July 15, 2012
Motorcycle Cannonball Update: 1929 Harley JDH Testing Oils & Calibrating Corbin Speedometer
After a lot of work, I have the bike starting idling and running well now, so it’s time to fine tune and experiment with various ideas on my 1929 Harley JDH. I still have almost a month and a half before we leave from Newburgh, NY for San Francisco on the second Motorcycle Cannonball endurance ride. This year the machines must have been built in 1929 or earlier, so mine will be one of the newest machines on the cross country ride.
Last week I installed a 100 mph Corbin speedometer on the bike and took it out for a ride. The speedometer worked well – once I figured out how to a) install the ring gear properly and centered to the hub, and b) mounted the bracket so the ring gear and drive gear aligned properly.
Today I temporarily taped a portable GPS unit on my handlebars and figured it would be a good way to check the Corbin speedometer’s accuracy.
I found the Corbin was about 10 mph optimistic at speeds over about 20 mph and hard to tell below those speeds. I am hoping the solution is simply to swap out the fiber drive gear at the end of the peedometer cable.
Two weeks ago I drained all the motor oil from the oil tank and from the sump. I replaced it with Amsoil synthetic oil (thanks Amsoil). I was cautious about running synthetic oil in an antique motorcycle but Dale Walksler assured me it would be a good thing to do. I have less than 100 miles of riding in with the synthetic and so far, no issues.
Before my ride today I checked and the transmission fluid was quit low so I figured I’d try the synthetic oil Amsoil was kind enough to send me. I topped it off and rode it to our usual breakfast spot. By the time I finished breakfast there was a sizable oil puddle under the transmission (as you can see in the photo above). I guess synthetic is fine for the engine, but not the transmission.