down will allow the bead to seat easier. I had put them on all 3 wheels handled great just bounced too much for the monkey. only car tire on the Heritage is the 175/60 it is supposed to go on a 4.5-5 inch wheel the 3" wheel maces it a bit squishy needs a similar tire on the hack.
I like the idea of going with bias ply but was told the mileage was no better than m/c tires. My next try will be with a wider wheel on the rear and and hack.
Posted 1/31/2016 12:50 PM (#87728 - in reply to #87723) Subject: RE: Liberty Build on '03 FLSTSI
Location: Deckerville, Wa.
I also put a 175/16 on the '07 103 cid Eglide it fit with enough room for 2 credit cards between tire and finder on each side with a heavy load on both it rubbed the finder and wiring harness it sits high and being taller drops rpm about a gear so I changed both drive sprockets 32 on front to 30, 66 on rear to 70. gear change with 175/16 tire gave me an increase of rpm of about 1/2 a gear form stock gear ratio and stock m/c tire. more power worked good for pulling
bike and sidecar on scale 1450 lbs with trailer attached but not in scale trailer on scale 500 lbs still attached to the bike off the scale (short scale)
Posted 2/4/2016 11:38 PM (#87780 - in reply to #87618) Subject: Re: Liberty Build on '03 FLSTSI
Location: Dallas, TX
It occurred to me today, and I'm not sure if I got the idea from Kendall's SC or SC Operator's manual, but has anyone put Timken bearings in their wheel hubs to replace the sealed ball bearings? I was thinking about side loads that bearings will be facing that they normally wouldn't on solo rigs. Being an '03, it was the first year for sealed ball bearings. Just wondered if any of y'all put them in an '03 or newer wheel hub.
Posted 2/20/2016 10:49 AM (#87945 - in reply to #87618) Subject: Re: Liberty Build on '03 FLSTSI
Location: Belle Plaine MN
Harley 103 ci trikes run 30 70 gearing. in reality you would get much better results from gearing than messing with the engine. i have stock gearing on my bike and i have not used 6th gear except by accident for almost 10 years. the belt is finally needing replacement and I'm going to change the gearing.
Posted 11/2/2016 8:20 PM (#91329 - in reply to #87618) Subject: RE: Liberty Build on '03 FLSTSI
Location: syracuse ny
Drew.....the HS w Liberty is a beautiful rig.
I had a 2001 HS / Liberty rig. I've had seven different rigs.
Presently, I have a Road King Liberty rig. I have a bad back so I sold the HS & went to RK for comfort.
You definetly need modified steering. My rig didn't have it. It was terrible to drive.
The raked trees give a strange angle to the windshield. Maybe that could be refitted.
The new rockers will keep the windshield position as stock.
A sidecar on a HS is more dangerous than say on a Road King.
Liberty owner try's to discourage HS use. I agree with him.
The 88 stock motor is adequate.
I never felt underpowered.
I never drive over 70 with a sidecar.....just being cautious....I don't feel safe over 70....that's just me.
I find I'm happiest to drive between 45 & 65....back roads....I used to get 32 mpg.....not bad!
Keeping 70 or below you can stay with stock sprocket if you want.....take off requires a little effort...more rpm & some clutch.....if you have passengers ....all the more effort needed....but the stock motor can handle it.
If you want to modify, I'd change sprocket in the primary.
I always wished I had done this as take off effort would be easier. I just don't like slow engagement of the clutch...but that's just me.
I loved my HS rig....but I'm glad I went to the RK. I have raked forks.....like power steering.
I had the following rigs:
96 HD w/ HD sidecar
01 Heritage Springer / Liberty
03 Police RK / HD sidecar (still have...might be for sale)
80 FLH / HD sidecar
78 FLH / Liberty sidecar (still have)
98 Honda / Texas sidecar
96 RK / Liberty sidecar (still have)
All had modified steering except the 96, 01 & 03....if you want to have fun....you need modified steering....which you already acknowledge....
After I sold the HS rig....I bought a HS for solo riding.....missed the classic look....
Posted 11/3/2016 4:44 PM (#91338 - in reply to #91329) Subject: RE: Liberty Build on '03 FLSTSI
Location: Dallas, TX
I've read from Liberty that they think the Springer's a bad idea. Besides obviously being an antiquated suspension system, I'd really like to hear your explanation/experience of why it's particularly worse than hydraulic forks when coupled to a rig. Handling in turns? Rough ride on the highway? You've had a lot of rigs and experience! I like the idea of modifying the primary ratio. I'm still keen to modify the triple trees. Last trip, I was getting about 45 mpg (highway) with no windshield. I ride with a full-face helmet, and I think the windshield strongly detracts from the lines of the HS.
I agree H-D belts are the way to go. Over-engineered, they're truly a high quality product.
Posted 12/11/2016 10:28 PM (#91706 - in reply to #91338) Subject: RE: Liberty Build on '03 FLSTSI
Location: syracuse ny
I don't really know why it's more dangerous....just that Pete of Liberty thinks so.
I once had the beginnings of a death wobble at maybe 25 mph. Somehow I quickly recovered, but it certainly scared me. For some reason I feel safer on my Road King rid than I did on my HS Springer rig....can't pin it down however.