Aluminum finishing case halves, Webco bits, and Joe Hunt Magneto for the 1957 Triumph Freebird build.

Getting into the engine on the 1957 Triumph Freebird project. The side covers were matched up on the primary, clock case engine case halves and transmission covers. The rough original castings do not match from the factory, with differences on the mating surfaces that have to be evened up. This work needs to be done with the halves bolted together, so it was done prior to disassembly.

Getting into the engine on the 1957 Triumph Freebird project. The side covers were matched up on the primary, clock case engine case halves and transmission covers. The rough original castings do not match from the factory, with differences on the mating surfaces that have to be evened up. This work needs to be done with the halves bolted together, so it was done prior to disassembly.

There are two covers on the tranny, stacked on each other. I wish there were some before pics of this. The lines between the cases are almost invisible. The casting lines and rough texture will also be polished out. The reason this was done at this stage was to get the parts needing chrome and cadmium plating off the tranny and engine.

There are two covers on the tranny, stacked on each other. I wish there were some before pics of this. The lines between the cases are almost invisible. The casting lines and rough texture will also be polished out. The reason this was done at this stage was to get the parts needing chrome and cadmium plating off the tranny and engine.

Getting the case halves and clock case covers evened up. There is a flare on the middle motor mount that will not be evened out, leaving it as a place to pound when splitting the case halves. A simple engine stand was made to get this part of the job done.

Getting the case halves and clock case covers evened up. There is a flare on the middle motor mount that will not be evened out, leaving it as a place to pound when splitting the case halves. A simple engine stand was made to get this part of the job done.

Some of the before ugliness. The flare on the case half on the right side is easy to see in this picture.

Some of the before ugliness. The flare on the case half on the right side is easy to see in this picture.

The clock case cover all evened up.

The clock case cover all evened up.

Still getting the chrome parts prepped prior to plating. Sometimes you get a pleasant surprise. The original plating was flaking off, revealing a brass fixture and some copper plating left from the plating process. With all the brass going on this bike, it will be left as-is.

Still getting the chrome parts prepped prior to plating. Sometimes you get a pleasant surprise. The original plating was flaking off, revealing a brass fixture and some copper plating left from the plating process. With all the brass going on this bike, it will be left as-is.

Getting ready to send this vintage Joe Hunt Magneto back to California for a factory rebuild. Though the patina is beautiful, it will be refinished to show quality aside from the original Bakelite cover.

Getting ready to send this vintage Joe Hunt Magneto back to California for a factory rebuild. Though the patina is beautiful, it will be refinished to show quality aside from the original Bakelite cover.

The rear brake plate on the rotary table getting ready for some speed holes.

The rear brake plate on the rotary table getting ready for some speed holes.

A couple vintage Webco pieces to choose from for the rocker oiler. The arched one in the back will replace the one that originally came with the bike.

A couple vintage Webco pieces to choose from for the rocker oiler. The arched one in the back will replace the one that originally came with the bike.

The back of the original primary cover and some of the chain rash. The other cover in the background will be used in its place.

The back of the original primary cover and some of the chain rash. The other cover in the background will be used in its place.

One last thing. One of the interesting things to take notice of is the progress of the manufacturing process. On the original 1957 cover (the bottom one in the picture,)  there are some gouges on the bottom where it meets up with the frame. In the later cover, there are recesses cast in to overcome this defect. There is also a notch cut into the chain guard that was not on the original cover…not sure why that mod was made.

One last thing. One of the interesting things to take notice of is the progress of the manufacturing process. On the original 1957 cover (the bottom one in the picture,) there are some gouges on the bottom where it meets up with the frame. In the later cover, there are recesses cast in to overcome this defect. There is also a notch cut into the chain guard that was not on the original cover…not sure why that mod was made.

Finishing the 1957 Triumph Freebird frame

Putting together pieces of the 1957 Triumph Thunderbird frame for final metal finishing, Gouges, pitting, welding porosity and bad welds are being ground out and filled to get the frame smooth enough for chrome plating.

Putting together pieces of the 1957 Triumph Thunderbird frame for final metal finishing, Gouges, pitting, welding porosity and bad welds are being ground out and filled to get the frame smooth enough for chrome plating.

The rear frame mount boss needed a little love. Some welding and grinding to make for a tighter fit between the front and back frame.

The rear frame mount boss needed a little love. Some welding and grinding to make for a tighter fit between the front and back frame.

This frame came with some signs of the rough life it has lived. This kickstand mount had been broken and repaired at some point. Since the repair was so gnarly and another side stand is being used, it needed to come off. Fortunately, the repair was brass brazed and could be melted off without too much trouble. I had been told the fixtures on these old Triumph frames were brass brazed on, but that didn’t seem likely, as the gaps are too tight to allow the brass to flow into them. When the remnants of the fixture were pried off, it appears that silver soldering is how they were originally applied.

This frame came with some signs of the rough life it has lived. This kickstand mount had been broken and repaired at some point. Since the repair was so gnarly and another side stand is being used, it needed to come off. Fortunately, the repair was brass brazed and could be melted off without too much trouble. I had been told the fixtures on these old Triumph frames were brass brazed on, but that didn’t seem likely, as the gaps are too tight to allow the brass to flow into them. When the remnants of the fixture were pried off, it appears that silver soldering is how they were originally applied.

That’s better. You can’t even tell where the old side stand mount was.

That’s better. You can’t even tell where the old side stand mount was.

The rear of the lower triple clamp was modified to include the stops for the front fork. This had been done a while back, but needed some additional welding to fill in the surface. In this picture, the clamp is in the middle of being polished with black compound.

The rear of the lower triple clamp was modified to include the stops for the front fork. This had been done a while back, but needed some additional welding to fill in the surface. In this picture, the clamp is in the middle of being polished with black compound.

The handlebars and brake pedal got some more attention. The cable exits were finished out on the bars, and a bunch of contouring and shaping was done on the pedal.

The handlebars and brake pedal got some more attention. The cable exits were finished out on the bars, and a bunch of contouring and shaping was done on the pedal.

Every inch of this frame will be gone over before it is done. Even with all that has been done, there is at least another day of refining needed. Every joint is being evaluated to fill any voids and then the welds ground smooth. Because the welds are being ground off so much, special care is being given to insure the welds are deep below the final surface.

Every inch of this frame will be gone over before it is done. Even with all that has been done, there is at least another day of refining needed. Every joint is being evaluated to fill any voids and then the welds ground smooth. Because the welds are being ground off so much, special care is being given to insure the welds are deep below the final surface.

An example of the kind of things getting repaired. Small pits and nicks get ground or drilled out, welded, and then ground and polished out. The foil tape on the neck tube is to protect the serial number stamp.

An example of the kind of things getting repaired. Small pits and nicks get ground or drilled out, welded, and then ground and polished out. The foil tape on the neck tube is to protect the serial number stamp.

The difference between the first and last frame pictures in this post is not easy to see, but an entire day of finishing separates them.

The difference between the first and last frame pictures in this post is not easy to see, but an entire day of finishing separates them.

The base of this side stand was sand cast and rough with some inclusions that had to be dug out and welded up .Some metal was also added to the wear surface of the bracket. After some welding and bending on the stand to get the bike leaned over a little more, everything was sanded and polished out.

The base of this side stand was sand cast and rough with some inclusions that had to be dug out and welded up .Some metal was also added to the wear surface of the bracket. After some welding and bending on the stand to get the bike leaned over a little more, everything was sanded and polished out.

One final thing: a hack on the special tool for removing the bearing retention ring on preunit wheels. Because grinders have been replaced so many times around here, there is a wealth of wrenches and one was tapped to make this tool. A slice was made down the middle to get the right spread. The posts fit in the holes perfectly, with a slight tap needed to set it in.

One final thing: a hack on the special tool for removing the bearing retention ring on preunit wheels. Because grinders have been replaced so many times around here, there is a wealth of wrenches and one was tapped to make this tool. A slice was made down the middle to get the right spread. The posts fit in the holes perfectly, with a slight tap needed to set it in.

Prepping the 1957 Triumph Freebird front end

The 1957 Triumph Freebird front fork and wheel are getting worked over in preparation for chrome plating. This top clamp had pitted chrome plating and was stripped and powder coated a few years back. Now that the bike is heading to the Bornfree Show 11, it is going to get chrome plated along with the other front end parts. This picture is after some contouring and buffing, with a little more to go.

The 1957 Triumph Freebird front fork and wheel are getting worked over in preparation for chrome plating. This top clamp had pitted chrome plating and was stripped and powder coated a few years back. Now that the bike is heading to the Bornfree Show 11, it is going to get chrome plated along with the other front end parts. This picture is after some contouring and buffing, with a little more to go.

The last three days work, stripping, grinding, buffing, making some new parts, and truing up others.

The last three days work, stripping, grinding, buffing, making some new parts, and truing up others.

Working on tiny details like grinding off 1.5mm of the top of the fork lower so the threads don’t show down below. These parts were also powder coated and had to be stripped. The welds for the fender stays and some scratches and dings were worked over and polished out.

Working on tiny details like grinding off 1.5mm of the top of the fork lower so the threads don’t show down below. These parts were also powder coated and had to be stripped. The welds for the fender stays and some scratches and dings were worked over and polished out.

Finally made the decision to go with a conical hub on the front wheel. One of the limitations with the stopping power on these hubs is the length of the brake actuator arms. Adding another 3/4'“ in length doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is almost 50% longer than the original. A new arm was bent from 1/8” steel and welded on the original shafts.

Finally made the decision to go with a conical hub on the front wheel. One of the limitations with the stopping power on these hubs is the length of the brake actuator arms. Adding another 3/4'“ in length doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is almost 50% longer than the original. A new arm was bent from 1/8” steel and welded on the original shafts.

I was getting ready to weld and re-cut the 70’s conical hub axle ends to match the 1967 front fork, but realized the 1967 axle was a perfect fit and switched it out. There was a slight drag on the wheel in one spot, and the hub was studied for a while to try and figure where it was coming from. Some casting flashing on the rim appeared to be the cause and was cleaned off, but did nothing to solve the problem. Turns out it was the bearing locking ring hole being a little off and rubbing on the brake plate boss that passes through it. It had been rubbing this way for a while by the looks of it and probably made a pulsing high pitched squeal as it heated up. I got this at the Barber swap meet back in 2013 with the idea of using it for this bike, but went back and forth with some other hubs before returning to it. One of the things I like about it is the scoop and how it resembles the exhaust fishtails.

I was getting ready to weld and re-cut the 70’s conical hub axle ends to match the 1967 front fork, but realized the 1967 axle was a perfect fit and switched it out. There was a slight drag on the wheel in one spot, and the hub was studied for a while to try and figure where it was coming from. Some casting flashing on the rim appeared to be the cause and was cleaned off, but did nothing to solve the problem. Turns out it was the bearing locking ring hole being a little off and rubbing on the brake plate boss that passes through it. It had been rubbing this way for a while by the looks of it and probably made a pulsing high pitched squeal as it heated up. I got this at the Barber swap meet back in 2013 with the idea of using it for this bike, but went back and forth with some other hubs before returning to it. One of the things I like about it is the scoop and how it resembles the exhaust fishtails.

Another job done was the brake panel stay, which was brass brazed on the right fork tube. It was made from two 1/8’ steel plates that were welded on the edges and bent out at the bottom to make the base. Brass brazing was how the other fixtures were affixed on the fork lower by Triumph originally, and was the best choice to minimize distortion on the fork bore.

Another job done was the brake panel stay, which was brass brazed on the right fork tube. It was made from two 1/8’ steel plates that were welded on the edges and bent out at the bottom to make the base. Brass brazing was how the other fixtures were affixed on the fork lower by Triumph originally, and was the best choice to minimize distortion on the fork bore.

After making the brake stay bracket, it was mocked up and a line scribed around the base to mark where it was to be mounted.

After making the brake stay bracket, it was mocked up and a line scribed around the base to mark where it was to be mounted.

The outer rim on the left side of the hub was close to the fork leg and was taken down a couple millimeters. Some sanding on the cone was done, and the inner brake lining was trued up.

The outer rim on the left side of the hub was close to the fork leg and was taken down a couple millimeters. Some sanding on the cone was done, and the inner brake lining was trued up.

Details, details. The mount for the sub-frame was finally completed. The ears ad to be trued up, washers made, and the everything buffed out. Still not certain the frame will be chromed or painted. After the contouring work was done on the muffler mounts and gussets, painting it might give the impression it is a Bondo bike.

Details, details. The mount for the sub-frame was finally completed. The ears ad to be trued up, washers made, and the everything buffed out. Still not certain the frame will be chromed or painted. After the contouring work was done on the muffler mounts and gussets, painting it might give the impression it is a Bondo bike.

Waiting for paint to cure up before this can go back on the 1993 Harley-Davidson FXR custom build.

Waiting for paint to cure up before this can go back on the 1993 Harley-Davidson FXR custom build.

1957 Triumph Freebird bike frame finishing, 1993 Harley-Davidson FXR custom seat mount

After a couple days finish welding and sanding, the 1957 Triumph Freebird frame is mated up with the rear rack. Some of the brackets of the rear frame had been tacked together and needed finishing.

After a couple days finish welding and sanding, the 1957 Triumph Freebird frame is mated up with the rear rack. Some of the brackets of the rear frame had been tacked together and needed finishing.

While some additional work was done on the seat frame since the last post, this picture is to show the muffler mount in need of some finishing.

While some additional work was done on the seat frame since the last post, this picture is to show the muffler mount in need of some finishing.

There was a big ugly bracket cut off the front of the crossbar, the muffler mounts were shaped and then boxed in, welds were ground out and re-done, and then everything was blended together as much as possible.

There was a big ugly bracket cut off the front of the crossbar, the muffler mounts were shaped and then boxed in, welds were ground out and re-done, and then everything was blended together as much as possible.

A lot of time went into revising welds to get rid of any porosity. When dealing with box-like structures, the air pressure inside the heated box can blow a hole through your welds. There was more shaping done after these pictures to make the gussets less rounded in the middle section.

A lot of time went into revising welds to get rid of any porosity. When dealing with box-like structures, the air pressure inside the heated box can blow a hole through your welds. There was more shaping done after these pictures to make the gussets less rounded in the middle section.

The rear sub frame is an unknown aftermarket piece that has been shortened on the bottom tubes, with the upper mount fabricated to be a bolt-on type opposed to how it was welded on when it came to the shop. A lot of time was spent restoring the front part of the frame where it mounts. The original mounts had been ground off and welded over (and rather badly, at that.)

The rear sub frame is an unknown aftermarket piece that has been shortened on the bottom tubes, with the upper mount fabricated to be a bolt-on type opposed to how it was welded on when it came to the shop. A lot of time was spent restoring the front part of the frame where it mounts. The original mounts had been ground off and welded over (and rather badly, at that.)

Part of me wants to send this off for chrome plating, but with chrome shows every defect, powder coating and clear coating may be the way.

Part of me wants to send this off for chrome plating, but with chrome shows every defect, powder coating and clear coating may be the way.

FXR seat version 3.0. On the 1993 Harley-Davidson FXR build, the seat mount was scrapped for a second time in favor of a wider unit that has room to hide a Motogadget m-Unit beneath it.

FXR seat version 3.0. On the 1993 Harley-Davidson FXR build, the seat mount was scrapped for a second time in favor of a wider unit that has room to hide a Motogadget m-Unit beneath it.

The seat bracket rests on the frame backbone and rear crossbar, locking in its location. Because of the way the backbone tube flares at the end, the center piece of the mount had to be curved not just side-to-side, but front-to-back. The edge of the battery can be seen though the wide slot that will allow the wiring to pass through. There is a second slot in the crossbar that allows wiring to pass into the backbone, up toward the tank, for a clean appearance.

The seat bracket rests on the frame backbone and rear crossbar, locking in its location. Because of the way the backbone tube flares at the end, the center piece of the mount had to be curved not just side-to-side, but front-to-back. The edge of the battery can be seen though the wide slot that will allow the wiring to pass through. There is a second slot in the crossbar that allows wiring to pass into the backbone, up toward the tank, for a clean appearance.

Even though the center section was scrapped on the previous version, it was not a total loss. The outer shroud was cut off and used on the new mount.

Even though the center section was scrapped on the previous version, it was not a total loss. The outer shroud was cut off and used on the new mount.

In other FXR news, the rear of the primary cover was stripped and de-greased in preparation for paint. The new set of pulleys and belt have arrived and are waiting on this cover (and some good weather to paint it) before the front pulley can be installed.

In other FXR news, the rear of the primary cover was stripped and de-greased in preparation for paint. The new set of pulleys and belt have arrived and are waiting on this cover (and some good weather to paint it) before the front pulley can be installed.