Board index Flathead Power-Technical Questions, Answers, and Suggestions Big Twin Flatties Baffle plates

Baffle plates

Post Mon Nov 29, 2010 12:50 pm

Posts: 22
Hi again, thanks to everybody who got back to me on this subject.Even if some got a bit heated over the question. Now one other question, what would happen if the baffle plates were not there? My cases have only one baffle plate on the timing side the rest i assume have broken off over the years!! Again any ifo would be appreciated. :)

Post Mon Nov 29, 2010 5:23 pm

Posts: 220
Location: Georgia
COOKY
There are about as many on here that recommend leaving them in as recommend removing them. I have never heard anything negative about them being gone. I left them in myself but debated for a wile before making the decision. If part of it is gone I would remover the rest. That's just me.
F

Post Mon Nov 29, 2010 5:47 pm

Posts: 251
Location: Hudson, Florida
Cooky,
As I was trying to say before, I have built bikes with them in and out. I have noticed no difference either way. If only one left in maybe remove it also. Good luck with your build.

Post Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:15 am

Posts: 3160
Location: Central Illinois, USA
At risk of repeating myself,

The downside of removing the baffles is that the left case loses critical structural rigidity, right where it was reinforced in later years with extended external ribs.

....Cotten

Post Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:58 am

Posts: 251
Location: Hudson, Florida
Is it possible that is why only the one baffle remains in his motor Cotton? I asked this same question many times in the past, should I weld new baffles in and re machine to old specs or alter them to my own conclusion as to what is or isn't right. Seems to be many rights and wrongs on this topic, and although I have had a lot apart both ways I still can't come up with a comfortable explanation as to how to fix it right. I do know many, many years ago I was told at Hop's Island Cycles, used to be on Anna Marie Island in FL. Everything I knew about Harleys had absolutely nothing to do with an Indian. They still seem to be the same old same old to me though.

Post Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:29 am

Posts: 604
Location: Largo, Fl

Maybe....they put the Baffles in the cases to Baffle Us! :D

Post Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:04 pm

Posts: 251
Location: Hudson, Florida
Yes it is down right Baffleing isn't it:)

Post Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:11 pm

Posts: 767
Location: CA USA
I was going over some old notes today looking for some misplaced data and I stumbled on a page with some of my questions with answers from the late Clifford Francis. Whenever I could I'd just sit and listen to him tell stories. This particular day I wanted answers to some very specific questions. The notes are dated 1-14-04. Cliff passed in July 06.
Cliff was building hot rod flathead motors long before any of the present day experts shed the training wheels from their columbia bicycles. In all the years that I knew him he never claimed to be the first to do it or the best, just damn good at it. Cliff's experience goes back before World War II and includes stints with Dudley Perkins and Hap Jones. I don't think it would be an exageration to say that Cliff built hundreds of hot rod motors. "As a union mechanic, Clifford fixed thousands of bikes — balancing motors, straightening frames, grinding cams, relieving cylinders, restoring and repairing parts — and developed a reputation for excellence." He did everything well and was also a damn fine machinest. And, his shit always ran good. So, all this to say the info comes from the lips of a man who built this stuff for 60+ years. Cliff kept a well worn greasy copy of Uncle Frank's Q & A with added notes usually on the bench between the Sunnen Hone and his lathe. He also had lots of notes and correspondence in his file cabinet, but he never copyrighted it. He just shared it and used it for reference.
Since I was having a hard time coming to grips with all the conflicting opinions about baffles and my own experience showed nothing concrete based on my WRs I asked Cliff what he did when he built a WL stroker. Here's his answer: "I use Chief flywheels, WL rods, thin stroker plates, WL pistons with modern thin rings from Dixie, I mill a pop up relief in the head like the late WR." What about the baffles? "I take them out. Never had any trouble with that." I never heard of any of these WL strokers giving out or getting tight.
At the time I was looking for a magneto strap and other stuff to install a Edison Splitdorf horizontal magneto on an Early WR. Cliff said to just weld two generator straps together and make the under strap filler and generator saddle wedge out of wood. That's what he did. No need for fancy parts that are hard to find.
My Pop and Cliff were a lot alike. Both racers who grew up during the depression and just fixed stuff and made do with what was at hand. They are missed.

Post Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:23 pm

Posts: 22
Hey mate thanks alot for your info, sounds like they were real cool dudes and will be sadly missed!!! Im from the UK so most of us will never have or even reach the level of your mates and your dads experience. These old Harleys are a big learning curve for me so its great to read everybodys input.
Today ive decided to take out the remaining baffle plate and build the motor and see how she runs.
kind regards
cooky

Post Thu Dec 02, 2010 6:07 pm

Posts: 251
Location: Hudson, Florida
Beachdog,
Thank You for some factual information from a mechanic& machinist, who did it and why. Any idea what the compression,stroke and cubic inches would be on a build like that?

Post Thu Dec 02, 2010 6:44 pm

Posts: 767
Location: CA USA
Cliff called the motor a 52" and said the stroke was 4 7/16". That stroke and standard WL bore makes 52+ ci. He never mentioned the compression and I didn't ask.

Post Thu Dec 02, 2010 7:45 pm

Posts: 3160
Location: Central Illinois, USA
Neil74 wrote:
Is it possible that is why only the one baffle remains in his motor Cotton? I asked this same question many times in the past, should I weld new baffles in and re machine to old specs or alter them to my own conclusion as to what is or isn't right. Seems to be many rights and wrongs on this topic, and although I have had a lot apart both ways I still can't come up with a comfortable explanation as to how to fix it right. I do know many, many years ago I was told at Hop's Island Cycles, used to be on Anna Marie Island in FL. Everything I knew about Harleys had absolutely nothing to do with an Indian. They still seem to be the same old same old to me though.


Neil!

The downside of repairing broken baffles is that weld distorions can lead to the cylinder decks requiring to be flattened, and just the grief of pulling and re-installing the studs is enough reason to avoid it if you can.

.....Cotten

Post Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:48 am

Posts: 604
Location: Largo, Fl

You may have called him Cliff, but the man's name was Francis Clifford! And he was a fine Indian Mechanic and a pleasure to talk with. He helped me with my Recirculating Oil System on my 101 Hot Rod.

Post Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:16 am

Posts: 767
Location: CA USA
I did transpose his first and last names. Sorry, I'm dyslexic. I usually am very careful about proofreading my stuff because I reverse words and numbers and don't recognize that I've done it. He was always just Cliff. I never much thought of him as Francis Clifford. I met him through Jim Belland who was a friend of Harold Boyajian another of my late mentors. When I came to San Francisco I looked up Jim and brought him Harold's greetings and we talked about WRs and WLDRs. Jim pointed me to Cliff sometime in the mid eighties. As luck would have it I lived just a few minutes from Cliff in the same town. Once Cliff heard who had sent me over to him he welcomed me as if he had known me all his life. I suppose it helped that I didn't mind listening to a story that might be a repeat and I didn't mind getting my hands dirty, even had a few broken fingernails. He loved the fact that my grandfather raced boardtrack on an Harley while my great uncle did the same on a Indian. My Pop raced out of Long Beach the same time that Cliff raced out of San Francisco. Lots of connections. Sitting listening to Cliff always made me feel like my Pop was somewhere close by. Yes, Cliff was an Indian guy. At the time of his passing the last motorcycle in his basement shop was a 101. Cliff always said the 101 was a better bike than the 45 and that Indians in general were better than the comparable Harleys. What we shared was a love for old motorcycles and a respect for the guys that made them go. His shop didn't look like a clean assembly room in silicon valley , it looked and smelled like the shops of my youth. It's funny. I'm building a motor now that uses some cams that Cliff ground for me and the tools I'm using are the old snap-ons with my Pop's name etched in them. They are both part of this build along with another long passed ol'timer "Shorty" who's special blue point engine rebuilding tools are also in use on this motor. Cliff taught me many things, lessons that I'll always remember. Every time I use a trick he taught me or a tool he gave me I think of him and his memory is alive.

Post Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:14 am

Posts: 976
Location: Markt Einersheim, Germany

Beachdog,

Great story.

Now I will ask a question. And I hope not too silly.

Was there ever a discussion about Forged vs. Cast pistons from him?

And if so, was any info passed on to you about the diferences in setup clearances when using them, either set up for racing or street applications?

George

Post Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:39 am

Posts: 641
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Good Stuff Beachdog. Old motors, old parts, old tools, fond memories.

Post Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:01 am

Posts: 767
Location: CA USA
Cliff used parts from Dixie in lots of his stuff. He used standard Cast WL Dixie pistons in the 52" motors. He cut and ground them as needed to work. I never asked him about piston fit, I just assumed he used the old time loose specs from back in the days of WWII. Cliff also used stuff from Egge Machine, pistons, valves and valve springs, that he crossed over to fit various vintage motorcycle engines. I wish I had asked him more questions about his motor setups. My mistake.


Return to Big Twin Flatties