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Pa's 42WLA Build

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Pa

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Post Fri May 23, 2014 12:56 pm

Pa's 42WLA Build

OK.......... I'll start at the beginning on the build. It was back in 1995 when I decided I would tear this puppy down to the ground and bring her back as she once was. When I got her, she was far from her once beauty. About the only parts still original was the engine and transmission. Even those were tampered with, parts changed out, and so on. She did however sport her original M88 carb and frame. Tanks had been replaced with right hand shift Servi-Car 50's era tanks. Fenders were replaced with WL fenders. Front forks were 1939. Handlebars were 1939 and front wheel assembly was 1939. Seat was a later seat as well. I don't have any other pics of her in the state I purchased her. But as you can see, she was far from stock anymore. She also sported one of the crappiest paint jobs I ever seen. About the only thing she had going for her is she ran and went. The smile on the wife's face is a "yeah right" smile, just after I told her I would have her up and running again and back to her glory state within a year. The little woman was right though. I crushed my lower extremities and the build soon became decades.

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Pa

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Post Sun May 25, 2014 6:35 am

Re: Pa's 42WLA Build

While I recovered from my first several surgeries, I spent much of my time collecting parts, since I had none to very little mobility. Below is a pic of a very small fraction of some the parts I managed to gather together.

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Pa

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Post Sun May 25, 2014 6:52 am

Re: Pa's 42WLA Build

Many of you probably recall my WLA Trans Build topic here viewtopic.php?t=10548 . The trans build was where I first actually began returning the old girl to her original state of glory. Prior to the trans build, I continued to gather up parts and replacement parts. I chose the trans first because I had enough trans parts on hand to do several gear boxes. I also spent much of my time researching on serial numbers, wla types, date codes, gear, and the like. I found my best source of research material to be my friend Bruce Palmer III's book "How To Restore Your Military Harley Davidson". Johan at http://www.theliberator.be/indexmenu.html also provided extensive wla details. I found several sources throughout the web which helped me determine correctness for my wla restoration. Sorting through all of the available information on wla's was tedious but very enjoying as well. Even my wla trans build had one cosmetic error in it. I had the gear box side cover as olive drab upon completion but have since corrected the cosmetic error to white paint as my early 42wla type III would have been. Sometimes you learn as you go......
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helsingborg

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Post Mon May 26, 2014 1:43 pm

Re: Pa's 42WLA Build

More please!
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Pa

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Post Wed May 28, 2014 8:07 am

Re: Pa's 42WLA Build

I haven't had much spare time to focus on this topic lately but I did find another nos parts pic. I will get along with the build soon though.

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Pa

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Post Thu May 29, 2014 6:28 am

Re: Pa's 42WLA Build

I started this 42WLA early type III 45 Harley Davidson out as a bike as from the factory. I collected all the, as from the factory parts, per say. As I progressed into the build, component by component, and with an all oem or nos oem parts collection to create the completed bike, I had a change of direction along the way. After considering the duty this bike historically would have served, I decided to deviate from the original plans as from the factory. My decision was to build the bike as it would have been when it returned home from its service in the military. After all….was this not the true history to be told in this build ??? Was this not the bike named the Liberator ?? Was not the bikes glory in its service to our nation ?? All WLA’s went through changes and upgrades during the war years. New WLA’s already had those changes and upgrades made to them as they left the factory before seeing service. Thus the several different types of WLAs were produced, from the type I on up through the type VII WLA’s.
Earlier bikes were upgraded as they made their routine maintenance checkups or when they came in for repairs from other failures and damages in the field, such as scheduled checkups, flat tires, burned out bulbs, etc… Many parts and components on earlier bikes were left untouched during upgrades. Parts such as air cleaner boxes, handlebars, paint schemes, fastener finishes etc., were left as is. Only the upgrades were incorporated into the earlier machines. Upgrades such as radio interference equipment were installed. A bonding wire to the front cylinder head to the oil tank was added. The timer wire was changed out to a shielded type. Blackout equipment was added, which included parts like the magnetic field switch and its wiring. Additional capacitors were added to the generator and ignition coil. Spark plug wires were changed out with suppressors incorporated into them.
The Harley Davidson WLA model 45 went through an extensive transformation over its life span. The WLA evolved into what it ended its life with in 1952. My particular early 42WLA type III had two transformations during its type designation. The type III 42WLA had an early and late switch over in its history. My engine serial number and USA registration number, fell in at the midway point where those changes occurred, early and late model 42WLA type III. High and low ammo box mounting, headlight mounting, blackout light mounting and whether or not the blackout lighting was even installed, are just some of those changes made in the type III 42WLAs during that mid type III WLA change over. All welded frames and handlebars from mainly brazed ones were changes made as well. A fording tube to the crankcase breather was incorporated for crossing streams.
Documentation can go either direction based on the facts known, in order to determine exactly when that change over occurred. Sadly much of that exact and factual documentation is gone which dictates precisely when all parts changeovers were put into place. That change over is a very small window but that change over window does exist and is missing. Since that change over window cannot be precisely proven, I made my decision to go with the left the factory as is, and complete the project to the returned to the states after the war state, as the bike would have been changed out. I have also put aside, all the parts for which I had already collected, which this bike would have left the factory with, and that would have been replaced or upgraded, when the as returned from duty transformation, would have taken place.
I have many years of research into this project. I would like to publicly acknowledge a special thanks to those who helped me in this build project. Without the guidance from my good friend Bruce Palmer III and his special circle of friends, I would not have had a solid foundation to start with in pursuing this bike build. Bruce’s research eliminated much of what I would have had to discover on my own. Bruce’s book “How To Restore Your Military Harley Davidson” reduced my research tasks significantly and was critical in finding the much needed missing data on this bike. Other individuals whose names are to many to acknowledge, and range from people all around the globe where the WLAs served the United States Of America in war time……to those who possession original unmolested bikes…..and to those who possess the parts in dated packaging….. And….. to the hundreds who supplied those parts as I required them, I offer even more thanks.
Now back to the actual building of this bike…. The bike is quite along in its build progress as I type. I did however, document most of the build. The pic posted below is of the completed build of the transmission as finished per documentation available. The white painted side cover on the transmission is about the only other detail I did not show in picture form in the trans build topic link above. Engine pics are to follow, and as this topic progresses, are not as detailed as the transmission build is. I did not do a thorough account of the engine build as I did with the transmission build. I have documented the engine build enough to satisfy me though. I assumed, after I did the transmission build, that someone else would do a thorough engine build topic to match my transmission build topic. Alas….That did not materialize.
Anyhow….I am not finished with the bike build but will present to
you what has been accomplished and what is still in limbo. Hope you all enjoy. Pa

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Pa

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Post Fri May 30, 2014 1:19 pm

Re: Pa's 42WLA Build

I mentioned earlier how the frame was original. Though I did not take pics of the inspection of the frame, I can tell you it needed extensive repairs. Bruce Palmer III called me and told me he had a better frame which would pretty much eliminate those extensive repairs. I made a deal with Bruce. Since the wife was a Seattle born resident and she had only seen the Pacific ocean, I would haul a sidehack Bruce purchased down to Bruce for the better frame and a reasonable amount of cash. I figured, the wife could see the Atlantic ocean while I dropped a Servi-Car rear end off at a Bro's in S. Carolina while making the trip south from Ohio. We dropped the Servi-Car rear end off and made the journey down the coast line to Florida. After the wife got a good long dip in the Atlantic ocean, we cut across Florida to Bruce's home. Bruce was very hospitable while we were there and we dropped his sidehack off, collected my new and better condition frame, and headed for the gulf side of the state. We spent three days enjoying the white sands of the gulf at Clearwater Beach. It was great. The only issue I found with the frame, after an extensive inspection, was a stripped out axle adjusting thread. My fix was to tap it to a larger size and make a tapped plug [on both the O.D. and I.D.] to match the newly tapped hole and the original axle adjusting screw thread. That idea worked like a charm. I welded the plug in at both ends into the frame boss. Sorry, no pics of this procedure but it blended perfectly and no one will ever know I made the fix. It just is not visible.
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Pa

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Post Mon Jun 02, 2014 6:08 am

Re: Pa's 42WLA Build

Engine work began with stripping crankcase halves and gear cover of all bearing races, bushings, studs, flutter valve, pump strainer screen, seal ring, etc.. I wanted the case halves and gear cover as bare bones as I could get them in order to do a thorough cleaning job on them. I have pics of this process stashed somewhere but I haven’t located them yet. I stayed away from sand blasting and removed early seal coating chemically which left some heavy remnants of early seal coating that did not concern me for re seal coating effectively.
Once the cleaning process had been completed, I installed all nos oem bushings into the gear cover, right crankcase half, along with nos oem bearing races etc., into the crankcase halves. I modified the right crankcase half cam shaft bushings by opening up the bushing flanges at the oil valley positions for better lubrication to the cam shaft bearing journals. I had seen this design in Sportster models and elected to do the same with my 45. Specs in illustrations I took immediately after getting the cases back from my Buddy who did the boring and honing work for me.

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After out sourcing the line honing of the crankcase half bearing races and the line boring of the camshaft bushings, I coated the gear cover and crankcase halves with Glyptal and baked them all for an hour at 300 degrees F. The pic below shows the results of this period of the engine building.

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The next step in the engine build I took was to fit the cams to the right crankcase and gear cover. This took me quite a spell because I had difficulty meshing all of the cams gear teeth for that free turning feel with all 4 cam gears installed. I had to obtain a good gear tooth lash between all the cam gears as well. This began to turn into a nightmare as I proceeded. When I installed one cam gear at a time, they all spun freely. When I staggered two in at a time, good results again. When I tried staggering three at a time in, poor results of intermittent binding would occur during the rolling of the gears while meshed. What the hell was going on I thought. All my specs were dead on in the bushings. Cam gear journals were great. There were no burrs on any cam gear teeth. I even re inspected the line boring work for location and accuracy of how square the bores were to the right crankcase half and gear cover. My re inspection proved no mistakes had been made. Now frustrated and super puzzled, I eventually ended up inspecting every single cam gear for run out issues. Inspection of the cam gear bearing journals in relation to the gear teeth on each of the cam gears required I bind roller bearing rollers into the pitch of every single tooth on each cam gear. I used very strong rubber bands as my binding material. Next I indicated each cam gear in on their bearing journals. Once I had the bearing journals dialed in, I checked the gear teeth by rolling the bound on bearing rollers in the gear pitches to get indicator readings. I found two cam gears running out .002” and discarded those two cam gears. Luckily I had a couple more sets of nos oem cam gears in my stash and the very next cam gears I inspected ran concentric end to end. The next mock fitting in the right crankcase and gear cover panned out excellent in free rolling and gear tooth backlash. I did not have any problems with the nos oem idler gear or the nos oem idler gear shaft. I could now proceed to the next step in the engine build and fit camshaft endplay.
Fitting cam gear endplay went rather smoothly because I assembled the cam gear into only the right crankcase half with gear cover and gear cover gasket on. This permitted me to use a dial indicator mounted to the flywheel side of the right crankcase half and set the indicator plunger at each individual face on each cam gear shaft. I shifted the cam gears in and out via the tappet block openings in the right crankcase half. Those recorded indicator readings determined how much shimming, if any, was needed for correct endplay specs. With this process now out of the way, I could now focus on the flywheel assembly.

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Pa

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Post Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:39 am

Re: Pa's 42WLA Build

Using only nos oem parts, I needed to know bearing roller size for both the pinion gear shaft and sprocket shaft. Most service manuals explain the use of a plug fit procedure for obtaining correct roller bearing clearances. I chose to mic all of the components and then subtract the clearances specified, using both the high and low tolerance limits so I could acquire the roller diameter size ranges I could start with during initial fitting. I also use the plug fit technique as a final verification method. I fit both the pinion gear shaft and the sprocket shaft to the crankcase bearing races individually. It is much easier to work with a single shaft in a bearing race rather than to work with a complete flywheel assembly. With this procedure accomplished, I could now lap the pinion gear shaft, sprocket shaft, and crank pin to the flywheel tapers. I do not trust a machined or ground taper fit in this type of application. Thus I lap them all in.

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Crankpin lap pic with rods assembled is all I took of the crankpin. Rod set was an unopened military nos oem factory set. I completely disassembled the rod set to clean and verify condition and specs. Tolerances were excellent and condition was mint. I will reveal all of the final engine build specifications I obtained further on into this topic.
Now I could assemble the flywheels and components.

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With flywheel components now assembled and within all factory specs and tolerances, I could now true the flywheel assembly. I removed the pinion and sprocket shaft bearings and cages for this step.

Truing the flywheel assembly……..

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Pa

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Post Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:46 pm

Re: Pa's 42WLA Build

INTERMISSION...... Funny hey ? LOL.... I actually did this intermission to explain my reasoning for posting the topic as I have been loading it. I am basically loading the topic as I have loaded it once before on the forum who seemed to have little to no interest in it. I will finish postings the topic pretty much as I did on that other forum and will complete the topic from that point on. I can say without a doubt, this topic will educate many of you on facts about the wla that most did not know and all will not find in restoration books. I am certain several members here have seen this topic on that forum. Anyhow.....voice your concerns, questions, opinions, and whatevers so we can make this topic bring back the traffic to our gracious host, S&S Cycle.[MY PLUG] S&S Cycle is doing a great job in producing parts for vintage Harley Davidson motorcycles. Made in the USA to boot !! And S&S Cycle provides this forum at their cost for us. Feel free to point out any problems you may see with my build that I may have overlooked or Duhhhhhh or brain dead missed.
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45Brit

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Post Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:44 am

Re: Pa's 42WLA Build

If we are doing plugs for S&S I have used some if their parts on both my 45 projects
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...
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Pa

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Post Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:27 am

Re: Pa's 42WLA Build

45Brit wrote:If we are doing plugs for S&S I have used some if their parts on both my 45 projects


I'd love to hear about those parts and how you have used them on your 45's. It would make for a really good topic.
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Pa

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Post Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:49 am

Re: Pa's 42WLA Build

Fitting the flywheel assembly to the cases went smooth as well. I only had to separate the halves twice to obtain centering and endplay specs, along with rod alignment.

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Next I would work on the cylinders. Both cylinders, and all cylinder components are all nos oem parts. Cylinders and cylinder components were mint out of unopened factory packaging. This work went easy since all I needed to do was clean the cylinders/ components and lap the valves in and then assemble all of the components together. Having an oem valve spring compressor on hand was a jewel as well. Cleaning the goop out of the cylinder head bolt hole threads was tedious though. Cylinder bore cross hatching was perfect and bores were dead on standard size. Deck height between the cylinders, in regards to the distance between the head gasket surfaces and the base gasket surfaces, was only off by .001”. Obtaining that close of a deck height measurement between the two cylinders did not just happen though. I went through a dozen nos oem front cylinders, and taking measurements of them all, before I could match a front that close to my rear nos oem cylinder. Some of the nos oem front cylinders I measured, varied as much as .030” shorter or taller than my rear cylinder. Most varied around .015”. I did however have to re-parkerize my 8 sided valve covers.

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Cylinders now assembled and set aside for later.
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Next I cleaned up and fitted my nos oem tappet blocks and tappet assemblies in order to paint them. I micrometered the tappet block case fit diameters and compared them to the micrometer measurements I took from the right crankcase tappet block bores. A nice metal to metal fit to a very light press was documented. After painting the tappet blocks I could now set those aside as well.

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amklyde

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Post Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:01 am

Re: Pa's 42WLA Build

Good stuff Paul! I love all the fussin' for perfection.
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Pa

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Post Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:24 am

Re: Pa's 42WLA Build

While awaiting a few nos oem generator parts to arrive, I then decided to rebuild my M88 Linkert carburetor. The only non nos oem parts on the carburetor is the oem carb body and oem carb bowl. Cleaning parts, painting the carb body, and re-Parkerizing the intake manifold was the main work involved with the building of the carb. With the carburetor build now completed and set aside, I could work on something else now.

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And here are the oem and nos oem parts that went into the carb..

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Pa

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Post Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:25 am

Re: Pa's 42WLA Build

amklyde wrote:Good stuff Paul! I love all the fussin' for perfection.


Thanks Kyle !! :D
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George Greer

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Post Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:28 pm

Re: Pa's 42WLA Build

Paul...

Good stuff!

George
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Pa

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Post Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:36 pm

Re: Pa's 42WLA Build

George Greer wrote:Paul...

Good stuff!

George


Thanks George. You are one of the participants in helping to make this build a reality. If not for some of your help in obtaining some of the rare parts put into her, she would not be near as far along as she is today. You are a true Bro my friend !!
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Pa

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Post Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:40 pm

Re: Pa's 42WLA Build

While it is fresh on my mind, Francis of "Milwaukee Belle" in France provided the correct 8 sided valve covers.
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45Brit

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Post Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:15 am

Re: Pa's 42WLA Build

Pa wrote:
45Brit wrote:If we are doing plugs for S&S I have used some if their parts on both my 45 projects


I'd love to hear about those parts and how you have used them on your 45's. It would make for a really good topic.


I don't know, I thought you'd let that go as a tip of the hat to the sponsor.... Oh, all right, if you insist. When i started the whole project, I bought two more-or-less complete engines plus quite a lot of parts, from an abandoned project. I've bought the one with the Shovelhead forks since.

Among the parts was a selection of S&S parts. After various experiments we assembled three bottom ends, the stroked one using T&O wheels and pistons and NOS 45 rods which is actually in that engine now, a stock-stroke one using S&S wheels, rods and crank pin, and a stock bottom end. The late owner had spent some money on this project, at some point.

I did intend at one point to build an engine using K type top ends and the S&S bottom end, as a vintage hillclimber but the pressures of work meant I never completed the purchase of the barrels and heads, I got diverted into other things and the whole thing got shelved.... The stock bottom end is earmarked for the bike with the Shovelhead forks, but the S&S bottom end DID get loosely assembled and slotted in some cases stuffed with oily rags to preserve them and keep the parts together and I've used that as a dummy in the 45 chassis for fitting-up purpose (it's actually the shiny-looking engine in the photos if that bike) but I see no value in locking up a bottom end like that in a basically stock motor..

Had I had the right combination of parts I would have used the Sportster rods in the stroker motor, but that wasn't feasible.

Sorry to disappoint and all that, but there it is. I might yet use that bottom end but I have no current plans to do so.
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...
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