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Timbo's '64 FL Restoration (Part One)

Or the Hard Ride back from Hell

Text and Photos by the Tail Gunner with his lovely assistant Colleen
3/4/2013


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Not too long ago, my good friend Timbo approached me with a proposition, restore his 1964 Harley FL, I agreed. Problem was, it's in a box, literally! So after a brief discussion on exactly what we wanted to do, how much it would cost and the possible value at the end of the rainbow, I started the Hard Ride back from Hell with the old '64. I picked up the bike, basically a roller and all the boxes of parts that came with it. As you probably expected, this will be a frame up restoration as close to factory specs as I can get it.

Tin's ready to be set out for paint. Paint looks good in this picture but is actually really bad. The sheet metal will be stripped and inspected for cracks and loose rivets.
Tin's ready to be set out for paint. Paint looks good in this picture but is actually really bad. The sheet metal will be stripped and inspected for cracks and loose rivets.



There will be some minor changes, which I'll talk about as we go along. First thing was to lay it all out and take inventory to see what was missing. After some research, I found replacing parts for the '64 surprisingly easy thanks to J&P Cycle, Biker’s Choice, and the internet. I ordered the Vintage catalog J&P Cycle puts out and started researching parts I needed to replace.

Make sure you have your reading material ready, you will need it.
Make sure you have your reading material ready, you will need it.



I also found a local polishing company and chrome hardware supplier (needmorechrome.com) to make life easier. Tear down was a snap. Make sure you bag or box all your parts as you go and label what they are, and in some instances what order they go in. It’s not a bad idea to take lots of photographs for future reference. Sometimes a parts manual comes in handy.

This is how I received the bike.
This is how I received the bike.



Be organized as much as you can.  It will make reassembly easier.
Be organized as much as you can. It will make reassembly easier.



After tear down, I started the fun stuff, going through each and every part, each nut and bolt and cleaning them. Some parts and hardware will not be salvageable, so you'll have to replace them with either new, or good condition used. I found that there is a tons of vendors on line for just about everything you need. Buying new parts from the catalog is not always the best answer, especially if you're on a budget like I am.

Invest in an engine stand. It will make life a lot easier.
Invest in an engine stand. It will make life a lot easier.







So shop around, do some research, you may be able to save as much as 50% sometimes. You will also need repair manuals and a few restoration guides like the one my friend Bandit sent me for reference from Wolfgang publishing, thanks Bandit. It has been very useful so far. This is the first of many articles on this restoration project. As the months progress, I'll try and give you a detail look at what's involved with a full-blown restoration.

Tail Gunner out for now, see ya next month!

The neighbor lady was impressed.
The neighbor lady was impressed.



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Reader Comments


Very Cool! I dig the old bikes, and with my bad back, I can get behind the swingarm frame. Love the looks of a rigid, just cannot ride them anymore.

I like to see many shots of this classic build. Anyway, thanks for sharing this restoration project

Mike Stedman
Momence, IL
Thursday, March 07, 2013
Editor Response We will keep them coming.
--Bandit

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