First build: Chainsaw bike

Agreen

Member
Feb 10, 2013
791
10
18
Southeastern GA
So this will be my first motorbike build... well, my first legitimate one. The REAL first one died a most glorious death. It was a 20cc weedeater engine friction drive that lasted about 4 or 5 miles before I snapped the crankshaft and sent the flywheel, crank snout, and the 21mm impact socket (roller) flying all over the place. It took out the coil and throttle cable, but luckily it missed my head!

So this one is going to be a little more safe. First off, we're starting with a Schwinn that I found at a local Goodwill for $25.



I then got a bike rack from Walmart for it. It's a Schwinn bike rack, so it matches :) That's where I plan on mounting the engine. It's a 42cc Craftsman chainsaw.



I chose this engine for a couple of reasons. I was first going to go with a Predator 79cc engine from HF, but there was one slight little issue. I wanted to use a centrifugal clutch, and Northern Tool eto stock them. As a matter of fact, they had EVERYTHING I would have needed to install the 79cc predator. But apparently Northern Tool stopped carrying go-kart accessories about a year ago. Just my luck. I didn't want to have to order this stuff, because it just takes so long to ship... plus you have to pay for shipping. So the only thing I could think of that had a centrifugal clutch already attached was a chainsaw. So I searched Craigslist and found that engine and bought it for $30.

Unfortunately, it gets more complicated. The clutch on the chainsaw has teeth already built in. But they're the wrong type of teeth. So I go to a local bike shop to see if they can sell me a small gear, and the guy goes back to the repair shop and tosses me an 11 tooth gear. Score! So I go home and grind off the original teeth and weld on the new bicycle gear to the clutch (after spending quite a long time getting it PERFECTLY aligned).

Here's a photo of the gear, peeking out from underneath the shield:



Now, the big issue is that the engine rotates clockwise, so mounting it in the frame with the crankshaft on the left wouldn't work. So I got to thinking and came up with a new crazy plan. I'm going to mount the engine on the rear rack, mount a jackshaft below that with a friction roller to drive the rear tire. So there will be a chain coming from the clutch to the jackshaft, which drives the friction roller.



So I get to keep the pull start (bonus!), I get to keep the centrifugal clutch (another bonus!) and best of all, it will all be so contained that I can remove it from one bike, then mount it to another bike within seconds! How awesome is that!?

I can't wait until this is all done!

-Terrence
 

Trey

$50 Cruiser
Jan 17, 2013
1,432
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0
Where cattle outnumber people 3 to 1.
Unfortunately I am no expert, so disregard as you see fit. An expert WILL respond shortly though- standby.
Assuming you can dis-engage from the friction drive design- It seems that you are willing and able to do the fabrication, so why not just add a rear drive sprocket, subtract the instant removability, and have a proven design? Not re-inventing the wheel and all...
Also, have you considered torque on that rear rack? It will be an issue.
Looks good, keep us up to date!
 

BarelyAWake

New Member
Jul 21, 2009
7,206
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Maine
Jus' as a head's up: I've that same rack & while it's quite strong & I like it, enough that's it's been transplanted to my replacement build & thus has over 15,000 miles of cumulative abuse, it's somewhat notorious for lateral movement - twisting on the seatpost or even turning the seatpost itself should it get knocked a bit or even just used to pick up & move the bike, which might be an issue given the engine's torque.

My solution was to just drill it and add the traditional rack vertical supports to the stays/dropouts, which ofc negates the "post clamp only" design - but the cleanness of that wasn't worth the aggravation of a crooked rack & that was just with cargo panniers...

...jus' a thought & maybe yours is more secure *shrug*
 

Bikeguy Joe

Godfather of Motorized Bicycles
Jan 8, 2008
11,819
212
63
up north now
Just my 2 cents now that you've done all that work...

It fairly easy to rack mount a chainsaw engine, and use the original clutch to run the rear wheel as a friction drive. Point the saw so the clutch is on the left (as you sit on the bike) and run the clutch right on the tire. Easy, quick effective.

Don't use too much clamping force, that what killed the last engine set up you had.
 

Agreen

Member
Feb 10, 2013
791
10
18
Southeastern GA
Thanks for the inputs guys, I always take all reasonable criticism on board. To answer some questions (and some counterpoints):
-I originally wanted to go with a chain drive to the rear wheel, but since the engine spins clockwise I'd have to have a jackshaft to transfer the rotation to the left side. I'd do it, but I think the friction roller is a much simper design. I'm all about keeping it simple :)
-I've considered the torque on the rear rack, and I have put thought in to stabilizing it with some links to the rear axle. Maybe a couple turnbuckles could be used?
-The chainsaw's clutch is just so narrow, and so close to the body of the chainsaw that using it to directly drive the rear tire as a friction drive won't work. I've already considered that as an option, but it too failed!
-The clamping force wasn't what killed the weedeater... the real reason is that I cut the crankshaft down and welded on a larger diameter grade 8 bolt to it so that the socket would center up better. Obviously that didn't work out in my favor because the weld snapped. There wasn't much room for a decent sized weld on that crankshaft anyways. Really I had no business welding on that thing anyhow. Not that it mattered, it sucked pretty bad anyways. It wouldn't accelerate at all, and barely maintained speed. Really though, what more could I have expected out of a weedeater?

Hopefully today I'll get this finished up and try taking it out for its first run. I still have to rebuild the carburetor, figure out how to mount the jackshaft assembly, and possibly figure out a stabilization method for the rack. It's pretty solid though, so that's going to be a last priority. I think if it comes down to it though, I may just drill through the seat post and install a set screw of sorts to keep it from moving.
 

Agreen

Member
Feb 10, 2013
791
10
18
Southeastern GA
Still a no-start. It's all put together and looks pretty good, but I just wish that I could get the damn thing started! I've already rebuilt the carburetor, changed the spark plug, all fuel lines, and nothing is working. I did, however, buy it as a no-start. I got it running for a short period, but it ran like crap and died. I thought that was because it needed a carb rebuild and new fuel lines, since the old ones were sucking in air. I even pulled the cylinder and re-sealed the crank case. It won't even give me a sputter now. It has spark, it has compression, and the spark plug is getting wet with fuel, but the magic is just not happening....
 

Agreen

Member
Feb 10, 2013
791
10
18
Southeastern GA
Well, I got it started. I took it for a quick run and the chain popped off. I pedaled back home and adjusted the positioning a little and started it back up and took it for another run. It worked great! Except the engine was bogging down pretty bad. So I brought it back in to adjust the high speed adjustment, then lo and behold it won't start again. I can get it started if I crank the high and low adjusters all the way in, back the low out just a hair, then it dies. I try again and again, nothing. I screw the low speed back all the way in, it runs for a short time. I back it out a hair, it starts, dies. I have tried backing it out more, but it just won't run. So what I think happened is that the previous owner may have cranked those needle valves in more than he should have, thus damaging the seat (or seats). So I'm probably going to order a new carburetor.
 

msrfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2010
1,799
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Southern California
Also make sure the flywheel is keyed right. A loose or partially sheared key will cause all kinds of problems. When you resealed the crankcase, did you replace the crank seals? Usually when sucking air through bad crank seals, the motor will rev or vary rpms on it's own. Be sure to check the air gap between the flywheel magnets and the coil. Does it have points, or is it electronic ignition? Something else to check. Your engineering looks good, maybe a little light but well made. Good luck
 

Agreen

Member
Feb 10, 2013
791
10
18
Southeastern GA
That's a good point, I did not replace the crankshaft seals. I did, however, apply silicone around them before installing them again. I don't know, maybe they do need replacing. I ended up ordering a brand new carburetor today. I'm definitely not new to tuning engines, big or small. I've never had issues like this though. There's nothing I can do to tune the carb in. And I pulled the muffler apart and it had a tiny amount of carbon buildup in it, but nothing that would disrupt flow.

It has electronic ignition, the flywheel is keyed properly, but I did not check the air gap. It's definitely getting a good spark though. I'll have to find the air gap spec and check it.

So the newest update: I can get it to start, run for a second or 2, then it dies on its own. If I open the throttle, it bogs out and dies. Turning the low speed screw out makes it not start... period. Crank it back in, it starts again. Adjusting the high speed screw out has no effect on idle, and it will still die after a couple seconds, or bog out and die if I give it a little throttle.

I worked on the other bike tonight. It's a Ryobi 31cc weedeater engine, direct friction drive with a scissor clutch. It rides great, except I'm having a difficult time getting the clutch to actually disengage the wheel. So far all I have right now is a clutch that pulls the weight off the drive roller, but it won't pull it all the way up. Just a little more tweaking and I'm sure I'll have that one fully operational soon.
 

msrfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2010
1,799
93
48
Southern California
Sounds like you're on the right track. The new carb will probably do it. Don't totally rule out faulty electronics. Intermediate spark may mean a new module. The air gap can be set with three thicknesses of notebook paper.
 

mat_man

New Member
Jan 29, 2011
224
1
0
athens ga
I always start my trouble shooting with starter fluid.

I eliminate the possibility that the carburetor is flooding.

If the motor runs great on it, then the problem is in the carburetor or fuel delivery. If not, I replace
the spark plug with a new one. Then start looking for other problems like seals, keyway timing, electrical etc.

Starter fluid in a can contains no lubrication and can cause damage in 2 strokes.

Some tips for alternatives:
Best starting fluid in 2-strokes ???
http://www.arboristsite.com/chainsaw/61242-4.htm

I have to try Fogging Oil:
http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3611429&cagpspn=pla

Yamaha HPDI burning off fogging oil
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ng7J-o5Az8w


This also looks promising:
3-In-One 9 oz. Adv. Engine Start & Conditioner
http://www.benquip.bz/view/product/656
 
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Agreen

Member
Feb 10, 2013
791
10
18
Southeastern GA
So I adjusted the air gap, which was pretty far off. I guess it was only compounding the problem, but it definitely did not fix it.

I got the carburetor a couple days ago, but didn't get the chance to install it until today. I still have some adjustment to make to the carb, but at least I did get to ride the bike today! First ride feels good, but I have to figure out a better way of mounting the engine to the rack. It loosens the bolts, shifts the motor, followed by the chain coming off. I also need to adjust the throttle cable, because I was only able to get about maybe half throttle before I ran out of cable pull. I think that with a little more tweaking, this will be pretty awesome!
 

Agreen

Member
Feb 10, 2013
791
10
18
Southeastern GA
Well, now I'm right back to a no-start again. I got the engine mount situation fixed, and it stays pretty solid now. The only issue is that I cannot get it started and running again! It starts on PB Blaster, but won't stay running very long. And this is with the new carburetor. Something's just strange here....
 

Agreen

Member
Feb 10, 2013
791
10
18
Southeastern GA
So as it turns out, it was the carburetor. I guess it makes sense... it ran great on pb blaster, wouldn't run worth a damn by itself. No matter how I adjusted it, it wouldn't run at all. And I have already replaced all the fuel lines and I actually re-sealed it a SECOND time, just to make ABSOLUTELY sure.

So here's what really got me! My "first" bike that exploded became a parts donor. So a friend of mine that came over and looked at it and noticed that IT had a carburetor, so why not try it? Well, I laughed at him because the chainsaw engine is more than 2x the size. I told him that it's like putting a Honda carburetor on a V8 truck. But we tried it anyways and wouldn't you know it, it bolted right up and fit great, and it also ran AMAZING! It's too dark to post pics, but there will be more to follow.

So now I have to complain to the guy that sold me the carburetor that it doesn't work worth a crap, and that I either want a refund or a working carb. The one that's on there now is probably leaving some power on the table.
 

maniac57

Old, Fat, and still faster than you
Oct 8, 2011
4,484
16
0
memphis Tn
I've said it for years guys: Try any carb that fits in a pinch.
The engine does not care WHERE the mixture comes from, only that it is combustible.
I once managed to get a car home by dribbling gas into the open top of the intake and throttling it with my hand while sitting on the fender as a buddy drove. Aside from burning all the hair off my forearm when it backfired, it ran well enough to save me a $300 tow fee.
(DON'T try this on your car!)