You just picked up an antique Harley Davidson, a Harley Knucklehead Chopper in this case. What’s the best way to familiarize yourself with the Knucklehead chopper? Take it completely apart, of course! Every component. Every nut, bolt, and screw. Would you expect us to suggest anything different?
A good starting point for this Knucklehead chopper tear down; drain your motor oil and gasoline. Oil lines will be removed and possibly replaced. You definitely want as little a mess as possible when removing those lines or hoses.
If the gasoline is fresh and you are not cleaning or restoring the fuel tank, the gasoline can remain in the tank. If the fuel is old & stale or looks more like something you would use to refinish furniture, you should drain the tank and flush it out as thoroughly as you can. If the tank has a lot of rust inside, one option is to have it (high) pressure washed and sealed at a local radiator repair shop. Obviously, if you plan to do something like this, it should be completed before any possible body work or paint is started.
The Knucklehead chopper transmission oil can be drained now or after it is removed from the frame. As you begin to remove main components like the fuel tank, seat, oil tank, etc; stay organized by keeping hardware together with its related components. If a bolt or screw can not be easily kept with a component, store the hardware in a labeled bag.
Even if you are fluent with your Knucklehead chopper’s electrical system or you plan on rewiring the motorcycle, you should still label all connections that are not plainly obvious unions. You never know what might come up upon reassembly. It is always smart practice to leave a “trail of breadcrumbs” as you move along. Using a bright colored painters tape and a black sharpie usually works best.
Continue watching as we break this old Knucklehead chopper down to a rolling chassis.