Spare Engine for Buzz’s 1926 Motorcycle Cannonball Harley

One of the things I learned in last year’s cross country Motorcycle Cannonball ride was that it is a very good idea to have as many spares as possible. As I shared in the pages of American Iron Magazine riding a 1915 Harley across the US meant trying to track down parts not easy or cheap to find. Next year I am planning on riding a much newer (and easier to find parts for) 1926 Harley. So I have already begun to think about building the motorcycle I plan to ride AND to start stockpiling spares.

A spare 1920s Harley engine for the Motorcycle Cannonball

 Last year I purchased this engine, which is obviously made up from parts of various year Harley engine, and another much older one. My plan is to take this one apart and rebuild it as a back up engine for my 1926 Harley I will be riding on the Motorcycle Cannonball. Everything on this engine is pretty rusted, so much so I can’t even get out the sparkplugs yet. I’ve been soaking and spraying everything with Marvel Mystery Oil and Aerocroil for a couple of months and nothing yet.  

As crude as this old Harley generator looks, it sure beats the magneto ignition I used in the first Motorcycle Cannonball ride.

Someone suggested soaking the entire engine in a big bucket of diesel fuel for a week to loosen it up. Not sure if that would help, but might try it if nothing else works.

Once I have it all apart I will better know what I am dealing with. The good news is that parts are easier to find for a mid to late 1920s Harley than my last Motorcycle Cannonball project – Selma, my 1915 Harley.

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