Friday, May 31, 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The last $100

The forgotten $100. The motor oil, gear oil, atf for the primary, fork oil, spark plugs, oil and fuel lines. Everything is acquired and it's all just about buttoned up.

This is what happens when you think you have the rocker boxes on correctly, but don't.

I spent about 3 hours getting the throttle cables on. The one's I got came with not enough slack to let the slide go all the way down, so I had to modify them. If you want to see the hack job, click here.

I'm simply waiting on the spark plugs, gear oil, and replacement rotor to come and it's ready to start up and ride around. I won't have the brake pedal mounted nor the pipes, but it will be ready to do some test runs around the block!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Muir Beach

We decided to just enjoy a drizzly Memorial Day day trip to Muir Beach. It was almost ethereal, ghostly. Max loved it. Luka loved it. And our car loved all the sand. Once Max can trudge around in the sand well and climb, it will open up a lot of new possibilities at the beach. I was hoping to find a bunch of tide pools, but it must be the wrong season. Last time I went was 7 years ago in November. Maybe we'll try again then!

That escalated quickly.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


It's official, there is a children's book I illustrated that anyone in the world can own. That's pretty damn cool. Click the pic.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


I've become extremely competent at coming up with ways of doing loud work during nap hours. I basically have all my grinders outside, and the electrical lines and hoses go through a small mouse hole I carved by the door. I try to remember to flip the air compressor on while he's awake so I can get one full tank to use without running it. Doesn't last long, but it's something. I have taken the compressor outside a few times, but that's a hassle. This is now how I work on my Triumph and has been for a while. Having a garage UNDER the house, specifically, under the nursery is something I wouldn't recommend. Max may have put a damper on the projects right now, but when he comes downstairs with me, he points at all the bikes and wants to sit on them all.

I'm putting it out there. I will have the Triumph running within 2 weeks. On the road within 4. I have spent naps upon naps making custom hardware, grinding off the bolt markings, and polishing. Not show polish, just good go polish.

Jared came over and we timed the Triumph using the 7/16" piston drop measurement method. I feel it's not the most reliable way, so I went ahead and ordered a piston stop and devised a poor man's way of mounting the degree wheel to the crank. the piston stop I got apparently isn't even long enough. So I've ordered another. Hopefully by weekend this thing will be timed well and ready to put some fluids in.

Mounted the oil tank and put a bunch of time getting the plumbing all good to go.

I did all the remaining repairs to the inner primary. Discovered a few more conflicts and fixed all those. I was having a hard time getting the rotor on and discovered the machinist's repair was still needing a lot of grinding time, as it was still mushroomed and the repair weld had a significant peak. After getting the rotor on, it became apparent it had a good wobble to it. Looks like I might need a new one. Might explain why my stator was fried.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Tiny Dancer

We went to the Greek Fest yesterday, Max loved it. Turn the volume wayyyyyy down.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Getcher head straight

Well, it's on. It was pretty easy, but that doesn't mean it's right. On to valve adjustment and magneto timing. I'm considering running a Webco rocker oil feed due to interference with my head steady, or have to redesign my headsteady.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Locked In

You'd never realize how many bolts held a motor in until you had to make over half of them. Bottom end is secured. On to the top end.

Added a drain plug to the sump plate. Now I might need to make a bash guard because it sticks down so low.

Monday, May 13, 2013


I received this email this weekend:

Hi Jason,

My name is Sam & I live about 20 miles north of Keith in rural South Australia. My wife Amy & I live on part of the family farm (my inlaws) which is predominantly livestock sheep & cattle.

First of all I'd like to thank you for an incredibly awesome car & the time you took to answer our questions & supply an almost endless amount of photos.

This thing drives like magic! We picked up the car in Shepparton (Victoria) & drove it over 350 miles to our place at Keith & it didn't miss a beat the whole way. We sat on about 50mph to test things out at the start of the trip & by the end it had no trouble sitting on 65mph.

I am extremely happy with the '53 & after a lot of inspecting I can quite easily say that it is in just as good a condition, if not better, than I expected. I can't thank you enough for your honesty & integrity during the whole process.

I've started doing a few things already, starting with some of the electrical issues like the fuel gauge & the wipers. Everytime I work on the car I can't believe that something 60 years old is so complete, original & in mint condition. I've worked on cars less than ten years old which have suffered much more at the hands of the wrong people, so for this to be so good just amazes me! It is a real credit to yourself & the former owners of this car at the condition it has been preserved in, as well as the multitude of spares that have managed to stay with the vehicle.

In the future I have plans to fully rewire the car, reupholster, remove some of the rust which is starting to pop up on the lower doors & rear guards & generally just tidy things up. I love the colour & the mild custom look that you had going, so I will just be following on from that.

I will try & keep you updated on the progress I make with the car as I can tell that it wouldn't have been the easiest decision to part ways with her.

I just wanted to let you know that the Desoto has gone to a great home where it will loved & appreciated for many years to come.

Hope to keep in touch,

Regards, Sam

Saturday, May 11, 2013

If the motor is the heart, the oil tank is the... kidney?

About 20 hours of filler, sand, primer, sand, repeat.

Friday, May 10, 2013

What's in the box?

What's this? What's this?

Shit just got real, yo.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Family Day Trip

Sunday, after running 3 miles (yes, we're doing that again) and after Max's first nap, we headed up north on 1 and took a relaxing drive along the coast.

Monday, May 6, 2013

3 to 2

Another check on the list, changed the lowering from a 3" drop to a 2". No more slight nose dive, much better compression. I also bent the kickstand and repainted the motor brackets. Just waiting on the motor now.

Friday, May 3, 2013


You were one of the biggest inspirations of my youth.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Hella Sweet Brah

Today was a good day, but lips turn purple and teeth chatter after 30 minutes, even on a warm Oakland day.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Big Boy Legos

At long last I got a pre-unit front end (a Trophy) and a side-mount Bates. Both I got from Dan at Angry Monkey.

What I started with

I actually replaced the harder to find Trophy yoke with a nacelle yoke I already had. I like the bars being more forward. I spent the day assembling the '55, seeing what fits, how it fits, what doesn't fit, and what needs to be made to fit.

I really wanted to use the tank stripes, but apparently they aren't for this tank. Also the front tank mount is too narrow for this tank. I've also had this BSA fender kicking around for years, and if I'm serious about this being a street/trails bike, I need a front fender, so maybe I will fab something up eventually. Anyway, it's all moot, as now this bike is going to be put away for a while to let me finish a few other things. Max will be old enough to hand me a wrench when I start on it.