How to Remove a Sportster Cam Cover

by Don Davis
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There are two common reasons to remove your cam cover. The first reason is to change out the cam or cams and if that is your intention you should know that as part of that process you should cut your standard pushrods with a bolt cutter, pull them out and replace them with adjustable pushrods. Or you might simply have found a cam cover you think looks better and if that is your motivation this is a very simple, nuts and bolts job. The procedure is identical on all Harley V-Twins, so once you know how to do this to your Sportster you can do the same thing to any air-cooled Harley.

Step 1

Park your Sportster in gear with the ignition off and the bike leaning left on its jiffy stand.

Step 2

Remove the five ignition cover screws with a socket wrench and a Torx or Allen socket. The socket you use will depend on the year and engine model of your Sportster. Ignition covers on current models are fastened with T20 Torx screws.

Step 3

Unscrew the nine Allen bolts that hold the cam cover to the engine block and the cam support plate using a socket wrench and a 1/4 inch Allen socket. Remove the bolts in a "crossing pattern" which means you should remove the bolts in pairs that are on opposite sides of the cover rather than in pairs that are right next to each other. Removing and fastening bolts this way prevents the cover from warping.

Step 4

Remove and discard the cam cover gasket. Replace this gasket when you begin to reinstall or replace the cam cover.

Step 5

Refasten the cam cover to the engine using the cross-pattern sequence described in the Harley-Davidson shop manual for your Sportster to tighten the Allen bolts. The sequence begins by tightening the bolts at 11, five and seven o'clock. Tighten the bolts with a 1/4 inch Allen socket and a Torque wrench to 150 inch pounds of torque.

Step 6

Refasten the ignition cover to the cam cover using a socket wrench and a Torx or Allen socket. Harley-Davidson does not specify a torque tightening range for these screws.

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