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Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them









Building a Big Twin Engine

Exclusive look at Harley's Engine Assembly Plant

Photos by Genevieve Schmitt; click on photos for slideshow
9/20/2007

As part of a media event, WRN Editor, Genevieve Schmitt, toured the factory where Harley-Davidson manufactures its big twin engines. That is all of Harley's engines except for the Sportster XL engines. Those are made at a different location. This Pilgrim Road assembly plant is located in Milwaukee, the headquarters of Harley-Davidson Motor Company. Unlike the XL engine factory, public tours of the big twin facility are not given. So here's an exclusive look inside at some of the action. Click on images for a larger view.
Ron Ackerman, plant manager, describes the connecting rod assembly unit. Jen Gruber, Harley-Davidson's communication project manager, looks on.
Ron Ackerman, plant manager, describes the connecting rod assembly unit. Jen Gruber, Harley-Davidson's communication project manager, looks on.

This is Terri Weis (looks like she could be our mom!) who works as a powertrain technician II assembler. Terri puts the shifter lever on and starts the headbolts. Bet you're mom can't do that.
This is Terri Weis (looks like she could be our mom!) who works as a powertrain technician II assembler. Terri puts the shifter lever on and starts the headbolts. Bet you're mom can't do that.

The large orange machine is a robotic piece of equipment.
The large orange machine is a robotic piece of equipment.

They sure look like they're enjoying their jobs! Left is Marilyn Brooks, powertrain technician II assembler; she torques the rocker arms. In the yellow shirt is Maria Abadie, also a powertrain technician II assembler, who torques the rocker box bolts. Way to go, girls!
They sure look like they're enjoying their jobs! Left is Marilyn Brooks, powertrain technician II assembler; she torques the rocker arms. In the yellow shirt is Maria Abadie, also a powertrain technician II assembler, who torques the rocker box bolts. Way to go, girls!

Engine cylinders.
Engine cylinders.

Engines getting ready for final assembly.
Engines getting ready for final assembly.

Input shafts after being heat treated.
Input shafts after being heat treated.

Connecting rods piled in bins. A connecting rod connects the piston to the crank shaft.
Connecting rods piled in bins. A connecting rod connects the piston to the crank shaft.

This is an interesting piece that I'm told is one of a few components in its original form from when the company started making motorcycles. It's a rocker arm. There are four in each engine (two in fronts and two in rear). They are located in the cylinder head and control movement
between the cam, pushrod, and intake or exhaust valves.
This is an interesting piece that I'm told is one of a few components in its original form from when the company started making motorcycles. It's a rocker arm. There are four in each engine (two in fronts and two in rear). They are located in the cylinder head and control movement between the cam, pushrod, and intake or exhaust valves.


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