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Thread: '48 Chief Kick Starter binding

  1. #1

    '48 Chief Kick Starter binding

    Good Morning,

    now that the weather has cooled down in the Northeast I've been getting back to sorting out my chief.

    I've addressed a bunch of little items and have her pretty much road-ready. she runs great and idles like a watch. the biggest frustration I have with it is the kick-starter.

    About every 3rd lick the kick lever just goes solid, and sounds like its grinding rocks. It makes it extremely difficult to get a good thorough kick pattern to get her started.

    I cant believe it's just TDC on the compression stroke, I have other bikes with much higher compression that I can kick over. using my full body weight and leg I'm kicking so hard the kickstand comes off the ground and the kicker doesn't even budge. occasionally the kicker will stick in the all the way down position too but I think that is a function of the kicker arm dragging on the exhaust pipe (no clamp at the joint)

    I've looked at the teeth on the kicker and the gear and don't see anything alarming, I'm not sure if the teeth aren't meshing correctly or something or is it in the ratchet mechanism?

    any tricks I'm missing here?

    thanks,
    Rich
    Rich

    1948 Indian Chief
    1972 Norton Commando Combat
    1975 Norton Commando MKIII
    2014 Indian Chief Vintage
    2016 Indian Scout

    @corningclassics on Instagram
    Corning Classics on YouTube

  2. #2

    Re: '48 Chief Kick Starter binding

    Grease it!

  3. #3

    Re: '48 Chief Kick Starter binding

    Quote Originally Posted by indianut View Post
    Grease it!
    like this:



    1946 Chief - take apart and put back together
    101 Scout - parts accumulation stage

  4. #4

    Re: '48 Chief Kick Starter binding

    I have the grease fitting on the shaft, I will grease it. my starter gear is the later '48 style with the balls and springs, not the ratchet teeth like on the photo above.

    thanks guys
    Rich

    1948 Indian Chief
    1972 Norton Commando Combat
    1975 Norton Commando MKIII
    2014 Indian Chief Vintage
    2016 Indian Scout

    @corningclassics on Instagram
    Corning Classics on YouTube

  5. Re: '48 Chief Kick Starter binding

    Hi,
    You should probably take the 'silent' ratchet mechanism apart and see what is going on in there. One or more of the lock balls may have fractured. The balls should also have springs installed behind them to reduce the chance of the mechanism slipping. One odd thing that can happen (probably not here though), is that there can be a mismatch of the kicker arm to the transmission gear. There was the distributor kicker mechanism, and a different magneto kicker mechanism. If you were mismatched, it probably would never work, but it is something to look at and know about. In either kicker mechanism, 5, 3/8" diameter steel balls are used. It is possible that excessive clearance has developed between the kicker transmission gear and the gear cover plate (where the balls reside). You may find that some or all of the ball springs are broken or missing. It wouldn't hurt to put new ones in. In the worst case scenario, you might have to convert to the full ratchet type mechanism. The ratchet type mechanism is noisy when being used, but it tends to less trouble-prone than the 'silent' ball type kicker mechanism. Indian only used the 'silent' set-up from 1948 through 1951. The 1952-53 Chiefs went back to the full ratchet type mechanism.

  6. #6

    Re: '48 Chief Kick Starter binding

    Good to know, I will take a look at it.
    is the conversion to the ratchet type straightforward? i.e. just replacing the parts or is there a difference in the shaft?
    Rich

    1948 Indian Chief
    1972 Norton Commando Combat
    1975 Norton Commando MKIII
    2014 Indian Chief Vintage
    2016 Indian Scout

    @corningclassics on Instagram
    Corning Classics on YouTube

  7. Re: '48 Chief Kick Starter binding

    Hi,
    The conversion from the 'silent' mechanism to the full ratchet mechanism (and vice versa) is straightforward. The transmission mainshafts are identical. Jerry Greer's website has some decent diagrams of both set-ups. Your transmission gear will be either 28 teeth for magneto ignition or 32 teeth for distributor ignition. You would have to match tooth count, or the kicker arm you are using won't work. If you change tooth count on the transmission gear, you have to change the kicker arm to match. As long as you run the same tooth count on the replacement transmission gear, the kicker arm would interchange.
    One issue that can surface with any of the kicker mechanisms, is that there can be an transmission oil leak between the transmission mainshaft and the sprocket driver gear (Indian for some reason put no seal there). To reduce leakage, I use a tight-fitting washer made out of belt/waist leather to go behind the ratchet spring cupped washer. This leather washer makes a decent rotational seal that reduces leakage. With the 'silent' kicker mechanism, the use of a leather seal isn't as easy or practical.
    As mentioned in the earlier replies, the full ratchet mechanism does need lubrication maintenance now and then; especially between the mainshaft and the transmission gear (the gear that meshes with the kickstarter arm).

  8. #8

    Re: '48 Chief Kick Starter binding

    Quote Originally Posted by Yellow53Chief View Post
    Hi,
    Indian only used the 'silent' set-up from 1948 through 1951. The 1952-53 Chiefs went back to the full ratchet type mechanism.
    I did not know that but it makes sense. I have never used the springs in one I messed with, but that has not been very many. I don't work on much 'late model' stuff!

  9. Re: '48 Chief Kick Starter binding

    Hi,
    Concerning the springs behind the balls on the 'silent' kicker mechanism; early 1948 machines did not have the springs. What happened was; people oiled the area, and crud/crap/dirt/dust got stuck to the oil/grease, and this prevented the balls from dropping into place via gravity. If the balls don't drop into the locking position, the kicker arm can slip, making for a possibly painful experience. The springs behind the balls was a factory/dealer improvement that gives a much more positive ball engagement. The full ratchet mechanism is a little noisy when used, but I have never had one slip. For me; the bigger danger is forgetting to retard the spark when I go to start the engine. I don't forget very often, but when I do, the kick-back can be rather dangerous.

  10. Re: '48 Chief Kick Starter binding

    I have a similar problem with the kick start lever not returning because the teeth of the kick lever and starter gear do not mesh back in on the return stroke, rather they get stuck tooth on tooth if you know what I mean. This doesn't happen all the time. I know there are eccentric kick starter pins available but they are difficult to adjust because the pin is a press fit into the frame. I have been told to apply lots of oil to the ratchet as there is back & forward play required to allow the kick lever to mesh back in and return. I have also been told to grind the last tooth of the kick lever so it misses the starter gear. I'm even thinking to replace the kick lever with a new one that has no wear.
    Has anyone had this issue ? and if so what was the remedy?

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