March 28, 2010

My Journey So Far With A Classic Harley Davidson

Well, to start it’s been less than a year since I joined this forum and had the pleasure of getting my Dad’s KH out on the road again (Damn I wish he could see it out there on the road now…).  This might not be much for you older guys on the forum that grew up with these bike and know them like the back of your hand, but for somebody getting into a bike that is from 1955 at the age of 35 I must say today was a pretty good day.

I wasn’t a virgin with a wrench in my hand before I started working on this bike, but for some reason it made me a little nervous working on a motorcycle when I first started.  Growing up my Dad was a good teacher, but mostly on cars.  We had bikes too, but I will admit openly, he did most of the maintenance on them because he liked to do it and had the time…

Few months ago I rebuilt the carb with a kit from Into the Wilderness and replaced the plugs and wires, those were the first step for me.  Over the winter I read and gathered some of the books that I needed to learn more (Thanks to people like Rubone for the book, Sarge for the CD just so I could read some other old stuff unrelated to the K model).  Also I asked quite a few ‘basic’ questions that helped out a lot too.  Couple of weeks ago I tackled changing out the handlebars – this was an experience and led me to a couple of others.  Last weekend I took off the front and rear wheels for the first time to check the brakes and just to ‘have a look’ at things.  Cleaned up some dust, realized I needed some rear brakes (still need to get these) and figured out how to adjust everything so stopping was in order.  Also prepped up the battery that I bought last fall – added some acid and set it on the charger to zap it up for the first time.

Friday I took on another challenge.  I pulled the plugs out, opened up the circuit, saw a lifter for the first time and opened up the view hole to the fly wheel – all to set the timing.  This was pretty cool and fun to do as I was pulling out the .022 spacers to get the timing right, set the gap in the spark plugs to be the right distance ( I didn’t check this last fall), spinning the rear wheel to get the line just right and into view.  The spacings were all off and things didn’t line up like they said in the book – so I corrected everything by what the book said and and put it all back together. Unfortunately when I finished it was about 12:30am  and not only my wife, but my neighbors would have killed me if I fired up the bike that late! (I also put in the new battery and took out the leaky one that didn’t hold a charge)

Gets me to yesterday – I was curious if it was going to even fire up with the work that I had done with the timing…  It did, and it was the easiest it’s fired up since I have been digging into putting this back out on the road.  Funny thing is that it sounded better at idle, some of the clicks were gone and it sounded more like a sewing machine than it ever has.  Out for a ride things seemed to be so much better – better under the twist, more power and just felt better riding around in general.   I guess all my work has payed off up to this point.  The bike is now running great and today was the first time I have felt comfortable with what was between my legs and could enjoy the ride even more than I had been in the past.

So that’s my story, might be boring for some but it’s just pretty cool to see something, learn what you can, get it sorted out to where it’s running good and know that you accomplished it without having someone do it all for ya!  Thanks to all you guys on the forum that have helped.  Now to figure out the rest… and the rats nest of wires that are on the bike

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Comments on My Journey So Far With A Classic Harley Davidson

March 28, 2010

Mr. Big @ 10:19 pm

Good job KH. Keepem’ coming!

HAWKEYE @ 11:42 pm

Glad to hear things are going so well with your getting it back on the road….and do work on those brakes..soon.

March 29, 2010

Buzz_Kanter @ 7:22 am

I am sure your dad would be so proud of you and what you have done. Well done!

March 30, 2010

dualcarb @ 6:15 pm

Cool deal. There are lots of people here who know a lot more about these than I do who can share the skinny on the old Ks with ya.

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