When it comes to removal, Harley-Davidson windshields fall into one of two categories: quick-release and permanent. While quick-release models allow riders to select the windshield best-suited for the particular demands of the day, their stylistic possibilities are somewhat limited. If using a permanent windshield, a rider should know the proper way to remove the screws and bolts from the permanent windshields without damaging the bike’s paint job or stripping the nuts.
Available for all families of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, quick-release windshields come in both sport and touring sizes. These windshields have two pairs of clamps, which attach to the fork tubes on either side of the headlight. If you’re not sure whether your bike’s windshield is quick-release or not, start by searching for these fork tube clamps.
Once you’ve located the clamps, unlock all four before trying to remove the windshield. Each clamp is held in place by a curved lever that hugs the outside of the fork tube. Gently pull back on the tip of each lever to unlock its clamp.
Set the windshield face-down on a large, clean cloth. While the windshield is made of durable Lexan plastic, the material is sensitive to extreme temperatures and certain cleaning solvents. Therefore, store the windshield at a temperature between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and avoid using benzine, paint thinner, gasoline, powdered abrasives or alkaline cleaners on it.
Most common in older bikes and the fairings of touring models, permanent windshields require a combination of preparation and manual finesse to remove properly. The crucial part of the process is the initial loosening of the screws, nuts and bolts at the base of the windshield.
While electric screwdrivers and pneumatic ratchets aren’t absolutely required, they help prevent slippage that can twist and bend the hardware’s edges. Permanent windshields in Softails, Dynas and Sportsters are attached to the bottom of the handlebars, not to the fork tubes. Here, you have two removal methods. The first method is to remove the flanged hex capped screws from the two collars that clamp around the base of the handlebar. This allows you to remove the windshield without touching the Lexan surface.
The second method requires you to gently pull the cap from the surface of the windshield. Try using a rubber-tipped pair of pliers to help prevent scratches. Once the cap has been pulled off, use a flat-headed screwdriver to remove the 1-inch screw from the nut behind the windshield. Finally, gently pull the screw through the windshield to free the piece.
For windshields installed in the fairings of touring motorcycles, the removal process is more straightforward. Use a Philips screwdriver to gently remove the screws along the bottom edge of the windshield. Once these are removed, the windshield easily slides up and out of the fairing.