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
    My first spin around the block and big smile.

    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco, CA
  2. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Wow! Now I've got a running 1937 Indian Chief. So I brought it to the California Indian Run which is organized by Indian Rick Decost and hosted at Spanky's Ranchoria in Smartsville, Ca.

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    Dennis Magree, his son Dominic and Myself with my chief. I was having some troubles with a vacuum leak on the intake manifold. So long street rides were not in order. But I had a chance to show off the bike.

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    Dennis Magree's 1936 Chief that he has ridden to Alaska and back several times. He let me ride it several times over the weekend which was a real treat. 30's rigid chiefs sure are nimble compared to the plungered Chief of the 40's.


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    Field Games


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    I won the board game. The secret is to look straight ahead and not at the board.

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    Cute Girl with broken bike on our Saturday Ride.

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    On Saturday we stopped in Washington, California to cool down and have a drink at the Washington Hotel.

    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco, CA
  3. vtwin

    vtwin Air cooled runnin' mon

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    7,788
    Location:
    NorCal
    Kalle, it great to see those old bikes out and being enjoyed!:D
  4. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    All seemed well. With the exception of a manifold leak which made for a very hard to start bike.

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    Red Fred and I pressurized the manifold on my 37 and soaped down the manifold nuts and heads to look for the leak. We did note a leak between the front cylinder nipple to manifold. We tighten the nut but it still leaked.

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    We also noticed that there seems to be a groove/step in the manifold and blemish on the brass ring where the leak is on.

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    At this point I sent an email my My engine builder Jim to see what he thought.

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    He suggested I try PEEK Manifold Rings. PEEK (polyetheretherketone) is a linear aromatic semi-crystalline thermoplastic developed in the late 1960’s. It has a melting point of 650°F (343°C) with a continuous use temperature of 500°F. It has outstanding creep resistance for an engineering thermoplastic material and can sustain large stresses over a useful service life without significant time induced extrusion.

    If your manifolds are absolutely pristine, and of full dimension, then you
    may save money and time with mass-produced PEEK Manifold Rings seals from enfield racing. http://www.enfieldracing.com/8.html

    But if your manifolds' spigots are worn or blemished, then Cotten of Liberty Motorcycle Specialties, Inc. can offer a solution, as he can custom machine seals for you.

    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco, CA
  5. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Now this is topic is half individuality and half science. But I just picked an Indian Guru to follow and stuck with his recommendation on the engine break in.

    1. Non detergent 30 wt oil for the first start up. 90% of the initial wear is in the first five minutes.
    2. Drain oil
    3. 30 wt oil for the first 50 miles - Compression breaking - varied rpm
    4. Drain oil
    5. 50 wt oil for the next 500 miles - varied rpm - not too fast.
    6. Drain oil
    7. 50 wt oil changed every 3000 miles - I use Valvoline VR1 Racing 50 wt oil which is stocked at my local auto store and readily available. "Any oil is good oil, as long as you have some oil".
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    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco, CA
  6. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    With my vacuum leak solved I sign up for Pete Young's Rigid ride. It would be the first real test of my chief. 180 miles of twisties. From Portola Valley to Pigeon Point Lighthouse and back.

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    The group of rigid riders at Pigeon Point light house just south of Half Moon Bay.



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    My Rigid.




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    1939 Chief

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    My 1937 Chief at San Gregorio General Store.

    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco, Ca
  7. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    During the Rigid Ride the lock washer on the clutch nut failed and the nut backed off. I made it home but after noticing an oil leak I pulled the top of the transmission tower and found this. This is a known short coming of Indians. The nut is small and the experienced Indian rebuilders say that they tighten the crap out of this nut. But even then, it still can fail.

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    A lock washer that didn't

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    Sheared rivets on the generator drive.


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    Wear on the inside of the primary.

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    Ugly!

    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco, CA
  8. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Here's a Chief (34 or 35) I saw at the Brooks Auction a few years ago and again last year on the Rigid Ride.

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    Now owned by a local Yerba Buena AMCA member Clay.


    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco, CA
  9. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    My basket case came with an older reproduction battery shell. Not correct for 1937 but it is nice to have extra shells around when you have Indians. All of my bikes have been converted to 12 volts so a hollow battery case is the best place to store a modern 12v battery. I buy the largest battery that will fit inside the hollow 6 volt case. Suzuki V Strom 650 battery works for me.

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    The shell was miss the lead posts.

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    A deep socket from my tool box had a .500" outside diameter and some quick set plaster made for a quick and simple mold.


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    I collected up some old tire weights and melted them with a propane torch.


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    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco, CA
  10. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    In a total loss system the oil is not circulated, It is wasted, Usually on the drive chain. I've read articles and advertisements that boast virtues of your engine always getting clean oil in a total loss system. Early 10's and 20's operator manuals describe the oiling rate in terms of miles per quart right next to miles per gallon of gas. On the 1936 and 1937 Chief even thought there is an oil pump that recirculates the oil from the sump back into the reservoir. There is still one relic of the total loss days, the valve oiling lines. They allow oil to "mist" up from the cam shafts to the valve stems. I've heard that they were not installed in late 1937 chiefs and the holes were plugged with a rounded set screw. The numbers on my bike are mid 1937 and I like the look of the oilers. And I had heard stories of them making a mess when functional, so I had "dummy" oil lines fabricated and installed.

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    Another note here is that in 1937 the valve covers are "Clam Shells". In 1938 Indian went to a better design where the valve covers screw together. In my case the covers are chrome and the oil lines are nickle. Hope I got that right.

    You can see that the last three or four cooling fins behind the oil lines need to be shorter than the ones above. If you think you have 1937 cylinders but these fins are not trimmed and you have a high number engine that may indicate that your bike may not have come with the oilers from the factory. The lower fins on earlier 1935 cylinders would not be trimmed. The casting numbers on the cylinders in 1937 should be 85612 and 85614.

    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco, CA
  11. Prmurat

    Prmurat Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,160
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Nice Indian!! I wish I'll be able to use my -48 Chief soon (bad leg... Can't start it: how humiliating!!); i'll miss the rigid ride but will for sure on the 49ers (if I cant install the Kiwi ES!).
  12. SFMCjohn

    SFMCjohn 13

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    931
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA, 94102
    Hey Kalle,

    Wonderful posts, beautiful bike ...

    Nice also to see Clay's Brooks Indian back on the road, too ...

    see you around the campfire,
    -- SFMCjohn
  13. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    No chum-mee seats in 1937. If you wanted to carry a passenger you either got a side car or a Tandem Seat. Here's a rigid chief with tandem seat spotted in Italy.

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    Tandem Seat

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    What year is it? Lots.

    * rigid frame <=1939
    * large cylinders >=1940
    * handlebar mounted headlight <=1937
    * screw on gas take caps <=1936
    * large chain guard >=1937
    * frame mounted shift lever >=1937
    * Oil Pump >=1938



    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco, CA
  14. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    If you thinking of restoring an Indian Jerry Hatfield's Restoration Guide is an excellent place to start.

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    First additions of this book are a bit spendy but later additions will run you from $50-$100.

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    I use Jerry Greer's parts catalog for all my assembly guidance. It has excellent parts diagrams and parts lists. And it's Free.

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    The original factory documentation and parts list is the no non-sense go to for a restoration's correctness.

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    Moan's Virtial Indian Website http://www.virtualindian.org/ is an excellent resource for all things Indian. I look forward to his yearly xmas additions. There is also a Yahoo email list anyone can join https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/VirtualIndian/info.

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    Your local AMCA chapter is a good place to start too. Here is San Francisco I'm a member of the Yerba Buena Chapter.

    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco, CA
  15. drhach

    drhach gorillamanufacturing.com

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,671
    Location:
    Waukegan
    Is there a plan for paint? It seems like the shake down is about finished.
  16. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    It's still shaking. What color would you suggest for the paint? I'm thinking of Baby Blue on Navy Blue with Gold Pin striping.
  17. kallehof

    kallehof kalle

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    I came across a pair of original 1937 fenders. I had heard that the Iron Horse Fenders that I have on my Chief didn't have exactly the same arch/profile as original fenders. So I made a template out of cardboard of the arch on the front and back original fenders.

    The arch/profile (left to right) of the back Iron Horse fender match the original perfectly. The front is very close but my test showed that arch/profile (left to right) on my Iron Horse front fender was about 1/16" low. Hardly noticeable but I will build the arch up on my fender with some bondo before I paint.

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    These are original 1937 Indian chief fenders.

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    Here is the cardboard template I made from the original front fender sitting on my Iron Horse repop fender. You can see the light shining through between the top of the fender and the template. Note I didn't do a very good job on the sides of the template.

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    The original front template showed that my Iron Horse front fender arch is about 1/16 of an inch low. A light coat of bondo should fix that.

    Kalle Hoffman
    San Francisco
  18. Chuck Pryce

    Chuck Pryce Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    268
    Location:
    western n.c.
    I think I would paint as is, 1/16" was good tolerance on a fender in the day.
  19. Twotaildog

    Twotaildog Old Poop

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,388
    Location:
    upstate Nebraska
    Hey Kalle, I was wondering; why not use the original fenders that you found?

    Just curious.

    Kevin

    .
  20. redprimo

    redprimo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    579
    Location:
    central coast of California
    Actually from the pictures its very noticable, and I'm not talking about the light gap. the fuller curve give the originals a compleately different look.

    Are you familiar with how to make a template and how to use it to screed the bondo? Its a tecnique used in patternmaking where accuracy is paramount, but its perfect for this situation.