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  1. #1
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    Default Ironhead Re-chop Take 3

    In the fall of 2019 I started the third take of chopping a 1980 Ironhead XLCH. The bike was originally my younger brother's, and we started the first chopper project back in 1998. That project stalled and was abandoned as my life took a different course (I got married).

    I thought my brother sold it, but back in 2008, I discovered it in pieces literally buried in dirt in my dad's barn. My brother sold off most of the aftermarket parts we had gathered (Paughco frame, oil tank, sissy bar, tins) but the chassis and engine were still there. I bought it from my brother and chopped it in my basement and garage.

    I posted a thread of the build at the time on xlforum.net : http://xlforum.net/forums/showthread.php?t=337211

    This is how it looked in 2011:

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    I rode it for a year and made some minor changes: seat, 10 inch z-bars, cocktail shaker mufflers.

    In 2012, I moved from Cleveland, Ohio to the Boston, Mass. area to attend law school and planned on taking it with me. I was moving into an apartment, though, and wouldn't have a garage or my tools to work on it. I took it on one last ride the day before my move and the front cylinder stopped firing. I pulled over and popped off the pushrod covers and discovered that the front intake pushrod was just rattling around free. I assumed that either the rocker or valve broke.

    I took the bike back to my dad's barn and pretty much gave it back to my brother. I thought (mistakenly it turns out) that after law school I'd be rolling in enough money to buy myself a Panhead chopper.

    Fast forward to 2019, and this is what I find in my dad's barn:

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    It had been sitting at the receiving end of my brother's planer and was covered in sawdust.

    So, I loaded it up and brought it home:

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    This is it cleaned up a little.

    I then set out on the third remake. There were a few things I really wanted to change on the bike.

    First, the chain had nearly eaten through the drain plug on the oil tank, and I didn't like the skateboard wheel I had rigged up. I originally planned to cut and weld a slot through the tank for clearance. Second, my wife took issue with the lack of a place for her to sit, so I wanted to add a p-pad and tall sissy bar, along with passenger pegs. I would also need to beef up the fender support which was lacking. Third, I wanted a frisco tank. Fourth, I wanted new handlebars that directly mount to the tree. Fifth, I wanted to get rid of the crappy exhaust mounts and weld solid mounts to the frame. And finally, I wanted a better paint job.


    To be continued.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails TtZaEfDh.jpg  

  2. #2
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    Default

    I stripped the bike down and welded up some mounts for the exhaust. I painted the mags with Appliance Epoxy, and rebuilt the front end adding some rabbit ears bars and removing the spacers I made to lower it, bringing it back to stock length. I'm a really shitty welder, so my plan to notch out the existing oil tank didn't work so I had to get a new one. I also welded up fender supports, a tall sissy bar, and fabricated a license plate mount on the sissy bar. Here's some pictures of the build in progress:

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    I'm now in the process of painting and final reassembly. I decided to try a flake and flame rattle can job. I think it turned out pretty good for my first try.

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    I should have it completed in about a week or two. I'll post an update.

    Thanks for looking.

  3. #3
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    I forgot the most important part of the story!

    I thought that the majority of the cost of this project would be rebuilding the motor. I feared that a broken rocker or valve would have sent metal pieces throughout the motor, requiring a total rebuild. When I took off the rocker boxes, I found NOTHING! There was nothing at all wrong with the top end. I couldn't figure out what was going on. My brother hadn't done anything to it.

    What I think happened was that the motor overheated and the bronze valve guide in the front head swelled and locked the intake valve in the open position. Once the motor cooled, it just popped back in place. It was a really hot day on the last ride and I had been messing with the jetting and timing, so I think that's all that happened.

    So, it turns out it sat in my dad's barn for seven more years for nothing.

  4. #4
    Sugarcubes
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    nice back story. Sounds like you and this bike are not done with each other just yet

  5. #5
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    I finished my painting and hit the tins with 2K SprayMax clear coat. Here's a picture of the tank sitting on the frame:

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    I was hoping to have it on the road by now, but as always, things didn't work out exactly as I planned.

    First, I stripped a bolt in the sissy bar and twisted the head off getting it out. I couldn't drill it out because the other side of the bar was in the way, so I had to cut off the threaded bung and weld a new one on. I have the sissy bar painted up now.

    Then, I reinstalled my pushrods and covers and adjusted them and found that one of the keepers was missing. I had all four pushrods and covers with all the pieces in a labelled, sealed, ziplock bag, but somehow one of the keepers had been misplaced. I had to order a new set of all four, and I'm still waiting on delivery.

    I also removed my intake manifold just to inspect the seals, and they were shot. The rubber seals disintegrated in my hands, so I had to order a new set of those. I'm still waiting on those two.

    But...I have everything else pretty much ready to go. So hopefully in one more week.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Oct 2019
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    Ha! Just posted in your thread over on XLF..... Not many chopper dudes over there it seems.

  7. #7
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    No, not too many, but they know a lot about keeping these old bikes going!

  8. #8
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    Default Almost There!

    So, it's almost ready to hit the road.

    I mounted the tank, fender, sissy bar, oil tank, and kick stand. I also ran the oil lines.

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    As you can see from the bundle of wires, I still need to wire up the tail lights and brake light. I'm also still waiting on my intake seals to be delivered so I can mount the carb.

    Hope it starts!

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