Friday, October 2, 2009

Peotone Motorcycle Swap Meet

Heading to the Peotone Motorcycle Swap Meet & Parts Expo tomorrow. I've heard they have a good selection of new and used Harley parts so I'm pretty excited.

I'll possibly be looking for a new oil tank, a low profile single seat, a new dash and some other odds and ends.

We're going to Giordano's for lunch afterwords so even if the Swap Meet is a bust, we get some good pizza.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Nasty leak from the oil tank cap

So since doing all that work to the lube system I've developed a pretty bad leak from the oil tank cap when she's running. There's a cork seal inside the cap itself and I'm sure it needs replacing. Just not sure why it'd go from seemingly not leaking before all the work to basically a steady stream now.

Ah well, I'm sure a new seal will fix it.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Lean and mean

I've gotten lots done on the Low Rider over the last few days.

The oil bag cleaned up real nice. The paint was pretty scuffed and chipped so I decided to sand it down and spray paint it. It's only a temporary fix as I plan on getting a new, horseshoe style tank once money isn't so tight.

I went with a metallic gray looking color for the tank (but I'll be damned, I didn't get pics) and it turned out pretty sharp. I like the color so much that I'll likely end up considering it for the rest of the tins when I finally get around to them.

The Harley shop here in Michigan City ended up having the main gasket for my primary in stock which was an awesome surprise. They usually look at ya pretty funny when you tell 'em you're riding a shovel.

I picked up some Permatex (Hylomar) gasket sealer, cleaned all the surfaces where the primary cover and housing meet with some carb cleaner and elbow grease, used the sealer to "glue" the gasket to the primary cover and then put her all back together. Added ATF to the primary and checked for leaks... nada yet.

I decided not to pull the whole primary off and opted to just shorten and plug the return and the vent hoses with small bolts. They're basically hidden under the bike so it's not like it causes an eyesore. I'll do 'em up right when I do pull the primary (most likely this winter).

I did end up pulling the oil pump, though, to plug the stuff on that side proper. The tip on to plug the primary-case return using a brass plumbing plug worked perfectly. I picked the plug up from Lowes for like 89 cents. I snapped off the supply nipple with a pair of pliers and tapped it for a small machine screw. It's leaking from there some while she's running so I may tap it again slightly larger and maybe use some teflon tape on the threads.

I ditched the oil cooler which came stock on the '79 Low Rider but from all accounts really isn't necessary. Between getting rid of the hoses for that and getting rid of the hoses for lubing the primary, the bike looks leaner and meaner already.

Once I had her all back together with the new oil lines run I did a 5-quart oil change. Added 4 quarts to the bike, pulled the return hose and let it pump into an oil pan. Ran her until most of the old crude pumped out, shut it down and refilled the oil to the proper level.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Oil and stuff

I drained the oil this evening and pulled the oil bag to give it a good cleaning. Judging solely from the shit that was caked to the outside I'd guess it's never been done. I'm going to give it a good gas-bath in the next few days to break up some of the sludge that's built up inside over the last 30 years.

I picked up some oil hose in anticipation of running all new lines. What better time than when I have it drained? I'm also planning on simplifying the oil system some by removing the cooler and sealing my primary.

In most (or all??) stock shovelheads, the primary chain is lubed by the engine oil inside an enclosed "outer primary" which houses the chain and clutch plates. When oil leaves the primary enclosure, it's dumped directly back into the motor without being filtered, carrying along with it any contaminants from the chain or clutch plates (metal shavings, clutch dust, etc). That shit can be bad news for the life expectancy of the motor.

By removing select supply and return oil lines and plugging fittings, you can isolate the primary from the rest of the oil system and "seal it up". You give it a bath of it's own lubrication (I'll likely end up using normal old transmission fluid so I can spot leaks easily) and... problem solved!

Pics and progress updates soon...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Clutch Cable Adjusted

Trouble finding neutral while the bike was running was one of the things that had been on the list. I also noticed she was "creeping" some while in gear with the clutch disengaged.

Well, after doing some random reading on the shovelhead forums it seems that both are symptoms of a clutch cable in need of adjustment. Made sense once I thought about it.

It took about 5 minutes to get her adjusted correctly. Neutral is easy to find now and no more creep!

One more off the list ^^

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Carb Rebuilt, coil mounted

I cleaned and rebuilt my carburetor yesterday afternoon with the kit I ordered from J&P. It wasn't as dirty as I expected but the rebuild seems to have fixed the occasional misses I was getting. I put in about 30 minutes of riding this afternoon and it didn't miss once.

I also installed my new air filter with some longer, recessed-head screws from Lowe's. After the carb rebuild, though, the air filter support bracket no longer squares up to the backplate, so I'll have to figure out why. Edit: and now, a few days later, it lines up fine... maybe I was tired or had been drinking.

A piece of of angle iron (also from Lowe's) cut to length worked out great to replace the ignition coil bracket that broke a few days ago. Seems solid. I'll check it again after a few rough rides to see how it's holding up.

After the Sea Foam I added to the oil about a week ago does it's thing it'll be time for an oil change... that's next on the to-do list.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Finagle's Law and a J&P Cycles Order

Finagle's Law of Dynamic Negatives states that "Anything that can go wrong, will - and at the worst possible moment."

Finagle's is like Murphy's Law but with the comedic timing of David Letterman. It's also an unofficial Shovelhead mantra as far as I'm concerned.

When the bracket for my electronic ignition failed today while zipping along at 50mph I sighed and mentally added it to the list. "Fuck you, Finagle" I thought.

My new mistress is both temperamental and demanding. No place worth going, though, can be gotten to using shortcuts and it's a marathon, not a sprint. The good news? My order from J&P Cycles came in today!

I got a new air filter element. I still don't think it's exactly the right size (still a little deep) so I need new, slightly longer screws for the filter cover. The added depth should let more air flow, though, so maybe it'll be a good thing?

I picked up a couple of tappet screen screw o-rings. The previous owner didn't have one installed which was causing a pretty significant oil leak.

I also got an easy on/off tappet screen screw which replaces the stock screw (pictured left). The stock one is made of really soft alloy and has a slot larger than any flathead screwdriver I've ever seen. It ends up being easy as hell to damage. The new screw fits a 7/16'' wrench or socket so it'll be nice and easy to torque on and off... worth every bit of the cost.

And... I got a rebuild kit for my stock Keihin Butterfly carburetor. From all expert accounts, it's filthy and desperately in need of a good going through.

I'm hoping to rebuild the carb this weekend or early next week. I'm eager to see how she runs once it's soot free.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Did you ever know that you're my heeeeerooooo...

So I was trolling the forums a few weeks back (something I've been doing a lot lately), and I came across what I've decided will be the inspiration for my build.

I love the clean look of this bike. It happens to also be a 1979 FXS, just like mine, though there have been lots of great changes. The best part? I've been in contact with drahciR (the owner) and he's willing to answer all the reasonable questions I have!

I love the ducktail rear fender, the wrap-around oil tank and I especially love the two-tone paint scheme. And of course, you can't go wrong with a big ass 21'' spoked front wheel.

Time, money, blood, sweat, tears and the geniuses at is about all it should take.

And we have a winner...

After weeks of browsing craigslist, fleabay and the 'for sale' forums, I finally settled on this old girl. She's a 1979 FXS (Low Rider) with a stock 80'' (1340cc) engine and 4-speed transmission with kick and electric start, electronic ignition and dual-disc front brakes. She's had two previous owners, the most recent of which had owned her since 1988 and seems to have taken great care of the engine.

She's from Gaston, Indiana which is just north of Muncie. After a couple of trips down there (thanks Leeta) and lots of hemming and hawing, she finally came home with me on August 15th.

As for that journey home... well that's a story for another post, lmao.