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50' chopper to bobbber

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aaronc70
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:01 pm
Bikes: '49-'50 panhead, 45deg raked and shopper front end (12" over???)

50' chopper to bobbber

#1

Post by aaronc70 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:35 pm

Hi all, new to this forum, feel free to blast away if I'm not playing by the rules.
Back when I was in college and would come home for the summers my dad and I would go to some rallies, he runs a pawn shop and eventually came across this sweet old pan that was chopped just the way I liked it (completely out of style for the times-circa '96).
chopper1.jpg
It was dangerous as hell- the linkage holding the back breaks would come undone now and again, and since there was no front brake, I had to use my feet (not to mention I lost parts and found plugs all over the place)- anyways it was lots of fun and I survived. When I graduated and went into the Navy the bike was stored for years until I moved back closer to home, after three years of new kids and pregnant wife, job, reserves blah, blah, blah, I'm finally eying the old pan for daily/weekend rider.

I'm over the raked front end however and want to make it look closer to something like this:
5inrake4inoverforktubesjpg.jpg
Preferably with front and rear disk brakes..drums may be acceptable though

I got to measuring and reading up on chop geometry, rake & trails, etc and found out that the bike has a rake of approx 50 deg, unweighted trail of 5.25" and weighted trail of 7.25+"!! The long forks really flex when the wheels are on the ground. I've come across that the ideal trail is between 4 - 6.5" so that probably explains the "challenging" handling of the bike in parking lots and such.
<br>
Here are some reference pics of the bike and me measuring, etc:
2011-08-07_20-52-48_287.jpg
2011-08-07_20-52-26_130.jpg
weighted stance:
2011-08-07_20-50-03_825.jpg
weighted trail measure:
2011-08-07_20-49-45_826.jpg

rake angle measure:
2011-08-07_20-36-57_235.jpg
neck and stretch???:
2011-08-07_20-33-39_761.jpg
bike unweighted:
2011-08-07_20-32-52_347.jpg
Anyways, so my question is: is it possible to get a realatively stock look without cutting, repositioning, and welding the neck?
Do I have bigger issues with frame stretch that I'm not seeing that would make matters more complicated?
at a minimum I want 16" or close tires/wheels on both ends and a LEVEL bike from front to rear, as opposed to the angled frame stance I have now.
I'm sure fork lenght plays into this- is it possible to make the stock hydra glide forks (my favorite) longer so they would make all this work out?
Thanks for any help you guys can give, I'm looking forward to getting this thing back on the road here in East Tennessee.
<br>
<br>Aaron :twisted:
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jibhead
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:43 pm
Bikes: 43 wlc ,1990 xl1200 ,73 shovel
Location: devon england

Re: 50' chopper to bobbber

#2

Post by jibhead » Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:16 am

yep chuck some shorter forks at it so its level ,the handling has got to improve :roll:

various length stantions are availiable from various souces. happy hunting :)

aaronc70
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:01 pm
Bikes: '49-'50 panhead, 45deg raked and shopper front end (12" over???)

Re: 50' chopper to bobbber

#3

Post by aaronc70 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:27 pm

jibhead wrote:yep chuck some shorter forks at it so its level ,the handling has got to improve :roll:

various length stantions are availiable from various souces. happy hunting :)
So when you say "stantions" Are you refering to the upper/inner fork tubes? I think you can also put spacers in the forks on top the springs to add overall fork length right?

-One other question- can I get the front end tins (ie, beer cans, headlight tin, etc) for any type of fork/clamp combo that I put on? I really like that Hydra-Glide look as opposed to open clamps.

Cotten
Posts: 6911
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2002 9:09 am
Location: Central Illinois

Re: 50' chopper to bobbber

#4

Post by Cotten » Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:15 pm

Welcome Aaron!

De-raking is not all that hard,
with patience and a good torch or TIG.

The real question is whether the forging was over-stressed when it was raked.

Until the filler has been completely blasted away,
and perhaps a magnaflux inspection,
you really won't know if a new headstock might be your best option.

Good luck, you've got nothing to lose!

....Cotten

aaronc70
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:01 pm
Bikes: '49-'50 panhead, 45deg raked and shopper front end (12" over???)

Re: 50' chopper to bobbber

#5

Post by aaronc70 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:59 pm

Cotten wrote:Welcome Aaron!

De-raking is not all that hard,
with patience and a good torch or TIG.

The real question is whether the forging was over-stressed when it was raked.

Until the filler has been completely blasted away,
and perhaps a magnaflux inspection,
you really won't know if a new headstock might be your best option.

Good luck, you've got nothing to lose!

....Cotten
HAHA, I think you overestimate my skills Cotten, I do appreciate the vote of confidence though. I have access to a torch and welder, but it's probably not a good one- my old man uses it on his farm equipment. I'm not even sure what magnaflux inspections are. All reasons for me to take the frame somwhere if it needs to be de-raked- otherwise it could be another unfinished project in the garage corner.

Right now I'm leaning towards a shorter fork- Maybe I'll just have to find the parts, get it all together, and see what it looks like.

Cotten
Posts: 6911
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2002 9:09 am
Location: Central Illinois

Re: 50' chopper to bobbber

#6

Post by Cotten » Tue Aug 09, 2011 4:42 pm

Aaron!

A shorter fork will help, but until you de-rake, it will always be a liability to handle on the road.

Magnafluxing is a simple procedure where a magnetic field is applied, which can even be accomplished with even an armature growler, and then magnetic dust is applied to show any cracks the eye can't see.
(In all my years, I think I found two. And they were Chevy heads back when I prostituted myself to a speed shop. But I had to be "professional" and bring it up. There are also dye checking systems that come in little plastic bottles.)

And H-Ds have always been farm implements.

Please remove the filler and inspect before you leap to shipping it off to a "frame man", because many are sheisters. (The reason there are so many is because frame work isn't rocket science!)

Your father's torch (and an angle grinder) will easily blow off the old headstock to retain the portions of the frame members that insert into its sockets, which is critical if a new headstock is to be installed. (In other words: Not just chopped off.)
Reassembly might take skill, patience, and attention to detail of course. But you have already demonstrated those skills with your measurements and calculations!

If your father's welder is a 'stick', it won't do...
But you will still have saved a lot of money and risk by doing the preliminary prep work yourself.

....Cotten

aaronc70
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:01 pm
Bikes: '49-'50 panhead, 45deg raked and shopper front end (12" over???)

Re: 50' chopper to bobbber

#7

Post by aaronc70 » Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:47 pm

Cotten,
Copy all on the rake/handling issue. As far as the Magnaflux, maybe I have heard of something like that- in the Navy we used NDI, non-destructive inspection, to find cracks or weaknesses in aircraft parts that couldn't be seen. It was really like an X-ray type thing.
Roger on the farm implements, haha. To be clear on the "filler" you're refering to the "webbed duck foot" material between the downtubes and gooseneck correct? Also what about frame stretch? Does this frame look like it's been stretched anywhere in the downtubes or backbone?
I have access to whatever kind of welder would be needed, but yeah the old man's is a stick welder for tractors, bush hogs, and such. I'll need to research some threads with pictures to make sure I'm on the right path before cutting it apart. Please post any good threads if you know of any off hand. I'm sure there's a You-tube video or two of this type of operation that would be helpful.
Also, would I need to build some sort of frame jig to keep it straight when rewelding?
Thanks for your help and encouragment. I'll let you know what I come up with. May have to put it off as a winter project if I need to tear the whole bike down. Right now I've got a few dirt bike projects that are ahead of this one if it turns into a big one!

Aaron

Cotten
Posts: 6911
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2002 9:09 am
Location: Central Illinois

Re: 50' chopper to bobbber

#8

Post by Cotten » Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:51 pm

Aaron!

I really can't tell from your photo if there is any stretch to the frame or not. Once again, only removing the webbing, bondo, or whatever will allow you to find any other worms in the can.
My dial-up and obsolete confuser keeps me away from videos and YouTube, and I'm not aware of any in-depth discussions on this forum, but a search of the Knowledge Base wouldn't hurt.
We can always make our own!

"Jigs" for frame repair work are another barroom legend.
The original frame tables shown in the Manual (see 'fork straightening, where the man in the lab coat eyeballs a fork) eventually made it to Lake Shore H-D, where I was able to touch history. They were nothing more than very large chunks of steel with evenly spaced holes all over them, gouged and chewed to where they looked like meteorites from decades of abuse, grinding, and weld scars.
They were little more than flat surfaces upon an immobile object.
The Service manual diagram and text gives the critical clues for gauging the alignment of the headstock to make it perpendicular with the frame, and common sense is the rest.
framejig.jpg
With everything 'massaged' to straight, it is easy to weld it without skewing it.

Here to help any way we can,

....Cotten
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aaronc70
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:01 pm
Bikes: '49-'50 panhead, 45deg raked and shopper front end (12" over???)

Re: 50' chopper to bobbber

#9

Post by aaronc70 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:32 pm

Cotten,
Is that some sort of casting of the headstock there in your picture? Maybe I could just cut the old one off and put one of these with a more normal rake in. I've come across those on the internet but thought they were something used to build a frame jig and not to be welded in as part of the frame itself. If that's the case may be it would be doable after all. I'm guessing I would still have to take everything out of the frame, and if I do that, mine as well rebuild the engine, and then that's where I run the risk of it becoming a basket case........ That would be a terrible fate for a once great chopper!

Cotten
Posts: 6911
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2002 9:09 am
Location: Central Illinois

Re: 50' chopper to bobbber

#10

Post by Cotten » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:02 pm

Aaron!

Indian and Schwinn (Excelsior, Henderson, etc.) headstocks were castings, but H-D's were forged steel. That's why you see so few chopped American machines other than H-D: It is far easier to bend and weld a steel forging.

The headstock in my previous pic is a new piece straight out of the V-TWIN catalog, and it was ideal.

Once again, the old headstock cannot be just whacked off.
The portions of the frame tubes that insert into the forging must be retained, by carefully grinding and torching off the forging alone.
It is not a cheap way to go, but certainly the most authentic, with a hole for a lock and everything..

If your headstock merely had the bottom sliced so it could be bent upward, you may well be able to re-cut it and bend it back.
There are even triangular repair pieces available on the market to replace just that portion of the headstock.

If I can do it, anyone can.

...Cotten

aaronc70
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:01 pm
Bikes: '49-'50 panhead, 45deg raked and shopper front end (12" over???)

Re: 50' chopper to bobbber

#11

Post by aaronc70 » Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:00 pm

Well, if it's just a matter of blasting the paint off, cutting/grinding the old welds (carefully) and installing/welding a new headstock with the rake I want, that might be doable. I would still have to take everything out of the frame, which is a chore and I would have to wait till winter till I get all these dirt bikes running. Having a "brand new" pan to ride come spring would sure be sweet though. How about this fork set-up I found on ebay:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayI ... OTORS:1123" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I emailed the guy and he told me it was a 1" steering stem. Would that work on my old frame?

I'm sure the wheels and breaks would be different, but I can collect those at some other point. I would prefer to have disk brakes and a 16" front wheel, so this fork would work in that respect. When I do get it back together I can put spacers, springs, or even new fork tubes to adjust the length of the forks as well right? That way I could keep the frame parrellel to the ground as opposed to being angled up like it is with my current fork lenth/rake set-up, correct?

One other question while I'm blasting them at you- I want that old art-deco look of the Hydra-glide front end. The front end tins like this: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/HARLEY-5 ... 45f6b342a6" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; will make that happen right? Can you get those for any year wide glide front end or are they just available for the newer Fatboy/Soft tail and older duo/hydra glide front ends?

Cotten
Posts: 6911
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2002 9:09 am
Location: Central Illinois

Re: 50' chopper to bobbber

#12

Post by Cotten » Mon Aug 15, 2011 5:48 pm

Aaron!

I must defer to others on this fine forum to answer questions about modern hardware like disc brakes, Fattail and Softboy applications, etc., as I have no clue.

Surely they are still 1"?
Heights between the 'tripleclamps' may be different, requiring some different bearings or whatever.

Please post us pics of your headstock after you remove a layer or two of boogery: a complete headstock replacement may not be necessary.

Looking forward to it,

....Cotten

aaronc70
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:01 pm
Bikes: '49-'50 panhead, 45deg raked and shopper front end (12" over???)

Re: 50' chopper to bobbber

#13

Post by aaronc70 » Thu Aug 18, 2011 3:05 am

Cotten,
Well I just remembered yesterday that a couple years ago I sold an old trials bike to a guy and he recognized the old pan.....he was the guy that chopped it back in the '70's!!! I kept his number because he said he was into sailboats and I had done some sailing back in school. Anyways he answered most of my questions and confirmed I was on the right track. Just pick up a set of wide glide forks (with disk brake mounts) that have tubes that are a little longer than stock, mount them up and see where we're at. If I like the look and ride- good to go. If not, pull everything off the frame and "derake". The way it was raked and can be adjusted- break off the bondo that was used to make things look pretty, cut out the triangle and most of the weld around the top wishbone tube and gooseneck (leaving a quarter inch or so), heat it up, bend it to the new rake angle I want (mounting the new front end and adjusting as necessary for the correct ride height), cut out a new smaller triangle, reweld, bondo, and paint/powdercoat. I may pick up a new front end in the next few weeks and see how it works out. Again, if I have to derake, I'll have to save that for this winter. Thanks for your help Cotten. Hopefully some other newbies will come across this thread and get smarter on the raking process. I'll post pics when I come up with something!

Aaron

CaptMike
Posts: 323
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:23 am
Bikes: 1998 Roadglide, 1957 FLH
Location: North Myrtle Beach

Re: 50' chopper to bobbber

#14

Post by CaptMike » Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:44 pm

Arron,

Doing exactly what you're thinking right now. I would seriously advise blasting the frame so you can see what's been done (or needs to be done). The frame drawings are in the Library, in most cases the numbers are hard to read but what I've done it print out the neck and front of the frame and scale the drawing for exact numbers. Also I found a site where a guy did 70 pages of info on how to. There's some good information for how to measure and check to be sure it's straight (and safe). I see your bike also has Invader wheels. http://www.knucklebusterinc.com/tech/Fr ... cation.pdf

After blasting my "wishbone" frame what I found was the front tubes had 4.250" added to each leg and no added rake to the neck. As soon as this Hurricane blows out of here I'm going to start cutting the frame.

I like the red bike. Also check out Eric's '59. I bought a nice 2000 Heritage front-end with brake off fleabay reasonable.

Image

aaronc70
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:01 pm
Bikes: '49-'50 panhead, 45deg raked and shopper front end (12" over???)

Re: 50' chopper to bobbber

#15

Post by aaronc70 » Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:28 pm

Yeah, I actually came across that manual in my search as well, lots of good info for sure. When I get serious about it, I think you're right, Blasting off the frame is the way to go. I'll probably be looking to repaint it anyways so mine as well do it right and tear everything off. Yeah I may try and keep a little rake, that red one seems like it has a little bit more rake than stock, more so than the black one you posted anyways. Thanks for the advice and good luck with yours. Throw some pics up when you get it together!

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