Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rob Riley's OCC Motorized Bicycle Build Part #1

(Editor's Note: I've been debating whether or not to run this feature in light of my friend Rob's recent loss of his son. However, I understand that Wyatt enjoyed being out in the garage with his dad while he worked on bikes...So the next few days worth of posts are a tribute to Wyatt Riley. We at Suede and Chrome continue to keep the Riley family in our thoughts and prayers.)

Several months ago on Suede and Chrome, I featured a VERY kool purple metallic motorized Schwinn Stingray built by my friend Rob Riley. Well, Rob has been up to it again, this time with an OCC bicycle. Rob recently sent me the details of his build, along with lots of pictures taken throughout the process...I will be posting excerpts from the build over the next few days and let Rob's own words describe the build. THANKS Rob for sharing!!!

Here's the bike after I got  it in June 2010 (I didn't take a pic of it before I cleaned it up) I took this picture after I cleaned it all up. There was a lot of rust on the chrome, and the clear coat on the paint was dull & scratched. An S.O.S. pad took care of the rust on the chrome, and rubbing compound took care of the clear coat on the frame. The bike looked almost like new again after I cleaned it up.

I modified the rear fender just a little to make it sit down as close to the rear tire as possible. I didn't like the original seat, so I put a smaller 10 speed seat on it. I am currently looking for a solo seat that looks more like one that you would find on a real chopper. The original O.C.C. seat sat up too high and it pushed me forward, so I looked way too big for the bike. I'm 5'6" and 155 lbs, so I am relatively small, but with the stock seat I looked like a giant on the bike. The 10 speed seat sits lower, and back about 4 inches further than the stock seat, so I fit on it much better.

I also removed 90% of the schwinn logos and the o.c.c. flame stickers and logos from the bike. This is one of the first O.C.C. choppers that were built (2004) and it is about as bare bones as you can get. Later models came with a front fender, a front brake, and fold down pegs on the front forks. I like the 2004 model because the forks are nice & smooth with no brackets or holes.

I built a different motorized bike in 2009 but I have always wanted to motorize one of these o.c.c schwinn choppers since I first saw them in 2004. The thing is, the gas tank that comes with the engine kits are UGLY, and they do not look right on one of these o.c.c. choppers because they literally just sit on top of the frame tube and they look like a top hat. The gas tank does not wrap around the tube, or have much of a tunnel in it to let the tank sit down over the frame tube.

The first thing I did was go on a search for a gas tank that would be the correct scale, and one that would sit down over the frame like a real chopper tank. Every tank I found was either way too big, too ugly, or too expensive. Out of the blue, I remembered that there was a West Coast Choppers bike that was made round 2005 or 2006. These bikes were sold at K-mart, and they had a fake gas tank on it that would be just right.
I started searching e-bay and and after a day or 2 of searching, I found one of the fake tanks from a West Coast Choppers bike. My e-bay searching got me this tank for $7.00.

The tank had scratches in the original paint and the decals were bad, but I had already planned on repainting it anyway. Surprisingly the tank is made out of very heavy gauge steel. I was expecting it to be fairly thin metal of some sort, but not thick steel. The big problem with this tank was that it was never meant to hold gas or any other liquid. There were mounting holes in the bottom, un-welded seams along the bottom edges of the tank, no provision for a gas cap, or fuel outlets. The first thing I did was strip the tank down to bare metal. I used silver solder with flux and a propane torch to seal up all of the holes and gaps, I cut a hole in the top for a gas cap using a dremel tool with a cut off wheel. I made the hole slightly smaller than what I needed it to be, and then finished the hole with different sized drum sanders that I could put in my drill.  I pressure tested the tank with compressed air and soapy water. There were a few small leaks, so I had to go back and solder them closed. making the tank able to hold gas without leaking, and work like a gas tank is supposed to. It  took me about 8 days working on the tank for 4-5 hours at a time at night to get it sealed up to hold gas.
If you look at the pic. of the tank as I got it (the above pic) closely, you will see that there is a big weld on the front of the tank. This weld is from where the bottom of the tank, and top of the tank were originally welded together. I hated the look of that big weld, so I ground the weld down and made a small valley. I filled the valley with bondo, and sanded it all smooth.

In the next pic. you can see on the bottom, all of the areas that I had to solder closed. I used some sheet metal on some of the bigger holes and some small square steel rod to fill a couple of the gaps. If you look from about the 1/2 way point to the back of the tank on the edges, you can see where I had to close the gaps.
I also had to add a way for gas to get out of the tank to the carburetor. I drilled 2 holes in the tank, one on each side, as low as possible. I made up 2 pieces of copper tubing, bent at about a 90 degree angle. I silver soldered them into the holes and angled them to the back. You can see them in the next couple of pics.  I  made them longer than needed and I cut them down shorter later on once I figured out where the outlets would be in relation to the carb fuel inlet fitting. The reason I made 2 gas outlets is because the tank has a very high tunnel inside it and there is no way for gas to get from one side of the tank to the other side,  inside the tank. 2 outlets insures that 98% of the gas that's in the tank makes it to the carburetor.

Here's the start of the bondo that is covering the ground down weld. This is just the second coat and it isn't smoothed or feathered out yet. It took about 5 coats of bondo to get the area smooth and blended in with the rest of the tank.

Here you can see the hole that I cut for the gas cap. I am using a chrome push in oil filler cap from a car valve cover that I got at Autozone for $4.99. The cap has a rubber plug on the back side, with a lip on it. The cap just pushes into the hole and the lip seals it very well. It takes a little effort to get it out of the hole when it comes time to add more gas, but it works perfect.

Here's the gas cap (oil filler cap). I had to drill a tiny hole in the center of the cap to allow gas fumes to vent. I found this little skull & crossbones pewter pendant at hobby lobby for $1.49, and I epoxied it over the hole to hide it. The eyes in the skull are open all the way to the back, which allows the cap vent to work, and it hides the hole that I drilled.

Here's the tank with some primer shot over the front of the tank where the bondo is. I have it sitting next to 66 Triumph Bonneville gas tank for size comparison.

The tank is looking pretty cool Rob! I'll have more from Rob's OCC motorized bicycle build tomorrow.