Monday, July 28, 2014


Surly is making up some drawings of my English wheel and had a few questions. I took mine apart to clarify how it was made and to measure everything. Feel free to use them if you get ambitious and decide to make one. Seeing all the parts, you might decide to just buy one.

Photo 1

The pipe is 3-1/4" OD, 2-3/4" ID, 7-1/2" long with a 3/8" thick plate welded to the top. Inside the pipe is a bronze bushing 2-3/4" OD x 2-1/4" ID running the full length of the pipe. The mounting plate is 3/8" T, 4-1/2" W, 6" L. There are 3 holes per side for 3/8" bolts. The outer slot for the key is 1/2" wide x 2-3/4" long and 1/16" deep. The inner slot is 1/4" wide x 1-3/4 long. There are two holes on 2-1/4" centers for 10-24 bolts.

The screw is 1" dia. Acme thread 11" long. The top 2-3/4" was turned to 3/4" dia. There is a needle roller thrust washer sandwiched between two thin steel thrust washers that bear against the inside of the 3/8" plate on the top of the pipe when assembled. The other washer on the left end is a bronze thrust washer that goes between the handle and the outside of the top plate. (The screw is not bent, by the way. Fisheye from the camera lens.)

Photo 2

This is the pipe that holds the large wheel and rides inside the pipe in Photo1. It is a couple of thousands under 2-1/4" so it will slide smoothly in the bronze bushing of the larger pipe. The pipe is 7-3/4" long plus the length of the Acme nut welded to the end. There is a 1/4" key slot running the entire length. The yoke on the bottom is made from 3/8" plate and is 2-3/8" wide inside. The axle center is 4-13/16" from the inside of the plate. The axle is 17mm dia to fit a 6203 bearing in the large upper wheel. The threaded end I made 5/8" NC.

Photo 3

The handle has a major diameter of 2-3/4". You don't need to have the smaller diameter but I thought it looked better. The spokes are 1/2" dia. x 5-1/2" long. I drilled six 1/2" deep holes at a 10 degree angle, then tacked the spokes in the holes. Start out with a 6" length and round off the end that will be sticking out. The handle is secured to the screw with two 1/4" set screws. The center hole is bored and reamed 3/4" for a nice fit on the screw.

Photo 4

Photo 5

Photos 4 & 5 show the support for the lower wheel and the key. The key has two holes drilled and counterbored for the 10-24 screws, 2-1/4" C-C. The 1/4" wide key for the slot is 1-3/4 long x 5/8" deep. The total height of the piece is 1". To clarify, start with a piece of stock 1/2" wide x 1" thick and 2-3/4" long. Since I included several views, you should be able to decipher it. File the ends round and your good.

The lower wheel support is 1/2" thick x 1-1/4 wide x 1-13/16" long. I started with one long piece and then cut it in half through the 1/2" hole as seen in Photo 4. Machine a 1/8" "rabbet" along the sides, both in width and in depth. That will leave you with a 1/4" wide key that slides inside the lower yoke. Remember to give yourself a little clearance or just plan on filing them to fit.

Photo 6

The lower roller is 3" wide and has a R8 bearing in each end. These have a 1/2" ID. The major diameter on the roller is 2-7/8" x 2-3/16" on the ends. The axle sticks out about 9/16" on each side.

End view of the roller shows a 1/4" hole on one end only. This is to drive the roller for machining the OD while mounted on a mandrel.

There it is. Between this post and the previous one, I'm sure Surly can take it from here. Maybe there will be a set of finished drawings available at a later date for anyone who wants them. I hope so - can't wait for the royalties to start rolling in! In the meantime, if you decide to make one for yourself no guarantee expressed or implied, user accepts all liability, blah, blah, blah.

Dry Fitting

Photo From Here

If I ever ride the Harley to Texas, I'm going to have to get me a pair of these. I'm going to have to fix the shift lever first, however. Right now it's just got a 5/16" bolt with a piece of oil line on it. Wouldn't want to scuff those boots.

As may be evident from the photo, definitely need new rubber on the foot pegs in addition to the shift lever. I need to pick up a grease fitting for the shifter as well. It looks like it takes some oddball thread - 1/4-32 maybe. So another trip to the dealer is on tap but that's why I was fitting all the parts up. I also need a couple of hardware bits for the kickstart lever and the foot pegs. I like the looks of the new domed points cover. The one that came with the bike was just a chrome plated flat plate and it was bent up a little.

I mentioned long hex bit wrenches the other day. Snap-On sells a 3/8" drive one for $26.00 but I had a 3/16" bit  that fits my homemade Tee handle screwdriver. If you're going to work on motorcycles, this and an impact driver are probably the first tools to buy. This one is probably close to 40 years old. I've got no idea how many #2 Phillips bits I've gone through over the years but this baby has definitely earned its keep. 

I bought a tool for removing the plugs on the primary cover. That would be the shiny piece on the top right in the photo. The other piece is a homemade puller for the lifter bodies made by the previous owner. I'm about at the point that I need another tool box for all the tools in the arsenal. Sears has a roll around cabinet on sale for less than a hundred bucks. As it now stands, I've got several small tool boxes that need to be organized and consolidated. With the addition of the Harley I've got five more special tools, I've also got a small box of bicycle tools, a top box I used to carry with me when I was roadracing the Sprint and a small box of general tools that I used to carry in my truck in the old days when things would break and you could actually repair them on the road.. Since I've got duplicates of a lot of things, maybe get the new roll around and put it in the new barn for working on the VW and maintenance chores on the bikes, both motorized and not. For the price, it can't be top quality but if it streamlines the operation might be a good investment. 

Have a good week. Looks like it's going to be quite pleasant again.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


I stumbled across a cool bicycle site the other day. It's Monsieur Velo. Lots of nice restored bicycles as well as photos of his workshop. I've been doing a little more cycling of late, mostly just for the exercise but I have been training for a bicycle race tomorrow. My racing pace is about what my normal riding pace was a couple of years ago. The race is eight miles long and if I go, I'll be lucky to average 16 mph. The weatherman is forecasting rain so more than likely I'll just stay home. However, when I saw this chain guard at Monsieur Velo, it got me to thinking about my 1938 Elgin again. I'd like to get it restored one of these days. It's all there except for the chain guard. I put a generic chrome one on it when I was riding it back and forth to work 40 years ago but it was supposed to have a fairly fancy looking thing on it. Might be a good project for the winter time. Definitely can't sit on my ass all winter like last year. Need to pick a few things I can do down the basement or get some better heat in the shop so I can work comfortably out there. In the meantime I'll keep plugging away on the Harley.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Gelato Stand

Photo From Here
Got word yesterday morning that the part time lab tech gig I'm currently working is to become a full time position. Apparently, they're are going to try and convert several of the classes that utilize the lab into distance learning classes. The students will take the classroom part on the computer from home or wherever and then come to the lab for their experiments. My boss was kind enough to call me and explain the situation as well as offering me a chance at the job. He knew from previous conversations, however, that I've had all I care to have of full time employment. If I was going to be looking for a full time thing, it would have to be something like the portable gelato stand in the photo above. It'd be OK working full time just for the summer months - even better if I was driving a Piaggio Ape like the one above.  Get a good heater in the shop and then just hole up for about eight months and work on the projects.

Speaking of which, I ordered some parts for the Sportster - shims for the cams, points and condenser, magnetic drain plug for the oil tank, and a couple of other things.  Everything was in stock, so should be here the first of next week. In the meantime I'll try and get a couple of other things sorted. I need to finish the front brake, start chasing the wiring and I'm still a little confused about the front motor mount. I know there should be spacers between the frame tubes. One of the plates has a spacer welded to it but it's about a 1/4" too short and I haven't found a spacer at all for the other bolt. I'll get it figured out, though. Machining up a spacer is easy enough. I bought new lock nuts for the bolts already. I'll just keep pluggin' away. I've been having a lot of fun working on this thing - other than dropping the key in the crankcase that is. This is exactly the type of thing I was looking forward to doing when I retired.

Looks like the weather is going to stay cool for a few more days. This global warming thing ain't so bad after all.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Got My Mojo Workin' Today

Here we have the complete arsenal for removing a key from the bottom of the crankcase - Maglite, inspection light with magnet on the end, epoxy, double sided tape, pick-up tool, hemostat, TIG filler rod, and a piece of sheet metal. I cut the piece of sheet metal and put a little hook on the end and it was doing fine dragging the key up the side of the case as I was turning the crank until it got almost to the top and then the clearance tightened up. I poked it down to the bottom again and finally managed to get it turned so it was aligned with the slot between the flywheels. Then it was just a matter of getting the hole in the top of the key over the drain plug hole and slipping the hook in the end of the wire up into the hole and hoisting away. Sure glad that's over. Since I rarely have the time to do things once, I hate to have to do things twice, especially something like jerking the motor all apart again. Even more so when it's my own stupidity.

However, picking up where I left off, I've got the cams in and the cover on so I can check the end play. I'll get that done yet today so I can pick up the shims tomorrow. I like the look of the stainless Allen bolts in the cover. I need to buy a long reach wrench for them that fits a 3/8" drive ratchet. I've got a couple of the long reach Allens in the most commonly used metric sizes and they are handy as hell.  

And might as well finish up with a little Muddy Waters - the man who always had his Mojo workin'.

File This One Under

It's my own fault/I know better than that/nice going, dumbass.

If you look at the photo in the last post, you'll notice that the ignition switch with key is hanging over the top of the newly installed engine. You'll also notice the shop rags placed in the case bores to keep the connecting rods from banging around and to prevent anything from falling down into the crankcase - see where this is going?

The key in the ignition switch made a 25 mile trip on both back roads and the interstate with no hint of falling out. It made the move from the barn to the shop and onto the stand, still no problem with it coming out. Still firmly in place when I wrestled the motor into place and bolted up the oil tank, battery box and the engine bolts. However, less than one minute after removing the shop rags from the holes so I could turn the crank to line up the timing marks prior to checking the end play on the cams, the key fell out, bounced once and made it's way to the bottom of the crankcase. Damn!

So far all my efforts to retrieve it have been in vain. Since the engine is a dry sump, there is very little room around the crank flywheels. But there is enough room for the key to make it's way to the bottom. I've got a couple of more things to try yet before I start taking the engine back out of the frame but I'm not real optimistic. I might be able to shake the key out if I turn the engine upside down - probably have to get another guy to help me do the shaking but I damn sure don't want to have to take the engine apart again. 

It's just never easy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Engine's In

I've solved all the mysteries associated with the drain plugs. One of the 5/8" plugs goes in the side of the engine to plug the hole for the timing mark and the other one goes for the drain plug on the oil tank. Except now, there is a third 5/8" plug and that one is for the engine oil drain. I fixed the threads in the case to accept the drain plug from the oil tank so I'll need to pick a new one of those up. It takes an "O" ring so it should seal up nicely without having to tighten it up very much. Just give the "O" ring a decent crush and it should be leakproof. I drilled it for safety wire so it won't be able to work loose even if it's not real tight. 

I also put never seize on all the plugs as well. This prevents the threads wanting to gall and the galvanic action that occurs between aluminum and steel. Any time you stick a steel bolt into an aluminum case or cylinder head, if you don't grease up the threads you're just asking for trouble. Either that or bolt a sacrificial zinc to the side of your bike like you would on your yacht.

Anyway, the engine is in the frame and I can start assembling the rest of the engine. Pretty happy with that. 

Also this is blog post number 1,000 for Shop Teacher Bob. Probably should have tried to post something of real importance to celebrate the event but since that rarely occurs anyway, why would today be any different. I'll just keep plugging away with misspelled words, bad grammar and syntax errors on subjects that I enjoy discussing. Thanks to everyone who stops by and gives a little of your time to listen to whatever it is I have to say.