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Thread: AMF = bad Harley?

  1. #1
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    Apr 2009
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    Question AMF = bad Harley?

    Hi everybody.

    I have a 70FLH in quite pristine condition that with the exception of relative hard shifting is a wonderful machine...

    I was willing to ask the experienced ones two questions:

    A) were 1970 machines somehow affected (design, materials, sub-suppliers) already by the brand new AMF management?

    B) what is true behind the mythos of AMF period as the worse period? If indeed true, which were the most notorious weaknesses and which models and years were suffering them?

    Kind regards.

    Chris.

  2. #2
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    Aug 2005
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    Default 1970flh

    Chris, I also have a 70fl. Had it many years, runs and rides great. I think AMF took over and H.D. in 1969. Lloyd

  3. #3
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    The worst AMF years are generally considered to be '73-76. I have a 73 FX whose engine was in need of a major overhaul at about 3000 miles due to improper hardening of the crankpin. In addition to workmanship issues, the were supposed cases of intentional sabotage, though I never personally saw any of them.
    VPH-D

  4. #4
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    Default

    Richard Farmer of Farmer's Harley Davidson in Orlando, Fl. told me the mid 70's were the worst for their franchise. He said that on more than one occasion a new buyer would get less than a mile away from their shop, walk back, and tell them where they could pick up the piece of sh*t. He said his biggest problem was flywheel balancing which led to many other problems. He was having Bo Laws high performance do dynamic balancing on the flywheels and getting some percentage of reimbursment from H-D. A lot of those bikes are doing fine today so obviously whatever problems they had are ancient history now.
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  5. #5
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    Default

    I have an '80 FLHS, that i purchased in february of 1981, and i would not part with it.....
    CHIEFJ48
    MEMBER #2786

    TO THE WORLD YOU MAY BE ONE PERSON, BUT TO ONE PERSON YOU MAY BE THE WORLD.

    LIFE IS NOT MEASURED BY THE NUMBER OF BREATHS WE TAKE, BUT BY THE MOMENTS THAT TAKE OUR BREATH AWAY

  6. #6
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    I replaced crankcases on one '70 FLH and knew of one other with the same problem. The cast in sleeve to hold the left main bearing came loose in the case. The castings were corrected by H-D and the problem was not very wide spread. It did occur on some early 1970 which were the first cases with the alternator boss. The Sportsters were big problems during the transition to 1000cc. Most of the bikes were OK until the switchover to assembly at York. That is when quality control really fell apart. As far as sabotage goes, I did get a couple engines with snap rings missing and one with a bolt in the crankcase. Also a new FLH with no oil to the lifters and discovered a broken off drill bit in the oil passage. Mistake or intentional? Who knows! By the late '70s things were much better. I bought a new '80 FLHT and if the drunk driver had missed me I would likely still have it!
    Robbie
    Robbie Knight Amca #2736

  7. #7
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    My 71 and I have spent 75,000 wonderful miles together. she had 22,000 on when I bought her and the motor was never apart. I've done the bottom end once, replaced pistons twice ( .020 over currently), and did the valves 3 times. She still runs like a champ and a new 96 incher doesn't run away on her to bad. I'd call that good service, I'm happy anyway.
    Brian Howard AMCA#5866

  8. #8
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    Feb 2009
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    Greensboro, NC-USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by chiefj48 View Post
    I have an '80 FLHS, that i purchased in february of 1981, and i would not part with it.....
    I had the 1981 FLHS, The Eagle Soars Alone, first year not AMF. Loved that bike, only made the transmission in that bike two years. I had 3rd gear go through the side of the transmission case for some reason, was very difficult to get another case. Lost it in a divorce to wife #2. I really liked the emblem on the tank. Rocky had one! I bought it new at Charlotte Harley Davidson, Dale Swarenger gave me a set of leather saddlebags, a leather HD coat, and 2 t-shirts, those were the days. Riding it back up I-85 to Greensboro, it started to snow! I rode home grinning like a mule eating briars! 80 ci Shovel, I miss that ol bike. Thanks for the memories chiefj48!
    Pete Cole AMCA #14441
    1947 Indian Chief

  9. #9
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by micmac View Post
    I had the 1981 FLHS, The Eagle Soars Alone, first year not AMF. Loved that bike, only made the transmission in that bike two years. I had 3rd gear go through the side of the transmission case for some reason, was very difficult to get another case. Lost it in a divorce to wife #2. I really liked the emblem on the tank. Rocky had one! I bought it new at Charlotte Harley Davidson, Dale Swarenger gave me a set of leather saddlebags, a leather HD coat, and 2 t-shirts, those were the days. Riding it back up I-85 to Greensboro, it started to snow! I rode home grinning like a mule eating briars! 80 ci Shovel, I miss that ol bike. Thanks for the memories chiefj48!
    that is funny, i rode mine home in the snow also!!
    CHIEFJ48
    MEMBER #2786

    TO THE WORLD YOU MAY BE ONE PERSON, BUT TO ONE PERSON YOU MAY BE THE WORLD.

    LIFE IS NOT MEASURED BY THE NUMBER OF BREATHS WE TAKE, BUT BY THE MOMENTS THAT TAKE OUR BREATH AWAY

  10. #10
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    Smile

    Many thanks to all for the answers!

    I guess things happened like often as a transition... 1970 should have been a year where HD was already under the lead of AMF but (hopefully) still not suffering from the problems you mention above.

    However, I find this machine very nice (with the exception of the battery cover that I definitively dislike! But this is personal...) and has proven to be reliable too me... Since I did not owned from new, unfortunatelly I can not say if some of the mentioned problems affected this one also!

    Happy ride, then!

    Chris.


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