View Full Version : 1st Build - '73 OIF Bonny

11-28-2010, 5:56 PM
Hey guys, long time lurker finally getting around to posting pics from my first build.
I've owned a stock '72 Daytona for several years and wanted to finally take the plunge on something a little more unique. I am pretty comfortable with the amount of maintenance I need to do with the Daytona, but I have never tried anything custom before. After a little looking around for a good project bike, I finally came home with this gal: A 1973 750 T140V Bonneville.


She runs a little rough, but she runs. Time to rip her apart!


I actually bought the bike about a year ago, so I apologize that the first part of this thread will be past-tense. I am hoping that other guys out there that have never done this before and want to start a build will see that you can actually do this.

11-28-2010, 6:12 PM
The intial teardown went S L O W...Even though the 500 and the 750 look similar, they are different enough that I felt like I was starting from scratch. I'm embarassed to say that the carbs took me 2 hours to get off. I am happy to be rid of that ridiculous airbox though.


I used some vacation time from work to plow through this and get down to the bare frame.


This little heater was my best friend during the teardown process.


11-29-2010, 3:45 PM
good luck with the build

11-29-2010, 3:47 PM
Good luck man...I built a 72 OIF earlier this year. Keep updating the progress...

11-29-2010, 8:16 PM
Thanks, I'll post as much as I can!

TikiPunx and Rugburn were a huge help in getting me motivated to start and work on this build. Thanks guys!

Here's the engine out, along with my first dumb mistake....Not waiting for my friend to come over and help me with the lifting. I wanted to see how much it weighed, and the frame ended up tipping over and dumping the engine onto my garage floor. Luckily the only damage I can see is a tiny scratch on the left side.


And here's my second dumb mistake...trying to pull the chain out too fast. It got bunched up in the sprocket and stuck fast. This one took me awhile to get out.


2 mistakes I'll never make again!

11-29-2010, 8:42 PM
Tikipunx and Rugburn recommended that I use Tigman over at Tanks by Tigman for the hardtail, so I headed there with my frame to get some work done. I wanted to keep the front fairly stock, partly to reduce opportunities for mistakes, and partly because I like the look of a Triumph stock front end. For the hardtail, I wanted to keep it simple, 4 inches over.

Tigman sent me these images from his shop while in progress:

We re-purposed the front fender in the rear.

Through the magic of editing, one hardtail, ready to go.

11-29-2010, 9:09 PM
It's about time you started this thread! its been forever man.
have to get you over to the PGCo. garage for a beer once
your land from what ever exotic location your coming from
this time. looks great.


11-29-2010, 9:26 PM
Thanks jm, I'll have to take you up on that offer!

Here's a couple more pics from Tigman's (Dave Huntress) shop.

I bought a tail light and some upswept megaphones from Don Hutchinson, and Dave worked with me to get them mounted on the bike. He built a custom bracket for the tail light:

He also welded a tube on the inside of the fender for containing the wiring coming from the tail light.

He also put the mounting tabs on for the mufflers:

11-29-2010, 9:32 PM
Here's my first mockup, so far so good:

A little further along:

11-30-2010, 4:57 PM
Looks nice! I`ll be following this with interest because I`ve just started my own first build, a `71 T120r OIF.

11-30-2010, 8:27 PM
After the initial excitement of the the first mockup, I realized I had no place to put my foot pegs. I had the brackets that were cut off the frame, but I needed a tab on the actual frame to give the brackets the pegs mounted to some strength.

You can see here the right peg off at an angle, there wasn't any support for the peg. I had initially thought that the engine plate would be enough to hold the peg, but that wasn't the case.


Here's the back view of the right side engine plate and foot peg bracket assembly. I needed a way to support the peg bracket to the frame. It looked strong, but the peg wiggled like a loose tooth.


So the frame goes back to Dave's for some welding:


Once the tabs go on, the bracket/engine plate assembly is plenty strong.



In this case, the bolt of the peg goes through the tab on the frame and connects to the peg bracket. I think eventually I want to weld the peg bracket and engine plate together, but that will happen once I know everything fits.

While the bike was in, I had Dave put on another tab to hold the rear brake switch.

11-30-2010, 8:36 PM
Here's the mockup after getting the engine plates and foot peg mounting brackets taken care of. She's starting to take shape! A couple of the neighbors were giving me the evil eye, so I must be heading in the right direction.





Still a long way to go.

12-04-2010, 2:03 PM
This is the part I should have checked first, before I got into the pegs. The next bike I build, the chain alignment is going to be one of the first things I make sure is correct before getting too far ahead of myself.

I started by checking the alignment with a piece of cord:

Looks like the wheel was a quarter of an inch off to the right. When I put the chain on and rotated the wheel, the chain was popping off the sprocket. Looking down the length of the chain, I could see that it was not aligned at all:

It's hard to see in the picture, but there is no spacer between the drum brake and the hardtail, so I had no room to move the wheel over to the left.

I tried to get creative, and used spacers to push the sprocket out to get the chain aligned. Here you can see I used nuts to space the sprocket away from the wheel. It was far enough off that I needed 2 nuts under the sprocket to move it out far enough:

After talking to Don Hutchinson about this solution, he convinced me that it was a pretty stupid move and I should get the issue fixed for real. So...back to Tigmans, and a day later, he's got the frame all lined up and ready to go. Bottom line, if you get in a pickle, find someone who knows what they're doing!

12-05-2010, 12:28 PM
Here's another pic of me trying to figure out what was going on with the alignment. I stuck the brake rod into the primary to get a straight line to where the chain should be lining up.


Now that it's all lined up and looking good, it's time to move on.

12-05-2010, 12:38 PM
My first attempt at mounting the coils not only didn't work too well, it looked like crap:
I basically took a pipe band with a piece of rubber inside and mounted it to the frame. It was really flimsy.

My next shot was taking the stock coil mounting bracket and modifying it.

I used some tin snips to trim it down to this:

Again...pretty ugly and pretty flimsy.

For the third attempt, I designed a mount with a piece of cardboard, and took it over to Tigman's for fabrication:

And got these back:

Now the mounts look pretty good, I just need to get them painted.


I used the stock rubber rings for mounting the coils, I just had to cut off the bottom lip to get them to fit into the thicker mount.

12-07-2010, 7:50 AM
Now on to wiring. I found a really helpful diagram over at RaskCycle that laid out the wiring in a simple to understand format that us non-electricians could understand.

I got my tymp from Hutch and the cloth wires from Lowbrow, some sage advice from Rugburn and I was ready to go. The first thing I tackled was the tail light. I had to strip the cloth off the wires to fit them through the tube welded to the inside of the fender, then slip the cloth back on over the exposed sections.

I added bullet connectors so I could remove the fender without too much hassle if I needed to.

Positive ground.

Keeping the old wiring harness around was a huge help when it came to hooking things up inside the headlight bucket. I kept the stock handlebar controls for now, so it was simply a task of hunting down old connections and re-creating them.

The one thing about cloth wire is that it looks really cool, but it's pretty thick. Trying to fit all that wire into the headlight bucket was a bit tricky. Next time around, I am going to lay off using 100% cloth to avoid this mess.

This being the first time I have ever wired anything, the harness ain't pretty. Here's my grounding wire that eventually connected to the Tymp, coils, and horn. The next time I put this bike together, I really need to figure out a way to split wires better. Any suggestions are welcome!


12-07-2010, 7:54 AM
Here are some pics of the wiring a little down the line. Yes...it's UGLY! This was my first wiring job, so I was happy enough that it actually worked. I am re-doing the wiring in the spring, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


12-10-2010, 4:51 PM
Nice work man Im getting ready to start on my 78 bonny oif this is some good inspiration for my 1st build.

12-10-2010, 5:49 PM
Like the build this thread has been very helpfull. My question is it doesnt look like that wheel is lined up at all! How are you going to make up for that 1/2"??? Ill be in the same pickel hear soon, and Im using the same wheel on the rear. Next thing is the way your brake lever on your wheel sits how is it going to pull it up instead of forward?? I made a new brake stay mount on my wheel.

Let me know how you alingned that wheel sprocket with the primary sprocket. that bothers the hell out of me!


12-10-2010, 9:53 PM
@ jstein - thanks!

@ OlSkewTrump - It ended up being a twist or bend in the actual hardtail. When I took it back to Dave, it was an issue he cleared up in a day. We didn't check it with the actual engine and wheel that I was using and I just assumed everything would work. If I had gone to him right away, instead of trying to jury rig the sprocket, it would have been a whole lot easier. The best advice I can give on this particular instance is to check measurements twice before getting too far along in the build. It will save time in the long run.

I'm not sure what you mean by the brake lever. If you're talking about the lever coming off of the drum brake that the rod connects to, everything works out there. The rod pulls the lever forward from the back brake, and seemed to work fine once I got the bike running.

I have plenty more pics to post, I've just been lazy this week!

12-10-2010, 9:59 PM
Here's another example of measuring twice. I got the megaphone pipes on, minty fresh from Don Hutchinson and never checked the clearance of the kick start. Why would I? I was no where near being able to start the bike when they went on.


You can see that the kickstarter was about 3/4 inch too far into the muffler. It was an easy fix, I took the kickstart lever to Hutch's shop and he bent it out for me, but I would have had this bike running a few days earlier if I had thought ahead, or even thought to check the clearance.

Of course I never took a picture of the kickstarter working, but I have decent clearance now.

12-11-2010, 1:18 AM
thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I guess on monday or tuesday Ill take my engine up to the shop while she still is together and throw her in the frame to make sure mines straight. Appreciate the advice. Good to know your brake lever in the back still works. Im going to school for meachanical engineering and have took physics and understand torque well and it sounds like it wouldnt work to its maximum at all, but if you say she does, she does. Have you made a brake stay bar yet to go from the frame to your rear brake by chance?

12-11-2010, 9:39 AM
I used the existing brake stay, and cut it shorter. I had a tab welded on after I knew where the muffler was going to sit and how far back I needed to adjust the wheel to make the chain tight enough.


Using the existing stay, I knew the part was strong enough, and it was simple enough to cut shorter, even with limited mechanical experience.


12-11-2010, 9:17 PM
Very nice, I love the OIF hardtails. I did this one about 13 years ago for my twin brother.

12-12-2010, 8:51 AM
if its a ground wire just make it go to the nearest ground. the ground off your coils can go to the point where the mounting brackets bolt on to. like between the nut and frame. and the horn can ground where it bolts to the frame. just remember that your battery is grounded to the frame so the whole frame becomes a ground. any thing metal thats bolted to it becomes a ground as well. BE SURE THAT YOU SCRAPE OFF ANY THING THAT HINDERS A METAL TO METAL CONTACT WHEN MAKING THAT PART A GROUND!!.( paint grease ect.) positive ground is really pretty simple if you let your mind go. nice build . youre going about it with alot of thought and effort love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12-12-2010, 2:25 PM
Thanks for the help, Gonzo. When I get to wiring version 2.0, I'll keep that in mind.

12-12-2010, 2:36 PM
After all of this, I'll be damned if the bike didn't fire up on the second kick. I almost fell over in surprise that I had actually done it! There was a carburation issue, but the guys over at Don Huthinson's shop helped me clear that up. Once the carbs were straight, she ran like a top!

One of the things didn't think about at all was how to keep the battery in the tray. The right side of the tray is welded to the frame, which makes the underside un-even. This means I can't sandwich the battery between 2 strips of metal which I see a bunch of guys doing. In the short term, just to get around the block and enjoy myself, I used zipties.


I sketched this image out for Dave, he said no problem:


I drove over to his garage, and about 10 minutes of welding later:


Now she's all buttoned up, just in time to be stripped apart again for the winter...

12-12-2010, 2:52 PM
Here are a couple of shots from late summer into fall when it was running, before I took it apart again.




Here's the only shot of me actually riding it.

I'm in the middle of breaking it down again. This time, since I know everything fits, and I can actually wire a bike, I want to focus on making it look good. My plan is to get it painted, reduce the clutter on the handlebars, and focus on better wiring, among other things.

12-12-2010, 2:57 PM


Stay tuned, more to come.

12-16-2010, 9:38 PM
I relied heavily on the wiring diagram I downloaded from Rask Cycle, it's easy enough to read for idiots like me. I created a new one based on the Rask diagram that is specific to my bike. I figured I would post it here for anyone who might need help with their wiring.


I have already stripped the bike down, so I did much of this by memory and photos.

12-26-2010, 5:05 PM
Nice build. Those red wires gotta go, otherwise great.

12-27-2010, 9:41 AM
@ Loffer, thanks! I hear you about the red wires, I've been talking to some folks more experienced than me, and they have been giving me sound advice.

12-27-2010, 12:42 PM
It's a blizzard outside, might as well post some more pics of tearing down the bike.

I've got all the parts tagged and bagged:

The frame is ready for some powdercoating:

And I might as well get the valves done and the cylinders bored while I'm at it:


12-27-2010, 4:43 PM
Nice work there iGappy....new pistons and rings too??

12-28-2010, 1:56 PM
Yup, new pistons and rings, boring the cylinders, tapping the cylinder head, and getting a valve job. I plan on hitting spring with a furious vengeance.

12-28-2010, 2:37 PM
Yup, new pistons and rings, boring the cylinders, tapping the cylinder head, and getting a valve job. I plan on hitting spring with a furious vengeance.

Hey IGpappy, don't forget to take you new pistons with you when you go to get those Jugs bored out. They'll need the pistons for a correct fit. I can't remember but I think it should be something like .005 over. Loffer knows I think he is the one who told me when I had mine done. :cheersmate:

12-29-2010, 1:01 PM
Hey IGpappy, don't forget to take you new pistons with you when you go to get those Jugs bored out. They'll need the pistons for a correct fit. I can't remember but I think it should be something like .005 over. Loffer knows I think he is the one who told me when I had mine done. :cheersmate:

Thanks LinkBelt, I'm actually buying the pistons from the same place doing the bore, but I will double and triple check the sizes.

I got the pistons off today:

Didn't have any of the recommended rubber hats lying around, so I used an old innertube to protect the connecting rods.

01-02-2011, 5:21 PM
you have really turned into a garage monster bud.
i'm back in the garage now that the weather has
set in. pulling the 650 out for a big boar and rephase
over the next few weeks come by and have a pop.


01-04-2011, 8:55 PM
@rugburn - I'll have to swing by and check out the damage you're doing to the XS!

01-08-2011, 8:39 PM
Just got the frame back today from Hutch's after a nice sandblasting and powder coating. I guess it's time to start putting her back together.


01-08-2011, 8:44 PM
curious to know, how much was the blast and powdercoat? just checking prices for a future build

01-14-2011, 9:11 PM
I've been pretty lazy recently. Here's the latest pic, nothing too crazy...


01-15-2011, 5:00 PM
Looking good. keep her going

01-25-2011, 8:26 PM
Not much progress, still waiting for my barrels to come back, but I did pick up some goodies.


Got my head done...cleaned, lapped, threaded, sprung and valved.



02-06-2011, 8:27 PM
Finally got my barrels back along with some new parts:

New pistons and rings.

I'm a little worried about getting the barrels on, this will be a first for me...gonna take it slow.

02-10-2011, 9:27 PM
Got the barrels on tonight.

Set up with the ring compressors on:

This is my second attempt, the first one resulted in a ring getting loose from the ring compressor, so I had to back off and reset everything:


Engine turns over...I think I'm good.

02-11-2011, 8:03 PM

02-15-2011, 8:53 PM
Got the head on finally. I was worried about the 'squish' on the push rod tube gasket, but I think I got it right this time.

There was about a 1/4 inch gap when the head went on, before any tightening.

A quick call to my local shop basically stopped me from worrying too much. The gist of the conversation went like this: If all the pieces fit before, they will fit again. True.

I finger-tightened the bolts in the proper order noted in the workshop manual, then kept working my way around in the pattern until it was time to break out the torque wrench.

Looks good...only time will tell.


02-22-2011, 10:35 PM
Real nice.. I am on my way to find out if my +.60 can be replaced and juggs honed ..

02-24-2011, 8:39 PM
I suckered Tikipunx into coming over and helping get the engine in the frame.


Now let the wiring begin!


It looks like last year's harness is still in good shape, so for easy to hide wires, I am going to reuse what I already have. I'm going to focus on hiding the nasty ground wire I had and cleaning up the handlebars this time around.

02-24-2011, 8:59 PM
Damn gappy, awesome work. I didn't see it before or I'd have told you about it. Your copper head gasket take the head off and the gasket get some silver spray paint and paint it let it dry to a tackyness then install. The silver spray paint actually has bits of aluminum in it and it will help it to seal better the the jugs and head. I learned this from an ole greybeard here in the Dallas area.

02-25-2011, 6:35 PM
mmmmm.........i better get my but in gear or i'll be riding in the truck when you and
phil hit the road for the shake down run. y'all are going to have such clean rigs,
i might have to freshin' up my scratch and dent 650. looks great don't kick it with
out us over there!!!!!!!


03-02-2011, 8:05 PM
@linkbelt - I put some grease on the copper gasket as per the instructions in the workshop manual, I hope that will do the trick!

@burn - the electrics slowed me down some this time around, took me a bit to figure out the new switch I am using. I still have a ways to go!

03-13-2011, 8:33 PM
Little by little...getting there:

The downtube has been cleaned up. I have a single harley coil under the seat and hid the wires a bit better from the previous incarnation.

Got the pipes on. Man....I can't wait to start this fucker.


I had the head modified to fit the 650 pipes so I have different pipes than last year. I had to cut about 6 inches off the headers to fit the megaphones on the old tab. I think I was pushing too hard on the cutting wheel.

03-13-2011, 8:40 PM
Can I have you old coil brackets for back-ups!!! I'm hopefully picking up new springs for the front end this week! Great work...I want to hear that thing roar...I've got some neighbors I want to piss off!

03-13-2011, 8:43 PM
Go man Go, I can't wait to see it finished either it's looking good Bro.

03-27-2011, 3:25 PM
Time for some updates...Since I went with the Harley coil and got rid of the stock switches, I changed the wiring a little bit. This is the up to date wiring diagram:


03-27-2011, 3:31 PM
It's alive!! Started 1st kick!

I need to tune the carbs and the timing, but I took a couple of laps around the block without incident. The oil is returning, so it looks like the lines are correct. Hope I'm not missing anything....



03-27-2011, 3:37 PM
so....here's a bit of an issue. I was going to time the bike today, after the first shot with the timing gun, I can see the timing needs to be advanced. I kill the engine, look over on the right side, and there is an uncomfortably large puddle of oil in front of the bike. Nothing is dripping. Where the hell did that come from???? I start the bike, and see a stream of oil shooting out from the oil pressure gauge. I kill the engine and it stops, hardly dripping at all. I'm pretty lucky that I caught that while timing the bike, because I don't think I would have seen it on a normal run.


Has anyone seen this before? I'm hoping that I just need to replace the oil pressure gauge.

03-27-2011, 4:48 PM
Earlier in your thread someone was having a problem lining up a conical wheel. Got the same problem myself. My plan was to mill down the brake plate, there seems to be enough metal there.

03-28-2011, 7:41 PM
@remo - I did end up shaving some metal off the brake, but the larger issue for me was the hardtail wasn't fully aligned properly. I had to take it back and have it corrected.

04-01-2011, 8:17 AM
did u fix the oil leak?

04-01-2011, 9:00 PM
Just got the oil pressure switch in the mail tonight, I'll know for sure tomorrow!

04-02-2011, 10:17 AM


06-30-2011, 5:12 PM
I haven't posted in awhile...I've actually been riding!


I do have a weird thing that happens with my oil level though and I thought I would shoot it out to you guys.

Last week, I go to check my oil, when I take the cap off, the oil overflows out of the tank. I drain the tank (not the engine), and fill the tank to mid-way between min and max on the dip stick. I go for a ride. The next day, I check the oil and it is below min. (only a couple of drips under the bike so I know it didn't seep out while sitting). Again, I add oil until it gets to between min and max. I take it for a ride, when I check the oil the next morning, the oil is overflowing out of the tank again. WTF???

Any thoughts besides someone playing a cruel practical joke on me?

07-07-2011, 4:52 PM
It looks like the culprit might be the oil pump. I talked to the local shop here and it looks like the pump isn't getting oil out of the engine reliably, so sometimes it looks like the oil is full and sometimes it looks empty.

I pulled the timing side off:

The feed plunger (on the right) has a ton of scarring on it, and it was a real bear to slide out of the housing. I haven't worked on a oil pump before, but I am willing to bet that isn't the way it's supposed to look:

07-18-2011, 8:28 PM
Looks like this is going to turn into my first total engine rebuild thread.

For those of you with OIF's out there. If you get your frame sandblasted then powdercoated, do not assume that the inside of the frame is clean. That is a mistake I will never make again. I must have had a ton of blasting media inside my frame that got mingled with the oil and then into the engine. After about 10 hours of actual riding time, I pulled the barrels and my brand spanking new bore job is scored all to hell. The only way to be sure/safe about the rest of the engine is to tear her down.

So...hit the inside of your frame with a good, long pressure wash before re-assembly!