I rebuilt this 1934 VLD for a customer in Indiana over 3 years ago, he had bought the bike form somewhere out on the west coast supposedly restored. Well it was freshly painted, but not assembled to well, among many other things the rear wheel was assembled completely incorrectly and the engine fasteners were not tight. When I first went to look at the engine I saw what I thought were “compression plates under the cylinders. Compression plates were a common way to reduce the compression in engines back in the 20’s and 30’s. that were used in town and the quality of the gas used was low. With all of the engine fasteners found loose the customer asked that I pull it down and check it out, what I found was that what I thought were compression plates were actually stroker plates. It turns out that this engine had been assembled with 4 1/2 inch stroke flywheels and although the plates were under the cylinders, the front piston was still contacting the cylinder head, the clearances were not checked very well, the engine also had a mismatched camshaft grind for the rear intake. I obtained a used correct camshaft but the gear teeth were in extremely poor condition so I took the gear from the mismatched cam and the lobe off of the replacement cam and insured the position of the lobe on the cam using a degree wheel before having the cam welded together (see picture). I also have a video clip of the engine on the test stand running it in which I normally do for 2-4 hours and always do prior to re installing them in the bikes. I also went through the “crash box” style of transmission which was typical for the day. The VL series still had a total loss oil system and in late 33 and for 34 through 36 there was a additional check valve in the crankcase and this one was completely missing. I came up with what I thought would be a suitable replacement that I had inspected by a old time Harley mechanic who felt it would work. Since then I have seen other VL’s that had this valve either missing or it had failed and I have made a few more up and installed them in the engines, re adjusted the oil pumps and the oil consumption has always been in line with how they were originally set up. The original oil consumption for this type of engine was (are you sitting down) 1 gallon of oil use between 400 miles and 1000 miles depending on the speeds driven, and ya think a quart in 2000 miles is high?  I put on over a 100 miles on the bike before I returned it back to the customer, and by it pulled pretty good, the last I had heard from the customer as he had been using the bike and had entered it in a hill climb event where he took a 3rd place and said the bike was good enough for first.

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