Thursday, December 04, 2014

Musket V-Twin update

I posted the article below back in January 2011, been keeping tabs every now and again on the progress of the Musket V-Twin. Now I am excited to say that the over at there is an update again on a most positive level because Aniket's engine are now actually available. You must check them out, the beauty of form and music to the ears sound is the most wonderful design for motorcycle engines in years.                               

This is a link to the kneeslider about Aniket's new 1000ccV-twin Enfield engine kit. I've had contact with him when he did his first engine and we had some nice discussions back and forth. One was his concern for passing emissions and what the research and cost would be but then he mentioned maybe use for offroad or something like that. He has an infectious attitude and if you go to his site and watch his videos on the motorcycle engine he built from scratch then to see him ride it, well , you can't help but find a huge grin come upon your face. And that was his 700cc model, now he's working on a 1000cc kit you can purchase and build yourself.
Anyway, check the update above and then skid on over to and see what this enthusiastic spirited man is up to. It'll sure put a smile on your face.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Fuel Tank Leak

Fuel Tank Leak

Large FXR Tank above that has been on the bike for several years now. I like the added ride range.
 The above picture is my bike with the FXR gas tank. This tank has been on my bike for several years now and gave me good comfortable mileage range. A couple of years ago I detected a leak, it began with a hint of fuel aroma then some obvious signs of a leak on my primary cover just below the petcock. Nothing major it seemed. The petcock that was on it had the seal disintegrating from ethanol fuel right at the valve. There would be a steady drip when the fuel lever was in the on position. Instead of repairing the petcock my wife bought me a much better Pingle brand unit. Problem solved...for awhile. I rode the bike most the year and didn't notice a leak, except in the garage there would be a hint of fuel vapors; I assumed these were coming from my sons 1974 Nova project as it to, when sitting, would smell like this.
 Well one day when getting ready for a ride, the bike had sat for two weeks with a full tank, it was almost empty and there was this nasty yellowish green stain all over the primary side and a dark spot on the dirt part of the garage floor where the bike sits. I pull off the tank and it looks to be leaking around the cross over tube nipples, JB weld to the rescue. I had no way at the time to pressurize the tank to check for leaks and calling a couple shops was no help. There looked to be maybe, possibly, kind of sort of a pin hole leak at the rear mount; so we JB Weld that as well. The only reason I used the JB weld was for not being able to find any shop that would test it and re-weld to seal it for sure. 
 Peanut tank mounted in above picture looks very small after the large tank being on it so long.
On to a few weeks ago as the JB seemed to be holding pretty well after most of the year, one of my brothers and I were setting out to ride the Blueridge Parkway. All was going well as we neared the upper part of North Carolina towards Virginia, then I kept smelling gas. I'd look down and not see anything but the smell was getting stronger. Finally I look down between the seat and the rear of the tank as we ride and see the seat front is all wet. I quickly pull off into a vacant buildings lot and get off as my brother rides up behind me asking what's wrong. As I get off I say I have gas on my seat, as I turn I see a water fall of fuel cascading along the frame and all along down the side of my battery. It's leaking like a sieve. We get it back home, pull off the tank, put on the low riding range Peanut tank and then inspect the FXR tank. It looks like it's leaking at the petcock area (Picture below) and there is a stain. We hook up the air compressor with a short bit of fuel line to the petcock, put on the fuel cap, spray on soapy water all over the bottom of tank and it turns out to be the rear mount weld is the culprit.  
 In the picture below you can see the JB Weld along the weld seam that held for so long. The mount actually didn't leak around where we JB'd it but rather the rest of the mount that looks more like the factory brazed on area. Note that the bracket piece with the bolt is the fabricated mount to make it fit the Ironhead. This worked for many years. Again I could not find anyone to weld this up because they are afraid of ruining the tank and burning through the light gauge metal. These tanks are found for around $300 in okay shape and up to over $800 for great shape.
 I went looking around the net to places I have had luck finding deals before, logging onto I looked around and then went to read some of the articles. I read one about a guy from my old neck of the woods in Georgia, he's a one man shop who builds custom motorcycles and works on motorcycles and I see that he does all kinds of motorcycle related work. So I send Chad at an email in hopes he would tackle this job and I send along pictures. He replies that he can do it. I'm going to chance it and send him the tank in hopes he can fix my tank to be leak proof again. I'll post up the job when he's finished with it. I told him that this was a secret of how to adapt and mount these tanks to old Ironheads, guess the secret is out now.  

By the way, this is the brother I was riding with who use to be known as Preacher or Preach for short. Ironic that these days he lives by and lives up to the moniker.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

R.I.P Pop: A Rough Year for The Sons of The Black Cat Squadron

Lt.JG Phillip K. Resh, United States Navy, Naval Aviator.
Reunited with his Squadron on 9-01-14

("Don't call me a pilot. I'm an Aviator. Pilots only land on land, Aviators have to be able to also land on a postage stamp in the middle of the ocean.") Lt. P. K. Resh USN.

Pop with two of his boys swapping veterans stories. Mark (on right) and Pop especially enjoyed talking about their flying experiences. 

 Pop's last fathers day. He told us he was honored ALL of us made it. Even brother in the black vest made it all the way on two wheels from Washington State. We all always thought Pop would always be around. I'm lucky I guess, I have a picture my wife took at fathers day when he opened my card, in it I wrote; Happy Fathers day Pop. I'm proud to be your son. With a twinkle in his eye he had told me when I called him Pop, "Mark always calls me that...I like it."

Mom and Pop's dogs, Pop asked our oldest brother from Washington if he would take the dogs because he wanted to be sure they had a good life. They are Lucy on the left and Evie on the right. My wife and I kept them for a month until flying them out to Seattle. My wife kept telling me the whole time to not get attached. She cried all day when we headed to the airport with them.

Pop's uniform, I have them all and his ribbons and wings. We found out he is still owed his Korean Conflict Medal after all these years. I just have to find out how to obtain it for our mother.

Pop's wings he so proudly wore.
Black Cat Squadron Patch
Pop's final resting place.

On his last day, I was back home in NC planning to go back the next weekend, one of my brothers was on his way back later after being there several days. My oldest brother called me a little after 4 p.m and gave me the news...I was devastated even though I knew the time was near. Our brother on the road, half way home, was notified Pop had taken a turn for the worse, he turned around and hauled back. People were at home with our mother, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews and one of our other brothers. Our mother had been watching the kids toss a Frisbee around in the yard and told my sister that it was the first day in a long time she had felt calm and relaxed. The sky was clear and blue with no clouds, they all said. Suddenly there was a large cracking, booming bolt of lightening that shook the whole house, the kitchen light over the table our mother was watching out the window from surrounded by family, turned very bright then burned out just as the phone rang. Pop had passed the nurse said.

Pop was a fighter all to the end. He told my son once "I never fired one shot in anger," he said holding up his index finger while leaning in close to my son, "I did my duty, but never a shot fired in anger."
Mother gave me a huge file my father had kept, reading it made me proud to know how hard he fought not only for his country but for his whole family.

We all still have to take care of everything with the house, only one of us still lives in the state, the rest of us are scattered about from one coast to the other. My wife and I went down in October to get a few items mom wanted us to go ahead and get, - Mom is in Maine now with one of our sisters and her family. -  but being in the house it just feels like, I don't know, very empty. No Pop, no mom, no dogs, it's just a shell of what use to be, the love, the laughter, the reassurances, the encouraging words, the warmth that congregated there is not there anymore. The home that was always home and felt like home no matter how long you had been gone, it's no longer. No more Fathers days , no more mothers days or birthdays, thanksgivings or mother and Pops favorite time of year, Christmas. They loved Christmas season, they planned on it all year. Not because of presents to receive, but everything else. They loved this wooden tree I made them for the yard years ago that had a gazillion lights on it, Pop put it out every year. Kids and adults alike looked for it each year, the little ones said they new Christmas was coming when Pop would put out the tree. He would stand outside with them or go out if somebody stopped while walking and chit chat. Kids loved him and his tree.
The house now, I can't explain it. It's cold and sad and lonely. The house yearns for some new kids, a new family to raise and shelter.

I guess you can see why I have not been around here much. The whole year has been touch and go, back and forth to Georgia. I don't regret any of the travel, it gave me time with Pop and mom. 

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Where have I been?

Restoring Old Dirt Bikes and Assisting My Son With His Nova

One Of my brothers and I are restoring/renewing old Dirt Motorcycles. This one looked like this when we got it. Previous owner got in over his head so we picked it up.

This poor YZ had seen it's better days for sure. We decided to take it in and give it life again.

She feels much better now and really halls some ass. Nothing like the scream of a two stroke to disturb the neighbors with. Babies scream, animals run for cover and the silence is shattered and the adrenaline is pumping.

The sad tired engine has a new lease on life while many others are rotting away somewhere. We took this YZ completely apart and rebuilt, re-greased, repainted, reupholstered over a two month period. Really pleased with the frame paint. You can read and see more about the process at

All the while my son was working on this and we helped out when we could. A lower fender patch on the right side fender while a multitude of little dings along both sides of the body had to be attended to.

Most of the old paint was completely sanded down to bare metal. The old girl needed a new front fender on the drivers side

The rear tail light panel had some rust so it was repaired. The deck lid, hood and top where in great shape, only a little spot on the top about the size of a quarter had to be fixed. All the door jambs, inside of doors, inside the trunk and under the lid where prepped for new paint. All the door handles, trim, moldings, grill and door locks where removed for painting.

He chose GM's new color 'Blue Granite Metallic' because it's so new nobody has done it yet. The paint had to come from the factory through a dealership. Depending on the light and time of day it goes from a Grey look to a Blue to a Black at night. It also draws from other car colors around it so for example it may have a chrome purplish look around a red vehicle is bright sunlight.    

The paint is so deep a Nat can see a pimple on it's ass in full detail in the reflection.

Some minor little things need to be finished in these pictures. The car is even dirty here from shop dust and it still shines.

My camera had a tough time of it in direct sunlight for some of the pictures. More pictures to follow.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Antique Ironhead Sportster Restoration

Antique Ironhead Sportster Restoration

Over the years I've done a lot to this old bike. When I got this old Ironhead it was in need of plenty of work to get it running. Being in mothballs way up In Virginia for who knows how long, it was mostly complete and came with bonus of extra parts. I didn't want to chop it, everyone was and is chopping these old Ironheads, I wanted to put it back as stock as possible but with some minor changes. Changes such as Harley might have done with off the shelf parts had they had the vision to do so. Riding range with the stock tank was under par for me, though I changed my mind about welding brackets to the frame to fit fatbobs on. The Super Glide tank of the same era is a bolt on although it does not have the Bob look I was after. Now the 1983 FXR tank was the ticket for me, slight mods to this particular tank had already been done to mount onto the stock original mounts. Preference would be to have a different dash but the filler neck rises above the tank so unless the neck is cut off, shortened, and welded flush with the top of the tank itself, I'm stuck with the dash it has. Several times people have seen me pass, at first glance thought it was an old Shovelhead, then caught up to me at a stopping point and gave a walk around. So far I have had only good comments about the look, even from the head of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America Bluegrass chapter pres. Things I'm still needing are XLCR pipes, these were an option even for this year, a center stand, a factory windshield, factory turn signals and a stock Ham Can Aircleaner backing plate. I might be able to repair the stock air cleaner backing plate but it is rough. Could also use some new Gauge lenses if I can't get these to clean up more. 
Old Rat Bastard isn't so ratty anymore and is in need of a new name. I'm not really into cleaning it because it's just going to get dirty and I don't like being afraid to ride it because it will get dirty. I prefer mechanically sound over clean and shiny. That's why I have not minded riding in the rain, knew it would be getting road grime on it. That said, look at the pictures below. Someone I know has asked me to help them with a used bike and restoration business and a possible future new bike dealership so I decided to try different products and ways to refurbish old parts. 

Went to work on the chrome and aluminum. I have not done this in awhile to this extreme. Was a time I took bikes apart, rebuilt them and put them back together, was easier because new parts to replace bent rusted or otherwise neglected pieces were easier to find. These same bikes today - Metric or American - are tougher to find bits and pieces for so you have to be more creative.

 Take a look at this front wheel and fork. I've spent a good four hours on just this side of things to get it looking better. Cleaning the spokes takes one solution while cleaning the rim itself takes another. The spokes are steel while the rim is aluminum. The pictures don't really do it justice taken with a flash at night in the garage. The outer ring of the rim is nice and shiny, so are the spokes and fender brace. The inside of the rim where the spoke nipples are has not been done yet because I still have to do the other side of the wheel. In the above picture the fork tube below the reflector is finished, above the reflector is not - well it is but not in the picture so you can see the difference. 
This side of the forks and rim are not done yet, it's all pretty dull. Look at the two wheel pictures and compare the differences. I could not get the polish I want to try locally and have to order it. I decided to try a different product so at least I can compare the working differences. It's like a mirror on the first side.  
On this side of things I'm pretty much done with the first two stages of cleaning and polishing the engine and bits, one more to go. Look back at the first picture in this article and back to this one. Look at those exhaust pipes shine too. Those things were grungy with all sorts of grease, grime and who knows what baked on. My wife had showed me a trick before for getting chrome to shine so I thought I'd try it on the bike. Must say I am pleased with the outcome. She showed me by doing one of my mirrors and it never looked so good in thirty plus years. I neglected to get pictures of the mirrors but will get more shots of the bike in daylight.  

 Just getting started on the polish side of things on this side. It's pretty clean just not finished with stage two of the process yet. The camera flash gets soaked up by the floor and walls and does not show the brightness of the bike as it looks in person.
And here is my new vintage OEM saddlebag bracket. My original was lost on rough roads in Greensboro and though we spent a long time searching for it never did find it. The section of road is not walker friendly and very dangerous so we called it quits after two different days of looking. I was so pissed off about losing that part, afraid I'd not find another for a long time or even at all. I tried my luck on calling Clete in Georgia and lo and behold he had the OEM new old parts in his old inventory. That brighten my day to no end and the part is installed back on the bike.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Know thy Tire

Riding season is approaching. Don't wait until spring to decide to take your bike to the local shop in preparation for riding. The longer you wait the longer your wait will be. Shops are at a particular slow period in winter, and though many have riding far back in their minds, this is the best time to get new tires and service work done if you don't do your own wrenching. Shops just aren't backlogged in the winter months which means faster turn-a-round for customers. Wait until spring and more often than not you will have weeks instead of days for a shop to get to your motorcycle.
Tires should be at the top of the list, your actually riding on air and the tires ability to hold it. Over time the elements take a toll on a tires structure even though it might not be readily apparent. Age will harden a tire and it's flexibility, reduction in cornering, gripping, and shock absorption. All of this leads to handling problems along with braking, it's even worse in rain or debris that collects in corners, not to forget those painted lines on roads service. Cornering ability on a hardened tire can be as bad as trying to ride on ice, the hard rubber along with road slickened pavement from cars, and more with a spring shower and your headed to certain disaster.
Try to match the tread design of both front and rear tires for optimum performance, new tubeless tires should always be accompanied with new valve stems (always remove and keep the old valve stem caps before leaving the bike at the shop for tire replacement for a spare.) Tubed tires should always include a new tube, always. A new tube is not that much and can mean the difference in a good ride or a shortened one. Remember that the tube also goes through the same heat cycle as the tire but a tube can break down faster if reused. A patched tube on a street bike could fail with the patch coming lose at the worst possible time. A plugged tubeless tire, especially the front, should not be a substitute for a new tire, a plugged tire could possibly fail faster than a tubed tire.
If you've never done it before with a tubed or tubeless tire, and I suspect very very few have, deflate the old rear tire to only a few pounds and try to ride it twenty feet. Inflate rear and then do the same with the front. The sensation should stick in your mind and give you a good idea how the motorcycle will react when a tire goes flat. Only do this when you are getting ready to have new tires installed. Riding on completely flat tires will ruin the integrity of a tire and even if you plug a tire on the road or patch a tube to get home, it should be at the fore front of your mind to replace those tires asap.

For more in depth information I'm including a link here from the Motorcycle safety Foundation.   

Fuel Mileage

Wondering what type of fuel mileage your bike or one your interested in will get you?

I was checking out the Honda CB500X as found over at Trobairitz blog
and one of the commenters mentioned 65 mpg for this bike. I thought that that was a wonderfully welcome breath of fresh air with fuel prices these days. As usual as I searched the bike out at the Honda sight, almost never do you find the MPG ratings of any make.
So I gave a check at this sight where you can find many fuel specs on several different brands of bikes. Didn't find any on my old Ironhead antique to compare although I know by todays standards my bike is a pig when it comes to fuel mileage. I can squeeze about forty miles out of a gallon of fuel with normal riding, slightly less when all loaded down with travel gear. But still, I luv my old Pig.