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Thread: VL connecting rods - is forked forward critical?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Roswell, GA
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    54

    Default VL connecting rods - is forked forward critical?

    Just realized that my 36 VLD bottom end (recently assembled by Paul Freibus) has the forked connecting rod back and the single rod forward. Does this really matter? I've tried calling Paul, but they don't pick up, so left a message. Look at the Vendors thread for more on the topic of American Cycle Fab.

    Steve's book is very clear that HD assembled engines with the forked rod forward until 1939, when I guess it changed to forked rod back?
    Johnny Sells book on 45's goes into great detail on crank assembly, but doesn't mention connecting rod position at all.

    Just trying to determine if I need to take it back apart to correct this - does it really matter?
    1936 VLD in process
    1969 Honda Z50 K1 perfect!
    1985 Yamaha RZ350 resto-mod
    2006 KTM 950 Adventure
    2019 KTM 300 XCW

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    England
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    1,315

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    I would change your VL rods back to the factory position with the forked rod at the front. Shop Dope 218 of 04 April 1941 describes the 1940 changes, with 45, 74 and 80 side valves, plus 61 inch overheads, having the forked rod at the front through 1939. After this time all models have the plain rod at the front, and the baffles are removed from all rear cylinders plus the ohv front. It must be something to do with holding oil in the forked rod to improve lubrication, but why do we have three years of engines with recirculating oil systems staying with the set-up from the once through motors? And why do we see so many VLs with the baffles bashed out and having done high mileage? I still believe Harley knew what they were doing, so would bring your motor back to the factory arrangement.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2014
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    Roswell, GA
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    Thank you Steve!
    1936 VLD in process
    1969 Honda Z50 K1 perfect!
    1985 Yamaha RZ350 resto-mod
    2006 KTM 950 Adventure
    2019 KTM 300 XCW

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Beautiful Northern New Mexico
    Posts
    2,765

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    Early rods had a "window" in them. it worked just fine with the baffled cases where crankcase pressure and oil mist was the source of cylinder lubricant. When the rods were reversed, the "window" was no longer part of them and they became a sort of "slinger" throwing oil onto the cylinder walls. The baffles were modified but so were the rings, with oil control rings appearing for the front cylinder to overcome the excess oil on them. With OEM VL rods there is little chance of splashing/slinging too much oil on the cylinder walls as the 'window" allows it to run out. What rings were used in the build? If it has oil control rings on the pistons the rod position will be negated.
    Robbie Knight Amca #2736

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Roswell, GA
    Posts
    54

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    Rubone,
    Please see the photos, nothing here I recognize as a "window" in either rod. If I'm missing something, please point it out. Also, the pistons have oil control rings. Additionally, the cylinders were Nikisiled.
    Thanks for the info!
    IMG_0441[959].jpgIMG_0442[958].jpgIMG_0440[962].jpg
    1936 VLD in process
    1969 Honda Z50 K1 perfect!
    1985 Yamaha RZ350 resto-mod
    2006 KTM 950 Adventure
    2019 KTM 300 XCW

  6. #6

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Central Illinois, USA
    Posts
    4,291

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    Quote Originally Posted by kitabel View Post
    Female only has a window

    b7_1_b.JPG
    When they moved the female to the rear, Folks,

    They closed the window so it would collect and throw oil to the front cylinder.
    A rod with a window cannot.

    ....Cotten
    AMCA #776
    Dumpster Diver's Motto: Seek,... and Ye Shall Find!

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