1937 Indian Chief Project

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

  1. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA

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    That Santa Fe Super Chief paint job is fittingly, the extreme ride of Jim Mosher. Notice the hand clutch, foot shift. The exhaust note is awesome.

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    Jim is from Santa Fe, hence the train paint job.

    Kalle
    San Francisco, Ca
    #41
  2. supervision

    supervision Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    139
    Oh thank's I never picked up the connection, now I get it! Yea, the motor sounded like a total hot rod. He had made a connector rocker arm to equalize cable pull on the double sided front brake, something I've never seen done before. Thank's for the picture.
    #42
  3. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Most of the nuts and bolts on my chief have been standard sizes. 1/4-20, 1/4-28, 5/16-24, 3/8-24. Course threads for aluminum and fine threads for steel. There are a few a special nuts and bolts but for the most part you could go down to the hardware store and source most. For a rider that works. For a custom bike that may be okay too. But my 37 Chief is meant to be be like it was in 1937. In 1937 they didn't mark the heads with the hardness of the bolt. You can buy bolts with no marking but they tend to be the softest. I've talk to a few restorers who have filed or machined the heads flat. The course I've taken on both my 1948 and 1937 projects was to but a "Bolt Kit" from Ed Glasgow of Tully New York. http://www.edsindianbolts.com/

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    I've never met Ed in person but from doing business with him I can tell you that he's got to be one of the nicest and helpful guys around. He has build sheets detailing what bolts are needed where and he sells complete kits for Indians. His bolts look the part and stand up.

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    The tapered washers are for the head bolts and I got them from Greer Ed may have them but I neglected to ask. I did note the lock washers I got from Ed where knurled on the edges and I'm not sure if they would have been the case of a lock washer in 1937. It's a small detail but getting bottom if that one will may make for some interesting research. Next Posting: Brakes

    Kalle
    San Francisco, CA
    #43
  4. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
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    Yep I've seen the orange and maroon 1938 chief. Owned by the same Indian Guru and all around nice guy that sold me my 48 chief project. Red Fred got me into Indians. Sorry I missed you when you were visiting. Fred invited me along on the ride but I wasn't able to make it. I'm glad you had a good time.

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    Alice's is a very popular place to stop around here. As you found out the roads are glorious and it's just in our back yard. This is a shot from a few years ago when Red Fred arranged a photo shoot of five chiefs owned by Bill Huth, Red Fred, and myself for the Alice's Calendar.

    Kalle
    San Francisco, CA
    #44
  5. RideDualSport.com

    RideDualSport.com TPB all the way

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,658
    Location:
    Texas at large.
    Yummm... this hardware is definitely the way to go. The devil is in the details, and when you go through so much effort and expense to put restore an Indian it make sense to use authentic looking hardware. The only time I ground the markings off the heads was when I did my 24 Chief and needed hardware nickle plated. And that was a long time ago when there were not an good sources for bolts.

    Got it when I was 18 years old in 1979
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    Riding the Bone Head Enduro for old bike on logging roads.
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    #45
  6. arcticIndian

    arcticIndian indian rider

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    239
    Location:
    near the arctic
    The bolts looks really nice!
    I was actually Ed's first International customer, 12 years ago maybe?
    The bolts still look good after serious abuse over 70000 kilometers and 9 summers of rain...
    I'm buying a bolt kit for my '47 chief from Ed, also have Ed's bolts on my sport scout..

    I first met RedFred while working (IT consulting) in the Bay Area, and since then we meet every now and then.
    I've arranged two road trips/ tours in Norway for Indian friends from USA, Australia and Sweden. We always have a lot of fun. That's really what's so great about the Indian motorcycle community, it offers much more than just selling and buying parts over the internet. If you ever decide to go to Norway, I'll try to arrange a ride/tour of Norway. This is one of the reason I bought the '47, to have a spare bike if someone wants to ride in Norway.

    I have a problem with the frame casting/ kicker poston the '47 chief frame btw. It has a crack that was fixed by welding the kickstart post/ axle directly to the casting. Looks solid as is, but it will be a problem to replace when worn out (in 10-15 years maybe).. Not sure what to do about this, could be like opening a can of worms?


    Pictures from the 2010 Tour of Norway..
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    #46
  7. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
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    I consider one of the first milestone for bring a bike back to life is to getting it rolling. And the brakes and axles are the first step. In my case my project came with a complete rear drum assembly.

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    The sprocket for an Indian Chief is riveted on the drum. When the rivets loosen up the holes tend to wear out of round and the simple solution is to drill a new sets of holes. The drums I received had been drilled twice. And a fresh sprocket had been installed.

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    Unfortunately the bike didn't come with a front drum. 1937 was the first year of interchangeable rims. There are lug nuts that secure the Hub to the brake drum. In 1936 the drum and hub were an integral part. In 1938 a set of pins were added to lock the hub to the drum to added shear strength. It is important to be ever so vigilant and tighten the lugs on a Indian frequently. It is common for riders to loose all six lugs on a wheel. In the case of a rear wheel you won't be going anywhere if this happens since the sprocket is attached to the brake drum and not the hub.. And in the the case of either wheel you will loose your brakes on the wheel. So I started hunting for a front brake drum in the spring of 2010. The best I found was a brake drum for a side car but the threads were reversed for the bearing locking threads and I wasn't sure this would be an issue. So I kept looking. I found an original 1937 drum and bought it but it turned out to be worn beyond serviceable limits. I then came by 1938 drum and bought it. The hub would cover up any 38isms.

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    Now after a year searching for used brake drums. Todd at Jerry Greer Engineering came out with New reproduction front and back brake drums which are spot on. I was in a hurry to hit my first mile stone, if I only would have been a little more patient I would have saved lots of time and money and had better brakes. So I've bought the reproduction front and back drums and I'll be selling the used ones I paid top dollar for. Which means I bought high and will be selling low. Next Posting: IronHorse Fenders and Tank.
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    Kalle
    San Francisco, CA
    #47
  8. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Wow! When I was 18 (1984) the last thing on my mind was to buy a vintage motorcycle. All I wanted was a dirt bike (XL 600) and a Car. You must have had some strong vintage influences around you. Do you still have this stallion?

    Kalle
    San Francisco, CA
    #48
  9. RideDualSport.com

    RideDualSport.com TPB all the way

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,658
    Location:
    Texas at large.
    Howdy Kallehof!
    Yes as a teenager I was flunking high school and wandered into a a British bike and chopper shop. The owner had a 48 Chief. I traded him my honda CT 70 for a Triumph 500 dirt bike. The shop owner became my best friend. He took to me like a big brother. He was deep into antique motorcycles, and it was through him that I learned about Hendersons, Indian, Thors, Pierce and we even became friends with the old-time collectors in the area. By the time I was 18 we decided to start the AMCA chapter in Washington State.
    And I do still have the 24 Chief, its been restored for about 20 years, and spends its days in the living room.
    Cheers!
    #49
  10. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    My project came with an original front fender and a back fender. The front fender was much better suited for a patina bike. It was pitted and the sheet metal was anything but straight. It was orgininal which started me down the path of looking for original sheet metal. I didn't have correct tank for a Chief and the rear fender was more likely for a Scout or Four then a Chief. So I turned to plan B. All new sheet metal from Matt Blake at Iron Horse Corral (http://indianfenders.com). Matt's work is amazing. The rear fender fit like a glove and the front fender looks wonderful. I did note that the front fender was a bit narrower then the original. This ment that there was a gap between the front fender and the fender brackets. On my bike this was resolved by welding new brackets on the front fender to take up the space. I could have easy added a 1/16 shim to take up the extra space. Now when I see preskirted chiefs I always not if there is a gap between the fender and the forks.

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    Originally gas tanks for a Chiefs were soldered. And after 20, 40, 60 + years the solder fails. John Bivens (Indian Engineering -- Stanton, CA) will rebuild tanks. He unsolders them, has the clean up, tinned and resolders them. The alternative is steal welded tanks is a very smart way to go. Most the experienced Indian folks I respect advised me to go with steal welded tanks. So that's what I did.

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    Well I ran into a small snafu on the tanks I ordered from Matt. The location of the mounting holes on my frame didn't line up with the fixture Matt uses when assembling his tanks. Matt guarantees the parts he sells will work and he stand behind is work. After a call to Matt describing the problem I encountered he suggested I make a fixture which matched my frame and send the tanks and fixture back to him and he would modify the tanks to fit my bike. Two weeks later I had my tanks back and they fit like a glove. It's really hard to say what a 75 year old frame has gone through. But my frame likely had seen quite a bit.

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    I sold my original fenders on Ebay. I was hoping to sell them for what I paid for Matt's fenders but alas I only got just under half of what the replacement fenders cost.




    The oil and gas share the same tank (right) on a Chief with a divider of course. The gas is used as heat sync for the oil and helps to cool the engine. The story I heard on this bike was that the right tank was filled to the top and boiled out while being ridden. Fire extinguishers were present and exhausted but offer little relief for the enviable. Worst part of the story is that it was a borrowed bike. What a pity.

    Next Post: Transmission

    Kalle
    San Francisco, Ca
    #50
  11. arcticIndian

    arcticIndian indian rider

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    239
    Location:
    near the arctic
    Iron Horse Corral fenders/tanks are the way to go! Looking good!
    I had sooo much problems with the soldered tanks, but absolutely none after buying a set of the IHC tanks.

    The bike that burned (in Sweden) is back running, it was however, an expensive case for the insurance company.
    Now almost everyone around here carries a fire extinguisher..
    I met the owner last weekend, he rode his '31(?) chief to a meeting here in Norway.

    Put in a new battery in the sport scout yesterday..and put some "borrowed" parts back on, the plan is to let my girlfriend try riding with a footclutch. She's now riding the big KTM 950 ADV S, not the easiest bike to handle for a beginner...
    #51
  12. chiefrider

    chiefrider Chrome won't get you home

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,370
    Location:
    The lovely Willamette Valley
    Oregon Vintage Motorcyclist spring show, 2011, Corvallis, OR: Me & my '53.
    The OVM show is usually spectacular, and it's always the Sunday before Memorial Day Weekend at the Benton County Fairgrounds. [​IMG]

    Better picture of the tasty bike behind me.
    It belongs to Denise Lawrence.
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    Another Indian of Denise's.
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    Oregon Trail Chapter AMCA Road Run, July 2011: Not even all the Indians that participated!
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    Tom in Salem
    #52
  13. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    The design of the three speed Indian transmission changed very little from the 1930's until 1953. Externally the case were beefed up in the early 40's. This meant that I need the less reinforced design. The transmission case on the left (clean) is a late 30's "ridge" case and the transmission on the right (dirty) is a post war transmission case.

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    Note the reinforcement band on the right. A common place for these transmission cases to crack is below the rear mount. Likely from the rear mounting bolt loosing up and allowing the case to pound against the frame.

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    Note the beefed up upper left mount on the right case. This would interfere with the chain guard on a 37 chief.

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    Not much different here. Note the mounting hole on the flange in the 5 o'clock position. If the mounting hole is in the six o'clock position that indicates the case is an late 20's / early 30's case. Also note the two holes on either side of the lower large hole. They allow oil to pass freely between the transmission case and the primary. In a 1940 case these holes are absent to allow running different oil in the case and primary. Some plug these holes so that they can run a lighter, multi weight, oil in the primary (10w-30) and heavier oil (50) in the transmission case.

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    Note the reinforcement buttress on the right on the tower.

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    The tower caps differ slightly as well as the location of the number on the casting.

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    Lastly you can get an overdrive four speed transmission http://www.chief-overdrive.com/. This really beats the hell out the factory three speed "Crash Box" but not the right transmission for and points bike.

    Next Posting: Chain Guard

    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco, CA
    #53
  14. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    What a wonderful color scheme. Hope mine comes out as well.

    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco, CA
    #54
  15. bomberdave

    bomberdave black cloud wandering

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
    Oddometer:
    950
    Location:
    woburn ma
    thanks for the trans case tutorial- i didnt know about the chainguard clearance issue.
    #55
  16. SFMCjohn

    SFMCjohn 13

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    930
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA, 94102
    Hi Kalle,
    Fun thread, thanks for posting!

    Here's a pic of Kalle's 1937 project:

    Attached Files:

    #56
  17. SFMCjohn

    SFMCjohn 13

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    930
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA, 94102
    And one more:

    Attached Files:

    #57
  18. ishdishwishfish

    ishdishwishfish Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    313
    Location:
    Benton Harbor, MI
    Took a trip this Saturday, about a 2 hr. ride from Benton Harbor (normally 55 min. freeway, in a car) to Kalamazoo, MI to meet some inmates. Took it camping, that's the tent up front, and put a backpack on my back.

    This bike is a great runner, needs new o-rings on the manifold, but that's really all it needs mechanically
    (I'm learning here, forgot to put the angle support back on the carb, so it shook around and loosened the manifold).
    It's really comfortable, smooth, I can cruise no handed in second. It always runs fantastic when the temp is high 40s,
    I try to keep it out of the heat in the summer.
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    Found it on craigslist 2 hrs north in the country. It was listed on a Saturday last fall, called on Monday,
    and it was still available. I hauled ass up there right after work, took out a loan on the bike,
    and gave him $200 for a deposit. I had to have it. It ran a bit rough, but only on startup,
    and he hadn't ran it in a year. The electrics were all goofed up, the rear rim was bent,
    giving it the wobbles, and it appears that it was backed over (at the bar?)
    It's slightly bent at the floorboard axles, the air cleaner, etc.
    Maybe that's why the owner wanted rid of it.

    Anyway figuring out how to ride it was a trip. I pointed it downhill, got it into first and putted
    around the block about twenty times before venturing out onto the road.
    Now it's second nature, and feels more natural than a foot shift.

    I was surprised that I didn't have issues switching back to a footshift,
    it must be such a difference that it's difficult to confuse the two.
    It's 1st repaint, I found a bit of the original OD green under the fender extension.
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    It's missing a few bits here, fuel filter is gone, a gas cap fell off, and the rear rack fell off.
    I heard a clink, clank, looked back and it was gone. But sure enough, when I pulled over, there it was, on the kickstarter!
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    I always feel a little guilty while riding it, but dammit it's an Indian.
    If all of us packed them away, hung them up in restaurants, or cased them in museums,
    the aftermarket manufacturers would go out of business.
    It would just be another henderson, an excelsior, good luck finding what you need for those bikes.

    Oh, it's been around the block. Here is a pic I found on "Girl on an old motorcycle" :evil same bike, wish it could talk.

    There was a strip club down the street from the prev. owner, maybe that's where she came from?

    He was not happy when I drove off with it.:ricky
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    #58
  19. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Here's an update of Jim Mosher's Bonneville bike.


    Kalle
    San Francisco
    #59
  20. SFMCjohn

    SFMCjohn 13

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    930
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA, 94102
    Here's a pic of Kalle's KLR friend, Chuck, using Kalle's favorite tools:

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    A bastard file and hammer! Ha. I attest that the file and hammer were under the 1937 Indian Chief on the bike stand ...

    See you in the garage,
    -- SFMCjohn
    #60