How to Build a Sportster
This is the fender I have chosen loosely fitted in place, notice the gap between the fender and the seat, notice how the fender hits the diagonal frame brace, notice how the fender looks like it will have to be moved forward, the fender will have to be trimmed in order to make it fit correctly. Notice also how the wheel and tire will have to be in place in order to make sure everything fits nicely. So no holes or cutting will be done to the fender until I have the rear wheel built up. Oh yeah, the seat is a La Pera that came off of one of my old bikes, it is in perfect condition. The fender cost about $75.00. I do have a couple of stock fenders, but opted not to use them because of the clearance problem with the 16 X 5.1 tire.
So speaking of wheel and tires, you've seen the rim and the hub. I've had a set of stainless steel spokes laying around for a year and a half. I bought the wrong size from Buchanan's way back when, and, just yesterday, Kenny Buchanan agreed to exchange them for a set that will fit my spool hub and Akront rim. Way to go Buchanan's. So next up will be powdercoating the hub and lacing up the wheel.
Project to date, Sunday, December 4, 2005. In preparation for the spoke set that should arrive in a week or so it is necessary to get the rear wheel hub ready for lacing, which means finish stripping the paint off it, sandblast it and final cleanup prior to powdercoating. As long as I have to drag out the powdercoat stuff, I may as well do a batch of whatever is laying around. So that means hub, rear brake drum, axle, axle spacer, and chain guard. I stripped and sandblasted all that stuff, turns out the chain guard did have a couple small cracks that weren't visible under the layers of old crud. The cracks were easily welded. A little about powdercoating. I bough the $100.00 Eastwood starter setup and it has really performed well. I've used it quite a bit and have learned a few things. Parts have to absolutely clean, even cleaner that they would need to be for painting. With paint the primer may seal old paint and some dirt beneath the finish coats. With powdercoating, the baking temperature will melt old paint and grease out of pores deep within the metal and cause eruptions on the surface of the finished powdercoat. I wash everything in a parts washer to get the loose greasy crud off, then wire wheel it to get the loose rust and paint off, then sandblast and sandblast again, then hot water and soap wash, then metal prep and then a final wipe-down with acetone just prior to the first bake. Yep, the first bake. Just in case the part isn't clean enough, I bake it for a while to melt any remaining oil, grease and paint out. I inspect the part while it is hot, if it looks clean, I shoot the powder while it is hot. The powder sticks better to a hot part and begins to melt and flow out before the part is tossed back in the oven. If I can see any grease or paint oozing out of seams or pores on the hot part, it goes back through the cleaning cycle again. A pain in the ass, yes. Worth it, most definitely. You get a glossy surface almost impervious to gas and other chemicals and exceedingly resistant to abrasion. I've powdercoated foot pegs that barely showed any wear after 6 months, try that with paint. A word about masking, as you can see from the picture, fiberglass tape and aluminum foil replace masking tape and paper. You may also notice that the flange on the hub is masked in the area where it mates with the brake drum. The brake drum is also masked in the same area. On surfaces where high torque is transmitted, there must be metal to metal contact. As tough as powdercoat is, it will eventually wear away when subject to constant torque loads. As the powdercoating erodes, the bolts holding the drum to the hub would loosen and eventually back off. This same principal applies to crankcase halves, cylinder heads, etc. Parts that transmit torque loads from one to another must be in metal to metal contact. I've got a story about an airplane engine crankcase that was destroyed because of silicone sealer, but I'll cover that when I get to the engine.
Here is everything after the powdercoating.
Since a lot of this bike project is about rounding up stuff I have laying around, I spend a lot of time digging through crates of my junk looking for bits and pieces I know I'll eventually need. Sometime I just amaze myself by how I managed not to fuck something up. Like the front brake wheel cylinder. I knew I had a least two laying around, one I knew was polished and looked great, at least it did three years ago. Would it still be any good? DOT 3 brake fluid absorbs water and will corrode the shit out of aluminum if left long enough. Guess what. I had the foresight to pop the puck out of the wheel cylinder and clean the DOT 3 out before I tossed it into that crate, it was still in perfect shape. I still had the o-ring and dust seal in a sealed baggie. Another fucking miracle, just like finding an ignition lock... with a key it.
That is about it for now, waiting for spokes to show up. And I have a paying job in the garage, rewiring a Honda 125. That pretty much proves I'll do anything for a buck.
I'm using Dreamweaver to build these pages, and Dreamweaver tells me that it is going to take 275 seconds to down this page at 56K, and frankly, I wouldn't wait that long. I'd be out of here. So in an effort to keep the download times a little shorter, here ends Chapter One. The next chapters will be quicker downloading, I promise...