Photo Above:

From LEFT to RIGHT:  KR, Sprint, XLR

More Mert . . .

He looks tiny on this thing.  Not a real big guy anyway, just stocky and strong.  Looks like it's got aluminum rims?   Anyone know what sauce pan they used to make air-cleaners out of ???  A guy told me once, and I should have wrote it down. 

Mert Lawwill

Iron XR

Motorcycles Are Expensive

Every bike I've had pretty much started out like this.  A box of stuff, missing about everything.  Many of you have done the same thing . . . My first bike was wrecked with broken cases.  The next one was all apart, but mostly original H-D parts.  From there on out, they were all in piles, or missing about everything 'cept the vital pieces.  Above is the '54 Panhead.  You sure learn a lot when you do it this way.  Much more than a guy realizes . . . I could probably afford a complete bike now - but why start ?

This is turning into a K Model Blog . . .

I got a deep, dry basement.  It's got neat rustic walls.  I run a dehumidifier all summer so it stays dry.
There's not much down there but a few folding tables where I keep some parts for future builds.  I've sold all my parts (except for the K Model stuff, and a few spares).  I never really had all that much for parts anyway. 

TECH: KK Cylinders

I've had these awhile.  They were rusted, needed a bore job, a base was broken, and cooling fins were missing.  One has now been sleeved.  The fins repaired.  The base repaired.  They have new guides and new valves.  The rusty, pitted valve seats have been ground and lapped. 
That plastic bag has the Eastern Motorcycle Parts spring spacers I'll use to set up the valve springs for a set of KK cams I have collected.  These are nice spacers to use, since they have a small lip on top that fits into the valve spring and helps center it on the guide, and hold it in place.  I'll measure my installed spring height, then subtract my cam lift (and .070).  Then I'll subtract the length of my spring at coil bind.  This will leave me with the proper length to make my spacer/shim for that particular valve.  I used my Valve Spring Tester to check my springs, and I'll run the 2 strongest on the exhaust valves.

Leaky Manifold

When you crank this thing open, the motor gains revs, and likes to hold the revs, even after you back off the throttle.  A leaky manifold was the culprit.  I was having so much fun riding it around the track, and it's on-the-gas most of the time anyway - it didn't really bother me.  But it's a good way to burn a piston, or worse, wreck.  It's fixed now...but I see my Dellorto carb plastic float has a bit of gas sloshing around in it now too - so I ordered a new float. 
Like Marvin The Martian says, "Delays...Delays."

Plumber Intake

These original 1948 heads had been "upgraded" to o-ring style.  It wasn't a nice "upgrade" (if you get my drift?)  Kinda cobbled.  It took a little doin' .. . but we got the stock style plumber back in there, and used some sealer.  Then we drilled holes, and manufactured our own mild steel rivets with factory style heads (after viewing photos).  The rivets were press fitted, with sealer, and peened on the inside like stock.  I painted the rivets with cast-iron-gray high heat.

Cylinders Didn't Fit

It's always a good idea to mock up these motors before you get too carried away with assembling parts for good.  The cylinders didn't fit, requiring sanding, de-burring and plenty of aspirin and head scratching.  It's nice if the cylinders can move on the base studs a bit when aligning the intake manifold. 
This engine was abused by multiple owners over the years.  It has many burrs and dings...and requires checking all sorts of shit before you get too far along.  Parts that normally always fit, for some reason don't fit on this thing????  It's just time consuming - and can make a guy go crazy !

Polished Parts

I'm building a 1956 KHK for my buddy Dave.  I get boxes of parts in the mail from him.  Sometimes I open the box, and the parts are totally trashed, greasy, dented, rusted and broken.  Other times I open the box, and the parts are the most beautifully polished, original parts you've ever seen.  They are so pretty you hate to touch them, and you have to be ultra careful not to scratch anything.  This was one of the "shiny times" I opened the box.  Now cleaning, checking threads, pressing and sizing bushings. 


When I go to a swap meet and I see original Harley-Davidson boxes, I always have to check 'em out.  If the part number ends in -52, -54, -57 or -58 I get all excited !  Maybe an NOS Sportster part????
I like any original Harley part....especially the type of parts that "wear out" after awhile.  If the part number ends in "P" I think it's a Sprint part (I call it).
I found this one . . . opened the box and had to make an offer on this original NOS Big Twin 4-Speed Kicker Gear.  The price was right - and it went right-in-my-pocket.  A guy can build an entire motorcycle after buying just one particular part that sets the stage - and taints your interest.

Now I'll have to look for a nice transmission case, mainshaft, some gears . . . and build a transmission.  Or just put it in a box until the one in my bike wears out?  Probably a smarter thing to do . . .

Barn Find 53K

Not mine...but most of my bikes looked like this when I got 'em - mostly worse.

Just build all the old ironheads . . .

. . . to look like this.  Every guy needs one.  If it's a big city, or a small little town.  For a quick flick through town, up the hill, down the alley . . . easy parking.  Park it in the garage, in the shed next to the mower, or lean it against the fence (with a blue tarp over it).  No battery.  No Problems. 

Old Bikes

We rode to the drag strip one Saturday, and all these older Harleys rode in right after us.  It was cool, since most times it's a sea of Twin Cams !  That's dad's ol' '65FLH (nearest) running a late model CV carb and Spike timer.  The last few days he's been fabricating a 42mm Mikuni flat slide.  He had it running in the garage, and said, "It's definitely more responsive."  The CV has a flat spot about off-idle that we just can't seem to ditch . . . it runs ok, but ok sometimes ain't good enough, (you know what I mean)

RIMAC Valve Spring Tester

Manufactured by: Rinck McIlwaine Company.  I can test valve springs for pressure at installed spring height, and cam-open position.  The arm can be locked to test spring fade over time. works perfect !  The heavy cast iron base keeps it put when testing springs.  It looks to be made in the 1930s or 40s???  I'll clean it up and paint a sturdy cast gray shop color . . . Vintage tools.  Made in USA.  Restoring vintage engines with vintage equipment. 

Studio Shoot

Some Things Never Change

Ol' Noot's still workin' on bikes in his garage.  Wall to wall sissy bars.  He got me one for my 20" Murray. 

TECH: Intake Valves

I like these valves available from Eastern Motorcycle Parts.  They have nitrite coating which allows you to set-up your valve/guide clearance a bit tighter (especially with cast iron guides).  The valves can be cut and machined to suit your seat size.  Shown below:  I'm using the larger KH Intake Valve, but cutting the head dia. to 1.750 to fit the smaller K Model Intake Seat.
I had the valve head "lip" machined off (uncut valve on the right) to aid in flow between the valve and the head.  Jerry Branch found the best flow with +.120 to +.150 above the intake valves.  The Eastern Part No. 18070-54N(N for Nitrite).  Nitrite coatings are proven to decrease valve "stick" and add to the life of your valve and guide.  Kibblewhite valves are also a good choice. 
After I grind the 45 degree on the valve, I re-adjust our Kwik Way valve grinder to 15 degrees and take that small edge off at the top of the 45 . . . Our engine building friend (I'll just refer as, Radar) told me that little bevel increases port air flow and efficiency "about as good as anything."  Since the air and fuel is coming in - flowing towards the bottom on Intake valves, we don't need that lip messin' up our path.  On Exhaust valves, the 15 is not as critical, but I usually put the 15 on too....I also bevel the outside(top lip) since the air is coming at the top of the valve, to help get that exhaust out of there !
Bottom Valve: The bottom valve just looks better . . . There are few aftermarket products that are ready "right out of the box" . . . but these valves at least may be modified to your liking.  It was easy, everybody would do it. 


1969 XLCH

Nice pass . . .

It's too cold . . .

 . . . I want to be back in Florida instead. 

Ice Forming This Morning 11/13/18

Last night I got on the roof to get the leaves from the gutters....and they were frozen in there.  Hopefully 45F on Thursday . . .

Long Live Harley-Davidson

Genuine breeds Aftermarket . . . The longest living motorcycle company, and stimulus for millions of dollars of aftermarket products.  The brand will be relevant long after we're all gone.  This 8X10 red, white and blue decal was suitable for framing - however some of corporate's choices, and what direction they're going - are black and white to me. (but, I like the Livewire !)

Park Your Ass . . .

 . .  on some Fiberglass !

Iron XR750

I believe this is a real one???  The top end seems short...

Messin' with Wico Magnetos

I remember seeing Wico magnetos for sale in my earliest memories of swap meets.  A vendor had an entire box of H-D Wicos at a swap in Rockford, Illinois.  I didn't know how they worked.  They looked kinda ugly, and who knew they'd become popular again for racing and restorations???  I bought a Fairbanks-Morse Sportster magneto in LeMars, Iowa for $100.00 at an AMCA Meet.  The same vendor gave me a choice between (an almost new Wico vertical) or the used FM.  I'm currently working on about the 5th engine with a Wico....and I'm learning.  Interesting little "magic boxes" these things are . . .  #singlefire  #rotor  #don'tmixupthewires 


I've never "sleeved" a cylinder before - but I figure it's a good skill to have.  You can buy cylinders a lot cheaper if they're already .070 over size and rusty.  The 4-fin knucklehead cylinders, '48-'49 panhead cylinders...anything that has the original date codes and markings.  Restoration junkies need the original parts for judging points and originality.  Plus, they just look right on an engine.  It was my first attempt, it's in there, and I can bore it now, and use my NOS +.010 over H-D pistons. 

1975 XLH

 A local guy's bike that was a real rat.  Almost everything was wrong with it - very cobbled and completely wore out.  Dad auction bought it . . . restored it to almost perfect 1975 condtion (with a few custom touches) We're "winterizing" everything, and the only thing this really needs is to get ridden more.... #cycleshackpipes  #Pcams  #borranirims  #goodyearalltraction 

Muffler Bashing - Air Cleaner Snorting

ISSUE #1: Bad sounding/performing muffler.  I keep taking the muffler off this thing and beatin' the shit out of it (internally).  It just sounds like crap.  It reminds me of a wet toilet paper roll shoved in there.  Clogged.  I already cut the muffler in half, gutted out the restrictions, took about 8" out of the length.  Now I took the muffler off again (4th or 5th time) and have a 1/2" steel bar I turned a sharp point on - and I've been beating through the center from both ends.  The bar gets stuck, I clamp the bar in my big vise, then twist and turn the muffler to get the bar out !  I got a long "bell hanger" carbide drill bit (18" length) I'm drilling though the center.  Finally it's better, runs better, and idles like a panhead should . . . pieces of metal flying out.  I just want to use it - 'cause it looks cool. 

ISSUE #2: Motor runs like shit in heavy cross-wind.  I've adapted a stock-air cleaner to my Super E because I like the stock look.  But these air cleaners are known for "wind issues" and this is no different.  I'm in-the-process of modifying an S&S B-Series air cleaner backing plate to run on my Super E.  This entails machining new holes, milling for screw heads, removing the air bleed screw on the carb body (since the back plate blocks the outer air-bleed hole) and a bit of burr, fitment mods.  I've never had a wind issue with the S&S air cleaner - they are great, and direct the air into the carb, don't 'cause fires, and give great response and flow.  It just don't look quite right on here, but I may learn to like it ?  I run one of my black Sportster, and I noticed it had a bit better throttle response, and gives you more leg room (than the larger, ugly chrome stock Super E air cleaner)

Just some stuff . . .

Imagination "workin' overtime"
Morty says, "Let's work on the chopper !"
Current Mood
I miss the pool . . .(wish I had one)
Iggy's House

FLORIDA: The Sunshine State

I've been to all the coasts of Florida, up and down the center, panhandle . . . over 24 years of trekking around the state.  This year we explored Perdido Key, Orange Beach, Gulf Breeze and Pensacola Beach with a run up through Foley.  It's one of my favorites.
We like swimming . . .
  . . . but she ain't wild about oysters. (I love 'em)

 Awesome pizza at Lillian's !  When you're from a small town, places like this have all these great places to eat !  I gained almost 10 lbs. !
Fort Morgan (Yes, it's haunted !)  It's quite the place to go inside.  It still smells like gun powder.

Let's shoot a 1000lb. shell 8 1/2 Miles ! 
Don't mess with Alabama...

Gulf shore oil rigs . . . Florida does not allow them.  We're about 10 miles into the Alabama coast at the point, but we're staying on Perdido Key, Florida - The most beautiful area . . .
Above: A similar rig to the BP Deepwater Horizon which exploded and pumped millions of gallons of crude into the gulf.  I ask the locals about it, and talk to people about their feelings towards the big oil companies - a mixed viewpoint as expected.

 This lighthouse on the Naval Base . . . Cheryl went all the way to the top !
The museum is worth the trip - My favorite was this Curtiss (who also manufactured motorcycles).  It was like a show plane - but a deadly fighter !
I had the opportunity to visit with different servicemen from all branches.  These men flew hundreds of missions since the early 1950s . . . One particular vet took me up on the wing of his original war plane that he landed on the Shang-Gra-La style carrier - and gave me a full detail of a landing as we looked at a model of the carrier.  Then, we all went outside and watched the Blue Angels practice session.  A few years ago, I stood atop old-Fort Morgan, Florida and they buzzed me a couple times at 700mph with vapor flowing off their wings . . . what a trip that was . . .
Above: Current #7 Blue Angel - Andre Webb
Above: Current #5 Blue Angel Tyler Davies (his last year with the team)
Most of the time we had the beach all to ourselves.  It's kinda a hidden paradise around here.  The people we stayed (Airbnb this year) were wonderful - and we have new friends in the state.  A couple stormy days in between made it interesting.  A few gators, many pelicans, I ate redfish, gumbo, fresh shrimp, drank a few brews . . . and a couple run & cokes.  Many ice cream stores and beach shops....and of coarse Publix !  I can see myself riding my rusty 45 around here someday.  It'll be parked at the marina (or at Sunset Beach in Perdido) and I'll be out fishing, or paddle boarding on Sabine Bay. 
This is Gulf Breeze, Florida (looking East)  The bridge to Pensacola (to the left) and the bridge to Pensacola Beach (to the right).  The small bay where the bridge meets Pen' Beach is Little Sabine(a calm paddle-boarding bay with a sand bar in the center).  If you keep traveling east, you'll soon hit Navarre, then Fort Walton, then Panama City . . .