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Bill's New Shop

He Found the Good Life in Tennessee

Photos and text by Bill May
1/20/2023


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Moving his new shop into place.
Moving his new shop into place.



I love your new shop. Wish I was there to help you with all those projects but I seem to have stumbled into a good life here in Tennessee. I’ll sure try to make Sturgis next year if my health holds out. So far so good. I am doing stuff people half my age can’t do. You are too. We are amazing lol.

Here is what I have so far on the Backyard bike build.

My young friend Marshall crashed his Shovelhead in a Tennessee ditch. He bounced off a tree and nearly died. He got a helicopter ride out of it. He was damaged worse than the bike.


These Tennessee backroads are beautiful and fun to ride but they are full of curves and hills and usually a little wet. He learned that trying to ride fast on them after a few drinks is not recommended.

  This is how it looked before I took it apart. I patched up all the wreck damage and took it for a ride to make sure it was okay.
This is how it looked before I took it apart. I patched up all the wreck damage and took it for a ride to make sure it was okay.



The bike is basically a 1981 FXWG. It has an S&S 93-inch motor. Marshall wants so bad to be an old school biker. He worked and saved for four years to buy this thing. He never owned a car. We met because he brought the bike to the shop, where I was working part time. It was a mess and he couldn’t keep it running. After spending too much money at the shop, I took pity on him and started working on it at my house.


His wreck was recent, but I have been keeping it running for the past year. He bought my ‘76 Grand Prix, when we first met. He has since blown up the motor and transmission and had a minor accident with the car. It is back on the road again with a new 455 motor and a front clip off a 74 Grand Prix. The boy doesn’t have any natural mechanical ability. He tries real hard though. Maybe with time he will get better.

Marshall
Marshall



As you can see from the photos, I really am doing all this outside.



He got a settlement from his insurance because he was smart enough to put a mediator policy on with his liability insurance. He wanted a Springer front end as well as many other changes to his bike. I have been working on it a little at a time for the last three months. I bought a 2-inch over Springer from V-Twin. It looks much like the original style Springers.

She’s looking good.
She’s looking good.

 
My ‘34 homemade truck. It used to be a 4-door sedan. I hope to drive it to Deadwood in the spring.
My ‘34 homemade truck. It used to be a 4-door sedan. I hope to drive it to Deadwood in the spring.


 
I am also rebuilding the ‘51 Cadillac engine that was in a hearse I recently sold. I realized it was time I got out of the weather. I have a car port over my ‘34 Ford, so I thought I would get another one and box it in and have a little garage. I went shopping and ended up with a 28x12 portable garage. Now I am in debt, but it sure is nice.

It even as an attic and a workbench.
It even as an attic and a workbench.



When I get done with his bike, I can build my Caddy motor on my bike trailer inside the garage. Right now, it is in the machine shop getting bored.

My Cushman Eagle is in there too
 '58 Cushman
My Cushman Eagle is in there too '58 Cushman



So now, I’ve got the Shovelhead inside high and dry. Sure beats covering it with a tarp.

These S&S motors are tough. He has abused it for about 10,000 miles and the pistons and cylinders are still in good shape.
These S&S motors are tough. He has abused it for about 10,000 miles and the pistons and cylinders are still in good shape.



This S&S motor is the high compression model. It tore up two starters. Marshall weighs over 200 and he can’t kick it. So, I pulled the heads and installed compression releases between the pushrods.



I took a 1/16 bit and drilled edge wise through the fins where I wanted to break them out of the way. I know professionals do this with a jig and a milling tool, but I used what I had. I got compression releases from total performance on eBay. They use 10mm threads. I bought a tap and drilled a 5/16 hole right into the combustion chamber. I then tapped it and installed them with red lock tight. They work great and it cranks like crazy now.





I have it all back together now and have most everything he wanted done, done. I cleaned up the wiring and am installing a cat’s eye dash kit. I still have to do the paint on his tanks. I’m learning to shoot metaflake and do some airbrush stuff now. All I need is a few warm sunny days.



I fired it today. The compression releases work great

Dyna hiding out in a small shed. Doesn't look red to me?
Dyna hiding out in a small shed. Doesn't look red to me?



 
 
Hope no one objects to so much red and white. I prefer black bags but I lost a lid on my black ones, and the white ones were 100 dollars cheaper. 
It’s a ‘98 Dyna wide glide. It has a EV27 cam with adjustable pushrods and a re-jetted CV carb. Mufflers are gutted. It runs real good. Totally dependable.
Hope no one objects to so much red and white. I prefer black bags but I lost a lid on my black ones, and the white ones were 100 dollars cheaper. It’s a ‘98 Dyna wide glide. It has a EV27 cam with adjustable pushrods and a re-jetted CV carb. Mufflers are gutted. It runs real good. Totally dependable.

 
The red Harley is a ‘98 Dyna that I bought in pieces for 800 dollars. It is my main bike. I ride it everywhere.

--Bill May



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