One of the areas where Indians suffer most is the lubrication & case breathing department. There has been a number of neat updates to deal with these problems, and some of the problems are mostly encountered due to lack of information on the intentions of the factory when they designed the systems. This page will deal with the updates, and will be a place to gather available information about the lube & breathing systems.
If you have any information to add, or questions, please write me. Thanks!
On this page:
"Titted cap" -better flow for iron pumps ('38-'47)
"Quick Drain" -drain your oil tank without the mess
Oil Filters -kind of a market survey
Other related pages on
the VI website: (use your browser's "back" button to get back here!)
Duff's Moto Valve Page -auxilliary case breather valve
Ed's Case Breather Filter -neat solution to oil loss through stock breather
Fritz's Oil Pump Page -new '48-up aluminum pumps & other interesting things
Duff's Valve Cover Skirts Page -stop your valve covers drooling
VI Tech Tips; "Oil" section. -Coming soon!
For the iron pumps, one of the major improvements seems to be the use of the "titted cap" over the plunger bore. This was introduced by the factory, but it seems it wasn't used consistently. Tests by Wilson Plank of American Indian Specialists have shown that the "tit" on the cap, which extends down into the oil feed plunger during opertion, is effective in breaking up air bubbles. With the "plain" cap air bubbles in the feed line will permanently lower the oil output, even after the bubble passed the pump. With the "titted" cap, flow goes back to normal levels quickly after the bubble has passed, and temporarily lowered output. The "titted" cap is available from Jerry Greer* (he has both versions), and possibly from other suppliers as well. It should also be quite easy to affix a "tit" to your plain cap (just make sure it don't come loose!). The diameter of the "tit" is 1/4" and it extends 1/2" from the bottom of the cap. (Thanks to Jim for the picture! Even if it's a little blurred, you can easily make out the tit). *Jerry Greer's new order line is: 1-800-307-9027, and he can be reaced for tech queries at: 1-714-826-9983.
Fitting a "Quick Drain" from Kiwi Indian might be one of the best things you can do for your Indian! Not because it, in itself, does much to improve your engine life, but because it eliminates the usual mess you get when changing your oil. With this baby it becomes so easy that you have no excuse for not changing the oil on your Indian real often -and that is one of the best things you can do for your Indian no matter which oil you use.
The 2 pictures here (thanks to Stan!) show the Quick Drain in its open (draining; top photo) position, with the drain tube attached, and in the closed (bottom photo) position, with the "key" and drain tube detached.
The Quick Drain screws in, replacing your
drain plug, and seals by a sping pulling the o-ringed "stem" shut against
the top of the body, inside the tank. For draining you insert, and twist
to lock, the supplied key (with the drain tube attached), and the key pushed
the plunger open, letting the oil drain though the tube.
Oil filters are a matter of some discussion. Some don't use them (mostly with the argument that if the factory had intented Indians to have filters, they would have fitted them), while others get bad dreams from thinking about the unfiltered oil in their engines. I don't have the answer, but as far as I can see, a well thought-out oil filtering system can't hurt. There are a couple of cemmercially available filters on the market, and a lot of folks have adapted HD (sorry!) & general automotive filters to their Indians. I've asked a few of these entrepreneurs for pictures & descriptions of their setups, and when I get them, they'll appear here.
You can get a purpose made mounting kit
for automotive spin-on filters from Just
Indians in Australia, and Fritz has made a neat looking prototype mount
for these filters too (see Fritz's
Oil Pump Page). Both of the above are for late Chiefs, so Scout'ers
are (as usual!) left to their own devices... There are several "universal"
mounts available from the HD aftermarket industry, which will adapt with
very little trouble, and the Norton Commando has a particularly nice (&
cheap!) one. If you have access to machine tools, you can pretty easily
make your own version, but you don't need me to tell you that.
One filter setup in particular stands out for a couple of reasons. Kiwi Indian's in-tank filter leaves your Indian stock looking while providing full oil filtering. The guy's at Kiwi tested the filter for 2 years (and with worn pumps) before marketing it, and the reports I've heard (around 5 or 6) from people running these filters have all been quite positive; the only complaint was that the tab (used to pull the filter out of the tank again; on the end of the filter to the right in the picture) occasionally broke off on early versions, but that has been fixed on later batches. This filter also fits Sport Scouts & 741s! The filter goes in the oil tank around your return tube. The rubber (bottom of the filter to the left in the pic) seals around the return tube, and the returning oil fills the filter and runs through it to the "outside" by gravity & return pressure. Any impurities in the returning oil is caught in the filter medium, and when it comes to changing your oil, just leave the filter in place until the tank is empty, and then lift it out for replacement. The collected "crud" usually stays inside the filter, and what little (if any) that escapes, can easily be flushed out of the tank. The KI filter retails for all of $10! (Thanks to Stan for the filter picture)