View Full Version : What to Save vs Pitch

05-14-2007, 07:18 PM
We all accumulate a pile of "junk" parts when we do a restoration. Just wanted thoughts on what kind of stuff to save and what parts to scrap. On my '52 Chief, I saved the fork leg lowers for possible rebuilding in the future. I just pitched the worn out stock pistons. Still saving the worn out gears from the tranny, but I'm not sure why.

05-14-2007, 08:25 PM
paper weight, boot brush maybe? It's difficult to part with anything.

T. Cotten
05-14-2007, 08:51 PM

(gasp, wheeze...clutching chest in pain.....)

Why not torch the rest of the machine while you're at it.

Everything has value, even if it isn't worth "money".

I have a 741 muffler that is rusted in half, yet someone dedicated to reproducing them exact has asked for it to average with others for a template.

Some of my most dear hardware was found with a spade.

Nevermind. I'm demented.
I even welded teeth on my Chief Tranny gears, when I could have bought fresh ones from India!


05-14-2007, 09:46 PM
I've been hanging onto a Harley pan 1950-style muffler that some cut completely in half in the exact center to remove the guts then welded it back together. What this person lacked in welding ability he made up in quantity of weld. Someday maybe I'll figure out what to do with it.


T. Cotten
05-14-2007, 10:28 PM
Sounds a lot like the one off my first Pan, which served well for a mile on my Datsun pickup.

It made me proud.

My greatest regret is that I cannot help clean up the grounds at Davenport each year.

(Dumpster Diver's Motto : Seek, and Ye shall Find!)

05-15-2007, 06:44 AM
Yes, I can see TIG welding gear teeth using H-11 or other tool steel rod. But as for saving a worn piston--I don't think so. You can buy all the new ones you need.

T. Cotten
05-15-2007, 07:35 AM

Now that ashtrays are out of style, I concede that used pistons are often doomed,..
although I save old piston rings for castiron filler rod, and wristpins have infinite uses around the press, mill, etc.

I'm sure there has to be someone on this forum who casts his own aluminum, and pistons are far better metal than beer cans. Such skills and resourcefullness are becoming quite rare in this modern throwaway society.

(I've been dumpster diving so long that I can smell good garbage.)

05-15-2007, 10:03 AM
I use worn out wheel hubs as pen and pencil holders. Pa

T. Cotten
05-20-2007, 08:30 AM
And don't throw away those worn-out sprockets!

Every year at Davenport, I offer a 'bounty' on Indian and HD drum and tranny sprockets so that I can preserve them as shown in the attachment.

I am planning to do the windows next.

(Waste not! Want more!)

08-09-2008, 02:51 PM
you know the minute you throw something away you will want/need it.

08-09-2008, 04:18 PM
i was raised on the motto of if ''it's free an it don't eat bring it home ''

08-10-2008, 05:04 PM
Speaking of cleaning up the grounds after the Davenport meet, I was reminded on an incident that occurred maybe 15 years ago at the Charlotte (NC) Autofair. I vended there for many years, selling GM parts, and was there at the conclusion of the Spring meet on the last day, late afternoon on Sunday. I was waiting for my friend to come back after the test drive of a '70 GTO. I waited and waited, and the infield there at Charlotte Motor (Lowes) Speedway was almost empty. Like you suggested, many vendors left what they got tired of hauling around and I was near such a stack of several old mostly 40's auto fenders and hoods.

It was quite common for others to check out any discarded parts, so I was not suprised when a couple guys drove up, checking out the stack. Suddenly one of them exclaimed, "I can't believe it, there it is!" To which his friend replied, "There's what?" His buddy said, "I've been looking for that fender here all weekend and walked this place over 20 times and couldn't find one! And there one is! And it's free!" He and his buddy got out, loaded up the fender, lauging like a couple of kids and drove off.

So, like they say, one man's trash, another man's treasure.

08-10-2008, 08:50 PM
The funny thing I've been noticing lately is that stuff we thought was junk 10 or 15 years back is looking pretty good these days, considering how lousy the aftermarket parts have gotten and all else. And as far as pistons go I guess that depends on exactly what make and model you need them for. It took me quite a while to find a correct set for my EL pan. It seems all the aftermarket EL pistons are for Knuckles and don't provide the correct compression.

T. Cotten
08-10-2008, 10:28 PM
I found a Cycle Ray headlamp in the 'parking lot' the day after a farm auction. The tractor collectors had no interest in it. (And no, it wasn't for a Jeep, it was NOS military OD!)

Davenport is looming before us again, and again I offer my bounty on well-worn Chief and HD Bigtwin drum sprockets ($5), and their corresponding counter sprockets ($3).
Please, no other models (unless Scouts are the same as Chiefs?)... and chromed ones deserve a buck less.
(Booth W-2 by the race gate as always.)


11-22-2008, 10:32 AM
Stumbled upon this thread and just had to comment. I'm new to the antique world and was brought into it when I stumbled upon a one-owner '47 EL with a broken rod. Bike is all apart for a good cleaning and spruce up. As maintenance items are replaced I cannot bring myself to toss anything in the trash. Only thing that made it so far was the long pogo springs that had broken into a dozen little pieces. In hindsight, I wished I had kept them as well. When I cleaned the fenders, I even saved the lumps of tar and dirt that I chipped off. The rear jug that was ruined in the rod failure sits on my desk as I type this along with the shifter gate.

I feel that all this stuff is part of the history of the bike. It really belongs to the bike not me. I was thinking about making some of the old parts into something like a lamp at some point. Maybe even making a little pile of road tar and stones at the base.

When you think about all the good stuff that has been thrown out over the years, it makes it all that much harder to toss the worn out stuff now.

Chris Haynes
11-22-2008, 12:44 PM
I use worn out wheel hubs as pen and pencil holders. Pa

I put new bearing races in worn out hubs and use them.:D

11-22-2008, 03:19 PM
Cotten....You are a bad...or even a good....influence on me. ;) I decided to keep my old junk parts. In the mindset you have with the spent sprockets, I figured i could weld together, just about every scrap part I have. The aluminum parts can be bolted to steel parts, then welded. Maybe a mailbox post ? Maybe a stairway handrail ? The art possibilities are endless. HEH ?? ;) Paps

T. Cotten
11-22-2008, 10:50 PM
Forgive me if I have posted this pic before (attached below).
(Special thanks to Mssrs. Breeding and Glasgow who donated the bulk of the Chief drum sprockets.)

As I mentioned in another thread, history is preserved by displaying the incredible abuse that these sprockets endured when motorcycles were utility machines and not vanity icons.

(And they live on by serving the purpose of slowing down any unwanted intruders.)

Previously posted is my shop's sign: http://www.antiquemotorcycle.org/bboard/attachment.php?attachmentid=3336&d=1226108912

Absolutely nothing went up on the roof that would ever be worth taking down, except the whole of it, perhaps.

Waste nothing, ever.

PS: Snakeoil!
Saving that vintage bituminous may be more important than you think, as someday judging priceless un-restored machines may depend upon chemical analysis to determine if their history has been faked!

11-22-2008, 10:54 PM
Yep !! That sounds like an yea to me ! ;) Paps

11-24-2008, 10:00 AM
Paps, I can only imagine how many people looked at that bike and wanted to either steal it some night or thought you were a fool to put a valuable old machine like that up there.

Therer is a shop in Central NY that has an old rigid BSA out front. I actually stopped to take a look at it as it is at eye level. Part of the mailbox arrangement. It's made from pieces as well.

11-24-2008, 11:06 AM
I can't take credit for the bike. Cotten put it up. Wish I had thought of it though. Paps

11-24-2008, 07:51 PM
I keep everything I remember my Dad saying why are you throwing that away!! then he would follow with what you dont need today you may not have to pay for tomorrow !!!Nothing much gets thrown out here MC or otherwise!!

11-27-2008, 06:03 PM
I had an original condition, unrestored teens bike, that I saved the dirt, crud, and grease off it when I cleaned it up. (from under the fenders, and engine cases etc). Then when I had to put new white tires on it, I made a slurry of "original bike crud" , and re-applied (some history) to the new tires, so they didn't look so out of place.

Now I can sleep better at night, knowing I didn't waste anything off it.