Vintage J-Model Whizzer

Paula

Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2011
Messages
69
Hi folks,

As I mentioned in my intro post, I recently purchased a vintage Whizzer. It came from a gentleman in Pennsylvania (I'm in Indiana), so there was a longish drive involved in picking it up. Here are some pictures I snapped just after the seller brought it up from his cellar:





He was a bit surprised when I showed up to pick up the bike in my compact sedan, as he didn't think there was any way we'd get the thing in there. He didn't realize that my rear seat folds down, and I knew that as long as we could get the handlebars off, it would be no problem. I was right -- it took less than five minutes to remove the handlebars and get the Whizzer stowed for the trip home. Here are some pictures I took back at the hotel:





The trip home was uneventful. My next door neighbor helped me unload the bike. He's retired and in his seventies, and was tickled to see it. He says he remembers them being very popular right after the war, as automobiles were still rather scarce.

Anyway, I'm now in the process of going over the bike, checking things out, taking pictures, and making notes of things will need to be replaced. The engine s/n is J-204166. Tires are shot, no belt guard or chain guard. The previous owner says he drained the gas from the tank after the last running. I confirmed it -- the inside of the tank is dry and clean. The frame is typical Schwinn, and has the indents for belt clearance.

I've done a lot of reading of previous threads on this forum, which has been most helpful. I'm hoping the you folks may be able offer advice and suggestions as I get further into this project.

Paula
 


itchybird

New Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2009
Messages
7
Nice looking ride Paula, you'll have a lot of fun with that one, thats for sure! And just in time for summer too, well done.

Rich
 

Paula

Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2011
Messages
69
Thanks for the nice comments! :D

I don't know about this summer, though. From what I've seen so far, this bike will need A LOT of work. Still, it'll be fun watching it slowly take shape!

Paula
 

swaney3

New Member
Joined
May 19, 2011
Messages
12
Great Looking Ride... I can't wait to learn more about it as you get it up and running the seat looks very comfortable.
 

Paula

Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2011
Messages
69
Thanks, Swaney. Though not as comfortable as it surely once was, as the previous owner said, the seat "still has life left in it." It's a vintage Mesinger leather saddle (the brand imprint is just barely visible in the right light):





I would really love to have it restored by an expert, but I understand the cost can be several hundred dollars. Something I may have to save up for.

Paula
 
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Paula

Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2011
Messages
69
Update:

Sure seems difficult to make progress this time of year, with all the yard work and outdoor activities! Plus things are really busy right now at work (big change from a year ago!) Nevertheless, have been making some headway.

I'm realizing that this bike has had a very active life. The expression, "Rode hard and put away wet" seems appropriate. Poor maintenance, ham-fisted repair attempts, and jury-rigging are all in evidence. Which is not to say I'm either surprised or disappointed. I was looking for a project, and got the bike for a very reasonable price. It will serve as a platform for a fun and rewarding restoration. I actually enjoy bringing things back from a state of abuse and neglect.

Some of the problems I've noticed so far:

1) The bike came without a belt guard, and I found a possible reason why. At some point, the clutch pulley managed to crash into the magneto guard, causing substantial damage to the belt guard mounting posts. The same mishap may also be responsible for the apparent damage caused to the rim of the flywheel when the magneto was pushed into contact with it (see arrows in picture below):



I've purchased a replacement magneto guard, though it's a repro and looks like a sand casting rather than the original die casting. Should work fine though, even if not quite as robust as an original one.

2) Not long after receiving the bike, I noticed that several of the cylinder head bolts were visibly loose. (Huh?) I removed all the bolts and examined the head. A couple of fins were broken off, but the most distressing thing was the condition of the bolt bosses. They were smashed down nearly to the point of obliteration, the holes egg-shaped, and the whole head had kind of a distorted appearance. I'm not sure exactly what caused the damage, but it looks like a combination of severe overheating, and extremely over-torqued bolts. Here are some pictures of the head that came with the bike, alongside a nice used one that I bought on eBay:





An additional problem with the head is that the spark plug hole has been enlarged and tapped out to accommodate a larger plug, probably due to stripped threads.

Having dismantled and examined most of the engine by now, the condition of the cylinder head doesn't jibe with the condition of the rest of the engine, which is not too bad. I wonder if the original head got swapped out sometime after the owner quit riding, possibly for service on another engine. This would tend to explain the loose bolts.

Stay tuned for more...
 
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Mike Notigan

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Messages
56
Paula,
Can't wait for your next installment! It seems you have a good gameplan for the restoration of your bike. And I see the potential your bike has. Good luck on the restoration!
Mike
 

Paula

Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2011
Messages
69
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Mike!

I've got the engine fully disassembled now, and all the parts that will be re-used have been cleaned and inspected. The crankcase is in pretty good shape, with only a few minor issues. One of these concerns the tapped holes for the engine mount brackets. These three 5/16-18 holes are tapped directly into the cast aluminum, and two of them show significant damage. No doubt they take quite a beating from engine vibrations, road shocks, etc.

A well-known and accepted method of repair is to install a HeliCoil thread insert. Fortunately, the company where I work has HeliCoil kits for numerous thread sizes, and a shop foreman who is happy to let me borrow them. I usually buy a package of thread inserts, and donate any leftovers to the shop.

The first step is to drill out the damaged threads with the appropriate size drill bit. This picture shows the crankcase mounted in a drill press, ready for drilling:



The size of the bit is specific to the special HeliCoil tap that will be used to accommodate the insert being used. The inserts I am using are 18-8 stainless steel, 15/32" long. Here is the drilling operation:



The HeliCoil tap has the same pitch as the thread being repaired, but a larger pitch diameter. Make sure that the hole has been drilled deep enough so that the tapered end of the tap does not bottom out before sufficient full-depth threads have been formed:



After tapping the hole, the insert is threaded onto an installation tool. A "tang" at the bottom of the insert keeps it from threading any further onto the tool. The insert is threaded into the tapped hole until it is just slightly below the surface:



Once the insert has been threaded into the hole to the correct depth, the installation tool can be unscrewed and removed. If you think that you might be installing bolts deeper than the length of the insert, the "tang" can be easily removed by inserting a close-fitting pin into the insert, and tapping lightly with a hammer. The tang breaks free and can be removed from the hole. Here is the finished repair:



Next: Fixing a wallowed-out clutch arm pivot hole
 
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Mike Notigan

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Messages
56
Paula,
Excellent work and great pictures! It looks like your Whizzer is going to get that second lease on life that it deserves.

I hope the moderator reads this and considers Paulas' project as a sticky on how to restore a vintage Whizzer
!

Mike
2008 Whizzer NER
 
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