Resurrecting my 1941 Indian Four
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  1. #1
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    Default Resurrecting my 1941 Indian Four

    Though this project is not a machine tool it is still an antique machine and many of its parts will find their way into the machine shop. I bought this a few years back in running condition but with a stuck clutch, very low compression in 2 cylinders and a fair number of dents from falling over at low speed as well as a few from having stuff piled on top of it while stored. The clock showed only 20,000 miles and did sort of work. I had a couple of guys push me to get it started at an abandoned airport so I could ride it some when I first bought it just as a point of reference before I started taking it apart. About a year ago I took the tanks off so I could get the speedometer off and get it rebuilt along with the generator as the only guys that still know how and have the parts to do it are still around. The speedo was stamped police on the back which goes along with black and white paint I see in a few spots there the pinkish red is damaged. I will pull the magneto and send it off in the next few days, after that the rest of the work will be done by myself and the chrome shop.
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    I found some mandrel bends on ebay I can use to lower the exhaust a few inches as I need more room for larger saddlebags than stock.
    img_1160.jpg

  2. #2
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    First, join the Antique Motorcycle Club. Their magazine will guide you to a lot of sources and very knowledgeable people. Motorcycle restoration is easier now than it was when I was doing it because of things like reproduction parts being available. Is your generator a Splitdorf or an Autolite? There are a lot of Autolite parts around. You probably will need to replace the carburetor float. They used shellaced cork and the gas with alcohol dissolves the shellac. There is one using a very light plastic, called, believe it or not, a "Rubber Ducky". That is what I have in the '40 Junior Scout in my avatar.

    The police speedometer probably goes up to a higher speed than the standard one. Pull the chain out of the speedometer drive cable and make sure it is clean and lubricated.

    The tanks are soldered together and you can heat them and take them apart. The Junior was in a garage fire and the tanks were apart and warped. I had them hot tin dipped, did a lot of very careful light hammer work, then lead, finally Bondo. and you can't tell that they were ever damaged. That was 1973 and they still are bright and shiny inside.

    Have fun,

    Bill

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    I joined the AMCA 30 years ago and the four club 10 years ago, the generator is autolite, changed to 12v and ready to go, I picked up a NOS carb from a friend ( Robyn at Bob's Indian sales) and will put one of those rubber duck modern floats in it. I will check the tanks over good, 1 holds fuel and the other don't, I may have Matt at Iron Horse corral make me a new set, the idea of a leak right over the magneto and between my legs is kind of scarry. Thanks for the tips, do you know anything about checking the frame and forks for straight? something looks a bit odd but it could be the wheels wern't laced with the right offset.

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    Hot damn thats a nice bike... I wouldn't restore it beyond mechanical function. I found a 63 Sporty I am picking up in the spring. Thats all my peasant budget can afford.

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    I've thought about that a lot but I don't like the pinkish red metalig paint, I want it Indian Red which is almost blood red. I have dreamed of having one of these for a lot of years so it is going to have to look like the pics in my mind.

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    I was after a 26’ Scout for the last 20 years...The bike had an older restoration which looked very nice but it had a damaged cylinder. The owner was interested in a rare gas engine that I had and was thinking of trading me but eventually decided not... At the time he threw a price at me of 10k which I should have jumped on but at the time I wasn’t able to swing it ... fast forward a few years and I was ready but prices shot up ... I did eventually find a 36’ Harley RL with a 45ci flathead ... a fun bike for sure... There was no speedometer and I really wanted one... I think it really ads a lot of character to the bike... I was put in contact with a fella that will put a complete setup together to fit my bike... if I remember right it was close to $3000.00.

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    Cool bike - hope it will be a rider, and not a trailer queen! Those Indian 4s have their history go back to henderson 4s, yes? All I know about them is the third jug has the toughest life - the least cooling. Bet they're super smooth.

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    I’m restoring a 1926 Scout right now.
    Indian made some great bikes!

    Keith

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    Too bad about the scout those are neet bikes too, I am looking for another old bike to work on after this one, I would like to find one of them like the American pickers seem to turn up all the time.
    I built a 48 chief from parts when I was 16, I sold it in 1999 to get money enough to buy a steel building kit so I could move the machine shop out of the run down one bedroom house it started in. The boss thought it was a good idea to turn the old girl into a building until she found out what the replacment motorcycle was going to cost but she got behind the project and is being very supportive and helpfull.

    Terry Marsh does excellent speedometer work, Corbins for sure I am not sure if he does others. He is in Klamath falls Oregon 541-882-2613

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    Beautiful machine! Local collector here had one for years, when he didn't ride it, it was kept in the living room. "Only PROPER care for a survivor like this" he used to say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IBLSKeith View Post
    I’m restoring a 1926 Scout right now.
    Indian made some great bikes!

    Keith
    You should share some pics

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    Quote Originally Posted by jim rozen View Post
    Cool bike - hope it will be a rider, and not a trailer queen! Those Indian 4s have their history go back to henderson 4s, yes? All I know about them is the third jug has the toughest life - the least cooling. Bet they're super smooth.
    No trailer queens around here, we ride the crap out of all of them. Smooth they are but pretty crude compared to a Goldwing though a whole lot classier in my eyes.

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    Any chance of carefully stripping the paint to look for department logos? You might be able to find some old pictures of the bike in its working days.

    allan

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    Quote Originally Posted by kustomizer View Post
    No trailer queens around here, we ride the crap out of all of them. Smooth they are but pretty crude compared to a Goldwing though a whole lot classier in my eyes.
    One of the best compliments I ever get when out and about: "wow that bike has a lot of patina!"

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    Nice bike! I’ve never actually seen an Indian in person let aloe rode one.

    Helped my buddy get his Harley(s) running, Iirc it was a kickstart iron head with a open primary belt, springer front end and had the engine case stamped with 2 vin codes from Harley.

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    I think a shined up motorcycle is a very pretty thing but I would rather ride, so I enjoy looking at the other shiny bikes as they go buy. I likely have the ugliest Rune not in a wrecking yard as a result of me and the dog knocking around in dirt roads and riverbeds in search of the perfect place to play. I saw a pic of some cows running off with a caption of "Live life like someone left the gate open", that is one of my new goals.

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    Some trick riding here, as you can see, she hates it
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    Ah, someday it will not be winter... plus side of all the garage time is getting the pannier situation straightened out... I still kind of wince when I look at the setup OTOH it will be behind me when I'm riding and the setup will get me onto long trips this summer (crossed fingers), so a fair traide.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kitno455 View Post
    Any chance of carefully stripping the paint to look for department logos? You might be able to find some old pictures of the bike in its working days.

    allan
    I suspect southern Ca as it does not have the heat riser tubes from the exhaust to the intake most of them have but we will look some as we remove paint though the tanks are missing the trim strips fore and aft of the teardrop emblem meaning they were heated enough to remove the soldered on brackets.

    last weekend I made a stamp for the seat, it came out OK but I don't like the lumps on his head so I have some soldering and hand engraving in my future.

    img_1059.jpg

    img_1067.jpg

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    I got a box of parts from a friend a while back and one of the things in it was a Pathfinder front fender tip, they were an accessory made for the Chief motorcycles starting in 48 I believe. It looked like it was run over by a tractor but I had the chrome stripped off last week and yesterday I annealed it and started beating it back into shape with my 1oz ball peen hammer ( they were stamped brass as opposed to the cast aluminum one that came on the bike). I think I have it fitting good enough and will give it back to the chrome shop along with the spot lights, headlight, rear fender braces and bumper. The bumper and fender braces were a bit bent up too but with the aid of a propane torch and a dead blow mallet they went back OK.

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    This is the one that came on the bike
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    As soon an I can get the exhaust put together ( I am waiting on an expander to show up so I can make it fit over the exhaust manifold snug ) I can make patterns for my saddle bags and get started on them, they seem like something I can work on from my easy chair while I watch it snow.

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    Today we tried to straighten the spotlights out a bit, they are not quite ready to plate but they are close.

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    img_1184.jpg

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