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  1. #1
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    Default '71 Shovelhead from New Zealand

    We’ll, I thought it time for me to post a build thread on my shovelhead. I’ll give you the backstory from my first days of ownership.

    So, I live in New Zealand and round here old Harleys are few and far between, so in 2014 I went looking to import a bike from the US. After a few months scouring Craigslist I found one I was pretty keen on, the money was right, I got it checked out and pulled the trigger. This is the pic of the bike on Craigslist, it had a few nice bits on it such as belt drive primary, early swingarm, juice drum brake, 21” front wheel, 3.5Gal tanks etc, rebuilt heads (apparently), I was pretty happy. I put it on a boat to NZ and after a 4 month wait it turned up.

    All was good with the bike, it matched the pictures, was quite tidy, and ran. I had seen video of it run by the guy who picked the bike up and freighted it for me, but this was a relief to see it in person. The day I got it I changed the oil out, got it running, gave it a quick once over, and was off for a ride. Bear in mind this is the first time I’d ever ridden a HD….I was stoked and headed round to my mate Steves to show him. @Straightleg_steve on Instagram, he has a heap of cool old stuff and has been a mentor with the old HD big time for me. Cheers Steve for all your time and wisdom.

    Here’s me arriving at Steves, this is about 30km from my house. Bike ran great on the ride over.

    We hit the road, my shovel and Steves shovel. About 15 mins down the road i hear a faint tapping, just enough of a noise change to make me wonder, I pull over, we check It out, still running “fine”, but head back to check pushrod adjustment etc just in case. All checks out and we cant find anything obviously wrong, so back on the road. Noise goes away. So we make it about 30kms further from Steves to the pub, have a beer and then decide to head back. About 5kms back down the road the noise of a spanner being shaken in a tin can and a dead Shovelhead fills the air.

    This is what we found. Dropped exhaust valve, lunched head. Bad times.






    So we pulled the bike down immediately. At the end of the first day of Shovelhead ownership this is how my bike looked.



    I rebuilt the motor, sent the whole thing to a specialist shop up North here in NZ. New bottom end to factory specs (it was well shot according to the builder), new S&S heads, a complete freshen up top to bottom. While it was apart i polished the rocker boxes and cam cover up too. I also did some research, motor should be an 80”, however, had 74” gear inside. We suspect the PO swapped out some good bits and slapped whatever he had laying around in for sale…lucky me. The motor was a real mismatch inside, different pushrods, wrong rotating assembly, valve retainers were different, not to mention the Timkens were knackered, apparently a rarity….yikes.






    Got the bike running again after about a month, re-jetted the carb for the 74”, it ran mint, put new stainless bars on, got rid of some of the horrible bits on it, removed the dead electric start system and made some blanking plates up At this stage it looked like this..



    Life was good again. 500km later and I go to start it and the kicker goes to shit. Right, gearbox overhaul time. Pulled it down and found this..





    stripped kicker gears, worn bushing…big time. However, found some good, full Andrews gearset (like new) , Andrews mainshaft (stuffed), Jims countershaft. G-Box case is Custom chrome. It’s a bitsa. So, rebuilt that, machined the mainshaft spacer for an O-ring, new Andrews mainshaft and kicker gears, all new gaskets. Back in action.






    Couple more miles down the road, wiring goes bad. I’ve learnt to always have tools on me riding this thing, had enough electrical tape to get me home. Partial re-wire was no major.



    Right now this is how the bike looks. It was a bit of a “troublehead” for a while there.



    Anyways, the bike now runs great and I love it, learnt a lot, but I’ve always had a plan and a purpose for this bike. This is the next part of the story and one that I’ll be keeping you up to date on. Chopper time.

    I’ve been collecting parts for a few years now. Some of them as below, HCI axle plates for the hardtail which we are building from scratch (Steves working on the jig right now, its a masterpiece), re-pop springer with Jammer top clamp (not using the long one, i built that for fun/another project, if you want the plans ask away!!), GME folded oil tank, 21” x 1.6” front wheel with Star hub (needs lacing) & drum brake, Wassell mid tunnel tank, NOS Avon Speedmaster 21” x 2.75”, Tin-primary setup etc, plus a heap of other bits as you can see.






    I’ll be keeping a build thread going on here, I hope its interesting and fingers crossed I can put something cool together. This isn’t going to happen overnight, the bike will be at Steves and I now live in another city 4 hours drive away and don’t have a garage, I’ll be doing the 4 hour commute regularly to do this so bare with me. Luckily i work for a large engineering company so can potter with stuff here between weekends wrenching. I’ll do my best to capture all the cool small details of a project like this for you all.

    Thanks for reading
    Last edited by AndyNZ; 06-13-2019 at 3:24 PM.

  2. #2
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    Awesome post man! I could almost predict some of it, I relate well to it. ��

    Nice surprise to find Andrews in the trans, you deserved that after all the headaches. Nice looking scoot, sorta hate to see the stock frame go, but I understand.

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    Nice post man, thanks for sharing. Good luck with the build looks like a fun project.

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    At least you now know what's in there...a nice collection of parts for your build.

    Guessin' you know about the Choppers Australia forum (kinda in your part of the planet); here is a link to a recent shovel build with some very nice fabrication which may be of interest:

    Victor’s Shovel Chopper
    http://www.choppersaustralia.com/for...php?f=5&t=8524

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman96 View Post
    Nice surprise to find Andrews in the trans, you deserved that after all the headaches. Nice looking scoot, sorta hate to see the stock frame go, but I understand.
    Thanks Rockman, it was a nice find, saved me a few dollars as i was expecting it to be a mess like the rest of the drivetrain. I'm in the same boat on the frame, its been a mental tug of war on the decision. In NZ the bike is titled to the frame so if i was to get a new frame id have to go through the re-vin process again, pros and cons lean it toward working with what ive got, + its not numbers matching to the motor (no issue over here) so i can sleep at night haha.

    Quote Originally Posted by TriNortchopz View Post
    ...a nice collection of parts for your build.

    Guessin' you know about the Choppers Australia forum (kinda in your part of the planet); here is a link to a recent shovel build with some very nice fabrication which may be of interest:
    Thank mate, trying to do it once do it right....pay once cry once right haha. I hadn't come across that forum before, thanks for the heads up, will definitely check it out!!
    Last edited by AndyNZ; 09-20-2018 at 3:00 PM.

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    Nice, really neat bike cant wait to see how it turns out.

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    Damn it , what do all you kids have against rear suspension and decent fuel range?? Just kidding...
    From the talent/effort you've shown so far, I reckon this'll be a stunning build!

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    get baker kicker gears, completely rewire that while ya at it

  9. #9
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    Once upon a time there was this FLH that wanted to be a Chopper .....

    The Fellas at the Mo-Co was like ...

    The owner was like ...

    And all his peers was like ....

    Last edited by Dragstews; 09-22-2018 at 9:48 AM.

  10. #10
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    So familiar

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davestune View Post
    get baker kicker gears, completely rewire that while ya at it
    Gearbox is all rebuilt with the Baker kicker gears, forgot to mention that!! Internals consist of Andrew, Jim, James and Baker...good bunch of lads.

    So familiar
    The bike or the way this story is unfolding?

    I've been chipping away at a few things in the background so have some updates to come soon.

  12. #12
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    Familiar in one respect, there's a lot of cool custom rigids being made out of four speeds. The frame in the shot attached was hardtailed by P&D Custom Bikes in the UK. Long story short , I built a dogleg framed Pan instead, a friend finished the job to make the attached. Click image for larger version. 

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  13. #13
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    So, ive been working away in the background getting bits and pieces buttoned up before the bike gets pulled down.

    First thing I needed to do prior to lacing the front wheel was rebuild the star hub. Rather than rebuild to factory specs (even though the bearing races were in good condition) I decided to fit sealed roller bearings. I’ll detail the process and give some insight as to how I did this as I see people ask from time to time.

    I used this link for the base of the work I did and made changes as i saw fit http://www.shovel-head.com/tech/fahr...conversion.pdf.
    First, I machined the hub for 3x sealed bearings. I did 3 (2x at the brake end, and 1x at the star end), as by adding a 2nd at the star end I would have had to machine through to inline with the flange which I didn’t like the idea of, I used the widest bearing for the star end I could get my hands on so the load rating wasn’t drastically reduced. I used bearings 6204-2RS x 2 and 63004-2RS x 1.




    Next, I machined the middle spacer, again, just a modified version of the above link to work with my 3 bearing setup. This was quite tricky as there is a double step portion to accommodate the steps in the axle which took some careful boring work. Also critical was getting the fits for the ID of the bearings to the sleeve right, and the width between the bearings so when its all snugged up the bearing can run fine. Got this all within 0.02mm.





    Next, I did the axle spacers. I quickly modelled everything in Solidworks to get base dimensions, then tuned for "as built". I sat the hub on the axle with only the star side bearing in place, I then machined a dummy spacer from scrap tube as per my model to get things centred, and adjusted accordingly. Once this was done I took to the brake side. I knew I would have to shorten the drum sleeve, but by how much…same process as above accept now I have all bearings and the centre spacer installed in the hub. Measure and machine a dummy spacer, bolt all together and check centre. All was good so machined the star side from aluminium to finish length, and shortened the brake side sleeve to the spacer length I dummied. All done and ready to be laced to the rim.



    Next, I’d seen the Wargasser juice drum anchor plates before and thought it a really nice solution for the juice drum brake stay. I had a couple of these cut from 6mm stainless at work on the laser. Oh yeah, I work at a really big engineering shop so have access to all sorts of cool gear….you name it we have it. I then machined a small lug out of SS and fused it in. Still needs a polish and some finishing work but its worked well.





    Also, Steve gave me this sweet folded GME oil tank a few years back and I always knew I wanted to use it on this Shovel build. It needed an oil cap which I had laying around which fit perfectly, this will see a polish in the future. Originally it had the HD fittings on the tank with the odd flare and I wanted to make this more standardized for ease of making/buying lines and fittings, I came up with a plan.

    I cut off the original HD fittings from the tank and replaced these with run of the mill JIC 37 degree flare fittings. I bought these with a thread on both ends so machined one end down to a weld prep and TIG’d them on. Hardline fittings for these use a cutting ring to seal the tube to the flare, so no flare is needed, just bend and cut the SS tube to length and assemble…easy. Furthermore, braided oil line and fittings are readily available for this flare type so getting flexible lines is a simple task now. Win win.



    The tank had a bit of surface rust on both inside and outside. I bought blanking fittings for the JIC threads and oil drain, filled it with white vinegar and salt and left it for 2 days. Rinsed it out the next day and it was like new inside. Left all the plugs in it and gave a spray with CRC to stop any flash rust until it gets oil someday. Cleaning up the outside was a simple job with some a 240 grit pad on my orbital sander.
    I’m super stoked with this oil tank and can’t wait to see it on the bike!!

    I'm heading back to where the bike is located for the upcoming long weekend so will strip it down and drop the front wheel to be laced up while im at it. Pics to come.

    By the way, if im being too wordy, or not enough pictures please let me know, trying to make this is enjoyable a read as possible.
    Last edited by AndyNZ; 10-24-2018 at 1:59 PM.

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    Wonder if using a axle plate like this one would had been any easier ...??

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragstews View Post
    Wonder if using a axle plate like this one would had been any easier ...??

    Click image for larger version. 

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    They are really nice and could well have been Dragstews. I bought these off my mate Steve who'd had them lying around for a few years..just working with what i had available to me and really happy with the outcome.

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    I like following this one! Pics and words are cool. Love the oil tank , run one similar on my shovel.

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    The words and pictures are awesome mate, I appreciate the detail and the thought process. This bike is going to turn out great with your approach and the access to machines is pretty handy too.

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    The weekend been saw the last days of the bike as it was, i snapped a few pics before it pulled it down. I truely did love how this bike looked...one day ill have another the same.




    I pulled it down to a bare frame. Honestly it was good i did, i found alot of small issues that would have made it unsafe too ride and/or casued me gried given more miles. Here where we are at now..




    Frame has been dropped for an acid bath to remove all the paint and crud, front hub and rim are being laced up, about a fortnight away for both. Today i had the new rear tyre fitted and did some cleaning work on the rear rim. The PO has painted the nice SS nipples blue which had to come off, luckily a good knife and some scotch bright were all that was needed to scrape it off. The crhome on the hub and rim was just sweetened up with some tin foil and water. Came up nice.





    When i pulling the rear drum apart i found the brake shoes were stuffed, so will be ordering new ones there. Also, the rear sprocket is missing teeth and needs replacing, luckily i have a new one so today i ordered a 10-24UNC Helicoil kit to do the swap to capscrews as per Saddlebgrails method. http://www.caimag.com/wordpress/2011...ead-of-rivets/
    Need to get a allen key for the drum bolts so that will be this weekends mission, will clean the drum up while im at it.

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    Great job on the machining and fabbin' mods.
    Not sure if I missed something but have a question on your bearing conversion. That link for the starhub upgrade (https://www.shovel-head.com/tech/fah...conversion.pdf ) shows the hub bore at 47mm, yet the 6240-2RS bearing is listed as 36mm OD. I don't see a sleeve in there...did you need to make a sleeve to fit those 2 bearings into the 47mm hub?
    I see the other side of the hub is the same as the 63004-2RS bearing, at 42mm.

    Another question; what is the OD of the hub spigot on the outside of that 47mm bore - just wondering about that wall thickness, as I am doing a bearing conversion for a Hallcraft wheel on my rigid T120 and kinda worried about the thin space between the bottom of the inner bore of the hub and the OD of the spigot.

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    Hi TriNortchopz,

    Sorry that was a typo i missed, i have updated the post now. Should have read 2x 6204-2RS1 which is a 47mm OD bearing, two of those on the brake side. So no sleeve for the bearing OD was made, just bore and press fit into the hub.

    I can measure that tonight for you, there is a few mm wall on either side and i'm not worried about the structural integrity with the given wall thickness in anyway. I have seen hubs done in the past where they have bored the ID as i have, then pressed in a sleeve, and used something like a 40mm OD bearing, giving extra wall thickness in the spigot, could be something for you too consider if you are worried.

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