Sunday, September 30, 2012

Back to Work

After being energized by seeing the Cannonball folks in Yellowstone I’m back to work on cleaning the rear hub.  It is most interesting the things you discover working with parts you have never seen before.

The Honda rear hub is interesting in how the engineers decided to put things together.  The cush bolts for the rear sprocket are not one piece as I expected.  Honda uses a sleeved rubber bushing pressed into the hub and the actual sprocket bolts are a slip fit into the sleeve.  Not even a pris fit.  To my surprise the sprocket and bolts are held to the hub by a large split ring on the outside of the sprocket.

So after having touched each and every nipple and spoke I’m close to having everything clean and spruced up for the wheel lacing.  Before I lace the hub to rim I have to go over the spokes and nipples one more time with some steel wool and Marvel Miracle oil.

                                          In the middle of cleaning.

                                        The sprocket bolts and the wrecked nuts with the 
                                        replacements.  I had to do a great deal of file work 
                                        to save the threads on the bolts.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Rare Treat!!!!

The motorcycle culture in Montana is odd to say the least.  You either ride an American product, a go fast foreign product or you have your vintage motorcycle of any blood hidden deep in a garage.  Since I became addicted to JAP engines I have tried to find some local support group of other vintage cyclist.

What I have found is generally insular, clubby and pretty standoffish. So when the Cannonball crew decided to ride near Montana on their 2012 sea to shinning sea trophy dash I had to go and soak up as much moving vintage porn as I could.  Despite my training and practice as a military photographer I was so thrilled by the machines and the kind and generous riders and mechanics and support crews I took fewer photos than I had planned.

Here are the photos I liked best for the reason that the people and the machines are some of my favorites for lots of reasons.

Paul d’Orleans and his 28/33 Velocette KSS/MkIV KTT hybrid. Yellowstone Lake, WY

Velocette race bike.

Shinya Kimura, Ayu and Niimie of Chabott Engineering, with their 1915 Indian.


The Cannonball winner for two in a row 1913 Excelsior of Brad Wilmarth.

Paul, Shinya Kimura, Ayu and Niimie and Brad all were kind and gracious and had great patience for an intruding old wanker like me.  I was very much like a kid in a candy store not only meeting these very cool riders and crew but all the other riders that treated me with courtesy and evidently appreciated my overboard enthusiasm.  Plus a thank you to Jeff Decker for his willingness to give a minute to an art and motorcycle fan.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Front Wheel of Destiny

Well at the very least it's the leading wheel in the pursuit of the Overlander.  One last thing needed doing before the hub and rim got laced into a wheel and that was to clean up the brake drum surface.  It did't look scored or scared from abuse but it was a bit rusty and just pretty ugly.  So I put it on the lathe and using a dowel and 220 grit aluminum oxide paper slowly but surely cleaned it up.  Of course since it was turning I had to take a few minutes to admire the holes spinning round.  I will admit my wheel truing stand is a bit crude.  However as long as you take time to square, level and proceed methodically even my crude set up can produce a good wheel.

The ugly and rusty brake drum surface.

Spinning and cool.


The laced and trued front wheel. 

Monday, September 3, 2012


I am well and truly lost in the land of speed drilling.  The ounces removed could have just as easily been removed from my old fat ass.  However the reduction in weight from my ass would not look as cool as the holes in the hub.

In the beginning there was measurement and great trepidation.

Then there was a void of a fine roundness in form.

 First hole set up and then drilled while holding my breath.  I still have a phobia about cutting and drilling perfectly good parts.  So I tend to be a bit cautious and yes a bit afraid of making a really big, stupid mistake.

Now the clean up and dressing edges and then a general polish up and the front well is ready to lace to the rim.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Foiled by my own lack of knowledge regarding rims and spoke angle drillings I had to rethink the rim plan.  I decided to go forward rather than frustrate myself with trying to find some useable and affordable Borrani rims.  I cleaned up the original factory steel chrome rim to get the wheel laced and trued.  Biggest reason is that if some cool rims turn up the wheels can always be taken down and re-laced to alloy rims.  In the meantime the wheels will be available to use for building the frame.

So once that decision was made; the choice was made to go ahead and be a bit holy with the drum brake and drill some air holes.  My cheap drill press was a bit unreliable as to true, tends to wobble of center when starting a hole.  Can’t replace the drill press or fix the wobble so the lathe will be pressed into service as a mill so I could accurately line up the holes between the cast strength ribs and also get the spacing measured out.

I have seen this done on the garage floor, by hand and it looked like it turned out ok.  But I don’t have an endless supply of these Honda hubs so for me I need a bit of insurance for accuracy.  Using a tool chuck mounted on the cross slide I found a square tube ¾ by ¾ that fit perfectly and then attached a flat plate to bolt the hub to.  With a chuck in the lathe, for the hole saw, I will be able to line up each hole exactly between the rim and the hub bearing flange and centered between the cast ribs.  Using the adjustment of the cross slide I should also be able to turn the hub a few degrees so that the hole saw will meet the surface of the hub metal squarely.  We shall see.


Saw this imagine while shooting some other photos in the garage and snagged it.  The light from the window behind the lathe was back lighting the light bulb and making it appear to be on.  Interesting start of a hodgepodge collection of stuff on the wall behind the work desk. 


In preparation for a road trip to Portland for the All British Field Meet I did some pre-trip inspections on fluids and brakes and such.  Plus I wanted to try and id and stop the gear box leak.  While doing all of this I found that the left front tie rod end was shot.  Then I found that the gaskets on the Selectro freewheel hubs had failed and let water get in the hubs.  Needless to say I didn't get to go to Portland this Labor Day.

So I took it all down and started hunting parts.  Folks in other lands may not have this trouble with parts for a Land Rover but I do.  Three weeks on now and I’m still waiting for tie rod ends out of Canada.  The rear hub seals came out of the south east someplace and now I realize, just as things are clean and going back together, that the swivel ball and related bush’s and such need some attention.

Well that will have to wait for more money and time, which means next spring.  But considering what KIOTEE has been through in her life the factory bits held up pretty good.  Oh yes the swivel balls have not been cracked since she left the factory in 1962.  Not bad performance I would say.

Trying to get her, at least capable of road work, because I want to drive down to Yellowstone and catch the Cannonball Vintage Motorcycle Rally. They are riding through the park this year.  Probably the only chance I will ever have to be this close to the rally route.

Everything clean and ready to go back together

So with all of the garage truck maintenance and problems with sorting and dealing with all kinds of life type issues I have finally got something to show that may look like progress.