Sunday, August 28, 2016

First mod up: Exhaust (or in other words, tired of burning my boots on the pipes)

First mod up is the exhaust on the RH side. I'm tired of burning my shoes and boots on the pipes. The wrap will go along way of preventing these type burns.

First step: cut off the exhaust ends flush with each other.  This gives is a nice bobber look: shotgun pipes! A few pix depicting the process.

I used a level to mark a vertical line on both pipes back from the ends to a point I felt was visually appealing (with the ends well back of the rider's right ear, LOL). 

The ends will not be wrapped, just up to the mounting point at the black frame on the right of the vertical line. This will leave about 7.5 inches of exposed metal not wrapped.

Next, covered the bike with an old blanket and protected the underlying metal with some plywood. I cut as much as I could right on the bike.

I made a test cut on the top pipe first and then cut both pipes on the line with a handheld angle grinder. Used a 6" cut-off wheel which is almost big enough to cut through, but alas, not quite.

I removed the pipes and completed the cut by mounting the pipes in a vice. I cut off the remainder and smoothed it all down with a file.

Not shown is rust removal using Coke and a Stainless Steel pot scrubber. That removed the light rust on the ends of the pipes. I then sanded the entire pipes down prepping them for coating with hi-temp header paint. The paint will stop any further rusting of the pipes either exposed at the tips or under the pipe wrap.

This finish is a nice satin black. I will have to cure this paint by remounting the pipes and do the recommended heating/cooling drill to set the paint.  It goes 10 minute idle, 10 minute cooling, followed by 20 minute idle and 20 minute cooling, finished off with 30 minutes of normal running.

Here's a picture of the mounted black pipes. They look pretty good except still have the problem with the exposed pipes melting boots.

After curing (and cooling) the pipes come back off for wrapping.

I won't detail the wrapping process. There are hundreds of YouTube videos on the subject. I picked one that suggested using 1" wrap and starting from the rear which leaves the exposed wrap ends toward the back. There were also videos on how to snug and finish off the stainless steel tie wraps that come with the wrap instead of using a $50 special purpose tool which I don't have. I ordered two 50 foot rolls off of eBay. They were around $15 each.

I started with the longer pipe first and had help holding the pipe free hand as I wrapped it (thanks, Roxy!). There wasn't a good way to mount it in my vice. The shorter pipe I could mount in the vice and wrapped it by myself. They both came out nicely.

I then started the bike and let it idle a bit to burn off the moisture from soaking the wrap (standard procedure to soak the wrap before wrapping) and burn off the manufacturing "starch" in the wrap.

Next modification up will be the license plate relocation. Where it is now I'm constantly bumping it and bending the plate.

Monday, August 22, 2016

90 Percent done; the devil is in the details

Well, I declare the Bobber Project 90% done. Now the devil is in the details.

The core of the bike is complete. New fender and old tank painted. Main components powder-coated black or spray painted black. Final stages include:

Right hand side:

  • Trim exhaust ends flush with each other to achieve "shotgun" look.
  • Fiber wrap the exhaust to hid the rusty chrome and make the pipes safer for foot and leg (ouch)!
  • Fill in the reverse embossed K&N logo in the air cleaner with Bondo to make it smooth and paint it black.

  • Stain the seat brown instead of black.

Left hand side:
  • Relocate the license plate to mid frame and illuminate.

Front end:
  • Paint the fork lowers black
  • Update the front turns similar to the rears but in yellow.
  • Add black covers to the upper fork tubes.
  • Add black gaiters to the lower fork tubes.
  • Optionally, use old fender to build fork brace.

These can all be done as one, two day projects. Goal is to keep the bike running most of the time. I had let it sit too long last time and the carb varnished up requiring me to take it apart and clean.

Long term project is to clean wiring exposed on the left hand side under the seat with some kind of cover, but for now it's fine to be exposed.

Rest of the views:

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Tail/turns/stop lights take 3

I completed the new tail/turns/stop light on the bobber. I reused the fancy LED lights and the previous tail/turn/stop circuitry and fashioned a new mounting bracket that tucks under the seat rail. Lights are fully visible with the fender in place.


Tail lights on

Tail lights and RH turn flashing (caught in mid flash)

Brake lights on

I relocated the axle plate holder from the RH side to the LH side and reversed the axle bolt so the nut fits on the LH side. This will make adjustments and changes to the plate holder easier. Still working on how to illuminate the plate without a bunch of wires showing. Not a problem for now as long as I don't go out at night.

And while I had the fender and tire off, I went ahead and detabbed the old chain guard mounts cleaning up the softtail suspension a bit.