Classic Motorcycle Build

DIY Motorcycle Tools

Article by Mark Trotta

Not only is fabricating your own tools fun, it saves you money. Besides, most of the stuff you see in catalogs and on websites are foreign-made and inferior to what you can build yourself. The following are some engine tools that I made as the need arose.

DIY motorcycle tools

Motorcycle Engine Stand

If you'll be working on your motor for a while, a motorcycle engine stand is invaluable. I built this stand for a Harley-Davidson Flathead, but it will also accept Harley Big-Twins 1936 to 1999 (Knucklehead, Panhead, Shovelhead, and aftermarket engines). Sportster engines are different and won't fit.

harley engine tools

Read: DIY Motorcycle Engine Stand

motorcycle engine tools

DIY Sander/Polisher

This bench sander is an old electric motor fitted with an arbor purchased separately. The motor weighs about ten pounds, and when not in use, I store it in a plastic tote under my workbench.

DIY buffing wheel

Read: How To Polish Aluminum Motorcycle Parts

A bench sander has dozens of uses. I use it mostly to remove rust off metal and clean bolt threads. I have also used it with a buffing wheel to polish aluminum.

DIY bench sander and polisher

Flywheel Truing Stand

A length of 4" C-channel stock is the base of this DIY flywheel truing stand. The alignment of the two center bolts on the truing stand is not super-critical. They just provide the two points that the flywheels and shafts ride between.

DIY flywheel truing stand

I mounted dial indicators on both sides of the flywheel assembly. You can probably get by with one dial indicator, but you'd be moving it from side to side to get readings.

Shop: Magnetic Base with Dial Indicator

The adjustable magnetic base allows many options as to where it can be mounted. Clamp firmly to a surface as close as possible to the shaft. Position the indicator so the stem is parallel to the direction of component motion.

Flywheel Centering Jig

The picture below shows a flywheel centering jig, made out of pieces of C-channel stock. Each piece was cut four inches in length with a hole drilled in each. A length of threaded rod goes through them. The wing nut on the end is from a spare tire holder.

flywheel centering tool

Flywheel Holding Jig

On many old bike engines, crank-pin nuts must be accurately torqued to 150 ft-lbs. Classic Harley Big-Twin flywheel nuts are torqued to 175 ft-lbs. The engineers who designed those old flywheels put holes in them for a reason, to allow you to slip them over a jig while tightening the nuts.

flywheel holding jig
motorcycle engine tools

To hold the flywheel while tightening the nuts, I fabricated a simple holding jig that uses the holes in the flywheel. Starting with a cardboard template, I took a piece of steel and cut it to the shape needed. The "V" is needed to clear the crank pin. You can find lengths of 1/2" round stock at hardware stores and home improvement stores.

DIY Bearing Puller

This is a tool I made to remove the inner sprocket shaft bearing on a 1965 Harley Sportster XLCH. Materials needed were a piece of 2" metal tubing, a 7/16" SAE nut and bolt, and two heavy washers.

sprocket-shaft bearing puller
motorcycle work stand

Read: Motorcycle Work Stand