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Ron

Something a bit different

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I've been asked by a friend to help with his military Indian Chief....... I'm doing the paintwork, headstock and wheel bearings, brakes etc. Whilst he attends to the engine and gearbox.

It's a 1940 model CAV (with matching numbers) of which I think 5000 were ordered by the French government. Paris fell before they were all delivered (lots of those where taken by the Germans of course) the rest were reallocated, some into UK.  There is a good book which I haven't had time to read through yet, called "An American in Paris" about the whole story and renovation advice, colour scheme etc. 

It took 3 of us to lift the frame and each mudguard weighs about the same as a Triumph frame.....No wonder it needs a 1200cc engine😅  These items now in primer. Ron

 

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Don't hang about do you Ron..looking good as always ..keep up the restoration blog...it great to see your progress.( Say to Tim when you see him).👍

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Hi Andy. I think this thing is worth a few pictures. This picture shows how they were painted for the French government contract. I guess they were ordered before hostilities were well under way. Tim wants me to stick to the colour scheme, but I'll compromise on the shininess. I'm picking up 'eggshell' finish paint today.  Ron 

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I've gone with 'Mid Bronze Green' which is not a million miles from the original gloss colour used. Ron

 

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Tim came round with another mate to help me lift the frame back into the workshop and I've been building up the front end.

I've also spent some time on the wheels, Which aren't too bad as it happens. Some flaking paint and three loose spokes which all tightened up no problem, and I've replaced all the wheel bearing rollers with new 'one thou' oversize and given the wheels some heavy coats of red primer after a good clean up and rub down.

I'm hoping my local tyre firm who removed the old tyres for me can find the 400x18 that I'm looking for.....Otherwise it'll be an internet search. Ron 

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😃😃 Chris you will come to realize that working gets in the way of your hobby......So I stopped some time ago!!

Wheels, handlebar and hub parts top coated today, and here is that great big lump of an engine! Barrels removed for inspection and fin repairs.

I've also started to do some work on my newly acquired 5SW.   Ron

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After a bit of a hunt, we found some suitable 400x18 tyres which my local friendly tyre firm fitted for me today (I just couldn't face it with current back issues!)

I spent several hours just fitting the front wheel and new brake shoes! You definitely wouldn't want to fix a roadside puncture on one of these!! Even on these relatively skinny tyres the front tyre has to be deflated to get it past the drum which has to be already fitted to the right side fork leg. The bike has to be seriously jacked up to get the 27" wheel under the exceptional front overhang of the mudguard.

Likewise, the cables and wiring run inside the handlebar, which is another work up, but I have worked on them before, so I have an idea of what to expect.

I also greased up everything that I hadn't already greased on assembly........ These Chief's have more nipples than the Luton Girls Choir!!!  Ron

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I managed to blag the assistance of a mate who was on a day off work, to help me lift the engine crankcase assembly into the frame. Ron

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I've been doing some research and this CAV of Tim's is definitely one of the 325 from the canceled French contract that were supplied to Great Britain. I've calculated it's tank census number. These were never used as front line machines by British forces and Tim has agreed to let me mark it as 'Anti Aircraft Command' ......Stencils ordered.

I think the red patch with bow and arrow is very appropriate!!  .

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Looking good Ron ..as always!It's coming on nicely....  ( Did you ride out to Crossways this morning  ..or not?)👍

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I finished rewiring it yesterday, waiting for the barrels and pistons to come back from Ainsley. 

(No! I would have been on my own. No fun in that!  Tim is on Guernsey , Tony was working on his newly acquired 'Chief' and Graham is far to old). Ron 

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My engineer has honed the barrels 'true' and refaced the valves, but the  valve guides are badly worn and two of them are actually broken, so he's going to make and install new ones. I'm also still waiting for parts from Germany, so just fiddling around at the moment.

I decided to have a go at the markings today.  Ron

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Nice one Ron!!!    Do you have the excellent book about this bike?? have some scans of manuals and other stuff if you need anything, sorry, bit late I know!

Cheers, Lex

 

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Yes got that book Lex. It's how I was able to calculate the census number. Ron

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I'm still waiting for parts from Germany! It seems DHL were unable to tell the difference between 27 and 37 so the parcel past my door and has gone back to Germany😖

In the meantime I've been fashioning a pillion seat. The pillion passengers grab handle is being bent up by my tube guy. I'm copying the arrangement of this other CAV that belongs to a friend of Arnaud in France. Ron

 

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I'm waiting a month now for parts from Germany. According to DHL there was a problem with the address label and the parcel has been returned to Jurgen. He says the address label is correct but will have to pay again to resend it????

In the meantime, I've got the barrels finished at last. Broken fins repaired, bores honed, new valve guides fitted and valves refaced and seats re-cut. The valve seat angle on these are 30 degrees as opposed to the normal 45 and the only place I could find a cutter for the seats without taking out a mortgage, was India. It's 57mm and was less than £20 with post and did the job ok. The heat resistant satin black has air dried nicely.

I'll have to wait for a buddy to help me on Saturday, as since the engine is already in the frame, we will have to install the pistons in the barrels first and then offer the whole thing for putting the gudgeon pins in. I've done it that way on smaller engines...but these are right old heavy lumps!! Ron  

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Nice progress Ron, but you can still buy the whole pillion rear grip stuff NOS in the states, think I bought it before from Rocky.

Looking forward to see the bike in the flesh! do you have the contract plate too?

Cheers,

Lex

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No it hasn't got a contract plate Lex. The plate you show is from a 100  military Chief's in 1942. Tim's is from part of the 1940 ex French bikes and was designate a strange contract number 'Dds 1624 V4042'

Tim is not such a purist as to buy NOS parts from USA!!... His bike came with a tan pan saddle and he wanted me to match the pillion as best as poss. But I've seen them in black, like Arnaud's friend in France.   Ron

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Well, fitting the barrels, heads checking timing and tappets and cleaning all bolts and threads has been more than a days work. I would definitely not go about fitting the barrels after the engine is in the frame again. Best to build the engine up complete, on the bench, and then somehow deal with the monstrous weight issue. Ron

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Well the parts finally arrived from Germany after Jurgen made up a fresh parcel. The first parcel is still out there somewhere?

I was now able to rebuild the knackered speedo drive and get the rear wheel bolted up, trued with the front  and and chain adjusted correctly. I started to fit the front brake cable, only to find he's sent the wrong inner😖

I struggled for about 2 hours fitting the exhaust down pipes. I've said it before "These are the biggest bikes in the World with the minimum amount of room to fit things" and as is often the case, someone has dented the pipe to clear the kickstart....but it still rubs!!  Ron

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The Chief is nearly ready for Tim to take home and finish off the bits that I don't have. Ron

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