November 7, 2011

DIY Harley Panhead Engine Breather Bypass

Engine breather bypass made from copper plumbing fittings

Engine breather bypass made from copper plumbing fittings

I recently decided to upgrade my 1964 Harley-Davidson Duo-Glide Panhead primary from a chain drive to a belt drive.  This upgrade provides two major advantages over the stock chain drive, less vibration at higher speeds and less maintenance.  My main motivation was less vibration to make highway riding a bit more enjoyable.  The less maintenance is also a big plus because adjusting the chain drive is a long process.  If you haven’t adjusted a chain drive on a classic bike, it’s hard to imagine it is a big deal, but on these older bikes there is not a primary chain adjuster like on late model bikes.  Instead, you have to adjust the position of the transmission to adjust the primary chain.  After you finish adjusting your primary chain, then you have to readjust your clutch and rear chain.

On a stock bike, the primary chain is lubricated by engine oil that is sprayed into the primary by an engine breather.  To keep excess oil from building up in the primary, there is a drain at the bottom of the primary which allows the oil to drain out and down a tube onto the rear chain, thus lubricating it as well.  This is one of the reasons old bikes seem to be constantly leaking oil, but it’s actually not a leak it’s a self oiling chain system.

Since you cannot just block off the engine breather, I decided to reroute it around the new belt drive, using a variety of copper plumbing fittings that I picked up at the local hardware store.  If you know how to solder copper pipe, this is a very easy way to make a breather bypass.  If you’ve never soldered copper pipe, then I would suggest checking out some of the “Do It Yourself” type websites before starting this project.

To get started, you’ll want to pick up the following:

1′ length of 1/2″ ID copper pipe

two 1/2″ ID copper 90 degree elbows

two 1/2″ to 1/4″ ID copper reducers

6″length of 1/4″ ID copper pipe

2′ length of 1/4″ OD copper tubing

6″ length 1/2″ ID rubber hose

two hose clamps

Plus standard tools and materials for soldering copper pipe.

Now comes the fun part, getting all of this to fit inside your primary cover.  It took a lot of More on DIY Harley Panhead Engine Breather Bypass

Filed under Classic Motorcycle Maintenance, Engine & Transmission, Panhead Jim's Blog, Tech by PanheadJim

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January 23, 2011

Building Your Classic Motorcycle Library

The start of a classic motorcycle reference library

If your like me and just getting into the hobby, then you’ve probably started searching the internet for information on the motorcycle you just purchased or the motorcycle you hope to purchase.  In fact, that’s probably what brought you to this site.  Well, once you’ve got that classic motorcycle sitting in your garage, you’ll soon find that the internet may not have the answers to all your questions.  At that point, it is time to start putting together your classic motorcycle reference library.

When I picked up my 1964 Duo-Glide, I was lucky in that it came with an original Harley-Davidson Service Manual, covering models from 1959 to 1969. Although the pages are dirty and starting to fall out, this book is perhaps the most important part of my library.  Just like any shop manual it covers almost everything you need to service and maintain or even overhaul your motorcycle.  The advantage of having the original Service Manual is that More on Building Your Classic Motorcycle Library

Filed under Classic Motorcycle Maintenance, Panhead Jim's Blog, Resources, Restoration by PanheadJim

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December 17, 2010

Winter Arrived Too Soon Again

There is no denying it, winter has come to North Carolina and much of the United States.  In the last two weeks, we’ve had snow, ice and temperatures in the teens.  I have to admit that as much as I like to ride, this kind of weather lowers my motivation to hit the road more with each degree the temperature falls below freezing.  To keep the cabin fever at a minimum, I spend this time of year scouring the internet for anything motorcycle related and preparing the bikes for next riding season. 

Snow covered Harley Davidson

It's not quite this cold in NC, but feels like it...

Since Christmas is right around the corner, I’ve been focusing on searching for the best new products to put on my Christmas list.  The challenge is finding new innovative products targeted to classic motorcycle riding. 

Camping and travel items are my chief interest, as last year’s rally season proved that my equipment is sorely lacking.  I’ve been using the same sleeping bag for 25+ years and although I’ve carefully mended all the holes and burns, I think the time has come to upgrade.  It’s also been a few years since I haven’t had to borrow a tent, so that’s made it onto the list.  To top it all off, or rather hold it all on, a good packing system will be needed too. 

Although there are not a lot of companies specializing in motorcycle camping equipment and even fewer with the classic motorcyclist in mind, I’ve had success with expanding my search to other outdoor pursuits.  The increase in popularity of backpacking and hiking has brought a lot of new items to market that can easily crossover to motorcycling.  By and large, these products are designed to pack up small and ride light, perfect for putting in a saddlebag or strapping to a luggage rack.   

As I begin to gather the essential components of my new motorcycle camping system, I’ll be providing in depth reviews of each piece.  These reviews will be followed up with long term evaluations at the end of the riding season, describing exactly how each product held up to a year of riding on the back of my ’64 Duo-Glide.  I’ll not only be looking for products that perform well, but also for ones that don’t look too out of place strapped to the back of a Panhead.  That means you won’t see any neon orange sleeping bags or purple mattress pads strapped on my bike.  If you have any suggestions, please post a response to this article.  Maybe they’ll make their way onto my “list”.

Filed under Gear, Panhead Jim's Blog by PanheadJim

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