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Old 10-19-2010, 03:39 PM   #1
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Default My '53 Pan chop rebuild - finally underway!

About two years ago I did a cosmetic rebuild on a '53 Panhead that I bought from a buddy out West. However, after only a few months of riding it, I cracked the right side case on the way up to a campsite on Vancouver Island. Some of may remember a thread I started on the merits of welding the case vs. bore-matching it to another case vs. buying new cases. I actually ended up buying a '54 right side case from a fellow JJ'er, but the lack of time and money (and an impending deployment to Afghanistan) meant that the bike languished untouched in my garage. However, after returning from Afghanistan this spring (plus moving my family East, and selling another bike to free up funds), I am now able to start the rebuild.

But, as usual, things never go as smoothly as you expect. I found a great shop (American Cycle Service, in Alexandria, Ontario) with a young owner who totally digs what I am trying to build, and an older engine guy who is experienced with older harley motors. But right from the start, we discovered that not only was the right side case cracked (and much worse than initially thought), but the left side case had previously been cracked and welded. Both looked a little dodgy, so my plan to weld or match with the '54 went out the window, and a brand-new set of cases was ordered. But the good news is that the rest of the S&S (bored and stroked) internals looked good, and Rob will essentially be blueprinting everything as he machines the cases and puts it back together, so I should get an essentially new 88" Pan engine that I can ride on more and wrench on less.

Here are some pics thus far:

The bike in its previous forms:

As I bought it from my buddy Carl - not crazy about the tank or seat, but I love the stainless straight pipes!


My first rebuild of it:

Last edited by Buster; 11-29-2010 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 10-19-2010, 03:44 PM   #2
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Default Re: My '53 Pan chop rebuild - finally underway!

And here is the current rebuild underway. Biltwell Keystone bars and some other odds and sods from Prodigy Cycles here in Canada, plus a Narrow Alien tank from Lowbrow Customs. The seat on it in the photo is previous seat I made using a Biltwell seat pan, and we are using it purely for the dimensions for welding new tabs. I will be tooling a matching black seat and pillion pad for this one.






Lee, checking out the position for the mid-controls


The engine coming together. Cases look sweet!

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Old 10-19-2010, 03:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: My '53 Pan chop rebuild - finally underway!

Still to come - Mullins Chaindrive narrow 41mm triple trees (shipped todayfrom Rogue Speed Shop! Whoo hoo!) and a 21" front wheel with Avon Speedmaster. The rear fender will be bobbed back further with a higher sissy bar (see photo below - although I am not as keen as Lee on having it almost vertical!) The tool box will be coming off, and a remote oil filter will be going on.




Sweet new case

Treasures hidden around Rob's place (I wish I had taken a pic of the beautiful XR1000 stashed under a sheet in one corner):





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Old 10-19-2010, 03:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: My '53 Pan chop rebuild - finally underway!

She is going to be small and narrow. At 6'1" and 220lbs, I am going to look like I am molesting this thing:
(I will also trim back the bars once we get the grips and throttle on - no brake or clutch to worry about, as I will be running a jockey shift and spool front wheel)


Another build underway at Lee's - a sweet little Ironhead sporty:

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Old 10-19-2010, 04:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: My '53 Pan chop rebuild - finally underway!

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She is going to be small and narrow. At 6'1" and 220lbs, I am going to look like I am molesting this thing:
I'd totally molest that thing.
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Old 10-20-2010, 04:06 PM   #6
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Default Re: My '53 Pan chop rebuild - finally underway!

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I'd totally molest that thing.
...I hope you mean the bike ...
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Old 10-20-2010, 04:47 PM   #7
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Default Re: My '53 Pan chop rebuild - finally underway!

im real partial to the 1st rebuild of it
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Old 10-20-2010, 04:51 PM   #8
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Default Re: My '53 Pan chop rebuild - finally underway!

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im real partial to the 1st rebuild of it
I'm thinking the same thing, but the new rebuild is still in progress. I'm curious to see it with the new trees, etc. Keep us posted.
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Old 10-20-2010, 05:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: My '53 Pan chop rebuild - finally underway!

looks great Rob!
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: My '53 Pan chop rebuild - finally underway!

Sorry to hear the left case was broke also, I have been waiting for you to get back from overseas and see what was happening with the bike.
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:27 PM   #11
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Default Re: My '53 Pan chop rebuild - finally underway!

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Sorry to hear the left case was broke also, I have been waiting for you to get back from overseas and see what was happening with the bike.
Yeah, well, that is life with an old bike. Since I have to keep the old cases anyway (to prove I have the numbers) we are going to try to find some trashed cyclinders and top end to make a display engine.

And on the plus side, I am now going to have a virtually new engine
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Old 10-21-2010, 01:57 AM   #12
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Default Re: My '53 Pan chop rebuild - finally underway!

The shop looks great....nice build.
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:29 PM   #13
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Default Re: My '53 Pan chop rebuild - finally underway!

cant wait to see pictures with the narrow front
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Old 10-29-2010, 09:56 PM   #14
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Default Re: My '53 Pan chop rebuild - finally underway!

The Mullins triple trees arrived this week (thanks Crabs!), and tonight I drove out to the shop and we did a mock up of the front end.

The Mullins Chaindrive triple trees are beautifully machined, and they are NARROW. Just for comparison, here they are with a set of stock wideglide trees (you can also see how much more substantial they are):



They are even considerably narrower than a narrowglide front end:


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Old 10-29-2010, 10:01 PM   #15
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Default Re: My '53 Pan chop rebuild - finally underway!

Here are the trees mounted on the bike (unfortunately we don't have the front tire yet, which would have helped size things up). The trees are snug - it was a bit of work to get the tubes in:



From behind you can barely see the forks. You get an idea how narrow the bike will be here:





Close-up of the wheel - not sure where this one came from (Lee discovered it among Rob's stash of old parts):



The horrible billet licence plate mount is going, and we will be mounting a new fender along with a light on the taller sissy bar (rather than the sparto that is on it now.)

Last edited by Buster; 11-09-2010 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 10-29-2010, 10:58 PM   #16
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Default Re: My '53 Pan chop rebuild - finally underway!

beautiful bike

53 is a nice model off the pans
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Old 10-30-2010, 05:09 PM   #17
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Default Re: My '53 Pan chop rebuild - finally underway!

* Just as an aside, to get an idea of how narrow the Mullins trees are, Lee put a stock narrowglide 21" wheel with a tire on it on the bike just to roll it off the lift today - or he tried; the hub of a narrowglide is even too wide to fit within the 41mm forks.

Cool.
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Old 11-05-2010, 02:53 PM   #18
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Default Re: My '53 Pan chop rebuild - 21" front tire now on

Lee did a bit on the bike over the week, and the Speedmaster front tire arrived. I am really happy with the overall stance of the bike now that it has got the front tire, and the Firestone rear as well.





That is a beautiful skinny front end. I was originally thinking of putting a repop springer on it, but I think using the original wideglide legs in the Mullins trees will be much more distinctive:


Still not sure where this 21" wheel came from, but I love the ribbed spool hub on it:
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Old 11-05-2010, 03:36 PM   #19
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Default Re: My '53 Pan chop rebuild - finally underway!

Looks great!. be stoked to see this one completed!........go canucks.
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Old 11-05-2010, 04:41 PM   #20
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Looks great!. be stoked to see this one completed!........go canucks.
Yeah that does look really good!
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