say? Yes, Harley I say.
I took this thing in on trade for a Honda
Civic I was selling. (no kidding) It was in a pole barn and hadn't
been plated in six years. Owner said he hadn't ridden it in about as
many due to a broken brake line. Oh, what the hell, I'll take it.
do I know about Harleys? Nothing; but, it's something new to play
with. What it turned out to be was a 1980 Harley Davidson Sportster,
1000cc Ironhead that needed a whole lot more than a new brake line.
But hey, I've got a Harley now. I'm cool. Right?
rehab took place in the spring of 2002.
||What's the first thing you do
when you get a Harley?
Go buy some "Officially
Licensed" Harley gear...
||So, here's the turd with the
tank off; giving it a once over and peeling off a few years of grease and
||Junk battery and not too sure
about the status of this thing anyway, so took out the plugs and put some
Marvel Mystery Oil down there just for good measure to loosen up any
||I must say, whoever painted
this thing did a hell of a job. The guy said it (the paint) was
actually a high school auto shop project. That's all paint there,
||Here's the tank. Gotta
save it just because of the paint. Otherwise, the whole bike will
need to be painted. The tank is rusted and full of crud with six
year old gas in the bottom. Big fun ahead.
|I took a trip to
(where else) the Harley shop and looked around for a tank repair kit and
found these handy little expensive bottles of KREEM tank liner kit.
It took a lot of shaking with some BB's and a handful of small nuts, but I
finally got the rust under control enough and started with the kit.
Stinky stuff. In the end, I have no complaints but the system is a
bit expensive. I think it cost me about $50. Not including the
glass inline fuel filter I also bought to install for good measure.
||While I was
playing Mr. Gas Tank Man in the back, good old Uncle Clyde was out front
using my truck as a motorcycle battery. Something about a bike with
a funnel for a gas tank that always makes me smile. The engine runs
and has some really good compression, but carb needs help. Probably
something to do with the half dozen years the thing has been sitting
around doing nothing.
||In the next few
days, we got the tank finished and back on (with inline filter) and went
to work on the carb.
Somewhere along the way, I bought a new
battery that turned out to have a bad plate in it and took a day to figure
that out and take it back for a new one. Pisser. The thing
tested out at 12v + so I thought it was good. Turned out that It had
zero amps. Live and learn I always say. Well, somebody says
Back to the carb, figured out it was an
SS Super E. Here are the docs
on it. Took some tinkering, but we got it running pretty
good. The timing, however, is off and needs to be set.
Inspection showed that the bike had not been timed since the
factory. Joy. Well, it runs good enough for now.
||Now that it's
*cough* drivable *cough* let's look at some other things.
||Bought me a lil'
jack stand just for this project. Works pretty well. Change
the oil, fork oil, (much needed), inspect the ruined brake system that
looks like the wrong kind of fluid was put in it and try and figure out
some electrical problems. Wiring
Diagram here. (save target to your pc if you need it, for some
reason it won't display in the browser. it's a big gif)
New drag bars and grips! New risers too. That's what you do with a
Harley. Buy new stuff for it even if the old stuff worked
fine. Who needs gauges anyway?
|I have to admit,
these grips are sweet and I really like the look of them on the
bike. The drag bars look cooler than the stock bars too.
||Time to deal with
this brake issue. The brakes are wasted. Take off the old junk
and go buy new stuff.
||New rear parts
installed due to the fact the old line was broke off along with part of
the master cylinder.
||This really pissed
me off. You have to take off the header to put on or take off the
cap to the rear master cylinder.
Complete brake job
including pads, rear master cylinder, all new braided brake lines and
caliper rebuilds. I got new foot pegs somewhere along the way too.
||A new headlight
seemed to be in order, as the old one was yellowed and looking pretty dim.
||Got me some spiffy
new chrome levers off good ole ebay and put them on.
baby! I sprung for the extra cool racing Dunlops with Harley
Davidson on the sidewalls.
||The new tires look
spiff along with the stainless brake lines.
At some point in this
nonsense, I saw a cool tac that I needed to have. (rolls eyes) With
the mounting of the mini tac came the mounting of the speedo.
Problem: Bars are not the stock ones. Gauge mounts will not
work. After asking a few people to machine me a custom one and
getting nowhere, I fabbed a "make it work" model myself from an
old 5 1/2 drive mount from a computer. The speedo shook a bit on it,
so the bandana was added for cushion and to dampen the vibration. I
like to call it my special touch.
||Onward with the
suckfest. No alternator. No, no, a generator. At least
it's 12 volt. Of course the one on it is bunk. Ordered on from
the local shop, got it, installed it. While tightening one of the
bolts cracked the damn housing. Great... Take it off and send
it back, bitching about the weak pot metal it's made out of.
Generator number 2 is sent 2nd day air
from California (at my cost) because I want to ride this thing on the 4th
of July. A scant 3 days away. No problem. Yeah right.
3rd, 2pm. UPS arrives at shop, I pick up generator and take it home
to install. Since it's not the first time I'm doing this, it all
goes pretty darn quick. ;) At this point, you have to hit it
with one of the battery cables (on a jumper) to polarize the
generator. I forget the specifics, but there's this whole process to
zap a charge to it to make it spin the right way.
Anywhoo... Everything is
great. Installed and running and looks good since I paid the ponies
for the chrome one instead of a black one. I ride over to my
mechanics house and have him throw the tester on it to make sure it's
charging. It's putting out 1 volt. Woo Hoo... Came to
find out later that the thing really didn't work for crap unless you were
going over 35mph. So basically, I could ride around town for a
couple days before having to recharge the battery.
Getting to the best part, the next
morning, I head back over to the mechanics (shop this time) and on the way
(2 blocks) something went seriously wrong. I pulled in and the bike
was smoking. Fire between your legs is a very bad thing. I
forget the specifics, but I believe that the rear brake switch wire came
out and grounded to the frame (or something like that) and the result was
that the brand new stainless steel brake lines (sleeved in clear plastic)
took the current. So, all the coating on the rear lines melted to
the point of burning. Thus the smoke between my legs.
I did manage to cut and
peel the coating off an there were no leaks, so I salvaged the
lines. I'm beginning to wonder about my decision taking in a
Harley. I'm riding the VFR to the parade today.
On to the next saga in my
Everything is back
together and running ok. I picked up some heat shields for the pipes
to keep the melting of my shoe off of them. Chrome flames... Cool...
Everything was fine for
about a week and then... POP! Ting! Scrape!
Oh, that was my front
header that just flew by. Guess I should stop and get that.
After waiting for what
seemed like and eternity for the pipe to cool enough to touch, I tied it
to the backrest and nursed it home on an open head.
Pop, pop, pop...
Oh, forgot to
mention. I lost the license plate and bracket off the back about 2
minutes before. What next?
Some things just weren't
meant to be.
back together one more time and put an add in the paper. Park it and