Homemade Tools

The tools shown below can generally be made with the usual hand tools found in most garages; hack saws, drills, taps etc. Some of these tools do require welding. If you do the grunt work, cutting, filing, grinding etc. you can usually find a welder who is willing to fuse the pieces together for a couple of bucks. The point of this is to show you how to spend the minimal amount of money to make tools that will get you professional results when working on your own bike.

Chain Whip

This is the tool you'll need for holding the drive sprocket on the mainshaft, whether it is the first step in removing a trans or whether it is just for changing the sprocket this tool gets it done easy. Basically you wrap the chain around the sprocket and anchor the bar to the crankcase. Some XLs have a 1/2" stud that sticks out of the crankcase, that is a great place to anchor the bar. For other XLs that don't have the stud, I use one of the sprocket cover mounting bolts. Stack up some washers between the bar and the crankcase and snug the bolt down, this will minimize side loads that can damage the sprocket cover mounting boss. I've used this tool on XLs, FLs, Yamahas, Triumphs and BSAs.

Get about six inches of an an old drive chain and a steel bar about 3/4" wide and 5/16" thick and 2" to 3" long. Drill a hole in one end just big enough to fit over the pin on an old master link. I've got two other holes drilled in this one, one is 1/2" for bikes that have the 1/2" stud sticking out of the crank case the other is 3/8" for the 3/8" sprocket cover mounting bolts.

Chain Whip Tool

Chain Whip In Use

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Flywheel Pusher

So you've completely disassembled the engine; primary and clutch out, tranny out, cams out and you're left with flywheels pressed into the left side of the case. What to do? That's easy; grab a big hammer and beat the flywheels out of the left case. Wrong answer; you will likely destroy the sprocket shaft threads and destroy the main bearing and race. What you'll really want to do is use your homemade flywheel pusher to gently push the wheels out of the case. You will prevent damaging the sprocket shaft or main bearing and thus ensure that these critical parts can be safely reused.

To make this tool you'll need about $2.00 worth of material consisting of a chunk of steel about 1/4" thick or thicker, some threaded rod and some round steel bar stock. For the actual pusher I used a screw from another puller, you may be able to get away with some hardened threaded rod (usually available at industrial supply houses). You might be tempted to just use the threaded rod screwed into the primary cover, but the bar stock really helps to stabilize the puller plate. You'll also need to weld a nut that matches the threads of your pusher screw to the back of the steel plate.

Flywheel Pusher in Use

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Sprocket Shaft Bearing Puller

So now you've pushed the case off of the flywheel and you are left with the inner main bearing pressed onto the sprocket shaft. So how do you get it off without destroying it? Easy, another two bucks worth of raw material, a hunk of one and one half inch pipe, a chunk of one and one half inch bar stock and a heavy duty fender washer. Lop off a hunk of the bar stock drill and tap the center of it to match a jackscrew out of one of your gear pullers. Cut the pipe more or less in half and cut a slot in the side of the heavy duty fender washer. Weld the washer and the hunk of bar stock to the pipe and you are ready to go.

Sprocket Shaft Bearing Puller

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Sprocket Shaft Bearing Puller in Use

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Primary Drive Tools

Working on the primary drive can really be a pain in the ass. What you need is a couple of bucks worth of homemade tools to make it a bunch easier. Pictured below are three easy cheap tools that make taking apart and putting the primary together a whole bunch easier.

The first step in pulling the primary drive apart is removing the clutch. A chunk of u-channel or heavy bar stock and some 1/4-20 threaded rod is all you need to compress the clutch spring (or springs). It doesn't get much easier than this. So now you don't have to live in fear that the big ass clutch spring will fly off at super sonic speed and force just as you loosen the pressure plate nuts down to the last thread.

The second step in disassembling the primary is to lock the engine sprocket to the clutch basket, this will keep the engine from rotating when you put your big wrench on the engine sprocket nut. All you need is some steel strap, 3/16" thick by an inch wide will work just fine, some 3/8" threaded rod with nuts and some steel tube. Cut your strap to fit between the sprockets as shown in the picture. You'll want to grind the ends of the strap somewhat round to nestle in to the teeth on the sprockets. Cut the steel tube and threaded rod so you can pinch the steel straps between the sprockets as shown in the picture. Tighten the nuts and the two sprockets will be locked together and will not turn so you can easily remove the big nut on the motor sprocket.

The last step is to take the big nut off the clutch hub. So how do you keep the whole mess from turning? You just locked the engine sprocket to the clutch basket, so if you lock the clutch basket to the hub, you'll be able to remove the clutch hub nut. Get yourself an old steel plate and an old fiber plate. Lay the fiber plate on the concrete floor in your garage and beat the fiber friction material with a hammer, it will break off easily. You'll need to weld the fiber plate to the steel plate in order to lock the hub to the basket. They will need to be correctly centered and aligned to each other before they are welded together, so set them in the basket and mark them carefully, if they are not centered with each other they won't fit in the basket

Compensator Nut Socket

If your bike has a compensator type engine sprocket you probably know that removing it is really a bitch. A lot of guys are content trying to beat it off with a big punch and hammer. Try this instead, get an old 1/2" drive socket and a steel bar, use a grinding wheel to cut a slot in the socket big enough to fit the steel bar in. Drill a couple of holes in the bar to match the hole spacing on the compensator. Stick a couple of 5/16" bolts in the holes and weld the whole thing together.


Shock Spring Compressor

Every once in while you'll need to take apart a shock absorber, here is a handy dandy spring compressor. Some threaded rods, some steel strap and a chunk o' steel with a couple of holes in it. Use a ratcheting dogbone wrench in each hand to run the nuts down, I use coupling nuts because they are longer than a regular nut so they have more threads over which to distribute the spring pressure.

Spring Compressor Tool

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Spring Compressor Tool In Use

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FL Clutch Hub Tool

This is the tool you'll need to hold the clutch hub on an old Panhead or Shovelhead. An old steel clutch plate welded to some 1/8" thick steel plate bent to a "Z" shape to provide a little extra rigidity, welded to a piece of pipe.