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608 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought i'd summarize my first build here for everyone who's interested.

Unfortunately i must have done something wrong and the computer killed everything
i typed for the last 20mins.
So i start over, and this time i try short posts.


Sooo, i decided to get a new project 2 years ago and i wanted it to be two-wheeld this time.
I got onto everyone's nerves here for quite some time and then found something of interest. I didn't think too long because i knew i'd buy it anyway, and bought it.

Here's what i got:

edit: the board keeps telling me my message would be too short. i don't think so?

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608 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
It is a 1942 WLC that was imported to the Netherlands from Indonesia (!) in the early 80s or something,
and then some 10 years later got dressed as a late 40s/ early 50s civil version
and was locked away in some private museum for a while.
Then in 2004 i think it was bought from a guy from Belgium who tried to ride it, sank a lot of money into it, and then decided to put it up for sale.
That's when i stepped in.
It looked to have all the important parts on it, 18" wheels and a linkert.

We tried to start it, and after some 100 kicks it fired up,
but it sounded like a can full of nails... scary. Since i wanted to wanted to
take it apart anyway and do some changes to it i started right away.

starts to look good:

edit: message still too short? i'll save everything i type from now on before i push the send-button... it doesn't really work here. Or is it too much pics?

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608 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, greasystain! What a happy little critter... :)

Tattoo: Photos are liars. At least these ones are.
It was a good bike from 15m distance, though.
You'll see the damage...

magnum45pete: yikes... :D
Well i don't know if it's THAT great in the end, but i sure like it now.

Next thing: measuring stuff!
The frame seemed to be bent and i wanted to be sure about it,
and maybe try to straighten it...

One nice afternoon at my friend Gobi's shop:

Summary: it looks crooked, but is pretty straight, actually.
Funny thing is that the usual "side car bend" is on the opposite side of the russian imports, because they have left hand traffic in Indonesia. Or so i've heard.

edit: Still no normal posting possible, smilies don't work. What's going on? Arrrgh... this is the 37th attempt to post this...

edit edit: now it worked again. wtf. i quit for today and get me a beer. cheers...

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608 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Unfortunately most of the stuff that makes the wlc model so special was already gone missing in the dress-up job as a late civil model.
I was actually quite sad about not having the big twin front wheel with star hub and the big drum, although i think the wla hub is a little more elegant on the tiny 45 frame.

Anyway, after measuring i put the neck bearings back in.
Nice to work in a yard like this, pretty backdrop here with the buick of an aquaintance:

Next thing was the wheels, the front is running quite rough, but the back came out pretty nice. After i had solved the star hub mystery, that is...

And of course, new rubber! i chose 4.50" x 18" firestones. since i am quite tall at 6 1/2 feet i want the bike to appear as big as possible, and i think this wheel size helps me with that.


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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
In the meantime i had set up a new work shop with some friends.
time to move in and play the silly tank game:

In the end i decided to go for the original one for the beginning.
So i pulled it out of the shelf and started removing the paint.
I'm not really fond of red, in my opinion the bike looked kind of like Santa's company vehicle in the beginning...
I found that the tank (and actually all the rest of the motorcycle as well)
was covered by a thick crust of filler. It was a real work of art, almost like sculpting... at the thickest point i measured 10mm.

When i put the oil tank back on for fun, you could actually see it was now smaller than the other half! the emblems were literally "frenched" into the filler...


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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
There are some really amazing dents and repairs on the tins,
and on may other parts, like the throttle handles for example,
under all the filler and paint they were covered with deep scars and scratches.
So at this point i kind of decided to leave them as they were, because i didn't want to cover it all up with tons of filler again, and beacuse i thought they might as well show their injuries with pride.
Plus i'm very bad when it comes to choosing colors...

edit: the picture is somehow not showing up...

I bought a set of "narrow" speedster handle bars.
The army bars made me feel like pushing a wheelbarrow,
and since i planned to move the seat way back and lower it
it would have been quite awkward to sit behind them anyway.


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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Now it was time to tear into the bottom end.
The top end looked OK so far, at least saveable.
One barrel was already sleaved, but my machinist told me
he could straighten things and i would end up with oversize 6 out of 8 possible
(sorry i don't know the exact measures in inch) so i decidec to keep the cylinders.
there were 2 different pistons installed, with 2 different piston pins.
the rods were drilled and looked awful. and then there was this nasty rattling sound coming from the cam case...


your pump leaks oil? no problem, just tighten the bolts until you strip all the threads out of the block, then glue it back with sealing mass.
why, thank you, sir...

removed the cam cover. no shims on the camshafts? makes you wonder...

a closer look to the inside of the cover showed it was cracked...

cracked bushings and worn or missing pins:

the missing pins showed up in pieces at the bottom of the cam chamber:

lifters and blocks looked ok (later i was told they were junk, too... little did i know):


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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Indeed. Bingo...

Now for some case splitting.
Did i mention the belly numbers didn't match?

No wrenches in Indonesia. Must... use.... chisel....

Bushings can be glued in place if they don't want to stay on their own.

So i decided to put it all in a box and ship it to a trusted engine specialist.


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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Greasy, i'm just summarizing the last 2 years.
The engine is already up and running again.

Here's some pics of what was done to the engine,
it got NOS cases and cam cover, new crank shaft, rods, hastings pistons and rings, NOS cams , blocks, lifters etc etc...

Oh, forgot the best pic:

no discussions, everything had to be done.


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608 Posts
Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Yes, the engine builder is a great guy and did a very good job!

In December 2012 the engine was back on my work bench:

Top end reassembly with good friends, music and a beer:

Look Mom, no hands... me, trying to put things together via hypnosis.


i love those winter evenings in a warm work shop.

and a mock up with Hunt magneto and 6:1 heads


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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
While the engine was away at the machine shop,
there was of course enough other things to do...

Preparing for tranny overhaul:

Sitting around on the frame and thinking about nonsense...

And, of course, play around with lamps and seats and the rear fender i got,
a triumph ribbed fender repro.

but, most important, sit around some more and just stare at it from different angles, wondering how it might look like, what to do, how to build stuff, and so on... endless evenings just staring and thinking.
i find this to be very soothing.


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608 Posts
Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I hope so, improving it is what it's all about!

When i finally had decided how the rear fender should sit on the tire,
i made the cut and built a model for the strut.
Then I went back to my friend Gobi's to get on his nerves and make i him do some welding!

Welded a tube into the rib to improve stiffness and to hold the cable for the taillight:

Built the fender strut and drilled holes, then put some rivets in:

Heat and hammer:

File the rivet heads to clean them up and check everything.
Nice and snug:

Put it on the bike and be happy:

Next mock up stage, black paint applied:


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608 Posts
Discussion Starter · #28 ·

Time for some small stuff inbetween.

Unfortunately the original fuel tap was eliminated and replaced by this:

After some filing and sanding and with new gaskets i figured it could as well stay there, i don't think it's that ugly and you can hardly see it behind the hand shift lever's pivot on the underside of the tank.

Trueing the wheels (or at least try to...)

Drilling holes into things!


A primitive wooden jig:

Drilling, drilling, drilling and more drilling.

I love it!


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608 Posts
Discussion Starter · #30 · (Edited)
Finally i put the engine back in the frame:

I didn't like the black fender anymore, so i erased the paint to think again.

In the meantime i had found another seat on the bay, it was very cheap
and looks like someone had built it from an old leatherjacket back in the days.
When i put it on the first time i knew i had finally found the perfect seat for this bike.

Then i packed my stuff and went back to Gobi's place to finish the body work
and build a seat support and lamp holder and front fender (i need that to get it road legal here, will take it off afterwards).

Good company:

The base of the seat support is clmaped by the original screw in the frame that holds the pogo stick in the OEM setup, i didn't want any holes in / or brackets on the frame.

Weird washers for the springs, it really twisted my brain to cut these, i don't know...

grease fitting and bronze bushing:

The complete setup.

Here it is with the seat and the new lamp holder, while we're building
the front fender support (welded to the inside of the front fork legs).
The front fender is the leftover from the 180° blank used for the rear.
It will get the same style strut with rivets.
Didn't like any color anymore, so i ground the primer off the rear end and that's that.
I think it's nice and simple that way.


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Discussion Starter · #33 · (Edited)
Thanks a lot!

Yes, it's a little bike, that's true. After relocating the seat i can sit quite comfortably and it doesn't look too small between my legs, but it's still tiny and rather fragile, with the single loop frame and all.

"Painting" the tins:

All the black parts of the bike are painted with various types of flat black color,
to preserve the overall shabby look of the old parts, and then finished with
a special oil that dries like paint after a few days. i used that on my original paint Plymouth sedan to preserve the look of the desert bloom sun bleached paint and it works great.

Tranny back in:

A nice visitor:

I had two 3 brush generators coming with the bike when i bought it, but they were both shot and it seems to be ridiculously expensive to fix them (if you get parts, that is, absolutely none around here...).
So i decided to go for a Cycle Electrics A65 sporty generator and convert to 12V
(Blasphemy in my eyes, it's my first 12V vehicle...), but i had to camouflage
it with the old 3 brush cover...

The modified generator sprocket (there's a new one on there now, don't worry) and sawed-off shaft. i drilled the shaft to accept the old style cotter pin in addition to the nut.

Getting closer!


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Discussion Starter · #35 · (Edited)
I want to share these 2 pics here because i think they give a very nice
"before and after" impression and i am always stunned how 2 bikes of the
same type can look so different with so little changes.
This is a friend's WLA that ran as a police bike in Holland,
i think it's a 1949 or 50 model and it has the same tins mine came with,
but with all the chrome and without 10 tons of filler and bondo
AND a much nicer color:

Now i started wiring the bike.

Since i'm an idiot sometimes and have to think very hard when it comes to all things electric, i drew this very simple wiring chart just for me.

I'm very glad everything worked out fine and the cables are hidden quite well.

Some more of the thousand little things....
a new brass driver for the speedo (this system is a real pain in the ass, i think.
it took quite a while and quite a lot of brass chips untill i had it distanced correctly
and the speedo needle moved...)

Chain guard and bracket.
I must say i feel like a total loser when i compare these parts with some things others here are fabricating every day, but somehow the rough and primitive details add up to a nice ensemble in my eyes. Next time i'll try harder :)

And here's a bird catcher built from a tea strainer. I admit it's more of a joke...
I am looking for a decent filter housing, but i haven't found anything nice yet or
had an idea about how a homemade one should look like.


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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Thanks, sturdy. Sometimes my english leaves me...

The oil is called OWATROL. If i'm not mistaken it's based on linseed oil.
It drys after a few days and does a good job so far. i use it on everything,
bicycles, my car, everything. In the beginning it is a little glossy, that wears after a few month. I reapply after 2 years.

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Ok, thanks for the explanation!
So many words i don't know yet...

Here is where i am now:

I know skulls are a little worn and childish maybe, but i just HAD to...

(it will wear off pretty fast anyway :rolleyes:)

I like the unfinished look of a split tank without a dash.

The speedo is from a 60s IWL "Berlin" Scooter like the one i own.
The ratio seems to be pretty much the same, as far as i can say now.

Tail light and licence plate holder (it's always a pitty how much junk you have to put on a bike to get it road legal, so much for the "sano" aspect... but i think i can get used to it. Have to anyway, if i want to ride it, and i do!)

This is a 50s tool box from an AWO motorcycle, it holds the battery and main light switch now. I don't have an ignition switch anymore.) And i always loved that Tom Waits song...

Brake light:

Oil pressure gauge:

Another thing i just HAD to do:

Fire up!

(i later discovered the magneto cam was 180° wrong... shame on me. But: it ran anyway...:eek:)
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