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  1. #1

    Default 1926 JD Build

    Well I guess I will break in this new section. First let me introduce myself. My name is Mike Nichols and I live in western Massachusetts. I'm 27 years old (does this qualify me as young?) and work at a mechanical engineer. I became interested in the antique car world about 12 years ago when my father an I restored a 1972 Chevelle. After completing a few more cars, we discovered antique motorcycles, and, well, fell in love. Our introduction to motorcycles started with a few mid 70's Honda's, then it turned to Indians. Right now both my father and I ride Indian 741's and love them. I however, wanted something a bit older, hence the 26' JD

    I found the beginning of the JD at the Rhienbeck Swap meet in 2013. It was pretty crusty looking but I thought it would be a good start. I knew it was missing some stuff but I love swap meets so I didn't think that would be a problem. Settled on a price and brought her home! Once home, I spent a few hours looking everything over, since this was my first JD I wasn't really sure if what I was looking at was correct or not, turns out there was a fair amount that was not. After a few months of looking at the bike I decided it would be a good idea to tear everything apart and break the bike up into small sections for restoring.


    Mike
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    N. Huntingdon PA
    Posts
    121

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    Mike,
    Thanks for being the first to post on this section. There are several Members on the Forum who will be able to help you with the restoration of your JD. And yes, you qualify at age 27 to post on this section. There is no hard and fast rule but 35 and under is a good starting point.
    Richard
    Richard Spagnolli
    AMCA #6153

  3. #3

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    A few months after I purchased the bike I had gone to the Yankee chapter show/swap in Hebron, CT. Low an behold what do I find sitting in the field but a pristine 1926 JD. I immediately take out my phone and start snapping pictures of every detail. I could now see some of the parts my bike was missing and how some of the parts I had already were not correct for the year. After about 30 min of snapping pictures and basically crawling all over the bike the owner comes up and introduces himself as Dan. Dan is able to answer all of the questions I had and even offers up his contact info if I had any further questions. Turns out Dan would later help me out as a somewhat mentor for this restoration.

    So with winter fast approaching I decided it would be time to get some help restoring my motor. This really wasn't something I wanted to tackle myself for a few reasons; the biggest being that I just didn't have the appropriate amount of time to dedicate to it, and second I had never done a complete motor before, just top ends. So I contact Dan so see if he could recommend someone to me. The suggestion was made that Dan himself would do the motor for me, sounds great I said! A few weeks later, Dan had the motor at his shop.
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  4. #4

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    As you can probably guess this isn't the beginning of my build, I am just trying to get everyone caught up to where I am now.

    So Dan has the motor at his shop and I had managed to put together a list of the parts that I will need for the rest of the bike, or at least the beginnings of a list. Turns out that the front end that came with the bike is a 29' only. I believe this to be true because of the brake stay that was on one leg. Also the cast end of the spring tubes were different than earlier models. The transmission that came with the bike was also not correct. It was dated 1925. After a bit of research I discovered there was a design change from 25-26 mainly with how the clutch was actuated. Add it to the list!

    With my wish list in hand I headed to the Davenport swap meet. I was fairly confident I would be able to find some parts on my list, others not so much. After the swap meet I was still in need of a headlight, horn, dash, coil cover, and a good seat post. Luckily at this time I have managed to find almost all of that except the headlight (anyone have one stashed away??)

    Not much happens on the bike from Davenport till the spring on my end. Dan however was hard at work with the engine.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Corvallis, Oregon USA
    Posts
    688

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    Welcome.
    1916 thru 1929 J/JD group on yahoo.com
    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/harleyjd/info


    Pictures of most parts on Yahoo J/JD group’s site:
    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/.../photos/albums
    Bill Gilbert in Oregon

  6. #6

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    Thank you Bill. I have been meaning to join the Yahoo group. I have done a few searches there and yielded some great info.

    When I brought the motor to Dan I had removed all of the top end components, but all the inspection was done by Dan. Overall the motor was in pretty great shape. The cylinders measured at a stock bore and still had original Harley pistons (the ones with the pin passing through the wrist pin). I was pretty shocked the cylinders were stock bore, I mean what are the odds. The exhaust seat was also very high showing very little signs of excessive valve jobs. One cylinder did have one chipped fin that was later welded back and blended in. A clean up cut was taken on the cylinders bore at + .010". After that cut it was clear that from sitting for an excessive amount of time the rings have grooved the cylinders where they sat. It took +.020" more to achieve a clean and true bore.

    Once the cylinders were bored it was time for plating. I had called around to a few places and was a bit shocked when to told me $1,000+ to nickle plate two cylinders. Dan suggested we try the Caswells plating kit and do it ourselves. So that's what we did. I drove up to Dan's shop last winter and we spent the entire day prepping and then finally plating the cylinders. I was very impressed how they turned out and for a fraction of the cost.
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  7. #7

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    Few pictures of the cylinder plating.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    110

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    Mike,
    I too have a 26 JD. First buying it I thought it was complete. As I got more into it I realized everything had been changed. Parts were used off of cars and whatever else to keep it going. I am going to settle for a rider rather than a restoration. I rode it his summer but now have the motor out and am going to do the top end. It also has a later model front end with a brake. Not a bad thing if taken out on the highway. I believe the headlight for the 26 is one year only and Dan is an expert on them. Good luck!

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