Home Tips & Tricks How to Set the Timing on Shovelhead Points

How to Set the Timing on Shovelhead Points


The term “Shovelhead” refers to a Harley-Davidson Big-Twin engine that was produced from circa 1966 to 1984. The first generation Shovelhead from 1966 through 1969 was actually the same engine as the Panhead engine that it replaced, except for the updated cylinder heads.
All Shovelheads came from the factory with a standard breaker points ignition until the 1978 model year. While the later capacitive-discharge electronic ignition systems produce more top-end horsepower, the original points system is simple and reliable. One of its advantages is that even a neophyte can easily set the timing statically while the engine is not running.

Things You’ll Need

Service manual, Timing test lamp, Spark plug wrench, 3/8 inch hex wrench, Flat-blade screwdriver