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  1. #1
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    Default Starting panhead after sitting for 30+ years

    I'm looking for some advice on how you guys would approach starting a bike that has been sitting for this long, or even if at all. Is there a way to prime my oil system without starting? Long time lurker and mostly have messed around with evos, I just don't want to cause any damage due to my ignorance

  2. #2

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    Drain the oil tank and wash out as well as possible. Brake clean/diesel/ gas/kerosene what ever. Drain the motor then put some new oil in thru the timing hole. but dont drown it/Once you do get it running pull the return line off the tank and let it run into a container until is is fresh oil coming out. I cut the top off a horeshoe oil tank once to fix a dent. It is truly amazing how much shit stays in that bottom seam and also how much sludge lives at a level below the feed nipple in the back. Of coarse there is alot more but this is a start, sure you will get more suggestions.
    Last edited by flatman; 05-10-2020 at 6:39 PM.

  3. #3
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    thanks, said something about adding oil with graphite additive before storing, must have been high tech in early 80s? just replace with conventional oil?

  4. #4

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    OK, I just did this very thing a few years ago.

    Disassemble the fuel system including the petcock, lines, and carb for a good cleaning and inspection.

    Procure a good battery, clean and set the points and timing, and be sure there is spark at the plugs.

    Adjust the valves.

    Do a compression test, throttle open. Kick until the gauge tops out. Compression may not be much. It was zero on one cylinder on particular bike, but I was not discouraged.

    As far as oil is concerned, most of it will be in the crankcase after sitting for so long. I would drain the oil tank and then add one quart of fresh oil only. When the motor starts, the excess oil in the crankcase will be pumped back into the tank (and onto the floor) so you don't want the oil tank full to start with.

    Check the oil level in the transmission and add, or change it at your discretion. (If it's milky from moisture, change it. Important: check that the primary chain is not badly rusted. If it's really bad it could break and ruin your day.

    Add some fresh fuel and be sure it is getting to the carb, and the float needle and seat are regulating the fuel level in the float bowl, not overflowing.

    Retard the spark, choke on, prime it, switch on, and kick it to life! Prepare for smoke, and maybe some mouse nests coming out of the pipes. Check for oil returning to the tank. Just run it for a minute, shut it off, and analyze what you just experienced. Should feel great!

    If no bad things are bothering you, like the wiring melting down or really bad (expensive) noises, crank it again and let it run for a couple minutes, and check if the oil tank is filling with old oil.

    Shut it down, and change the oil while it's warm.

    Contemplate that first ride. (Might want to go through the clutch first.)

    Enjoy!

    That's all I got,
    Jim

  5. #5
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    thanks for the reply jbinnc. I am mostly concerned with causing unneeded damage to the motor due to not having oil, i'm pretty sure I could get it to start. just looking for how to cause the least amount of harm to the motor after sitting this long. maybe im just overthinking it but the bike is sentimental and was looking for input on how to go ahead
    Last edited by dakotapig; 05-10-2020 at 7:02 PM.

  6. #6
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    Unless I missed it...
    nobody mentioned squirting some oil into the spark plug holes.
    To make sure the rings have some oil on them before starting or even attempting to turn it over

  7. #7
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    I pull wet sumped bikes outdoors, remove the timing plug and blow the contents of the crankcase out onto where ever is handy with a few kicks and after the first few revs when it starts. The mess is modest and doesn't matter. A full crankcase can make kicking a bitch and oil is cheap.

    You can look inside the cylinders with an inexpensive USB borescope and your smartphone, tablet or PC (they're really cool tools.)

    A bit of light oil down the plug holes is a good idea vs. scuffing dry bores.

  8. #8
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    First thing I do Is pull the timing plug and figure out where the crank set all those years and if I got lucky and it wet sumped. If the rods were at the top the chances of there not being any rust on any roller or race are pretty poor. If it was on top a couple days labor and a set of gaskets is cheap insurance. Almost guaranteed that if they sat on top it'll need rod rollers. If I got lucky and the rods were under oil I'd drain the sump and proceed to start it.
    Dusty

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    i always pop the plugs when im ready to start for the 1st time and I kick and kick and kick just to get oil flowing

  10. #10
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    Got a few photos of the long forgotten Pan ... ??

    Like to guess the year, I'm getting pretty good at it ..

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragstews View Post
    Got a few photos of the long forgotten Pan ... ??

    Like to guess the year, I'm getting pretty good at it ..
    Yep..... Me too...... LOL

    I say it's a 56?????? What about you jesse?????

  12. #12
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  13. #13
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    Thanks for your responses
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20200515_171944.jpg 
Views:	30 
Size:	305.9 KB 
ID:	103411

  14. #14
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    And donít stand behind it when it fires the first time. For some strange reason The pipes on a bike sitting that long fill up with acorns, bird seed, rags, etc and one time I saw a mouse skeleton shoot across the floor :-)
    Last edited by horshak; 05-15-2020 at 4:49 PM. Reason: More info

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragstews View Post
    I'll take a WAG at it, based on the one pic: 1963.

    Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBinNC View Post
    I'll take a WAG at it, based on the one pic: 1963.

    Jim
    Ok since we have a pic...... my guess now is a 61.... No top end oilers that I can see........

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tattooo View Post
    Ok since we have a pic...... my guess now is a 61.... No top end oilers that I can see........
    Oh, the top end oil line is there, all right. I didn't even see it until you mentioned it. I was using the Carnac the Magnificent method of guessing, i.e., Wild Ass Guess.

    Jim

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBinNC View Post
    Oh, the top end oil line is there, all right. I didn't even see it until you mentioned it.
    Jim

    It could be an oil line..... But it looks like a wire from the regulator to me....... Who knows???? LOL

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tattooo View Post
    It could be an oil line..... But it looks like a wire from the regulator to me....... Who knows???? LOL
    Look below the air cleaner. The banjo bolt for the top end oil is in place and you can see the 90 degree fitting between the tappet blocks for the oil line.

    Jim

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by dakotapig View Post
    Thanks for your responses
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20200515_171944.jpg 
Views:	30 
Size:	305.9 KB 
ID:	103411
    Cool bike! Good luck starting it!

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