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Unread 07-02-2016, 05:01 PM   #1
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Default 1976 Model D Complete Rebuild Thread

I decided to start a rebuild thread for a few reasons: To keep track of what I've done; share info on my trials and errors to benefit others; and get ideas from those of you who are much smarter than me. This thread may be really boring to a lot of people, but hopefully, there might be something good in it that others can use...

Background: I have always been a bit of a "gear head" - building Jeeps, cars, and motorcycles, even though I work in an office as a Corporate Marketing Manager. Working on mechanical stuff is my mental therapy. I've never had a golf cart but always kind of wanted one. When a Harley golf cart was available for next to nothing, I decided now was the time.

Use: I plan on riding it around our 3.5 acre yard and we also go to the beach a few times a year. We go to a great little community that allows golf carts on the street so I will also need to build a small, lightweight trailer as well.

Goals: Most importantly, it needs to be reliable. I don't want to be at the beach and have it breakdown a couple of miles away. I want it to be fairly fast but stable - that's why I've already added rear wheel spacers. And I want it to look good, be comfortable, and be a "Harley" golf cart. Frankly, if it was any other brand I wouldn't have been interested, even though I could buy a different cart that already meets my needs. It needs to have 4 seats, a roof and a windshield for any type of weather.

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Unread 07-02-2016, 05:10 PM   #2
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Default Re: 1976 Model D Complete Rebuild Thread

ENGINE -

When I got my cart it didn't run. The PO tried a variety of things - aftermarket carb, electric fuel pump, etc. A compression check showed that the top end was shot. I took apart the engine, bead-blasted everything, and sent a bunch of stuff to the powder coater's. I sent the cylinder to be bored and bought a new piston kit.

Assembly was straight forward with no real surprises and I replaced all of the bearings and seals in the bottom end. The outer half of the clutch housing was toast but I found a brand new one (in the original box) on eBay for $40. Imagine that... someone had that part sitting around for close to 40 years and never got rid of it!

Anyway, the engine runs strong (clocked it at 23.5 MPH yesterday on a flat surface) and the clutch works very smooth. I did install a new, genuine, Tillotson carburetor and a new muffler.

I bought all of the parts to convert it to electronic ignition, but due to a recent shoulder surgery - and the fact that it is running so well on the old points - I haven't had a chance to install it yet.

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Unread 07-02-2016, 05:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1976 Model D Complete Rebuild Thread

BATTERY TRAY -

The original battery tray and the electronics panel were completely rusted and the battery was going to fall through at any time.

While I was recuperating from surgery and bored out of my mind, I decided to make a new one.

I used 1.5" angle iron for the frame and a piece of aluminum diamond plate for the bottom. I welded the tray directly to the frame and spent a long time smoothing out the welds with a grinder because apparently I can't weld worth a crap with my left hand.
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Unread 07-02-2016, 05:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: 1976 Model D Complete Rebuild Thread

ELECTRICAL -

The wiring on this thing was a joke! Apparently over the last 40 years, people have been messing with it. A lot! A wire would start out green, be spliced to white, be spliced to yellow, then spliced to red. Four pieces of wire for 1 wire!

I downloaded a wiring diagram and redrew it in color. Then thought about what I want to add in the future and drew the wiring for those accessories as well. I then ripped out all of the wiring and re-wired the entire thing using 12 gauge wire. I know it's overkill, but it should last forever. I also soldered the terminals and used heat-shrink tubing, and routed everything up out of the way.

I need to be able to drive it at night, so I bought a 12" CREE LED lightbar on eBay for $30. I wanted LED as I have read that these old generators do not put out a lot of juice. I wasn't expecting much for $30 but was completely surprised by the quality and amount of light that it puts out. And when I turn it on, it doesn't even make my volt gauge flicker! I did have to move the Harley plaque down a few inches to be able to mount the light where I wanted it...

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Unread 07-02-2016, 05:50 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1976 Model D Complete Rebuild Thread

DASH / CONTROLS -

The first thing I changed was the key switch. The cart came with 1 key that was almost broken in half and the switch didn't turn very easily. I decided to go with a round barrel key switch so that it would match my Harley motorcycle.

The original choke cable was rusted solid so I bought a new one. I found a NOS Harley motorcycle voltmeter gauge on eBay and hooked it up to my new wiring.

I thought I would go "high tech" with my light switch so I bought a safety toggle switch that looks like it should belong on an F-18 fighter jet. The LED idiot light to the left glows blue to remind me the lights are on. The hole to the left of that, will be for a red LED idiot light that will come on when the cart is in reverse. I will also have a horn or beeper connected to it.

I have already designed a new placard to replace the old, torn-up stock one and it includes the new switches and lights but still retains the original look.

I plan on adding a tachometer, possibly a speedometer, and maybe a fuel gauge if I can figure out how to make a sending unit work with this gas tank. An hour meter will be mounted under the body.

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Unread 07-02-2016, 06:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1976 Model D Complete Rebuild Thread

FUTURE PLANS -

Frame: This winter I plan on stripping it down to the frame. I'm going to weld lightweight steel mesh to the bottom to keep branches and other debris from coming up but still allow it to breathe. I'll then sand blast it and have it powder coated.

Body: I am contemplating cutting the body in half lengthwise and making it about 6-inches wider. This will allow it to cover the rear wheels, make room for wider seats and a center console. The underside is going to be coated with orange Durban rubberized bed liner material and a lightweight insulating heat shield. The exterior will be gel coated in Harley orange. I will probably build a fiberglass storage area between the front and rear seats. One half will be a cooler for beverages and the other half just for lockable storage.

Suspension: I am probably going to raise it about 2 inches and install coil isolators and a new shock to smooth out the ride.

Tires & Wheels: Definitely new tires and wheels. Probably aluminum, probably wider and with a good offset so I can lose the wheel spacers. Maybe a little taller tires to get a few more MPH and reduce my RPMs.
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Unread 07-02-2016, 11:37 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1976 Model D Complete Rebuild Thread

Looking good.
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Unread 07-03-2016, 03:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1976 Model D Complete Rebuild Thread

Nice, I think when I get my 1980 classic model, I may install a voltmeter where the clock is installed. I would worry that cutting the body in 1/2 would weaken a very strong body. 3 1/2 acres is perfect for these. I am on 1 acre but in a subdivision that I have over a mile of blacktop road. As for a speedo, a Nuvi GPS works really well and is a clock as well. I just installed a power port on mine for power for the GPS. Downhill on mine I did hit 21-22 and that is almost scary fast with a 3 wheeler. Its sweet spot is cruising at 12-15. I see that my new to me classis model still has the governor and is listed at 12 mph top speed.

It looks like the 80-82 model Harleys did go back to the a panel mounted fuel gauge like the pre-75 models. So that model did have a sending unit inside the plastic fuel tank. I don't know if a sending unit/float from the 5 gal. steel tank models would work is it may not be calibrated to work with the bigger 8 gallon tank.
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Unread 07-03-2016, 04:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1976 Model D Complete Rebuild Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by smkummer View Post
Nice, I think when I get my 1980 classic model, I may install a voltmeter where the clock is installed. I would worry that cutting the body in 1/2 would weaken a very strong body. 3 1/2 acres is perfect for these. I am on 1 acre but in a subdivision that I have over a mile of blacktop road. As for a speedo, a Nuvi GPS works really well and is a clock as well. I just installed a power port on mine for power for the GPS. Downhill on mine I did hit 21-22 and that is almost scary fast with a 3 wheeler. Its sweet spot is cruising at 12-15. I see that my new to me classis model still has the governor and is listed at 12 mph top speed.

It looks like the 80-82 model Harleys did go back to the a panel mounted fuel gauge like the pre-75 models. So that model did have a sending unit inside the plastic fuel tank. I don't know if a sending unit/float from the 5 gal. steel tank models would work is it may not be calibrated to work with the bigger 8 gallon tank.
I would definitely have to modify the underbody metal support structure, and I would really be cutting it 4 pieces so I could widen the front seat area and have room for a console between the seats. The problem with this is that the top would also have to be widened since it would no longer cover the body. I'm also considering just molding some sweeping fiberglass fender flares. This would stop the mud slinging but would not add any additional passenger room.

That's great info about the 80-82 fuel gauges. Do you know if the plastic gas tanks are similar to my '76 plastic tank? If they're pretty close, I would think it would be pretty easy to install a sending unit in my tank...

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Unread 07-03-2016, 04:57 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1976 Model D Complete Rebuild Thread

Looked at the post: 1982 D model by raydhd to see pics of a 1982 tank.
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