Steel Thunder Custom Cycles Motorcycle Parts store for Harley-Davidson and custom bikes.

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Steel Thunder Custom Cycles
3418 Teagues Road
Marshfield, MO 65706

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 Tech Tip Page

Problem Solver Tech Tip #1:


"When your date is drunk,

bungee-cord her to the sissy bar."

- Dodger


Problem Solver Tech Tip #2:

Those valve cover thing-a-ma-bobs are really cool... skulls, dice, bullets, whatever. Trouble is, they are often metal and weigh enough more than the original plastic valve covers to throw your wheel out of balance. Really. Don't give up your custom valve stem covers, just make sure you have your wheels balanced with them on.


Proper Engine Break-In ...From our friends at S&S - this one is a little longer, so we gave it it's own page. If you have, or are getting, a new motorcycle or new engine, this is a VERY IMPORTANT read!!! (Page opens in new window.)Mark the direction on your belt so you can reinstall it correctly.

More engine questions? Tech tips from the experts: S&S technical Q&A (opens in new window)

Such as:

  • Should I use the 1993-up breather system or the earlier crankcase breather system?
  • What should I run for spark plug gap and spark plug brand?
  • What exhaust should I run on my S & S engine and are drag pipes ok?
  • What type of oil should I use?
  • What should I set my ignition timing at?
  • How do I adjust my lifter with your HL2T kit installed?

Tech Tip #4:

When you take the belt off your motorcycle while you are customizing or repairing it, and plan to put it back on, make sure you mark the direction it was originally traveling in so that you can reinstall it correctly. Otherwise stress may cause it to prematurely fail.

Tech Tip #5:

OIL LINE ROUTING - This is not really a tech tip, but a diagram of the oil line routing for FX/Softail 1993 & 1994 taken from the HD service manual. We have had to send this to a few people, so decided to post it online. Hey guys, get a manual! (Now there's a tech tip!)- See Oil Line Routing Diagram


Tech Tip #6: Question: Do I need a "Super E" or "Super G" S&S© carburetor?

The answer comes straight from S&S's 2004 catalog: "As a general rule we recommend a Super E carb for street engines up to about 100 cubic inches in displacement. The Super E's smaller 1 7/8" (47.6mm) bore size creates higher air velocity, which results in better low and midrange response and power. The Super G is recommended for street engines of no less than 90 cubic inch displacement. However, in spite of the fact that the Super G's larger 2 1/16" (52.3mm) bore size allows more air to pass, and generally provides more peak horsepower, slower air velocity at lower rpm causes poor throttle response and weaker midrange torque in engines under 100 cubic inches. For the vast majority of street engines in the 90-100 cubic inch displacement range we strongly recommend the Super E because of the improved low and midrange response. However, if maximum peak horsepower is the most important consideration, a Super G carb would be appropriate."

Tech Tip #7: How big a tire do you really need?

The size of your tire can seriously impact the handling of your bike, and can cause lots of extra work and expense to offset the engine. Fashion says "FAT", but how fat do you really need to go? Take a look at this photo below. The Sportster went from a 130 to a 180. This is all a matter of taste, of course, but we thought you should have a good comparison to start with.

Tire comparison - 250 series to the left, 180 in the center, and stock 130 to the right.

Tech Tip #8: Frame Terminology:

Confused by frame terminology? Let us confuse you further:

Rake and stretch explained.When looking at the specs for frames, the rake and stretch indicate the difference from a stock frame. The stretch in the downtubes ('up') is how much higher than stock the frame will be. The stretch in the backbone ('out') is how much longer than stock your frame will be. This effects the fitment of parts, as you can see. When rake is described, it is always in degrees. This is how far out it puts your front fork. (This can also be accomplished with raked triple trees, and sometimes this is a better way to pass inspection with very extended front ends.) Rake is where you should be careful It is the angle of the front end, and effects handling.


Tech Tip #9: Rake and Trail:

Click here to use the handy dandy RAKE AND TRAIL CALCULATOR - This is for your use, but is just for fun and information. We cannot be responsible for the accuracy of this tool. Please back up your calculations.

APPENDICE TO TIP #9:  For an even better rake and trail calculator and all the info you need, go to:

Tech Tip #10 - For Suspension and Shock tech information, terms, and FAQ click here.

Tech Tip #11 - Instruction Sheets:

For Kustomwerks products (KW part #'s) go to

BIG PROBLEM AVOIDER - Tech Tip #12 - ALWAYS check fitment of parts before sending out to get painted, powdercoated or chromed. If you are having the bike built, demand that this is done. Pre-assembly or Mock-up is an important step in motorcycle building that should never be bypassed. We have seen too many people cry the blues over a ruined paint/powdercoat job or an expensive chrome job because one mount was welded slightly off or some other adjustment had to be made. Bike building is not an exact science, and custom does not come in a box.

Save Your Engine - Tech Tip #13 - DO NOT USE AUTOMOTIVE OIL in your motorcycle. It will turn your engine into a black mess, and eventually destroy it. Motorcycle oil has detergent that cleans your engine while it runs. AND: If you are buying a used bike, casually ask what kind of oil has been used. If they mention a car oil, move on. (A friend of our recently had the bad luck of buying a motorcycle that the previous owner had used automotive oil in ... it cost him a bunch to get it fixed, and he was abused terribly by the mechanics. Just 39 thousand miles on the motor, and it cost him over $21 hundred to have it repaired. Don't let it happen to you!)

Tip #14 - Helpful Hint from Mid-USA catalog: An easy way to tell if your drive chain is worn out is to try to pull the chain straight back off the rear sprocket. If you can pull the chain half a tooth depth or more, replace the chain and check the sprockets. A new chain won't last long on worn sprockets. Chain in colors, chrome and gold.

Tip #15 - We are always amazed to see how many people trailer their motorcycle on it's kickstand.  This is a no-no.  You don't want the bike bouncing down the road on the kickstand.  Get the bike straight up, and cinch it down so the shocks are compressed a little.  You won't break your kickstand this way, and your bike will ride much better.

Tip #16 - What do those Harley-Davidson letter designations mean?  (Such as XL, FXST, FLH, etc.)  CLICK HERE FOR SIMPLE EXPLAINATION.

Tip #17 - It takes about a half hour or more of riding to charge up your battery.  If you make lots of short hops, you may want to get a trickle charger like Battery Tender, which will keep your battery good all year, and actually extend it's life.  DO NOT run your bike "to charge up the battery", it will not charge if it is not going down the road.  You will kill your battery that way, and possibly burn up your engine (we've seen it done).  Motorcycles only need a few minutes to "warm up" enough to ride.

Tip #18:  A VERY BIG PROBLEM AVOIDER:  If you MUST pressure wash your bike (do you really have to?), be very, very careful.  We have seen people destroy parts on their bikes by using the pressure washer at the car wash.  If you spray the wheels, the force can send water past the bearing, where it will be sealed in and cause rust and errosion.  Dangerous and costly!  Also, the spray can get into the electronics of your system and kill it dead.  Things like that... so think twice before power blasting water onto your motorcycle!

Click here for Tire Size Chart and Explanation of Sizing

We will continue to add tech tips as we can. Come again, and THANK YOU FOR VISITING!!



If you wish to purchase a product, call our toll-free order line: 1-866-889-7828 Mon-Fri 9-5 CST.

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With God anything is possible!

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Prefer to call in your order to Steel Thunder? Call toll-free: 1-866-889-7828. 9-5 CST M-F.


Please note that all prices are subject to change.


Steel Thunder Custom Cycles

3418 Teagues Road

Marshfield, MO 65706


We hope you'll come visit us ... we'd love to see your ride!



With God All Things are Possible!


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