Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Great Expectations

I have a Grandson by the name of Max. Max is an eight year old who is all boy. If there is a kid version of a Manly Man, then he is it. Frogs, bugs, the whole enchilada.

Despite his blond hair and blue eyes, Max also happens to have some American Indian blood flowing through his veins. His paternal grandfather (who he is named after) was from the White Earth band of Ojibwe (Chippewa).

Last fall our family spent a weekend on the north shore of Lake Superior. As is often the case when we go there, I gathered a few choice pieces of driftwood to fashion into canes in my spare time. The stack of these "would be" walking aids seems to keep growing in my garage, since the spare time seems scarce. Knowing my propensity for fashioning these sticks, Max picked one out and asked me to make a walking stick (rather than a cane) for him. He had very specific instructions. He wanted the larger diameter end to be the bottom. He also wanted a band of leather of a specific width in a specific place. Being the good grandfather that I am, I completely ignored his instructions.

Actually, what I did was spend a little time searching the Internet for examples of ceremonial spears. That was the "flavor" I was looking to duplicate. The result was a walking stick that totally blew Max away. Far from being disappointed with my failure to build it to his specifications, Max was delighted. It was far and away better than his expectations. That is EXACTLY the reaction I was looking for.

We live in a society in which most of us get to have the majority of things we want (within reason). I am quite sure that in most cases those "things" wind up being a disappointment practically as soon as the wrapping comes off. Our expectations usually far outshine the actuality. Perhaps that is why I took as much delight in giving the walking stick to Max as he did in receiving it. It exceeded all expectations.

I couldn't help but think that this, in a small way, is a little like what God has in store for us. Of course the verse that comes to mind is 1 Corinthians 2:9 "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

I don't want to be found guilty of taking a verse too far out of context, so I want to point out that the following verse states: "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."

Even so, I don't think I am overstating things to say that even if we do have a glimpse of the glory of the new heaven and new earth as described in the book of Revelation, it is still going to far exceed our expectations. I think it will totally blow us away, and I think that will be EXACTLY the reaction God is looking for!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Venerable 4 Speed Clutch - Part 2

Before too much time slips away, I had better post my follow-up to The Venerable 4 Speed Clutch - Part 1 In that post I told of many of the most common problems with this clutch design which Harley used from 1941 until 1984. As promised, I would like to now give a few tips on making it work even better than when it was new. Some of these are aimed primarily at drag racing, but many are readily adaptable to street use.

  1. Starting at the back of the assembly, a 5 stud clutch hub is a worthwhile upgrade for performance use. Whether you upgrade your existing hub, or buy a new one may come down to a money issue. If you can change the studs yourself it may be cheaper to do that, but if you have to pay someone to change the studs, it may be just as cost effective to buy a new 5 stud unit.

  2. Replace the "clutch hub fiber disc" with the "Nylatron" unit. In normal use, this fiber disc works as another clutch plate. That means that it is susceptible to making the clutch drag if there is insufficient release between it and the back of the clutch basket. Since this plate is behind the clutch hub bearing, it is also inordinately susceptible to grease from that bearing, further enhancing the probability it will drag. Whether the Nylatron disc was designed this way or not, what I like to do is treat it like a bearing rather than a clutch plate. I grease up the Nylatron disc on both sides to make it unlikely to give any drag. An added bonus to the Nylatron is that it is "full floating", so you don't have to worry about riveting it in like the stock disc.

  3. Next, in place of the stock clutch hub bearing retainer, install a "Ram Jett Retainer". I believe this little item is named after its originator, but is now being sold generically by all the major parts wholesalers. This little item is a rigid plastic/nylon disc that goes on after the basket is installed on the hub. It is installed with snap rings in place of the stock "spring clips". Depending on the indexing of the disc, it will give more or less end play to the clutch basket. Remember what I said about the Nylatron disc being used to make the assembly like a bearing rather than another clutch plate? The Ram Jett Retainer forms the other end of this "bearing assembly" and controls the end play. Controlling the end play eliminates the basket from "walking out" and causing clutch drag

  4. Clutch plates. Besides making sure that the plates are in good shape (not oil soaked or glazed) the other consideration is what use the clutch will be put to. For even hard street use, I would still recommend cheap replacement fiber discs. I remember (from back in the old days) one particularly successful street class racer used a particular brand of cheap aftermarket fibers with great success. Due to having a high horsepower motor along with a street tire, he slipped his clutch while launching the bike, managing a near perfect blend of RPM and traction. Sort of like a slipper clutch, only with the rider's clutch hand providing the magic. After every pass, he would swap the clutch plates out, allowing the most recently run ones to cool. I wish I could remember what brand plates he said he ran, because he did say not all of them worked equally well.

  5. Working our way out, an aluminum pressure plate will almost always work better than the original stamped steel one. They don't flex. They are also surprisingly affordable.

  6. The -41 clutch springs will give more pressure than the later hand clutch versions. Keep in mind that this will make your lever pull a little heavier though (that is why they changed them when they eliminated the mousetrap; also known as a hand clutch booster)

  7. The clutch spring retainer is the steel disc at the outer end of the clutch that the 5 nuts (now that you upgraded from a 3 stud hub) tighten. It will have 5 "nubs" that the special nuts index on. You're going to want to grind those nubs off. Discard the special nuts and use nylock nuts in their place. Now you will be able to get a fine adjustment on the pressure plate rather than in 1/2 turn increments as the special nuts provide.
  8. Now if your bike is going to be used mostly on the street, and you have no clutch drag, you are all done. If, however, this clutch is going to see some major drag racing use, you might want to keep reading. Most clutch problems on the drag strip are related to dragging, not slipping. Even a clutch with perfect street manners will tend to drag when your bike is staged and at 4000 RPM or more. Remember, all the clutch needs to do is "pull" your bike an inch or two and you have red lighted. Besides, it is pretty much impossible to cut a good light when distracted by a dragging clutch. The solution (if you have addressed all of the items here and in the first post) is to add more release travel. As I mentioned in part 1, you can remove the hand grip to allow the clutch lever to move farther. A layer of electrical tape will make the bar a little less slippery without a grip. One last trick. You can also add a little more travel to the clutch release by shortening the release arm (the lever that comes off the top of the kicker cover). You should be able to take about an inch out of the center of this arm without adding too much misalignment to the cable. Remember, this will also make for a heavier lever pull.

There you have it! All the tricks and tips that I know for the 4 speed clutch... well, at least all of them I remember. Will this solve all of your clutch problems on the street? I think so. On the strip? To a point. Even with a more modern clutch, I found that a 6000+ RPM launch required a line lock on the front brake to avoid being pulled through the lights. But for a 60 year old clutch design, I think you'd have to agree it was a good one.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hypocrite! Hypocrite!

Over at the Recliner Commentaries, my Pastor has posted an article he wrote refuting the recent Newsweek article which attempted to make a "religious case for gay marriage." His post is well thought out and worth spending the time to read, however, this post has to do with the comment section from his refutation.

It seems that a commenter by the name of Steve has some real issues with Christians opposing "gay marriage". In fact the long and short of his various comments come down to this. It is hypocritical for Christians to spend more time opposing "gay marriage" than they do in opposing the liberalization of divorce laws since both of these things weaken the institution of marriage. The exchanges in the comments section have been numerous and heated.

I have a lot of thoughts and opinions on these subjects, but to narrow this post down to a manageable size I want to comment on only one aspect. To the cry of "Hypocrite! Hypocrite!", I answer; Guilty! Guilty!

You see, that is what real Christianity is all about. Being a hypocrite. Despite God's work of giving us a new spirit, redeeming us by his blood, and making us free from the penalty for our sins, we are still stuck with this flesh. And as long as we are stuck with this flesh we will continue to sin.

Paul touches on this in Romans 7:18-24 where he says: "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"

So, if your complaint is that Christians are hypocrites, then you are right indeed. But being a hypocrite does not relieve a Christian of his duty to proclaim God's word; all of it, even when it is not convenient. This is a Christian's duty, even when he will be called a hypocrite and unloving for doing it. Yes, a Christian is to proclaim God's word in as loving a manner as he can, but what could be more unloving than not proclaiming it at all.

I, for one, am longing for the day when I no longer have this sinful flesh to deal with.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Vintage Dragbike Update

What with all the computer problems and such, I have not posted much lately. That doesn't mean I have been on my couch relaxing though. I have actually made a bunch of progress on building a "period correct" Harley drag bike. I use the term period correct here with a little trepidation, because by some people's standards, that would mean little or no use of reproduction parts. I just plain can't afford to do that, either from a monetary or a safety standpoint. My plan is to build a bike that is as period correct for the mid 1950's without "breaking the bank".

As I alluded to in an earlier post, I plan to build a Knuckle using a set of dual Linkert heads that I already have. The first thing I did after committing to building this bike was to order a set of new STD replica Knuckle crankcases. I know, I know.... I've already ruined it for some of you! Sorry, but there is just no way I can justify the cost of a set of original cases, not to mention the inherent weakness in an aluminum casting that has seen at least 60 years of abuse. I hope that you purists will find it in your heart to forgive me.

Another major piece has been donated by my good friend Watso. After reading my blog he called me to offer a replica Panhead frame. Needless to say, that is a major step forward in the project, and Watso's generosity makes the whole thing much more financially feasible for me.

Sorting through my stash of used parts I came up with these to be added to list of parts I plan to use:
  • a set of XA (pre '74) rods which I will have shot peened and rebuild

  • breather and circuit breaker drive gears

  • a pre 1940 oil pump (customarily used for drag racing because of their lower volume)

  • 3 out of 4 rocker arms and all 4 shafts

  • a front rocker box

  • a front lifter block

  • 16" spokes and rim for the rear

  • a few Linkert carb bodies to experiment with

  • the complete vintage drag racing 2 speed transmission from Don Jone's 1950 drag bike, "The Gorilla". I will need to freshen it up, but it will be the real "centerpiece" of the bike.

  • a clutch hub and basket

  • a new reproduction Panhead rear cylinder

  • damaged inner and outer primary covers to be modified into a primary chain guard

I have new Rowe exhaust valves and guides. On the intake side I have a set of Screamin' Eagle 2.080" valves (selected because of their shallow tulip and being the correct size for the existing "choke" in the heads). The 5/16" stem diameter of these valves necessitate fabrication of custom valve guides, for which I have already obtained the blanks from Rowe. I have also ordered a set of flywheels from Truett & Osborn .

That still leaves me searching eBay for a few items:

  • a rear exhaust rocker arm

  • a rear rocker box

  • a rear lifter block

  • a cam cover

  • a magneto (though for the price they seem to go for it may make more sense to buy a new one from Joe Hunt rather than buying used and then sending it out for a rebuild)

At this point in time, my plans are to buy a reproduction springer, which will help to give the bike that real vintage look. I will also likely buy a pair of reproduction star hubs, since it seems like you always have to take five used ones apart to find one good one. Rear fender will likely be a cut down reproduction. Cam? Leineweber without a doubt. The only question is whether it will be the #3 or the #5 grind. I plan to get a little further with the heads before making that decision.

One thing I am still up in the air on, is what fuel tank I should use. I toyed with using a Hummer tank, but seeing what they bring on eBay may have ruled that out. Thoughts?

By the way, this bike has found a nickname before it has even had its first two parts permanently bolted together. Vinnie.... short for vintage drag bike.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Joy of PC

It is interesting how much a little thing like your laptop being in for repairs can mess up a guy's routine. I carry mine back and forth to work, and use it there as well as at home to run/ship eBay stuff. Normally I spend my lunch break reading a few blogs that I follow, and doing a little writing for this blog. I usually manage to answer the occasional email during this time also.
But not for the last week and a half!

The laptop is in for major repairs, and not due back until the 8th. The silver lining is that I had purchased an extended warranty on it (something I would not normally do). I guess having the warranty put off the day when I switch over to a Mac. Microsoft has become something of a dirty word around our house, with the untold hours lost due to programs that don't work correctly. And then there are the viruses.

I have to admit to a little nagging suspicion in the back of my mind wondering whether it is the people at Mac who spend their evenings producing viruses that attack PCs. Nah....couldn't be....

Anyway, that is why I haven't posted for a while. Hopefully that will change soon.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Near Death Experiance

The patient was obviously on her deathbed. Three weeks ago everyone came for a last visit before she passed on. Last week was to be the wake (usually called visitation in these parts), and the funeral would be today. But something unexpected happened on that deathbed. The patient showed a tiny spark more life left in her than anyone had expected. Even though there was at least one person present that seemed willing to administer a lethal injection, in the end it was decided that it would be prudent to put the patient on life support for two weeks to see if she had any real hope of recovery.

During those two weeks of life support, things looked hopeless. I readily admit that a week into that life support my wife and I had given up hope and accepted the fact that the patient would be lost and should be allowed to die with dignity.

As of last Sunday, it looked as though the funeral would be today after all. But mid week, all of that changed. The patient is still very weak, and there is no assurance that she will survive to live to a ripe old age, but there is a great hope that is evident in her that had been missing before.

Of course the "patient" that I have been describing is our own beloved Valley View Baptist Church. Two weeks ago we were to vote on closing, being without a pastor and down to 21 members (or less), However, there were enough members at that meeting who were not quite willing to close just yet. The vote was put off for two weeks until after the yearly meeting of the Minnesota LaCrosse Association of the North American Baptist Conference, in the hopes that member churches could offer some guidance.

Despite the prayers and offers of support from the member churches in the association, Jane and I came to the conclusion (based primarily on being better informed) that perhaps it was for the best that Valley View Baptist close its doors.

But all that has changed now. Dennis Ingolfsland, one of our members, has volunteered to take over as our pastor on a part time basis. Dennis, beside being a professor at a nearby Christian college, has often preached for us when our former pastor was out of town. I am confident that the entire membership at Valley View is delighted at this turn of events. Best of all, I believe that the membership is going into this with the realization that we will all need to be involved in regaining the health of Valley View Baptist. I don't think any of us have any illusions of growing into a large church; in fact I am not sure we really even want to. But we do wish to restore the church to the point where it can survive as a God honoring body of Christ were the gospel is preached!

Please continue to pray for us.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Answered Prayers

If you follow this blog regularly you may remember that I asked for prayers concerning the future of ValleyView Baptist since our pastor had moved on, and we were unsure if we could get another due to our small numbers. In the past few weeks we have been on the verge of closing the doors permanently. In fact, this Sunday we were scheduled to vote on disbanding.

But, tonight I received a call from Wyman, one of our deacons, with some very encouraging news. I won't go into detail yet, but if you have been praying for us, then I'd like to thank you from the bottom of my heart, because I do believe your prayers have been answered! And as is so often the case our most gracious Father has chosen to answer them in a most unexpected way.

More to follow....

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Man of Galilee

Here's another from my great grandfather, L.J. Schlattman's book of poetry, Gleanings from Life.

Man of Galilee

In the hills of Galilee,
I would follow as He walked,
On the shores of Galilee,
I would listen as He talked;
Always healing human ill,
Always teaching love devine:
Pleading, "Whosoever will,
Come, and comfort shall be thine."

Wonderous man of Galilee,
Face so meek and eye so mild;
Teach me how to follow Thee,
I would be thy loving child;
Teach me how to watch and pray,
Give me hope and faith and love;
In thy footsteps all the way,
Lead me till I land above.

Wonderous man of Galilee,
Thou hast balm for all my woe;
All my ills I bring to Thee,
Thou dost ease them, this I know.
Take and fold my troubled heart,
To Thy bosom warm with love;
Help me ne'er from Thee to part,
Lead me to that home above.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Breaking News - Nostalgia Drag Race at Union Grove June '09

Here is some great news for those of you who are fans of nostalgia drag racing and don't live near a coast. That's right, were finally going to have one here in the center of the country! So mark the date; June 12-14, 2009 at Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove Wisconsin.

I will be adding more details shortly, but here is a teaser. They will be running all pre 1972 vehicles; Top Fuel Front Engine Dragsters, Nitro Burning Funny Cars, Blown Gassers and Altereds, Super Stockers, A F/Xers, Jet Cars, Wheelstanders, Hot Rods, and MOTORCYCLES.

Of course, the part about MOTORCYCLES is of particular interest to me. If you have been following my blog, you already know that I have a lot of interest in vintage drag bikes, and have been toying with the idea of building one. This event put me over the tipping point.

The only question now is what combination of parts I will use. I still have the heads and cylinders from my last drag bike, which was a 120 cubic inch Knucklehead. But, I also have a very nice set of vintage dual Linkert Knuckle heads that would look killer on a 50's style Knuck drag racer. The third option is to use a set of single carb Knuck heads (which I also have) with the Scot blower that was once used on a real live '50s drag bike. You can read more about it from an earlier post here.

So, what do you think? I am kind of leaning toward the dual Linkert motor because of it's classic look and simplicity to build. Still, the blower has some great history to it....

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Venerable 4 Speed Clutch - Part 1

Harley Davidson used the same clutch on all of it's Big Twin models from 1941 to 1984, with only a few changes. These days it is commonly referred to as a 4 speed clutch even though it continued in use on the early 5 speed transmissions. These days it is commonly renounced as being a piece of junk. I am sure that helps to sell more modern clutch conversions, but the clutch itself hardly deserves the assessment.

The complaints generally go something like this: "The bike still tries to creep forward even with the clutch lever pulled all the way in." The clutch is grabby." "It's hard to get into first gear." "It's hard to find neutral."

A few items are all it generally takes to make the clutch work "as good as new." A few more trick can make it better than new.

Here are some common problems and solutions.

  1. Oil soaked and gummy fiber plates - solution: replace the discs. There have been a lot of "stop gap" measures to avoid replacing the fibers over the years such as baking to draw the oil out, spraying with brake cleaner and such. None of the work particularly well. Buy even the cheapest replacement fibers you can get, and you will be much more satisfied.

  2. Glazed fiber plates - solution: same as above, replace the discs. A stop gap measure is to "rough up" the surface, usually by rubbing them on some concrete

  3. Primary chain or belt misaligned - solution: align. If your clutch basket is inboard in relation to the engine sprocket, when you pull in the clutch, the basket will naturally move out to align with the engine sprocket. This takes up the free space between the plates that pulling in the clutch was supposed to give, resulting in a dragging clutch.

  4. Primary chain or belt too tight - solution: adjust. Very similar to number 3 above. Obviously adjusting a chain is pretty easy. Some belt drives are non adjustable due to rigid primary housings. Consult the manufacturer as to why his product doesn't fit correctly. I am sure he will tell you that it is the first time he has heard of this problem. Then switch to a chain.

  5. Clutch hub studs grooved - solution: replace the studs or the clutch hub assembly. This manifests itself in a dragging clutch due to the fiber discs (which have the small holes that the studs go through) being hindered from moving due to the grooves. If you choose to repair this by replacing studs, you can convert it to a 5 stud at the same time. The only advantage to a 5 stud is that allows a finer adjustment for the springs.

  6. Clutch basket dogs grooved - solution: replace dogs or basket.This is similar to #5 above, except that it is the steel plates that have worn grooves into the dog s on the basket. This is far less common than grooved studs.

  7. Clutch pressure plate warped -solution: replace. If the pressure plate is not flat, it will be very difficult to adjust the clutch so that the plate releases evenly. The best solution to this is to upgrade to an aftermarket aluminum pressure plate, often referred to as a precision pressure plate.

  8. Clutch springs out of adjustment - solution: adjust. This can show up in a couple of ways. Springs that are not adjusted with enough tension can slip. Springs that are adjusted too tightly may coilbind before there has been enough movement of the pressure plate to allow full disengagement. The most prevalent problem, though, is not adjusting the springs for even pressure. This can cause the cause the clutch to be grabby or to drag. Your service manual tells you to adjust the three nuts on the clutch hub studs so that there is 1 inch between the stock pressure plate and the inside of the spring retainer. That is a good starting point, but for best results you need to pull in the clutch while watching the pressure plate and adjust those nuts so that the pressure plate comes out evenly. In other words, if one side of the plate starts to move before the other, adjust the nut on that side in a half turn or two until the pressure plate comes out evenly. Turn the pressure plate to different points in its rotation and double check this release. This is a major cause of a grabby clutch, and is easy to remedy!

  9. Clutch pushrod and adjusting screw not having "squared off" ends - solution: machine them or replace them. This fits hand in hand with #8 above. Somewhere along the line, someone came up with the bright idea of making a clutch adjusting screw (the screw that goes into the center of the pressure plate) with a ball bearing in the end. Obviously they thought this would be a plus if you did not adjust the clutch with enough free play. The problem is that it aggravates the problem of the pressure plate not releasing evenly as described above. Picture the difference between balancing a 5 gallon pail on top of another 5 gallon pail (with lid). Now picture balancing the 5 gallon pail on a basketball. Any small difference in spring pressure from one side of the pressure plate to the other will be magnified by "balancing it on an adjusting screw with a ball on the end of it. Usually the pushrod itself will have an end that is already "squared off."

  10. Insufficient travel of pressure plate for full disengagement. solution: restore full travel. This can be as simple as adjusting the clutch free play. Obviously if your clutch lever moves an excess amount before it starts to move the pressure plate, it may hit its full travel before the pressure plate has moved far enough to fully disengage the clutch. It is best to unhook the clutch cable, and then adjust the screw in the center of the pressure plate. In most cases this can be accomplished by turning the screw in until it lightly bottoms, and then back off a quarter turn. Then go back, hook the cable up, and adjust the free play at the lever. You must leave some free play or the throw out bearing will burn up. This is all it should take if all else is in good stock working order. There are a couple of other possible issues though. One is if you have a set of the really thick aftermarket grips that are on the market today. Your clutch lever will bottom out on this grip before it traveled as far as it would with the stock grip. (when I drag raced, I wouldn't run any grip at all on the clutch side just to add a little more travel) Another potential problem is in some of the clutch cables I have seen. In an effort to make clutch cables more "flexible" some of them have been "woven" with wires that are not stiff enough. I have seen cables that actually stretch somewhat as the lever is pulled, and then relax again when the lever is released. Sort of like using a big spring to release your clutch.

Well, that pretty much covers the common causes and solutions for the 4 speed clutch problems, at least those that have come to mind. I may remember more later. In a future post I intend to cover some tricks and tips for high performance use. All in all, great performance can be realized without resorting to replacement of this durable clutch with one of a different design.

(note: I tried both the "numbered list" function, as well as the "bulleted list" function and they both change to the goofy flower when I publish the post. Maybe I should add "Blogger" to my book of shame.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Church and the Gospel

How "Church" should be done is a subject that is at the forefront of more than just a few disagreements among Christians for the last .... well for the last 2000 years. In light of that fact, it should come as no surprise to us that it comes up often today.

One question that has come to my attention recently pertains to who the worship service should be "aimed" towards. It may be that the "seeker sensitive" service that was all the rage for quite some time now, may be on its way out in "modern" churches. Some would argue that the seeker sensitive service missed the mark, because it was aimed at the wrong target. A church service should be for the Christian, not for the person who is trying to decide whether or not they should become one, they say.

Frankly, I agree with that assessment, to a point. Anyone who has followed this blog for any time probably realizes that I am a conservative Baptist (and I hope that term has no connotations that I am unaware of). As such I don't have much time for the whole seeker sensitive thing. From what I have seen of it, the seeker sensitive church, to a large extent, has come down to luring in people (who are interested in spiritual things) by promising to be relevant and entertaining, and to enhance their life, but never really getting to the subject of sin and the answer to sin.

Now a second way of looking at a church service has more merit, in that a church is an assembly, and a Church (note the capital C) is an assembly of believers (and being a Baptist, I would add baptized believers). John 4:23 says "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him." Hence a church service, or worship service would rightly focus on those who are already Christians.

So far, this second type of service is a pretty good description of ValleyView Baptist over the past year and a half that my wife and I have been members. Nearly all of the sermons from our pastor (who has recently moved on to another church) were basically aimed toward edifying the body of Christ. While the subject of sin and the gospel were certainly not avoided, neither were they stressed because after all, those receiving the sermons were professed Christians. This is NOT meant in any way to reflect adversely on him; the fact is we miss and love him dearly.

In this vein of "doing church" specifically for the Christian, I recently heard a pastor say that he no longer invites people to church. He said he does his evangelism only after getting to know someone. Some of you may agree with him. Others may be shocked. Me? Well ....

I have to agree that there is no point to inviting someone to your church if the gospel is not going to be preached. And just as important, if sin is never going to be mentioned, there is no point in preaching the gospel, since the man with a terminal illness who doesn't know it, will have little use for a life saving medicine. Wasn't that a major problem with the seeker sensitive service? So, by all means, if you are not going to preach about sin and the gospel, don't invite unbelievers to your church. But I do believe that may come with its own issues.

I have heard (from more than one source) that young people attending Christian colleges, in many cases, cannot even articulate the basic tenants of the faith. Do you think there is a chance that many of these never really were born again? After all, if they grew up in the typical seeker sensitive church, they may have never been told of their desperate need of a saviour. But does this not also apply to the child who grew up in a church where "church" was done just for Christians?

Let me tell you a little story that helps explain how I come down on this issue. Nearly 10 years ago, my wife and I attended a church service due directly to an invitation in the form of literature brought to our door. No, not Jehovah's Witness or Mormon; some Baptist's go door to door also.

This was a fairly small church. Small enough that new faces were noticed by everyone, not least by the pastor. In retrospect, I have no doubt that the pastor of that little Baptist Church modified his sermon "on the fly" in order to present the gospel to these strangers. I would bet that he did the same the following Sunday. By the third consecutive Sunday, he probably expected us and prepared accordingly.

If you haven't already guessed, that chain of events is how our most merciful God chose to save me. Maybe that prejudiced me, but I certainly would never feel shorted by a pastor who felt the need to preach a little hell fire and damnation topped off with the good news in place of an edifying sermon. In fact, I believe that a little more preaching of the law (which identifies sin) and the gospel would be a God honoring addition to any way that you might chose to "do church."

One last point. If you, as a pastor, seldom preach the law and the gospel, just where do you expect your flock to learn to evangelize? Or do you plan on doing it all yourself?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Modern Evangelical

One of my daily stops on the Internet is a blog called The Recliner Commentaries. Dennis, the blogs author, does a great job of compiling current news items and adding his Christian perspective in the form of commentary. One of today's entries was a post called The Evangelical vote The whole article is well worth reading, but the gist of it was a list of many of the issues that are by and large supported by Democrats, but would not/should not be supported by a Christian. Dennis ends with the statement that he is "at a loss to understand how Evangelical Christians can vote Democrat with a clear conscience." This is my answer to that statement.

I think the explanation of how Evangelical Christians can vote Democrat is obvious. The term "Evangelical" itself has gone the same way as the term "Christian". Early on in New Testament times, the term Christian meant only one thing. A born again follower of Jesus Christ. Today I think we would be extremely generous in estimating that 20% of those calling themselves Christian would match that first century definition.

Even so, the term "Evangelical Christian." Unless I am mistaken, the term Evangelical came into popular use during the last century to differentiate those who were serious Christians from those who were not. Calling yourself a Christian had lost its meaning from overuse by those who were only nominally Christian, or in my view not really Christians at all. In fact, I would submit that those who claim to be Christians, but have never been born again, are guilty of breaking the command in Exodus 20:7 "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." I hold to the view that the purest meaning of this command has to do with calling yourself a Christian , and yet the taking of that name to yourself having no effect.

This is nothing new. Even as Paul explains in the book of Romans, not all of national Israel were God's elect. Romans 9:6 says in part "....For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:" I don't believe we are misusing the words by applying it thus: For they are not all Christians, which are of Christianity, or they are not all Evangelicals, which are of Evangelicalism.

So if the question is how to understand how Evangelical Christians can vote Democrat with a clear conscience, my answer is that "they are not all Israel, which are of Israel."

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Silver Lining to High Gas Prices

The high price of gas has brought with is one silver lining this summer. It has gotten me out of my pickup and back onto the Knucklehead. To my shame, over the past several years, I had just gotten out of the habit of riding to work. Seemed as though there was always some reason not to ride, whether it was wet weather, too much "stuff" that needed to go with, or something.

But, this year was different. Spurred on by high gas prices, I doubt there have been a dozen days this summer that I did not ride to work. And most days I had a passenger with me. You see about 2 years back my wife Jane worked out a deal with our daughter Megan. Since Jane had a hankering for a puppy, and Megan's kids (our grandchildren) did too, they decided we should get one and have "joint custody". It seemed reasonable. Their house was only a few blocks away, and since Megan was home during the daytime, the dog would stay with them during the week, and with Jane and I weekends.

That went pretty well for a while; until Megan and her husband bought a brand new house about 20 miles away. Really, who wants a dog messing up a brand new house? So the "joint custody" morphed into Grandma and Gramps having a full time dog (who goes by the name "Lady"). And since my wife works in an office, guess who brings Lady to work with him every day.

Enter a cheap sidecar from a swapmeet. I never cared much for sidecars, but I did like to at least have the option of riding to work. And besides, who can resist a dog in a sidecar.

Incidentally, if you are considering a sidecar, I highly recommend one of these light weight aftermarket units rather than the overweight H.D. hacks. The OEM sidecars (in my experience) "pull" one direction when accelerating and the other when braking, not to mention hurting acceleration considerably. This 1973 vintage sidecar, weighing in at only 175 pounds does none of these things.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Preach the Word!

"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." 2 Timothy 4:2

I absolutely love good preaching! Good, strong, authoritative preaching. And of course to be authoritative, that preaching can be only be of one type; Biblical. If the preaching is not from the Bible, then in my opinion it lacks any authority.

At the very end of what we call the Sermon on the Mount we see something about this authority:

Matthew 7:28,29 "And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."

Note a couple thing here. Teaching is a part and parcel of preaching, unless we have mislabeled the "Sermon" on the Mount. Jesus taught as one having authority. That is because of who he is. The book of John says that Jesus is the Word. And the Word is God! Jesus preached and taught with authority because he is God. But how can a mere man preach with authority? It's easy if you preach the Bible. The authority comes from the Word of God, not from the eloquence or style of the preacher (if it was the latter I, for one, would never dare set foot behind a pulpit).

Also note that preaching and teaching involves doctrine. That word doctrine isn't one that should scare you away. It simply means a principle or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief . That definition comes from Websters. In the case of true Christianity, that would be a principle in a branch of knowledge. The knowledge of the one true God, Yahweh. In the case of all other religions, doctrine would be merely a principle in a system of belief.

If you go back to the very beginning of the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5:1) , you will find that Jesus sat down to teach/preach this message. So why is it customary for a preacher of our day to stand behind a pulpit to teach? If you go to Luke chapter 4, I believe I can give you an answer.

It has been said that it was customary in the Jewish culture of that day that a teacher would sit down to teach. This would seem to be verified by the account of the Sermon on the Mount, as well as here in Luke 4. Beginning in Luke 4:16-17 we see that the Bible says: "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, .... "

After reading the passage from Isaiah, we find this in verses 20 and 21: "And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."

Jesus stood up to read from the scriptures. Then he sat down and taught with authority. Now if Jesus stood up to read God's word, would it not be reasonable to emulate him? And since any authority in our preaching/teaching comes directly from God's word, perhaps it is best that we remain standing to remind us to to keep the focus of our preaching on the Bible.

Yes, I do love good preaching. Strong and authoritative. But you know what? The meekest and mildest of preachers can preach in a strong, authoritative way even with a meek and mild delivery. The strength and authority comes from the Word not the preacher!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Lord is my Shepherd

Another from my great grandfather, L.J. Schlattman's book of poems "Gleanings from Life".


The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall never want,
Green pastures He spreads for my need;
I drink of the font, He supplies every want,
To waters so still He doth lead.
He restoreth my soul, leads me true with his arm,
For His name's sake He keeps me from evil and harm.

Though I walk through the valley, and shadows of death,
Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me;
No evil I fear, Thou ever art near,
No harm can befall me with Thee.
Thou prepareth my table in sight of my foe,
Thou anointeth my head and Thou stillest my woe,

His goodness and mercy, doth ere follow me,
My cup, full of joy, runneth o'er;
All the days of my life, He easeth my strife,
As His name in His house I adore,
The Lord is my shepherd, my stay and my guide,
I am safe in His keeping, with Him I'll abide.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dual Carbs - Vintage Style

Exotic carburation! I have to plead guilty to having always been a sucker for it. It may have begun when, as a teenager, I bought an Offenhauser 4 barrel manifold for my Studebaker from a local junkyard for $7. Things didn't change much when I moved on to Harleys. I vividly remember how cool those SU carbs looked on Pans and Shovels with the forward swept elbow.

Of course later when I got into drag racing Knuckleheads, dual carbs became more a necessity than a luxury. But when it came to a street bike, the traditional modification of the heads to hold two carbs held a drawback; that being in the form of a big lack of leg clearance.

Despite this leg clearance issue, the first dual Linkert setup I built consisted of one carb on each side. I used a pair of Linkerts (one on each side of engine going into a common manifold). I ran an M35 (1-1/8" venturi) as the primary carb, with an M74 (1-5/16" venturi) on the other side. I made up progressive linkage so that the M74 didn't start to open until the M35 was at half throttle, but they both reached WOT at the same time. It worked extremely well. Better gas mileage from doing most of your running on the small carb, but when you accelerated you could feel the second carb come in just like the secondaries on a car with a 4 barrel.

Dual Linkert - One Carb Out Each Side

The only downside was that the carbs I used had some wear so that too much air leaked past the throttle plates causing it to want to idle too high. I solved that by putting an auto advance distributor on it (the idle would slow when the weights came back retarding the spark). I think I could have solved the idle by using better carbs, or maybe by disabling the idle circuit on the second carb, but never tried it. Of course with the length of the Linkert, there still were leg clearance issues on the left side carb.

Perhaps a better solution is the method I used on my second foray into dual Linkerts. This manifold is based on a vintage "aftermarket" dual Linkert manifold that I have (and have seen other examples of). This vintage manifold is cast aluminum, and was designed to fit as a plumber manifold. My guess is that the aluminum would not have held up very well with brass seals and plumber nuts, but that is beside the point. The manifold is set up to take a pair of 3 bolt Linkerts, and has individual intake tracts; in other words the front carb feeds the front cylinder and the rear carb the rear cylinder. This coupled with the space limitations for such a design mean that the runners are extremely small, and thus extremely restrictive. The longer "tuned length probably would have given great throttle response and very low RPM performance, but I would bet that a stock 4 bolt Linkert would give better overall performance.

Vintage Dual 3 Bolt Linkert Manifold

Still, this vintage manifold is cool looking, and more importantly served as the inspiration for the next dual Linkert manifold project that I undertook. This next one was at the request of my friend Elmer. Elmer is world famous (seriously) for his Harley restorations, however, some time back he began to get a little weary of building the same bikes over and over. His solution was to start building a few "period correct" bobbers. Dual Linkerts were just the ticket!

Dual Linkert Manifold - Plumber Style

So I built another "prototype", and not just for looks either. I did flow bench testing to confirm that the manifold would be beneficial in the performance department, as well as the aesthetics side. I built it to use plumber fittings, at Elmer' insistence, so that it would be period correct for the original Holister event. It worked out very well, though the one thing I would change would be to cad plate the finished product rather than parkerize it as I did.

Flow Testing Manifold

This was all quite some time ago now (as evidenced by my old Superflow 110 in the picture - I upgraded to the SF600 about 7 years back) I have just now finally started on an aluminum version of this manifold set up for O-rings. Is the world ready for such a manifold, or am I the only sick one out here? I guess that remains to be seen!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Chief of Sinners

1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

It is not often that I find a point of disagreement with something from my Pastor's sermons. This morning, however, I did find one area that we did not see eye to eye on. We did get a chance to discuss it after the service in a mutually edifying manner.

In preaching on "The Grace of our Lord" from 1 Timothy 1: 12-16, Pastor Voigt confirmed Paul's view of himself being the chief of sinners. He backed that up by referring to passages in Acts showing how Paul (when still known as Saul) persecuted the saints and tried to stop the growth of the Church and spreading of the Gospel.

My disagreement with this making Paul the chief of sinners stems from the fact that the Bible says that Paul did these things in ignorance and unbelief (1 Timothy 1:13 "Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.") In fact Saul, being a Pharisee, thought he was serving God. He would have believed himself righteous by way of keeping the law of Moses.

Now lets look at my life before salvation. I knew enough of the law, and even enough of the Gospel, to know that I was a wicked sinner. And I willfully continued in open rebellion against God for years upon years. In my book, that means that I far surpassed Paul as the worst of sinners. How do you see yourself?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Please Pray for Valley View

The Church where my wife and I are members is facing somewhat of a crisis. Our pastor, who has been there for over eight years has answered a call from another church. We will miss him and his family, both personally and as a congregation.

While we wish Pastor Voigt and his family all the best in his new ministry, it does leave our congregation in a precarious position. We are a very small church, and have struggled financially for some time. I have heard voiced the expectation that some families will use this as an excuse to leave. It is also questionable that we will be able to attract another pastor. To add to the uncertainty, there is also a rumor that one of the Twin Cities' mega churches has plans to expand to our town.

My hope is that any of you who follow this blog will pray for Valley View Baptist Church.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Spark Plugs 101

Here's one that is frankly on the verge of being a little embarrassing. When I bought my first Knucklehead nearly 30 years ago it had a set of Champion D14 plugs in it. For about the next 20+ years, whenever I replaced plug on any of my Knuckles I would simply go to my local Napa and buy another set of D14s.

Then somewhere along the line, I became aware that the Champion D16 was the correct cross reference for the Knuckle. So, after all those years I was faced with no longer being able to remember which number was right and which was the one I had used for so many years. Have I mentioned lately that its no picnic getting old?

So for the last couple of years, every time I have been asked for a spark plug for a Knuckle, I have not been able to remember which was correct; D14 or D16. That all changed the other day when I was researching something else. I happened to run across this in Palmer's "How to Restore Your Harley Davidson":

  • "Of the original Harley-Davidson 18mm spark plugs, the No. 3 is most often used. For a motor used mostly on the highways at fast speeds the No. 4 plug is more desirable."

And a few lines later:

  • "A cheap alternative to the No. 3 and No. 4 18mm plugs are Champion D-14 and D-16 spark plugs, respectively."

Kind of reminds me of the old line "I used to think had made a mistake once, but I found out I was wrong." So, as it turns out either the D14 or D16 is an acceptable plug in Knuck, depending on the use.

I do think I have uncovered a small mistake in the Palmer book though. All the catalogs I have show the D16 as the replacement for the No. 3 plug. This is backed up by a Champion spark plug catalog that I have. The D14 is colder than the D16. The confusion no doubt stems from the fact that in Champion's heat range numbering the lower the number the colder the plug, and Harley did it the opposite way. That's a very minor discrepancy given the huge scope of his book. I have trouble not transposing stuff in just one short blog entry! The important thing is that there are interchanges for both the No. 3 and the No. 4 Harley plug.

With that in mind, here is a page from the Knucklehead service manual.

This drawing illustrates spark plug heat ranges pretty well. A spark plug's heat range refers to how well the plug dissipates heat. A colder plug dissipates the heat quicker, and so runs cooler. Therefore, a hotter plug will help keep deposits from fouling a plug if used in an over rich or oil consuming engine. On the other side of the coin, a colder plug will be less prone to overheating and causing pre-ignition in a high compression engine or one that is run hard (Both high compression ratios and prolonged high speed will generate more heat).

Interestingly, the factory manual states that:

  • " In some cases best results may be found using a colder plug in one cylinder than the other. In this case it is usually the front cylinder that takes the colder plug as this cylinder is not as likely to foul a plug at low speed."

I've never tried it, but it seems logical enough. So next time you inspect your plugs and find they are not both the came color, it may be worth your while to try a different heat range! Now you know.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Local Harley Legend Passes

Bob Hofmeister, a Harley legend in the Minneapolis/ St Paul area passed away at the age of 91 this past week. Bob was a very active member of the motorcycling community for his entire life, and in his "retirement" owned Faribault Harley Davidson. For a short obituary, click here.

Bob was also honored by the motor company, being included in their list of the pioneers of Harley Davidson. Years ago Bob treated me to a tour of the business that he founded, Milhoff Steel, and let me tell you, it was a machine shop with a capitol "M." Particularly memorable to me was a lathe that held an approximately 6 foot diameter piece of round stock. That lathe by itself was far too large to even fit in most machine shop buildings. Yet it was only one of many pieces of equipment. His shop was known as the place to go when no one else could do the job. Bob was famous for his work ethic and customer service.

In his younger days Bob was active in hill climbs, scrambles and TT races. He evidently passed those skills on to his son Bill, who has likewise become a local legend in flat track racing. You may recognize his name from my previous posts here, and here.

On a personal note, I need to mention that Bob had a hand in building the first set of Knuckle heads that I used for drag racing. His good friend Gumps Riley had machined the heads and port spigots for dual carbs, but took them to Bob for welding because he felt that Bob was slightly better with cast iron. Years later when I mentioned to Bob that he had welded those heads which were on my bike for two national championships, he replied with a smile that he guessed he should have charged more.

This past Friday the funeral was held, and as part of it, many great stories and memories of Bob's life were related. I was proud to be one of what I would estimate to be well over a hundred riders to escort Bob Hofmeister on his final trip from church to cemetery. All of those Harleys following in solemn procession from one side of the Twin Cities to the other was a fitting tribute to one who had such an impact on the sport throughout his life.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lieske Qualifies #1 in SuperGas at Sturgis Nationals

Heating the rear tire.

Congratulations to Joe Lieske, who had a pretty good outing last week at the 2008 AHDRA Sturgis Nationals. Riding his back up bike, a V-Rod Destroyer, he was the number one qualifier in the SuperGas class. SuperGas is a class with a 6.40 index for 1/8 mile tracks. Joe qualified right on the money, running a 6.40. It doesn't get any closer than that.

Joe made it to the semi-finals where he was defeated by only .002 of a second. Pretty close!

Here is Joe during opening ceremonies being introduced with the #1 qualifiers in the other classes. Joe is the one in the orange leathers.

Besides Lee's Speed Shop(that's me), Joe is sponsered by PMFR, Faribault Harley Davidson, and American Thunder.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How Strange

Continuing my series of posts taken from my great grandfather, L.J. Schlattman's book of poems "Gleanings from Life", here is one that illustrates how little things have changed since this was copyrighted in 1926. Despite a few of the words being unfamiliar to us, all of creation still cries out to us testifying of the Creator, and yet man, insignificant and arrogant, still rails against Yahweh, denying his handiwork.


Beautiful star, so pure and bright,

Shining above with your silvery light;

Where have you been, and what have you found?

Where did you get your silvery gleam?

" 'Tis the reflex of God," said the star, "I ween."

Wonderful Sun, with radiant face,

Sending your rays through endless space,

Warming the earth, giving life and light;

King of the universe, wondrous sight,

Whence did you come? with amaze I cried.

"I was kindled by God," the sun replied.

Universe wonderful, endless, grand,

Viewing thy magnitude, dumb I stand;

Who was they architect, who holds sway,

Guiding thy destiny, day by day?

Sun, moon and stars as they circled by,

Answered, " 'Tis God, He rules on high."

Wonderful man with master mind,

Scanning the universe, proud, refined,

Delving in science deep and high,

Tell me, who made you? Who rules the sky?

"Oh," said the man with a foolish grin,

"Chaos and monkey and man are kin."

By the way, I looked up the word "ween" so you wouldn't have to. It means: "To think; to imagine; to fancy. The sense is to set, fix or hold in the mind." That definition is from the 1828 Webster dictionary. Just thought you'd want to know.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

68 Inch Racer, part 3

In part 1 and part 2 of 68 Inch Racer, I outlined the physical dimensions and bottom end parts for this "dream" motor. In this installment I would like to wrap it up with the top end and valve train.

As to the heads, if I had a set of dual carb Knuck heads laying around (which I do) I would probably use them. After all, if I am going to label this a "racer" then why would I be worried about the leg clearance issue raised by two carbs sticking out the left side of the bike. Intake valves; 2.060". I had a set custom made by Ferrea Racing for a motor I did last winter. Beautiful valves, and no need for a lash cap, but I was disappointed with their limited selection of tulip choices for a 3/8" stem diameter. The only one they offer had more tulip than I wanted, which necessitated shorting the bottom of the guides slightly. It was also quite a bit heavier than I would have liked. Perhaps a 5/16" stem next time with a custom made valve guide.

It goes without saying that the piston domes, exhaust ports and combustion chambers would get the ceramic treatment like this.

Working off a couple of Knuck heads that I have oiled out in the past, it looks as though a head volume of 128 cc is a realistic starting point. Now, if we bore the Knuck heads out for the Pan cylinder's fire ring, we actually increase the head volume by about 5.71 cc's. But of course the fire ring itself will take up most of that increase. The total head volume when bored for the fire ring, but taking into account the amount displaced by the fire ring, calculates to 128.38 cc.

But here is where it gets interesting. The 74" Pan cylinder is shorter than the 74" Knuck by .200" when measured gasket surface to gasket surface (5.530" vs. 5.330). But if you add the height of the Pan fire ring they are the same length. That means that the piston will come to the same point in relation to the gasket surface on the Knuck cylinder as it does to the top of the fire ring on the Pan. But in effect you are lowering the head .200" down by using the Pan cylinder (think of it like shaving the head .200") Now we are talking some compression! When I plug all this into my Engine Analyzer program with a .020 thick copper head gasket, it comes out to 12.26:1 compression ratio. And after double checking all my figures a couple times, it still comes out to that!

Cool. Now we are into race gas territory (68 inch Racer - remember). That kind of compression will allow us to run a fairly radical cam as well. Any time you talk about high performance on a Knuckle engine, in my book there is really only one brand of cam to consider, and that is Leineweber. I am thinking his #3 Knuckle cam. It has .420 lift and 312 degrees of duration, but keep in mind this duration is measured at .020" rather than the customary (for Harleys) .053". That is still probably near 275 degrees duration if converted to .053".

Keeping with the "racer" theme, everything seems to point toward an engine that will not be easy to start. So we might as well add a magneto. I'm envisioning a bike that does not even have a kick starter.

Since this "paper engine" is getting a set of real life vintage dual carb Knuck heads, I would also use a set of real life 40mm Dell 'Orto pumper carbs that I have left over from my first drag bike. They were a little small for the 114" Knuckle, but I suspect they would work well in this application. Since the heads have a 4 bolt Linkert pattern, I would weld flanges onto the Dell 'Ortos to match. Jetting them to run on E85 (85% ethanol) would be really tempting. It has enough octane for this kind of compression ratio, plus the government helps pay for it (with my money). Good luck on getting them to kick in for your $15 a gallon racing gas.

One last thing. If the motor was to be used on the drag strip, then I would leave the valve train open, with no oil going to the top end. This is not a huge advantage, it just simplifies the oiling system and eliminates any clearance issues between spring and cover. But that's the way we used to do it, and it looks pretty cool. For any other application I'd enclose the valve train. Either way I'd use a pre '40 oil pump for the thinner gears and less oil volume in the motor.
That pretty well wraps it up. Did I miss anything? And.... an even better question: will it ever get built?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Faith in God

Here is another selection from my great grandfather, L.J. Schlattman's book of poems "Gleanings from Life".

Faith in God

Have Faith in God, my doubting brother,

Have faith in God, 'twill still your soul;

Pour oil upon the troubled waters,

And lead you safely to the goal.

Fear not that faith is superstition,

God's word is but an ancient tale;

'Tis founded on the Rock of Ages,

Eternal truth, and will prevail.

Where science halts and critics stumble,

And must admit, "We do not know;"

There Faith in God begins to function,

Illumes the way for us to go.

Let science dig with spade and shovel,

With microscope dissect the sod;

Dig deep, dig deep, my seeking brother,

Dig deep enough and you'll find GOD.

Hypocrisy and Ism's squabble,

Oft dim the radiance of the Sun;

Have faith, they cannot hide its splendor,

'Twill still shine on when all is done.

Let scoffers rail and skeptics mutter,

"Your faith in God is but a tale;"

Fear not, be not dismayed, my brother,

HE reigns supreme and will prevail.

When science fails and isms crumble,

When Sun and Moon and Earth shall quake,

When human mind shall cease to function,

And human theories shall break.

The God of Abram, Isaac, and Jacob,

The master architect on high,

Will still be ruling all creation,

And faith in Him will scale the sky.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

68 Inch Racer, part 2

If you read my post entitled Paper Engines, you will recall that I solved the problem (at least on paper) of building a high compression 61" Knuckle lower end with a 74" top end.

There still are a few things to be considered in the bottom end. For one thing, there is the subject of flywheel weight. That will be partly determined by the end use of this motor. Whether it is for drag racing, "street" racing, Bonneville, flat track, or some sort of road racing. For most of these scenarios, I would lighten the flywheels (the one exception being drag racing with a slick). How much to lighten them is the question. The minimum would be to cut down the heavy left side flywheel to the thickness of the right side wheel.

stock 61" flywheels on left , lightened S&S on right

Bike weight is also a factor here. Flywheels "store" energy, so the heavier the bike, the harder it will be to get under way from a dead stop with extremely light wheels. Still, the gain in the rate of acceleration is too good to pass up in most applications.

Since the UL rods are an aftermarket imported item of somewhat unknown quality, I would at the very least have them shot peened. Possibly polished and shot peened. The purpose of polishing is to remove any possible surface imperfections that could lead to a crack. However, polishing also removes the surface left from the forging process which increases the strength of the rod. Shot peening puts that harder surface back on (so to speak). So, just shot peen, or polish and shot peen, but do not polish only!

Of coarse the rod change alone would dictate that the flywheels be balanced, but it becomes even more critical when lightened.

Since the point of this engine is to turn some RPMs, the crankpin and mainshafts are probably not a place to skimp. S&S makes all of the early shafts, including the stepped crankpin, and are probably the highest quality available. Yes the rod set will come with a new crankpin of unknown origin, but that would be better set aside to go in a restoration that will not see such severe service.

This is to be a "Racer" and not a restoration, so why not take advantage of the built in extra strength of Panhead cylinders. Even bored to +.060 (which makes it a true square engine 3.5" bore x 3.5" stroke) the Pan cylinders are undoubtedly stronger than a Knuck cylinder. Sure, there are reproduction Knuck cylinders that are stronger than stock, but they aren't cheap. I would spend the money elsewhere. Besides, there are plenty of Knuck heads out there that have been converted to the Pan headbolt pattern already, so why not use them.

For pistons, I would start with a cheap Pan/Shovel cast piston which is called a 10:1. The dome volume on them is about 52cc which will get some compression ratio (I'll discuss that more when I get to the heads). Once the domes are ceramic coated and the skirts Teflon coated they should work very well.

More to come.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"God Prefers King James Era English"

Last Friday evening, my wife and I took our '46 Studebaker downtown for a local car show. As we were relaxing on a bench, enjoying the evening, two well dressed young men wearing name tags approached us. As you have probably guessed, they were LDS, better known as Mormons.

Since we had left the house on short notice, I found myself unarmed. (That being a lame allusion to Ephesians 6:17 "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:") That, however was not a good enough reason for me to avoid talking to them, but that along with the setting did lead to an abbreviated conversation.

After establishing that I was a veteran of conversations with LDS representatives on several previous occasions, and that they had all ended in a "standoff", the inevitable question came up. Did I have any questions.

Well, actually I did. Some time ago I started to read the Book of Mormon so that I would be at least somewhat familiar with it for just such occasions. The first thing that struck me was that the language was so strikingly similar to that used in the King James translation of the Bible. That was my question. Why was the Book of Mormon, "translated" in the 1800's, translated into the language of 1600's England?

This is where the "Elder" of the pair jumped in to take over the conversation. I think that is usually a good sign that you have them off their talking points. His answer was that it was the language God chose to supernaturally guide the translation into. I pointed out that the translation of the KJV bible was not supernaturally guided by God, but he disagreed, saying that both the KJV and the Book of Mormon were supernaturally translated.

With that, I asked the Mormon Elder if God preferred King James era English . Yes, he believed that God does. So there you have it. A Mormon Elder says that God prefers King James era English to earlier and later versions. That should put an end to all the debate on Bible versions! (note the tongue in cheek here)

I suppose that would have been a good time to ask why they do not speak in that vernacular in their everyday language, but instead I moved on to a much more important point. I brought up the law and how it was there to show us how sinful we are. I pointed out that Paul said ".....that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful." (Romans 7:13) Without a proper appreciation of how desperately sinful we are, we can never understand how hopeless our case is without Jesus sacrifice.

That pretty much capped off our conversation. Of course they both agreed with my statements about the law and Jesus sacrifice for sin. But it was the agreement of one speaking a slightly different language than I, and not that of one feeling the conviction of their sins. In retrospect I feel that I should have gone to specific commandments rather than a broad appeal to the law. Given the age of the young men, Jesus statements about adultery may have been just the thing.

Oh well, I will likely get another shot at it yet this summer when they appear on our doorstep!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Paper Engines

It is probably more common in the automotive field to dream up engine combinations on paper that will likely never be built. Sometimes though, something triggers that urge in my tiny little brain too. Of course, working in the Harley industry, that is usually the type of engine that figures into my daydreaming.

With the recent advent of relatively reasonably priced reproduction UL connecting rods becoming available, those tiny little gears in my head started turning. For me, it is not the designing of a motor with numerous custom (read: expensive) built components that gives me satisfaction. The combination also has to make some sense from a monetary standpoint to make it "cool" in my mind. That obviously stems from some long lost and unrecorded Scotch ancestry. In other words, yes, I am cheap!

With that in mind, I present this for your approval (or disapproval):

68 Inch Racer
In the past I have touched on the dilemma of 61" Knuckles or Panheads running cylinders that have been bored to the 74" bore size. Sure you can use 74" pistons with no clearance problems, but with the stroke of the 61" flywheels, the piston will not come to the top of the cylinder, dramatically lowering the compression ratio. This is not really a problem for your typical restoration or Sunday afternoon cruise bike, but to the true gear head, it is an unwelcome compromise.
Besides, what about the legendary "square" motor? (a "square" motor is one with the same bore as stroke) While there may be more hype to it than substance, there still is a certain mystique involved. And with the 3 1/2" stroke of the 61 and 3 7/16" bore of the 74 you are almost there!
As I mentioned above, the availability of UL rods brought this into my mind. The easy way to get that piston to come to the top of the cylinder when using a 74" piston on a 61" flywheel is either a custom made piston with the wrist pin location moved, or a custom made longer rod. Either of those can easily be accomplished if you are willing to spend a lot of money. But like I said, that kind of spoils it for me. But the UL rods are longer than OHV rods. Hmmm.
Here's what it looks like to me:
Stock 61" Knuckle
  • Case deck height (center of main bearing race to cylinder gasket surface) 5.380" +
  • Cylinder height (gasket surface to gasket surface) 5.405" +
  • Fire ring height .120" +
  • Base gasket .020"
  • = total height of 10.925"
  • 1/2 of the stroke (distance from center of mainshaft to center of crankpin at TDC) 1.750" +
  • Rod length (center to center) 7.46875" +
  • Piston compression height (piston deck to center of wrist pin) 1.625"
  • = total height of 10.84375

Subtracting 10.84375 from 10.925 we see that the piston should be about .081" below the top of the fire ring.

Now here is the same calculations on my proposed motor:

68" Racer

  • Case deck height 5.380" +
  • Cylinder height (74" Panhead cylinder) 5.330" +
  • Fire ring height .200" +
  • Base gasket .020"
  • = total height of 10.930"
  • 1/2 of the stroke 1.750" +
  • Rod length ( UL rods) 7.90625 +
  • Piston compression height (generic 74" piston) 1.415"
  • = total height of 11.07125"

Here we see that the piston would come out of the top of the fire ring by about .141". But if we add a .125" "stroker plate" (and another .020" gasket to seal the other side of it) it will put the piston deck about .004" below the top of the fire ring. Just right!

That covers the main configuration, but leaves a lot of details to be discussed. I'll continue this "paper engine" in my next installment.