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Thread: 73 shovelhead head bolt question following rebuild

  1. #1

    Default 73 shovelhead head bolt question following rebuild

    I have approximately 370 miles since the top end was rebuilt. I actually bought the bike with only 60 miles on the top end rebuild. After the rebuild the bike was started and allowed to run for awhile before changing the oil and filter. The oil was changed again just before I bought the bike.

    I was informed that I should re-torque the cylinder head bold down again after about 300 miles. My question is how often should I check the cylinder head bolts to ensure they are torqued down to specs? Is this common practice, do most of you guys do this on a regular basis?

    One other question. How many miles would you suggest I put on her before I push the speed up to about 70-75? So far I've been trying to keep it under 65, and varying the speed as I ride.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Upper Yarra Valley, Victoria. Australia


    Hi Dude.
    If the head surface is nice and flat, I wipe both surfaces with acertone and start at 55 ft lbs, then 60 ft lbs, and finally 65 ft lbs. That sequence may be considered too cautious, but it has always worked for me. I use James gaskets and don't re torque after the initial tighten and have never blown a head gasket.
    When I pull engines apart, I find a lot of heads pulled down to ridiculous poundage which warps the head. You have to walk around the bike a few times as you stagger the load but its worth it when your out the road.
    Running a new engine in....the hardest chore ever
    Last edited by Steve Little; 07-11-2017 at 11:57 PM. Reason: added the word "sequence"
    Steve Little
    Upper Yarra Valley. Victoria.
    AMCA member 1950

  3. #3


    Thanks for the reply. Your description of the process it excately how it was done, so I feel better about the cylinder head bolts. I lossen the top motor mount and checked a few head bolts in the proper sequence but they were all tight as could be.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Northern Colorado


    Have a look at the S&S Cycle website, they have info on breaking in a new motor

  5. #5


    Thanks good info at the S&S website.

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