1937 Indian Chief Project

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by kallehof, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. nanno

    nanno Been here awhile

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    Linz, Austria
    Could you please share some more pix (if you like in a separate thread) of your '48 ?

    Nothing wrong with a beauty queen, but a real rider, that's what my heart is beating for! :shog

    Cheers,
    Greg
    #21
  2. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

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    San Francisco, CA
    I plan on getting to that after I finish this 37 thread. for now check out SFMCjohn's postings.

    Yosemite
    Death Valley

    Kalle
    San Francisco, CA
    #22
  3. Nixels

    Nixels Face fears - live life

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    Riding the US in search of writing manuals
    :lurk

    Take your time. These things aren't to be experienced as a speed-reading chore. :nah

    You've taken the time to build these bikes - please enjoy the time it takes to tell the story. :kumbaya

    :D
    #23
  4. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

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    My case is marked "M" so originally it came with a Magneto. I also got a NOS distributor block off plate (original packaging) with the project. I've always loved bikes that you could ride even after the battery is dead/ dying/ or simply falls out. So I had my heart was set on finding a mag. Plus most old Indians that I've seen on the road now seem to have a distributors. In the Indian world for those who stay true to "original" tend to be very attracted to rare original factory options. A magneto is not really that rare as factory options go for a 1937 Indian Chief but then again they aren't exactly common.

    [​IMG]

    So my search started for a Edison Splitdorf "Neato" Magneto, I was told that were hard to find but as luck would have it I came across one with in a month of Ebay hunting. The bad news was that the mag I bought needed a new coil.

    [​IMG]

    The good news (really it's all good news when your working on an old bike, it's just that sometimes the news means that your project may take longer or cost more) was that Jack Hurts in Santa Rosa is one of the few folks around that still rewinds coils and services mags. So I was off to a good start. And a few weeks later I had a freshly rebuilt Mag that shot out a strong blue spark even at low rpms. Which hopefully will make for easy starts for years to come.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So I mentioned that I was told that a Edison Splitdorf Magneto was hard to find, Turns out the following month another one came up for sale on ebay and sold for less than what I paid for mine. And it put a decent spark with out requiring a rebuild. That seems to the way these things go. Long story longer, I couldn't resist buying it, And it must have been a good price since I just paid for for one in worse condition. I'll hold on to until the one Jack rebuilt for me has proven itself worthy for another 75 years. Or I'll use it for leverage on a trade for equally hard to fine parts. Next Posting: The Frame.

    Kalle
    San Francisco, Ca
    #24
  5. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    Returning likes on redemption road.

    That's funny, I grabbed an alternator for my Bandit for $35 off ebay just because it was brand new and cheap...I'll probably never need it. :lol3
    #25
  6. ADK

    ADK ____

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    Gorgeous! love the green. :thumb
    #26
  7. RideDualSport.com

    RideDualSport.com TPB all the way

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    Thank you ADK, I was 19 years old when I did that Sport Scout in 1980. I had just moved out of my parents house and met my first girlfriend. I worked as a small engine mechanic, and was renting a room in a shared home for $75 a month....
    Cheers!
    #27
  8. David13

    David13 Been here awhile

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    I would like to see the progress. Indians are my interest also.
    dc
    #28
  9. Dorzok

    Dorzok Long timer

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    SoCal
    :lurk
    #29
  10. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
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    San Francisco, CA
    [​IMG]

    I've bought two Indian basket cases. The first was a 1948 Indian Chief and the second is this 1937 Indian Chief. In both cases the frames were not in the best condition. In both cases the frames likely came from a bike that was totaled in an accident. Additionally the 1937 Chief had been modified over the years.

    [​IMG]

    John Bivins of Indian Engineering (Stanton, CA) fixed my 1948 chief's frame. The best testimony of his work is that I can ride my bike down the road and take my hands off the handlebars and the bike tracks straight as an arrow. So when I bought my 37 chief I had the frame, forks, and handlebars shipped directly to him.

    [​IMG]

    So the handlebars that showed up weren't the same as the one in the orginal pictures. Actually they were much more desiable. Sportbars. More narrow than the standard bars. Recall my comments about rare factory options. These handlebars aren't very common and along with a magneto the bike was on it's way to being unique.

    [​IMG]

    At some point someone had cut off the seat post, cut off the shifter tube, and drilled wholes in several parts of the frame to mount foot pegs. I was fortunate that the bike came with an extra frame section that could be used to repair cast shifter tube. Hard to say where this chunk of frame came from but it did have the correct casting to repair my frame.


    [​IMG]

    You can expect 74 year old bike to be worn past all serviceable limits. This bike didn't fail me on this respect. Everything bushed need rebushing. Most things threaded needed rethreading. Note the shiny lower rear frame tubes. At some point the bike was hit very hard and the rear of the frame was pushed to the right side. At times tubes are beyond repair and need to be replaced. But if the original material can be salvaged and repaired it seems that very thing related to that area goes smoother. John made a few fixtures to persuade the frame tube back into alignment. Over all the frame was rough but in the end it came out straight and narrow.

    When you are searching for parts or searching for people who can repair your parts a pleasant bonus is the opportunity to see lots of very cool shops and bikes. Note the Indian Rigid Indian Four in the to left. To me a ridge four is the pinnacle of desirable Indians. I suspect I'll ever have one. They are very rare, expensive.

    [​IMG]


    Many of the motorcycle people I've work with getting my bike back on the road are dog people too. John is no exception. I'm not a dog person but I like dogs, I like cats too. Birds, not so much. Next Post: Heat and Beat.

    Kalle
    San Francisco, CA
    #30
  11. supervision

    supervision Been here awhile

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    Aug 28, 2010
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    139
    Thanks for the report, beautiful engine, These bikes are truly cool, I had the lucky experience to tag along with you guys on the Race, starting in Maraposa, Ca. I had no idea how fast those things would be ridden! I hung out in Coulterville, road down to La Grange, over to Catheys Valley, and out to Ramond, before doubling back. What a lucky guy I am, those bike are history, and I don't think I will ever forget that day!
    #31
  12. nsu max

    nsu max Been here awhile

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    397
    :lurk
    #32
  13. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

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    Love the body filler detail on the chain guard. I spent lots of time on my 48 chain guard fitting it up to the rear fender. I had to weld on extra sheet metal and then cut it down to the correct match. There seemed to be no end to how much work it was going to take. At some I just called it a day. The gap on bottom was about 1/16 wider than the top when I stopped. For a while I looked at that gap on every skirted chief I found and mentally compared it to my bike. Looks like you've spent some time with the same detail. Looks good.

    Kalle
    San Francisco, CA
    #33
  14. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
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    On my first Indian I learned a few lessons. One was to check all the threads. If they are warn it is really easy
    to repair them when the frame is stripped. Put a bolt in the threads and run it down and torque it down. Better to have the threads give way sooner than later. I've now have a good selection of heli-coil thread repair kits. On my Chief most threads in steal are fine threads and most threads that are in aluminum are course. 1/4-20 and 1/4-28 are very common bolt and thread sizes. Interestingly enough some threads are 1/4-24 on my 48 chief. This is for the front brake cable adjustment. I've asked around and have come to the conclusion that 1/4-24 was a common pre SAE thread. Fortunately there are few none standard SAE threads on my chiefs. This means a simple drive down to the hardware store is all it takes. And I was able to find a 1/4-24 thread repair kit on Ebay.

    [​IMG]

    A chiefs kicker rides on a post that is pressed into the frame. I've seen frames with a broken frame casting. It's a real hassle to get this type of failure repaired well and straight. On a 48 chief the space between the frame and kicker leaves very little tolerance for a worn kicker or post when the exhaust is threaded between them. And not understanding this I neglected to replace the post on my first Chief. So on my 37 I took to heating the frame casting and beating out post out. Really not much drama here. The post has a .001" interference fit. And my my case slid right out, The new one went in as easy. But if you wait until the frame is finished this repair can be quit disturbing to the paint.

    Another interesting note on Indian Frames is that the case sections are brazed to the tubes. It's my under standing that the frames and tubes were assembled and heated in an oven. Then removed after heated and brazed. The brazing material is quite apparent on he center tube and bottom casing.



    Next Posting: Nuts and Bolts.

    Kalle
    San Francisco, CA
    #34
  15. arcticIndian

    arcticIndian indian rider

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    239
    Location:
    near the arctic
    Cool project, and thx for posting the restoration story for us!

    I still dream of a late '30s chief, but I need to focus on the house restoration and build a proper garage first:)
    And the late '30s chiefs are priced quite high here in Europe.
    The late '30s chiefs are definitely the "sport" chiefs. I've ridden at least 6 different rigid chiefs from '37-'39, and they are soooo much fun to ride! I like the reinforced steering head and the wheel/hub design from '37 and up...

    When I was in SF in february I saw a picture from the 50th(?) anniversary of the Golden Gate featuring Hap Jones on a '37 chief I believe, and RedFred and Rick(?) from SF on '37 chiefs as well. Hope you will get the bike done in time, judging from the pictures the bike will look fabulous when done!!

    Borrowed these bikes when I was in Florida/ California in february, you may have seen them before..:

    1938 chief with 84" and OD transmission, rode up to Alices and 35 (?) to the coast and then up to Pacifica and back to SF
    [​IMG]

    One of Francis Cliffords builds, this one is fast!!! Too bad Florida is so flat..would be fun to ride this in the mountains:
    [​IMG]

    I ended up with a '47 chief chassis "by coincidence" a couple years ago, and I'm trying to piece that together now. Since I have a '44 chief I already have a pile of spare parts that I can use for the '47. I will try to get a late '30s chief later, I can wait until there are more bikes available..


    the '47 project:
    [​IMG]
    #35
  16. jake28

    jake28 Riding to the horizon.

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    Mar 4, 2007
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    Bay Area, CA
    Subscribed to a great thread. I'll be back home in SF in September and would love to see this in person.
    #36
  17. blaine.hale

    blaine.hale Long timer

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    Atlanta, Ga
    The more pictures of Indians, the happier I am :D
    #37
  18. RideDualSport.com

    RideDualSport.com TPB all the way

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Texas at large.
    kallehof, thanks for the kind remarks on my work :D
    It can be rather difficult to fit up the bodywork. I believe there were some slight discrepancies from the factory since they hand fitted the fenders and drilled the holes by hand. The end goal is to get the pieces to fit together well and look good.
    I will be keeping the 80cu inch motor and transmission stock and original. However I am thinking of using a 12volt generator and modern carburetor. Mainly because, I want to wear an electric vest, run a gps, and have better lights. Keep up the good work! I know it takes lots of dedication to keep a project moving!
    Cheers!
    #38
  19. supervision

    supervision Been here awhile

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    139
    On my ride day of tag along, one of the first persons I talked with, was the "Super Chief" owner, what a modern mix of speed machine that bike was! Another guy I talked to was from Austraila I think, he kept saying how nice the roads, and turns were, butt was disappointed with how few and far the Tavern's are!! Some people pull up on modern Harley's and started taking pictures of his bike, he said make it a movie, and took off feet up and sideways in the gravel! Dusted everybody! I knew there war two bars right their in Ramond, butt I also had about 100 mile ride home, so off I went, still see bikes for miles!
    #39
  20. sidetrack one

    sidetrack one Chief Tiddler

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    hole shaven area
    :evil:evil

    Attached Files:

    #40