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Thread: 32 VL Build

  1. #1

    Default 32 VL Build

    Ok...I am building a 1932 Harley VL and my plans are to document the build as best as possible, I am also doing it on Classic American Iron and will copy it all here, hopefully get more feedback to help me with the build. I may bounce around a bit because lack of funds or bored working on any particular part. I'm going to try to be as specific as possible but will probably fail at that also. I bought this bike as you see it in the photo at Jefferson in the fall of 2016. So far I have mostly torn things apart and cleaned up and have not had much time to work on it since I got it and cash was tied up. Keep in mind that at any time someone wants to buy this pile of parts make me an offer, I'll sell anything, except my soul. Short history on me...I have been building cars most of my life but my first ride was a 73 Yamaha 175 endure, bought new and I progressed from there, Triumph hardtail bobber, 4WD's, VW's Camaro's and Vette's from the 50's and 6o's then on to traditional hot rods but I always liked bikes. Anyway here is what I have so far including my 47 WL if the pictures back soon I hope.


  2. #2


    Original "pile o parts" I got at Jefferson.
    Last edited by no6; 07-06-2017 at 07:49 AM.

  3. #3


    As you can see my pile of parts above. I am going to try Image Shack instead of Photo Bucket and see if it is easier. As I said I bought this at Jefferson but have not had a lot of time to work on it so I bounced around a lot so there will be no rhyme or reason to this madness. I have taken pictures but I'm on a learning curve on what to take that it might be helpful and on with the show. I will do the clutch pack. Getting the six screws loose without buggering up the heads is fun, make sure you have a screwdriver that fits tight. Most of mine came loose but one, usually there is only one and its usually the last one. I ended up using a impact driver but did not hit it hard, the underside of the head has a couple raised ridges that grip the outer hub. Everything was greasy so I cleaned it up and glass beaded it. Some may not think this is the right way to do the lining but I washed it off with lacquer thinner and lightly from a distance glass beaded it then reassembled everything. It is real fun trying to get the screws back in but you can put it back together with the hub in your lap and a C-clamp. The screw that I used the impact driver split the head so I have to get another one. I need a special puller to take this clutch pack off of the tranny, you cannot pull from the outside of the hub or you will distort it, you need to pull from the three slots in the center. I made a puller but I didn't take pictures of it and can't find it. As far as I know this pack was never painted so I will not paint it.

    This is going to take a long time to do.....Bear with me till I get all of this posted then I can post pictures as I go along and it will be easier to follow.
    Last edited by no6; 07-06-2017 at 08:36 AM.

  4. #4


    I have sandblasted and cleaned a lot of my parts and I treat them with a metal conditioner that has phosphate in it which neutralizes rust and lets paint adhere better and you can let it sit around and handle it without getting it all rusty. The transmission is all tore apart and waiting on funds to buy parts then I will put it together and try to document it. I have been trying to catalog what parts I have and list what I need so I don't have double parts.
    Anyway, that's all for now, I'll be back later.

    Headlight bracket repair. I don't know why it will not show the picture so you don't have to click on it.

  5. #5


    Ok, I'm back, finally got all of my parts for the tranny mostly from Rat at Harbor Vintage, He seems like a nice laid back guy and he was very helpful. I guess if you cannot tear a tranny apart you should not try to put one together, that said I will skip the teardown. After you clean everything up you need to install the bushings in the case for the countershaft. The left side is installed from the inside and the right side is installed from the outside. The right side has a stepped thrust washer that goes on the inside also.

    Next what you want to do is install the thrust washers on the ends of the countershaft gear, get Steve Slocomb's book you will need it. The thrust washer with the 3 notches goes on the big end and the round one on the little end, slide it down in and use a feeler gauge to get around .010 end play. you may need to get thinner washers or even use the old one that you replaced in the right side of the case. I got the thinnest but it was still tight. What I ended up doing was taking the old washer inside the case, a piece of glass for these problems and 180 grit sandpaper polishing with 320 grit. these are very hard and it takes a long time to do it but it works. That done.

    My main drive gear was bad and I found a real nice one on Flea Bay but it was to 1930 with split bushing, you can hone it out to a press fit and press in a later one piece bushing. From the pictures you can see the difference with the 1930 on the right, the main difference is the gear is not quite as wide. They don't reproduce this gear and this one was nice and cheap $19.00.

  6. #6


    Ok, onward and upward...Rat sold me sealed bearings for the main shaft which makes it much nicer, on the left side you will see three holes, take a punch and tap out the race, let the metal ring in and install the bearing.

    After you get the bearing in the left side you can install the main drive gear. Install the slider gear on the main shaft with the larger gear to the left or drive gear. You have a large threaded bearing housing that you install the other sealed bearing leaving out the brass slinger. Install this on the shaft and slide the shaft and gear into the box and tighten up the bearing housing hand tight.

    Don't do like I did and install the countershaft first, you will have to take it back out.
    Now you can install the countershaft gear. The small end has needle bearings,just put some grease on the inside of the gear and set the bearings in and pot the little washer in then the trust bearing, on the other end you put your bearings in the cage and put the lobed thrust washer on using a little grease to hold everything in place. Slide the gear in and install the countershaft. The new bushing is threaded to accept the shaft and put the nut back on for added protection.

    Install the slider fork and shaft.
    Retighten the bearing nut on the right side hand tight wile you rotate the gears then back it off about 5 to 8 castellation's install the figure 8 washer and thread the thin nut on, it is left hand threads.

    Install the conical washer with the dish in, the spring, gear, two keys and the funny looking gear, conical washer and nut.

    The rest is pretty straight forward...I hope this helps someone, it's not real hard. I installed new bushings in the kicker housing, as you can see the new one is shorter, metric I guess.

  7. #7


    Ok, I'm back. Last night I gathered up most of what I needed to parkerized and I did that in the kitchen, I was very pleased with the results. I tried to post the pictures on Image Shack but my free month is up so I guess I have to subscribe to finish this, maybe tonight. I needed some parkerized parts to finish putting the tranny together and I'm going to do that tonight, pictures will follow...

    This would be the finished parkerized pieces. I did it on the stove with the fan on and I had no odor, I did put a lot of towels down though.

    I started to put the top back together, make sure that you put the gear lock plate on correctly, I didn't and had to take it all back apart to get the clutch release lever to go under and slide down on the clutch release fork.

    This is the correct way.
    The detent on the top of the tranny if you leave it out before you put the top on it is easier to line the fork up with the slider post and bolt the top down.

    Now I may have a problem if maybe someone can help, I can turn the main drive gear when in neutral but not the main shaft. I can only turn the main shaft in neutral when I push the kicker down, actually the kicker is what turns the shaft, is this normal or do I have something wrong in the kicker area?

  8. #8


    I have been prepping parts for more Parkerizing and Cadmium plating, has anyone used Colorado Cadmium Plating? I spoke with someone there and they said they do motorcycle parts, price didn't seem bad, I think $125 for 15 lbs. if I get it ready and they don't have to do any prep work. I doubt I have 15 lbs. so let me know what you think.

    Not much happing tonight, the little 1/8" pin in my top cone was broke off so I drilled it out and the shortest square thingamajig under my floorboard was ground down so I welded it up, tomorrow I will chuck it in the lathe and turn it down, saves me $18.00...sorry Rat.

  9. #9


    More kitchen mess but I think I got everything parkerized.

    One thing I forgot to mention when building the tranny, the kicker gears need synchronized, you need to put the last tooth on the kicker gear between the marks on the gear on the main shaft.

  10. #10


    Ok, I'm back. I went to Oley on Friday and bought some stuff for the VL and picked up some stuff from Rat, he had a battery box sans lid so I bought it to save some coin. Awhile back I was looking to buy a battery box on fleabay that needed work without a lid. Someone was selling a lid separate so I saved the pictures to make one but I didn't get a box but I used the pictures I had saved to make a lid so I will take you through how I did it, I'm sure someone could do it better and easier but, hey, I did it the best I could. The first thing I did was make a template out of a manila folder it's perfect for this kind of work, since I had the box fitting pattern to it made it easier. Also I enlarged the picture on my computer and scaled it for some measurements I needed

    Next I laid it out on the metal and cut it out.
    Then I bent it on my break and sharpened the bends up using a tool I made for my press.

    Then its a matter of making all of the bends and brazing the corners.

    I need rivets and a piece of 3/4" flat stock to make the hold down so I'm done for now. Now this all might look easy or you think I'm some kind of wiz, on the contrary, it took me about 6 hours and this is the 4th one, a lot of trial and error to get it fitting nice. See you all later!!

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