Wee Wee Wee all the way home


I turned over this little piggy to the shipper on September 2, in Newcastle, WA. She got here yesterday. They wanted a commercial address on this end so I gave them Ocean State Harley-Davidson’s in the next town over, Warwick, RI. Amy Bishop and other friends there kindly helped me load the bike into the back of the old Ford for the final 3 miles of the journey.

After 20 days on trucks and sitting around in warehouses in Washington, Illinois and Massachusetts, all my stuff was still aboard. No pilfering. It would have been a pain having to replace a few hundred tools, parts, camping gizmos…

First thing I did was dump engine parts on the porch table and have a closer look. Consider it a coincidence that I happened to sort through them on the obituary page. The iron piggy has miles to go yet, continents to cross. Up and over craggy mountain ranges and down across blistering deserts. But maybe with an oil cooler next time.

You can see where the inner cam bearing failed, chewed on the top of the camshaft on the left. Stock INA bearing, not the full-rollered Torrington. Maybe the heat would have killed a Torrington, who knows? That damaged shaft operated the valves on the forward jug, where I heard the ominous tink tink tink…

Bearing bits went through the oil pump. That’s the pressure gerotor on the left, scavenge on the right.

The pump housing is scored as well, no surprise. I wonder what I had for oil pressure in the high desert of eastern Washington when the engine let me know a major failure was imminent? Will be equipped with an oil pressure gauge next time.

I put a dial indicator on the pinion shaft yesterday, where it passes through the cam support plate. I was expecting to measure runout at .030+, found .002 instead. That tells me two things: The MoCo did a nice job press-fitting this crank at the factory and my bottom-end bearings are still sound. That’s fairly remarkable, I think, after 70,000 punishing miles and a cam bearing failure. Trouble is, I’m sure some stray metal got down into the cases, so when I say the bearings are sound I mean sound for now. The magnetic drain plug looked pretty hairy when I drained the oil.

I’m tempted to put the cam chest back together with new parts and just run it, but the unaccounted-for bits make an argument for tearing it all down for a major overhaul over the winter. So does the look of my lifter bores. I’d have to split the cases to get the bores honed to a standard oversize. Haven’t measured there yet but just by feel I believe I’m missing metal.

Finally, here’s one last pic requested by a friend and fellow biker, Bill Stenger, in Pennsylvania, who wanted to see the trusty old Ford  from the front.



About Tony

The occasional scribblings of Tony DePaul, 63, 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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28 Responses to Wee Wee Wee all the way home

  1. Jon Brush says:

    Hey, glad to see el pork is back at home. I’d go with the full rebuild, if you have the shekels. And I hear you do…..

    On another note, have you checked out this story? At first I thought it was about the harley: . Then I read this:
    ” A pig that survived 36 days buried in the rubble of May’s massive Sichuan earthquake has been voted China’s favourite animal, but the attention has made him fat, lazy and bad-tempered, state media said”. Guffaw, always happens when they become stars… Make sure your bike doesn’t get fat, lazy and bad tempered. Or you.

    Zhu Jianqiang’, or ‘Strong Pig’. Sounds like your humble steed.

  2. Jon Brush says:

    Somehow the link got snipped out. Anyway, just google “Strong Pig” and earthquake to see the story.

  3. Eric says:

    Wee! Piggy is home!

  4. Jan says:

    This little piggy went to Seattle
    This little piggy felt at home
    This little piggy had roast beef
    This little piggy had naan
    This little piggy went wee,wee,wee,wee all the way home

  5. Michael says:

    Lol, good one Jan. Tony, looking forward to reading about the rebuild.

  6. Tarquino F. Flores says:

    Is good to hear about you! Too bad that you left the Facestuff, but I’m glad to read your adventures in this page. Blessings from México!

  7. William Stenger says:

    It’s great to hear that Miss Piggy is home. I think I have to agree with the fella that says you ought to get into the bottom end if you suspect there is loose metal in the engine; if nothing more than to flush out the oil galleys. BTW, I like that old Ford. How about a few pics of the front of the pickup?

  8. Mari Nelson says:

    Lovely home…lovely truck!

    • Tony says:

      Thanks, Mari. Pam’s still telling friends how nice it was to have dinner at your house with the dining room doors wide open and framing the waterfall in the backyard. No screens. And no bugs! Here in Rhode Island the Mosquito rules the night.

  9. Jorge Nelson says:

    I just want to reiterate how honorable and helpful your time here was in Wauna, WA. with Jan and me at the beautiful home Jan and Connie own. Thank you, kind sir, for your unending generosity as well as your stories of the Road. Keep on keepin’ on for piggy’s sake!
    Yer bro,

  10. Chuck Burghardt says:

    Home is where the hog is! Glad to read Piggy made it back to Little Rhody for a winter spa treatment!

    • Tony says:

      Thanks, Chuck. I’m building ramps as we speak. Want to help drag the piggy through the garden, down the hill, up the scaffolding and into the basement? Tomorrow, I think.

  11. Randy & Toni says:


    Sorry to hear about Miss Piggy, but I imagine she will see the long, long road again if I know you. I can imagine how you felt handing everything over to a shipper. Even though most items we carry with us on the road can be replaced, some items just have a certain feel once they have been broken in on a few long rides.
    Toni and I made a few long trips in the 32 years we rode, and hope to make a few short ones now that I am getting the trike ready (wheelchair mount almost ready). In twenty years of running our motorcycle shop we hauled in our share of broke down travelers and I sure miss being able to crank wrenches on cycles and helping out those in need.

    Hope Miss Piggy is ready soon and you get your needed dose of two wheeled road miles .

    Randy & Toni
    Salina, Ks.

  12. Charlie Haskell says:

    Tony, I’m glad to hear that you and Piggy are home safe. You’ve got a project ahead of you but I’m sure she’ll be as good as new by spring, when you’ll be off and running again onto the next adventure. Say hi to Pam and the girls. BTW, I love the updates.


    • Tony says:

      Thanks, Charlie. Hey, not too long ago I ran across a ’39 Harley, like the one you restored as your (first?) project bike. Am I remembering this right, that yours is a ’39? I saw the bike on display at an auto repair shop in West Warwick.

  13. Dan Salter says:

    Tony,with all your traveling on the Harley, pictures and notes, I would think that Harley would be interested in sponsoring your endeavors or at least your maintenance and repairs.. Considering all the dumb shows now coming out on T.V., I think they are running out of money and or ideas, I think your travels would be a welcome replacement.

    Good luck, Dan Salter

    • Tony says:

      Thanks for the good word, Dan. I don’t have any bigwigs in Milwaukee reading my occasional blab but, hmm… If I taped my card to a six pack and sent it to Willie G, I wonder if he’d get it? And would he read the card or just drink my beer?! Best to Judy and the family.

  14. Mike Bullock says:

    Not much on bikes, but LOVE that old Ford. What happened to the bike? Burn up a bearing?

    • Tony says:

      Yep, inner cam bearing on the forward cam, Mike. About the truck: I restored it to show quality 15 years ago and then used it hard, as a truck should be. It was my daily driver. It needs a second restoration now. After 15 New England winters, it’s going to need a lot of welding! I thought that would be my winter project but the motorcycle had other plans.

  15. Mark Arsenault says:

    You can tell from the Cherenkov radiation sensor that tachyon particles were leaking through the flux capacitor.

  16. Matthew Reed says:


    After getting back from a jaunt myself, I’ve been hearing strange things from my TC88.

    Barely old enough to smoke, a 2004 motor with 42k on the clock has never been opened wide enough except to see fresh lubricants. May have to look inside soon.

    Girlfriend and I packed our pleasures in late September and rode to Albuquerque for the annual Balloon Fiesta and to visit a lifelong buddy in new digs.

    Thought that it was windy going down through IA, KS, OK, and TX. After a trek northward through Colorado, thought it was quite breezy there, too. However, after dealing with sustained high winds packing 50+ mph gusts in Nebraska I am damn glad to be home and finished wrestling with chrome for a bit. Hoping to talk Girlfriend into a massage.

    Miss you on FB, but understand. Look for me on G+. Used Latitude a bunch, checking in here and there. Hopefully will have some decent pictures. Gotta post something on the old Yahoo RK group, too.

    See ya round.


    • Tony says:

      Hey! Great to hear from you, Matt. I’ll see you in Iowa one of these treks. Yeah, definitely figure out what ails your 88 before you get metal bits pumped all through it. I got the motor and tranny out of the frame yesterday, found LOTS of metal in the pan.

      I haven’t been on the RK list for a while. I should get back into that. Definitely could use the guys’ advice on this motor rebuild.

      Ride safe, brother.

  17. Samuel Dyck says:

    I assume that you had cleaned the parts before taking pictures of them – they look so clean. What did you use?

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