13 Nov Hell On (Two) Wheels 19 – Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 300mm rear tire build
Custom fitting a Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 300mm rear tire isn’t easy. For today’s episode of Hell On (Two) Wheels, we’ll be running some lines. Oil lines, that is.
Last time we finished up coverage of the Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 300mm rear tire build, we had just finished creating the custom oil cooler that would bring some balance to the left side of the bike. Now that the cooler is finished, it’s time to run the oil lines that run to and from the oil cooler. We’ll start with the point at which both lines intersect, which is the oil cooler itself.
From there, the oil lines run underneath the bike, worming their way through the frame (so that they don’t hang below the frame and drag on the road) to a spot underneath the rear fender. In order to ensure that the oil lines stay close to the swing arm and fender at all times, and away from the spinning rear tire, we designed a pair of hooks to hold the oil lines in place as they make their way out from underneath the fender. After the hooks, the oil lines will run through two brackets with rubber grommets, one on the fender bracing, and one created from the chrome plate on the side of the fender. The latter isn’t so much a bracket, though, as it is a couple holes drilled in the chrome. Semantics.
At this point, we needed to create a few “transitional” pieces. The smaller, silver piece will allow one length of oil line hosing to connect to another). Second, the larger, silver and gold piece will allow for an external oil pressure gauge to be installed. Finally, the multicolored large piece is actually a valve controller. It will allow the oil to skip cycling through the oil cooler, for a faster warmup upon the bike’s initial startup. Once the bike is warmed up, the owner can flip the valve open and allow the oil to flow through the extra lines, to the cooler and back again. The silver piece was constructed from a single piece of metal, whereas the gold and silver piece was constructed from a single piece of metal with two already-made fittings on either end.
The external oil pressure gauge is connected to that larger transition piece and should be just below the bottom edge of the seat when it’s on.
If you’re wondering what those little round pieces are, the ones that almost look like decorative napkin rings, they’re actually designed to hold the two oil lines right next to each other. That way, the oil lines run together as a single unit, making for a much more cohesive look when the lines are visible. They’re rather unique in design, being handmade by our fabrication department. The two lines run through the ring, and are held in place by the “bullet,” which we hand-sharpen from a standard rod shaped piece of steel. The bullet has a small dent in it, and a set screw is tightened through the napkin ring, putting pressure on flat part of the bullet, keeping the lines tight.
In order to ensure that the oil lines are kept in their intended locations, we also fabricated a bracket or two to complement the napkin rings. Here’s an example of the one we made off the bike’s underseat portion of the frame, with the napkin rings welded to the bracket to make sure everything is nice and tight.
The valve control for the oil cooler will be located within a few inches of the oil filter, right behind the radiator. Don’t worry, it’ll be painted with the rest of the pieces, so it won’t be the only multicolored piece of equipment on the bike. It will join its monochromatic brethren soon enough.
That leaves us with two remaining unknowns regarding the running of the oil cooler lines — the beginning and the end. The Alpha (otherwise known as the feed line) connects to the vehicle’s oil system by way of a special fitting welded into the sandwich plate of the oil filter housing. The Omega (otherwise known as the return line) will take that cooled oil and deposit it directly back into the crankcase via a custom piece of tubing that we’re about to begin constructing..
We were about to get shots of all the lines routed up in their proper spaces, but by the time we made it back over to fabrication, they’d already disassembled half of the motorcycle! That can mean only one thing — it’s time to paint and powdercoat all the custom pieces for the bike. As soon as everything is removed from the bike, it’ll be separated based on where it’s going (paint versus powdercoat, as we only have the facilities for the former and outsource the latter) and we’ll be able to start shooting the painting process. Stay tuned for what may very well be the penultimate episode of Hell On (Two) Wheels!