The Black Sportster

Now I'm running those Alto Red clutch fibers (wet).  I soaked them overnight, then lightly wiped 'em off.  I left the clutch basket cover off.  The clutch in this thing has always been touchy as hell.  Tiny adjustments make big differences - dragging or slipping in high under acceleration.  Better hit neutral before you stop type-o-deal.  Just a little draggy.  As the clutch warms up - there goes any free play you had at the lever - not good.  After a lot of testing, I can live with it now.  I made a "clutch cable luber" from a piece of rubber hose - and ran everything from Motion Pro Cable Lube, DuPont Chain Lube, a shot of Lincoln Spray Grease - and finally some lube from a 30 year old can of genuine Harley-Davidson chain lube . . . which works perfect since it dribbles out (with no pressure in the can shooting back at you from the straw).  Now it works a bit better.  Wiley has a genuine H-D clutch cable for me, and I'm getting it soon - gotta get this bike working for The Meltdown Drag Run.
Ultra dark shield on the Simpson Street Bandit is so I can ride across town and not have to wave at everybody . . . small town life.  They know who I am anyway.


I know right where they're standing....
(I didn't know that used to be a One-Way)
Mick's got his clear specs so he don't get busted !

1954-1957 Saddlebag Brackets

I bought these original Bubble Bag Brackets for rigid frames.  I blasted off the rust and peeling paint, which exposed a crack.  After welding, some sanding, primed and painted with original H-D Silver Barrel Paint - they are ready for installation.

Bubble Bags for Rigid Frames

This style of saddlebag was first offered in 1954.  I believe they were designed by William Harley, and he patented his design?  I bought the bags(without lids) for $75/pair since they had holes, and were all beat to shit.  Using sheet metal, old sign material, license plate metal, pop rivets and Gorilla tape . . . they are now solid.  I sealed the seams with gasket maker - then lined the bags with speaker cabinet carpet(when I was in a rock band for 3 months) and 3M spray fixative..  They look crusty from the outside, but nice and soft on the inside.  Ready for your leather jacket, clothes, camera or a bag of chips and cookies.
PS. Last night I sprayed 'em with the garden hose all over to see if they'd leak - Nope !  But we all know a garden hose ain't no match for Mother Nature....
Luggage Carriers for Cycles
Filed:  Aug. 5, 1953

Last Night Working in The Garage

I got these shovelhead cylinders for the 3.4665 pistons.
(QUIZ: Know what oversize that is???) 
I give 'em +.002 piston/wall fit.
These fancy panhead head gaskets - made for me in Italy.  Fire Ring style . . .
They line up nice, and fit tighter around the cylinder fire-ring than my other gaskets.  They feel sticky.  I super cleaned the surfaces with electrical contact cleaner - installed them dry as directed.
ABOVE: Heads on - Intake lined up and sealed.  These clamps don't work for everyone, but they seem to work for me?  Lube up the O-rings (with oily fingers) sure helped . . .

45 Short Block

This motor came with .325 lift cams (stock are more like .318 or .320) so, I'm not sure if they're a later model camshaft?  Hmmm?  I went with my patented cast-iron-gray high heat paint on the iron parts.  It will run an FM magneto.  This motor will power a TROG-ish, period race-type 45 with original frame and springer. 
All tappet faces were resurfaced on the valve grinder stem attachment.  WR/early XLCH solid mount magneto base plate.

Wide Exhaust Seat

I keep the exhaust valve seat "on the wide side."  I've read where a wide seat on the exhaust helps dissipate heat when the valve is shut . . . cooling the valve.  I could easily cut a 60 and a 30 and narrow the seat, but I'll leave it wide.  The 60 takes away material (which a guy might need for future valve jobs on this old iron) !

1952-53 K Model Cylinder (restored)

These are my K Model cylinders with standard bore.  I'll bore 'em +.010, and they'll replace my current +.070 cylinders (that are about wore out with +.006 and .008 clearance).  I smoothed out the ports.  I have some nitrite valves too.  I'll run the larger KH Intakes(seats cut accordingly) with new cast iron guides (I cut down the guides a bit for better air flow).  The cylinders had nice bores, but everything else was wore out.  I rounded up some better valves covers, new springs, collars and keepers - all NOS H-D.  The broken cooling fins have all been repaired.  This has only taken me about 2 1/2 years !  Ha . . . but aren't these cylinders beautiful ? ! ? !   From looking at the 45s all the time - the K-Model intake ports are HUGE !


I've worked on about a half dozen WL(45") engines for all my bros lately.  First, they're all "into" Sportsters, then panheads, then knucks . . . then it seems they see a 45, and they want that too.  It's more fun to buy all this junk when you know someone who can fix it for you.  I do the same thing. 

The above WR engine was a real challenge and learning experience.  It has Truett-Osborn WR flywheels which accept a sportster crank pin and rods.  The entire assembly was dynamically balanced by Jeff Wiley.  Jeff had to calculate, and make a special "bob weight" to make this work.  I had to go through multiple crank pins to get the proper width for the flywheels to fit the WR(Left Case) and the NOS WR(Right Case).  The cases needed slight machining after dad determined (more calculations and testing) that the interior case castings were still to close for comfort.  We did a lot of figuring on the cams, and actually made-our-own front intake cam, since his was incorrect.  The new cam matches his rear intake cam now.   It was one thing after another.  The cylinders had fins and bases repaired, new guides installed with new racing profile stainless valves.  The cylinders were bored and honed for K-Model pop-up type pistons.  All the tappet feet (this type doesn't have roller wheels, just flat feet) were ground smooth, and the tappet blocks themselves were polished for a nice "easy press fit" in the cases.  All parts were deburred with files and sandpaper, threads chased.  Timing plug threads repaired.  Very tedious work but I feel it makes a difference.   It'll be a good solid running engine with proper break-in . . . but it ain't done yet . . . more to come.  Restoring Harley-Davidson Racing heritage.

1946WL Engine

Above:  I refer to this SHOP DOPE update when fitting lower end rollers on big twins and 45s.
This motor was supplied with the wrong cages.  I had the correct steel cages as per the information supplied, so I'll update accordingly.  I have a good stash of NOS Sonnax rollers, and the perfect +.0002 set for his pinion race.  All good, but tedious work.
Above: I try different flywheel thrust washers to achieve correct endplay.  This is done by bolting the cases together multiple times, and re-checking the end play.  The oil pump drive gear, breather gear and pinion gear have all been fitted and worked for a nice, slip fit as required.  Flywheels are all trued, so don't be knockin' 'em around - More tedious work !
Above:  I have space on this heavy steel bench to bolt(and clamp) flathead cylinders for cutting valve seals and lapping.  These reproduction cylinder kits always need honed, and seat work done to be right.  No exceptions here.  Not bolt on by any means . . . More tedious work...... 

Sprocket Shaft Seal Update

On a WL (45") Model: I use the standard seal kit available from Colony Machine.  This kit will eliminate the "reverse oil screw-type" insert.  The new-style double lip seal is the same seal for a 4-speed main drive gear.  You can replace the seal if needed (usually get it worked out) without taking the cases apart. 

On a WR (45") Model: I use the big twin seal kit available from Colony Machine(since a WR sprocket shaft is larger).  I press the seal into the left-side sprocket shaft spacer after it's modified to fit this seal . . . (since a WR does not have a left-side sprocket shaft race. (they run a ball bearing). 

Dan Kinsey

This old Harley went 197+mph !
If I remember correctly, it went over 175mph with no body work...
Who says Harleys aren't fast ????

Michael Lichter Show

I'm fortunate to get an invitation every year to this.  It's a good time to meet everyone at the beginning of the week, see what's up, make plans . . . and I get to see some builds from all over the country.  Thanks Michael ! 

Original 25202-52

First year K-Model gear cover . . . No "A" after the -52 casting number.
The generator idler shaft boss is a bit different on these.  It has a floating (spring load) bushing that rides on the generator gear oil slinger - to let air pressure out - and keep the oil in . . . usually.
You know it's an early cover from 20 feet away by the grease zerk boss on the shifter shaft (it's on the bottom, at 6 o'clock)  Only the first few years of gear covers are like this.   I'll blast the covers and get the kicker boss built back up - all restored.  This kicker cover is actually a later version.


These carburetors (mfg. by Tillotson) are popular on all types of engines.  4 cycle and 2 cycle.  They were the common fuel delivery system on many 2 stroke snowmobile and boat engines.  Harley-Davidson had this model as standard equipment on Sportsters and Big Twins in 1967-1971.  The KRTT, XR750 and XLR ran Tillotson carbs (single and dual) for all their race engines.  I restored this one for the iron XR750.  The motor had a version with no accelerator pump - but this model may aid in starting, and be a bit more practical.  I'm rounding up the correct throttle(internal) control, correct handlebars and cable control.  May as well do it right - like the factory did . . . This carb has a fuel atomizing "bomb-site" in the bore, and a unique 2-piece choke disc that spring loaded to relieve pressure upon a backfire.  I also found this rare velocity stack.

Iowa Boys

My friend Jim McKensie(orange bike) and Tom Bluhm(red 45) were models for this famous painting. 

Look What The Cat Dragged In

Morty (The Official Shop Cat) says,
"Ok dude, it's time to tear down the Poison Banner."
"Really, it's time . . come on."

Valve Springs

Far Right: -32 valve springs(3 ea)
The others, I don't know what the heck they fit? Maybe KH? 
The one on the far left is a real orphan.

WL Cylinders

Workin' on my bro John Boy's cylinders last night.  They need honed, valve seats cut . . . but I got all the cosmoline washed first.  Sanded the aluminum corrosion off the new pistons.

Club Bikes

I knew the Hells Angels rode panhead choppers with upsweeps back in the 60s and 70s . . .
. . . but I didn't know they rode K Models too ?  I guess it had to be at least 750cc, but if we calculate it out, it really only comes to like 742cc ?  Huh?  Ah, he's cool, we'll let 'em in anyway, plus his family runs a liquor store !

Engine Vacuum

A vacuum gauge can tell you a lot about an engine.  It can help you pin-point the problem area.

Early Sportster Voltage Regulator Bracket

Top: Aftermarket bracket
Bottom: Stock-type bracket (however, it's been chromed, with extra holes)
Works with standard 6V or 12V Delco or Bosch regulators.
(photo benefits for Lil' Chris)

Packed for Minnesota

Nathan's Vintage Drag Bike

Full Moon Nathan picked up this vintage drag bike a couple years ago . . . and he keeps messin' with it, kinda restoring it, and upgrading a little.  It runs an original KR loop, small stroker motor, and some other little goodies . . . but it's fairly stock - and was run in Indiana or Ohio back in the early 70s.  He's planning on makin' a pass at the upcoming Meltdown Drags in Byron, Illinois in July.

Marty Again . . .

Tripes teamed with Rex Staten
 . . . to try and win one for H-D !

Hydrogen and Oxygen

I guess it wasn't cost effective to design the water jacket around the port?  Wouldn't you have a more consistent temperature?  It must not take much coolant to make a difference, since the passages look rather small?
A lot of extra weight (and crap) just to cool that damn cylinder head . . . I guess they call this progress?  I don't know why I care, since I'll keep going places on my 50s and 60s machinery anyway . . .
The proto-type liquid cooled Harley-Davidson MX (above).  I guess if all these marketing ideas would have hit on all (or at least 1) cylinder(s) . . . and these protos sold . . . sales could have been through the roof !  I guess that's why these companies keep trying new things, and implementing new ideas into their products. (Is that Larry Roeseler in the air ? . . . or Bruce?)

K and WL Cylinder Work

I got my cylinder back from Chad after he tig'd on my new cooling fin.  Nice job !  Now I have a decent set of K cylinders, ready to be bored and fitted to +.010 pop-up pistons.  I have some new cast iron guides, new nitrite valves and a nice set of '52-'53 valve covers.  These will eventually replace the worn out set on my black, "Street K" . . .
Above:  These K cylinders have a bit of core-shift here and there . . . so I'll true up these exhaust ports and make them even all the way around.  I also use a carbide burr to relieve any steps, rat tails and bumps inside each port.  I visualize which way the air is flowing, and give it a smooth path to (or away from) each valve, without changing the port shape. 
Above:  I'm also working on John Hove's WL cylinders.  I'll probably go in and smooth out these ports too - maybe make it run a bit more efficiently?  I'll grind the valves and seats, and check out his spring travel for his cams.  These are aftermarket, and not bolt-on by any means.  I'll check the piston clearance, ring gap and fitment.  9 times out of 10 they're too tight and need honed.
The cylinders are kinda rusty anyway . . . It's good that aftermarket parts are still available (better than no parts) but the quality isn't always up to par.  I'll make 'em a nice set, set up to specs - good for many miles of enjoyable riding.  Motorcycling is the best sport of all !

Positively Crazy

How the hell do these Triumph guys make it anywhere on these things ?  This is just crazy.  I can just see somebody who's new at this - trying to rewire their Trumpet.  Sparks flyin' everywhere, shit getting welded together.  Throw a switch . . . then loud pops and fire and more sparks ! 
I'd better stick with my magneto XLCH with 2 wires !

It's Summer - Start Acting Like It

I hang out with these guys above (at the AMCA Viking Chapter Swap Meet) in St. Paul, MN.  It's a good meet, lots of nice bikes . . . and it's pretty laid back.  Prices are reasonable and the vendors have great coffee and ice cream.  There's a steak dinner at night if you want too.
There's bathrooms and showers in the bottom of the water tower.  You'd think the water pressure would be better - but it's the same.  This year I'm taking my chopper (no storage) so I don't buy a bunch of stuff I don't really need. 
I saved a pic of this Sportster from a few years ago. 
I'm sure it's still running around someplace?
Egeberg's was a big dealer back-in-the-day up in the Twin Cities. 
The weatherman said it's gonna be nice, so it's me and dad riding up !
Camping . . . drinking a beer, having a bratwurst.
. . . and there's the cool car show in North St. Paul Friday nite !
Come on up !