Thursday, July 31, 2014

Metric Tool Mash-Up

I bought myself the cheap roll around cabinet from Sears the other day. It's called standard duty and comes with a three year warranty. It's flimsy but will serve the purpose for what I'm looking for, which is a fairly complete set of tools in the new barn to keep me from having to walk back to the shop whenever I'm working on the mower, VW, etc. While I was sorting tools I went through the metric drawer. What a hodge-podge of stuff I've got in there. I got my first Japanese bike, a Honda Sport 50, when I was 15. I started buying metric tools shortly there after - close to 50 years ago now. What's amazing is that I still have most of them and most everything metric fits in one small drawer in the tool box. Apparently you don't need a lot of tools to fix Japanese motorcycles - like rebuilding a small box Chevy - a few end wrenches and sockets takes care of 95% of everything. I'll give you an idea of what's on hand.

The box of sockets was one of my first purchases. New Britain brand and because there's a lid on the box, I've still got all of them. Here's where it gets interesting:

Starting from the left, J.C. Penney ratcheting box wrench. I've got a set of them and rarely do they get touched. Seems like on motorcycles there's always something that prevents your taking advantage of the ratcheting function. For you younger readers, might be the first time you've seen a J.C. Penney wrench.

SK Wayne combination wrench. I bought a set of these right after the sockets.

Ace Hardware 10 mm wrench. Just one but you can never have too many 10 mm wrenches and this one is a long reach.

Sears Craftsman combination wrench. I bought a set of these as well. Sometimes you need to hold both the bolt and the nut. I've lost a few of these over the years - victims of carelessness during a test ride mostly. Sears always has more though.

Mac Tool 18 mm wrench because some dumbass engineer in this country figured that 18mm was a nice size for something rather than using the 17 or 19 like they do in Japan or Italy.

Snap-On socket because I needed 1/2" drive for something and the Snap-On man used to swing by the Career Center when I worked there.

Power Kraft 10mm socket. Again, because you can never have too many 10mm sockets. House brand of Montgomery Wards back in the day. Our family used to buy a lot of merchandise from Montgomery Wards. They had a catalog store in town. Shop the catalog for whatever you wanted, go uptown or phone in your order, few days later they'd call and tell you your order was in. Things weren't really all that bad before the internet. You could get most anything from one of the catalog houses including a house if that's what you wanted.

The last three are branded Taiwan, China and Japan as country of origin. I've got no idea where I picked these up at, probably in a parking lot or along the side of the road while I was out running. Don't see too many Japanese sockets these days. There was lots of Japanese crap floating around in the 50's but I don't recall seeing many Japanese tools. I was always looking to buy good tools like Craftsman when I was young. I had a tool box stolen from my van one time and I lost quite a few good mechanics tools. 

Last but not least is the Snap-On combination wrench along the bottom. I wish I had a set of these but this is the only one. I went on a tour of the Snap-On plant a few years back and at that time they were making the Kobalt brand of wrenches for Lowe's. Made by Snap-On, nice finish, great guarantee - be a good place to shop for tools if you were putting a set together. And they've got a socket for life deal where if you lose one out of your set, they'll send you a new one for just a few bucks shipping and handling. 

Lots of mismatched stuff here but it gets the job done. And has for close to 50 years. The end wrenches in the new roll around cabinet are the same kind of mismatched odds and ends. There's a 5 piece set of True-Test open end wrenches - supposed to be a 6 piece set but I managed to lose the 1/2 x 9/16 some place many years ago. There are no two box wrenches alike but I do have a "set". Pretty much the minimum for servicing things but it'll save me lots of steps and it cut down on the clutter in the other tool box in the shop. 

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.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Photo From Here

Don't know what it is but it's sho' nuff cute.

Ran into a little trouble yesterday with the Sportster project. I got the oil pump cleaned up, timed and re-installed only to find out that the threads for the engine drain plug are pretty well stripped. There are three drains on the bottom of the engine. One is for the transmission and it's already been Heli-Coiled. Looks like a 1/2"-13 thread. I doubt if that was the original thread but it is what it is. There is another plug off to the side that's a 1/8" NPT and then there is the engine plug that appears to have been a 9/16" -18 thread. There are a couple of 5/8" plugs in among the parts but I'm not sure if they are for something or if the previous owner was going to go larger on the plug diameter and use one of those. 

I just wish I had seen the threads before I put everything together. I would have just gotten a new drain plug, welded up the case and redrilled and tapped the hole. Not like I haven't done that a few times. I've got a couple of ideas for a fix without taking the cases back apart, however. Just have to see how it all works out.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Primary Drive

I got the primary drive and clutch put together on the Sportster. The two tools I made to hold things tight while torquing the clutch hub nut and the crank sprocket worked as planned. The previous owner had made a tool for compressing the clutch springs and that too went well. I need to get the oil pump mounted and then I can wrestle the engine into the frame.  Maybe today, maybe not. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

County Fair

The Missus and I took a hot lap around the local county fair earlier in the week. Can't go to the fair without a stroll through the dairy barn  - along with sheep, goats, hogs, rabbits, chickens, ducks and turkeys. No pigeons, though. I'm starting to get hot to go on pigeons for some reason.

The Retired Iron club was gearing up for the tractor parade around the fair grounds so I didn't get a good look at all of the old machinery but from what I saw, lots of interesting stuff this year.

Like this Allis grader. That'd be just the ticket for maintaining the lane.

Good looking Ford tractor. A few of the tractors have been restored to a pretty high level of finish with better than new paint jobs.

Always a couple of equipment dealers present to show off their latest models. I'd like to get a tractor with a bucket loader - make moving snow around a bit easier and they can't be beat for lifting heavy things. This one had a price tag of close to $18K. The salesman said he'd cut me a good deal, of course when don't they say that? For that money I think I'll just stick with my old Allis and try to avoid lifting heavy things. Of course, a truck like the old Chevy up there with a Holmes 440 bolted down on the back would be able to lift some heavy things. 

They were supposed to do a 5K fun run last Sunday morning at the fair grounds I was planning on running, but it was cancelled due to the weather. The Missus was down there on Saturday to check out the pie and cake judging (she scored a second place with both her carrot cake and gooseberry pie) and heard the announcement. Saved me and my running buddy a trip at least.

I cheated on the diet and had a pork tenderloin sandwich for dinner while we were there. Actually it isn't really cheating, it's more like a requirement if you live in Indiana. The weather was nice and cool, unlike what it usually was when I was working the blacksmith shop in the past. Made for a pleasant afternoon for the Missus and I.

 Looks like a couple more nice days still before the weather turns hot. Enjoy them while they're here.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Plenty Long and Hell For Strong

I got the bike stand stretched. Since I wasn't going to use the tilt function I altered the back end. - made a little frame out of 2x4s, put a stretcher on the bottom to tie it in and then ran a couple more 2x4s along the outer edge to bridge across where the hinge is. I also added a couple of splice plates that have a loop welded to them for tie-downs. Easy enough done and no additional cost to yours truly. If I had been thinking, I'd have trimmed out a little section where the lip of the ramp fits so the ramp would lie a bit flatter when I put it on there. Everything is screwed together, so I can do that after I get the bike off of there.

The bike fits up on the stand like a champ. I could use a couple more soft ties for the back end to keep from scratching the paint. There's a good spot to grab the frame right behind the shocks but not the best for a hook, even if rubber coated. Actually I could just put the tie-downs straight onto the handlebars and use the soft ties in the back. Probably wouldn't hurt to put some padding on the end of the handlebars either - maybe something big and soft like an old pair of boxing gloves. Maybe even do it before I skull myself.

Besides the bike, I still need to get some things tightened up around the shop. I stick welded the loops to the splice plates but I'm afraid to weld anything inside the shop for fear of burning the place to the ground. Not that big of deal to drag things outside on a nice sunny day but it's not always sunny. Or warm. And I damn sure don't need a 600 amp electrode holder for a 3/32" rod. I used to have a little whip lead but can't find the damn thing. I do have another lead with a 200 amp holder but it needs a connector on the end that fastens to the welder. One more thing to add to the list but since I'm going to be doing most of my welding at home now, probably be time well spent getting things in order.

I need to spring for a good cordless drill, as well. The cheap-o from Harbor Freight won't hold a charge for any length of time. I bought it when I was putting the sheeting on the new barn a few years back and it's served me well but it's about time I bought myself a decent DeWalt or something similar. Having dropped one off the scaffolding onto the concrete in the past, I've been hesitant to shell out the dough for a good one but I can't see doing a whole lot of that kind of work in the future. 

Things are good - projects are getting done and the weather has been perfect. Can't ask for much more than that.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

'Taco Stand

I pulled the cover off the Bultaco so I could take it off the stand and put the Sportster on. The first thing I noticed is the stand is a little short for the wheelbase of the HD. The second thing I noticed was this is a cute little thing. I bought the bike quite a few years back from a guy I roadraced with. He raced an XR750 Harley coincidentally. I got it running with out too much fiddling and ordered some parts to have when I finally got around to working on it but that was about the extent of it. I did swing a leg over it after taking it off the stand and even though it's only a 250cc, it feels right when you sit on it. They were pretty fast back in the day, as well. There was a TSS version for roadracing that had a fairing, different tank, seat, chamber, etc. One of the shop teachers when I was in high school raced one. I remember him calling off so he could go to Daytona. He later quit teaching and sold Bultacos and Hondas.

I built the stand a few years back when I taught a construction class. The Bultaco went up on the stand and that's where it's been residing ever since. The top tilts and the ramp section is spring loaded to pull it into the vertical position once the bike has been pushed forward. It's not a bad design but depending on what you need to do to the bike once it's on there, it might profit from being a little higher. Surly has discussed this at some length on his blog and the most important thing that I took away from all of it was you don't need a tilting top. Just use your ramp. If you own a bike and a pickup, you probably already own a ramp. If not, just make a ramp and use it. That being said, I'm going to give up on the tilting function and add a bit of length to the front of mine so the Sportster will fit comfortably on it. Having the Sporty up in the air will help my old back out but my main concern is working on the thing and having to chase it around when I'm putting the engine in it and buttoning everything up. It'd be my luck that I tipped the bike over while trying to wrestle the engine into place and screw up the new paint job.

I should have enough scrap lumber around here to take care of the expansion without a trip to the lumber yard - might have to buy a couple of eye bolts. I'll throw a couple of photos up when I get the Sporty up on there.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Why I Took Shop Class

So roughly fifty years later I could make a tool to rebuild a 40 year old motorcycle. In the old days there were mechanical drawing classes that all of us boys were required to take in school and one of the things taught was the six hole layout on a circle. Since the chord length between the holes is the same as the radius of the circle, it takes all of about thirty seconds to lay one out. The layout for the clutch tool was four concentric circles and the tab layout. I put the tabs on the same center line as the holes, so the layout was super easy. Even though the clutch shell/basket has twelve slots, I only put six tabs on the tool.

Having taught this layout process over the years, I'd say the average high school graduate of today would have a tough time laying a tool like this out. The smart guys with a little CAD experience could draw it up on the computer easy enough but doing this sort of thing the old fashioned way might just present a little challenge. For one thing they might not know the relationship between the radius and the chord length. There's something different about the computer skills and the traditional ways of doing things. Neither way is right - neither way is wrong. Just different. Doug Stowe at the Wisdom of the Hands is probably the guy who can explain it the best but I know it to be true. In fact he mentions in a recent post the German concept of fingerspitzengefuhl that might help explain what I mean. I know in this day and age you certainly couldn't justify a mechanical drawing class because you might be called upon to make a layout for a six hole bolt circle some day, but I'm dead sure a nine weeks traditional drafting class in middle school would really help everyone on several levels.

Here's a little challenge for you: Draw up the clutch tool. Granted this will be easier if you know what a motorcycle clutch disc looks like but the layout is four concentric circles with six equally spaced tabs around the perimeter. The hole for the socket is 1-1/8" radius, the bolt circle is 2-7/16" radius, the main radius is 3", and the tabs stick out 3/16" so another circle of 3-3/16" radius. The tabs are 3/8" wide. I made it easy by giving you the radii. If I would have given the diameters, that would have stumped a lot of the high school kids because they can't divide fractions by two.

When you get done the drawing should look like this only with a smaller center hole and the bolt circle.

Once you get your piece of paper, compass and a scale, it shouldn't take more than about three minutes to draw up your layout. Regardless of how long it takes you, when you finish it up, you've got the pattern for the clutch tool in case you ever buy a '73 XLCH basket case.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

What a Tool!

I'm making a little progress on the clutch tool front. I've completed the one that links the two sprockets together. Pretty simple to make, and if you want to make a similar one, it'll be even simpler because here are the measurements: two pieces of 3/16" x 1" flat bar. The top one is 3-13/16" long, the bottom is 3-5/8" long. The two 11/32" holes are 2-1/4" apart. The 1/2" tubing spacers are 1-11/16" long. Those lengths are just a little proud of the actual lengths. You need to round the ends of the flat bars so start a little long and work the length down to a nice snug fit as you round the ends. Also you need two 5/16" x 2-1/2" bolts with nuts. So there you go.

The square piece attached to the clutch is the final piece of the puzzle. I've got the hole bored in the center to clear the socket and I've got the holes drilled to attach the plate to the pressure plate. The easy way out at this point would be to just weld a handle on the plate and that would hold the hub while I tighten the nut. If I shape the outside to match the contour of the drive plates, however, it'll hold the hub solid to the clutch shell, the other tool will hold the shell tight to the crank sprocket and nothing will move allowing me to tighten the hub nut and the crank nut just as pretty as you please. Additionally, by drilling six more holes, it should be able to be used on Surly's Sportster as well. Seems there was a model change in 1971 and the earlier clutches are more like the Japanese clutches I'm more familiar with. Regardless, progress is being made.

I stopped by the dealer to pick up the locking tab and they forgot to put it on the truck. I'll pick it up next week when I go in to work. In the meantime, I should have the tools completed and I think I'm going to jockey some bikes around so I can get the Sportster up on the stand. That would probably make putting the engine in the frame, wiring, etc., much easier. 

Long way to go but moving forward.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Memory Lane

I got a chance to read the article about the Sportster in the August 1973 issue of Super Cycle the previous owner was kind enough to send along. From the article:

The CH was the original "ba-a-a-d motorsickle." To own a CH was to own the ultimate in 2-wheeled transportaion. And more than a few high school kids worked paper routes and cut lawns during the summer trying to save enough money to buy this dream--though they often ended up with a 250cc Sprint.

That was me. Not only did I have a paper route and cut lawns, I baled hay and fried chicken. It still wasn't enough to swing the XLCH but it was enough to plunk down $650.00 cash to buy myself a Sprint H my senior year in high school.

But now I've got the Sportster and things are progressing slowly but surely. I had to order in the locking tab for the clutch nut but it should be in today. I started making the clutch tools but we had some company show up and put me back just a little. No biggie - nice visit and time well spent. Anyway, I didn't realize it initially but I actually need two different tools to tighten up the primary chain sprockets. One links the sprocket on the crank to the sprocket on the clutch shell. The other one locks the clutch shell to the clutch hub. I wish I knew how to run the CNC plasma at the college - I could knock out what I need pretty quick like. As it is, it'll take a bit of work the old fashioned way with a saw and a grinder but that's OK. The other option would be a couple of old clutch discs welded together but I don't have those either. I'll get it figured out and hopefully made up in the next few days.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Pie Are Round, Cornbread are Square

The Missus worked her magic and turned the gooseberries into a scrumptious pie. She tried a different recipe this time - definitely a winner.

Worked on the Sportster a bit over the weekend. Put the kickstarter shaft in the engine, so I could see what it was going to take to put the clutch and primary chain back together. I should probably pick up a new locking tab for the clutch hub. It's brass and already looks a bit trashed. According to the manual it should be replaced every time you pull the clutch apart. I doubt seriously that's been the case here. The first couple of threads on the mainshaft were kind of rough. I filed them a bit and then put a little valve grinding compound on them, ran the nut back and forth a few times and they smoothed right up. Not sure what I need to do about torquing the nut down. It's supposed to be tightened to 150 ft/lbs. There's a factory tool for holding the hub, naturally. There's not much to it, so I should probably make one up. All it is is a couple of flat pieces of steel that run between the two sprockets with a couple of spacers in between them. There's still a little room in the tool box drawer with all the special pullers and such. Besides, Surly might need it when he gets around to working on his.

The hub nut is 1-1/2" so I had to dig around and find my 3/4" drive sockets. It's liking I'm working on a tractor or something. The kickstarter gear is held on with an 1-3/16" nut. I think that's the biggest 1/2" drive socket I own. But while I was poking around in the bottom of the roll-around box, I did find these: 

I bought these a few years back and kept them at the high school in case I needed a good set of metric wrenches for working on the VW or one of the student's projects. Ace Hardware had a special on them and since Ace (Always Costs Extra) rarely offers a bargain of any kind, I snapped them up. I brought them home when I retired and forgot all about them. I really need to start picking up the pace on a few of these mechanical projects - it's not good if you can't remember where all the tools are. If nothing else using them would keep the tools from getting rusty.

Should be a good week for me - things always go better with pie.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Gooseberries to the left, red raspberries to the right. One's for a pie, one's for eating fresh.

Rode the Suzuki to the gym yesterday and then did a little service work on it when I came home - oil change, chain lube and a little spit shine. Need to change the engine coolant one of these days as well. The truck is ready for an oil change also. I don't normally do that myself but my neighborhood mechanic's been real busy and I've already got the oil and filter, so might as well. 

Pick some berries, weed the garden, cut the grass, exercise a little, work for wages a few days per week, and then work on a few projects as time and weather allow. Not an exciting life but a fulfilling and enjoyable one. The neighbor lady passed away this past week after a long battle with cancer. She was a couple of years older than I am but still too young to be called home as far as I'm concerned. Just one more reminder that even if the most important thing we do today is pick some raspberries and nip the stems off some gooseberries, that time was still a gift and it was time well spent.

"Be happy in your work" and have a good week.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Couple O' Things

Christmas in July - Surly attended some type of grinding seminar at Norton and brought me back an oilstone and tee shirt as a belated Father's Day gift. The previous owner of the Sportster sent along an old magazine with a road test of the XLCH 1000 for '73. I also picked up the wrist pin circlips that were on order from the Motor Company. Hope to get back on that project at least a little bit this weekend. Not much more patriotic than spending a little quality time on an old Harley Ferguson. The weather's supposed to be lovely for at least three days straight - might be a good time to get a little more house painting done too. Never a shortage of things do be done.

We had another big wind storm blow through earlier this week - winds something like 80 mph reported. Lots of trees down and poles snapped off. The damage probably would have been much worse had it not been for the big storm that took my new barn down a few years back. That one culled much of the herd. I was without power for about ten hours but my new emergency plan worked well. I've got a battery powered light in the basement now, I was able to pump water for the animals and toilet flushing and I was just about ready to fire up the generator when the power came back on.  Should definitely look into getting a transfer switch installed instead of running extension cords, however. Fortunately no real damage around the shack for me this time. 

My buddy Kevin sent me this link from the Washington Post about how teachers in the US have it tougher than teachers in other industrialized countries and  suggestions to improve things. If you read this blog due to an interest in teaching, go read it. I especially liked the fact that US scores on an international test have gone down every year that No Child Left Behind has been in effect. I should also point out some of the suggestions for improving things are quite good, too.

Happy Independence Day to everyone. 

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."