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Old 01-06-2018, 03:21 PM   #1
47Indianrider
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Default 46 Chief resto thead

I purchased this basket bike as an investment during the winter of '08 when everybody was hurting for money. It's a numbers matching 1946 Chief that was a stalled project. I threw it in the back room and began hunting parts and adding them to the pile. The motor and trans had been re-built by the former owner and I confirmed it was a good job after removing the front cylinder for inspection. A King Kevlar clutch was installed while inspecting the primary and trans. I have been picking away at this now for years and it's finally coming together. Hopefully is will be rid-able in a year or so.

Step 1. Indian frames where furnace brazed in gigs. The ends of the tube where fitted into the joints with ends wrapped in brazing material. Then set in a gig and fired in a large furnace. The resulting gas out left large welding blisters at each joint. I sanded off the braze blisters and had the frame joints silver soldered for a cleaner look.

Step 2. I sent the frame down to Oregon and had it gig straightened, one shock tower was out of alignment little. and then had it powder coated 80% gloss black.

Step 3. Rebuilt front forks with all new hardware, bearings, bushing installed replacing old roller bearings. Risers where re-vulcanized by Kiwi. Traded a 6 inch set (47-48 only) upper girder links for a set of correct 1946 4.5 inch links. Powder coated everything (MISTAKE!) The power coating was so thick it would not allow the large springs of the girder to seat properly into the spring seats. Back to the sand blaster and re-paint with gloss back.

Step 4. Set the power plant in frame. Built and installed seat post from spare parts, started assembly of girder front end to the bike, rebuilt rear shocks installed.

That is where I'm at as of Jan 2018. More to come as work progresses, for now I'm upgrading my builder table.
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Old 01-06-2018, 04:16 PM   #2
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Default Re: 46 Chief resto thead

Looks byootiful.
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Old 01-06-2018, 07:43 PM   #3
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Default Re: 46 Chief resto thead

A good friend of mine has a couple of these...one is an original paint machine, it works perfectly, but looks mighty rough, the other has been restored. Both beautiful machines in their own way. Glad to see someone resurrecting another one; looking good! Yeah, that powder coat is good stuff, but it can get in the way too sometimes...it can also cause issues with electrical ground points. Anyway I'm pleased to see another restoration project, keep us posted!
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Old 01-07-2018, 07:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: 46 Chief resto thead

Looks great ! I had a 45chief back in the late 60 s .....sold it for 250.00 ...still killin me !
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Old 01-07-2018, 12:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: 46 Chief resto thead

Great project! looks good so far.
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Old 01-11-2018, 01:22 PM   #6
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Default Re: 46 Chief resto thead

Great to see another build thread and a Chief at that. The JJ is so slow these days it worries me. Will be following this one closely.

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Old 01-11-2018, 02:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: 46 Chief resto thead

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lester View Post
Great to see another build thread and a Chief at that. The JJ is so slow these days it worries me. Will be following this one closely.

Lester
I think its always this way over the winter Lester. Too bloody cold out to do anything.
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Old 01-28-2018, 08:10 AM   #8
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Default Re: 46 Chief resto thead

Pretty kool to see something this old! Thanks for posting...
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Old 01-28-2018, 02:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: 46 Chief resto thead

Dan Boy. When it's too cold to play outside, wouldn't that suggest that we're supposed to be huddled over our computers, with a brimming tumbler of warm gin and a carton of cigarettes ready to hand? I.e., in posting mode.
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: 46 Chief resto thead

This is true Ratso, but we still need to be getting the spanners out to achieve something worth posting a picture of!
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:55 PM   #11
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Default Re: 46 Chief resto thead

Oh yeah. Having an essentially stock BMW I forgot about spanners and the need to twist them. I live vicariously through the Journal. Sorry to stagger off topic, mr. international.
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Old 02-06-2018, 10:55 AM   #12
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Default Re: 46 Chief resto thead

Nice, I have a 46 Chief, also.
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Old 02-27-2018, 07:46 PM   #13
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Default Re: 46 Chief resto thead

Update Feb 2018.

Step 5. Repairing a thousand little bits like this damaged tension screw for the shifter tower. It's in a hard to reach place and it acquired some tool damage sometime in it's past. A new on is $33 but I saved mine in under a hour with welder, grinder and some files....and on to the next little fix.

6. Sent the heads out and had the fins repaired. Professional aluminum welding cost $300 along with a weld fix on the trans tower. A new set of re-pop heads is $400 but good originals like these where worth saving.

Note: Aluminum dust, splinters and savings went everywhere, should set up a fan blowing away from work when using a bur to shave metal. Aluminum welding on a head or other part, it should be heated to 400F and the welds will flow in like butter!

7. Assembled girder fork sprigs
[1 try] - Unable to seat springs due to powder coating thickness. Sandblast about $50 worth of coatings and re-paint in single stage black as original.

[2 try] Unable to seat springs due to paint, when forced the paint chipped....sandblast away 2 days of work

[3 try] Assemble both end spring seats to springs with the rubber tubes inside, paint as one piece. Apply 5 lite coats single stage black (lite coats to prevent runs on rounded surfaces) with 15 min flash time between. Let cure for 4 days and install easily.

8. Repaired the head light mount by welding the backside of the rivets that had come lose over the years, also painted single stage black.

9. Front brakes plate and drum are powder coated black, new re-lined and chamfered shoes, all new hardware, drum turned and new inner axle and shaft axle all went together nice and easy.

10. Topped off with a new with steering dampener guts, an original dampener knob I shot with clear coat, new neck bearings and I have one Indian Girder circa 1946. Missing only the wire connection to the fender and brake control hardware.

Lessons learned?
Indian used a lot of cadmium plating on hardware. It's thin and scars easy with tool marks. If your trying to build a nice bike use a lot of painters tape on the hardware to protect the finish during assembly.

Powder coating thickness really jacks with the fitment and paint is cheaper and repairable. While it does have it's place in restorations I have decided to limit my use of it to just battery trays and high wear areas where paint will always fail.

Happy riding and wrenching, ~B
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Old 02-28-2018, 10:25 PM   #14
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Default Re: 46 Chief resto thead

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again..... or in this case...try, try, try again.
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Old 03-01-2018, 10:39 AM   #15
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Default Re: 46 Chief resto thead

I understand the frustration with the powder coating build up, I just went through that on my 77 XLCR resto-mod.
I have a couple of small damaged areas on my 46 Chief heads, need to send them out for repair.
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Old 08-11-2018, 04:38 PM   #16
47Indianrider
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Default Re: 46 Chief resto thead

Been doing a lot of skim coat filler to make my body work nice and smooth so it will take a dark paint. Had to tear down the girder (again) to fix a lower fender tab, it went back together quickly. Shot the rear fender, inner tool box and right tank in primer for the 2nd time after a good blocking. last week I had it mocked up after the front fender was fitted. More sanding and blocking to come. I was able to break from the mindless work to rebuild the hubs with new thrust washers and seals, bearing and races looked fine so they where cleaned and re installed. After I get the wheels back Monday on I'll fit the rear fender and drill it.
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Old 08-11-2018, 08:25 PM   #17
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Default Re: 46 Chief resto thead

Quote:
Originally Posted by 47Indianrider View Post
Update Feb 2018.

Step 5. Repairing a thousand little bits like this damaged tension screw for the shifter tower. It's in a hard to reach place and it acquired some tool damage sometime in it's past. A new on is $33 but I saved mine in under a hour with welder, grinder and some files....and on to the next little fix.



Nice save on the screw. Locked into mental encyclopedia for future reference. Thank you.
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