I haven't changed much...

I started out at a young age with art and drawing.  Then came sports, bicycles, skateboards, mechanics along with all that.  Always tools and wrenches and saws and drills and spray paint.  It hasn't changed much.  I was a lucky early bloomer with speed and ability on things with wheels or motors.  A "Ricky-Can't Ride It" declaration on any of my friend's go-carts or mini bikes 'cause they'd get broke or blown up.  My dad would take me to races, and I'd beat all the nationally ranked kids with fancy equipment and beautifully painted racers.  Our stuff was old, held together with duct tape, gorilla hair and pop rivets - but meticulously tuned and tested ! I had focus and preparation.  

Then it all changed.  Beer, dope, hard stuff, party party party.  I have great stories, but I lost my edge and my speed.  I tried again, but got spooked real easy. It never really came back.  I have "flashes of brilliance" some guy called it (kinda fit I thought) that knew me before...but I'm old and steady now. 

But all is not lost.  Don't let it get you down.  Take a break and start over later.  It's hard for me to focus, but I'm working on it everyday.  I try to fit as much into everyday as possible.  Up at 4:45am, walk to fitness center(I hate the word gym).  I do different stuff.  Then I eat, text, clean parts, walk more, do bike stuff, coffee with "morning people" at a possible 4 different places...then to work, then more bike stuff, more honing, boring, tools, paint...all dirty endeavors.  Back home - more texting, posting, planning for the next day to do it all over again.  Maybe watch a Tonite Show with Johnny Carson rerun....

Photos Above: 1952 Harley K Engine Cases / Almost 5 foot BMX Bunny Hop !

No tricks - It's a '46...

My first knucklehead.  1946.  I built so many for other friends of mine, but never got to have one myself.  Collecting parts and stashing stuff for quite a few years.  About all the parts I collected were damaged(as usual or I wouldn't get to have any of this stuff), screwed up...farted up...nobody wanted it - throw-away.  I got it all done, and for test runs and shakedowns - I guess it's ok.  The knuckle engine has a different sound, unlike a panhead.  I haven't really got into yet.  I need a run to Des Moines or Rockford to get the beat in my head, in my heart. It's that motor sound - it's what grinds into you - the rhythm - the beat.  Whether an XLCH, an XR, a CBR, a KX, a CR...or a new Mil' 8.... 
It's just the beat that you jo jo with. Like it or not, or like it !
Elliott doesn't really care about all this shit.


November 2008 - Morty (My 1st Blog Post from Nov. 2008)

My very best buddy Morty ("Morty The Official Shop Cat") passed away from natural causes last Sunday, Oct. 4th.  Morty was the best pet I ever had, and I documented many things ol' Mort did over the years with the expressions and adventures he did around the garage and shop.  This BLOG introduced me to many fellow motorcycle enthusiasts over all the years.  I remember trying to figure out how to post photos, type text, etc...and this first photo was my test to see if I could do it.   I'd see this big, biker dudes at swap meets and events, and one of the first things they'd ask is..."How's Morty?"  It was pretty cool.  The blogs are a dying method (almost gone fully actually), but there was a time when it was the hottest and best way to get the word out, meet people, they were just awesome !  Each time I get on here to post, Google makes weird changes, and you gotta learn all this crap again... it's like - Nothin' lasts forever for sure.  Makes me sad.  Buy hey... I got an Instagram (for short attention spans I call it) - and I still post on that.  I'll try to send a post now and then, but it just ain't the same - and I'll miss Morty, and I already miss the blogs - but times change - and we just got to go onward into the future - but never sell those old Harleys and keep the vintage bike spirit alive - and maybe I'll see or hear from you all soon?  Thanks for the great times we've had !  -Noot

Pawn Shop UL

My dad's friend found this at a pawn shops years ago... now rebuilt and ready to hit the road again... Old Harley Never Die !


Old Panhead Pistons Just Keep On Jumpin'

The day I rode to West Gate, Arlington, Brandon, Troy Mills, Coggon, Central City, Waubeek, Vinton, New Hartford, Shell Rock and Clarksville... and a whole lotta other places !

#52 for a Fifty Two


1967 Shovelhead

Got this '67FLH motor about wrapped up.  It came in really gross and rusty - but now it's ready for action !  Bone stock - but tight.  1967 was the 2nd year of the shovelhead engine production.  I reused and detailed about all the fasteners, except the case bolts nuts and rocker slotted nuts (from Colony).

The 80s rock kept me on task....

Just a tent and a tooth brush...

 Took a short trip - did some chopper campin' south of Dubuque.  Bottom photo is Guttenburg, Iowa.

1964 Sportster

I've been riding this some more lately....maybe make a run this weekend to a swap meet in Hugo, Minnesota.  I can only buy as much as my pockets and saddlebags will hold...might be a good idea !


Iowa's Island City

Did you know my late aunt was the mayor of this town once...?
The good 'ol days !
Rollin' on the River !

Steel Primary Adjuster Shoe

The early primary chain adjusters didn't have the "nylon shoe" on the adjuster pad...it just had this soft metal pad, permanently attached.  The pad wore just a tiny bit(where the chain grooves started to show) and you didn't want to run your chain over tight..  The face of the adjuster was a bit narrower to fit a KR(XLCH type) tin primary cover.  The clutch basket was narrower, so the shoe had to be a bit narrower too.  I've found those nylon pads aren't always the best since the retainers often come loose, and the nylon shavings from the pad can clog your countershaft needle bearing oiler.

I built this motor...tuning by Hartman...

Hartman's mill.  I went thru this ripper years ago - and it still runs pretty good.  You do your best, try not to skip steps or cut corners...and sometimes you get lucky.  He runs 2 carbs on everything - and he's good at it.  Tuning, jetting - he makes it work.  This bike is insane with details !

Nathan's Shop (he's on the right)

Full Moon Cycle in Dubuque, Iowa.  I stopped for a quick visit one year on my way to the Meltdown Drags in Byron, Illinois.  My chopper was packed !  Still runnin' that old, vintage square air cleaner.  PS. I'm not in this photo...I'm better lookin' than these two blokes...

NOTE: If you ever need a wheel laced and trued, Nathan is your guy.  He specializes in chopper wheels, spools, Sportster wheels of all types, hamburger and half-brake front wheels, super narrow stuff...also he builds (and rebuilds) old Sportster front ends of all types. 

The Supersuckers

She used to be Pretty - 
Now she's Pretty fucked up...

My favorite country band !
(well, he wears a cowboy hat...)

Pre-Ride Checks

 First thing I always do before a trip is a run with the Battery Tender to get that battery up-to-snuff.
I check the push rods, take a look at the points/condenser...and check the tires and air pressure.  I adjusted the chain a touch.  A twice around shot of my Amsoil chain lube (I like best).

My mousetrap (clutch) wasn't goin' all the way forward on some operations - so I adjusted that a bit - lubed the springs and all joints with my Lincoln Spray Grease - now everything works all nice and quiet !  No squeaks !  I removed both plugs - and they look exactly the same, you can't tell which cylinder they came from - but I switch 'em anyway each time.  Oil level is good in tank and tranny(just about 1/3 way up the throw-out bearing).

Haggle of a Start . . .

Had a fun day at Dubuque Speedway !
The ol' K Model just keeps rippin' !

Honing / Surface Grinding

Attempting to restore some panhead rocker blocks.  Surface grind the lowers - Bolt on a top - Sunnen hone the bore til' your check pin fits !  Give 'em .0008-.001 clearance seems to work !  It just sucks holding these damn things when you're honing (I made a handle jig deal) but still a good way to jam a finger, bust a knuckle or loose a fingernail !  But I love it !  Restoration of old H-D parts - the best on mother earth . . .

1961 XLCH - 12 Volt Electrics

Gas it up...Hit the Street !
I did a 12V conversion with 
Bosch Regulator...
Now I can see where I'm going..!

1950 Harley WR (Rebuilt)

These WR engines are rare.  The only way to buy one was through a dealer(of coarse) and you had to have a racing license.  Class C via AMA, American Motorcycle Association
This is a 1950. 
Special features (different from standard WL/45" engines include:
Sprocket Shaft (special for ball bearing)
Pinion Shaft w/oil groove (special for ball bearing)
Crank Pin (special size for WR rollers)
Drilled Connecting Rods
Special Lightened Flywheels
Special Cams (for WR only)
Special Ball Bearing Idler Gear and Spacer
Special Gear Cover for Ball Bearings and Wico
Ball bearings on #3 and #4 cams(both ends)
Ball bearings on #1 and #2 cams (case end only)
Special Angled Tappet Blocks
Flat Show Angled Tappets
Special Tappet Covers
Right Case (special casting for magneto idler gear stud)
Left and Right Case with special machining for Ball Bearings
Right Case machined and drilled for Wico/Edison Magneto
Special Cast Iron Cylinders with larger cooling fins, larger valves,
smoothed ports, and special valve angles...
Special Pop-Up Pistons (same as K, KH, KR)
Special Valve Springs
Special Cylinder Heads and Combustion Chamber 
No Head Gaskets !
...and it all must be hand-fitted, must spin free, no binding with correct race
clearances and tolerances for high speed race situations...

Juice Brake on a Rigid

You'll need to weld a "backing plate stay" on the lower frame tail for the backing plate anchor stud to bolt to . . . (you can see the narrow, nylon insert lock nut I use).  I left the original (mechanical brake) stay (front middle) in case I want to go back to mechanical brake sometime.

I run a continuous (Russell brand) stainless, braided brake line all the way to a triple junction mounted off my rocker clutch up front.  The top outlet of my 3-way junction has the hydraulic brake light switch.(I use that late model little bugger, availaable at any H-D dealership.  They run 'em on all the new bikes.(I keep a spare in my tool kit in-case the switch would leak, you'd have no brakes !
The opposite side of the 3-way junction has another braided line to my master cylinder.

This is the larger(later) version of the Harley hydraulic brake drum.  Maybe 1968-1972, I think?

The round hook-deal is a bungee hook for when I load it up for travel !

1961 XLCH

CHECK: Tire pressure, oil, primary oil, nut & bolt all the 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, etc.  Make sure everything is sorta tight.  Checked the hose clamps.  Fresh fuel.  Ran it up to about 85-90mph a couple times on some long stretches.  Took some fast, sweeping curves. I kinda hate beating on the thing like that....but it sounds so good when the r's get up there and it starts to sing !   If you had this bike in the 60s...you'd be one of the faster ones.  105+ miles in the books for a sunny Sunday.

Favorite Places....

Sitting on these rocks trying to figure out how to use a few media devices...and on the ground, all around me were feathers, a bird leg, various animal entrails - and a Bald Eagle was circling above me.  I think he just has a meal...?
1952 Harley-Davidson Model K

Baffle Plate / Glyptal / Case Alignment

Here's an early panhead gear cover that's been repaired.  A common problem - they crack around the timer stud boss.  To weld it correctly, the baffle plate must be removed.  I didn't want to assemble the guy's motor without the plate,(or it would puke massive oil into the primary probably) - so I made a cardboard pattern - and my buddy McFarland whittled me out an aluminum plate, drilled out the old solid rivets, and tapped me some holes for screws.  (The S&S gear cover baffle plates are screwed on and they work...so here goes)

...then I masked and painted everything(sealing up any weld porosity) and made it all look so pretty.
The right case needs an over sized race, since it's all oval, and out-of-round.  I'll bolt the case together and align everything the way I want it.  Then we'll mount on a Bridgeport Mill table with the Left Side up.  He'll indicate in the case race to zero, dead center, and note the coordinates.  Then remove the left case - and indicate the Right case race insert to the same coordinates - and bore it for the perfect press-fit of my new +.016 over stock OD case race.  I have this kid McFarland do it for me- he measures like 50 times - and finally does it - and it works.  Then I'll line lap everything and have a nice straight shot for both flywheel shafts.  Makes a smooth running engine - for long life too.

Mike Wilson - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Here's a photo of Mike sitting on Leo Payne's old "street" bike....a machine he restored - and had much input in the creation of, back in the early days of Cedar Rapids street racing.  I talked to Mike only about 3 times my entire life.  Each one I learned something, 'cause he told me a trick, or tip on each subject matter.  One I can't quite remember was setting the Linkert DC butterfly opening in just the perfect position - and it was a simple, yet complex operation - I should have written it down.  It had to do with filing or positioning the small butterfly bevel.  Hmmmm?? Maybe Wiley knows????  He autographed my dad's History of Motorcycle Drag Racing hard cover book on the inside - with a short note.  These old timers that knew how to make a Harley-Davidson perform are slipping away - so I try to learn as much as I can.  We just need some new young dudes that'll hold that throttle wide open - to test our ideas.  Like Mike had Leo.

Never Judge a Book By It's Cover

This ol' 1957FL was a real crud when I got it.  I scraped for 3 days as I tore it down.  Soaked most of the parts.  It still destroyed the solvent in 2 different parts washers.  I'd never seen anything so dirty.  Never washed in over 60 years apparently.
Now it's shiny on the inside - still "krusty" on the outside to match the rest of the bike.  Crusty, but clean.  The rods were toast - crank pin was breaking up, rod races where rough and pitted.  Now the lower end has new rod races, new crank pin, everything fit with proper end play and factory clearances - nice.  NOS Sonnax rollers(gettin' rare) all measured perfect.  Oem steel rod cages.  I line lapped the pinion race(just to barely true it up) and fitted +.0002 rollers.  The flywheels trued up sweet, and roll so smooth now. The threads for the aluminum rocker covers didn't need a single heli-coil or repair - they were all perfect - that's incredible !
Even though the parts are rusty, these old, original Harley-Davidson parts fit the best !  They had great quality control back then... the Motor Co. in the 40s, 50s and 60s was hittin' on both cylinders...
The factory timer runs a Blue Streak condenser(I like 'em) and oem points/with an nos shielded coil wire.
I like these original band-type manifold clamps.  Kinda cheesy, but fit nice, and hold tight. I bored the cylinders .040, new cast pistons and Hastings Moly 1/16, 1/16, 3/16(3-piece) oil rings.
I stuck a new Colony sprocket shaft seal in it - the threads were still perfect !  You can take an original seal(steel part) and machine it for a new seal (from your seal supplier) - but these Colony seals are really nice.