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  1. #1
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    Default Good info in the 45" Flathead?

    What's a comprehensive source for this?

    I bought an iron headed, 45" flat out of a Servicar. The engine is all I have. Nothing else. I want a hard tail chopper.

    "What fits what" has some parts compatibility in it. Is there something similar that just exhaustively covers the 45?

    Mods. Changes over the years. Interchangeability.

    Whatever you may know is more than I know about them, and is news to me.

    Thank You.

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    Well, I am no expert, But there is a sh*t ton of tech and stories about them, From military models to racing. I know some guys into them and some of the really rare racing models.
    Might start here at this,, ton of info here alone:
    See http://victorylibrary.com/45PER.htm
    " This is VICTORY LIBRARY’s comprehensive booklet on obtaining the best speed & power from your Harley-Davidson 45” flathead 1937-73 solo, Servi-Car, military and civilian, including model letters WL, WLA, WLC, G, GE, etc.
    Your “obsolete” 45” side-valve is capable of surprising speed & power, without loss of original appearance or reliability. Over 30 years of research and experience has gone into this booklet. It’s the original, best, and most complete do-it-yourself literature you can buy to get the most from your Harley-Davidson 45. Before making any decisions about modifying (or even rebuilding) your motor, get the best help available, and do it right the first time. This book is not a repair manual, but goes far beyond into fine tuning, improvements and modernization. Use it with your service manual for best results. Not an expert mechanic? You’ll still find many improvements you can make yourself with common hand tools.
    VICTORY LIBRARY is the original source of side-valve performance (since 1971). This information is not reprinted from other articles, magazines, or H-D factory literature and is not available anywhere else.
    I guarantee that you’ll find information in this booklet you’ve never seen before, and that will help you plan and complete your project.
    Consider this: if this booklet saves you from making even a single mistake or bad purchase, or gives you one new idea, doesn’t that make this purchase worth while? The price is a small fraction of what you will invest in the motor - plan more intelligently, and get better results. Revised in 2011.
    Contents are 58 pages of text (over 33,000 words), stapled in paperback to save printing costs, includes the following chapters, some with black & white illustrations, diagrams and charts:
    45 Power I; the original and best idea source for speed & power from your 45 (my oldest & best known booklet, in print since 1976 but revised and improved constantly. It should be your first step to modifying your own motor. These instructions get results, and are easy to follow; no welding or expensive & complex machine work is needed.
    45 Power II; the next step for even more power, for fast street use or building a replica racer; explains many techniques used by experts 50 years ago.
    45 strokers; details on installing long-stroke flywheels to build a 900cc motor, selecting components, where clearancing is necessary, calculating skirt lengths, piston compression distances, adapting commercially-available pistons, or constructing a “short-rod” 45 stroker motor using S&S flywheels, modified std. pistons and Sportster rods, more.
    Relieving the 45; a general discussion of relieving the cylinders & heads for better flow and more effective combustion, plus detailed specific instructions to help you plan & complete reliefs on your std. 45 for better performance.
    Porting the 45; instructions for improving the 45’s breathing capacity, both intake and exhaust, from the valve seats to the port opening, for all standard cylinders 1936-73.
    Factory hot parts; the only detailed guide to H-D factory speed equipment for the 45 & K-Model motors, gives part #s, data on original use, measurements, interchanges between models, how to identify WLD, WLDR, WR & K/KH/KR parts such as heads, manifolds, rods, cylinders, crank-pins, cams, & cam covers by casting numbers, dimensions, more.
    Cams; identifying, selecting, modifying, re-timing and installing.
    Flywheel weight; how it affects performance.
    Big valves for the 45; complete instructions to easily install high-quality, inexpensive, reliable auto parts for more top end power; diagrams show how to modify your exhaust valves for better flow, too.
    45 motor data chart; gives exact dimensions and running clearances, etc.
    45 bore & stroke chart; gives engine size for all bore oversizes & stroker flywheels.
    45 sprocket ratio chart; gives ratio and speed for all motor sprockets.
    45 transmission ratio charts; give ratios and RPM loss, as well as tooth counts etc. for pre-war and late std., special & WR close-ratio transmissions.
    45 racing specs chart; clearances, end-play, settings, dimensions, etc. for high-performance engine assembly of 1937-73 standard motors.
    Service tips; many useful shop short-cuts and hints.
    Good numbers?; some ideas on decoding VIN numbers, detecting alterations etc.
    Z rotor; a simple breather timing modification for more power and better oil control.
    Please note: this is not a “coffee table book”, it is intended to be a research tool for those who seriously want to improve their 45 engines. It is not a repair manual. If your bike won’t start, float bowl leaks, spark plugs foul, &c. my booklet will not help you. It does not contain information on tune-ups, or explain how to remove, disassemble, clean or restore the bike. If you do not already have this information do not buy this booklet. If your engine is stock and you’re pleased with how it runs now, this booklet is not going to be of much use, although you might find it interesting.
    “45 Performance” does not include any 80, Linkert, Mikuni, 45 Magnum or British transmission information, please order these separately: Click here for other Victory Library booklets on the 45 & 80 flatheads.

    New: get this booklet plus “The Linkert Book” at reduced price, click here: Click here to purchase both books at once, and save money.
    New: get this booklet plus “80 Performance” at reduced price, click here: Click here to purchase both books at once, and save money.
    Click here for a full-size view of the “45 Performance” book cover Click here for the mail-in foreign order form Price: $19.95 + the actual postage. No hidden charges. I'll ship anywhere in a strong tear-proof Tyvek envelope by 1st Class Mail,

    ------------------------------------
    So, My basis is that I am mostly into British bikes, and at one time I was going to get a basket 45, so I went around to all the gurus of the time in the early 1990s and learned all I could. The 45 kept the British bikes in check, and flatheads could go to 750cc but the Brits were limited to 500cc OHV.

    So, on the bikes themselves, one trick is swap out the springer rockers to flat head big twin to avoid breakages. MOST 45s had a 3 speed trans that limited speed, so many people swap in a British trans.
    One old school trick is a Preunit BSA Gearbox, swap in a 51-53 BSA semi unit main shaft which you can then fit a Norton Commando Clutch basket and 3 row chain which will line up to the HD engine sprocket.
    Other people fit other Trannies,,,but you get the point. Then there is "Magnum" Motors with 45 bottom ends with Sportster top ends.
    Others can fill you in, But there is a crap ton of old tech out there for these.

    Up in Washington, theres a old school AMA MC Club called the Tacoma Ducks, aka "Dry Ducks" and they run a race called "Dinosoar Daze" 3 days of racing MX, Flat track, swap meet and bike show, big party and dance. So for a while, the most innapropriate racer there was a Norton Featherbed frame chassis (Known for road racing NOT MX,) with a HD 45 mtr in it, Norton Gearbox and Jap carb. It actually was pretty competitive in its class.

    ANYTHING is Possible!

    More here from the victory library on Magnum motors...
    See: http://victorylibrary.com/45MAG.htm

    The 45” W-Series flathead (1937-73 W, WL, WLA, WLC, G, etc.) is the smallest and slowest V-twin that Harley-Davidson has produced in the last 70 years. Its low compression, obsolete port and valve positions, limited displacement, small carburetor and mild cam timing make for reliable, but un-exciting performance.
    There are many methods that will substantially improve performance, by the usual addition of more compression, bigger cams, larger carburetor, etc. but their success is limited by the basic side-valve design. Regardless of how much money is spent, how many rare factory racing parts are installed, and how many hours are spent fine tuning, the motor will never be competitive with 45” over-head valve engines.
    45 “Magnum” motor
    However, over 30 years ago a famous 45 enthusiast named Randy Smith noticed many similarities between the 45 and Sportster motors. After careful planning, the first known “45 Magnum” engine was created by grafting 900cc Sportster cylinders and heads to the 45 crankcases. This product is the result of many years of research and investigation (including a visit in 1973 to the original Magnum engine in Long Beach, California).

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    I personally have little patience to watch and learn from videos but Tatro has a lot of them with the 45".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCbLDVLmwSI

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    Your local AMCA and accompanying website would be invaluable as well as "45 restoration Co." which sells parts and Bruce Palmer 3rd's books on military 45's and "How to restore your Harley Davidson" which covers 45's as well.
    Another invaluable source.

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    Good info and good ideas! Thank you all very much for your assistance.


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    you gonna rebuild the motor?

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    Quote Originally Posted by flatman View Post
    you gonna rebuild the motor?
    Oh yeah.. I sent the title off today. Hate to do or plan too much without that squared away.

    But, yeah. It has been sitting in someone's basement or garage for years. It is in really good condition outside. It's nice.

    Supposedly rebuilt in the 90's, but I'm not going to try and run it like it is. I dunno anything about what is in there except it turns over and they took the heads off and looked inside, then put them back.

    So, yes. Absolutely.

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    ...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 20210102_151037[1].jpg  

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    I don't know a thing about building motorcycle frames, but this guy here has kind of inspired me. I think he's doing a hell of a job and it's super cool so far.

    I do have a TIG welder I use to burn holes in things and make a mess with. I was looking at pipe benders last night. This is promising:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CPQ437S...v_ov_lig_dp_it

    I need to talk to someone who has done this and knows it, to find out about tubing materials and wall thicknesses. Because I have no clue what to use.

    I have a bike to ride, so it is a long term project. A frame might be a neat project. Paugho makes a 45 frame for not a lot of money, but I don't like it.

    I know I like these two bikes.

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    I want something very similar. Simple, hardtail, chopper. 100%.

    Everyone will think this is nuts, but I don't want to hunt down the rest of the driveline.

    Been looking at 5/6 speed softtail transmissions on Ebay. They're really cheap and would help a low revving, torquey, small engine like this out a ton. Electric Start.
    Last edited by confab; 01-02-2021 at 2:53 PM.

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    I would not buy that Amazon set with out further research into CLR of dies available. Those die look like a very big bend radius, not especially helpful for a motorcycle frame. I would think a 3" CLR die would be best perhaps 3.5". For a large radius bend like Big Twin rear lower legs, a tubing roller would work fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ncmc47 View Post
    I would not buy that Amazon set with out further research into CLR of dies available. Those die look like a very big bend radius, not especially helpful for a motorcycle frame. I would think a 3" CLR die would be best perhaps 3.5". For a large radius bend like Big Twin rear lower legs, a tubing roller would work fine.
    That is a good point. The larger tubes are 7 radius and the smaller ones are 5's.

    Which would be good for a 45" downtube, but.. Maybe not much else? As you say.

    PS: In case anyone is interested in this kind of thing, "Chopper Builder's Handbook" has a whole section on Tubing charersterics.

    https://chopperbuildershandbook.com/tubing.html
    Last edited by confab; 01-03-2021 at 5:19 PM.

  13. #13

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    I remember seeing a video of Jesse james bending frame tubing (red hot) around a wood form. just a thought

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    Quote Originally Posted by flatman View Post
    I remember seeing a video of Jesse james bending frame tubing (red hot) around a wood form. just a thought
    That's fucking cool.. I guess that's one way to do it, eh? lol.

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    But it was a large bend radius, not particularly helpful for a smaller bend radius.

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    Harley-Davidson OHV and Flathead
    Camshaft Identification

    http://victorylibrary.com/tech/cam-id-c.htm

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    Harley-Davidson 45 Engine Displacement

    To use this Chart:
    1. Find your bore size in Column 1.
    2. Move right to Column 2 to the exact size for boring (decimal)
    3. Select your stroke in Columns 3 through 7
    SEE CHART

    Notes
    * All 1929-73 D, R, W, G, K & KH 45 & 54" motors are the same bore size
    ** Largest commercially-available 45 piston oversize
    + Norton 750cc Atlas or Indian Scout 45 piston, pin must be adapted to fit, will have temperature problems in std. cylinders; not safe for 120-39/391 (WR) casting
    ++ Absolute upper bore limit of all 45 type cylinders, not recommended
    † Std. stroke, all 1929-2000 D, R, W, G, K & XL flywheels
    (except 1954-56 KH, & XR750)
    †† Indian Chief 74" flywheels
    ‡ 1954-56 KH flywheels
    ‡‡ Available from KNS Cycle, must use Sportster rods & special 1" crank-pin
    For metric piston sizes, 70mm = +.010, 71mm = +.050, 72mm = +.090"

    http://victorylibrary.com/tech/ci-45.htm

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    Technical Manual #9-879
    Harley-Davidson Model WLA
    WAR DEPARTMENT
    Washington, 18 October 1943
    MOTORCYCLE, SOLO

    http://www.velocedge.com/42harley/HarleyWLA.pdf

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    If I were gonna do a frame I'd buy a couple or three sticks of tubing and teach myself torch bending. At least one 33er make wooden dies (cheap and expendable) but I didn't save the link.

    You can have cylinders recoated to match any good new piston set you find. The powersports guys and dirt bikers have it done all the time. I looked into it when I scored an old Guzzi with the blistering chrome bores (which if you have them don't even start the engine, just pull the top end) but sold the bike instead since it didn't fit my desires. Example but I've not done business with them: https://www.millennium-tech.net/serviceInfo.php?id=1

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    ...torch bending. At least one 33er make wooden dies (cheap and expendable)...
    Thread: Need to bend some tubing and don't have a bender or that particular die?

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    http://www.chopcult.com/forum/showthread.php?t=46266

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