We came across this Motorcycle on eBay USA, in a place called Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA.
This was the ideal candidate for a restoration as the bike was all there, and was just showing its years.
We purchased the bike Sept 23rd 2008 and had it shipped across to Ormond Beach, Florida.
The Mileage was indicated as 33,316 miles, Motor # CDG8565BM and Frame # 347606.
The seller had only owed the bike for about a year but the prior owner has lived with the bike for twenty-four years. The colour of the bike was Indian red.
The bottom end was rebuilt by Wally Enders Indian. The top end has also been rebuilt (pistons, rings, valves and valve guides). Original receipts for rebuild parts came with the bike as well as a spare Ignition and tools box keys and original Indian parts manual and workshop manual for the 74i. The carb is the original M-344.
Other original parts are crash bars, Moto lamp headlight, speedometer, handle bars, horn, seat pan, dash light mounting bar, handlebar cross over bar, brake lever, chrome seat springs and high output 2 stage regulator (rebuilt). Also included was an original Indian windshield and luggage rack as well as fine reproduction saddlebags.
Tanks, front and rear fenders are all original 47 Indian. The wheels have stainless steel spokes with chrome rims. Transmission was the original rebuilt 3 speed. The prior owner put a 25 tooth counter sprocket in the place of the 24 tooth so the bike would cruise at a higher speed (24 tooth sprocket also came with the bike).
As with all new projects we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it and have her kicked up and jumping to attention… so after inspecting, fuel and oil levels, checked electrolyte levels and having put the 6 volt battery on charge it was time to carry out some mechanical CPR, and kick start the new arrival into life.
Having applied the “Three Steps to start your Indian” routine (guaranteed to start on the 3rd kick!!) the heartbeat of the Indian was conspicuous by its absence… i.e. it didn’t start!!!
It didn’t start after the next 20, 30, 40 or so kicks after that either! Darn it!!!.
Everything else being equal…It was time to fall back on the time served principle of …Fuel … Spark… Ignition timing… BANG!!
The Carburetor was dismantled and the float bowl, jets, needles and passage ways were inspected. As was expected, the gasoline must have been old and had separated leaving behind its residues and films.
Having thoroughly overhauled the carburetor (it was evident that all was not quite how it left the factory in ’47, however well enough to fuel the Indian for a start up).
Applying our attention to the Gas Tanks, fuel lines and sediment bowl separator it became clear that the fuel leaving the tanks was contaminated with suspended particles of either paint or tank liner and this was cause a bigger problem in the long term.
Yep there was a spark there alright… 2 of them in fact… one on each cylinder!
Have you ever seen how much sweat an overweight Englishman attempting to put up a beach umbrella in 90 deg F of heat can produce!? … Well that has nothing on me trying to kick start the Chief in the Florida summer heat!
Click here and watch the YouTube clip of the event. (…if you’re watching on a laptop… turn it sideways!...)
A few short rides (or should I say short lived rides) and the contaminated fuel surely and squarely came home to roost. Close inspection of the Fuel tanks revealed the cause of the problem. Both fuel tanks had been lined previously (to protect them from rusting) and over the years the liner has deteriorated, broken down, and has, and continues to , flake off and break down into fine particles. The mixes with the fuel leaving the tank on its way to the carburetor causing blockages on the way.
The only sure fire long term solution to this was to get hold of replacement gas tanks, The N.O.S. gas tanks would need to be lined themselves to prevent them from rusting in the future (…here we go again…) and this was achieved using Kreem 3 Pack tank liner purchased from J&P cycles, Ormond Beach, FL.
Now whilst all this was taking place something else came to light… A large oil leak from the Primary drive casings!
It turns out that, now there is a correct amount of oil in the Primary drive casings (and transmission), the oil quite easily finds its way out, in a manner that could not be called “bashful”.
Building the Relationship…
Now that we were acquainted, it just didn’t seem right to watch the lubricating life blood ooze onto the ground without providing a cure.
And so it came to pass, it had been decreed that the oil leak would be cured, and that hands would be laid on the Iron beast and those hands would disassemble, repair and reassemble, as was necessary to heal the wounds.
What hadn’t been decreed was that as the engine was removed from the chassis, it came to light the overall condition of the machine was in need of attention.
What transpired next was recorded has been reproduced here in both Picture capture and Video footage.
The images that follow have been catalogued, categorized and edited to provide a detailed record of the rebuild of this fine machine, from Original machine, thru disassembly, reassembly, and finished rebuild.
Here you will find 711 flies in 96 folders… the most detailed imagery record of an Indian Chief rebuild on the Web!