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Harley you 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.

What 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?

This 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 crud.
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 stickies.
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, every stripe.
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 that.

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)
Look Ma!  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.
New rubber 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.

July 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 Harley adventure...

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!

WTF?

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.

Put it back together one more time and put an add in the paper.  Park it and wait.  ;)

 

 

 


 
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