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Thread: How to move throttle back to left side

  1. #1

    Default How to move throttle back to left side

    I finally got my Chief out on the road around the neighborhood yesterday. It was a good first ride and the bike ran well as far as I can tell. This bike has a right-hand shift and a right hand throttle. My town is very hilly and having the brake and throttle on the right side makes it harder to start on a hill. And the shifter already is on the right and I'm a lefty anyway.

    So I'm thinking of changing the throttle back to the left side. I understand it's not hard. I searched the web and the service books I have but couldn't find any info. Does anyone have any guidance and hints on how to do this, basic steps and things to watch out for?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Catonsville,Md.
    Posts
    175

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    If it's a distributor model all that needs to be done is swap control cables side for side.

  3. #3

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    So do you not disconnect them at the handlebars and just change the connections at the distributor and carb?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    26

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    When I changed from left hand throttle to right hand throttle I found one of the cables and inner wire was to short. I believe it was the cable/wire used for throttle as distance from Left hand to carb was Less distance than right hand throttle to carb. So I needed to purchase a new cable case and wire. You may not encounter this as you are going from Right throttle to Left and Left spark advance to right.

    I also found this article very helpful (I found this on Kiwi archives) but believe it has appeared elsewhere. The entire article is well worth a read I have enclosed a couple of key passages regarding riding:

    "An 1939 Indian Restoration Story

    From The Guy Who Did The Deed
    By John Arbeeny

    The “suicide” clutch (often mistakenly referred to a “suicide shift”) is another part of the Indian mythology . There are many explanations for why it is called “suicide”.
    For most it might appear to be the apparent awkwardness of a foot clutch, hand shift, left throttle and right spark advance when you’ve learned on a modern bike.
    It almost seems that you run out of hands and feet to operate the bike! But that’s not the reason. Actually the Indian clutch pedal has no return spring: it stays where you leave it, or at least it’s supposed to. Often you will not take the Chief out of gear, for instance when stopped on a hill, but rather downshift into 1st, leave it in gear and the clutch disengaged until ready to proceed. This way you don’t have to go through the machinations of disengaging the clutch while putting it in gear, engaging the clutch while holding it up while braking so you don’t roll backwards down the hill! While there is no clutch return spring there is a tension spring and friction disk that are supposed to keep the clutch pedal in position. Here is where the problem occurs. The friction disk can get worn (or the nut loosen up) and as a result will not hold the pedal in place. The engine’s vibration can cause the pedal to pop back into engagement and the bike lurch forward unexpectedly. I’ve never had this happen to me and I think periodic checking of the spring’s tension takes care of that problem."


    "While there is no problem going fast or slow, stopping can be a challenge. On today’s bikes you expect the front brake to provide about 75% of the stopping power. In the Chief it’s the exact opposite: indeed the rear brake probably supplies 90% of the stopping power. In the 1930’s front brakes were only recently added. Prior to the late 1920s motorcycles typically did not have front brakes. Part of the rationale comes from the kinds of roads available back then. Most were not paved so high speed was not an issue. Additionally, these roads were at best gravel or worst rutted dirt and it was thought that a too effective front brake would lock up on such surfaces and pitch the rider. Believe me there is no threat of lock up with the Chief’s front brake! It is barely able to stop the bike by itself and is better suited for holding the bike in place when stopped than anything else. Needless to say, with all that stopping power in the rear brake, your rear tire wears out about twice as fast as the front one does! When used in conjunction with the rear brake however you can slow the bike down effectively, but it takes a lot of anticipation to stay out of trouble.

    Don’t even think about tailgating the car in front of you or you will wind up in the trunk!"

  5. #5

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    So I removed the throttle (right) handle by unscrewing it to check out the mechanism. It worked pretty well before. Now, I have it back so it rotates fairly freely. But when I tighten down the nut that holds the handgrip mechanism to the handlebar, the rotation of the handgrip gets tight and doesn't rotate freely. If I loosen the nut just a bit it rotates pretty well. The cable is disconnected from the carb and bracket, so the resistance is definitely in the handgrip mechanism. It is also greased well.

    Does anyone know what this might be, and how to adjust the handgrips so they turn well? I haven't been able to figure it out.
    Last edited by Lipdog; 11-03-2019 at 07:29 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    26

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    Consider reviewing Kiwi Tech video on Cable Controls very comprehensive. Block pin must be 90 degrees to and inner wire cable grease is our friend here.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    742

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lipdog View Post
    Does anyone know what this might be, and how to adjust the handgrips so they turn well? I haven't been able to figure it out.
    Lipdog, it may be a matter of personal taste (or not) but my grips turn with a small bit of resistance...not much but enough so that I can take my hand off the throttle and it readily stays there, even if Im sloppy and drag my hand over the grip on the way off. Id feel uncomfortable if the grip would turn too freely. Having said that, there are shims between the steel control tube of the grip and the threaded nut pinned to the handlebar, maybe remove one and see if that frees things up.
    Pisten Bulley is Harry Roberts in Vermont.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Oak View, CA.
    Posts
    53

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    Lipdog- My experience with changing the cables (piano wires) is that sometimes the wires take a "set" and when changing the controls those same wires don't seem to want to work too well. I would suggest you at the very least , pull out the piano wires and get new, fresh ones. Try that first, and if the wires are still too stiff, the you may have to pull the spiral and redo the entire job. On a late chief, such as yours, the handlebar assembly and the fitment of the sprial wires is pretty straight forward. Be sure to relocate the cable stops, both on the exterior of the handlebars and just inside the slotted end of the inside of the bars. One recommended way to secure the spirals is to bend the end of the spiral where the tee-slot washer goes. I have had that cause failures in the past, so I now use a pair of the special left handed nuts (same as the ones at the dist. bracket) and "pinch-lock" the two nuts against the tee-slot washer. Put a dab of JB weld on the nuts, so the don't back off, and you're good to go. Now, feed the new spirals through your bars and run them down through your frame legs to the respective proper location. Then go back and feed the piano wires through the new spirals and if they don't bind up you're all good. If the piano wires bind, or have excessive resistance, then back them out and realign the spirals until you get the "feel" you want with the wires reinstalled. You may still have trouble... it could be the slots in the bars. They must be parallel. They could be worn from the reverse set up. Check them when you have removed the barrels. Be sure the barrels slide without binding. This part can give you fits !! Take your time, and you efforts will be rewarded.
    You're lucky you don't have the early triple clamp as with a leaf spring front end, which when feeding the cables through the top clamp is a real challenge.
    As Mr. Roberts suggests, there should be a very slight resistance in the action of the grips when you're finished. You may also need to put some shims between the rubber grips and the sleeve nut when you finally tighten the nut on the handlebars. You don't want too much slop when the handlebar nuts are tightened. The rubber grips should be almost flush with the end of the sleeve nut on the bars.
    I have found out the hard way about the spiral wires moving inside the bars... thats another story, for another day. Just be sure they (spirals) don't move when secured in the handlebars at both ends. Be sure the spirals are secured at the throttle clip attached to the headbolt, and also at the distributor advance bracket.
    I think thats about it... if I forgot something, somebody help me out here. Good Luck. C2K

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Catonsville,Md.
    Posts
    175

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    Should have explained swap better. As for the wires first rotate the block pin and wire 180 degrees and see if it moves easier ,if not then new control wire, and they have a set also and may need to be turned 180 to slide easier

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Oak View, CA.
    Posts
    53

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    Thanks Tomfiii, I never thought that turning the block pins (barrels) over 180' might be a solution. Makes good sense, though !! Thanks, C2K

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