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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Parts from Ohio

My shipment from Lowbrow Customs arrived Monday.  I've bought a bunch of stuff from these guys before and have never been disappointed.

Even Lowbrow's boxes are cool:

As if the box wasn't good enough, things only got better after opening it.  Among other things, I ordered a set of Biltwell Sanderson Foot Pegs and some red fuel line.

Here are the Biltwell pegs.  I thought about black, but opted for the polished stainless ones instead.

Here are the Kuryakyn Zombie pegs they will be replacing.  Yes they have skulls on them but, in my opinion, skulls are cool in moderation.  I like the Kuryakyn pegs a lot but I'm trying to go in a little different direction style-wise.  The Biltwell pegs are a lot smaller and are obviously not cushioned so I'll be interested to see what the impact on comfort is.

It's funny, I spent a lot of time modifying my brake pedal to accept a shift peg (for various reasons, I've done the mod three times now) but the new pegs I got might actually look better with the stock "meat tenderizer" pedal. I'm not sure whether I'll change the shift and brake pedals yet.

I'll post pics after I get around to installing them.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Shaving My Legs - Part 2

Cutting the fender mounts off my fork legs (aka "shaving my legs") is tough work.  On Sunday, I picked up where I left off the previous weekend (click here to read Part 1).  I had one fork pretty much done and the other one had been cut and ground down with a lot of filing and sanding left to do.

Here is the one leg with the tabs completely removed and sanded smooth:

I removed the front wheel again and got to work.  After a lot of filing and sanding, both legs were finally done.

I used zip ties to get the bottom of the fork boots out of the way and masked off the fork caps.

In spite of all the sanding, there was still a lot of old clear coat on the forks, particularly near the top and bottom.  I bought some Dupli-Color Paint Stripper to remove it.

I sprayed it on and waited 15-20 minutes for the clear coat to bubble up.  This stuff worked great!

With all the nooks and crannies around the brake mount, there's no way to properly do this by sanding alone.

The paint stripper didn't do anything to the masking tape, which was good.

I used a plastic scraper to remove the bulk of it followed by fine grade steel wool.  Then I did a second round of paint stripper followed by more scraping and more steel wool until I was satisfied the clear coat was gone. I then used some Dupli-Color Wax & Grease remover to ensure the forks were completely clean before painting them.

I chose this set of Dupli-Color paints to paint the forks black. I used Self-Etching Primer since that is supposed to provide good adhesion to bare metal, especially aluminum.  I used the same stuff on my tank and fender.  I chose High Performance Wheel Coat (black and clear) because I like the resistance to chemicals, brake dust, and chipping.  I also liked it that it didn't require heat to cure like brake caliper and other similar paints.

Here are the forks in the green primer. I did two coats, lightly sanding each coat.

Here they are in black.  I used the screwdriver to turn the forks 90 degrees at a time by inserting the screwdriver into the axle hole.  That way I was able to spray the forks evenly while leaving them on the bike.

Here is black and clear all done and the masking removed.  I did three coats of black and three coats of clear with no sanding in between. According to the instructions, all the coats had to be done within about an hour so the paint was too wet to sand.

I'm letting the paint on the forks fully cure (requires 7 days) before reinstalling the front wheel.  I'm just leaving the bike on the jack.  I'll probably buff the forks at that time.  I know it's a little tough to tell from these photos just how good the results are, but the forks turned out really well.  I am very happy with them!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Headlight Wiring Fixed

Last year, I replaced my stock headlight with a rectangular Lucas 8 driving light.  I bought a Harley connector and pins and did the wiring... incorrectly.  I initially wired it to the high beam, which annoyed me.

I tried to pull the wiring out of the Deutsch connector and mangled the wires.  I managed to cram them back into the correct spots so the headlight was wired to the low beam but the connection was crap.  It would occasionally go out and require a little jiggling of the wire for my headlight to come back on (not exactly safe).

A big part of the original issue was that I didn't have the proper Deutsch crimping tool so my poorly-crimped wires didn't fit inside the connector properly in the first place.

I bought a (relatively) cheap crimping tool on eBay and it works great!  I bought a new connector and pins from a Harley dealer online.

Here's the old connector.  Note that it just uses two wires since my light doesn't have a high beam.

I pulled the wires out, cut and stripped them back just a little and used my new tool to perfectly crimp the pins on them.  Sorry the pic is a little out of focus.

The pins went inside the new connector easily and now my headlight finally has a solid connection.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Winter Projects in Full Swing

I went down to the Rochester Cycle Show and Swap Meet yesterday and took over a hundred pics.  Last night, I fixed my headlight wiring.  This afternoon, I finished "shaving" my fork legs.  Right now, I'm in the process of painting them.  My new Biltwell footpegs should arrive Monday in a box from Lowbrow.  On that same order, I also bought some translucent red fuel line so that should be cool.  I'm 99% sure I'll be swapping out my Kuryakyn grips for a set of ruby red Hippy Killer grips I purchased a while back.  So much to do!

Lots of pics to come once I take a break from actually doing stuff.  Hold tight.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

Rochester Cycle Show and Swap Tomorrow

I'm planning to head down to the Rochester Cycle Show and Swap Meet tomorrow.  It'll be my first time attending this particular event and I'm not really sure what it'll be like but my expectations are high given the list of sponsors.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shaving My Legs - Part 1

I've been running my Sportster without a front fender for a while and decided to completely remove the option by finally shaving my front fork legs.

To all of you who have done this task rather easily with a lathe... you suck and I'm really jealous.  On Monday, I embarked on this daunting (and exhausting) task with a cutoff wheel, drill, and a hand file.

For those who have never heard the term "shaving your legs", these are the fender mounts on the front forks I'm talking about.  They will be "shaved" off the fork legs.

I put the Sporty on the jack to elevate the front tire and removed it.  I loosened all the bolts before raising it into the air.

Here's a clean shot of the fender mounts - four big hunks of aluminum.

On the left fork, you can see some nasty discoloration on the back side of it.  It won't come off (I've tried) so this process will eventually take care of that.  You can also see the two brake caliper mounts below.  I won't be touching those.

The patient is prepped and the cutting wheel is ready.

First rough cut.  One good thing about cutting aluminum is that it doesn't throw sparks.

Two tabs gone.

Four tabs gone.  The fork legs will turn 360 degrees making this task much easier.

I swapped the cutting wheel for a grinding wheel and this was the first pass.

After a little more grinding and a lot of hand filing, you can still see a slight bulge.  It reminds me of a kneecap.

A lot more filing and a sanding pad later, and the right fork was done.  Silky smooth!  I was pleasantly surprised how straight you can get it with a hand file.  It just takes forever and is exhausting.  When you think you're almost done, you're not.  Keep filing, sanding, and repeat.

I got through the grinding on the left fork but ran out of time before I could finish so it will have to wait. This is not a job you want to rush as it has a lot of potential to look like crap if you don't do it right.

I will use the sanding pad to remove the clear coat from both forks and I am currently debating whether to polish them to a chrome-like finish or (more likely) paint them gloss black.  Hopefully I can finish this job next weekend.

[UPDATE: Click here for Part 2]

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Choke Relocation Done

I recently bought a choke relocation kit.  See this post for details.  On Saturday I got around to actually installing it.

I wanted to move the choke from the left side of the bike (next to the horn) to the right side (next to the carb).

I removed the air filter.  It was in desperate need of a cleaning anyway so I took care of that.

For the first time ever, I removed the air cleaner backing plate (I had a local indy install my Arlen Ness Big Sucker air cleaner and re-jet the carb years ago - the only mods on my Sporty that I didn't do myself).

On the left side of the bike, I removed my chrome choke knob cover.

I also removed the bracket that held the horn and choke cable.

Back on the right side of the bike, I pulled the carb from the manifold and unscrewed the choke cable.  I should note that I ran the bike with the petcock off so I used up the gas in the carb before doing this.

Here is the old cable (top) and new cable (bottom).  I thought the new one was shorter but was surprised to learn they were the same size.

Here is the new one fully assembled with the choke relocation bracket.  It was really easy to do by the way.

Here it is on the carb.  Shortly after taking this photo, I decided to route the choke cable behind the fuel line instead of in front of it, as shown.

I pushed the carb back into the manifold and re-installed the backing plate.

Here's a close up.  The cable is much more firm than before.  It's almost difficult to pull.  It won't be auto-retracting.

I actually really like the look of the left side without the horn and choke.  At this point, I am debating whether to reinstall the horn.  I never use the horn and it's weak anyway.  If I do reinstall it, I'll chop the bracket where the choke used to attach.  If I don't reinstall it, I'll hide the horn wiring under the tank.  I've even toyed with the idea of hiding a smaller horn out of sight just to stay legal.  Decisions, decisions...

Monday, February 20, 2012

2012 Swap Meet - Anoka

I went Gringo & Mickey's Moto Psyco Swap Meet in Anoka, MN Sunday morning.  I got there right at 9am so there was already a bit of a line outside the Armory to get in.

The room was full of vendors and it was quite busy.  However, I remember the quality of goods for sale to be a little nicer two years ago when I attended.

I wasn't looking for much and ended up not buying much.  I did get a headlight bucket for the wiring (potential future project).  I also bought a bunch of Sportster pins that I am considering grinding the backs off of one or two and attaching to the bike with adhesive.
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