Byron, Illinois Trip

I like to stop for a break on this dead end road, next to this fancy brick home.  Check my bungee cords, look things over.  I've gone about 120 miles on back roads(with a detour) at this point....
Nice scenery most of the way - winding through woods with some climbs to small towns on the top of hills.  Almost every little 'burg has a building that would make a really cool motorcycle shop !
My destination is the Meltdown Drags in Byron. Illinois - but I've seen 3 cars shows already along the way !
This is what it's all about today !
The moderate tail-wind made for some quick times.
Fun times just hangin' out with friends.
Luke is so funny, Maggie is just so cool - Thanks for the good times.
Most all the cars pulled the front wheels a bit . . .
My journey was right at 500 miles for the weekend.  Nice weather, not too hot.  Bike ran strong.  Next, I'll replace my worn front Avon Speedmaster, maybe stiffen the clutch springs, new cable, oil change, adjust the rear chain and re-lube.  It should be ready for the 1500 mile trip coming up ! 

Christian Newman

Last year at Sturgis I ran out to Buffalo Chip early Monday morning to check out the Michael Lichter Show (better when nobody was around).  Christian Newman, Brad Gregory and Danger Dan all had the same idea.  I'd never met Christian, and he had some innovative features of his Evo Sportster to adapt it to long range touring.  His bike is a chopper custom all-the-way . . and you don't notice his engineering genius here and there until you get lookin'.  We ended up all riding together out to check The Horse Show at Full Throttle, snapping pics and gawkin' at the scenery.  I see Christian is one of the (3) selected builders of the new Indian Scout Custom Project - to be unveiled at this year's rally at Buffalo Chip.
SEARCH: The Wrench, Christian Newman at You Tube   Pretty cool there Newman ! 

Big Smiths

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).