Sunday, July 7, 2013

Born Free 5

I remember getting the call from Grant..."Teach we want you to be one of our invite builders for Born Free 5".  Man I couldn't believe it the biggest and best chopper show in the U.S.A.  and I was asked to contribute to the show with a bike..I will not lie I had an ear to ear smile and could't wait to tell everyone.  Those that know me know I teach the high school chopper class that I started 10 years ago..this class didn't survive or grow to where it is today without the help of social media and many posts, pictures, e-mails, and forum seems every day I post something, someone new stumbles across it and asks about what it is I do which sometimes turns into support.  This is what keeps me going so for anyone who may think I promote, post, blog, instagram or forum too much sorry guys but it's how I keep my dream alive.  The school I teach at again made cuts this last year so we are down from a Technology Educations department of 6 to now only 2 and part of what kept my job secure was all the hard work, late nights and long off school hours of work I do for my class and our builds.  So social media is one of the best and easiest ways for me to keep the world knowing whats going it has been said "Out of sight, out of mind"  this is true in the motorcycle world with so many here today gone tomorrow shops so I am proud to have kept my high school class going for this many years and along the way helped 5 or 6 other school get something similar the end remember "It's for the kids".
I think I had around 8 or 9 months to get a bike ready for the show when Grant first asked so it was time to decide what the hell could I do that would contribute to the show.  I was already working on a 52 FL, and a 40 ULH  both of which were in various stages of not even close so I had a bit of soul searching to do to see what felt right.  As it started out it was going to be my 40 ULH  I have a nice straight correct 40 frame, and a motor getting rebuilt so that was feeling right, but then I also had a 52 pan motor on my bench already rebuilt which I knew would be much easier for me as the motor was done already.  Well not long after the BF5 announcement a good friend called me with a bike project he was looking to sell.  It came from an estate sale and had been sitting for 30 years and never run.  Some guys in Illinois bought it from the estate sale stripped a few parts off it threw a late model HD springer on it and a bunch of new repop chrome to try and dress it up and brought it to MN for a big swap meet to sell, my friend bought it and then after seeing what it all needed called me.  The bike was a 1948 frame, with a polished set of 1946 FL cases that had a set of dual carb 1948 panheads on it with mr4 linkerts.

I got it home test fit the sheet metal that came with it and switched out the springer with an original offset I had

As you can see here the guys from Illinois who tried to make this thing run to sell at the swap meet had all sorts of bad ideas and little to none skills in metal fabrication or just general old bike function.  As you can see here they cut the stock from to allow for this fancy voltage regulator to be hidden so cleverly between the tanks..well not only did hey butcher the frame to do this but they also pounded in the insides of some oem pan tanks to make for clearance for this slick set up....ugh!

 Despite all this I knew right away this came my way for a reason and a deal was struck and the project came home with me shortly after.  This now was giving me a vision for what I wanted to build for the show.  I stripped the bike down, and knew the first order of business was the heads, these panheads had been heavily modified to try and function on a knucklehead lower end.  George Smith Senior modified these heads back in the 50's for the dual linkert carbs, but down the road someone else bought these heads and then decided to try and fit them to the knuckle lower.  To do this they first welded up the pushrod tube holes and re-machined them out to match knucklehead geometry..tappets come out at different angles on the front and rear head from knuckle, to pan so the to allow the pushrod tubes to sit flat and the pushrods not hit the walls this was changed.

Then they plugged one of the panhead head bolt holes and drilled a new hole to match the knucklehead cylinders, they also welded up the firering lip that panhead jugs need inside the dome.

Lastly they converted the heads to external oilers to try and match what knuckleheads do.  So my first task was to save the heads and make them stock panhead again.  While I was working on those heads I dropped that rebulit 52 motor in to start throwing around some ideas for how I wanted the bike to look.

Here are pictures of the work I did to the heads to bring them back..I had to mill out the firering lip back in the heads
 Weld up all the external oil passages they put in, as well as the pushrod holes and fix many missing or broken fins

 After making a jig and indexing a stock set of heads I was able to bolt in the dual carb heads and get the proper holes back in the heads to panhead geometry.

After I finished all the head repairs it was time to take the stock heads off the 52 motor to put these dual carb beauties on, my 5 year old was more than eager to help, and I love when my little guys want to hang with Dad in the shop.

We then modified an old hunt magneto to clear the regulator boss on the cases..I am a firm believe to not butcher up these old cases any worse than they may already have been,  SAVE THE BOSS!

Then I made an aluminum oil tank that mounts to all stock existing frame mounts, and an aluminum race tail section seat pan 


And finally after powder coating and parkerizing paint and leather final assembly was under way with only 9 days to the show and 2,500 miles to get it there.  My boys came in to see me since I was pretty much working on the bike around the clock.

 After final assembly was done and I got the approval from my wife it was test ride debug and get ready to head to California
Good friend SugarBear checking out the bike with me at the show
This Born Free experience was great, I had a blast and was amazed at all the great bikes and cool people I met at the show.  It was an honor to be in the show and win best panhead.  Thanks to all who stopped by to let me know they dig the bike and the supporters of what I do with my high school students was amazing..It was a great weekend.  Mike and Grant are doing an OUTSTANDING thing bringing so many good people and good bikes from all over the world together for a day of fun..Thanks guys.

1 comment:

  1. Way to go Kevin. The bike turned out very nice!