Part 1 - Disassembly - In this how to video, Todd walks you through the disassembly of a 2003 Harley-Davidson Sportster 883cc engine in preparation for installing a S&S Cycles Hooligan 1200cc conversion kit with oversized cams. These kits work on 2000-2018 Harley-Davidson Sportsters and can be installed on your motor with in a day spent in the garage. They come in Silver or Black. So, break out the tool box and follow along. See how "There's no big mystery going on in there!" This step by step and does not skip anything, and will help you understand how easy it is to break down your motor and add some real horsepower to it.
Note: Disregard the cam tear down if you are only doing a big bore conversion kit install.
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00:01 - Intro
01:12 - What you may need to get started.
02:44 - Make sure your Gas tank, exhaust, carb, and coil is removed from the bike so you have clear access to the engine. Drain your oil Tank.
04:01 - Start by removing the 8 bolts on the top of the rocker boxes.
06:41 - Break the rocker boxes free with a dead blow and remove them from the engine. Do not use a screw driver to pry. This can be a pain but they will separate.
07:49 - Keeping a clear work bench separate front and rear parts keeping them separate and in order will help keep the job going smoothly.
08:16 - Remove the spark plugs so that you can rotate the engine. This will allow for you to get the pushrods down to their lowest point and relieve pressure.
08:40 - Jack up the rear wheel and put it in gear to rotate the engine. Watch the rockers on the rear rocker box and stop when they are at their lowest point.
09:20 - Remove the 9 bolts from the rear rocker box.
09:45 - Gone Fishing!
14:47 - Pull the pushrods out before removing the rest of the rear rocker box, it will make it easier to remove.
15:36 - Review of what bolts you need to remove from the inside rocker box.
15:53 - Start on the front one, repeat the process you just did on the rear.
16:55 - Doh! Don't pull a todd and forget to rotate the engine.
19:50 - Remove the rocker box.
20:09 - Remove the pushrods, Note: pink colored band is exhaust, Brown colored band is intake.
20:26 - Its now time to remove the cylinder heads!
22:29 - Don't Forget to remove your intake manifold before removing the cylinders. We have a special wrench available on the website to help with this job.
24:25: See why your intake manifold only needs to remove 2 bolts.
24:48 - Remove all 8 cylinder head bolts.
26:35 - Remove rear cylinder head.
27:00 - If you have a head stay still on your front cylinder be sure to remove it.
27:53 - Remove the front cylinder head.
28:07 - Now we are down to the cylinders, remove both cylinders.
29:27 - Stuff each cylinder hole with blue shop rags so no bolts, circlips, or anything else falls down in your crank case!
29:43 - Remove the circlips from the piston pins.
30:10 - Remove the pins from the pistons. Push the pin from the opposite side of the removed circlip.
30:32 - Remove the push rod tube holders. Even if you are not replacing the liters and cams you need to do this step to replace the lower push rod tube seals.
32:28 - Time to remove the lifters, you must first remove he 4 locking pin bolts.
33:07 - How the lifter locking pin looks and works.
34:43 - Using a magnet, stick it down the lifter holes and pull up the lifters. If you are reusing the same lifters, be sure to pay attention and mark which holes each one comes out of.
35:23 - Remove the front drive pulley cover.
36:24 - Remove the ignition module. Scribe or mark your timing for was of use getting it back timed.
77:11 - Find your ignition pick up plug and unplug it from the wiring harness under the frame.
38:02 - Remove the timing cup.
39:02 - Now it's time to remove the cam cover! Woooo!
39:14 - Tips and tricks on how to keep track of the different sized bolts that belong to the cam cover.
40:55 - Demo of the best trick to keep track of your bolts and where they go on the cam cover.
41:35 - Cam cover off... yeah right that Mother F*cker is on there! DOHHHHH! Do not pry with screwdriver!
42:02 - Make sure to have some kind of oil pan under your cam area because if you haven't drained your oil it will all come out of your oil pump.
42:12 - Once cam cover is free pull off and unhook the breather oil line located on the left of the cover.
43:35 - Would ya look at that cam chest!
43:50 - Remove the old Cams.
44:28 - To be continued... part 2
You can read the full transcription of this video here:
Hey guys and gals, Todd from Lowbrow Customs here again. In this video we're going to soup up this 2003 Sportster 883. We picked this bike up for relatively cheap and we're going to put a SNS Hooligan kit on it.
Are the kits going to increase the displacement? The kit also comes with a set of cams and some lifters. SNS is claiming this kit will boost this engine up to around 85 horsepower. Might be interesting to maybe do a dyno pull after we get done and see what results we get out of this. All USA made high quality components from our friends over in SNS. We have this part available on the website.
It will work for 2000 to 2018 sportsters. It's available in silver or black, so if you have a silver motor, you get the silver kit, you got a black motor-- Hell, if you want to have black cylinders on your silver motor, you can use the black kit. Before we get started taking the engine top of the engine apart, we're going to do the rocker boxes, cylinder heads. Cylinders first.
One thing worth mentioning is if you haven't done this job before, good idea. We have this workshop manual available on the website. Get yourself one. There's also factory books available. Generally, the factory books only cover one year. Our book covers all the sportsters, '86 to '03, '04 would have been rubber mount, so it was a totally different book. Get yourself one of these books, come in real handy.
We also have this nifty wrench. You'll see when we get to the intake manifold how this is very handy to have. You don't really need a lot of special tools to do this job. There's a couple things like you'll see as we go along here, a ring compressor. It's kind of important, and a torque wrench. Generally, if you don't have a torque wrench, you can borrow one from the auto parts store but I'm going to show you that this job isn't super hard.
You just have to pay attention to detail, cleaning things, gasket surfaces, and it's a pretty straightforward job. If you have some mechanical abilities, you should be able to handle this job with no problems. Even if you're not super mechanically inclined and you just want to learn, it's not a hard engine to work on, or you just have to pay attention to what you're doing and get it done correctly and it'll work fine. Now, you may have noticed in the first scene that we have done some pre disassembly on this motorcycle.
Most of the stuff's pretty straightforward. You're going to be removing the gas tank, the exhaust, the carburetor and then it gives you a nice clear shot to get to the top of the motor. We're also going to go ahead and move the coil out of the way because obviously we can't get that front rocker box lid off. When we get to the rear one, you'll see how much fun it is to get the stupid thing out of there. It's kind of a tight fit, but it will come out without removing the engine off.
All these jobs we're doing here today can be done without removing the engine from the frame, which makes life a lot easier. Let's go ahead and we'll get this coil moved out of the way here. The front tank bolt is what holds that. You're just going to get it out of there any way you can like so and I don't really want to disconnect everything. I am going to disconnect this, because it's going to need to come off anyway. Hmm boy, she's a stuck. There she goes and then you can just stick this thing up on the frame like so any way, you can.
There we go. We're going to go ahead and remove this one. Spark plug wire. Now we have clear access. There's going to be eight bolts on the rocker boxes, four on the front, four on the rear. We're going to break those free and then we'll remove them, and for the lid you don't really need to worry about unloading anything. When we get down to the inner, the lower rocker box, you'll see that we are going to remove the spark plugs and rotate the engine so that it's not putting pressure on the pushrods.
I've always liked to break these free by hand. Then I'm going to grab my air ratchet, and you can see that this rear one is kind of hidden. You can't really get on it. Since my air ratchet's really not going to get down in there with this one, we'll go ahead and just remove that one all the way. As we go along here, what I do is I'll set these fasteners on the work bench and then when I get the stuff apart I'll stick it back in the hole where it belongs.
These are pretty self explanatory, not a problem. Let's switch over to some air, that'll make things move a little more quickly. Let's go the other way. Quarter inch air ratchet and you may also notice I have this nifty little short Allen, which makes it pretty good too. Under no circumstances are we going to be using a screwdriver to remove, to pry in between these gasket surfaces because that's a no good.
There we go. We've got all those loose, we'll go ahead and take them all out. They're all the same. Doesn't matter if front or rear, if you mix them up it's not going to be a big deal. They're all the same. Okay. Once we get all those out, I generally break the rocker free like so. That one's real stuck and so is that, this one will come off all in one lump sum, but this one will not. We're going to have to get that broke there. Now, this is the one that's kind of a bear. You just got to hold your mouth just right.
Why in God's name Harley had to make this frame so fricking tight to this, I'll never know. Like I was saying, this rear rocker box is kind of a jigsaw puzzle. Once you get it just right and you're holding your mouth just right, she will come off. It is a pain, so don't be alarmed if you're having a hard time getting that off. Even I have a hard time getting that one off, along with the center. Like I said, I'm putting everything on the bench. All the rear will be here.
All the front will be over here. As you can see, now we're down to the rocker box where we're going to take some more bolts out. We might as well go ahead and tear these gaskets off of here right now, all we can. We will be replacing all the gaskets. We're not reusing any gaskets. Now comes the time where we're going to go ahead and remove the spark plugs because we're going to be rotating the engine so that there's not a bunch of pressure on the pushrods.
I went ahead and loosen the spark plugs and those look like they were in need of replacement anyway. I've got a flat jack underneath the engine so I can jack up the back wheel. There we go. We're going to go ahead and put it in second gear. If it won't go into gear you can just easily, you can bump the wheel. That'll make it go into gear. Go ahead and we'll do the rear one first. Keep an eye on those rockers and watch what happens when I rotate it.
That one's starting to come up. It's coming up, it just went down and the other one's down. We'll go around one more time. That one came up. Now, it's down. Now, both the rockers are down at their lowest point, so it's okay to go ahead and loosen this. There still will be some pressure on it, but not as much as if one was up and one was down. Once again, we've got two, 3/16's right here. I like to take the little ones out first there. At least loosen these.
There's that lovely smell. Smells like you're at the fish market. When you get the top of one of these motors open, it's pretty awesome. Now that we've broken it free, we should be able to use our ball end on there. Now that we've broken it free we should be able to use our ball end on there. We went ahead and loosened that with the ball end, and we've got the other one, and since these are longer than the top ones we can go ahead and take those out. We're going to need a 7/16 socket.
We're going to need two of them, and you're going to need a deep one for right there. There's three small fasteners that will need to come out. These are pretty long. This is a long winded operation on these, and I don't really want to put my air ratchet in there because it'll probably get stuck in the middle of the damn frame- the darn frame. Sometimes when you get them loose like that you can finish turning them out with your fingers, look at that.
That one would have worked for the air ratchet but since we're already on a roll here- and we'll show you again once we get this rocker box off all the fasteners. That one fell out, that's all right. Not a big deal, there's no place for it to go. It can't fall in anything that's going to hurt anything. We'll get it with a magnet in a sec here. We will be using the air ratchet on the front one though, because this is taking way too long. Oh my gosh, if I was working flat rate I'd be broke right now.
Nope, still not done. It's getting there. You can see, I'll show you one of these bolts, they have some weird corrosion on them, because you have a steel bolt and aluminum and that makes life a little more difficult here. There it goes, got that one all the way. Let's grab a magnet and get that one out before we forget about it. There's that funky corrosion I was talking about, totally normal. Stuff looks like that.
Don't be concerned about it. You can see why I'm breaking these by hand because we probably have a bunch of corrosion on these two, and if I were to use my air tool it wouldn't break them. I'd still have to do it by hand. It's pretty obvious, top end's never been off this engine for a gasket leak. This one will give us a little more leverage because it's longer. There she goes, look at her. Well, let's continue like this, by the time we get the air ratchet going we'll use that on the front one.
We're just about there, gang. There we go, ready to pull it off. I'm going to take these two bolts out so they don't collide with the frame. I'm also going to pull the pushrods out now. Those will be in the way on the rear one, and then she should come out like so. Bada-bing, okay. Like I said, I like to stack up my parts so they all go back in the same place they came off. Generally we'll clean this stuff up later. Just to review, we took these two out first, oh boy that's really-- Took those two out first then those three smaller ones in the middle, and then the four outer ones and then she comes off like so.
We're going to move on to the front one. It's going to be a lot easier because everything is much easier to get to. Once again, we're going to loosen the two. Let’s take a 7/16 first. One on the front and one on the rear, and we'll go ahead and loosen our 7/16. Wait a minute, gang, we forgot to rotate the engine. Not a big deal since we haven't loosened the middle ones yet, but let's rotate her to the correct position.
I lowered it back down, gang, because the bike wasn't stable because I only have one tie down. That one's going up. There we go. That's it right there. Since we're done with that job I'm going to go ahead and put it back in neutral. All right, we got our rockers in the right place. I'll switch to my air ratchet, trying to make things go a little faster here. That one fell out just like the other one, imagine that.
We are ready to loosen the other ones now. Really doesn't matter what order you do these in, breaking the torque on them. You hear that? That's not to be alarming and then if you ratchet them until they feel like they are lose you can put the air on it. That's it for that one. She's all ready to come off. Look at that. That's all there is to that. Get that one. You may also take notice now how the pushrods have a colored band on them.
Pink and brown. Brown is going to be intake. Pink is going to be exhaust. All right, we are now ready to remove the cylinder heads. Well, you may notice we've got a head stay connected to the frame here, but we have already removed the bolts for it. In order to break the head bolts free a breaker bar is required. Also make a kind of a weird shape that goes like this where you put your socket on it and- you just basically need some leverage. You're also going to need a 12 point socket for this.
I didn't mention it but I was using a six point socket on the other ones. I like to use six point sockets any chance I get because there's less chance of rounding off a fastener. Even though the spike isn't very new, stuff seems to be in pretty good shape. Once again, it's never been apart. We'll go ahead and we'll break the four and four head bolts loose and then we'll be able to remove the cylinder heads. Hear that noise? That means she broke free. Hear that. I suppose you could do it without an extension but it definitely makes a difference.
Once they're loose, they come out pretty easy. That initial breaking them free. We'll go ahead and break the other ones. We'll do all eight of them at once and then just pop them out. Okay, oh wait a minute gang, we have neglected to remove our intake manifold. Take a look right here. You can see there's two half inch fasteners. Here and here. Incidentally you don't really need to remove these completely because, you'll see in a second here.
Those are pretty easy to remove because you're using a wrench, the other ones- sometimes the corrosion that occurs on these bolts can make it rather difficult to get them out. This is where the tool I showed you comes in handy. A regular Allen wrench is too long to get into those. Right, we went ahead and loosened those with a special tool and then you can use a ball end to get them out the rest of the way, because these do have to come all the way out.
Then once I pull the manifold you'll see, and these surprisingly loosened very easily. Sometimes these can really be a bear. Then you're just going to- probably would have helped if I loosened the other ones a little more. She'll come right out just like that. Think this one was kind of mucking it up a little. We're going to be putting new intake manifold seals on here. Now you can see why you didn't have to take the other ones completely off because it's slotted and that one's solid.
Allen head goes on that side, the other two are still on the cylinder heads. We'll put that aside for later. Now we can go ahead and remove all of our head bolts, because we've broken them all free. I just use an extension with a knurling on it. If you want to use the air ratchet, you can do that too. Two more to go and then we'll have a couple of cylinder heads sitting on the workbench in a second here.
That one's a little too tight to do by hand. There it is. That one's a little extra corroded. Even thou it feels loose, it doesn't want to turn by hand so if all else fails use your ratchet. There we go, cylinder heads. Pushrod tubes are coming off too. Sometimes they stay in the bottom, sometimes they don't. One stayed in, one did not. We're probably not going to be able to break this free with this silly stay going on to the frame so we'll just go ahead and pop that off. It's going have one stud and one bolt. Oh, there she goes. Look at her go.
Yes, I knew I should have taken that off earlier but I didn't, so we did now. It's all good. Now we're down to the cylinders. Look at that. So far, nothing overly complicated going on here, is there? Well, pistons are in a good place to take the cylinders off. They're both almost all the way up so that's a good thing. We're just going to go ahead and wiggle it off. Probably actually would have been better if it was down. There you go, that's better.
I'm just supporting the rod with my other hand, so it doesn't want to rotate again like it just did. Come on. There she goes. Okay. Now, next thing we're going to want to do, we're going to put some of these blue shop towels in that hole. Both those holes, we don't want anything going in there. If one of these stray bolts laying around here goes in there, that could be a problem.
Okay, now we're going to go ahead and remove the circlips from the piston pins. There's a little groove here. Just take a screwdriver or a pick and should pop out. There she goes, bada-bang. Then the pin should just slide right out, like so. Pull it out enough to clear the rod and remove your piston. This one we took out the other side, so we're going to push this way, like that. All right. Since the SNS Hooligan kit comes with a new set of cams and lifters, we're going to go ahead and remove the pushrod tube holders.
Even if we were just doing a top-end, just a 1200 big bar with no cams, we'd still need to remove these to replace the seals in there. We'll go ahead and break those free and then you can see what the seals look like that are on the bottom of the pushrod tubes. Once again they are torqued so I'm using a long ratchet to give me some leverage. Once again, we've got that same old corrosion going on. I don't know that they broke free. I think I'll switch to a short ratchet.
Then next is the exciting part. We get to take the cam cover off. All this other stuff is pretty mundane if you ask me. Those just- also, notice there's a locating dowel on the crankcase where that locates in that hole. Here's your lower pushrod tube seals. That will be replaced. We will just take these off and put them on the bench with the rest of our stuff. Let's just give her a quick wipe down.
In order to get the lifters out, you have to take these four fasteners here, and you'll see when we get one out, it's kind of a pin. You'll see. Let's get one out and then you'll see. Let's get her done, 5/32. I'll just do one all the way so you can see what's- what we're working with here. Look at that, and what that does, you'll see when I pull a lift or there's a flat on the lifter. This pin going in the hole is keeping the lifter from spinning around, because if the lifter could spin around the roller that goes against the cam, well that'd be a big problem.
I'll go ahead and remove those other three. That one was tight. If we were just doing some repair work and we were going to reuse these lifters, it's always a good idea to mark which one came out of which hole so they go back in the same place for wear patterns. There is our two rear ones. I'll go ahead and take these two out and then we'll remove our lifters. Now we're going to grab our magnet, and look at that. Now you can see the flat. See that flat? You can actually see where the pin was contacting it.
When the lifters go back in, you're going to install them like that. The pin's going to keep it from rotating because there's our roller that goes up against the cam. We're going to go ahead and take this cover off because obviously that's going to be right in the middle of the road and it's probably easier to pop this off than it is to take that off. That's only three screws here. In order to take that off, we'd have to pull this silly cotter pin and that pin that's pressed in there and blah blah blah. We'll just take these three out and move this to the side.
Now we're going to remove the ignition module, and even though these have a pretty nifty timing light, I'm going to go ahead and mark it with a sharpie so I know where it was when it was timed, just because I can. You see there's a little V-shaped slot there. I'm going to go ahead and draw a line where the V-ish slot is. Two pillar bolts out and we're going to have to find the darn plug for the ignition.
I think we'll spray a little luba dube in there because we're going to be pulling it out, and by wiggling the wire down here, I can see this is the pickup and here is the plug for the pickup on the frame. We'll go ahead and unplug that from the frame. She's a dry one. Leave those two there. We lost our special clip thingy. Here we go. We got it unplugged so when we take this off, this will go with it. I'm just going to pull it up a little bit too. So much for that program.
Now the next thing we're going to need to take off is this cup that has the two little windows that goes through there and tells it when to spark. This cup is attached to the end of one of the cams. Imagine that. Oh boy. No more big mysteries going on there, is there? I think we're ready to pull the cam cover. See there's the end of the cam, look at her. You'll also notice, we'll show you this real quick, even though you'll see it again later.
That little titty right there corresponds to that little notch and that's how these two windows will know when it's going on for that chinga. We're going to go ahead and remove the cam cover now. If I remember correctly, most of these bolts are different lengths, so one of the tricks that you can use to keep track of these is you can get a piece of cardboard and draw a picture of the cover and poke some holes in it and stick the darn bolts in the holes.
The other way you can figure it out when you have the cover off is to put the bolts in and they should all have the same amount of thread showing, but we'll have a look here. It's been a long time since I took one of these off. There's another trick I used to use to keep track of where the screws go. I had a really long magnet and what I would do is pick a starting point. Since this is the top one I'd put that one first, then that one, that one, that one, all the way around in a line.
Just be careful when you put it back together that all the bolts are going, the screws are going back in the place where they came out of. Only two more to go here. All right, I went ahead and figured I'd go ahead and demo this little job here because it just makes life a lot easier. Already I can see those two are different. That one's longer than the other ones. Short one, long one. Long one. When we're ready to go back together this will make life a lot easier and we will also won't lose any of our screws that way.
All right, got them all out. Cam cover off. Yes, right. That thing's stuck. Really? Are you kidding me? You do want to have something underneath there as you can plainly see there's a bunch of freaking oil in there. We've got our cam cover broke free, somewhat. There she comes. Just wiggle her on off of there. We got a breather on there, that's not helping matters very much, is it? Lovely Harley likes to use these stupid pinch clamps that you can't just unthread it and take it off now, can you?
Look one of our cams came out with the cover. Oh bummer. Good thing we're changing them. Now the timing's all out of whack. Gosh, darn it. All right, let's get this hose off of here. There she goes. I think we got the clamp mangled enough that it'll come off now. There we go. It really doesn't matter if we show you how the marks line up because we are going to be putting new cams in there and we're going to show you how those marks line up when you're putting the new cams in.
We are going to be putting a new gasket on here. This part's going to be really hard, watch. We're going to remove these old cams. Oh boy that was tough. Oh my goodness. There's another one. There's the last one. All we got to do now is clean up this mess because we're going to be putting a new gasket on there after we put our new cams in, so let's get that done.