Project Knucklehead : Reviving a 1946 Harley-Davidson Part 3

If you missed Part I of the Project Knucklehead series or you would like a recap click here. To read Part II click here.

1946 Harley Knucklehead Project
Project Knucklehead on day 1

With the heads out for machining, work on Project Knucklehead has slowed down. I pulled the remainder of the chassis apart and now have a bare frame to work with. As before, almost everything was finger tight or missing fasteners. The seat post gave me the most grief because the bike had bottomed out at some point and mushroomed the end of the retainer stud threads. Some work with a file and thread chaser cleaned it up enough to get it apart but it will probably have to be replaced.

Broken Front Motor Mount Repair
Left, The broken front motor mount. Right, the finished repair.

The motor cases have been bead blasted and cleaned for reassmebly. The broken front motor mount has been welded, sanded down and texturized. To add a “cast” like texture we used sand paper and steel wool. You can place the steel wool on the aluminum and lightly tap it with a hammer and your left with a final cast like texture. As you can see the repair is now almost impossible to detect.

When I got the transmission out of the bike it was easy to see the main seal had been leaking badly for quit some time. Unfortunately, it looks like someone thought the drain plug was the source of the

Knucklhead Transmission Drain Plug
You can see the Knucklehead drain plug was rounded to the point a wrench or socket was useless

leak and dramatically over tightened it. On top of being over tightened, the corners were rounded. I was fortunate to get it out without damaging the threads or the case but it took a lot time and effort. The transmission also has a later model chrome kick start cover. This doesn’t fit my vision of the bike but luckily S&S makes a heavy duty OEM replica that even has the 1946 date code, which is the year of this Knucklehead.

As I said things have slowed down which unfortunately for the wallet means its time to start shopping and scouring the world for the remaining parts I’ll need. I also need to start looking up paint colors and finalizing my plans for the final look I want for the bike.

Next time look for an update on the motor progress and chassis work that is just beginning.

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