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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi again! Time for the next story.

You guys may remember some of my bikes like Woodscrews (An Evo abortion that turned into a full re-do) and my FX/Knucklehead-framed cone motor thing.

My master plan was to start working backwards and just keep getting older and older shit, but it didn't work out, because my next bike should have been either a genny Shovel or a Pan, depending on whether you consider the genny a different engine from the cone Shovels. Here's how it got fucked up: Kevin (buckman50) did me a solid and brokered a deal on a BT flatty between a guy he and Jason McElroy (Jason McElroy) know. (He's now one of my friends, too.)

Kevin's friend is a pretty old guy, but he's not too bad on the computer. He scanned what is (I think) one of the only pictures he had of his bike and sent it to me. He told me the bike was super-old and crusty. If I took my notes correctly, he said he bought it in 1970, and began chopping in 1973 when he had to tear the engine down for a rebuild. The bike was finished in 1978, and the trophy I have is from 1981. The bike was ridden 1,200 miles, and blew a head gasket. It was replaced, and the bike was parked in a barn. Here is the only photo the seller had to send me:



About two weeks ago, I called up Hutch (hutchjr7) and asked him to borrow his trailer. Hutch knows if something doesn't fit in the truck bed, I am moving something long... so he correctly surmised that I had a bike deal brewing. A few days later, Hutch and I took a very long road trip. We came back with this:



We also got the trophy and one of the plaques that is in the first photo. It's amazing the guy had that stuff still! The bike is foot shifted. Frame appears to be a very, very molded straightleg Pan - look at those squared sections! Trans has a date code of 1960.

I got my title back today, so she's really mine now. 1937 ULH paper. It came from a no-title state, so it moved on a transferable reg - from 1988! I'm not a numbers expert, but these fuckers look pretty good to me. Bellies match. 13-fin jugs.



The fella I got it from was awesome, as was his wife. Really good folks. We stayed for lunch and shot the shit with them. I'm gonna show this thread to the guy who built the bike. My hope is that he jumps on here and joins our community. He did a really, really good job building this bike - I'll be giving you guys glimpses at some of the work he did many moons ago, but it's all quality - not the usual hokey chopper bullshit of that era.

My goal is to get the bike operable again. I want to clean it up - just scrub the crust off it - and ride it around. I'm going to change as little as possible. This thing really is a rolling piece of history, and I want to leave it as close to original as I can get away with.

Here, dig this tank mural:


So, I am a little financially light after having bought this bike, of course, so I will probably move kind of slowly on it until my wallet recovers. Still, though, I want to get it rolling by the end of the year if I can. Happily, it was built very well and is overall in pretty good shape. More on that to come.

Hutch and Pete (lugie) have both helped the shit out of me so far with this. Hutch always says "If it's free, it's for me!". Fortunately, he had scrounged some angle brackets at some point in time. He brought them over one night, and I was able to solve my first problem with this chopper - how to put it on my goddamn table!



Then Hutch schooled me a little bit on magnetos. After a little work, we had a video worth watching. (Shamelessly stolen from his IG)

So I have a list of things to do. I have to adjust the tappets; the covers were up when I got the bike, and the motor mount was missing a top bolt, and the exhaust was half-disconnected. I think it got most of its head gasket replacement, but the job went unfinished. Obviously it will have to be re-timed. The springer doesn't spring for whatever reason, so I gotta take that thing apart and clean it and lube it. The rear wheel has a broken spoke. And then the usual old bike shit - tank, carb, fluids, rubber.

I got a new camera rig for work, so I am going to try to be good about taking lotsa photos so you guys can follow along with me.

Wish me luck, and if I am doing something stupid to this bike, let me know. "Original" is the theme here.
 

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Very nice Liam. I can understand why Jaws' envy makes him hate you :)
 

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Heck, I'm not a long bike guy and I hate you. Congrats on the score and thanks for bringing this back into the daylight!!!
As long as you don't change a thing you won't fuck it up!!!
 

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Very nice
another ulh on the road (nos look good)
 

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That is outstanding! Should be a fun trip getting it right, and I'll be watching
 

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Damn man, congrats!

On the springer (and the rest of the chrome parts), getcha a cheap tarp and use what ever you can find (appliance box) for a frame, lay the tarp in it like a pool liner and fill it up with white vinegar, you can find it on sale for about a buck a gallon and let it soak. The acid in it is very mild but will eat the surface rust with out hurting anything else.

This ought to be fun to watch, D
 

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great project. I'm going to say things here that you will not want to hear. nobody wants to hear things like this but in time they come to understand. that later gained knowledge comes at a higher price than if they would only have admitted to themselves, yeah I should have known better...

complete bike barn finds are great, all the fun stuff in one lump. you do notice how rusty some parts are right? be honest with your self and tell me the rust is only on the outside... can you say with confidence that it's only rusty on the outside? you may say it turns over and has compression so... still think it's not rusty inside?

do yourself a very big favor and completely disassemble every nut and bolt of that motorcycle. you will gain knowledge and have the ability to say every part is clean and rust free and will not go into a slow but sure self destruction.

still having trouble with the thoughts of a complete disassembly? here are a few pix of key components from a 52 EL that was rebuilt and stored inside a house in a closet. yeah, a much better control of climate than in a barn. this engine was never installed in a bike or run after rebuilding

pinion race...


sprocket shaft race...


rod races...


and yes, this engine was fully lubed...




think long and hard about what your getting your self into without a complete tear down for inspection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Damn man, congrats!

On the springer (and the rest of the chrome parts), getcha a cheap tarp and use what ever you can find (appliance box) for a frame, lay the tarp in it like a pool liner and fill it up with white vinegar, you can find it on sale for about a buck a gallon and let it soak. The acid in it is very mild but will eat the surface rust with out hurting anything else.

This ought to be fun to watch, D
Good tip, thank you. I had just been using copper scrubbies and soap and water so far, seems to be doing OK.
think long and hard about what your getting your self into without a complete tear down for inspection.
I've thought about that, and talked with the fella who built it about that very same thing. He built the engine way back when. In fact, that's his bread and butter, not too dissimilar from you, Dan.

He said he'd go through it if he was me, too. I already have gaskets inbound. I'm gonna start pulling it apart and see how things look. I expect there will be some not-so-hot looking pieces in there. This weekend I plan to pull the oil bag, clean it out, and get some fresh oil in there. I wanted to get some lube splashing around in there before I start turning things over so I'm not dragging dry metal against dry metal.

You're right, of course. If there was anything you've taught me, it's that doing it twice costs more than doing it right.
 

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Yeah fuck I hate you too. A ULH is a grail bike for me.

And I'd take it apart too.
 

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stop cleaning it! thats the first step to fucking it up!

(not including the motor, not disagreeing there, but leave the outside crust, no blasting please!)
 

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stop cleaning it! thats the first step to fucking it up!
If you want to do right by the old guy and my generation in general please milk the maximum shine out of what you got.
That's how we were. Everything had to be nice and you made apologies if something was old and crappy.
Somehow this has been forgotten by the new chopper kids. They see pics of crusty bikes and interpret that as what was happening back in the day.
We grew up with having to wear our Sunday Best and even though working class we could have something one off, unique and truly custom. Polished chrome and shiny paint were our gods and we prayed at their altar.
Patina does not mean neglect but the wear and tear from use and care. Paint that is polished through, Chrome that is down to the nickel plating, the stain from hot oil splashing around all those are priceless and can only be achieved through time, use and care.
I am sure Liam will do a sympathetic "restoration" and the outcome will be wonderful.
 

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If you want to do right by the old guy and my generation in general please milk the maximum shine out of what you got.
That's how we were. Everything had to be nice and you made apologies if something was old and crappy.
Somehow this has been forgotten by the new chopper kids. They see pics of crusty bikes and interpret that as what was happening back in the day.
We grew up with having to wear our Sunday Best and even though working class we could have something one off, unique and truly custom. Polished chrome and shiny paint were our gods and we prayed at their altar.
Patina does not mean neglect but the wear and tear from use and care. Paint that is polished through, Chrome that is down to the nickel plating, the stain from hot oil splashing around all those are priceless and can only be achieved through time, use and care.
I am sure Liam will do a sympathetic "restoration" and the outcome will be wonderful.
well said
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If you want to do right by the old guy and my generation in general please milk the maximum shine out of what you got.
That's how we were. Everything had to be nice and you made apologies if something was old and crappy.
Somehow this has been forgotten by the new chopper kids. They see pics of crusty bikes and interpret that as what was happening back in the day.
We grew up with having to wear our Sunday Best and even though working class we could have something one off, unique and truly custom. Polished chrome and shiny paint were our gods and we prayed at their altar.
Patina does not mean neglect but the wear and tear from use and care. Paint that is polished through, Chrome that is down to the nickel plating, the stain from hot oil splashing around all those are priceless and can only be achieved through time, use and care.
I am sure Liam will do a sympathetic "restoration" and the outcome will be wonderful.
I worked my ass off for what I have. I won't bore the oldtimers with my trials and tribulations, but I won't ride a ratty bike. I work way too hard to have what I do to ride some dirty-ass bullshit. If someone wants to do that, that's on them. The guy who built this obviously wanted it done up right, and I'll bring it to that glory. I am not refinishing things if I can avoid it, but I'll clean what I have to the nines.

If any of the rookie chopper kids have an opinion about it, they can fold it up and put it in their back pockets.

This bike will roll again, and it will look good doing it.
 

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And because rechroming is so expensive it is often easier to buy used parts in good chrome and bolt those on. Saves money and the little scratches and dullness matches what's already there :)
 

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Not for nothing, but, we re furbished a bike that had all Brown's chrome on it,( Paducah , of course). The owner said " it will clean up, it's Brown's!". I was a little dubious, but between SOS pads and Mothers chrome polish it looked good as new . Except for the primary cover, moisture had soaked through the pores of the aluminum from the inside out and when we tried to re polish it we went through to the nickel. So we followed Von's advice and bought a new one. I hope this goes well for you and what surprises you find are pleasant ones.
 
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