Monday, June 30, 2014


Woot woot!

The engine was completed recently, so I moved onto getting the carb set up.  It's on an elbow to move it forward so that the air cleaner doesn't tear my knee up.

Last week I tried to start it but was getting kick backs and back firing.  Combustion, but not the right kind!

Saturday (6/28), I looked on line for that guru-of-Shovel Hawg Ryder's picture drawing out the wiring for a kick only bike.  I found that I had it wired incorrectly.  Five minutes later, I fixed the wiring, prime kicked it, turned the switch on, and with one kick, it started!

It ran for a few seconds before I turned it off.  I called my dad, and without telling him, said, "Hey Dad, hold on a second.  I need to put the phone down for a minute."  I put the phone down, turned the ignition switch back on, and on the first kick, it started again.  I picked up the phone and he was laughing, "Man, I've been waiting a long time to hear that again."

Thirty.  Three.  Years.

Then there was trouble.  Or so I thought.  I'm running hydraulic lifters and they need to pump up with oil for proper operation.  For some reason I wasn't getting any oil to the heads or the push rods, so they were making an AWFUL racket, especially the front exhaust rod.  It sounded like a little gremlin in there pounding away with a hammer.

Because of this, I only ran it a few times, no longer than thirty seconds at a time, and letting it cool off completely between.  Still, no oil.

On Sunday (6/28) I bought an oral medicine syringe and used it to force oil into all the lines.  I filled the rocker boxes, pulled the feed line to the rear box and filled it, and filled the return line.  Then I kick it over again.

And found out that I had forgotten to plug the return line back into the oil tank, so I spilled a quart of oil all over the ground, because now the engine was pumping oil!  I killed the engine, hooked up that line, and then kicked it again.  In a minute or so, the clattering from the push rods went away.

I'm only running single plugs now because I don't have dual coils for points.  I have a 5ohm coil for my points ignition and a set of 3ohm coils for electronic ignition.  Eventually I'll get a matching electronic iggy, but for now, it fires and runs great on points.  When I do it correctly, it fires on the first kick.

It's still a little lean, I think, because at idle it spits and misses.  I'll double check the timing and the pilot jet next.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014

Disaster! (Averted)

I attempted to mount my spark plug wires last weekend but was confronted with too-short plug wires; you see, my coil mounting location is in a fairly typical spot, just behind the seat post, but I'm running dual plugs, so there's another set on the FAR side of the engine...which is actually pretty far from the coils.  You can see the green coils just below the front of the seat.

This means I can wire the left side plugs no problem, and the bike will run PERFECTLY well that way.  Heck, it was designed to.  But I want the duals so I can retard the timing a bit and get a better flame front over that hellaciously domed piston.  I simply have to buy another wire kit to finish it.

The disaster (averted) was found out when I tried to install the front right spark plug--the threads are stripped.  As noted before, I can run a single set of plugs, but not if one of the "extras" won't seal.

The "best" fix is to send the heads off to a buddy of mine and have him weld in slugs to fill the holes and then drill and tap them again.  To the tune of $450.  Maybe later; I want this thing running late spring at the latest.

The second best is to drill out the threads and retap them to fit Timeserts--hardened steel threaded inserts.  This is often considered a "temporary" solution, if, by temporary, you mean good for a few ten thousand miles.  If that's the case, that'll likely be the life of this bike; I doubt it'll see any cross-country trips.  Ever.

But...and there's always a but...the Timesert kit is pretty pricey, too.  Fortunately, the guys on the Shovel forum are always helpful and are good at saving my butt when it's in a sling--one of the mechanics there is sending me an installation kit to use and fix my heads.  Hopefully I'll have it next week and the heads repaired by next weekend.

Front brakes are completed

I ordered brake lines recently and mounted them up.  I was *really* nervous that I had measured incorrectly and either ordered them way too long or way too short.  It seems I measured them perfectly.  SS with a clear plastic sleeve.  The master cylinder allows a long travel on the brake lever, which is good; I'm worried that these brakes might be too much for such a light, rear-biased bike with a lot of rake...locking the wheel at speed would be...ungood.  If I find that they're too much, I'll remove a rotor and caliper and get a new master cylinder that is designed for a single caliper; this one locks a single WAY too easily.

Oil tank is hung!

But not in its final configuration.  I'm worried that the lower, bent arm will act like a tuning fork with the shaking that the engine will create AND it isn't hanging perfectly vertical (in relation to the drain).  But for now it'll work for engine testing and a few shake down cruises.  I'll have to tear the bike apart one final time for paint after I know everything is running; at that point I'll cut off the bracket and rebuild it.  It'll be two brackets, though:  One upper, much like it is now, with two arms, but with them angled to allow the tank to hang vertically and with gussets welded in to strengthen them.  A lower cross member will be welded to the frame with a third, lower arm to reach directly to the lower mounting bung.  It, too, will be gussetted.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mounting the kick stand bracket

The original kick stand was mounted onto the forward control mount.  Sadly, though, those parts are few and far between these days...and getting pricey.  Following the advice of an experience chopper builder, I ordered a set of later-model Dyna forwards.  They look great and feel great, but don't have a mount for a kick stand, which means coming up with a custom job.

When building a bike from scratch, there's a LOT of custom cutting, welding, cussing, and trying to figure what the hell to do...

The best (only?) option is a weld on mount from a Sportster.  There's a problem, though...mount it too far forward and the kicked-up tip on the end hits the belt.  Mount it too far back and the bike threatens to roll off it when kick starting the bike.  I had to play with several locations ALONG with trying to figure out the right angle for it.  I finally got it right.  It's mounted forward enough to support the bike when starting it, and rearward enough so that the tip clears the clutch basket with about 1/4" of clearance.  It's so close that I'm not sure I'll be able to extend it with my foot--I might have to reach down and kick it out with my hand.  Gonna have to watch out for that spinning belt!

My first attempt at welding it with the craptastic wire that came with the welder:

Not only did the tack welds not penetrate well enough, the angle was too steep--the bike would stand up, but would fall over onto the right side when I stood on the kicker lever.  So I cut it off and tried again...with some Lincoln .035" wire.  Second time was a charm!

Just like with the seat brackets, I laid a penetrating bead down to hold it, and then layered beads on top of that one, smoothing with a flap wheel every couple of beads to get a clean, smooth fillet from the bracket to the frame.  It still needs some cleaning and shaping, but looks pretty good.

It now has a nice, low slung stance when the stand is deployed, but not too low that it's in danger of falling over.  I'll take a pic and post it later.

Mounting up the seat

I got a nice seat from a member over on -- for free.  "Pay it forward" is a real and useful thing in the online community.  I've helped others with spare parts I didn't need and have been helped out by others with spare parts they didn't need.  This is one of them.  It even has a nifty Chopcult sticker under it for extra horse power!

To mount it I ordered the following pieces (stock photos from the ads):

And then a pair of shocks:

I first had to remove the original fend mounts; they were in the way.

Then I marked the center line on the bar and then the center lines of the brackets for the seat:

After that I tacked on the rear brackets and the front bracket and tested the fit.  The angle was way off, though.

So I had to cut them off and rotate them back.  This leaves me with the longer shocks (for better bump "absorption") and an angle that is more aesthetically pleasing...but now the wheel can't move as far forward as it was originally designed...and I can't mount the fender against the frame as it was originally done.

I figure to get around it I'll cut reliefs into the fender so that it can be mounted against the cross member--just gotta remember when putting the chain onto the bike that the wheel can't go too far forward!  At a later date I'll drill the cross member and weld in a threaded bung or two to mount the fender to.

After ensuring I liked their locations, I laid several beads around them and smoothed them.  Then laid some more and smoothed them.  It took quite a while, but I'm pleased with the results.  Just a bit of Bondo will be needed to clean it up completely.

New ape hangers!

The original bars Dad had on the bike had 8" of rise, with 4" risers underneath.  Now I have a set of bars with 12" of rise, along with 6" risers underneath.  It's just a *little* tall...

I haven't settled on final angle.  I tried out different angles and found this was the furthest forward I could go and still be comfortable, but I think it looks a little wonky.  I'll likely rotate them back a bit before calling it good.  I have to figure out this before I order my brake lines, though.

Note the location of the mirror.  If it's mounted above the bar, it's too far over my head to be useful.  Hanging here, though, it gives me a good view behind me.

Oil tank hanger almost done

I saw a long chopper a couple years ago with the oil tank hung out in front of the engine.  I've also seen the "air ramp" style oil tanks on some Arlen Ness-styled Evo builds, but didn't want something like that on it.  Here's what I *didn't* want:

Here's what I *did* want (or, at least, something similar to it):

So here's *my* take on it!  I placed mine higher up because the oil system is gravity fed--I wanted to ensure the tank was high enough that oil flow would not be a problem.

I started with 1.5" wide, 3/16" mild steel flat stock.  I cut a piece that will be welded to the frame, and then two arms to connect it to the oil tank.  I drilled .75" holes into the end of each arm for the rubber isolators and then shaped the ends to clean them up.  After that I mocked it up and tacked them into place.

After ensuring they were pretty straight, I then welded them together.  I'm a beginner welder, using a 90A flux core welder, but for my purposes, it'll work.  After these welds were made, I then flipped the piece over and laid a bead on the back side.  The front face was smoothed over with a flap wheel so that it would sit flush when mounted to the frame.

Then I clamped the assembly to the frame, checking for square.

Once I was satisfied with that, I tacked it into place and hung the tank to check that it looked good.  This is my second go--the first wasn't welded on straight, which, while not noticeable by itself, looked HORRIBLE once the tank was mounted.

It looked good to me, so I laid a few beads on to secure it in place.

So now I need to weld another mounting bung onto the rear of the tank, near the bottom, for a third arm that I'll weld onto the bracket.  This will ensure good support and keep the tank safely in place.  As it sits, it can swing fore-and-aft a decent amount because of the play the rubber mounts give it.  A third brace will keep it from swinging.  I also need to weld gussets under the bracket's arms.  Wish I had done that before welding it to the frame!

We have brakes!

Well, we have front calipers mounted.  I now need to measure for brake lines.

I started with a set of 4-pot Brembos I bought from a member of a motorcycle forum I frequent.  I don't know what bike they're off of, but I think it was a Duc.  I discarded the lines, MC, and lever, as they won't fit on my bike.

I first "mounted" one caliper to the rotor by attaching it to the MC and clamping the lever down.  This located the caliper where I needed it for best fit.  I then made a template from a piece of corrugated cardboard; actually, I cut up a shipping box.

I then traced the pattern on a plate of aircraft aluminum and cut them out on a band saw.

Once I had them to rough shape, I clamped one on and, with a punch, marked one mounting hole.  I removed the bracket, drilled that hole, and then bolted it back in place.  I then could safely mark the other mounting hole.

The plate was a little too thick.

So I sent them out to a buddy to mill them down a bit for a perfect fit.