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Hi, I'm the new owner of a '48 Chief and just received the bike a few days ago. It's been mechanically restored as a nice rider but not quite a show bike. There is a small drip on the bottom of the trans case where the chain cover bolts to it. Before I dig into it, does anyone have any idea what may be leaking? Also, this may be a dumb question, but are these bikes fairly tight, or do they have common leak points?

Thanks!
 

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Put a piece of old carpet under the leak. Chasing leaks will drive you crazy. However every now and them you will actually stop one. I have a leak now, it's where the clutch rod connects. I'll check the oil level in the primary. Congratulations on the new bike and good luck.
 

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Hi, I'm the new owner of a '48 Chief and just received the bike a few days ago. It's been mechanically restored as a nice rider but not quite a show bike. There is a small drip on the bottom of the trans case where the chain cover bolts to it. Before I dig into it, does anyone have any idea what may be leaking? Also, this may be a dumb question, but are these bikes fairly tight, or do they have common leak points?

Thanks!
I use an old piece of cardboard or you can use a large cookie sheet to catch the drips!
 

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It seems like the older tech was sometimes prone to the small drips, ask any older HD owner. It is from a different era and maybe somewhat different expectations would be the norm.
 

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A drip from the vent tube that comes runs from the oil tank to the bottom of the case is very common (if that's it). The vapors cool then collect and drip a little.

I hope you don't mind but let me give you couple tips on oil. First after you start the bike you'll see guys remove the oil cap and take a look. What they're doing is making sure there's oil coming back in the return line into the tank. Usually takes a few minutes to start flowing but you'll want to check as you can burn up a motor if the pump quits. Second your oil level should be 1"-2" below the return tube (under the oil cap) but check when warm or you could overfill and have a mess. Third wet sumping is very common on old Indians. If your bike sits for any length of time you'll want to check that. Start with the bike upright. Look under the front of the primary cover where you'll see 2 square headed plugs, one right above the other. Put a pan under there and remove the top plug. If oil runs out your wet sumping. Let it drain then replace the plug. If you forget after it sits a while you'll definitely know it when you start the bike. It's very common and isn't a problem unless you lose pressure (return line) and starting getting a lot of oil in the case. If that's the case the pump can be rebuilt (normal maintenance) where they bore the plunger hole and replace the plunger. Bob's, Kiwi, or Jerry Greer's could help you with this. If you need to do it pull the distributor then pull the pump and send it in. Mike Tomas (Kiwi) has excellent videos online about how to time your oil pump then your distributor during re-assembly.

One last tip. If you do any work on it please don't over restore it. I've seen guys chrome the girder springs and start doing and adding things that weren't meant to be. It's a 71 year old machine and should look it. That's part of the charm.

Good luck with it.
 
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