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Thread: Fitting front fender '47 Chief

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Orange County, CA
    Posts
    54

    Default Fitting front fender '47 Chief

    Been fitting all the sheet metal and exhaust on my Chief and as expected it's been a long process, but I'm enjoying it.

    I have what I believe is an early (late 90's) never been used Iron Horse repop front fender. It appears that the fender is slightly less rounded on the top then what I've seen on newer IR repos and it's appears to be a little too narrow at the top. I have a good .125" space on both sides where the fender mounts to the forks at the top.

    The forks and frame have been straightened and I've seen the same issue when I checked with another set of forks.
    I've spent a little time trying to widen the top of fender by spreading it from the inside, but haven't had much luck yet.

    I believe that there should not be any spacer or washer between the forks and the fender. Is this correct?

    And any advice on modifying the fender?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Hi, IronHorse front fenders for skirted Chiefs are a bit narrow. I have used them on a '48 and a '47 Chief that I am currently restoring. Matt from Ironhorse recommends using a small spacer in between the fender and raised boss on the forks. Don't try and just pull the fender in with the bolt. Just put a small spacer and you will never see it. Just my .02

    Chris

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    563

    Default

    Cnocha's right on! FYI no spacer on original fender. It would be interesting to hear if anyone has had any luck re-shaping the fender to take up the slack? I've seen Iron Horse fit with a spacer and without a spacer...go with the spacer if you have to because as Chris says, trying to use the bolts to make it fit looks bad!
    Pisten Bulley is Harry Roberts in Vermont.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Orange County, CA
    Posts
    54

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    Chris and Harry,

    Thanks for the feedback. If possible I'd like to make it work without spacers, but I agree that using the bolts to pull the fender wider isn't the way to go.
    I spent some time using a .75" bolt, nut and a steel spacer, similar to the tool used to remove and service the rear shock, along with a couple of pieces of 1"x6" pieces of metal to try to spread and reshape the top of the fender to add some width but didn't make much progress.

    I appreciate suggestions for other tactics or methods to make this fender work without the spaces.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Orange County, CA
    Posts
    54

    Default

    Here's the latest progress, using some borrowed jugs to fit the exhaust while mine are being sleeved and bored.
    IMG_3946.jpgIMG_3955.jpg

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    in someone's crosshairs
    Posts
    201

    Default

    This is a perfect place to put a plastic or Teflon spacer. Preferably black so they would blend in with the forks. Be advised that you can over-scrutinize an issue when it's sitting in the glaring light of a shop on a stand. Something like an 1/8" spacer cleverly camouflage would never be noticed unless it was being judged. My 2 cents worth.
    Oh and the bike is looking great.

  7. #7

    Default

    Howdy sir,

    Have not seen an early IH repop, do they come with any mounting holes already drilled for reference or is the owner required to fit it entirely free hand? If the latter I'd humbly suggest dropping the rear of the bike on the bench and then compressing the front suspension with ratchet straps so the shackle angles mimick that of a complete (heavy) machine. This will provide the best insurance against that situation you see with rear luggage rack mountings being for or aft of perfect parallel to the ground and make comparisons to original machine mounting reference points easier.

    Also know you are aware that the top shackles are longer on 47-48 models resulting in the fork blades being more vertical in side view than the 46 thus changing the appearance. Some have been caught on this detail when measuring the distance from the rear fender tip to front engine mounting bolt at the frame using 46 distances on 47/48's resulting in the nose of the fender too forward and wheel positioned to far back within the fender in side view.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Sarasota, Florida
    Posts
    3,513

    Default

    I think Peter gives very good advice. My opinion is strictly aesthetic but the front fender looks a bit low, and tire hugging. Full fender Indian front fenders can be very different from bike to bike and from assembler, to assembler. Just my opinion. Love your bike, though.
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    rural eastern South Dakota
    Posts
    932

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    Darn, Peter! I know that my longer shackles are the lowers, shorter up. Sidecar required that, and it seems (from my experience) that clearance at front roll bars is threatened also, with the shorters on lower. ..... my 47 has been run with and without sidecar. Sidecar actually spec'd lowers to be 1/8" longer than solo bikes. I'm running the +1/8" all the time, last 25 years.
    btw, please don't ask me to prove this stuff unless you bring a tape to my bike. I wouldn't know where to begin searching for documentation, even in my small cramped office. .... it's somewhere in there, tho.
    If I recall correctly, I welded short 1/4" bolts to the end of 2 pcs of 3/4" rod coupled with a coupler nut so I could expand the inside of the fender from the inside, then nut'd to outsides, then clubbed around the nuts with a 1" socket to un-stress the area around the bolt hole. .... this before paint of course. .... so are you with me? do you dare try that??

  10. #10

    Default

    Howdy Eric and filibuster.

    Don't quote me, just wafted in from an afternoon at a BBQ joint and then an outdoor concert so memory a bit sketchy. If I recall the bottom links on 46 through 48 are about 4 10/16's or such, indeed longer than the top. On a 46 the tops are about 4 inches resulting in a delightful amount of trail and stability not only at speed but in any situation. Their lower spring perch bosses are also taller than on later machines, this is a carryover from their military models. In a futile attempt to to match the turn in and agility of the pesky newly arriving British vertical twins they made the ill advised decision to eliminate that fork trail by lengthening the upper links about 3/8"s(?) of an inch. Not impressed with the results in the least, I much prefer my 346 to my 348, the latter relegated to in town bar hopper for the most part these days. At any rate, the distance from the front cross frame engine mounting bolt/bracket to the rear edge of the front fender on a 46 is way longer than a 47 later. I've seen some almost comical representations of blending both measurements at auctions and on FleaBay.
    Last edited by PRG; 07-09-2017 at 11:49 PM.

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