How to Install a Harley-Davidson Shovelhead Cam

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According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary online, a cam is a rotating or sliding cylinder that is located in the camshaft of the motorcycle. The cam transforms rotary motion into linear motion. It is possible for an individual to install a new camshaft into a Harley-Davidson Shovelhead motorcycle. The Nightrider website explains that installing a new cam will improve the overall performance of the bike by increasing the horsepower. The process of installing the new cam is relatively straightforward for anyone who has some experience working with motorcycles.

Things You'll Need

  • Camshaft
  • Oil filter
  • 3 quarts of oil
  • Antifreeze
  • Assembly lubricant
  • Camshaft shim
  • Camshaft bearing
  • Socket and ratchet set
  • Wrenches
  • Screwdrivers
  • Hammer
  • Hydraulic jack
  • Place the hydraulic jack in position under the back wheel of the Harley-Davidson and slowly elevate the motorcycle so the cam installation can begin. The Nightrider website explains that the engine needs to be disconnected after the gasoline is drained from the carburetor. Continue by removing the spark plugs and exhaust system before draining out all of the engine oil.

  • Drain all of the transmission oil. Loosen the foot clutch and brake pedal, if necessary, in order to gain better access to the internal portion of the Harley-Davidson bike. The Nightrider website explains that the initial preparation steps are designed to make the installation process as safe and easy as possible.

  • Use a flathead screwdriver in order to remove the spring cap retainer and loosen the pushrod tubes. Once the pushrod tubes are loosened they can be removed. Use a screwdriver in order to remove the ignition sensor and the timing gear cover.

  • Locate the timing marks of the old cam before removing it from the motorcycle. Make sure the camshaft thrust washer is also removed from the engine. The Nightrider website explains that the cam bearing should be removed and replaced with a new cam bearing.

  • Place the cam shim over the rear of the new camshaft before the installation begins. Apply assembly lubricant to the camshaft lobes, bearing, and camshaft gear in order to protect the parts when the engine is eventually started. Place the new camshaft into the Harley-Davidson Shovelhead engine.

  • Reinstall the original pushrod tubes as well as the timing sensor plate and cover. Connect the exhaust system, foot pedal, and brake pedal before connecting the spark plugs. Install a new filter before inserting new engine fuel and transmission oil.

  • Connect the battery and turn on the fuel before testing the bike to make sure that the new cam is working correctly.

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