Captain America revisited...

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Prof
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Captain America revisited...

Post by Prof » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:07 pm

Con had his Captain America chopper delivered a month ago...
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He wanted the chopper to more closely resemble Fonda's original. Changes were to include a new tank to match the original, Fishtail mufflers to replace the straight outs and the rear pipe to be closer to the frame( to reduce leg burn!). Horseshoe oil tank to replace the angled one and a full high back seat.

Quite a bit of discussion centred around the front end which has raked triple trees which not only look out of place, but provide virtually no trail... an accident waiting to happen. Rob has a new set of standard triple trees and a deal has been done to use those. That then brings us to the question of rake... 3 degree cups and/or some extra rake. Agreement reached to put in the three degree cups and standard trees and see how the girl sits... then go from there.
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Having already done an hour of so close examination of photos of the original, I made suggestions re using correct tail light and mounting it on the sissy bar as well as shortening the rear guard to match the Fonda chopper. Foot pegs could also be changed to Allen pegs. Headlight is wrong and horn needs changing... plus a few other bits.

Con is concerned about legality from the point of view of not being harassed by the Fuzz, and that is not only a factor with the front end, but more on that later. It also means he will keep the front guard and front brake. Rear brake is a disc and I suggested a juice drum, but that is unlikely due to costs. Con would also love to run a Pan in it, but enquiries produced a big no due to the cost factor.

Clearance lamps...

So, I said I would start with setting up Fonda style clearance lamps...

I had some other jobs to get through including preparing for our Choppers Australia Muster. Plus quite a bit of research was also required (over 8 hours) Very few photos of the original Fonda chopper are available... a few stills and poster shots from the movie, that don't enlarge well. There are a lot of Fonda look-a-likes when examined closely vary considerable from the original, so little help there.
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I have told Con that I will try to get what I do, as close as practical to the original (within cost and safety limits and his ideas). In fact with unlimited finances this would be a fun project to get something really close to Fonda's movie bike, but we'll have to be practical.

First step this is to blow up photos of rear end to see shape and dimensions of bracket plus mounting method...
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First thing I discover is that the sissy bar on Con's machine is mounted in the wrong place. It should be mounted on the next hole to the rear along with the clearance light bracket. To change it would mean cutting and welding so I will have to leaved it mounted as is for the moment. As the exhausts are mounted on the sissy bar, moving it after the exhausts are mounted will mean extra work, so I will wait til Con comes up for a look...
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He wants me to find and mount the correct chain guard, so mounting is researched and a period change guard ordered...
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Clearance lights were HD and currently available after market. I buy them in...
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While on the subject of parts, Con has supplied mufflers (36" instead of the original 30"), oil tanks and derby cover...
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His supplier neglected to tell him he needed mounting hardware as well as cork gaskets for the derby and inspection cover, so I order them in. Con had wanted to use chrome oil lines as per the original, but has an oil filter which the original Hog did not have. He suggests sticking with the existing black hoses, but on examination of the tank, it will be cheaper to get the metal lines and modify the return lines, because the horseshoe tank is set up for the original lines whereas the existing tank has barbs for rubber hose... so have to order them in as well. More hours of work and a four days wait for the parts; care of Pacific HD in Sydney...
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OK. Where were we? Right. Clearance lights. A blow up of the rear of the first Easy Rider photo in this post provides a clue to shape and mounting. A close comparison of the choppers in photo one and photo two shows the top clearance lamp angle differs. Two different bikes. We'll do the better looking angle!

I use the distance from the centres of the two large mounting holes at the front of the axle plate to work out my scale. Measurements then written on the photo. One thing I change. The original lower light points down wards and the bracket is somewhat unsupported. We may level up the light if it looks silly, but I do decide to shorten the lower length by 20mm just to reduce the possibility of the bracket cracking over time...
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Piece of aluminium bent up as a pattern...
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This tool is essential for an 'S' curve like this. Really easy, just a couple of pieces of half inch square bar welded to a quarter inch piece of flat bar...
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First bracket bent...
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Getting the second to match takes a bit more time...
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Bottom mounting tab, needs an angled cut...
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As we are making two of everything, we do each set of parts together...
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Neat curve like this marked with a divider...
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Two brackets mounted at bottom...
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Top mounts measured and cut and tack welded on in situ. Liberal use of non stick to protect rest of machine...
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In the last couple of days I have (with a lot of harsh words) fought with the oil tank mounting. To fit the guard, one bracket has to be lengthened.
The bottom clutch cable mount has to be replaced with a TCS custom one. The brake light switch has to be moved and modified and the oil filter shifted and a new housing made for it.

Bed time now, so I'll go through that lot next time...
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

TriNortchopz
Posts: 67
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:41 pm
Location: Haines Junction,Yukon, Canada
Interests: Choppers, nature, learning more about choppers

Re: Captain America revisited...

Post by TriNortchopz » Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:28 am

Great research and attention to detail Prof! Seems like most of the photos are from the left side...
a bit of info here that may help:
"...Fonda’s iconic red, white and blue stars and stripes panhead chopper, with chromed hard tail frame, was designed and built by two African-American chopper builders—Cliff Vaughs and Ben Hardy—following design cues provided by Fonda. The motorcycle measures 98 in. long and 60 in. high (at the top of the sissy bar) and weighs approximately 650 lbs. There were two “Captain America” bikes built and ridden by Fonda for the making of Easy Rider to ensure shooting would continue should mechanical issues arise...."
https://profilesinhistory.com/press-rel ... asy-rider/

a few more pics here from when it was on display in the EMP museum in Seattle:
https://ultimatemotorcycling.com/2015/0 ... mp-museum/
Con would also love to run a Pan in it, but enquiries produced a big no due to the cost factor.
Maybe one more way to get closer to the look with this kit:

S&S Retro Panhead Conversion Kit
Here’s a way to give your Shovelhead engine the nostalgic look of a Panhead and improve performance at the same time...
https://www.wwag.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects ... e=%2153296

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
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Re: Captain America revisited...

Post by Prof » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:34 am

Thanks for those links. Would need to start with a genny shovel to make the top end kit worthwhile. Was going to put up mounting of the oil tank and building the exhausts this arvo, but ended up welding up a towbar for Rob's bus instead! Soon.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Prof
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Re: Captain America revisited...

Post by Prof » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:43 pm

Oil tank fitting...

Hmm! Fitting a stock period horseshoe oil tank should be as easy as 1,2,3 you reckon. Well as was a popular phrase back in the day, "bolt on ain't always bolt on." Well fitting this oil tank was no exception and ended up very involved.

Con did not realise he needed a mounting plate for the oil tank. We discussed oil lines and although he opted to reuse the existing rubber hoses it soon became obvious we needed the stock lines as the fitting for the period oil tank has fittings for flared pipes, so I added them to my order from Pacific Harley who got the order along with a stock period chain guard here in double quick time...
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Sitting the oil tank in place showed a number of things, the first we'll attend to being the current guard being 20mm further away than stock.
Measuring was a pain because of the lack of space. I was able to bend my small steel rule to do it. Another way would be to use a small piece of card, mark and then measure it ...
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Addition to stock bracket drawn out after measuring distance between centres of the holes...
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Addition welded in and larger diameter holes drilled just in case...
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Bracket is bolted to tank, the tank raised to it's proper location and a ruler used as a sighter to ensure it is level...
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Marking in a constricted space can be done with a bent texta... much easier when they had aluminium bodies!
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Taking the guard off revealed a mess of wiring and silicon. Wires had to be cut and extra wires had been added in for some unknown reason. Will need a rewire. I am going to strongly encourage Con to move the taillight to the Captain America location on the sissy bar...
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Squaring up the hole marks with carpenter's square...
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Drilling compound curved items can be a bit of a challenge. A series of wooden blocks in the drill vice works. I always have a variety handy for situations like this. Punching and centre drilling is always important especially on chrome plating...
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Second issue is is clutch release arm. Red arrow shows the tank mounting plate, blue the upswept clutch arm. On the original bikes, the clutch was foot operated and the arm came straight across past the bottom of the left of the oil tank and then vertical (flattened) and then horizontal with a slot and hole to take a long rod to the foot pedal. Hand clutch models went to a thinner tank and an upswept clutch arm that came just past the seat post. That is the current set up and it fouls the bottom of the tank mount...
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Clutch arm removed and the ruller shows no upsweep is possible...
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I measure up the angle of the slot for the cable in the existing arm...
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Measure distance slot is from pivot edge...
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Measurements written down including distance of cable hole and slot from the pivot...
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Arm cut off...
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Bend removed and arm pieces set up to correct length and chamfered ready for welding. Cable hoke and slot set at the right angle...
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Straightened arm clears everything perfectly...
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Third problem is the clutch outer cable bracket. It will not fit on top of the front oil tank mount any more. remember, this bracket was a later installation once HD went to hand clutch and changed their oil tank. However, will will use most of it...
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There is now a very small space through which the cable can run. For it to clear the tank mount, the bracket needs to be bent downwards about 6mm...
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We will weld the bracket to the seat post. Wrap around end is cut off and a slot cut in the bracket which is then folded in so it will be the same diameter as the seat post...
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Lined up and tackwelded into place. And Wow! The cable clears nicely, hooks up to the clutch arm and works!...
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Previous builder used the oil tank drain plug for the supply line and the supply bung for the oil drain. This will not work with the new tank. Stock line will be used, but means that both the oil filter and the brake light switch are now in the way of things...
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Bracket needs to be bent, but is steel whereas the switch is brass. So it has to be popped off the switch. This is done using a sharp chisel to tap back the pened edges of the brass...
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Mounting slot is now shamfered with a die grinder, so brass can be again pened over it and hold...
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Bracket bend modified and brass pened...
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A 5/16 hole has been drilled in the frame and tapped to mount the brake switch bracket. Not recommended, though I guess just acceptable as it is done within the frame cross piece and not just the frame tubing where it would certainly cause cracking...
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Switch remounted and now clears the oils supply pipe...
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Now to remount the oil filter. Re shaping the oil filter mount is not feasable... quicker (and therefor cheaper) to make a new one. Here pattern traced around filter...
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Piece of M16 bolt has correct thread for HD short filters. Here drilled in the lathe to within a few mm of the other end...
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Meanwhile my new workman for the holidays, Eli is fixing up my linishing wheel which has vibrated loose and wobbles...
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Filter bolt set in pattern as we now fit it to the frame. Setting filter up here allows access to everything. Filter is unobtrusive. It sits about 3/4" below frame so a removal tool can easily be put on it... and filter clears the frame. Mounting the filter pointing down means no oil will get on the bike when it is removed...
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Steel mount now shaped to fit...
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Centre found for filter bolt...
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Dirlled and tapped to M16. Set square is used to get thread square...
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Texta around edge shows that bolt is not quite square, so filter will not properly seal...
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Back with the thread tap. Then retap with some extra pressure to one side to straighten up the thread...
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Test again and now a consistent mark meaning filter will seal...
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Mount is set in position and angle hoses will take is marked. Inlet needs to be off centre but within filter O ring. I will be using same fittings as are in the oil pump, angle fitting seen here to find centre for hole...
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Centre outlet bolt is now drilled at a slight angle for 1/8th BSPF thread. Adjustable angle vice is used...
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Tapped and oil pump fittings used. Replacement fittings on oil pump will be for flared pipe...
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Mounted...
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Inlet set up (lower left) has to be raised to clear filter mount. A short piece is machined up to do this. A similar brass adapter could also be used but is bulkier...
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Inlet and outlets done. They will be locktighted in at final installation...
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Oil filter mount tack welded in place and fittings lightly installed to check clearances and fit...
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A NOTE... For those of you who are building one of these, the M16 bolt option I have used has the disadvantage over a properly machined item is it has no distinct shoulder to pull up against, and may weep oil. Previously I have always welded the bolt in, but want to try this method. If this does leak, I will have to machine up a fitting with a definite shoulder that can be sealed with a fibre washer or if grooved, an O ring. We'll see how it goes.

Chain guard and exhausts next...
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5849
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Re: Captain America revisited...

Post by Prof » Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:51 pm

Chain Guard...

Chopper came with a flat bar chain guard and Con is keen to have the real thing, so I ordered that in. It mounts to the rear oil tank/primary case bracket. A spacer is needed and machined up...
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The original Capt USA chopper would have had chromed hex bolts and nuts, but I am using stainless button heads wherever I can with captive nuts. Captive nuts make life much easier especially in some of the almost impossible spots found on these machines. So a nut is welded to the inside of the chain guard. Bliss!!!!...
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Now rear mount can be done. You always need to keep in mind the arc thrown by a chain at high revs and leave clearance on the guard...
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A rear bracket came with the chain guard, but this is a bit too long. A drill an extra hole and weld in two more captive nuts...
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... and the job is done.

Exhaust patterns have been fabricated and sent to the benders. That story is next...
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Youngblood
Posts: 380
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:48 pm
Location: North-Eastern suburbs- Adelaide

Re: Captain America revisited...

Post by Youngblood » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:09 pm

Great Story so far Prof watching with keen interest.
8) 8) 8)
Youngblood

Prof
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Re: Captain America revisited...

Post by Prof » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:35 pm

Thanks Youngblood.

Exhausts...

Exercise on this chopper is to make it a close replica of Fonda's movie machine. So a lot of hours have gone into finding pics on the net including still taken off my computer screen from the movie. Challenge in this case has been to find clear shots of the right side of the original chopper. there are plenty of pics of replicas, but they are often not close to the original. A case in point are the rear clearance lamp brackets available on the market which look nothing like the originals...
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An interesting challenge too has been the two bikes used in the movie which both have slight differences in the rear pipes, clearance brackets etc.
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When I originally spoke with Con about the pipes, his prime concern appeared to be that the rear pipe stay in close to the oil tank to reduce heat on his leg, which actually touches the original pipe when at a standstill. Also to keep costs reasonable, I use mandrel bends which come in a fairly tight radius. I can do bigger curves with heat and a pipe packed with sand, but it is more time consuming. So although the movie chopper has a wider curve than mandrels give, I opted for the mandrels. Big mistake... as the owner is not happy with the angular look of the rear pipe, so I'll do up a wider curved pipe for him. I then discovered that he had text'd some pics of the curve he wanted. For some reason I missed seeing them.

So, I will detail my original set up because that is most of you would need to do. When I began using mandrel bends I found that because the pipe shrinks at the bend, it takes some effort to create a tidy join. Straight pieces have to be slit at the joins to match the smaller diameter of the bend and then welded. Becomes quite time consuming, so where bends are over 8" apart, I make a pattern with the mandrel bends which I then take to the tube benders and have them bend up the pipe in one piece. This is better for the customer as it works out somewhat cheaper and usually neater. I am able to do it in this case...

First step are the exhaust flanges. ( When I went to get out a couple, I discovered I had only one left. So a week's wait til some more were done.
Ones pictured here are stainless I have in stock c/o Victor...
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Master cylinder line needed rerouting and bending...
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Front header pipe. I like to put the straight length in place. Here I used a selection of timber blocks to locate it according to my photos. Now take bends from head to it...
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There are a couple of ways to cut the bends in the right place and correct angle. This pic demonstrates one
method. Ruler lines up with straight pipe (below) A line is drawn and...
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then a set square is slid along the bend until is is perpendicular to the pipe at the bend. Clear as mud?...
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Fisrt bend cut to fit in the head and then cut as above to line the straight piece up to clear cone, brake and frame...
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Process repeated for the second bend. Unfortunately, I cut the straight piece 8mm too short. If this was to be the final pipe I would have cut a new piece of straight, but as it is a pattern I just add a bit in...
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Odd leg caliper is used to mark the 8mm piece...
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Holding a short piece of exhaust in the vice tends to squash it, so I use a mandrel I made to flair pipes to support it. You can also turn the pipe 90 degrees in the vice with half protruding and cut it. Then slide in a 1mm piece of scrap or a thin wedge into the cut and clamp that in the vice and cut the last bit. Wedge prevents jamming the angle grinder blade...
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Now for the upsweep. Back to the computer to ensure I get it right. Edit and print out the pic and back to the workshop...
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Takes time to get the right angle and location...
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Mark the bottom pipe using a steel rule. Arrow shows texta line...
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Slide muffler on last bend and tpe in position so final bend can be cut...
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Now for top pipe. Muffler taped in position to match angle of front pipe and be a correct height ...
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Sliding in a mandrel bend reveals that it can be used in its entirety. It is close to tank and at a good angle...
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Pipe fitting into rear head and cut to length. A line has been drawn on the oil tank to match the line of the rear mandrel bend. Set square is then used to get correct position and angle of cut...
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Pipe pieces tacked and muffler installed. Works beautifully...
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Two more shots...
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As mentioned before, Con wants a more sweeping curve. I took patterns down to the tube benders and was hoping to pick them up tomorrow. I hope my customers appreciate the fact that I normally take things like this myself rather than them having to pay freight. In this case, if they are ready in the morning, friend Rayne has offered to bring them up for me.

When I have the patterns I can look at doing a smoother curve for the rear pipe...
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

TriNortchopz
Posts: 67
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:41 pm
Location: Haines Junction,Yukon, Canada
Interests: Choppers, nature, learning more about choppers

Re: Captain America revisited...

Post by TriNortchopz » Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:21 am

Great work Prof. This replica is definitely "an exercise"!
"Challenge in this case has been to find clear shots of the right side of the original chopper."
I noticed here you had to relocate the master cylinder line to clear the pipes...thinkin' that the master cylinder needs to be moved (hidden) and a rod with linkage needs to be fabbed to "
make it a close replica of Fonda's movie machine"
. Will that be part of the exercise?

Was looking at a zoom of the right side here:
https://2yrh403fk8vd1hz9ro2n46dd-wpengi ... seum-1.jpg

Another shot of the right side from the movie; can see how tight the exhaust is to the oil tank:
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Last edited by TriNortchopz on Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Prof
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Re: Captain America revisited...

Post by Prof » Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:54 am

As much as it would be cool to make parts to match originals, money is an issue, so this time that will not happen. Things like seat, taillight rear brake, correct rake (cop magnet in Oz) seem at this stage to be unlikely.

Thanks for the pic you linked to. It is a good shot, but not the original movie bike. Will transfer it to my files.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Prof
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Re: Captain America revisited...

Post by Prof » Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:45 pm

Front End...

Current front end has billet raked triple trees... definitely not old school, anything like the original or any good for on the highway. I have measured up the trail and it was under 2". Very light handling, but not stable at speed at all. Solution to my mind is stock triple trees and neck rake and/or
3 degree raked head stem bearing cups. Con agrees to this and that we set up standard trees and raked cups and see how it looks...

I find I have run out of stock of the cups and it takes a couple of weeks for them to come in from the USA. Wiring currently goes through a slot in the top triple tree so wiring has to be marked and cut. Bit of a nest in there and no pull apart joins which is a pain as a whole lot of resoldering will have to occur...
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Tape each side sets of handle bar wires and then cut...
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Wiring fed out of top triple tree. Brake line also runs through it and needs to also be disconnected and plugged...
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Blind topped triple tree. Fork caps have been modified and are bolted into the top tree with an allen bolt (socket head cap screw). Each leg has to be screwed out after removing wheel...
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Head stem bearing outer races are cactus!
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Harleys right through to the Evo have removable bearing cups. Usually need to be tapped out. top one was loose...
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I have modified a half round file as a bearing cup drift. Here knocking out the bottom cup which was a bit tighter than the top one...
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Top raked cup is roughened with a series of punch marks to make it a tighter fit. If we go with just this set up then I will pull out the raked cups and use bearing mount as well as pressing them in. No point doing it now if there is a chance of adding extra rake to the neck... heat could damage the outer races or bearing mount...
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Bearing cups are pulled in with a big piece of threaded rod and correct size washers and nuts. Once started I undo the threaded rod and use a brass hammer to square up the cups as they can initially pull slightly crooked...
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Original style triple trees installed along with the tubes etc.. Chopper now sits a bit higher, so some extra rake would be preferable. Will see what Con thinks...
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Checking for 550 RikikulusRool; 625mm...
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Rake is 43 degrees...
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Con is concerned about legality of new setup, because in its current mode front end is way past the Ridikulus550Rule. So to set his ind at ease and give him some options we do some measuring and calculations...

If the need arises, cups can be reversed, bringing the rake back to 37 degrees and with the existing forks a R550R of around 570mm. Dropping spacer off the top of the springs would drop the front another 3" which should get it within the required 550mm. A shorter set of springs would get the bike well under 550 and more level and please the fun police fully, meaning we could rake the frame another 3 or 4 degrees and still get it back to legal if necessary.
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Well that's the front end ready for Con to check out on the weekend.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Prof
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Re: Captain America revisited...

Post by Prof » Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:18 pm

Thanks TriNorton for the extra pic. Had seen it but couldn't find it this time around.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Prof
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Posts: 5849
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Re: Captain America revisited...

Post by Prof » Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:08 am

Rear wide curved pipe...

Bent pipes came back today with Rayne. Thankyou sir. Con doesn't want the rear one and unfortunately the tube benders got the front one wrong... 20mm too short on the downward straight so that it fouls the cone. I'll have to take it back Monday for a rebend... what a pain.

So, we make up a pattern of the proposed inner curve with a piece of aluminium welding rod...
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Cut off a piece of exhaust tube 900 long. This is double the length we need but allows me to have some leverage for bending. Tube is to be filled with dry sand so needs each end plugged. I tack this steel former onto one end...
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Fill with sand...
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Wooden plug for the other end done on the lathe...
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Banged down hard on the concrete to compact the sand. Wooden plug then hammered in with half an inch to spare which I can hammer in further if need be. Sand has to be as tightly packed as possible to resist crushing of the pipe when bending. It must be dry because any moisture will turn to steam and blow the bung out...
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Tube is progressively heated and bend. Only heated on the outer half so steel stretches. heating the inside will result in kinking. Here checking against pattern...
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I've not done this for a couple of years and realised the sand could have been compacted a bit more, as the tube flattened a little. I used a soft mallet to get it more rounded in cross section, but ended up with some small indents. Also, one small area buckled a little leaving a slight flat patch...
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Indents and buckle removed by heating and tapping our form the inside with a modified jimmy bar...
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Area is brought to red heat and the bar pushed against it from inside. Black spot shows location of the bar. Hold it there, reheat and tap. Does the job well if you are patient and careful...
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Finished pipe linished to remove small marks and to show up any imperfections that need touching up...
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Muffler set up. Double check against photos of Fonda Bike and after a slight adjustment is taped in place. Same done to bottom pipe using my original pattern..
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Muffler brackets set up according to photos...
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Unfortunately, sissy bar is already chromed, because we need to weld on a mounting bracket. Fonda Bike also had taillight mounted on sissy bar and a seat back bracket, so have txt'd Con re permission to weld brackets to sissy bar, meaning it will need to be rechromed...

See what transpires...
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

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