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The Grim Reaper Comes Together Again.
An Old School Chopper, built at home, by God!
July 23, 2006

Well, after a long, slow couple of months working on other stuff and getting ready to move to Yakima, the critter is finally assembled. Naturally, nothing ever works perfectly - it won't start yet. I have not gone into deep diagnostics, but it looks like something is out of time. Kick it through, and there are a couple of sequential backfires through the tailpipes, which tells me that it's firing with the exhaust valves open. A quick check of the valves and timing show that they are apparently right, which leaves (among other possibilities) the chance that the cam is installed out of phase with the crankshaft. That happened the first time I ever put it together, and it's a pretty easy fix in about two hours, but that's another story.
The taillight you see here is a generic cheapo from J&P Cycles that I used the first time I put it together. Now I'm making another one out of 2" aluminum tubing with an LED illumination unit that will mount in this same place.
Here are a few tech details.
LEFT: the electrical buss. Since there's a magneto, no battery is required, and none is used. Power comes from the alternator to the regulator (at the top of the front downtubes), then back to a big capacitor (sold under the generic name "battery eliminator"). The capacitor feeds the light circuits: hi/low beam; neutral light & high beam indicator on the dash; tailight & brakelight. That's all there is.
RIGHT: These twists of solder are about the simplest wheel weights you can use. If you decide to do it yourself, make sure you rosin core solder, not acid core. The acid will come out and damage your spokes. Wrap it around the nipple, and when the wheel spins up the solder will slide to the end of the spokes and stay there as long as you're moving. As you can see, it doesn't stay. When you're moving slow in the parking lot or pushing the bike around they slide around and make a pleasant tinkling sound, kinda like the jinglebobs on a cowboy's spurs. I like it. Some others won't. ABOVE: This is an open primary drive, so the alternator rotor is exposed. Since it is on the end of the crank, you can mark it to indicate crank position, and put a reference mark on some convenient place close by. First I centerpunched a small mark in the metal shield that surrounds the rotor (arrow on right side), and then I drilled a shallow, 3/16ths hole in the right spot on the rotor (other arrow) opposite the reference mark. A small dab of paint (red or yellow or something else bright) will make it stand out. Now you can use your timing light on those marks instead of the one on your flywheel. Just remember: If you pull the rotor for some reason, you need to put it back in exactly the same place in reference to the crank, so you might want to mark the end of the shaft the next time you get to it.
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