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Thread: 1946 to 1948 Chief girder fork shaft info, bearing type shaft vs bushing type shaft

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Default 1946 to 1948 Chief girder fork shaft info, bearing type shaft vs bushing type shaft

    In case anyone doesn't know about the difference in fork shafts between the 1946-47 forks and the 1948 forks.
    I'll use the uppers, short shafts here. The longer lower shafts are the same.
    !946 and 1947 Chiefs came with needle bearings in the 8 places in the fork and trees. Because of the hardened needle roller bearings, they made a hardened and ground shaft to work. This shaft is Indian #205005 and was ground and polished on the bearing surfaces to a diameter of .5625", virtually zero bearing clearance.
    A NOS set of these hard shafts are pictured, above the ruler.
    In 1948 Indian switched to bushings in all 8 positions. Bushings didn't require a hard shaft, but needed .002" - .003" clearance. These shaft's are soft and .561" diameter for the length of the shaft and are Indian # 205010. A set of NOS bushing shafts are pictured below the ruler.
    I believe that all the repro shafts sold today are soft, .561" shafts. You absolutely cannot use the soft shaft in needle bearings. The hard needles will dig into the soft shaft and spread chips thru the bearing, ruining both. And you'd have .002"-.003" clearance in something meant to be 0. If you have the fork apart, use bushings---always.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011


    Good info Bob.
    I like the bushings Also.I dont think pounding with minimal rotation is ideal for needles.
    Also I ream them with a starret reamer that centers on the opposite side and a lower fork stem that has been straightened you can get it so the shafts spin by hand and +2 clearance.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011


    very good info cheers

  4. #4


    Even with hardened shafts needle bearings hammered indents in shafts. Evidently problem showed early for Indian to make correction, bronze bushings way easier to work with than the Torringtons.
    Good info.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010


    Bob, I've seen some of your listings on Ebay and I just want to say your descriptions are really good! I don't like those guys who say "pictures tell it all", or the guys with the lousy pictures, or the guys with no description whatsoever, or...enough already...good luck on those!
    Pisten Bulley is Harry Roberts in Vermont.

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