1927 Gypsy Tour

The Best Early Indian Photo Ever!

Our 101 Scout

This is a fairly long page covering the progress of our 101 Scout project and continues to grow as problems occur, and as improvements and new discoveries are made. 

People embarking on a similar project will be amazed at how many experiences are common to Indian restorers. Perhaps others can learn by our mistakes or benefit from some of the ideas people shared with us, and the contacts we made.

Long after his retirement, Ivor Dennis yearned to get hold of an old Indian motorcycle and restore it.  After a few years of asking around, he found a 1939 Chief outfit in Omeo north of Bairnsdale, which he and his son-in-law John Woodhouse (my Dad), began to restore.
Not long after that they heard about an Indian Scout on a farm near Orbost.  It was quickly purchased from locals Peter Gribenow and George Holding.  That was back in 1975 and the Scout was given to me (Darryl Woodhouse) on my 15th Birthday. If you do the sums, you can work out my age.

When we brought the Scout home, Dad kicked it over and ran it for a couple of minutes before Ivor suggested shutting it down.  Not knowing what condition the motor was in, they decided not to start it again before finding out.  We immediately began pulling the Scout apart and cleaning off the old navy blue paint and rust.  It was exciting finding patches of the original red underneath.  Unfortunately no photos were taken of the bike before it was pulled apart, but George's son Peter promised a copy of a photo that his now deceased father took of his two sons playing on the bike.  As soon as he finds the photo, I will post it here.

Sadly, my grandfather Ivor contracted cancer shortly afterwards and passed away at the age of 79, but not before seeing the Chief racing around our backyard with his daughter Val, (my Mum) and his grandchildren taking turns in the sidecar, as he watched from the back verandah.  The Chief was completed and later won several trophies at local vintage vehicle club events.  It has since been sold and is now proudly owned and ridden solo by Rodney, a close family friend and distant relative on the Dennis side, so it is still in Bairnsdale and still in the family, sort of.

I soon purchased an FX model (48 215) Holden sedan which was a major project.  It was finished with a huge amount of Dad's help (always handy having a panel beater/spray painter in the family), and we got it on the road in time for when I started driving.   In the meantime the Scout was packed away in boxes and tins awaiting another day.  25 years later that day came.   Dad had completed the restoration of two vintage cars and was looking for another project.  We decided to get the old bike out of the boxes and start restoring it. 

Even though my parents had moved house, nothing was lost.  Stuff just took a bit of finding, mainly because over the years, we found, and purchased many more Indian parts.  One treasure trove found in an old house at Waygara Saw Mill included four extra gearboxes and heaps of other goodies.   Dad was told to help himself because the house was soon to be bulldozed.  It had a dirt floor and we sifted through it much like archaeologists.  I have a strong suspicion that my bike spent some time in that old house.  All these years later, sorting out which of these bits came off our Scout when I dismantled it, was at times challenging.

Dad is pictured here just after the crank cases went back together.

In these modern times, information is much easier to come by, and using the Internet, we were able to discover that our bike is one of the famous 101 Scouts.  It is the 600cc (37 cu") model (apparently more common with exports), but at some stage in its history, the bore has been taken out to the same as the larger 750cc (45 cu") model.  I have been warned that such a large bore in these jugs is likely to cause something to break.  I guess I'll find out.  If you have a 600cc 101 Scout, each head will be attached by only six studs or bolts.  The 750 model has seven.

Online suppliers were also found for reproduction parts which were unlikely to be found at swap meets.  Because the Scout had been left in the weather, much of its sheetmetal was gone.  Terry Kay from Gympie in Queensland provided chain and generator belt guards, rear stand, tool and battery boxes and an instrument panel, all made to a very high standard and low price.  A saddle was purchased
for a reasonable price from Hecker 101 in Denmark.  Dad was beginning to appreciate how lucky he had been to have had all the parts of his old Chief and Ivor still around to help during that restoration.  There was no Internet back then.

The Scout's wheels had gone and Panther wheels had been fitted, which is why the rear brake assembly was missing.  The rims had rotted out, so the previous owners threw them (hubs and all) in the tip!  The saddle had also been replaced with an English one.  Dad was lucky to find a Panther restorer who wanted the wheels and just happened to have some very good Indian wheels to swap.  They are later model 741 Scout wheels.  The front hub was very similar and with some modification, was made to fit.  Rodney gave me an old rusty and mangled rear wheel with a hub that cleaned up very nicely. 
The 741 had drop centre rims which are a vast improvement on the clincher rims which were standard on my model.

This is so embarrassing, but such a funny photo I had to publish it.  I call it Ghost Rider.

Not quite so gutless with the motor fitted.

Our exhaust system was fabricated by Barry at Overlander Equipment in Warrnambool, which is about seven hours drive from here.  He has made a beautiful job of it in gleaming stainless steel. 

Unfortunately the front header needed a few bends to line it up.  It was very close considering he never had access to the bike.  The 101 doesn't have much room for the pipe to come out from the cylinder, wrap very closely around the timing case and tuck neatly inside the brake pedal and the bottom section of the frame.  Barry advised us to have a go with an oxy torch only on the outside of the bend to make minor adjustments.   We had a go using mandrels and packing the tube with sand.  The first couple of bends were not too bad although we did seem to oval the pipe a bit.  On the third bend, disaster struck.  The tube had a radial weld which was not obvious until we tried to bend it, and it split wide open.
The front header was sent back to Barry.  He constructed a new one which consisted of two pieces tack welded in one spot where the radial weld would go.  We were able to fit it up and bend it to the position required.  We marked the position and sent it back to be welded.  It came back looking fantastic and Lining up perfectly, however the push on flared sections are slightly loose.  Using a technical drawing, Barry also made us a rear brake drum.

Within a ten kilometre radius of where I live in Bairnsdale, Victoria, south eastern Australia, there are three other Indians (not counting the ones in sheds that I don't know about).  That's quite a cluster when you consider that there are only around 15 thousand people living in that area.

One, the 344 Chief I mentioned earlier, was originally restored by Dad and is now owned and regularly ridden by our friend Rodney.

One of the other locals is my mate Les, who has just finished restoring his 1928 Indian Scout Police Special (short frame 750cc).  It has been in his posession for many years after inheriting it from his uncle.   Les is a retired engineer who is a very talented and a creative thinker.  He has helped us a great deal since we met.

Having taught himself the nickel plating process, Les was able to do most of the plating on both of our bikes.  His skills with a lathe have also been a tremendous help.  We were able to help him with the spray painting (Dad's old trade coming in handy again) and gave him a rear hub from a 741 Scout which he was able to modify to produce a front brake hub for his bike.  Another local is Glen who has a restored 750cc 101 Indian Scout.

Our own front hub was from a 741 Scout and needed an inch cut out of the centre to fit the 101 forks.  This was performed by a local engineer sleeved and re-welded it.  Unfortunately the two halves were put back together slightly out of rotation, so that when I tried to lace the wheel, the spokes going one direction were too long and the others didn't reach the holes.  We fixed this by removing the brake drum and drilling new holes to rivet it back on, but I laced it before drilling so that the drum would find its correct position.  We had to pull it apart to drill and rivet the drum onto the hub but after re-lacing and tightening it up, we discovered what should have been obvious.  Narrowing the hub meant that the nipple holes wouldn't line up and some of the nipples cracked.  Dad made a tool to re-align the holes with a little help from the oxy torch.  Finally that wheel went together and I'm in no hurry to lace it again.

This photo which I call "The Three Stooges" was taken at the first starting of the engine.  As you can see, it wasn't going anywhere.  That's me in the middle with Dad leaning on the front guard and Les in the Indian overalls.  After much kicking and a lot of laughter, the engine fired and ran quite roughly for about 30 seconds.  This brought huge cheers from the crowd but I wasn't able to restart it again that day. In fact, I could hardly walk. It was the following weekend that we discovered we had the spark plug cables mixed up.  The front cable on the magneto goes to the rear cylinder and not the front.  Seems logical I guess??  I'm amazed that the engine actually ran!  Do we really deserve to be let loose on such a valuable project?

I was waiting for an order to arrive from the Czech Republic which contained many of the parts to complete my bike, and was told by Australia Post that the parcel could take three months.  Well it finally arrived almost three months to the day.  The quality is excellent and the prices made the wait worthwhile.  Normally their delivery is much quicker, but this one was sent surface mail because it included a bulky luggage rack.  Check out his website - www.reno.indianmoto.cz  it's well worth a look.  It is all in Czech and there are no prices, but every item has a picture.  The guys' names are Petr and Josef Koupil. 

The front wheel finally went in and the rear wheel and brake setup was fitted.    A reproduction corbin speedo road gear and fibre pinion gear arrived from Overlander.  I don't think it was Barry's work because the quality was way below his usual level. The lugs that hold the two piece road gear together were roughly made which meant that the tooth spacing was wrong at one of the joins.  Dad made two stainless steel replacements so that it is now perfect.  The aluminium centre of the fibre gear wasn't in straight and the hole was too small.  I thought that we might be able to rectify both problems by drilling it out straight, but the drill caught and tore the centre right out. My mate Les came to the rescue and turned up a new centre which he fitted into what was left of the fibre gear. We hooked up the new chain so it could be ridden for the first time in over thirty years.   (DW 02/07/06)

Well the day had finally come.  On Saturday, July 22 2006, I had my first ride around my parents' backyard.  I may look like I'm gritting my teeth, but on the inside I'm grinning ear to ear.  What a hoot!

I didn't even get out of first gear (hardly The World's Fastest Indian), and getting used to the left hand throttle, left foot clutch and right hand gear change took some concentration.  At least the brakes are where I can find them when I need to stop.

A little bit of fine tuning to do now.  We think we have the oil pump adjusted about right, but have a couple of oil leaks where the line leaves the tank and behind the adjusting screw.  Threre's also a fuel leak at the bottom end of the tube through which the decompression rod fits.  This is a real design flaw.  The less seams in a fuel tank the better.  Any wonder the next model did away with the rod through the tank and just had a little lever on the cam case. We will now repair the leaks and fit the speedo, then I just have to get out in the open somewhere so that I can give her a good run.

A jiffy stand was ordered from the Czech Republic, but because the nearest to what I needed was made to fit an Indian 4our, it wasn't quite right.  The round plate on the bottom was on the wrong angle when it was down.  Easy; we just ground it off level and welded on a new plate.  It is amazing how much of a difference it makes having a jiffy stand.  No more trying to balance my precious bike while working my way down to the back to pull it up on the rear stand.  Now, if I want it on the rear stand, I get it on the jiffy stand first.  It is also much easier when you come to a gate that needs to be opened and closed again.  (DW 18/02/07)

Pretty much complete now.  Just the speedo stuff to bolt on.  Do you like my driving light?  Ever since I saw them on bikes in the Gypsy Tour photo, I have been keeping an eye out for one.  Some of the bikes had two, but a couple had only one.  When I saw this one at the Ballarat swap last year, I grabbed it up.  The plating and glass were in excellent condition.  It just needed a bakelite connector and a bit of black paint on the clamp and it bolted straight on. 

I had been planning to put her on full registration for the first year, but the realisation that I would have to pay $8 stamp duty for every $200 of current value has put me right off.  The bike originally cost Dad and Grandpa $75.  Since then we have invested a huge amount of our own labour and dollars on goods and materials including GST.  Why should I pay well over $1,000 for stamp duty on our own effort and contribution.  I believe that the removal of stamp duty was one of the promises made as compensation for the introduction of the GST, however the State Government seems in no hurry to remove it.  I have decided to go for cheaper club  permit which doesn't include stamp duty, and hopefully the mooted "Club Permit Log Book" will be established soon so I can make use of what is expected to be a very flexible option for vintage vehicle enthusiasts. 

Yesterday we had her running again and can see no reason for a roadworthy to be refused.   She has developed a new oil leak at the shaft of the generator drive pulley.  I have the belt as loose as possible and recently had a new bush made up.  I just realised that I have started calling the Scout "Her" and "She".  Am I losing it?  I have booked the roadworthy for tomorrow.  We haven't fitted turning indicators, but because it was manufactured without them, they are not a requirement.

I have been saying that the restoration is finished but I think that with these old things, you never do finish.  It is a constant job to maintain them and I guess that is part of the fun of owning one. 

(DW 02/04/07)

The bike now has a club permit. I took it out on the road for the first time with Dad following in a car loaded with tools.  It was running quite roughly because the mixture was a bit rich and I was too busy getting used to riding with the unfamiliar configuration of the controls, to be fiddling with the carby at the same time.  Very little power, lots of backfiring, and generally making a spectacle of myself.  I could also hear a fairly loud scraping noise while the bike was moving; even while coasting in neutral.  Our first stop was about five kilometres down the road just to make sure nothing was coming loose.  There was oil all over the gearbox, battery box and rear tyre.  Time to turn around and take her home.

During the following week while I was at work, Dad replaced the generator drive bush which was faulty, and using an original Indian factory "service shot" (regular updates supplied to agents), he blocked the hole in the casting which feeds oil to the shaft through a hole in the top of the bush, and drilled a new hole from the bottom which drains oil away via two radial grooves he made just inside the outer end of the bush.  That leak is now history.  I am grateful to Beddo, a Sydney based Indian enthusiast, for supplying a copy of these instructions.  I hope to meet him on the 2008 Gypsy Tour.  We also loosened the chain which I suspected to be the cause of the scraping noise.  I did a few runs up and down the street confirming that the noise had gone, and with some fine tuning on the carby adjustments, had her running very nicely. 

I just took her for a 25 km ride.  Just a little tweaking to do, and also I need to become familiar with the advance and retard on the right hand grip.  The bike is quite stable (I can take both hands off and it just cruises on in a straight line), although the long English style handlebars make cornering a little awkward and tend to tangle up with the gear lever in first gear, and my body parts in that region.  I will have to keep an eye out for an American style set.  I now have to get out and do a heap of miles to run this motor in before the Gypsy Tour next year. 

(DW 22/04/07)

The bike developed a painful reluctance to fire until I had kicked it over fifty or sixty times.  Spark from the magneto was weak.  Dad has learned quite a lot about these mysterious contraptions and after pulling it apart, discovered that the original condenser which had tested OK, was now getting past its use by date.  Probably about 60 years past it.  A 50 cent capacitor was fitted as a replacement and the spark is now impressive. 

While the exhaust pipes and timing cover were off (necessary when removing the maggie), we decided to make another modification based on another factory "service shot" from 1929 (also provided by Beddo).  This described how to go about relocating the crank case breather tube from lower left side, to high on the timing cover on the right of the motor.  This is the standard location on later models.  A fairly simple operation, it involved making an aluminium disc to block off the original hole, removing the internal flapper valve between the crank and timing cases, and drilling and facing the new position directly in line with the centre of the magneto drive cog.  A longer tube was required to run down under the motor.  This whole exercise is designed to prevent the unsightly splat of oil on the driveway which would blow out of the lower tube.

Still not starting easily, but reading emails from others with similar problems, we thought we might have a leaky intake manifold.  We put new brass cones in when we put it back on, but didn't anneal them.  After cleaning off some daggy bits of plating and refitting the annealed cones with a bit of teflon paste, the manifold pressure tests without blowing bubbles on the joins.  At the same time we noticed that we had a new leak in the bottom of the fuel tank.  Again with advice from fellow enthusiasts around the world, I have ordered some 3M 766 Slosh Sealer which is used by the aviation industry to seal tanks.  The general feeling is that aircraft regulations are very stringent, and if it can resist aircraft fuels, it should cope with the unleaded petrol and Flashlube I put in the Scout.

The 3M sealer arrived and did the job well.  Now it's back on the road to rack up some more kilometres. 

(DW 27/06/07)

Finally I had her running nicely doing a half hour test run when about five km from home, riding up a steep hill, she coughed and spluttered to a halt.  It turned out that the points fell off the peg and were sitting in the bottom of the magneto case.  There is supposed to be a little insulated spring which reaches over from a nearby post and hold the points on.  We obviously forgot to fit that spring and it took 300 miles for the points to work their way off the peg.  Each time I am stuck on the side of the road, I am never without offers of help from passers by.  People want to know all about the bike and many photos are taken.

A week later, I was asked by my employer to lead the Barry Sheene Tribute Ride out of Bairnsdale, so I took the bike for another test run and on exactly the same hill, an exhaust tappet bolt broke.  We also had to fit a pole to the bike to fly the Shire flag.  Dad had a busy few days getting it repaired and ready.  I have devoted a separate page to the Barry Sheene Tribute Ride.

Gradually we are reducing the oil leaks.  I decided to order a gearbox seal that I had seen Keith Klippel selling at the Bendigo and Ballarat swap meets each year.  The seal fits behind the chain sprocket and worked a treat.  While I had the chain guard off I also fitted a new sprocket.  When we were putting the bike together I had five different sprockets ranging from 20 tooth to 16 tooth.  The 16 tooth sprocket was hardly worn, and the rest were useless, so I used the good one.  It soon became obvious why that one had hardly any use.  Indian only made them from 17 to 21, so this was very low geared for a sidecar or for farm use.  I ordered a 20 tooth sprocket from Murray Morell in Western Australia.  My cruising speed and economy have increased dramatically.

Last weekend I rode the Indian out to see my mate Les who has been unwell.  He dragged his bike out of the shed and we parked them side by side for the first time.  Actually the only other time they had been side by side was when their frames were hanging together being spray painted in Dad's backyard, which seems a long time ago.  It was interesting seeing the difference between the two models which were built only months apart.  

His son-in-law Philip was visiting at the time.  His is a professional photographer Photosmith, so out came the camera.  I love this top photo with Les and I in the background looking at his bike.  The way Philip set this one up with the sun shining from behind the bikes really shows off the true colour.    We chose a nice deep red because it was as close to the original colour found under the toolbox lock of Les's 27 Scout.  It has a nice antique look about it but for some reason it normally photographs much brighter than it actually is.

Philip is also a classic motorcycle enthusiast and suggested he take his 1950s AJS out with me for a test ride.  We went about forty miles on some lovely winding back roads and it was very enjoyable.  In fact, apart from the Barry Sheene Tribute Ride when I rode with over 850 bikes (more of a procession really), this is the first time I have gone out for a ride on my Scout with another motorcyclist. 

I just received some repop handlebars from the Czech Republic.  They are the correct American style for my model and will make riding much safer.  I'm off to the Bendigo Swap this weekend, so the fitting of the new bars will have to wait.   (DW 13/11/07)

The new handlebars are on and the old ones were sold at the Bendigo Swap.  The difference in riding is amazing.  I can now control the bike properly.  The left grip doesn't get caught on my knee when I am operating the clutch on a tight left hand turn, and I can now properly counter steer to avoid unexpected potholes.  She handles much more like a normal bike and riding pleasure has increased substantially.  (DW 16/12/07)

After repeated head gasket blowouts, we had the heads planed and Dad cut some gaskets out of sheet aluminium.  This seems to have fixed the problem, but a test ride showed that I had another problem.  Loss of power and rough running which we discovered was caused by one of the collets excaping from its little groove in the valve stem.  These were new valves which arrived too long.  I had ordered them for the 600cc but received the 750cc length.  Foolishly, impatience resulted in us getting them shortened and a new groove put in.  The engineer somehow didn't manage to put square shoulders into the grooves and there is not much meat between the groove and the end of the valve stem.  The best solution is to order the correct valves.

The Gypsy Tour is only weeks away and my bike won't run until the valves arrive.  What to do in the meantime?  Well there are plenty of jobs needing to be done on the house!  We might also have a go at making a banner like the one in the original photo, although that might be a bigger job than it sounds.  (DW 10/03/08)

The valves arrived and after they were fitted we stripped out our second thread in the top of the cylinder.  Back to the machine shop to have another helicoil fitted.  After reassembly, she would start but run very roughly.  It wouldn't idle and ran mostly on the front cylinder with the rear one firing every now and then until it reached high revs and then the rear one cut in properly.  We needed to get it idling properly to get the needles set right. 
Both plugs were sparking and I swapped them over for good measure.  We also put another cable to the rear.  We have tested the condenser, points and coil in the maggie.  The brushes seemed to be OK.  I did hear from a friend Eddie here in OZ, that a problem he had was too much carbon in the brushes.  I didn't think that was the case for me because they were the same brushes back when it was running like a dream.   The carby has been pulled apart and reassembled about five times in one day.  We tested the inlet manifold for leaks.  The head gaskets were sealing perfectly and all the gaps were right.  A couple of frustrating days were spent in the shed at 38 degrees celsius (over 100 degrees Farenheit). 

After posting a question on the Virtual Indian List, I received heaps of advice.  I tried quite a few without success however many were improvements anyway.  My mate Beddo even offered to send me his spare M741 carby on loan for the rally.  They apparently just bolt straight on.  I accepted his offer and will hand it and the postage amount back to him as well as some ale when we meet up at the Sydney end.  Sadly he is unable to participate in the rally. 

Results came finally after a phone call to Murray Morell in Western Australia.  He instantly recognised my symptoms.  "Electricity flows a bit like water", he said.  Sparks might look fine in the open air but in the cyclinders the higher compression gained from head planing and new valves was reducing their intensity.  He suggested removing the magneto and re-magnetising it as well as reducing the spark plug gaps to 15 thou.  This is not a small job, but off it came and in came an old mate with his re-magnetiser.  We had done this before but didn't know about sliding the magnet off the machine onto a keeper and then sliding it onto the magneto.  We had used a keeper but just lifted the magnet off and tested the magnetism by feeling how hard it was to pull the keeper off.  This apparently weakens the field substantially each time you do it. 

Our old mate's re-magnetiser is a different one to what we used previously.  His runs off 12 volts and has steel blocks so that you don't even have to remove the magnet from its base.  You only have to remove the brass cover and sit the whole magneto on the magnetiser, making sure you have the North and South poles the right way around.  Then you slide the blocks up against either side.  One or two jabs on the little button and the difference is unbelievable.  Removing the blocks required much more effort, and when turning the shaft, you can feel much greater resistance.  All back together now and she is running perfectly.

I went for another ride with Philip yesterday and while riding over a crest found that I couldn't back the throttle off, so I rode home operating the butterfly by hand.  Indian restorers will probably already have guessed that the small screw holding the end of the cable in place in the shuttle which runs up and down the twist grip worm, had fallen out.  It was floating loose in the end of the rubber grip.  We found another screw with better thread and stuck it in with LoctiteLoctite is such a great product I'm thinking of soaking the whole bike in it overnight to stop bits falling off.

I have three clear days until heading to Healesville for the start of the Gypsy Tour and it is finally looking like the bike will be a starter.  I'm not saying any more than that for the moment. 

(DW 24/03/08)

The Gypsy Tour re-enactment was a bit of a disaster for me.  See my Gypsy Tour 2008 page for that story and details of what turned out to be a fantastic event.

This picture shows what stops an Indian Scout more effectively than using the brakes, although braking is normally something you do by choice.  What happened?...  Well Jim Parker predicted what I would find.  He said that the old flywheels are "like jam".  It is critical to get them tightened onto the tapered crank pin correctly.  Too tight and they will crack, not tight enough and they will work their way apart.  There is a very small safety margin in between.  It appears that we didn't get them tight enough.

As the flywheels loosened, the crank pin began to chew and the con rods buckled.  The webs in the top of the crank case were smashed out by the pistons, one of which had a chunk taken out of its skirt.  The front cylinder was cracked half way round between the second and third fin from the top; probably from the force of the piston and remains of a con rod trying to launch themselves out through the head.  All this happened so quickly that the motor went from purring along beautifully to dead silence in a split second without any warning. 

Luckily we tracked down a spare motor back in January just two months before this happened although I wonder how I am ever going to enjoy riding the old girl while constantly wondering when that will happen again.  I'm sure that I will soon forget as I get caught up in the buzz of cruising down the road on one of the world's greatest motorcycles. 

It is interesting how history is repeated.  If you look at the photo half way down my Racing Indians page, you will see a similar pair of con rods which my grandfather "modified".  The cause of his catastrophe was obviously slightly more self inflicted.

The damage to the bike doesn't appear to be all that great at first glance, but once Jim started going over it, it became obvious just how expensive it is to repair these old things.  Luckily it was insured by Shannons and my bike will be able to be restored to its former glory.

DW 17/06/2008

Well it is three months to the day since my accident and my insurance payout has finally been approved.  Shannons is very good to deal with but their contracted assessor was quite difficult.  I admit that it took about five weeks before I was well enough to get the bike to Melbourne for Jim Parker to inspect it and Jim was so busy it took him another three weeks to put in a quote, but in all that time the assessor was unable to look at the bike.  He was reluctant to make the three hour trip to Bairnsdale but eventually did.  I told him I wanted to have a cash settlement so we could do the job ourselves.

Each of is phone calls to me complaining about the size of Jim's quote went on for over half an hour. 
Unlike a modern bike where damaged parts are thrown away and replaced with new bits, this is not always possible on an Indian.  The assessor should well know that parts for these old girls don't come cheap and that there is a lot of labour involved.   Jim is running a business.  It is costly to do the job properly.  His reputation relies on quality work being done and he has overheads to cover. 

After trying to wear me down, he finally spat the dummy and told me that there would be no cash settlement and that Jim would be doing the restoration and bid me farewell.  If this was to be the outcome, at least I knew the job would be done well, but I did contact Shannnons directly and they agreed to settle without any argument.  I will definitely be continuing to use them for Insurance.  Engine failure is not usually covered by insurance but because we will be doing our own labour, we'll have some money left over to spend on restoring the spare engine I fortuitously purchased back in January.

I have already ordered replacement forks, brake plate and clutch pedal from the Czech Republic and a replacement muffler from Overlander Equipment.  Barry is also going to replace my push on pipes for screw on because the cylinders on the spare engine have excellent threads. 

Jim suggests that to avoid another catastrophe, I should do away with the old "see through" flywheels and either get hold of two timing side flywheels off a 741 Scout which will fit straight in, or change the flywheel assembly over to a WLA Harley bottom end which also strokes the engine.  I will have to do some homework.  I certainly agree that I will never feel completely relaxed about riding down the highway on the same bike with another set of 80+ year old flywheels.
DW 29/06/2008

The pipes have arrived from Barry and I have just received word that my forks, clutch pedal and brake plate left the Czech Republic two days ago.  I am also waiting to hear back from someone about fitting new flywheels.  I am pretty excited about the possibilities but will wait until I have more information before I type it here.
DW 06/09/2008

I'ts been six months since I have added anything to this page, but with a little help, I have created a whole new page for this website.  See Early Newspaper Articles.

My bike is all straightened out now, new forks fitted, repainted and the leaky fuel tank repaired.  It is sitting in the shed waiting for James Lambert of Breed Flathead Motors to finish my motor.  I met James in Batemans Bay where he met up with the Gypsy Tour group during a two night stay.  He had some pretty impressive flywheels on display as well as his souped up Chief.  It has been adapted to run a supercharger although James had temporarily removed it. 

We took our spare motor and parts of the original one to him and he showed us the solid flywheels (fitted with oil slinger), HD con rods, heavier crank pin, roller bearings etc. which he would fit.
He also explained how he would replace any loose bushes in the timing case and fit oversize push rods if I could supply them.  There was a score in one cylinders which James would fill.  The whole job was estimated to cost around the $2,500 mark.  It is a lot of money but worth spending because it will be more reliable and longer lasting.
DW 03/02/2009

OK, I have collected the motor from James and it is now bolted into the frame.  It did end up costing much more, and it was a very unsettling ride, as James would phone and tell me that the total cost had gone up.  This happened more than once and I eventually had to ask him to stop work, but I can see that the value is there.  He is a perfectionist.  He is almost obsessive, so there is never any doubt that you are getting the best there is.  Do I have any regrets? Only that I didn't have a better idea of what I would be up for.  I probably would still have gone ahead with it.  I may even have allowed him to continue if I was confident he wouldn't keep going beyond what I could afford.

A huge amount of work was done to get this motor in a better than new condition.  Luckily we had excess brass bearing cages so James picked through them for the best.  He pointed out a small dent in the flat brass face of one cage and said that oil would be trapped in there and cause a hot spot.  All of the bushes were replaced.  The old scored cylinder was repaired with silver solder but the nickel plating was ruined in the process, so it had to go back to the electroplaters before the final hone.  A difficult aluminium welding and machining repair was skillfully carried out on the top of the timing case where the magneto fits.  The old magneto had badly worn bearings and the hole in the case had been flogged into an oval shape. 

The HD con rods are longer than original Scout ones, so the motor has been stroked.  My old 600cc motor now a 729cc capacity.  It now has more bearing surface than a Chief.  I'm not planning to race this thing.  In fact I probably won't change my cruising speed.  80kph is quite enjoyable pace the old girl and I have said it before...  It still has 80 year old brakes.  There should be more grunt, which will help me maintain the speed on steep hills, and if I put a sidecar on at a later stage, it will handle that load a bit easier.

When we tried to fit the new exhaust, we ended up with the same problem as the first time around with my front header almost, but not quite, fitting.  The brake pedal return spring and timing cover just don't leave a lot of room.  This time I made three radial cuts at different locations along the tube and almost all the way through it.  This allowed us to bend the pipe to its correct position and a local welder filled the gaps with some fresh stainless steel.  After a polish, you can't see the joins and we have a perfect fit.  The old nuts cleaned up really well and will need to be plated.

James suggested that a clearance of 50 thou between the piston and the lowest point in the head would be ideal to get a good "squish".  He said that with modern fuels, that is a more optimum clearance to keep the running temperature down.  We put plasticine on one piston, bolted the head on without a gasket and turned her over.  Our "squish" is 180 thou.  I'm happy to live with that.  It is the way they were made. 

Now we are going to make new studs out of 3/4" grade 8 UNF bolts.  The studs and nuts will need to be ordered in, because nobody sells them here.

We are also going to make new head gaskets out of copper.  We looked into this last year when we had blown a gasket on the front cyclinder several times, but couldn't get the copper sheet locally.  We used aluminium sheet instead and although harder, it sealed well after we had the heads shaved.  James suggested that copper is still the better option and if we can get it as low as 45 thou thick, it would be ideal.  The copper is unavailable here in Bairnsdale, so I hit the net and found a company in Melbourne selling copper sheet for lithographic printing plates.  It is 1.2 mm thick which is about 49 thou.  Perfect!  I have placed an order and when it arrives, we will cut the gasket shapes and then, as advised by James, anneal them over an LPG flame for more even heat.  Annealing the copper makes it softer and we will spray on a couple of light coats of Coppercote which is a copper based paint specifically for that purpose.  We couldn't use it on the aluminium because it reacts with it.   I am just waiting now for those deliveries so that I can get her together for a long overdue ride.
DW 26/04/2009

She breathes fire again!
Yay! Dad had cut a great set of gaskets out of the copper sheet and today we cranked the heads down, fitted the tank, oil and fuel lines and the exhaust.  I then kicked her over and there was only one chug followed by much fruitless kicking.  The plugs turned out to be a bit dirty with one of them having a small whisker of metal shorting it out.  After cleaning them and trying again, she started easily.  There is some tuning of the carby to do and we seem to have some pressure in the timing case which is blowing a lot of oil out of the breather, which will need investigating. 

While she was idling, a nut and washer fell on the floor.  It was from one of the two seat spring mountings.  It hadn't been off during the whole re-restoration, so it's strange that it came off now, but lucky I wasn't riding it at the time.  A bit of deja vous actually, because we found a lot of loose bits after the first restoration. 
I haven't ridden her yet.  Tomorrow we need to just check over everything, make sure we have split pins in where they need to be, then I will take her out for a spin.
DW 09/05/2009.

Yes, we did find some loose bits including the jiffy stand.  I went for a ride around the town.  The bike is handling beautifully, and the new muffler sounds great.  I did find the clutch was slipping with all that awesome power.  Dad put the clutch back together and left one raybestos disk out because he couldn't get it to fit in.  Now with the two of us, we can fight against the springs and get the nuts started.  He had used all sixteen springs but the Nicholson book says only twelve are needed unless a sidecar is fitted, and even then, the twelve may be enough.  We will take that advice and I expect the problem will be solved.  I'll take her for a much longer ride next weekend.

The helical gear primary drive setup is said to be virtually indestructible.  You can't wear out an Indian Scout.  You can see how low the engine number is on this one.  Must be one of the earliest 600cc 101s.  Also, just visible behind the frame tube, is a small brass tap I have temporarily connected to the oil level plug hole.  It has a little threaded cap in case vibration turns the tap on.  I need to be checking this level very regularly while we run it in and get the oil pump set right.  Later, I will refit the proper plug, but will still need to check this level fairly often even though the slotted plug is a bugger to get at with a normal screw driver.
DW 10/05/2009.

James keeps calling me.  He is keen to hear how the bike is running.  The weather on the weekend was so foul that after only 15 miles of riding, I called it quits.  The bike was running very well though.  Even the pressure in the timing case seems to be easing off.  I'm sweating on better weather next weekend.  I need to put a lot of miles on.  James says that after about fifty miles, I should switch from the 30 weight oil needed for running in, to 50 weight which the bike is designed to run on.

Last weekend brought the most pleasant weather I could have hoped for.  I took her out for a 109 mile ride just cruising around the back roads around Bairnsdale.  There is some beautiful scenery around here with rivers, lakes and lots of hills and winding roads running through hobby farms and bushland.  I called in at Dad's about half way through and we drained the light oil and topped her up with the 50 weight.  The timing case pressure seems to have reduced.  I really had the most fantastic day.  The only downside was that I on my own and was missing out on the Flowerdale Recovery Ride, which the Indian Club organised to raise funds for that bushfire affected township.  I'm just not ready to trust taking her on something like that until I'm satisfied that she is properly run in. 

The only negative thing I have noticed is that if I take my hands off the grips, she pulls slightly to the left.  It is not noticeable while I am holding on though.  We may need to have another look at the alignment of that front wheel.  It is hard to reposition the wheel using spacers without losing the free movement in the brake plunger.  The only option may be to alter the rim offset in the wheel lacing (again!).
DW 29/05/2009.

The Indian Motocycle Club of Australia is running their 2009 Australian International Rally in Tumut which is west of Canberra and about 150km by road.  It is about 520km from my home town in Bairnsdale.  The rally runs from Friday, 30th of October through to Monday, 2nd of November with rides on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and caters for early and later Indians.  Tim Pickering, who I met on the Gypsy Tour last year and later enjoyed his hospitality in Noumea last Christmas, has booked a room and offered to share accommodation costs if I am interested in attending.  If I can get time off from work, I will definitely be doing so.  It is good timing because the following Tuesday is Melbourne Cup Day which is a public holiday in Victoria and gives me time to get home at a leisurely pace with the bike on a trailer.

I have done well over 500 miles on the new rebuild now.  A problem we had with the old setup was excessive oil splattering out of the breather.  If you scroll up, you will read how we fixed this by moving the breather to its current position near the top of the timing cover.  Initially, this stopped the problem, but things are different now.  One theory is that it is because the new flywheels are solid and take up much more space in the crankcase.  Add to this the extra stroke, and it's obvious that when those pistons come down almost together, there is nowhere near as much room for the air beneath to compress.  I have had several experts dispute this theory though. 

We have more efficient lubrication with the slinger, and oil misting and returning to the timing case through extra breathing holes where it is carried upwards by the timing gears.  The expectation is that these parts will last much longer. Plenty of oil getting into the pushrods, tappets and valve guides too.  You will see in the photo above, that breather holes are positioned directly behind the pushrods. The higher pressure in the cases is pushing this oil out of the breather at a fairly high rate.  In fact, the breather isn't releasing all the pressure.  The pressure is pushing oil out through the magneto drive bush at the back of the timing case.  It may not be much oil, but it is going everywhere. 

On advice from James, Dad made a catch can to collect the breather oil.  It is bolted horizontally under the gearbox with one tube high up on the right side of the cylinder pointing forward and connected to the breather by a 25cm rubber oil/fuel line.  Another tube near the other end of the cylinder comes out high up and points backwards and down to the ground but doesn't go below the level of the bottom of the cylinder.  At the bottom left hand end and pointing slightly rearward (so that it doesn't hang too low) he fitted a radiator type drain tap.  When the bike is on the side stand, this is at the lowest point, and I can drain the oil out quite quickly. 

We pulled the maggie off and refitted it with a plasticine ring to work out what thickness of seal we need to purchase.  It measured between 6.09 and 6.15mm.
DW 16/09/2009

A couple of weeks ago we fitted the modified oil seal ("O" ring jammed inside a pared down lip seal) which my friend Rodney Rawlings made for me.  Rodney also made a hollow nylon peg to hold the seal central to the hole while the maggie is bolted up.  This was a good idea in theory, but the maggie shaft isn't necesssarily all that central to the hole.  The meshing of the magneto drive gear is tweaked using shims under its mountings.  What I had to do was line the seal up by eye and then push the actual gear through it.  I then loosened the maggie so the seal could find its relaxed position on the protruding part of the gear, and then retightened it.  The last turn of the maggie bolts pulls it in towards the cam case.  I took it out for a test and sadly, although the amount of oil was slightly reduced, I was still putting out more oil than the Saudis.

We pulled it apart again (i'm getting pretty good at it and could probably do it blindfolded), and discovered that there was a small ridge/crack like imperfection on the back of the cam case where the new "O" ring sits.  While I was at work last week, Dad polished it smooth.  Filled that blind crack with superglue and polished it again before reassembling everything.  I took it for a ride again yesterday and there was a substantial improvement.  Just a small smear of oil coming out of there now.  It is never going to be perfect while I have this extra pressure in there, but if it stays at this level, it is managable.  Tim Pickering has been talking to different people about my dilemma and one suggests an extra breather.  Something to consider and discuss with other owners when I go to the rally in Tumut at the end of the month.
DW 11/10/200

I survived the Tumut rally with no injuries although I was mostly at risk of sunburn.  The weekend was a real scorcher.  Well I guess that is relative to what we have had recently. On the seven hour drive up there my windscreen was taken out by two semi trailers that were coming towards me on a two lane overtaking section that had just ended.  They were still side by side and I had to make for the gravel, copping a big rock from the truck in the gravel on the other side.  Not much fun with a trailer and Indian in tow!

I did have some mechanical issues with the bike.  On the first morning when I pulled up on a mountain top somewhere for morning tea, I must have used my super strength on the hand brake and pulled the cable out of the cylindrical nipple in the hand brake lever.  At least I still had a back brake, but there was going to be some downhill riding ahead and the back brake is really just a token.  This YouTube video taken at that stop, shows me around the middle somewhere, ratting through my saddle bag.

What followed was the longest winding downhill section I have ridden.  I wasn't the only one experiencing a smoking rear brake, and I did take a few corners at quite interesting speeds.  The back brake really wasn't doing much at all by the end.  I had been using engine braking most of the way which appears to have hastened another issue.  I lost the ability to engage any gears.  The most popular diagnosis was that the lock washer had let go on the nut at the back of the clutch basket.  Staying in a motel without a workshop, I had no intention of pulling off the top of the gearbox or primary case cover.

That days ride was supposed to be 180 km, but there had been some sort of miscalculation and in reality it would have been closer to 280, so it was decided to shorten the ride and take a more direct route back to Tumut.  As it was, we had two bikes in the backup van, three on the trailer and a ute had to be sent back for another.

My friend Les blew a front tube at the bottom of that long hill but managed to keep it upright.  It was he who blew a rear tyre on the Gypsy Tour.  Les and son in law - Philip Smith, fitted a spare tube in Tumut that night, but Les had a second blowout on the front fairly early the next morning.  He still managed to keep control, but this time the tyre was destroyed.  He has vowed to never ride on clincher rims again and is looking for a set of drop centre rims.  He is in his seventies and impresses me with his enthusiasm and riding skill which he demonstrated that weekend.

I had a great time and even won a year's subscription to "Old Bike" magazine in the raffle at dinner on the last night.  An eleven hour drive home the next day was due to the fact that I travelled via. Shepparton to pick up a 1926 Prince motor.  It was used to drive a generator on a farm and has a flywheel which at some stage had fan blades attached to help cool the motor and a wide wooden pulley for a flat belt.  It has what looks like a 1925 Prince carby but the maggie is a non original Lucas magneto.  I will have a play with it and learn more about Princes.
DW 3/11/2009

While I was at work, Dad tried to nut out what had happened to the clutch.  Strangely, he was able to select all gears and turn the back wheel on the stand as though nothing was wrong. He drained the oil, took the top off the gearbox and removed the primary cover.  There were no nasty bits of metal in the oil.  Everything looked fine.  The next weekend he began questioning me as though I might be mad, but there were others on the weekend who also were unable to engage the gears on my bike.

We decided that although everything looked fine, we should pull the clutch plates out and check all the springs and plates.  Clutching at straws really (excuse the pun).  Everything was fine in that area.  I was also able to rule out the theory that the nut on the back of the clutch basket might have come loose.  It hadn't, and the lock washer still had its tab bent over the nut.  I even bent another tab over for good measure.

Finally, we removed the chain guard.  It's a bitch of a job on a 101.  Later models had a two piece guard.  I noticed that the narrow nut holding the sprocket on, was loose.  The nut can't come off because the kicker ratchet thingies keep it in place.  What had apparently happened was that the final gear, which the nut is threaded onto, had wound itself out of the nut and floated back along the shaft inside the box.  Any wonder I had nothing!  What really threw us was that possibly while bouncing around on the trailer on the way home, that gear had slid back across to engange with the threads on the nut.  Dad kicking it over must have threaded it on a couple of turns.  Just guessing here.

Anyway, the nut had at least one turn of the thread worn away.  Luckily, I have a couple of spares and have fitted another with locktite.  There doesn't appear to be any way to fit a lock washer there, which seems really odd.  And there is no mention of anything in the parts book.

The clutch and gearbox are now back together and the hand brake cable end has been soldered back on with a tiny tack in the end spreading the wires.  Also, we had to replace some small nuts that hold the seat pan to the seat frame.  Three of them had fallen off!  More locktite.  The good news is that there was nothing major or expensive to be done.
 DW 28/11/2009

Two recent events have given me the opportunity to take the Scout out in our local area.  This year's Harold Parsons Memorial Ride was from Maffra to Dargo.  It was very well organised by the Maffra/Sale Motorcycle Club and my bike gave me an exellent run.  It was the most uneventful rally I have ever been on.  By this I mean that the bike got me there and back without any major dramas, and the weather was perfect.  There was also the re-enactment of the first vehicle to cross Buchan River 100 years ago.  This was also an excellent day and the bike did brilliantly.  It was only on the way home as I reached the top of the longest steep hill in the district that I nipped it up again.  I had the oil set just right for normal riding, but climbing this hill was just a bit too much.  I don't know why I didn't pump a little extra in with the hand pump.  I guess it was going so well that was zoned out and didn't think of it. 

We put in a new set of rings and on reassembling and reconnecting everything, I noticed that we couldn't get full travel on the throttle from the twist grip.  Closer inspection revealed that the little clamp on the outer cable where it exits the handlebar, was not gripping it properly, and the cable was moving about a quarter of an inch.  The clamp was tightened up fully, but the cable had been replaced about a year ago and the new one has a slightly smaller diameter, so ever since then it has been loose.   This little discovery is quite significant.  I always had difficulty getting the motor to idle smoothly, but now that the clamp has been altered and can't move, she idles like a dream and the throttle is way more responsive.
DW 20/06/2010 

Well here it is at last.  My VicRoads Club Permit Logbook.

As of next Tuesday, the
club permit scheme (a much cheaper alternative to full registration), changes to incorporate the new logbook.  Mine just arrived in the mail.  With a logbook, I can ride my bike any day I want.  It doesn't have to be a club event.  The limit is that I can only ride it on up to 90 of the days in the twelve month period of the permit.  There is a convenient option to only purchase a 45 day permit, and if you use them up, you can purchase the final 45 days.  As long as I have made a logbook entry for each day prior to riding the Indian, if I am pulled over there is no problem.  Anyone who is pulled over and hasn't made an entry for that day, is deemed to be riding an unregistered vehicle and charged accordingly.

I have been waiting for this.  There are a few trips I have wanted to make, but couldn't because they were not club related trips and I would have risked a hefty fine and rejection of any insurance claim.   

One of my first trips will to be Marlo to meet Pat Purcell, whose father owned my bike which he'd fitted with a sidecar, and used in his rabbiting business.  I have spoken with Pat on the phone and he remembers removing his Dad's sidecar, and riding it around the Orbost district.  He doesn't have any photos though.  I expect there will be a few less cobwebs on the bike from now on
DW 27/01/2011

^ Return to top of page ^

Today, the weather was fantastic.  I had the day off work and decided it was time to make the 140 mile round trip to Marlo to meet Pat Purcell.  It was an absolute highlight.  I phoned before I left and spoke with his wife.  She agreed to keep it a secret from him, but in order to stop him leaving the house, she had to tell him something special would happen at around 11am.  I cruised past their house and realising it was the last on that road, turned around and pulled up at their front gate.  By that time, Pat and his wife were leaning on the gate watching me shut her down.  Pat had a big grin on his face and when his wife said "that's your Dad's old bike", he replied "I guessed it might be".

Pat Purcell sitting on his Dad's old Indian Scout (now my bike), in front of his home in Marlo, Victoria, Australia.

I was invited in for a cuppa and we spoke for more than an hour.  Pat is an interesting character in his late 70s and still milks a hundred cows a day in what he describes as "an old fashioned dairy". He told me how he learned to ride on this bike when he was a young bloke.  He used to lean it up against a fence post, rev it up and let out the clutch.  He remembered that when his Dad bought the bike, it had a sidecar on it, but no back wheel.  As I suspected, the bike really did come out of the old house at Waygara Saw Mill (I mentioned this house earlier as a "treasure trove" where we scored heaps of Indian parts).  Pat remembers that the sidecar was put back on it when it was later sold to Peter Gribenow and George Holding.  I was very excited to hear that Pat has a photo of the bike somewhere in the house, and has made it his mission to track it down for me. 
DW 07/03/2011
My Dad passed away in May 2012 and since that time, my enjoyment of riding the indian has not been the same.  Don't get me wrong.  It is still pretty exhilerating jumping on the bike and taking it out for a spin, but the hobby was shared with Dad now things are different.  Also, if I were to find myself stranded on the side of the road, I no longer have my trusty back up man to pull up with a trailer.  It has taken some time to come to this decision but I have now listed the bike for sale and it sits in the showroom of Parker Indian in Ashwood.  http://www.parkerindian.com.au/DW101.html
Surprisingly, having finally made the decision to sell, a huge weight has lifted off my shoulders. Although I have ridden it a few times over the past year or so, it did sit for two years without being ridden and I felt tremendous guilt that it was being wasted.  There is someone out there who would treasure it like I have and take it out and ride it regularly.
I am still passionate about my family's history with Indian Motocycles and this particular 101 Scout, and will continue to maintain this website and add any newly discovered information as it becomes becomes available.
DW 17/06/2016
OK, my Indian Scout has been sold. It took a while, and I did have some offers during that time, but Jim encouraged by to hang in there and we got the price we  wanted.  I wasn't particulary in a rush.  There is definitely an advantage if you are in a position to wait.  The new owner is in Taiwan and I hope he or she gets as much pleasure from it as we did. I would just like to say that doing business with Jim Parker was an absolute pleasure and I would recommend him to anyone with an early indian, or aspiring to own one.
I'm still enjoying motoring, but now I can take my lovely wife with me as we travel the roads in our new MX5 roadster. This will probably be the last entry on this particular page of my website unless any further history of my bike surfaces, or if the new owner wants me to add a link to their website. 
DW 05/06/2017