View Full Version : Lets see them hack jobs!

09-15-2017, 10:57 AM
So a little back story. I picked up an 85 rebel to putts around town with from some dude that did some mild mods to the bike. New pipes, a front fairing, some painted spokes, fuse box replaced with blade fuse box, and some kinda vinyl on the tins (not my thing but whatever). I rode it around for a few days as is before I started ripping into it to make it my own. I take off the JC Whitney faring that was fucking sheet metal screwed into the tree only to reveal this:


Jesus fuck! What is this unholy mess?! Turns out the dude snipped all the stock wiring and proceeded to hard wire a shitty electronic speedo into the stock wiring... Guess i'll be slapping that faring back on until I feel like un-fucking that mess.

So what kind of hack jobs have you run into?

09-15-2017, 11:42 AM
The '56 I am renovating right now had the pistons in backwards and they lined up all the ring gaps. Forty PSI on the front cylinder on a "fresh" rebuild, you could still clearly see the cross hatch on the cylinder walls ). Now that's got to be a record.

Same bike, after media blasting the frame found where somewhere in it's life someone repaired a hole in the frame with Bondo, damn thing held since 1969 so I guess I can't complain too much!

09-15-2017, 12:09 PM
Stripping down the primary side on a Norton twin, was in a hurry and the lighting was not as good as it could have been.
(Driveway instead of up on the bench on the shop), The front sprocket was being stubborn so got out a gear puller with 2 bolts and jaws
Still would not budge. So instead of investigating why and being in a hurry, I cranked down the puller bolts and center harder.
stripped the bolts holding the puller to the sprocket. WTH????
Got out a bright light and started looking. Then I noticed that someone had a problem with a bad key way and "Fixed it" by welding all the way around the sprocket TO the flywheel. Really nice looking weld beads as well. Instead of a few tacks around it they weled ALL the way around. WTH? Not possible to get in there with a grinder or carbide to grind out the weld so, had to cut it off with a torch.
Scrapped one crank. I have a photo of it somewhere on 35mm print film.
Who does that? Welds a sprocket to a crankshaft? what happens to the oil seal?

09-15-2017, 1:00 PM
Not much as far as bikes, really, but had a real winner on an old chevy truck. I had picked up a 1979 1/2 ton four wheel drive. When I first got it, I was blowing a couple of fuses repeatedly. After replacing fuses (again) I backed into a parking spot in front of a large tinted window. Noticed that all of the lights in the back were lit up. Put it in park, and checked all the lights. When I turned on either turn signal, all the lights (brake, tail, and back up lights) kind of had a chase sequence (all blinking one after another like christmas lights.) When I took the light assemblies off, I discovered that someone had wired all of the black (ground) wires together, and weren't connected to anything else. Attached them to ground, and that was that.

09-15-2017, 6:58 PM
Damn dudes! I thought mine was pretty bad but backwards pistons, welding sprockets to flywheels, and balled up grounds are insane. Keep em coming!

09-17-2017, 1:36 AM
Okay, on a 67 Triumph had a customer who was an idiot, literally. Beaned in the noggin with a baseball when he was a kid and a lot of bad parenting and questionable genetics. But he was super enthusiastic and for a while had him as a shop helper as didnt steal, worked for free and was useful in a limited way but in the end he scared my customers and I had several who asked me "You dont let him work on bikes do you?"
So, among many of his F**k ups over the years, On those year Triumphs the rear engine mount bolts have tight clearance with the chain. After some grinding issues with the chain rubbing he installed Carriage bolts in that position as the head is domed and gave the clearance he needed. But he did not consider the underside. Being literally a Square peg in a round hole, he cracked the engine cases. Requires considerable tear down to fix as well. He was shocked this was not a good fix.
On the other side of the motor on the outer kicker/trans cover he stripped out the 2 long 1/4 studs initially trying to use coarse thread US std nuts.. I fixed that,,(Replaced the studs) then 2 months later did it again but this time cracked the cases again around the stud hole on the inner trans case. This required a full trans strip down. Welding the cases, redrilling the holes and rethreading the holes and new studs again.
His idea of chain maintenance was MORE master links! He also would ride out to my shop just to say hi and annoy me. But he wouldnt leave until I gave him oil (Usually 2 quarts) and being on disability he had very little money so expected me to comp him the oil.
I learned to save old oil from the shop and i ran it thru filters and multiple paint strainers and kept that by the shop door and hid the good oil. He ran thru so much of it anyway it was basically self cleaning oil system.
After a while I refused to work on his stuff (more trouble that it was worth) and one day I saw him at a local event (Had to pry him off another guys teenage daughter,,,"Im just being friendly!" ) and when looking at his bike was amazed the front tire had weather checking so bad I literally jammed a dime into one on the sidewall and showed another buddy of mine. He stuck another 2 dimes into other cracks and we stood off to the side. When Gopher came back,, he got excited "COOL! Somebody left me money!".
No amount of logic and common sense applied to that guy and we all worried about him getting splattered. But I think God protects idiots like him. Even though he drove me crazy, despite his many life challenges he tried hard and meant well.


09-18-2017, 11:52 AM
Damn dude, you must have the patience of a saint! Good on you though for letting that guy help out with something he cared about.

09-18-2017, 1:16 PM
I had someone come in the workshop who said his front wheel was well out of balance and was unrideable and made a clanking noise for a few seconds after stopping after fitting a new tyre,... I got it off and took the tyre off & found a 10mm-11mm combo ring spanner flying around inside the tyre !!!....

09-18-2017, 1:57 PM
Damn dude, you must have the patience of a saint! Good on you though for letting that guy help out with something he cared about.

Well, I am not a saint by any means, but The guy had so many shitty hands dealt to him in his life I tried to help him out. Ill help anyone who will make an effort on their own but if you bite my hand while helping we are done.
I got him involved with local ABATE chapters as they always need a helping hand, and he was stoked to be "Accepted" as a biker. He did great for a few years but eventually screwed up that deal as he does with everything. He was great for grunt labor and certain tasks, but one of his challenges was he is illiterate so, no good referencing a shop manual. Also he had no concept of direction so if you sent him for shop errands he would get lost.
I have a long list of his F'ups but another one was I agreed to build him a bad ass chopper. He had a couple project bikes & basket cases and one of them was a factory race bike. Its super rare and valuable but totally worthless as a chopper. So we made a deal, I got the race bike and built him a choppper using his stuff and some of mine.
THAT was a long list of issues and his screw ups. He had a nice set of side by side drag pipes and in a moment of charity agreed to have them ceramic coated on the ID along with some of mine I was doing. (NOT Cheap!) But this keeps the chrome from going blue as well as reduces heat. (Goes OUT the pipe instead of radiating heat).
But the exhaust/header clamps did not fit right he had. So I swapped them out with some chopper finned clamps I had. He got pissed off about this and wanted the others back on. Again, logic does not enter here. So the ceramic coating prevents pipe blueing. But *IF* you allow a loose clamp or leak all bets are off. So after a lot of static we put the other clamps on. Sure enough, they leaked and he had a skunk stripe of bluing down the pipe.
(It looked weird). The coating cost me about $120 and ended up wasted.
Same with his oil bag. He had a nice chopper oil bag with nice chrome. He beat it to shit trying on his own to mount it, I fixed the issues. He then allowed his chain (Too loose and no tensioner or guard) to grind a hole in the oil bag, oiled the rear tire and crashed the bike. I fixed that one too.
As i said, he at heart was a decent guy and my wife yelled at me a few times to give him another chance but he drove me crazy with his BS. I had a LONG list of customers similar to him and why eventually I agreed to shut down my shop & get a real job. I ended up working for local govt agency in Maint and we also took care of public housing units. He and his wife at the time ended up in Public housing but eventually got kicked out. I was told by the other maint guys he did the same crazy stuff there too. Always wanting to help out but usually making things worse. But yep, I got a million stories of peoples F-ups I worked on. (Some of my own as well)

Here is a crappy pix of his bike, Built on a very small budget but was cool for the time. ( A lot of my pix are on 35mm print film so a pain to scan and digitize)


05-10-2018, 4:52 PM
No pics but a great story none the less!
Mid '90's I was determined to buy a running ridable Indian Chief and restore as needed ... Stop me if you've heard this one lol!
After searching for over a year with some near misses, I had decided I wasn't going to find something I could afford and was about to buy a new HD instead. Followed up on one last ad for an HD flathead 80", sold ... But not to me. Guy asked if I was disappointed, told him 'no, I was really looking for a Chief but couldn't find one.' The other end of the phone got real quiet, 'how much money you got?'
Needless to say, I was hooked and 'how bad can it be?' Don't ever ask that! You'll find out soon enough.
To make a long story short, it was a 1940 Military Chief. Started 2nd kick and If you rode the clutch Hard, it would chug off under it's own power and stop when asked. I bought it knowing there were problems. Eyes wide open, masochistic tendencies fully engaged! Told my wife at the time (once we got the Chief home), just gonna take off the broken stuff and repair as needed. I'll stop when I stop finding problems.
She came out 'later' only to find a lot of old Chief parts and no more motorcycle! lol
Found out later she'd been assembled to sell at auction. The guy I bought it from couldn't find a buyer, until I volunteered! Ha
What a POS!!! Everything was junk, mismatched heads, chewed gears, VW generator, broken forks, broken frame ... But the best part was the tanks! Indian tanks were leaded together like a radiator, I think they came apart in 23 pieces! Mine were held together with epoxy, sheetmetal screws and had various bullet brasses leaded into the tears/punctures in the sheetmetal from sliding down the road on its side! This whole mess would have leaked like a sieve if it weren't for the multiple applications of cream (old tank sealant), probably several times a year for decades! It was like dinosaur hide inside the tanks! And remember the Chief has an oiltank in the front of the right hand tank too!
Needless to say, it took a lot of years, a ridiculous amount of parts and a small mountain of cash to finish. ... But I kept that crapload of 'cream' I removed intact from the Chief's LH tank. It was a monument to naivety on my part and a reminder never to buy if you have to ask, 'how bad can it be?'

05-11-2018, 12:26 AM
Great story on the Chief, amusing now, but congrats for not letting it beat you, that in itself is a huge accomplishment many never achieve. I know some overseas guys who are hobbyists primarily but buy stuff here in the US and flip it back home in Europe. Basically fun and most are just happy to break even but they have some adventures here because NOTHING ever goes to plan.
*I Dont tell them where ALL the good stuff is!*
But at times I have been recruited as many people think its a scam or just refuse to deal with people overseas, In return I get some help if I need it in return as many in Europe wont ship to the US or other issues.
Some of these guys have been after vintage American Iron, and I tell them its extremely risky. I know British stuff, most Asian and SOME American but couldnt tell you the difference on a lot of obscure details on Pans, Knucks and Indian stuff.
I also know many of the regional usual suspects and most vintage American Iron thats for sale is exactly what is described above, Cobbled together worn out junk. Last thing I want to do is get mixed up in that.

But here is a related "Indian" story but cars instead. Up in Eastern Washington (Yakima area) Is a lot of Native Americans, and many of them dont like white folks, Several reservations up there. ABATE of Washington has a great run called Zillah, aka as the Spring opener. But the bars and public places can get downright hostile at times and I used to date a lady up there and you take your life in your hands hangin' out in drinking establishments in that area as sooner or later, someone wants to pick a fight.
So one year was up at the Spring opener and a friend asked me to haul his bike home in our truck, as he had found a
"Smokin' deal" on a Classic car on the Tricities or Spokane Craigslist. Not unheard of in that area as its dry and desert conditions, no salt on roads so cool old iron is not uncommon. But looking at the ad, it seemed fishy to me. But he wouldnt listen and off he went. It looked great, Ran great and was a great deal. But he didnt look hard enough.
On his way back to Portland on I-84 people kept staring at him and the car, Pointing at it, and trying to flag him down.
He *THOUGHT* they were just being enthusiastic about such a cool muscle car classic and he would wave back like an idiot with
a big ass grin on his face.
He stopped in Hood River to fuel up and get a bite to eat. At the Gas station everyone just froze, turned heads and people began to surround the car. A LOT of people, some driving by pulled in as well and got out to look. He again, being an idiot thought it was so cool people loved the car and he felt like the luckiest guy in the world.
Then he turned to admire the car himself and about lost it. There was HUGE chunks of the car missing, and other pieces cracked and sagging. Where you could see what pieces had fallen was some seriously rusty cancer and tortured metal, chicken wire, straw and God only knows what else. Turns out they had used this clay-river mud (its kinda orangish red) and just packed the car with it, But they had done a fantastic paint job over it. The body had been smooth, relatively straight and its amazing the level of skill to pull that off.

He got on the phone and the Indian guys who had been so nice to him when selling the car were laughing their asses off at him and calling him a lot of names. He called several of us and wanted us to go with him to try and get his money back up on the Reservation. NO F'n WAY! Sorry Bro... cant help ya. Piss off the wrong people up in that area you just flat out disappear and thousands of square miles of desert to hide the bodies. He tried calling some cops and the sheriff and they just pretty much laughed at him. Plus, No jurisdiction on the reservation and the Res Police wont help either.
Screwed Blued and tattoo'd.

It was a painful lesson that if something seems too good to be true it probably is, and Caveat Emptor. He told a bunch of us when looking into it further that these same guys pull the same stunt on others and its been going on for years.

05-12-2018, 4:37 AM
Yeah, there are assholes in every culture. Unfortunately, as a Certified RV Service Tech, I see some of the worst predators, those who prey on sick/dying seniors. Post Harvey, they seemed to come out of the woodwork and crawl out from under every rock. I sure would like to see those people held accountable. I'd like to think they're desperate/no other option but, the reality is, they're just assholes out to screw the unwary.

05-12-2018, 1:42 PM
SteelSmith, I X Posted your story with your ID on it to a local Vintage club as we have a bunch of AMCA and Indian owners in that club as well, but it translates to other bikes as well. It sparked some discussion ( A bunch thought I needed lecturing on tank liners)
But this guy posted his own inspired by yours,,,
Dennis Gwynne says-

I propose that Whizzer motorbikes were hack jobs from the factory.
My dad bought a 1948 Whizzer from the dealer when I was young.
He got a discount as it had been a "demonstrator".

It was ok up to 20 mph but above that vibration became stronger with speed.
I discovered a restricting bushing in its intake, so I removed it and gained 3 mph.
Youthful exuberance being what it was, I often ran it as fast as it would go (38 mph).

1- After riding 15 minutes my hands began numbing from the vibration.
2- It was not just hands that suffered as rear fenders had a life of 200 miles before fatigue cut them in half.
3-License plates grew all manner of fatigue cracks around their mounting bolts.
4-Headlight bulbs died when the filament overheated from its over sped bicycle generator.
5-If voltage did not kill them vibration soon worked its evil magic in interesting ways on them.
6-Its handlebars came off in my hands one afternoon when the threaded tube through its head-stock broke.
7-Its fuel petcock and valve fell off of its gas tank dumping the contents of its gas tank onto its exhaust and head.
I was enveloped in a cloud of gasoline fumes which would have made a large fireball.
Gasoline poured out fast enough that it cooled the hot engine rather than igniting.
8- Its capacitor broke from vibration
9- Mere weeks after I had sold it its crankshaft broke in half. (I replaced it for the new owner)

It was not all bad, it had a good Brooks saddle and the exhaust could leave 18" flames from a series of "pops" that resulted when the exhaust valve was held fully open while riding with the throttle well open. Given the right incline It was faster than my friends 3 speed Honda 50. It was a Hack Job but it also was great fun.
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05-12-2018, 3:53 PM
Lol! Yeah, if old bikes could talk! Ha!
With the Chief, you gotta figure it was an orphan for a lot of years! Only a handful of sources for parts and you had to be 'in the know' (secret handshake included), to access those sources!
Being it was a '40, built prior to WWII, it would have seen mostly gravel roads. As a Military Chief, it was viewed as a dual-sport. It was tough enough but kinda heavy for gravel/fire-roads etc. Throw in a LH throttle, right-hand shift and a foot clutch the amount of damage through the entire machine was, par for the course!
The amount of tooling I created to rebuild the chassis (not to mention the Military specific leaf-spring front end) was an epic story on its own. Those previously mentioned tanks? I built a fixture to hold all the pieces in place with T-bolts every 1-1/2" to make the tank skin contact the inside mounting baffle and bracket assembly for each side. That jig also located the mounting holes for the tanks, which were 'wallered-out' by loose/incorrect hardware. All of those tank-jig locations had to mirror the frame mounting locations. If not the leaded tank would be mounted under stress and soon split a seam, thus starting the whole cycle of patch and sealant again!

05-15-2018, 9:51 AM
oh man, i got a good couple of ones.....

good friend didnt have a job or any money.....he owned and rode a 1981 XJ650

We would ride and go on trips eveywhere......

night before a 600 mile round trip, his clutch cable broke yet again- so off the lil piece attached to the trans case (clutch actuater?) we welded a sharp piece of tubing for a foot clutch....we called it the devils dick.

also his throttle cable went to crap, rigged up a bicycle hand brake n cable. and when you turned hard to the left it increased the throttle lol

the wiring was like what was pictured by original post lol

i bought him a used clutch off ebay cuz his ate shit when he was doing burnouts and trying to learn how to do standing ones....burned it up.

also, on one trip he lost a nut and the other stud off one of his exhaust manifold. his bike sounded like it was off the Jetsons

lmao- wish i had pics of that pos

RIP 1981 Yamaha XJ650- he sold that bike to dumbass kid