I buy 10 packs of REAR panhead baskets - and make them into FRONTS ! I use this old, original (white cardboard-type) front panhead base gasket as a guide. I lay it on a rear gasket, and trace the edge - then cut off the edge. Saves me money buying (2) 10 packs of fronts & rears . . .
I like the thick D-Ring cover gaskets, the "firm.dense" style for the dampening pads, Fire-Ring style for the head gaskets, and the heavier Athena brand base gaskets. You can adjust your base/head gasket thickness when determining your piston height at TDC in the cylinder. I try to keep a variety on hand. I have a "gasket addiction" and I've saved all types of gaskets over the years.
I have multiple, flat containers (as above) with all types of gaskets for 900 Sportsters, K Models, 45s and Panheads . . . and a quite extensive collection of 4 speed transmission gaskets, seals, etc. Also extra bushings of all types. It's really sickening . . .
I've got gaskets they don't even make anymore - and when I'm down to my last one, I get all worried and panic . . . The extra-thick XLCH tin cover primary gaskets are awesome. I gave a couple away to a buddy this summer for payment of a shared booth space - and I still have like 7 left . . . but I'm still thinking about it ! I've got problems . . . But hey, those old-time, super thin oil pump gaskets that shrink up over the years (and you have to put them in water to expand them) are the best. The new ones are too thick - and those white mylar plastic things are junk. Sometimes I just open up everything and take a mental inventory again. I have gaskets all over the living room floor and my wife thinks I'm a kook with all this stuff. But I just love it . . . Anyone need a gasket?
On side valve motors, it's easy to see how cam/valve timing and ignition timing work, and understand what's actually happening in the motor (with the heads off) What position the piston is in - Where the valves are on each cylinder, in relation to which cylinder is firing. The Harley 45s are a great learning tool to educate a person how engines work, and what makes them work. A mechanic has to understand how a motor works in order to correctly diagnose issues. Myself, personally, after all this education, and thinking, etc . . . I still have a difficult time troubleshooting problems, which is the true test of a good Wrench. You can be a great engine builder, a great machinist, etc., but a good Wrench is a difficult title to achieve. It's probably the reason most of the oldest mechanics are the best Wrenches . . . they've seen it all and 'been doin' it the longest.
Are these real magnesium? Some are - some aren't I believe? A couple different versions. The can make any bike look good - especially the "ready for a street fight" lookin' shovelheads ! (Click Photo for LARGE View)
I've decided to run this bike to Sturgis this year. It will be it's 6th trip in 7 years. Fuel every 50-70 miles (depending on towns with gas stations). If I'm in a hurry, I just leave it running, swipe a card, and 1.5 or 1.6 or 1.7 gallons later . . . I'm rollin' outta there !
I checked all the fluids (really clean !), did a "nut & bolt" check with all the wrenches on the entire bike. I took the primary cover off (no belt dust) and just looked over the belt, checked a couple things, everything good. I run a Diamond chain, and I shot 3 kinds of lube all over it - then chain wax at the end. Don't really like chain wax 'cause it's white, and looks like shit - so I wiped most of it back off. They throw out little cans of chain lube at the bike shows (I don't know why, since most runs belts anyway?) so I usually get one for the trip home.
I just ride this thing pretty normal - and nice. It runs the old style "roller" lower end (no Timken) and it's just been a great engine. No burnouts, No poppin' the clutch, No powershifts. It'll do a steady 75mph all day long - and last time I went on this trip I rode it almost 750miles in one day. Pretty good for a '52 rigid frame chopper.
Brake fluid is full and clean. It's my only brake, so it'd better work, right? Tires good, check the spokes, axle nuts, brake nut, axle adjusters . . . and my chain guard is spring/bolt mounted (like factory) so my oil tank don't crack, and stuff doesn't break - it's worked good so far.
This Super E has just been the best. I can't even remember what jets I run, but a suspect a 29.5 and a 70 or 72 Main? I've had the carb for years. I sanded the body for polishing, but then left it as is...since it looks cool. We've been through a lot together, on multiple bikes, multiple miles.
My ol' friend Lil' Joe (from Las Vegas) molded the frame, tank, everything . . . and painted it. It has took direct hits from the biggest rocks, and some huge bugs - and never chipped. The bondo has not cracked (partially due to Jeff Wiley's dynamic balancing of my stock flywheels). Lil' Joe PAINT with Noot WRENCH . . . Wish me luck - but with the good Lord on my side, and a smile on my face, I'll try to see some sights and have some fun - and share it with you later. Not everyone has the time or money to go on a trip like this - and each year I dedicate my run to those we've lost, and to those less fortunate - and try to spread some cheer to all I meet. Respectfully, -Noot
The Right Stuff gasket maker by Permatex is the best solution for sealing up your pan covers. I put a small bead around the head, smooth it with my finger, attach the James gasket (I like the medium thickness dark gray ones), then smear a bit more (especially on the low sides - front and rear, then add the covers, maybe just wiggle 'em around a bit, line up the holes, add the D-Ring . . . then snug 'em down (starting on the low sides) evenly all the way. Clean up the squeezed excess with Brake Kleen - then retorque after you run the bike some. Best way I've found to seal 'em . . .
This is a '48FL I been workin' on for about 2 years. We need an FL plumber-type intake manifold(3 3/8" length) and a Timer Head for those 2-piece points(like a Chevy 6 takes...) then we could run a good condenser, like a Blue Streak or Zenith. A '48/'49 actually had a steel manifold that was welded and smoothed out, but a bit later cast manifold would work for now . . .
This ol' 52K is one of my favorite motorcycles I've ever had . . . but they sure are weird. I mean what super genius came up with angled valves for better flow, and instead of angling the tappets - lets just angle the cam lobes - ground at 3 degree angle all the way around on exhaust and 1.5 degrees on the intakes??? What the heck?
I did have an old timer tell me that Sportster P grind cams work good in Ks and KHs . . and they ran 'em all the time for racing. I asked, "What about the cam follower rollers riding on straight lobed cams? The wheels would just ride on one edge? He said is did wear 'em out, but had less friction, like riding on a knife edge . . . and just for 20 laps around the track. I've never tried it . . .
. . . and '52-'53 crank pins/right flywheels press in with a key to help lock it - and line up the oil hole. Save money on nuts, locks, and screws? This actually ain't a bad system. It came back with the Twin Cams.