Tractor 5

I’ve been tinkering every morning and on my one day off today I’ve battered some jobs on the Harley.

I managed to get the engine out and split today. The great news is that apart from some staining and sticky bits of oil, there doesn’t seem to be any damage. After seeing the sludge and metal shavings on the sump plug I was expecting at some point to come across a pile of smashed metal and gunge.

I’m happy with that. I gave it a clean, scraped all the gasket off, sandpapered and cleaned it again, then started the rebuild. Once I had the cases back together I got carried away and continued, I fitted the oil pump, the cam gears, a new gasket, a new set of allen bolts and the cam side casing. That was a huge relief as that had the one bolt I’d had to drill out and I was scared it was going to strip when I tried to tighten it.

It was actually a mistake. They say to put the engine back in the frame before rebuilding because of the weight of an assembled engine. It’s only one casing and some cams. The relief of knowing the allen bolt has worked is well worth any slight extra struggle.

I’m not being too precious with piston rings as I’ve ordered a new set. I’ll give the pistons a good clean, fit the new rings, then pop the barrels on. I’m in a bit of dilemma with the outside of the engine block. I’d like to strip all the bits of oil and paint off and respray it, but I’m scared of getting any crap in the engine. I suppose I’ll have to loosely fit the barrels and other casing, clean it, strip the paint, then mask the casings and spray. It’s a plan. Then take the barrels and other case off and fit it back in the frame, rebuild the bottom end, fit the rings, spray the barrels (I’ve already given them two coats of paint stripper), rebuild the top end, refit all the other bits, then I’m ready to start again.

I’ve fitted a carb rebuild kit, I’ve got a new chain and sprocket set (had to order a HUGE socket to get the front sprocket off) and I’ve ordered fresh oil line, fuel line and a fuel filter. When it goes back together I’ll know the engine is clean and solid, and no crap will be getting in.

I’m fitting new throttle and clutch cables. When I get it going I don’t want to be stripping it again for consumables.

While I had the engine out I took the opportunity to wheel the rolling chassis out and give it a good clean. the difference is amazing. It’s only a cosmetic thing, but the difference between ‘covered in dirt, grease and accumulated oil’ and ‘a clean frame’ is very satisfying.

I spilled quite a bit of oil at various stages of the strip so I brushed the shed out then washed it with Pinesol and water. I wheeled the bike back in a bit later and overbalanced on the slippery floor and dropped the bike!

The front brake didn’t engage when I picked it up, I pumped it and it squirted brake fluid at me! Arggghhhh! Least worst outcome, it was just a split brake line. I’ve ordered a braided upgrade line. Not a big job. But in falling over a plate with two bolts welded on it fell off. I don’t know where it goes. That is concerning. I think it’s to do with mounting the engine so hopefully it will quickly become apparent.

Gawd bless the internet and all who sail on her! I’ve just watched a Youtube video from Delboy’s Garage, fitting a Sportster engine in the frame, and spotted the bracket and seen where he fitted it. Another huge relief.

A good day for rescuing potentially bad situations.

As an aside, looking at Delboy’s Garage rebuild, I don’t think I’m going to do the cosmetic rebuild. A powder coated frame (as he had) has to have an absolutely immaculate engine or it’s going to make it look twice as bad. I think I’ll go for the lived-in look. I’ll still probably want the power upgrades of air filter, pipes, carb jet, and a 1200cc conversion kit. We’ll see.

I’ve got six day work for next week so the money is rolling in nicely. Not ideal for working on the bike, but at least it pays for it. The other downer is they have slowly moved my start time later again. I now seem to be starting at 12.00-ish. Which means, this past week of Scotland runs, I’ve been finishing about 23.00, by the time I’m home, fed, showered, and settled it’s easily 01.00, but I don’t seem to be able to sleep past about 08.00. So I’m always knackered.

The other good news is I gave up on trying to rest my calf injury. I gave it another week or so, went for a slow run, and less than 2 miles in it seized again. I decided to try active recovery. I was just doing a 2 mile run every day to get it used to working. Also I’ve been cycling to work until I get around to swapping the wiring loom on my Honda, so I think I’m toughening up my calves. It seems to be working. 3 runs without any problems. Now I need to up the mileage and see what happens.

Just looked. 16 weeks until Frankfurt! So, so not good.

I’m going to have to try for a 10 miler and see if I can start training properly again.

Right. Bed.