Chopper Project Web Log

August 26th, 2007

Ok so I need to connect the oil lines to the oil tank. I have two options to get this done.

  1. Rip off the current lines leaving just the final connector and run a hose from each of the oil tank drains to each of the connectors. Problem Once the line's removed, that's it and I have to go with another line no matter how bad it works/leaks/etc.
  2. Find a connector with a hose exit that I can run up to the drains on the oil tank. Problem I have to find not only the connector but it needs to have a small diameter opening so I can connect the short bit of hose to it.

So for now I'll see if I can find such a connector. Basically it's just a threaded bit that'll fit into the end of the current lines and have a small opening at the other end with a male end that I can clamp a hose to much like the ones on the oil tank.

August 20th, 2007

Suggestion for paint: DupliColor Bedliner Spray from Johnny Monsoon on STN.

August 19th, 2007

A little chasing down of cables and hoses today along with a tentative mounting of the coils, just to see if it's a reasonable place to mount them. I also mounted the carbs, again to eyeball the overall look. They're camera phone pics so the quality isn't the best :)

August 12th, 2007

Today I broke out the saw and got the front and rear wheel mounted and the engine and even the oil tank. You might notice that the front rotor is gone. I removed it because it was rubbing against the rear bolt on the rocker. If I put one on, it'll have to have a smaller diameter. For now though, I'll just leave it off. It even makes the front end a bit lighter :) .

Since I also cut up the pipe and got the rear wheel solidly mounted. Before that though I had to cut off the bolts used to hold the rear fender. Then I tightened them all down so the rear fender was solidly mounted. next I got the rear wheel mounted. A couple of extra cuts for the inside so the wheel would roll freely and it's a rolling chassis!

Now that I have a rolling chassis, the next step is to mount the engine. I was able to heft it into place by tying a tie down strap to the rear of the engine as a holder and get it in place. With Rita's help, I got the engine mounting bolts in. The front ones were a little short so I used a tie down to bring it into alignment and all three bolts were mounted.

Finally I drilled a couple of holes for the oil tank and mounted it. Heck, the bike's looking like a bike now. How cool is that?

A Few of the steps left:

  1. Front fender
  2. Lights (head, tail, turn signals)
  3. Handlebar Controls
  4. Rear sissy bar
  5. Mount coils
  6. Fix shifter and brake
  7. The rear fender doesn't look right. I have to trim the bottom so it doesn't drag and cut a bit from the left side for the chain.
  8. Pipes!
  9. Carbs

July 30th, 2007 ($5.97)

I stopped by Lowes on the way home and picked up a short piece of galvanized pipe. I'm going to cut it up and use it as a spacer for the front and rear tires.

July 2nd, 2007 ($37)

While I was getting my rear tire replaced up at Epic Motorsports in Longmont, I was talking to the owner (Kevin) and we discussed this project. He broke out the catalog and we did some measurements. I've been going back and forth on the handlebar width. I started off wanting beach bars (really wide ones) to a narrower, width of the bike sized bar. We finally came on a 27" wide bar with a couple of slight bends. I picked it up today and put it on the chopper. I tightened down a bunch of bolts and aligned the bar to be good (for now anyway) and got a couple of pics.

Not bad and it's looking better. Not too much longer it looks like.

June 16th, 2007

I got the parts back in today. Chris got the parts but didn't know who to contact about what to do. I guess the paper I put in the box got lost :) Since it's a bit heavy, it took a few extra days to arrive as well. But today they came. I put the parts on the bike so they wouldn't get lost. It mostly fits which is ok by me. It's not supposed to be a $100,000 custom bike.

Now I have to measure the space that's left and will shoot the measurements off to Chris again so he can whip up a front and rear spacer so the tire's in the center.

April 6th 2007, ($225)

I looked over the bike and find I'm missing a few parts all of a sudden. No idea where they went and I went through the garage. They might be in a box or just gone although it's a puzzle. I contacted Chopper Chris at Chopper Enterprises, where I got the springer front end and asked if he could provide a price for replacing the top plate, adjusting the rockers (the axle is 22mm but the hole is 5/8"), and provide a few extra bolts. He said no problem and estimated the cost to be around $200). I sent in the parts, he finished it and shot me back the final cost via paypal.

March 13th, 2007

I actually broke down and started mounting parts to the frame. I still need to trim the tabs below the seat for the oil tank. I'll catch that soon. One of the guys on line has a metal working business. Maybe I can get some quick work done so I can get the front end mounted.

November 8th, 2006

Okay okay, it's been a while.

I'm at a point where I'm unsure as to my next step. Basically I need to mount the front wheel on the new forks. The current axle isn't wide enough for the rockers. However if I put in a couple of spacers, I could make it work. I'd have to cut into the rockers at the bottom to make it work. Or I could have an axle made/modify the current axle somehow to fit. For example, have a

July 13th, 2005 ($50)

I dropped the frame and tabs I'd made with a local weldor (Rick of Heat Affected Zone in Broomfield; 303-438-8746). He seems on the ball and is an old biker so he had some ideas of his own :) The forward control mounts look great! Very sturdy. The oilbag mounts, both top and back and positioned just right as are the four fender mounts. The brake tab is welded in nice and tight as well. Great job all the way around.

One of my main concerns was the poor welding on the downtubes. They were cut and rewelded by the frame builder. The book I read and the last weldor I worked with said that connections like that need to have a tube inside the tubes for additional strength. Rick drilled a small hole in both down tubes and found that there was virtually no penetration (the guy who built the frame ground down the weld so with no penetration, the bike frame would have separated). I was already going to put a 3" or 4" plate that spanned the two welds. He suggested a nice arch or pointed gusset that went from the top to about 2" below the faulty welds. He also rewelded them for me. I'll break out my grinder and get them flat again.

He also noticed the races weren't installed as far as they should be. I pointed out that they were installed as far as they'd go in (about a quarter inch) and that I'd installed the front end so it fit. He couldn't see a way to bore it farther down so I'm stuck either way. He also noticed that with the installation of the races, the heads flared out just a little showing the inside bore wasn't quite at the settings for the stock Honda races. Again, not much I can do about it. Still, it's all a learning experience. I'd never looked at a head as more than a "black box". After tearing about the old bike and dealing with this, it'll never be a mystery again.

From talking to him, he's more than willing to help and he charged a great rate. $50 for the welds and included replacement tabs when the two back oilbag tabs weren't in a good position. He's also offered the use of his shop if I need to do any more metalwork.

June 15th, 2005

In an effort to speed things up, I've decided to bypass the attempt to learn welding on my own and rely on someone in the area. As such, I've measured and cut the pieces I need to get welded to the frame. Now I just need to locate a local welder. There are several in the phone book. we'll see what I can find.

There is a long thin piece, which is the cross member support for the oil tank. Coming down from that are two 2" pieces which the oil tank will bolt to. Coming down from the upper rear brace are two 2" pieces for the fender and two 1.5" pieces which will be welded to the fender tabs and used as the cross brace for the rear of the oil tank. At the bottom rear brace are two 1.5" pieces. The four pieces will be used to bolt the fender to the frame. The single large piece will be welded to the far right side of the bottom brace and be used to hold the brake brace. Lastly, the two larger pieces are welded to the front and the forward controls (one of which is in the picture) will be bolted to those.

March 6th, 2005

And here's my first attempt at using the welder after getting the right hoses and regulator. Lots of fun. I posted some info up on the Harley forums and found out that I need to increase the heat, reduce the wire feed and probably attend a class :) Anyway, here is the picture.

January 4th, 2005 ($6.62)

Ordered 10' of Ester Based Polyurethane Tubing. 1/16" ID x 1/18" OD x 1/32"

December 27th, 2004 ($8.05)

Ordered 10' of Ester Based Polyurethane Tubing. 1/8" ID x 3/16" OD x 1/32"

December 16th, 2004 ($97.23)

Ordered the proper regulator from Sears.

November 17th, 2004

While working on a wood project, I was cleaning up and decided to see how the bearing press works. I removed the forks that I had put in place temporarily, leaned the head down so it could be hammered against something firm and pressed the race into the stem. It worked just fine and went in with minimal fuss.

I've also been looking at seats and am thinking that the setup I have isn't going to work. Currently I have a hole in the top of the frame mount that screws in to the seat. Unfortunately that's not going to work since it needs to be on a pivot. I think I'll have to cut that off, grind it down, use the cut off on the seat and weld a couple of tabs in place of the mount. Then I can run a bolt through the cut off and the tabs and gain a pivot.

November 15th, 2004

While reading a current bike magazine, I came upon an article that shows, with the nuts and washers, how to press a bearing race in to a head. They also advise not pressing it in all the way so the painter can easily block off the head to paint. I'll have to measure and see what I can locate.

November 3rd, 2004 ($200)

I went out and picked up 20 pounds of the proper mixture of Argon for my Craftsman welder. I also picked up a regulator. Unfortunately I have a different fitting on the welder and need to locate it. The guy at the shop noted that I might need it but didn't stock it and didn't know off-hand where to locate one. Time to check the manual.

October 27th, 2004 ($29.50)

I stopped by Tool Zone and picked up a bearing seat. It's a series of different sized rings that are used to press a bearing in to the wheel. I should be able to use it for the head but I still like the idea of a couple of bolts and tightening it together.

October 21st, 2004

After posting a query about races and bearings to the HondaChopper site, I received a reply from Ed Needham who had the part numbers for the bearings I need to buy to fit the races I have. The head is metric and can use the races I bought from LowRiderTommy but the stem is standard and is 1" in diameter so I need a different set of bearings (they have to fit snugly). Ed says I need Bower BCA part number 07100. Had I had a 7/8" stem, I would have needed part number 07196. He also said it was a "common wheel bearing A-19". I'll have to check on that. Thanks Ed!

October 20th, 2004

After sending back the front forks (just the front pair) and receiving the new ones (2" longer), I posted a question about bearings and the difference between the Honda head and the 1" stem. There's a small difference in the stem size so it's not a tight fit. Rather than trying to weld it myself and with my lack of luck in finding someone in the area, I figured I could just get a standard sized bearing, especially since they're tapered and it'd be ok. It seems that the folks who know better think that's not going to work and I'll need to replace the stem or the head. Neither look like good options, although if I had to, I'd have to do the stem. Hmm, since it's solid, maybe running it through a lathe would fix it, or running a bead of steel around it and lathing it down (trying to get a properly centered stem).

Anyway, here are pics of the forks. Just to show that they do fit the head.

September 14th, 2004 ($400)

I've been putzing around trying to figure out what to do about the rest of the fabrication I need to do. I can't find anyone in the area who'll do it and I'm really itching to get something going before too long. After poking around and checking with the Honda Chopper list, I thought I'd hit the pawn shops and see what was available.

At the first pawn shop, we found a pretty nice looking Air Compressor. It's a Sears Craftsman 5HP, 25 Gallon and goes up to 125 psi. The price was about $135. They had a selection of air tools including two cut off tools. I had used a Mac while at Kevin's so was leaning towards it. They had an Ingersol Rand one but it didn't immediately work where the Mac worked right away so I picked it up. It was marked at $47 but they dropped 7 bucks from the total. I had him plug it in and let it run up to 125 as well as sit there for 15 or 20 minutes to see if there were any leaks.

They also checked their other shops in the area for MIG welders. At the one we were going to visit next, they had a nice new one that the manager said he was going to put up on e-bay. It was going for $2000 though. I'm not a professional and just wanted to finish what I was doing (and learn new things) so I declined that one. He had another at a shop much farther away for $350 which was in my price range so we paid and loaded the new gear, got the address and headed off to the next shop.

At the next shop we found a nice looking Sears Craftsman Mig Wire Feed Welder for $175. The nice part is they were having a 20% off sale so it costs just $140. Since I don't know how to check to see if it works, I spent $14 on a 6 month warranty and we bailed.

Later we went to Home Depot and picked up a welders helmet, gloves and "The Welders Handbook" by Robert Finch. It seems to be a helpful book to assure me that I'm not going to blow the house up and to give me a basic understanding of what I'm doing so I can practice. Since I'm just welding a few minor pieces to the bike frame, this should be a nice little introduction to welding.

I went back later to Home Depot because I didn't have an Arbor. This holds the cutting wheel and is inserted in to the cut off tool. I also needed a bit of clear tubing for a brake job. They referred me to a local Tool Zone which had exactly what I wanted and even a couple of cut off wheels.

A hunt through the Sears Parts Website and I was able to order manuals ($20) for the two machines. In a week or so, I'll be able to locate the correct co2/argon canister and start practicing some welding.

August 8th, 2004 ($90+$50)

We've moved! In April we sold the house and moved to Denver Colorado. Rita's from here and has been bugging me for some time to go back.

I went by Kevin's and picked up the frame. The damage, about $90 for all the work he'd done and for the use of his shop.

After getting here, I bought a rear fender off of e-bay. I don't recall the exact price with shipping, etc, but I paid about 35 bucks plus an addition 10 or 15 for shipping. After putting it on the frame, I see that the diameter is a little wide, however if I bob it, it'll look just about right so I made a good choice.

I also checked the front forks and discovered the front part of the forks were about 2" too short. I put it on the frame today to get the exact amount I need it to be and will be shipping it back tomorrow. I already spoke to Chopper Enterprises and they'll get me a replacement as soon as this one comes back.

Now I need some welding work done and can't find any local shop who'll do just a single item. Suggestions from Honda Choppers include going to the local schools and seeing if there's someone available who'll let me help. I'm also looking at perhaps picking up a welder and just giving it a try myself.

March 22nd, 2004 ($6.86)

Since we had house work to do, I didn't get a chance to head over to Kevin's and work more on the frame over the weekend. I did go out and pick up some additional hardware I'd need to mount the seat to the frame.

March 19th, 2004

The support looks really good. Kevin said he had to do a little adjusting since I didn't have the bar totally level and he welded it to the frame rather flat instead of canted. You see, the seat will be on springs. I wanted the strings to sit flat on the bar but from the aspect of the seat. If the bar is flat, the springs will tend to slid backwards off of the bar. Since the front of the seat is a slide instead of a hole, the seat will slide back, potentially causing a problem while riding. Ah well, I put the seat in place and put the springs underneath and snapped a couple of pics. They still look really good.

Kevin says he'll be in until 2pm tomorrow (Saturday). I want to pick up a couple of rubber washers. For the front to provide some pivot leaway and on the rear to try and hold the springs in one place. I need to drill the holes into the support bar and figure out how to install screws (or something) into the bottom of the seat.

March 18th, 2004

I didn't make it over last night because of the sleet/snow. Kevin mans a snowplow/salt truck so I called prior to coming over and there was no answer. It turns out he was painting and didn't hear the phone.

I used my first piece of steel to create the support bar for the back of the seat. With the seat mounted, the forward controls in place, and the front end installed, I should then be able to select the appropriate handlebar.

I got the steel to what I though was a good setup. Kevin was busy and didn't get back out to the shop before I bailed so I asked Leon (who was still there) to have Kevin weld the piece to the frame. I marked the spot, passed along my thoughts on having the support canted just a little (but didn't fully explain as you'll see) and bailed.

March 17th, 2004 ($44)

I stopped by Lowe's to pick up some steel bits for the rest of my frame. I picked up several pieces, both for my frame, and to supply to the shop. I figure I should augment the stash if I'm going to be using electricity and such to work on my frame. I suspect I'll be paying Kevin a couple of bucks, but probably not as much as if he'd done it all himself.

March 16th, 2004

I received an e-mail from Leon. He's the guy who recommended Kevin (the welder) to me. It seems that Kevin really doesn't have time to create the tabs I need on the frame and that if I didn't want to ship the parts to Denver some time in the future, I should come on down and do some of it myself. I guess that if I know someone (like Leon) and he can at least point me in the right direction, I can give it a try.

So I went down and, with Leon's help, I created the pivot point for the front of the seat. It's a simple 'U' shaped piece of steel with a hole in the middle and welded to the frame. It was pretty cool to actually start working on the mods and it looked very good, if you ask me :-)

February 29th, 2004

Just a quick note so I don't forget. Consider adding a small fan to the rec/reg to keep it cool. Noted on the HSTA list.

February 19th, 2004

The risers arrived today. They look pretty interesting. With the frame at the shop it's hard to see how they'll work on the front end. I put them on the front end but didn't bolt down the springs.

February 14th, 2004

I took the frame along with the oil tank, gas tank, rear wheel, forward controls, coils, seat, seat springs and races down to Kevin who was recommended last year (see farther back) to review the frame.

I let him know what I was thinking with each of the items. Where I was going after this stage was completed.

He recommended using stainless steel for the seat spring support and for the battery box. He also asked about the down tubes. They looked like they were cut and attached. Unfortunately the only way to tell is to cut it apart and check. Kevin suggested that if I didn't want to actually cut it, and since I had to have the coils mounted, I might consider a mount plate that would connect the two down tubes together and also serve as a mount plate for the coils.

February 8th, 2004

So, let's update the list and see what the status is on the parts list.

Those two exhaust ports are a bear. Once they're out I can mount the engine and see how the exhause pipes will come out. That will certainly determine what pipes I can use.

February 7th, 2004 ($170)

I've been trying to get the last two pipe mounts off of the engine. It's been interesting to say the least. One of them has rounded screws and the other still has the collar. The bolt on that is rounded. I've been using a dremel to try and remove the collar. I have enough off to try and reach the screws but they're refusing to be turned. I'm afraid to round them off. I'm going to use jbweld on the other two and see if that'll give me enough purchase to get them out. Otherwise I may have to try and just drill them out and use a heli-coil as a replacement.

I also spoke to Kevin again. He's the guy that's going to clean up the frame and weld some tabs to the various places so I can mount the oil tank, gas tank, rear break mount and forward controls. I'll be getting with him on Saturday. Oh, and I'll need to consider a handlebar lock so it doesn't bang into the frame.

Finally I've been searching for handlebar risers. I've been trying to figure out if I want to get new handlebars or use the stock ones. Unfortunately they're pretty rusty so I don't know if they'll clean up. I bought a pair of risers that'll take 1" handlebars. The stock ones are 7/8" but I can use shims so I can use the 1" if it works out. Otherwise I'll just chase down some 1" handlebars and we'll move forward from there.

I got 5 1/2" high risers from SideRoadCycles. We'll see how they work. If nothing else, they also sell handlebars ;-)

January 31st, 2004

I also need to figure out what to do with the axle. The length is exactly the width of the gap between the two rockers. That means I need to find a longer axle and spacers to keep everything in the proper place. The rear axle is wide, however I believe I can use an axle mounted license plate/brake light holder which will fix that problem.

I may also need to get a 'dogbone' and some fork mounted turn signals.

January 30th, 2004

I need to chase down some replacement tires for the rims. The ones on there have lots of tread but they've been sitting outside for two years. I should replace them anyway. I just got the measurements and will hunt around for some nice tubeless tires. Let's see what they'll cost.

January 18th, 2004

I had to use three clamps to pinch the top of the tree enough to be able to remove the nuts from the top of the springs. I got it and the springs off, set them aside and rough mounted the front end on the frame. I put the top back on and the nut to hold it. Then I balanced the tire on the end of the daggers.

Damn, it looks pretty good. I'm real happy with my choices so far.

Now I have to get the engine finished up. I have to remove the other two exhaust pipes. I'll be putting the engine into the frame to make sure everything fits. I also have to get risers for the handlebars. I have to figure out how to mount the front lights (head and turn signal) to the new forks. Fortunately there's an article on hondachopper on how to mount the old brakes to a springer fork so that'll be fun. A rear fender and sissy bar.

January 17th, 2004

After several e-mails to Chris at Chopper Enterprises, my forks finally arrived. I'm excited and totally ready to move into the next phase of building. The first problem, getting the races into the head. The bottom one seems to fit ok except that it's about an eighth of an inch too deep. I suspect it was cut with a mind towards stock races. I'll have to check them out and may have to use them instead of the replacements. The stock ones are ok but I'll need to replace the ball bearings.

I'll also have to see if the front wheel fits and will probably need to chase down a new front axle. Handlebar risers are in order as well.

This weekend I'll see if I can get the engine mounted, just to make sure it all fits and get an idea for the exhaust pipes. I saw some interesting ones at the Custom Bike Show in Chantilly a couple of weeks ago.

One of the things I'm going to have to do is figure out how to break this down. I have to remove the top of the trees in order to mount it to the bike. The acorn nuts on the tops of the springs are just to keep them from backing off. There is a nut inside the spring welded to the washer. I'm going to have to compress the springs to get to the nut.

January 6th, 2004

The tank arrived. It looks pretty good even if it took a pair of channel lock pliers to get the gas cap off. I can't really tell but it looks like some sort of glue on the tank. Look at the first picture in the list. I sent a note off to the guys doing the front end. They're claiming holiday mail slow downs. I should see it in a few days. I'm excited :-)

I began cable tying stuff into position. The oil tank (which I got a few weeks ago), the seat and springs, the forward controls I got last year, the coils and now the tank. Note that the whole thing's clamped to the work bench.

December 29th, 2003

Two things.

First, we had to send an e-mail threatening legal action to the tank guy. He received the money on the 9th and still hasn't sent the tank. Rita had suggested that rather than use UPS or USPS he should use Fed Ex. She uses it and save several dollars and since she was paying for shipping, she should be able to suggest alternate methods. Apparently it's not like that where he is since Fed Ex is a buck or so more expensive than UPS. Anyway, we paid the Fed Ex amount but he never told us whether he had a problem or what. It wasn't until Rita sent an e-mail to him last week that he said he was shipping it on the 26th. She sent another one Saturday asking if he had sent it and what the tracking number was and received this response:

"Duran, Christopher" <Christopher.Duran [at]> wrote:

Yes, you were a little off on your shipping estimate, it would
have cost $15.90 to ship FedEx gound. I shipped it UPS ground which was
$14.82, AND I WENT TO THE PLACE YOU RECOMMENDED! The tracking number is
1ZX357X70319708074. Now let us see how honorable you are, and see if you
give me the additional money for shippng, since it was you that gave me
the incorrect amount, and no, I won't seek legal action against you.

Upon I sent the following reply:

Look dude, had you come back immediately with a problem it could have been
resolved with no hard feelings. As it is you had to get my wife pissed
because a tank she had paid for in more than sufficient time was delayed.

It's our experience that Fed-Ex is cheaper than UPS. Apparently it's
different out where you are. We don't know that, we have to rely on you to
tell us there's a problem.

Next time don't be such a dick-weed. Tell your buyer immediately that
there's a problem with the amount.

Thanks for the tank and good luck in the future.


No replies so far.

Second, on a more positive note. I sent a note off to Chopper Enterprises to check the status of my forks. He said they were done on Wednesday and should be going out either today or tomorrow.


December 15th, 2003

For today's class, we learn what each of the electrical components are and what they do.

Rectifier: Lets current travel in one direction and converts alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC)

Regulator: Bleeds off excess current created by the alternator (hence the large heat sink).

Alternator: Man, here's how.

Solenoid: How it works and how it works

December 12th, 2003

The rectifier/regulator and races arrived today. I think it'll fit on the battery box, maybe on the chain side. Time to modify the list.

December 9th, 2003 ($100)

I found the right shaped gas tank (link good for 90 days) on e-bay and we watched it. Rita was at home so she bid it up to $100 and it was ours.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do regarding paint. I'm of two minds on the paint job. In one case, black is easy to maintain and probably won't cost an arm and a leg to do. On the other hand, I really wanted to have the main metal be green; green tank, green fenders, green frame. On the gripping hand, perhaps leaving it blue and getting the fenders painted the same blue and the frame black (the fork legs are black by the way) might work out. We'll see.

December 7th, 2003

Now's the time to make up a list of what I have, what I need, and what's left to do (which may require more stuff).

Some of the items listed below may seem like a duplicate, but while I have something above, it may not actually work for the bike I'm building. We'll see.

The todo list isn't very long.

  1. Remove old pipe stubs from bike (had to saw the old ones off)
  2. Put basic pieces on bike
  3. Note location of new mount points.
  4. Back to bare frame
  5. Get frame cleaned and painted
  6. Assemble bike for real
  7. Get licensed.
  8. Go for a ride :-)

I'll keep adding or moving as we move on through the months. I'll note it above and modify it here.

December 5th, 2003 ($130)

I ordered a new rectifier/regulator and new races for the steering. They should be in next week.

December 2nd, 2003 ($585) ($96)

I've ordered the springer forks from Chopper Enterprises. I'm waiting on word whether he has the materials in stock or will have to build it which will delay it by a couple or three weeks.

And, tonight on E-Bay I found an interesting oil tank in the last couple of minutes before bidding ended. How cool is that? We put a bid on it and picked it up for $96 bucks not including shipping etc. We also put a gas tank on watch. There's a few days left but I may have the tank I was looking for by Saturday. Man. We're just moving right along.

December 1st, 2003

I contacted the welder who looked at my frame a few months ago and we're getting together on Saturday to look over the things I want to fabricate for the chopper. A coil box, a seat mount plate (for lack of a better word; something for the seat to sit on to make it sort of level) and an electrical box.

November 29th, 2003

I posted a question about springer front ends to the HondaChopper web site a week or so ago and I received an e-mail suggesting I hit Chopper Enterprises located up the New England area.

I received a reply from the HondaChopper board about my races. It seems there is a measurement mixup. We'll see how this goes.

November 28th, 2003

I picked up a caliper and measured the races so I can see if they'll fit in the Tallon head and to see what the center hole is so I know what sized stem I need to look for. Here are the measurements.

Inside bottom of head: 1.890"
Bottom Outside Race: 1.9689"
Bottom Inside Race: 1.2636"

Inside top of head: 1.8959"
Top Outside Race: 1.910"
Top Inside Race: 1.111"

Head length: 7 5/16"
Outside diameter: 2"
Inside diameter: 1 3/4"

November 27th, 2003

A few days ago I picked up some 1 1/2" PVC pipe. I cut them in half and set the bike frame (with the rear wheel) down. I put a tool case under the frame and the front tire in the right location. I trimmed the PVC down so I could come up with a reasonable measurement for a front end. At the same time, I put the old handlebars and my new seat on the frame and took a couple of pictures. Check these out.

November 26th, 2003

I snagged the back wheel and popped out the axle. It's a bit tough but it comes. I removed the drum cover and then the axle. I had to clamp down the frame and use a sawhorse on the back to hold the wheel in place. I slid the wheel in place and then slid the axle back into the frame. It seems to fit like a charm.

The PVC pipes are going to be used to get an accurate measurement of the length of the front end. I'll put the frame with the rear wheel on it on the ground, get a rough measurement of the length, cut the PVC to the right length and mount the front tire. With that, I should be able to get the correct length.

November 25th, 2003

Someone wants the old Honda head for their unregistered chopper. I have no problem with this but I have to break down the rest of the front end. The forks and trees are still attached. So it's time to break out the rubber mallet and the Honda service manual and figure out just how to get them out.

Ok, I've removed the screws from the clamps each of the forks should slide out.

It's not quite that easy. The right one is a little easier but I had to use the mallet and screwdriver to hammer it out of the clamps. It actually came out pretty easily and the cover (with the headlight holder and reflectors) came right off. The left one was a bit more rusted. I had Rita hold it straight so I wasn't fighting too much of the rust. Unfortunately it popped out at the end and hit Rita on the knee.

The top of the tree slid right off which was cool and there's a screw cap holding the stem and the bottom tree. A couple of taps with the mallet and screwdriver and it unscrews just fine.

There are 18 bearings in the top and bottom of the head. The manual says 14 though. The bearing grease is red and there's a couple of metal particles in the bottom one.

It looks like the cups (they're actually called "races") should be able to come out. A pry attempt fails but I figured that I can take the mallet and screwdriver and drive them out. Not the right way but it does the job.

Finally I put the trees into the new frame head, just for the heck of it. They seem to fit. The cups don't appear to fit but I've asked a couple of questions on the Hondachopper site.

November 22nd, 2003

Today we disassemble. I snagged the neighbor kid (Philip; "a juvenile delinquent in the off season") and we went to work tearing down the Honda. I was still a bit concerned about the pipes so I figured I'd just tear down what could be torn down and let the engine take care of itself.

It was lots of fun. We started at around noon and finished at 3:30. I started at the front and removed the headlight, turn signals, and the wiring harness. I also removed the handlebars and the tach and speedometer. Philip removed the luggage rack, backrest, tail lights and rear turn signals. Once he finished that, I had him remove the tool case and battery box. To do that he had to remove the electronic bits that are mounted on the side of it. I drained the oil and removed the oil box in order to get to the last couple of wires and removed the wiring harness. Once we got all the extra parts removed and the engine ready to remove we took a break and grabbed some pizza.

Once done with lunch, we removed the top pins and the two plates blocking removing the engine (remove from the right side). We grabbed Doug for some extra muscle and tried to remove the engine but with no luck. After a few minutes of shifting it around I decided that I really didn't need a whole frame and we cut it off, as far back and down as possible since someone might want the old head (a VIN and title are worth a couple of bucks). Philip had enticed a local girl to visit while he was working so we drafted her to hold the front wheel while Philip cut the last piece of the frame and Doug and I held the motor up. A last cut and it was free. Philip grabbed the front end and layed it aside. Doug and I lifted the engine and put it on the garage floor. Doug bailed (he was watching some game I think). After a few more minutes, Philip and I moved the engine on top of the motorcycle lift and then we removed the wheels.

I still have to remove the front end from the head so I can try it on the new frame.

November 21st, 2003 ($62)

Rita bought a sprung seat for me from e-bay.

It's 16" long and 13" wide. Perfect for my fat butt :-) I'll need to whip up a battery cover/seat mount when I'm at that point.

June 19th, 2003

I received the required paperwork so I can register the chopper when I get ready.

June 9th, 2003

Lots more threads out there including some replies from Casey Tallon. I've posted some additional e-mail and moved the entire e-mail conversation to this thread so the main pages aren't cluttered up with e-mail.

June 3rd, 2003

After reading several sites references from the HondaChopper board, I've taken a few close up shots of the welds. Feel free to review them. I intend on taking the frame to a local shop for a review. It may take enough bucks combined to have just bought one of the more expensive frames or even just having my stock one cut.

And I still don't have my Manufacturer's Certificate of Authenticity. Time for more e-mail.

May 27th 2003

The frame has arrived! Wooo Hooo!

Here are the pics:

Now it's to work on the forks and moving the stuff over to the new frame.

May 27th 2003

There was a little bit of a problem getting the frame I'd ordered. It was supposed to show up in 6 weeks or so but it took until today to arrive. After several e-mails that weren't clear or promised a date that was unrealistic. Following are my e-mail exchanges with Mr. Casey Tallon. [Moved to here]

January 22nd, 2003

The main thing I've been doing is trying to learn about the electrical system and scratching my head over something that's broken but I don't know where.

I took some shots of the points:

I trimmed each of the spark plug wires to get clean connections. I had 14k Ohm resistance from one side to another which is correct. The cap had 8k and the plug has about 4.5k. There's 0 resistance from the yellow connector to the black and white connecter and 0 from the yellow connector to the points.

The resistance from cap to cap was about 22k but when I put the plugs in and tried to check the resistance from electrode to electrode, I got no reading. I'm thinking maybe bad caps except that I don't get spark when I touch the wire to the block. But if I (bear with me, I'm thinking again) don't have a grounded plug, I won't have a complete loop so I won't get a spark. Hmm, again I'm guessing.

So I'm still in learning mode. Aaron Ward dropped by for some gaming Monday and pointed out that I should have some resistance in the coil and that I may have a cheap multimeter. I will have to drop by Radio Shack for a better multimeter. It's not like I use it all that much.

January 1st, 2003

Happy New Year!

Anyway, I started mucking about with the electrical system today. No spark at numbers 1, 3 and 4. I didn't try number 2 since they're a bitch to get out.

I used the Clymer book to troubleshoot. No spark at the plugs, check the coils. I took them off and cleaned up the connections (I also cleaned up the fuses and fuse box and the rectifier connections with a dremel and a wire wheel).

No spark at the points but when I disassembled it, it sparked against the drive shaft so power is getting there. I don't know how to check for power farther on, but I was able to check for resistance. I have resistance from the points to the coils (there is a connection in front of the oil tank [thanks Frogman657] which is good) and I checked the resistance through the coils and they seem to be good.

So I'm posting questions on the discussion boards and checking web sites. I did find Scooter Therapy which has a brief discussion on how the ignition system works. I am have brake light problems but it's likely a bad switch. If it's the ground, then my problem may be there instead of somewhere in the system. Weird but possible.

December 31st, 2002

I was able to get the carbs back on the bike. I tried several things and eventually used one of the cinch straps used to hold the bike onto the truck. I ran it around the body of the carbs and the frame and just cinched it down. Once the bottom parts of the carbs were in the groove, I was able to leverage it up fully into the boots. I tightened up the clamps and was ready to start her up.

No dice. I checked each of the floats at the drain screw and there was gas in each float. I quickly checked the spark on number 1 and there was no spark. Time to wrap it up and try some more tomorrow.

December 28th, 2002 (44.04)

I received the two service manuals for the 750 today. Clymer and Haynes. My main stopping point are the primary jet and reassembly. It's at the point where I can certainly reassemble. They're clean and ready to go. I want to examine the primary jet and make sure it's all clean and dry before I assemble. I also want to make sure I torque it right and get all the adjustments accurate so the bike'll start and I can move on to getting the rest of the parts.

December 25th, 2002 (Christmas)

I removed the last two float bowls and cleaned them out. The last one had hardened crud in the bottom and on the jet. I had to remove the jet from its place and run a small wire through the body to get the crud out. I also had to use the screwdriver to get the crud out of the bottom of the bowl.

I used a dremel with a brush attachment to clean out the first two bowls. The rest of the varnish came right out even though it probably doesn't make that much difference. Getting them clean will certainly make them work better.

I did notice that in the bottom of the odd bowls is the number 2 on the right side and two raised metal dots on the left side. I checked the even bowls and they have the number 1 and a single raised metal dot. Curious.

I removed the bracket holding the carbs in place. It also lets me get into the body of the carburator and check the needles. The needles are all fine with no buildup, even the last one with the crud on the face of the jet. I wiped off some white residue from the slide valve and put them back.

So far I've just hand tightened the things I've unscrewed and now I want to examine the "slow jet" to see how to clean it. The insides of the carbs look pretty clean so once I've read up on the "slow jet", I'll reassemble and see if I can start it up.

I bought two of the 750 maintenance books so I can adjust the carbs when I'm done. They should be here by the weekend. I used rubber gloves this time and my hands are thanking me. After some searching, I also found these sites which help explain how a carburator works. General information on how a carb works. An online motorcycle repair course.

December 23rd, 2002

Hooray! I got the carbs off. I went out looking for PB Break and instead grabbed some Industrial Strength LBS. Other suggestions were hot water and WD-40. I used the LBS and started getting more agressive. After a bit I noticed that the bottom side was coming out but there wasn't enough room coming up for it to come out so I started pushing from the top. After a couple of tries, it popped off.

Here are some pictures of the event. I also cleaned out two of the bowls. There's not as bad as the ones on cyclemaintenance but the crud at the bottom was very thick. I used a screwdriver to break up the thickest layers and then a q-tip to clean it out. Carb cleaner swished around and drained into a can a couple of times and you can see the results.

I need to review the carb plans so I can remove the tops where the sleeve comes in. That's where the needle is. From looking at the pictures and the jet hole, it's not that bad. Perhaps just a bit of cleaning of the bowls. We'll see after reviewing the sites.

December 21st, 2002

I'm working on the engine, trying to remove the carbs so I can clean them. It's a bit tough since the rubber carb boots are very stiff. After some manhandling, I've decided to do some research on the 'net to make sure I'm doing it right. I don't want to damage them unnecessarily. After some searching, I find Cycle Maintenance and specifically a carb cleaning project ("mechicscorner"? WTF is that?). Hot shit! So I did some quick reading and removed the float bowl from carb #4 (as originally marked) and took some pics. I've been taking other pics today as I work as well and here they are:

December 20th, 2002

Ok, I'm an idiot. Chalk it up to not dealing with batteries at this level. When I got home today, I started getting the battery ready to be returned. Wondering why there was so much electrolite left, I looked into the battery. The tops of the plates were dry. When I looked at the side of the battery, it showed that it was, if anything, a little above the top line. In fact, I thought maybe there was too much electrolite. After a few seconds it came to me. They are individual cells, not one big cell. So I filled them up and checked them with the charger. It looks like it's working correctly. I put it on the bike and and it tries to start. There seems to be a little short in the ignition.

On the flip side, it doesn't actually start. After a few minutes of trying, I'm not smelling gasoline. I think that the carburators are so gummed up that they probably won't work. Hell, there could be some bug or bug nest in a bad spot. So it looks like I'll have to pull them off of the bike and see what it takes to rebuild.

Should be fun :-)

December 18th, 2002

I've let the charger charge the battery for 24 hours and no charge at all. I think it's either bad or shorted out. I wonder what happens when there's too much water in a battery? The electrolite is above the high mark

I received an e-mail from Casey Tallon regarding my frame. He got the money and says it's a 4-5 week wait on frames. I sent a followup making sure I supplied him with everything necessary to get the correct frame and he assured me that it's ok.

December 16th, 2002

I examined the carburator mainly looking at the choke. A little WD-40 and some hard attempts and opening and closing the choke, it slowly released itself. It's still a little sticky though. I drained the oil and put in a quart and a half of new 20W50. It's car oil so it's mainly for getting it going. Once it's up for a bit, I'll replace it with bike oil. I cleaned out all of the spark plug holes. There was a mud nest in number 4 and an old tree seed (propeller seed) in number 3. I pulled all four of the plugs and they were all fouled. Black and crusty. I replaced the NGK D8EA plugs that where there with NGK DPR8EA 9 plugs. The guy at Advance Auto wasn't very advanced since he didn't know the difference between the two plugs. I also replaced the battery but I'll have to get a charger since it isn't. The guy at AA said it was charged when he sold it to me.

I neglected to put up the web site for the frames. It's Casey Tallon.

I don't want to go back and edit previous entries unless there's something out and out wrong. The one change I did make is adding the price to the dates. From now on, I'll add any non-consumable costs to the date. This includes battery, plugs, oil and probably even tires. I think I'll exclude tools unless it's a specialized, "need it to pull the drive shaft" type tool. So if I have to buy a larger box wrench or a charger for the battery, I won't add it to the total price since I can use it for other situations.

December 15th, 2002

I did some poking around on the bike. Sonny had complained about having to keep reving the bike during the short time he actually rode it. When I was mucking about taking pictures and playing with the knobs, I found that the choke was stuck on. Hard stuck, not gummed up (no give). So I pulled the number 4 plug and sure enough, it's fouled big time. I suspect that the choke was stuck which caused the problems with the throttle. I'll be pulling the others once I figure out the best way to clean out the mud nests from around the plugs.

December 15th, 2002 ($425)

Someone made my day about a year ago. They made a reference to Honda Chopper. So I started reading up on building a bike about a year ago. I've ridden them off and on for about 30 years. I guess I've gotten to the point that it doesn't seem difficult. Maybe I'll learn different during the project.

I read up on how to rake a frame and that's pretty much what delayed me. I really didn't think I wanted to try and have my life depend on how well I could rake a frame. Fortunately on one of the Hondachopper message boards, someone make a link to a guy who builds frames.

So after some searching on the net and reading the magazines, I found the rake that I thought would be the best for my target bike. 43 degree rake to the head, an 8" rise (stretching the front of the frame up 8") and 4" of stretch (stretching the top of the frame 4").

This should give me a frame that looks something like this. When I add wheels, it should come out something like this. It's not perfect, but the idea is there. Enough that I ordered my frame Friday the 13th.

Last week I posted a note to the DC area motorcycle mailing list stating my intention of building a bike. At the time, I was interested in a 1975 CB750F0 bike (a super sport). The local bike junk yard (H&H) in Woodbridge had it and was asking $400 for it. Oddly enough thought, I received two e-mails. One from a guy who had a frame, wheels, and other stuff that he was willing to give me.

But I received another e-mail from Dan who had a friend in Raleigh, North Carolina who would give me a 1976 Honda if I'd just come and get it. It'd been sitting in his backyard for two years after a tragic accident injured his father. It didn't happen on this bike but it'd been sitting a while.

The guy? Sonny Rains. I made arrangements to come down in my pickup (a little Ranger). There was some concern on Sonny's part since he and Dan apparently were unable to move it the last time they tried but Sonny and I with my wife leading were able to get it pushed onto the truck.

Here is a picture of it on the truck at my brother's house.

As you can see in the following shots, it's a bit rusty but since I'm mainly interested in the engine and since it looks in pretty good shape and since it was free, no big deal and we're on our way.

So there you have it. I'll be reading more on the engine (according to Honda chopper, it's a 750K'76 with a product code of 341 based on the frame number and engine number) and preparing the workshop for the frame. Parts will be gathered in the next 6 weeks so that I'm basically ready.

But before I can actually build this bike, I have to finish working on the bathroom. You see, we had a water leak about a year ago. I tore out the walls and ceiling and have replaced the ceiling and one wall with birch panels. I still need to finish the plumbing and wiring and then build the frames around the window and door. But this is incentive. I want to be riding the chop next summer.