The musings of a cantankerous over the hill greasemonkey who, though already old, is rather old for his age. I'll bust greasy knuckles out in the garage or argue politics with anyone who will stand for it....

Friday, December 18, 2009

This Doesn't Happen Often Here...

I can tear stuff apart but it isn't that often one goes back together. The Chief is pretty well a Chief now...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Powder Special Rides Again!

After burning up the motor in my 99 Arctic Cat last winter, I finally got around to getting it running again this weekend with Tom's help. The most integral part of the help I need lately is a boot in the butt to get something done. Tommy provided that along with a ton of project assistance along the way.

So to the chagrin of tree-hugging, hand-wringing environmental do-gooders and much to my delight, the Powder is once again making blue smoke for everyone's enjoyment.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Good news for the machine tools!

Getting my mill fired up has been on what seemed to be a permanent delay as it waited for me to find or build a phase converter to run the 3 phase motor.
One appeared on the local Craigslist and I scooped it up today.
We may get this thing going yet!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Here I thought it was just a trinket

Turns out I didn't just buy any old cement statue. Ended up being St. Windowlynn of the Pane... the patron saint of barn windows.

I had been searching for the last five years for replacement windows for the barn. I have eleven old tilt-in Star-line windows that all had marginal sashes in them. Three had actually fallen apart and been replaced with hunks of particle board to keep the snow out.

I have been meaning to have someone build me some replacements, but my Dutch nature has steered me away from spending 50-75 bucks a copy to have them made.

Well... not three days after bringing the new barn buddy home, I walked into Menards and found windows the exact correct size (I have looked there before and there was nothing close).

I brought eleven brand new ready to install windows home for $15 bucks a copy.

Thanks, St. Windowlynn....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Garage Companion

Season end sale at the farm market on cement ornaments and a pair of sunglasses Don left in my barn 5 or 6 years ago when we were working on his MG...

Yeah, I'm a spendthrift.

and easily amused...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Earlier in the process

Just a picture from earlier in the Chief build up. Not much progress this week, but I did find a bad plug wire which was causing the rear cylider to barely fire. What's weird is it still idled better than any Harley I've owned on just one cylinder. Oil seems to be flowing well now too. Back after it on Saturday. I have to help Gumby sweat some copper pipe tomorrow night. He's getting his house ready to sell...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Looking for the prime

Well, the manual said it would be there and it didn't lie. The front end check ball had not been removed as recommended by most all contemporary builders. If you look at the diagram, the check ball actually has to be drawn open by the feed pump to allow oil to feed. OK if you never lose your prime, I guess...
Got it out and the pump back on. I'll prime and re-fire tomorrow night.
On a positive note, I can get the distributor in and out blindfolded now...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fire in the Hole!

Well, we're getting serious now...
The Indian is pretty well back together. I tried to fire it Wednesday and the kicker arm reared back and spanked me like a red-headed stepchild. The timing seemed set right, but things weren't advancing/retarding like they oughta. I pulled the ignition all back apart, found my rookie mistake and reassembled it. Thursday night, after three prime kicks at full choke I found a compression stroke, clicked the key over clicked the choke back a notch and on the second kick I had a garage full of blue smoke ( I had oiled those cylinders down pretty good) and the damnedest clatter and roar I had heard in a while. She immediately settled into a nice cadence and we were on our way. I am not comfortable that the feed side of the pump is fully primed, so I shut it down and will confirm that before running it again, but after two years, I finally got off my lazy backside and got a rattle out of the old girl.
It's all downhill from here!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Parts is parts...

It's all there.... Who could imagine how much without seeing it?

Davenport '09

What a blast. You just can't go anywhere else and see all this stuff in one place...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Had a beer with a chopper god (my universe... my gods....)

Ran into Ron Cupp ("Cuppy") at the Eagleson run today. I beg off the run. It is basically a bumper car parade of drunks. I waited until the pirates had left town and I snuck in and had a beer with a guy I wish everyone could have a chance to know. Ronny has built and forgotten more bikes than most of us will ever see.
He posed for a picture with a rigid sporty he built for his wife a few years ago. He nearly died a couple years back and they are raffling the bike off to offset medical bills. You're the man, Cuppy!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Everyone needs a long term project

So we've established that I can't say no to a project regardless of how good a job it has done proving itself to be a dead end deal. Old Fords hold particular sway with me.
A few years ago, I tried to buy a 27 Model T touring car from my friend and neighbor, Don. He had actually owned the car since the early sixties when he and his car club buddies had bought the car for a little of nothing and used it for knocking around and local parades, etc.
After they had thrashed it out, it spent some serious time waiting for its new hoorah in the corner of Don's barn. I looked at it politely and talked about what a great car it was for several years. Finally, I couldn't take it any more. I had to quit circling and go for the kill. I asked Don if he would be interested in selling the car. He was very polite, but told me he just couldn't sell it.
Time passed, and then one day he stopped by the house with a proposal. He suggested that we take joint ownership and restore it as a joint project. It made sense somehow and shortly thereafter, the car ended up in my barn.
Work, keeping up around the house and time with the kids has kept me from making any serious progress on the T, but it's here, it's safe and I will conquer it one day....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gumby sighting

Found Gumby. He is NOT a figment of our folkloric imagination. He exists and I will prove it beyond reasonable doubt at Davenport in short order...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Had the Goose out tonight

If you can listen to one of these motors wind up and snarl into a shift and not shed a tear, you can't have a soul....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My First Bike

I'm don't know exactly where it came from, but I am pretty sure that time spent at farm auctions and antique stores with my Dad as a kid twisted my perception of what was cool towards old, broken stuff, forsaking new and shiny stuff. He adjusted my focus to see a beautiful restored antique platform rocker (now sitting in my living room) while looking at a grubby old chair in a pile at the dump. It got me looking at cars and bikes in the same way. I have never been particularly impressed with pretty motorcycles, preferring basketcases and ratty old bikes with a soul over sleek, pretty, new boringly reliable stuff.
It was with that perspective that I selected my first bike in the spring of 1982. I was a junior at Michigan State reading my favorite periodical, the "Wheeler Deeler", a local free classified rag in the Lansing area. My eyes locked on an ad for a 1941 Indian Military 741. The guy wanted $750, a ridiculous amount in my estimation, but it was close by so I went to check it out. Once I saw it, I could see it was clearly going to need some work, but it was so damn cool; Flathead V-twin (albeit a little small), spring mounted solo seat and a foot clutch/tankshift set up.
After a little dickering, I peeled out $450 from my student loan funds and I was loading it in my friend Ron's pickup. Once it was home, I gave her a valve adjustment, filed the points, installed new carb gaskets and a wrong-sized m/c battery from Meijers. Much to my surprise, while following the starting instructions in the manual, it fired up almost immediately.
Although a 30.50" flathead is no asphalt burner, I put a bunch of miles on that bike. It was very cheap to own. Anything that needed to be fixed was easily accomplished with a very basic set of tools and just a few bucks.
It all ended on a humid August 25, 1986 night while riding home along with my buddy Rob on his 73 Honda 350-4. We were in "Deadman's curve" on Charlotte Hwy. between Mulliken and Portland. As we cut into the curve, I caught some loose gravel and went down and over the handlebars into a guardrail. As I laid there wondering what just happened I realized the old Indian was laying there on it's side, still running. I think Rob shut it off and stood it back up. As I sat there trying to regain my composure, I realized something was not right with my right shoulder. Rob assured me it was probably just dislocated, but I wasn't buying it.
I decided I needed to go to the hospital, so we did what any pair of clear thinking 25 year old males would do. We left the scene of the accident riding double on Rob's Honda and rode back to his house where he could take me in his truck to the hospital. There is alot more to the story that I would love to tell, but of course afterwards I would have to kill you. Suffice it to say my collarbone was broken into three distinct pieces and at my wife's behest the bike was for sale the next day. I sold it to an older guy from Ohio wrecked for $1,200 and patted myself on the back for being such a shrewd salesman. I won't tell you what these bikes are selling for now....

Friday, August 7, 2009


Bought and sold this summer. This thing was an absolute hoot. I had real mixed feelings about selling it but it went where it belonged. I'll bet if I ask nice I may even get a ride in it again down the road...