This 1948 FL is a done deal. Real bad shape when it came in many moons ago, but now it should be a runner ! Runs a stock "H" grind Victory camshaft with fresh lower end, cylinders and heads. In 1948, they didn't have pan cover D-rings or nothing. Just these screws ! All pretty correct 1948 parts. The 1st year of the Panhead for the motor company.
May as well do the transmission while yer at it, right?
Correct date code case.
One-piece kick arm (don't break a spring)
Super Nut ! Check your clutch hub fitment. Needs an 11T speedo drive. I leave the top loose so the owner can pour some oil over the gears. I recommend Bel-Ray Hypoid 85w-140.
For the clutch hub nut: I pressed in a new rubber seal, then put the old-style washers,
spring and snap ring on top to keep it original looking . . . Still runs '48 style oem pushrod with throw-out bearing. The tank-shift-rod-lever was welded up and redrilled proper diameter.
I bought these (all rusty and locked up) at the Sturgis Swap Meet years ago. I carried them all the way on my bike - restored them with new shafts, etc. I tried to sell them, nobody wanted 'em . . . so I just found a set of cases (that need some welding) . . . so I may as well build a little motor. I got cylinders, heads, transmission parts, all the special parts that are 52-53 only, like clutch hub clutch basket, kicker shaft and gear, transmission shafts . . . on and on. There's hardly one part that will fit on a 52-53 K Model AND an ironhead Sportster. The cylinder base nuts ! That's about it . . .
Wait: The connecting rods are the same, wrist pins and clips. If you think of something else, let me know and I'll explain why it won't work.
Warmer days are ahead . . hopefully??? These past pics I remember well. Racing around town on an iron XR with no lights - but the local authorities know me well enough to not worry about me. When you get so old, with a bit of gray hair - you don't drink and ride - and you have proof-of-insurance...they've got bigger fish to fry.
This thing rips pretty hard...and it'll pull the front wheel kinda easy. The smooth-bend straight pipes really echo between the buildings. Race bike on the street !
The ol' 1952 K has pretty much the same chassis - with 1/2 the power. It's my favorite motorcycle. The K and KH were only made a few years for street use - but H-D pumped out the KRs all the way through 1969. The KRs were successful 'cause the flat power band kept the rear tire from spinning. They stayed hooked up and moving forward.
The Delorto "Pumper" carbs work great on side-valves . . .
Firestone (Coker) repop tire with stock muffler and shocks. Early XLCH rims.
-52 Casting Number (NOT -52A) It won't work on a Sportster with one-piece shaft/generator idler gear. This is for the K Model engine only (maybe a 1957 XL still had an idler shaft (like a 45 or a big twin)?
Last month I went to the Yucatan and stayed in Valladolid for a few days, then hiked Ek Balam and went to few cenotes. I like to stay near Punta Sur (on the south end)of Isla Mujeres too. This gal at Playa Norte was doing maintenance on her scooter in the street. Fixing corroded connections, making sure the lights worked, etc. She bought it new, it was stolen a few times, lost for almost 6 months on one occasion, but she always got it back. Nice gal. Everyone I meet in Quintana Roo and Yucatan are nice. Someday I'll take my WLA down there and get lost for a few years. I love it there.
These racks are hard-to-find...and when you do find one, they go for $200-$300 bucks. Thanks to my friend Dennis for selling me a rack. (I sold him my own rack about 5 years ago, then wished I had it back) I modified an H-D Hummer seat (I like them since they have no seat tee bar) but they're the same shape and steel pan as the original XLCH solo seat. McFarland helped me make special brackets to mount the seat (which was restored by: Heathers Leathers of South Carolina).
I have a restored, original 1960s Tour Pak that quick attaches to the rack. It works slick - and I can now carry more stuff ! We reinforced the stock fender struts too (just for insurance).
All parts are moved back about 1.5" for added leg room - and "lean back" room. It rides and handles awesome - and I just need a long trip for a test . . . Where we goin'????
I've seen this band live about 4 times - and I like them. A good "biker music" kinda vibe. They are playing in Iowa City on Saturday night, but I go to bed by 10pm anymore - and I'm old - so I probably won't go. I met 'em through my friend Shea, and it's the kinda crowd I like to hang with . . . so maybe I'll crank a few on their videos, run 'em thru home theatre Bose - and rock out Saturday night before bed - and drink a couple beers to Mothership !
I got this weird sound on my '54 panhead engine. It's coming from the pushrod/rocker arm area, under the pan covers. It's not spring collars hitting, loose rocker arm bores or springs rubbing together. However, I did make a comparison with the fitment of the stock pushrod end ball fitment in the rocker arm versus my aftermarket pushrod ball end.
The aftermarket makes a little "click" sound . . . and that's when it's not even under pressure. The aftermarket ball doesn't have that flat on top,(or it's really small) and it kinda catches on the oil hole area in the center of that ball rocker socket.
I belt sanded a flat on it - now it doesn't do it... Maybe that was it??? The oem H-D pushrod didn't do it - now the aftermarket aluminum doesn't either. Hope that was it - or at least I did something - Gotta really check this shit.... These aftermarket aluminum pushrods are so big in diameter, they want to hit on the inside of your tubes, etc. I like the narrower aluminum ones...but nothing is as good as the oem H-D parts.
This thing was pretty farted up. On the verge of self-destruction sums it up about right . . . My dad worked really hard on it the last month. Now it's solid - and when the gasses mix with the correct amount of oxygen - it should provide years of enjoyment powering around this great heart of American back roads. 1936 - A year in motorcycle engine production for Harley-Davidson that changed things for H-D, and all manufacturers - from that year onward.
I took this old blacktop A46 all the way east . . . The weather started out kinda foggy and damp, and later turned to sun. Back roads all the way...dodging Mennonite buggies fresh from Sunday church services. Their horse-drawn buggies leave deposits - so stay alert or you may squash a clump.
This is a good spot to regroup, look at the map - and hope your bike starts - it did !
Pulpit Rock Brewing ain't bad . . . I sat outside and got stung my a bee. My arm is all swelled to shit, and I just got the stinger dug out (after 18 hours) I didn't see it at first - but now it's almost tool late.
This DC11 Linkert works great. It likes it best when the rpms are kept up, so when you see a hill coming - keep it pegged and in the upper power band - no problems. My starting issue didn't come around on this run. 1 to 2 kicks max . . .
A stop near Bassett, Iowa to adjust my backpack . . . riding so fast, it got all shifted and kilter. Low beam burnt on this trip - and back home I noticed no tail light or brake light. This thing only has a 3 wires - so I should be able to figure it out. Thanks to Shane Einck for the refeshments. T-Bocks in Decorah has great grilled chesse sandwiches ! The Sugar Bowl wins for ice cream !
When the Harley-Davidson race department made all these XLCH (original steel) parts from aluminum for the XLR race bikes, their goal was to lighten this thing up - make it go faster, and win some races ! I had steel fender struts on it for years - and my fender was fine. I put these aluminum struts on - and this thing vibrates like a tuning fork back there - cracking paint and buzzing like a true Milwaukee vibrator ! No rigidity....
No wonder most I see are cracked, missing the tacked on spacers - and if you are fortunate enough to find the aluminum fender (which my buddy Jeff has, but won't sell it to me(smiley face here)) they are all cracked too. Pretty to look at - not all that practical. But I still like 'em !
The battery had 11.8 volts. The water was low. Front tire had 11 lbs., rear had 14 lbs. Oil was black, primary oil a bit milky. Dead bugs on the windshield and the carb stained with old sticky dry gasoline. I wiped it off, did a bit of maintenance - it fired after about 10 kicks - and I rode it 12 miles on the superslab to Nashua, Iowa for a birthday party. I hadn't ridden it for over a year really. It felt small - rev'd high, wiggly - and a couple times I reached to my lower left, feeling for the jockey shift ball. Rusty at best.
On the return trip home, in the dark, with lightning strikes to the west, I headed west back home. Up to speed on the on-ramp to 65+mph....I hit the high beam and it went dark. Shit, high beam burnt out, back to low beam (which was pretty much shining on the ground). I'd wait for speeding traffic to catch up - then pick it up to 75+mph to run with them and use their headlight, then as they'd get away, back down to 60-65mph - completely overdriving my headlight distance. The headlight was too tight to move it as I reached up to mess with it at speed. Only 8 miles to go anyway.
I made it to my driveway, just as I could now hear thunder - no rain yet. I even got Cheryl to walk with me down to a high bridge on the river to watch Mother Nature's rapidly approaching light show.
As I wheeled this thing into the garage, I really felt pumped up after riding this thing again. I miss it.
This motorcycle has taken me so many places over the years, and always gets me there and back. It's been with me on so many adventures, and these early Sportsters are really awesome touring machines for the 2000 mile or less trips - which is about what I run anyway. I'm currently in preparation for a traditional Labor Day Run as always . . . and just decided - the '64 is goin' this year. Again.
Above: Some slick haired gent named Kurpius snapped this years ago during The Dice Party at Kung Fu Tap & Taco in Des Moines, Iowa. I had brought my tent, but I slept on the ground that night under the awning of the building??? All night I could hear mumbling, groaning, gagging, snoring, laughing, lighters clicking, beer tops popping - and other human created sounds. The soft talkin' continued until the sun was shining . . . me and my motorcycle were covered in morning dew.