The iron piggy is down off the lift


AS OF TODAY she’s on the floor, after four or five months up in the air. I don’t quite buy it but she’s cool, nonchalant, as if nothing traumatic happened. Look at her! Leaning on her kickstand like a doo-wopper on a lamppost. If she had fingers she’d be snapping them.

The well-traveled old iron went up in the air last fall after coming home from Seattle in the back of a truck, in woebegone condition. Now she’s got a fresh motor, rebuilt transmission, all new drive gear, brakes, brake lines, cables, tires…

Piggy’s eager to run but I don’t see any serious road trips in our immediate future.

When we do go, this windshield will come along. It’s beat, cracked around the headlight nacelle, but has a history money can’t buy.

At some point I’ll go get a Yukon sticker to help hold it together.


This is for moments of idle diversion in the motorcycle shop. I’ve got too much going on to think about riding the ALCAN this summer. Maybe next year. Assuming that misfortune holds off.

It was quite the milestone today but the end is not yet. I need to go through the gas tank before Bob and/or Robert, of Johnson Engine Technology, fires up the new motor for me on the dyno. Fuel parts need to come out of the tank for inspection and cleaning. I need a new fuel filter at the very least. That should be done every 25,000 miles. We missed it once, missed it twice, but are 5,000 miles early for the 75,000-mile fuel filter swap.

As regular readers know, piggy’s had a hard life.

These are the parts that need to come out of the tank. I hear the only thing harder than getting them out is putting them back in.


As dyno day approaches, I’ll send the injectors off to be cleaned and flow tested, then reassemble and reinstall the induction module. Hook up a few cables, drop a battery in the bike and that’s it, off to Westerly we go.


This is embarrassing but I’ve got parts left over.

Just some little clips, mostly, but that big black thing is bugging me. It appears to be a glove compartment. This is what happens when you pick away at a project instead of working at it steady. On the plus side, there’s all kinds of redundancy built into these machines nowadays. No engineer left behind. As an optimist I believe the bike will run better without all this needless crap on it.


I’ve been distracted by the old Ford, serves me right. On Saturday, Larry and John and I rolled it down the hill into the backyard and took the cab off.

The chassis will get new brakes, lines and hoses. No total restoration this time. I’ll do the essentials then pull it back up the hill and put the engine and transmission in.


The cab will stay down the hill longer, while I cut out the rusty parts.


Then it’ll be time to weld-in spiffy new metal, so I don’t fall out and run myself over anymore.

I know how to stick one piece of metal to another, if it doesn’t have to look pretty or pass an X-ray test at Cape Canaveral. But when I get done burning miles of wire on the ’49 I’ll be a certified welder. Okay, maybe not certified, let’s aim for bona fide.

Tony DePaul, March 13, 2012, Cranston, Rhode Island


About Tony

The occasional scribblings of Tony DePaul, 62, father, grandfather, husband, freelance writer in many forms, ex-journalist, long-distance motorcycle rider, motorcycle wrecker, motorcycle rebuilder, collector of surgical hardware, blue routes wanderer, outdoorsman, topo map bushwhacker, handy with a wrench, hammer, chainsaw, rifle, former photographer, printer, logger, truck driver, truck mechanic, jet fueler… blah blah...
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13 Responses to The iron piggy is down off the lift

  1. Jan says:

    Nice progress, I love the photo of the remaining mystery parts…

  2. Jon says:

    Mebbe the leftover parts can be used on the Ford. Both red-blooded ‘merican iron.

  3. Chris Whitney says:

    Piggy is looking very soo-wave. Take a vid when you fire her up.

    About the Ford, I always wonder how one repairs things like the corner of the cab, and/or where stuff is just plain missing, which means there is nothing to weld to except thin air. Thinking about it, it seems you have to weld patch panels from the top down, so that when you get to the bottom, there is something to weld to. But I guess you can also do it from the bottom up, same logic. Nice that patch panels are available, or else you’d be doing a whole lot of work on the bending brake and anvil.

    • Tony says:

      That’s what I’m thinking, go from the top down, work from what’s good to what isn’t. It’ll be a bear to get the geometry right. I think the glass is the only thing keeping the cab from going completely flooey. I need to pull the doors off, too. Three of us were popping blood vessels in our eyes lugging the cab around the yard on Saturday. It seemed lighter last time, in ’95. There were four of us then and we were younger.

  4. denise waterbury says:

    Hey Tony,
    You know I’m not a real car/motorcycle buff…but I really love reading your progress on all this! It’s pretty cool to me in more ways than one. I guess the more ways is the adventure aspect of it all. It’s truly an adventure! The anticipation, the patience, and the talk of upcoming possible trips…It sparks something in me you know…especially the possibility of a trip somewhere…really cool! Keep it coming!

    • denise waterbury says:

      Yep. Wanderlust. It’s in my blood for sure, and I love the idea of freedom on the road/trails…I love just getting in my truck and driving across Nevada. Nevada of all places! Most people think it’s such a wasteland and I find it absolutely beautiful. I can imagine the freedom feeling on a motorcycle in places like that. Those are the places (for me anyway) where my mind can let go and really wander…

  5. Prasad says:

    Really happy to see the Piggy back on her feet err… wheels… wayyy to go…
    Have fun in figuring out about the left-over parts… 😀


  6. Mari Nelson says:

    Tis art my man.

  7. steve says:

    Woohoo, Piggy! Sounds like you got luckier than I did with the fuel filter; mine plugged up tight at 42,000 miles, left me stalled in the intersection of Olympic and Bundy.

    I’m with Chris – video needs to be done for the rebirth.

  8. Tony says:

    Hey! — I almost ran over that jack on the motorcycle!

  9. Tarquino F. Flores says:

    I really like the feel of indestructibility that the Piggy got!

  10. John Lassiter says:

    Nice keepin’ up. I’m sure you’ll end up heading somewhere just to give Piggy some exercise.
    I’ve got daughters #1 & #2 heading down the isle this year. Will be a blast!

    • Tony says:

      Two weddings in one year! Lordy, and I thought I was throwing money around with wild abandon. Have fun, John! Best wishes to the brides.

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