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Thread: Throttle & Shift Swap

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    539

    Default Throttle & Shift Swap

    I recently purchased a 1938 Indian Four and need to know what I need to do to swap the throttle and ignition advance as well as the shifter from right to left side.

    Do I need anything for the shifter arm and should the throttle and ignition cables be long enough to swap across?

    All advise is appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Buzz Kanter
    Buzz Kanter
    Classic-Harley.Info Classic Harley History
    [Classic American Iron Forum Classic Harley Forum
    [American Iron Magazine Harley Magazine

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    19

    Default Throttle and Shift Swap

    I just purchased a 37 Chief and have the same setup as Buzz. I want to swap throttle and advance and move shift lever to right side. Can I get by with just one longer cable? Will I need a new shift lever for the right side relocation. Will shift lever mount up with hardware being used now on bike or will I need something else? Thanks for your input and help.

  3. #3

    Default

    Howdy Buzz,

    Both of mine were left siders from the factory, but, if you have a shifter bellcrank that looks like this one below and has two key way slots visible once the retaining nut/washer removed then you're good to go. Now, on the cables, your current ignition cable inner/outer is easily long enough to adapt to a throttle but your current throttle is not. You'll need to order an inner/outer.

    Now, unlike a post-war chief with more direct routing of the cables through ports on the handlebars only inches away from the control sleeves, yours wind their way through the handlebar shafts to the center casting and then have to make some pretty tight curves behind the fork shield to get where they need to go. It is very difficult to get this configuration to glide effortlessly like the post-wars. Thus, the increased drag of rotating a distributor body over just a butterfly in your carb translates into alot of resistance within the control sleeve. You'll likely need to affix your outer control cable with nuts on either side of the anchor plate to ensure it doesn't shift limiting ignition advance. You need that full 24 degree sweep.

    Scoop, don't know anything about a 37 Chief just that I'm now ready to get a crusty one after making room for it with the departure of this Steib side car.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    285

    Default Control Conversion.

    On my 29 four, I just pulled the cables out of the handlbars a swaped em around. I believe I had to change the spirals as well. So far, that was the easy part but now I still need to rig up for left hand shift without modifying (cutting up) the original shifter parts.My lever has no keyways on the lever end. Has anyone tried installing the lower lever to the shaft with set screws so as not to cut into the shaft??. I dont want to grill and pin it or the like........Joe.
    Joe AMCA# 3435

  5. #5

    Default

    Howdy Chaps,

    Scratch that dimwitted observation about the slots in the shifter bellcrank, I was thinking about a post-war Chief, thus, not sure what the configuration is on a R/S 4.

    But, spirals and internal controls shouldn't require any changes - basicallly you're just swapping control wires from one side to the other - ..... unless the previous owner was not only shifting on the right side, but really being adventurous with a forward rotating throttle spiral.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    285

    Default Swaping Spirals.

    I back checked on my conversion to right hand throttle on this 29 four. I had to change the spirals around because the throttle cable pulls to open the throttle and the magneto pushes to advance. I had to remove the right hand spiral and fit a left hand for the throttle, ending up with both spirals left hand. Yes, a pretty hairy control would result if not corrected....Joe
    Joe AMCA# 3435

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    539

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by scoop View Post
    I just purchased a 37 Chief and have the same setup as Buzz. I want to swap throttle and advance and move shift lever to right side. Can I get by with just one longer cable? Will I need a new shift lever for the right side relocation. Will shift lever mount up with hardware being used now on bike or will I need something else? Thanks for your input and help.
    Does it make sense for us to swap shifter arms & parts? You want a right shift, and I want a left shift set up on our Indian Fours.
    Buzz Kanter
    Classic-Harley.Info Classic Harley History
    [Classic American Iron Forum Classic Harley Forum
    [American Iron Magazine Harley Magazine

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Georgetown TX
    Posts
    196

    Default Lets see now...throttle is on the?

    Guys...... Is there anyone left out there who can ride a footshift Harley, then jump on an Indian...and then ride off on a 60's British and keep smoke from coming off their left and right brain lobes?

    All in all its best to go right side on some of these old bikes. Nothing ever is a problem until a situation arises and instinct takes over. I fired up my 66TT Triumph for a short ride down to the lake last night and momentarily thought I needed to adjust my rear brake...Damn its the gearshift lever! Just had to rib y'all. It still happens to all of us.

    Mechanically (and mentally) challenged in Texas
    Steve Klein
    AMCA Member 12176

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