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Bikernet Trike Riders


Branch O’Keeffe PT Heads for Twin-Cams



When Danny Seybold bought his 103 Cubic Inch 2013 HD Trike the first thing he did was put a Stage 1 Kit in it. The kit came from Zippers Performance and included a Khrome Werks header system, Zippers High Flow Air Cleaner and a Thunder Max ECM.

Danny was very happy with the system and how it ran but like many owners of Trikes he wanted some more power to move the heavier weight of this type of motorcycle. While Harley has increased the engine cubic inch size of engines over the years it has not solved this issue.

He asked me to help and I told him I would contact Berry Wardlaw at Accurate Engineering in Dothan Alabama. To me Berry is The To Go To Guy if you want a performance and or exotic motorcycle engine built. Since Berry is also a very good friend he gave me the information I was looking for.

 Berry came up with a program that would include a Zippers Performance - 575 Red Shift Cam, Red Shift Dual Piston Chain Tensioners, Heavy Duty Adjustable Push Rods, Baisley Bypass Spring, and Set of S&S Lifters.

 The Heads were to be shipped to Charlie at Branch O’Keeffe in Signal Hill, California to have them made into their PT Heads for Twin-Cams. Branch is one of the oldest names in Harley Davidson Aftermarket industry, and is known today as Branch-O’Keefe. If the name sounds familiar, it should. The company was started in 1969 by Jerry Branch with the goal to change people’s ideas when it came to pairing performance products and Harley Davidsons. Branch-O’Keefe has many hours of R&D and PT style head is specifically designed to provide low-end torque that is often required for loaded-down long distance motorcycles or in this case the heavier trike. The Compression ratio is based around a figure of 9.5-1 when used with the factory flat topped pistons. That got bumped a little when a .030 cometic head gasket was used instead of the stock Harley one.

 I would take the motorcycle apart and re-assemble and document the work for this tech article.

Even though I will try to cover the procedure to perform the work done on this engine I strongly suggest you have a Harley service manual as there are slight changes and torques for different years. Also pay Very Close Attention to Instructions that come with parts being installed.

 The motorcycle was put in neutral, the main fuse was removed and then the seat and fuel tank.


 During removing and later re-assembling parts the engine will have to be rotated so the primary chain cover was removed. I feel that turning the engine over with the compensator bolt is a lot safer and precise than jacking the rear wheels off the lift and turning them with the motorcycle in gear.

 Do Not Attempt to Rotate Engine By Removing Cam Cover And Using Gear Bolts

 The pushrod cover clips were removed followed by the rocker box covers and sparkplugs. The engine was then rotated in a counterclockwise direction using the compensating bolt until both lifters were at their lowest point.  The two bolts holding the breather to the rocker arm support plate are removed followed by loosening the 4 bolts holding the support to the rocker box ¼ turn at a time until they are loose. The rocker arm support plate was removed from the rocker box.


 The procedure was repeated for the other head.

 The rocker box was then removed from each head.


The intake and exhaust was removed from the heads.

  Each of the head bolts were loosened ¼ turn until loose and removed. The head was then removed from the cylinder and PVC Pipe was used as a spacer with the head bolts to snug the cylinder to the engine case so as not to disturb the seal of the cylinder to the engine case.


 The heads were then cleaned enough to be shipped to Branch O’Keeffe. Care was taken to make sure the heads did not get damaged in transit.

The Heads Were Being Worked On In CA. The Cam Side Was Being Done In FL.

Installing Cam And Other Related Parts.

While the heads were in California being worked on the cam install was done. Again a Harley shop manual is recommended.

The 4 screws holding the lifter cover were removed and a magnet was used to remove the lifters from the engine case.

The 10 screws holding the cam cover were removed (note: these screws are 1 ¼ long and should not be mixed with other screws.)

The primary chain tensioner was removed and using a Crankshaft/Camshaft Locking Tool the bolts holding the cam gear and crank were removed. The chain was marked with white out so it would go back on in the same direction as it had been and limit wear. The gears were then removed.


 The 4 screws holding the oil pump were removed following the pattern in the shop manual, then the 6 screws holding the cam support plate to the engine case. The cam plate was then removed by carefully prying it off the dowel pins in the engine case.


 Using a “Jims” tool number 993-2 the cam bearings were removed and new ones installed using a “Jims” tool number 1278-1. The reason I mention these tools is that care must be taken when removing and installing these bearings as to get the bearings set to the proper depth and not damage the engine case. 


 The retaining ring was removed from the front camshaft.  Do not mix washers. The front one is 0.100. The chain direction was marked, rear chain tensioner removed and cams removed from cam plate. 

 The cams and chain were lubricated with assembly lube and installed in the cam plate making sure the timing marks were lined up. The 0.100 spacer was installed on front camshaft with a new retaining ring. The new Zippers Dual Piston Chain tensioner was installed and torqued to 100-120 inch lbs.


 The Camplate was mounted to a “Feuling” PSI Test Tool part: 9010 to check the pressure relief valve operation. This engine was getting an upgrade to a Baisley-LMR-2 Spring that would increase the pop off pressure assuring higher oil pressure. I should note the pressure relief operation can be checked with or without the cams installed.


  Danny wanted to up-grade to a Feuling oil pump and that was done at this time. Following the instructions from Feuling the oil pump was mounted to the Camplate and the assembly installed into crankcase. With the Camplate on the dowel pins and the scavenger side of the pump in the port the 6 screws were installed finger tight, the engine was rotated by the compensator bolt to center the Camplate to the crankshaft and then torqued to 10 inch lbs. The engine was again rotated and torque increases until final torque of 90-120 inch lbs.

 The crank and cam sprockets were installed without the chain and a straight edge place across the face of them. They were even so sprockets were removed, chain installed and sprockets re-installed. Following the specifications in the Harley manual the bolts had red thread locker applied and using the Crankshaft/Camshaft Locking Tool torqued. Both are tightened to 15 foot Lbs and the backed off (360 degrees) and the rear cam sprocket then torqued to 34 foot lbs and the crank sprocket bolt to 24 foot lbs,


 The cam cover and a new gasket were installed and the cover torqued to factory specifications of 125-155 inch lbs following the pattern in the shop manual.

 The new S&S lifters were taken apart and inspected and re-assembled using a minimal amount of oil in them. I will explain more when we get to the adjustment part of this article. The new lifters were lubricated with engine assembly oil and placed in the engine with the oil hole facing inward and the flat sides facing front and rear. The anti-rotational pin was installed followed by the lifter cover and new gasket then torqued to 90-120 inch lbs in a cross wise pattern.



 Since I have heads done by Branch in the past I was not surprised by the quality of the work done when the set for Danny’s trike were returned.


 It was decided to use Cometic Gasket kit C9844 for this engine because of their superior quality and it include the .030 head gasket. I should note that other kits have gaskets of different thickness.

 The cylinder head alignment dowel O-ring is not used when using a MLS Gasket

 All surfaces were checked for cleanness and the head gasket placed on the head and checked it fit properly.


 The head was placed on the cylinder and the previously cleaned head bolts were lubricated with light machine oil including the underside of the flange. Excess oil was wiped away and the two short bolts were installed on the sparkplug side and the two longer ones on the pushrod side.


 The 4 bolts were tightened finger tight. Following the sequence that comes with the gasket set the heads were torqued to 9 foot lbs, then to 14 foot lbs followed by 22 foot lbs and 35 foot lbs and a final torque of 42 foot lbs. This procedure makes sure the heads are tightened slowly and evenly.


 The rocker boxes were then installed making sure the gaskets were correctly covering the breather channel.

 Using a small amount of Blue Thread locker place the two long bolts to the left side of the engine and the four other bolts to the interior. Alternately tighten the bolts to 120-168 inch lbs following the sequence in the service manual.

  Apply a small amount of oil to the baffle O-ring and install it in the rocker box. NOTE: Do not confuse the baffle hole O-ring with the top pushrod O-ring (smaller inner diameter).


 NOTE: Adjust One Cylinder At A Time And Do Not Move Until Push Rod Adjustment Has Been Completed.

 Previously I mentioned taking apart the new lifters. Some will say this is unnecessary but I do that to assure there are no issues with them. It is very rare but there have been incidents in the past. Better safe than sorry, plus in this case the time to adjust the pushrods are shortened.


 Rotate the engine until both lifters are at the lowest position for the cylinder you are working on.

Adjust the pushrods to their shortest position, apply assembly lube to the ends of the pushrods and install the pushrods and covers with the slightly shorter pushrods in the intake. Note: The pushrod covers were replaced to allow them to be compressed enough to adjust the pushrods. Confirm all pushrod O-rings are in place. Put oil down the hole in the push rod.

 The rocker arm stands had been previously inspected for wear and oil was pumped through the hole in the arm where the pushrod goes until it came out the other end. The stand was then placed in the rocker box making sure the breather baffle O-ring was in place.

 It is critical that there is no spring pressure to the rocker arms when they are installed. Install the four bolts and tighten them equally in an X pattern ending with a final torque of 18-22 foot lbs.

  Since I had taken the lifters apart and removed some of the fluid while inspecting them I adjusted the pushrods out until I felt them bottom out. I double checked and when satisfied I shortened the push rod until I was able to Spin It. I then tightened the lock nut.

 NOTE: If you do not take the lifter apart simply follow the detailed instructions that come from Zippers Performance with the pushrods.

 Both procedures work and what is done is making a semi-solid hydraulic lifter which works very well. It also allows proper valve train control through the complete operating range of the engine.


  When done rotate engine and repeat on the other cylinder.

  Push pushrod covers into upper and lower O-rings and install spring cap retainers.

  Install the rocker box cover, intake and other parts following the instructions in the Harley service manual.


 This motorcycle has a Thunder Max ECM (engine control module) that was part of the stage 1 kit. I contacted Dan Fitzmaurice at Zippers Performance and he sent me a new program to load into the Thunder Max before starting the engine. That is a nice thing about this ECM, you change parts just adjust the program and ride the motorcycle for 50 miles or so and it tunes itself. The program installed was perfect. The motorcycle started right up and was checked for leaks and other general things while the lifters pumped up.

 NOTE: It is not uncommon for some valve train noise on engine start up until the engine reaches operating temperature and all air has been purged from the system.

 When I took it for a test ride I was more than impressed, it hauls ass. Danny is now having some fun with it leaving other trikes and most two wheelers sitting at the light as he get down the road.



Thanks to Accurate Engineering: http://www.accurate-engineering.com/

Zippers Performance: http://www.zippersperformance.com/

Branch O’Keeffe:  http://www.branchokeefe.com/

JIMS: http://www.jimsusa.com/

FEULING: http://www.feulingparts.com/










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