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The Nickle and Dime Express: a Not Really 1946 Harley UL Big Twin Flathead

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  • #31
    That first 3/4 rear view is a knockout. You did a beautiful job, and you obviously had a good vision in your head. I like that you used parts that you had, but I have to believe you had something of a mental blueprint when you acquired certain parts. Often, with a bike built from parts; there is a component that becomes the catalyst for the project. Regardless, you did a great job.
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

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    • #32
      Chuckthebeatertruck; First of all, Nice Job !! I've owned a Big Twin Side Valve for over 50 years and they are great motors. One note of advice is, if your aftermarket air cleaner does not have the hole in the bottom of it ( as O.E.M. covers have ). Take it off and drill it. Harley Side Valves have the carburetor hanging on the kickstand side. Gas can gather in the bottom of the air cleaner and IF the motor backfires out of the carb. it can catch fire. Some will say that if everything is correct, this won't happen. And what they say is true. Remember that your carb. is a 100 year old design. ( And the polish job looks nice ! ) Mine caught fire in 1973. I was 18 or 19 at the time and went step by step with my H-D manual to rebuild the carb. I may have used the existing needle and seat. I don' remember. Just a heads up.image0-005.jpgimage0-006.jpg
      Craig

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      • #33
        Originally posted by exeric View Post
        That first 3/4 rear view is a knockout. You did a beautiful job, and you obviously had a good vision in your head. I like that you used parts that you had, but I have to believe you had something of a mental blueprint when you acquired certain parts. Often, with a bike built from parts; there is a component that becomes the catalyst for the project. Regardless, you did a great job.
        Thank you.

        I did have a bit of inspiration. I really enjoy the "screaming eagle" paint work on the 1933 VLs -- it just "works" with the deco style of the bike. The blacked out nature of the bike also struck me as very "clean" but not in a "posing" way like blacked out modern bikes. So, I tried to keep the bike more in that ethos -- a decision also bourne out of not wanting to spend money on chrome :-)

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        • #34
          thanks for the heads up. fires tend to make the day suck.

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          • #35
            It's ALIVE

            I got down to seeing if the pile of junk would actually run.

            It took a solid 50 kicks to find the right spot where I could reliably spark the magneto. With that down, it took about 4 good boots. It would have been less, but someone accidentally left the choke full on. I won't name names, but considering I"m the only rider in the house . . .


            Anyways, she roared into life and settled into a nice 1500 rpm lope. Lights and electrics work; horn works; brakes work. Oil seems to be flowing and returning. Yippee.


            On the "oh" side -- we blew the front header right out of the cylinder. Apparently four frame to header clamps and a tight fit aren't quite good enough. But, I did braze a header spring clip to the pipe -- and it won't take but a minute to sort.


            The carb is certainly my limiting factor. I didn't set something correctly, which doesn't surprise me. First M51 I ever did and a junker to begin with. So, I'll get that sorted this week.


            As for the motor -- so far so good. It warmed up well and made no noises. Cylinders were a good temp and the heads got nice and hot fast as expected. Just a whirl of cam gears and that's it. We'll heat cycle and retorque the heads and base nuts several times before hitting the road.


            If the first start is any indicator -- this bike will be a hoot to ride.


            Did I mention the bike started with Mrs. Chuck and several neighbors looking on? Murphy's Law was suspended for a few minutes.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by JoJo357 View Post
              Thank You Steve, i really enjoyed your transformation. Reminded me of simpler times with not a lot of Money to play around with. But, in the end run--there was something to ride and be proud of.

              *M.A.D.*
              Thanks. It was fun challenge to build this one -- and I hope it inspires others to build BITSAs instead of throwing out parts. Junk can roll and garbage can fly. You just gotta be patient.

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              • #37
                When I originally made up the exhaust, I brazed header spring perches to the pipes just in case I needed them. Many years ago I had my first experiences with ill fitting push fit pipes . . . and got introduced to the heresy that are header springs.

                In this case, after the bike blew the front header on out on the first run . . I decided to fit the springs.

                The "perch" is nothing more than "L" shaped stock, cut and brazed to the header. The springs are standard stainless steel motocross header springs. I believe these ones are 90mm. Anyways, easy peasy to fit; just a small hole in the fin and a bit of tension sees the job done. I used the smallest hole I could in the fins so it can be brazed up in the future should I or a future owner wish. But, now I don't have to worry about the pipe coming loose.

                IMG_4923.jpg

                IMG_4925.jpg

                IMG_4926.jpg

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                • #38
                  Over the last few weeks, I slowly sorted out some of the bigger issues with the '46.

                  These included:
                  1) Shredding the rear tire. Yep. I cracked the throttle in first; the bike hunkered down and pulled a small power wheelie. It compressed the tire right into a set of stay bolts and there went the tire. Who says these bikes don't have torque?
                  2) Carb -- the Linkert works -- but it's not quite right (more on that in a second)
                  3) Chuck remembering how to ride a foot clutch


                  My plan from the start has been to get the bike running on the M51 (with M51L venturi) and if I wasn't fully happy, switch to a Mikuni VM38.


                  Since I hatched that original plan, I learned a great deal more about why I may be happier with a modern CV carb.


                  Friends at Legends Motorcycles in Colorado sent me some used CV bodies to build one solid carb out of. I expect to have the conversion done by 4th of July and start enjoying the bike a bit more.

                  Don't get me wrong --- the Link is fine -- but I can tell it's the limiting factor right now.


                  I'll share some photos of the CV conversion to help anyone thinking of doing the same.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by chuckthebeatertruck View Post
                    Over the last few weeks, I slowly sorted out some of the bigger issues with the '46.

                    These included:
                    1) Shredding the rear tire. Yep. I cracked the throttle in first; the bike hunkered down and pulled a small power wheelie. It compressed the tire right into a set of stay bolts and there went the tire. Who says these bikes don't have torque?
                    2) Carb -- the Linkert works -- but it's not quite right (more on that in a second)
                    3) Chuck remembering how to ride a foot clutch


                    My plan from the start has been to get the bike running on the M51 (with M51L venturi) and if I wasn't fully happy, switch to a Mikuni VM38.


                    Since I hatched that original plan, I learned a great deal more about why I may be happier with a modern CV carb.


                    Friends at Legends Motorcycles in Colorado sent me some used CV bodies to build one solid carb out of. I expect to have the conversion done by 4th of July and start enjoying the bike a bit more.

                    Don't get me wrong --- the Link is fine -- but I can tell it's the limiting factor right now.


                    I'll share some photos of the CV conversion to help anyone thinking of doing the same.
                    Thanks for the update, I'll PM my address so you can mail me that junk M51..
                    Robbie Knight Amca #2736

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                    • #40
                      Oh, now it runs!

                      In keeping with the nickle and dime express theme; my friends at Legends MC sent me a couple of "junk" CV bodies to work with. From there, I mixed and matched parts to build up the CV and the install materials.

                      I was able to source all my internals from Harley directly for about the same price as knock offs. Difference is that I got genuine keihin needles, emulsion tubes, and jets. The manifold adapter is a V twin model for 3 bolt manifolds that is the exact same OD and ID (well, within a few hairs) as the CV. The rubber "couplers" v twin sells aren't worth a poo to me . . .so I used a 3 inch piece of 1.75 ID silicone turbo inlet tubing. VERY high heat stuff and only $10 on Amazon. Yippee.

                      The "cable" for the throttle was too short for the CV so I stole one from a junk bicycle in the loft and added a screw on nipple. Not exactly high tech, but good enough.


                      I was able to use a 2.25 hole saw to open up the repo J slot air cleaner to match the CV throat. I then pounded the backing plate flat on an anvil and using a template, drilled the holes for the CV mount. So, no extra cost there.


                      The total cost for converting to the CV was just about $100 thanks to the "free" stripped carb bodies and "borrowed" stuff. I did make a brace that goes from the air cleaner to the original linkert carb support. It's just a simple l bracket but eliminates the chance of the carb working free from the silicone tube.


                      It runs FANTASTICALLY well. Starts pretty easily (for a 90 inch mag fired flathead running pretty hairy cams). The idle is stupendously lumpy with the .425 lift "performance" cams. It shakes more ferrociously than normal at idle of around 1000-1100. But, smooths out by 1500 or so and goes glassy at 2500 rpm as intended :-)

                      The motor takes throttle VERY well and the whole bike sounds like a modern v twin. When you open the throttle there is NO hesitation. It just pulls. And this is a completely fresh motor.


                      I've gotten some good road miles on her in 90 plus degree weather and have been impressed. It gets HOT like any flatty but I've been able to keep the head temps below 375 degrees which isn't bad considering the heat load.


                      Here are some installed shots. Excuse the mess please -- I was riding and sweating.

                      IMG_4957.jpg

                      IMG_4958.jpg

                      IMG_4959.jpg


                      Overall, the motor is really quite tractable with the CV carb. It runs like a modern bike -- you simply don't think about the motor. Brakes are GREAT -- ride is very good. Suspension works well - but the chassis is much more capable than the ground clearance. It is NOT a challenge to deck the floor boards. Not at all. That will be the limiting factor on this bike.


                      Otherwise, it's time to break it in fully and see what tries to fall off.


                      And, I'm not joking about the power. Here are the rubber stripes on the shop floor from taking off in first gear the last couple of trips. This is feathering the clutch -- just off idle.

                      IMG_4960.jpg


                      What a fun pile of garbage this one turned out to be!

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                      • #41
                        Well done Sir. you have a great looking motorcycle, that doesn't reflect it scrap-pile heritage!

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