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Sportster 883 to 1200 Upgrade
by Rick 'Rickko' Eliopoulos

Many riders have asked about how to upgrade the Sportster 883 engine to a 1200. Rickko sent us step-by-step instructions on his experience in performing his own upgrade. The attention to detail in this article is excellent. If you want to perform this upgrade yourself, these instructions are the starting point you'll need. Especially helpful is the reference list of parts required and the estimated cost. 

PREFACE

The sections below describe the way to perform an  883 to 1200 upgrade. It can be done differently but my take on this is the more you read and familiarize yourself with information such as this the better prepared you are to tackle the task yourself so reading this should be a helpful guide into what you will experience.

This rebuild consists of choosing Wiseco dished 9.5:1 pistons, X-Hasting rings, Harley-Davidson base gaskets, Bartel’s .027 head gasket kit, Andrews N2 Cams, Yost Power Tube and normal Stage I modifications (i.e. Screamin’ Eagle (SE) air cleaner, slip-ons, 45/180 re-jet, SE coil, SE 1200 Ignition module and the Vance & Hines SS2R racing exhaust system).

The steps needed to upgrade an 883 to 1200

Disassembly 1200 conversion
Carburetor Upgrade 1200 conversion
Camshaft upgrade 1200 conversion
Determine Compression 1200 conversion
Re-assembling 1200 conversion
Road test and performance 1200 conversion
References and credits 1200 conversion

The Preparation

WHAT DO YOU DO ON RAINY WEEKENDS IF YOU DON'T WANT TO GET YOUR SCOOT WET?

It was one of those normal NW Oregon kind of days; ugly gray and rainy on and off. The only difference between Oregon rainfall and San Diego rainfall is that between wettings, in San Diego the streets and sidewalks dry out. If you had been in San Diego this weekend and had an 883 sitting in your garage, you might have done what I'm about to tell ya' too.

Saturday, I moved my cage out of the garage to make room to begin my performance upgrade on my 49-state Victory Red '94 883. The plan on the performance side: Wiseco dished pistons, James base gaskets, Bartel's .027" head gaskets, Andrews N2 cams, Yost Power tube, SE Ignition module. On the poseur points side: Black H-D mirrors, black K&N Super Bars, Vance & Hines SS2r racing exhaust, black shocks (Progressive or Koni's), rear sets and much more (of course). I've already done Stage I modifications (i.e. SE air cleaner kit, re-jet carburetor, slip-ons, SE fork brace, etc.).

As the 883 sits, with its trademark classic H-D peanut tank and only 6,200 miles on the odometer, its perfect! Good power, nary a cough through its re-jetted CV, nimble handling, and narrow enough to split the tightest lanes in freeway stop and go traffic. But perfection can always be improved on, right?

After making a lot of room in the garage and laying an old white sheet down to put all the parts upon, I began stripping the scoot. I logged each step as I went along, for one reason, I'm kind of anal-retentive, for another, so I remember how to put it all back together again , and lastly, to type this story up so that some future 'wrench' can find it archived here for reference.

The good news is, I had every tool I needed to strip the scoot down and remove the jugs except a 12 pt 1/2" socket for the head bolts. The bad news, none really. Well, I was a little nervous when I came into the garage Sunday morning and found the scoot leaning over on its jiffy stand. No biggie you might be thinking' but when I left it Saturday night it was sitting on a Dunwel Lift about 6" off the ground! I'll elaborate on that in a later article.

Now its Monday. The heads and cylinders have been removed. All the parts are labeled and laying on that old sheet. Tomorrow I'm taking the cylinders in to be bored and honed and the heads to be ported and valves & seats reground a little for improved flow.

While I'm waiting to get 'them back I'll be doing the Yost Power Tube upgrade. Then, on another free night, I'll be pulling off the cam gear cover and begin swapping my stock cams with the Andrews N2 high torque cams.

While doing the Yost Power Tube upgrade I'll bump my main jet up to a #180 from the #170 I'm running now. The slow jet is a #45. If I notice pinging or poor higher RPM performance after the upgrade is done, I'll swap the #180 with a #185.

I just thought back and realize its been 38 years since me and my high school bud first tore into an old '50 Ford flathead. That was my first experience working on engines. Since then I've completely torn an old Renault 4CV down to its block replacing its innards. And along the way, fooled around with VW's and Mercedes engines and carburetors for many years. The only thing that's changed from those days is, I've got a creeper seat and a lift. In the old days I did all my work while the cars sat jacked up on the street at the curb.

It wasn't until home computers became popular that I realized you could have just as much fun tearing into them, modifying 'them (making' 'them go faster), then buttoning 'them up and never get your hands dirty. That's when I stopped working on cars but I must confess, I am enjoying getting a little dirty again working on this project.

It's always amazing to me to think as you see all the individual parts laying on the floor, that when put together (the right way), these inanimate pieces of metal and rubber can come to life creating that famous Harley sound, motion, and big grin on my face as I head into the wind!

Copyright 1998 Rick Eliopoulos All rights reserved.
Project start date: 28 March 1998
Project end date: 12 April 1998

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Table of Contents
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Modification, Installation, Maintenance and Tuning Index  will help you find most of the information you want on one page.

How to get Professional Tuning Results at home
Testing the Innovate Motorsport LM-1 portable air fuel meter

Profession Tuning on a Shade Tree Budget

Veypor VR2 Data Logger and Instrument Panel
Video Installation and Demo
Purchase VR2


Engine Performance
How to Build a
TC96 2007 Engines
TC88 70HP Stage1  
TC95 128HP Stage 3
TC95 100HP Street
 
TC96 2007 Stage 1/2
EVO 64 HP Stage 1
EVO 74 HP Stage 2
EVO 82 HP Stage 3
EVO 95 HP Stage 3
883 to 1200 Upgrade
Shovelhead Modifications

New EFI for EVO and TC

Performance Gallery
Horsepower Gallery
Evolution 80
Shovelhead
Sportster
Twin Cam 88/95
Evolution Unlimited
Sportster Unlimited
Drag Strip Gallery
Land Speed Racing Gallery
CV Carburetor
Modifying the CV carb
Tuning a CV carb
Camshafts
Selecting a cam
Install a TC 88/95 cam
Install a Big Twin cam
Install Sportster cams

Camshaft Specifications
Twin Cam
EVO
Shovel
XL


Exhaust Systems
EVO Exhaust Testing
TC Exhaust Testing
Khrome Werks AR100 test
Making Drag Pipes Work

SHOP TALK
Shop Manual
Carburetor
Carburetor Troubleshooting
Exhaust
Ignition
Finding Manifold Leaks
Camshafts
Cylinder Heads
Pistons and Cylinders
Clutch
Belt Drive
Shop Manual Appendix
$20 Bike Lift
Plug Wires
Spark Plugs
Engine Tuning
Nitrous Oxide
Motor Oil
Stutter Box
General Information
WEB Links
Buy Books and Manuals
Miscellaneous
Performance Calculations
Estimate Horsepower
Estimate 1/4 Mile Time
Estimate Top Speed

Engine Displacement
Exhaust Length
Gear Ratios
MPH at RPM
Air Density

The Nightrider Diaries
The ramblings of a genius a, a madman and something in between.

Where is Sifton Cams?

Autocom Active-7 tested

Harley-Davidson EFI
-EFI basics explained
-EFI modifications explained

183 HP, 2 carbs, 2680cc

Copyright 1997-2006  Stephen Mullen, Oldsmar, FL -+-