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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my second restart to this project. A brief recap... My friend got killed on his '57 chopper in 1970. Another friend managed to buy the engine a couple years later. It mostly sat on a shelf for decades. He started stripping parts from it to use on his other Panheads, so I persuaded him to sell it to me in 2011.

I started a build thread here, but didn't get very far after getting laid off.

Started working again, so sent the engine out for a rebuild and started a "restart" build thread. Gathered parts, but made a bad decision that cascaded into other bad decisions.

I've decided to smack myself in the back of the head, take the loss and start over to do it right.... sort of. As right as I can, given my limitations.

This is NOT going to be a masterpiece of custom machine work and fabricated parts like many of the other build threads. (I'm still in awe over selectedgrub and others on here).

I was a machinist in the Navy and most of the 70s, but have been working in another field since the early 80s. I could probably still manage to build simple parts, but I have no shop or equipment. I've got some ideas for a slick seat mount, fender mount and fuse box, but don't know if I can pull them off.

I live in one of those "active adult" 55 and over communities with no basement and I'm not allowed to build a shed. I'm limited to my half of a 2 car garage. I have a hand drill, bench grinder, dremel, sockets and wrenches and my only treat... a small mig welder. No lathe, mill or press. No TIG welder. Only a small hyrdolic Motorcycle Lift (no fancy table). No heavy duty compressor with air tools.

So call me a "credit card biker" if you want, but this project is going to be new parts, mostly bolt on and very little custom work. I'm too old and too busy to locate original HD parts. If I can pull this off, it might give inspiration to some other newbie with limited build space or tools. Time will tell.

As a side note.. when I started my first build thread, someone from the area.. Raritan, NJ I think... sent me a message that he has a machine shop and does bike work. Can't seem to find the message, though. If you're still out there, let me know.

To start off, I got my new frame on Saturday. It's a Paughco with 40 degree rake, 2.25 inch up stretch. The front end (9 over) will be coming in on Wednesday.

I installed the bearing cups. I used a threaded rod with washers that fit down inside the cup, and just screwed it until the cups were in place. Crude, but it works. You just have to be careful that the cups are straight. Also I found that laying the frame on the floor was a lot easier than trying to do this on the lift.

I installed the trans plate, trans and engine. Started looking at how I was going to install my air ride seat. I didn't care for the way it was done on the other frame. The travel was not straight up and down, so the air bags would have folded, more than ride up and down. Would have ended up re-doing that anyway. I'm not sure if I'm going to use the springs too.

Just to make me feel like I'm making progress, I laid the wheels in place.
 

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Great start. Good dimensions for a chopper that's long enough without being over the top & hard to ride. Plenty have built them in the shed with minimal hand tools. It's about proper part selection & careful assembly.

Member Mike47 in Jersey can help with any fabrication stuff, member 'ralphiejantz' (syndicatechoppers.com) is in Long Island & could also help you with any issues that might crop up. I've dealt with both & they are very helpful fellas.

Good luck!
 

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If you didn't do it already, make sure you check the Motor mounts for square with a feeler gauge at front and rear. Search function will get you the tech on it, if you want tips. Being a machinist you probably won't need that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I know I’m nowhere near this point yet, but I've been trying to figure out my fender mount.

Since I’m running a chain and it’s going to stretch, I’m going to have to adjust the rear wheel. I've thought about some methods of allowing the fender to adjust too, but just wanted to see what other folks have done. I may be over thinking this and it doesn't need to move, but that’s me. It’s not something I've been looking for at bike shows and swap meets in the past. I look at engines, paint, geometry, but never a fender mount.

One sketch I did was a small scissor jack type thing. Screw it in… the fender moves one way. Screw it out, the fender moves another. The trick would be to make it look cool (chrome) or hide it. I would take that challenge, if I had a small lathe and milling machine.

Another method I thought about was one or two rods welded/bolted onto the fender, going through a block with holes on the frame. Loosen the set screw and slide to the new position.

There’s also the overlapping slotted bars with a wing nut. Not too sturdy, but simple.

So on the bottom, I have some options. The fender travels parallel to the axle so it shouldn't be too hard. The sissy bar should be okay, too. As long as you can move the fender, the sissy bar will move with it. Maybe some rubber grommets or mounts might allow movement without stressing the paint. I doubt it moves more than a couple of degrees.

The tough part comes in on the top mount behind the seat. I've got the cross bar and the fender. I could use the same rod / block method, but the rods would need to be a the correct angle (parallel with the axle). The set screws would be better on the bottom, out of sight, but I’d Just need to make sure I can get to them easily.

This blabbering is not an effort to keep my thread active. I’m trying to complete the bike this time, and because I have serious ADD, any hiccup, issue or complex problem sends me off in another direction. So while I’m sitting here at work doing data loads (boring)… I’m trying to figure out the stuff I know is going to have me scratching my head. Better to get some feedback on them now and have a plan than to get frustrated and walk away, I guess.
 

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Don't overthink things, keep it simple. Weld on a chain tensioner if you are worried about chain stretch & buy a good quality chain.

For fender mounts, I like two threaded bungs welded to a crossbar at the front, and a sissy bar with flat strap steel mounting under the fender, & two bolts through that. A rigid frame doesn't need much tire clearance. Mount wheel & tire to centre of axle adjustment, tape two bits of garden hose around the top of the tire, place fender on top. This is the clearance I use (just over 1/2").
 

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Will, you look like you got enough tool storage for another bike lift in that halfagarage.
Looking good so far, no letting up!
 

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Well I say redo.. Always worked when I was losing at tether ball as a child. Then I would show no mercy!!!!

Die mofos die!...

Sorry got carried away for a bit by the evil barly beer.
 

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Will,
before you get to far on your project....check your frame out. Some have had no isues with Paugcho's, myself and others have, now is the time to make sure before ya get to deep.

Snap a chalk line or if ya have a long straight edge, ya can draw a line on your floor. Center the frame on that line. Drop a plumb bob through the neck to see if it is centered. Use a dowel rod through the neck to see if it is cocked. You can also measure off of the floor to make sure the rear axle plates are where they should be and not cocked, etc.

Craigs list can be your friend...I've bought a table lift for $200 (less than materials to build my own), a old 3/4" drill and press for a $100 (one hell of a tubing notcher) and a set of 14 boring bars for $50 (don't have a mill or lathe yet but....some day)...

As far as the re-start... I've only had one bike build "fall together", my 80 flt/flht which by the way, is sitting in the corner of the shop with a busted case... One step forward, two back... This is what my Dad called gaining experience....
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Will,
before you get to far on your project....check your frame out. ...
Thanks, all, for the recommendation. The filename for that second picture is "fakeprogress.jpg". It's all coming off and I will do all the checks on the frame, as soon as I can block out the time. I just wanted to lay the stuff on to see how would look.

If I have any areas of the frame that look questionable, I'll bring it right back to the shop I bought it from. He's a good guy and will verify my findings or show me where I went wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Frame Question:

I pulled all the parts off to check out the frame. First think I did was get the front engine mount level. Checked the back engine mount: Good Checked the Front Trans mound: Good Checked the rear Trans mount: Good Checked the axle.... Ahhh The bubble was slightly off.

My question is... how much is acceptable and what's involved to get right.

I didn't take pictures yet, but I think I can fake with text.

Engine and Trans looked like this on the level
| () |

Axle looked like this on the level:
| (|)

It was touching the line.
 

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Will,
this is just my opinion but...if your not a competent welder, take it to some one who is, have which ever axle plate taken off and have it re-welded where it belongs. I have a small mig and I weld ok, good enough to weld brackets and tabs but, in no way in hell would I attempt to weld something that could break and kill me...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
...have which ever axle plate taken off and have it re-welded...
Can this be fixed without removing the plate?

I was thinking, can't I use a file on the high side plate to bring the axle level. That would make the axle sloppy in the hole. So to correct that, you put a bead of weld on the top of the hole (slot) and grind/file it to the correct size. We're talking ... maybe 1/16 of an inch? I'd have to measure to see exactly.

Wait. Do I have that backwards? The presure would be on the top of the plate. The weight of the bike sitting on the axel would be on the top of the plate. So I'd file the top of the plate and weld the bottom. Yeah... that's it. Keep the axle pressure riding on the original steel, rather than the weld.

Anyway, thanks for the response. I'll weigh that option and either return the frame or take it to a professional to handle a fix that radical. Too much for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I rechecked the level and did some other checks.

There was enough movement in the slot that if I put a small shim under the bushing, the bubble was level.

So I'm thinking of just doing the shim. If needed, I would do the bead of weld, rather than the shim. What do you think?

The cross measurements (front left to back right... front right to back left) on the engine mounts were good. Off a hair.

String down the center, plum lines struck. Everything looks good, except the bend in the fender mount is not exactly centered.

So if the general thought is the shim will work, I can start reassembly tomorrow. Otherwise I'll work on that rear plate.
 

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One thing to keep in mind, is your '57 motor titled? If so, be careful as you have frame numbers on the new frame. A '57 titled motor should be in a frame with no numbers, it could cause confusion if leo is checking out the bike at some point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
One thing to keep in mind, is your '57 motor titled? If so, be careful as you have frame numbers on the new frame. A '57 titled motor should be in a frame with no numbers, it could cause confusion if leo is checking out the bike at some point.
I called Motor Vehicles a while ago. I explained the year and the fact that I had to replace the frame. The new frame had a part number on it, but because it's '57, it's not the VIN number. The woman said no problem. I've got the MSO for the frame, so I'll carry a copy with me.

I just hope the fine officer who pulls me over is as understanding. :)
 

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I called Motor Vehicles a while ago. I explained the year and the fact that I had to replace the frame. The new frame had a part number on it, but because it's '57, it's not the VIN number. The woman said no problem. I've got the MSO for the frame, so I'll carry a copy with me.

I just hope the fine officer who pulls me over is as understanding. :)
I would get that in writing as once frame numbers come into the mix, that's what it should be titled as. Carrying the mso is useless as that number is not on your title anywhere, it'll just create confusion. That frame number is a serial number and that's why they give you an mso, in theory that bike should be titled as a special construction.
 
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