50 something Western Flyer x53 custom

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Sep 13, 2020
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im going to continue the adventures here where it belongs. I found this roached, mangled frame and rusted out POS fork locally. I drove 45 minutes in hope of finding something with light patina as described. The adventure started off discovering that the frame rear triangle was bent over the left. The seller was like…. I never noticed. Having felt like I just wasted 2 hours of my life in Denver traffic, I bought the .... thing anyway, hoping for the best. Yes, a compulsive, yet somewhat regretful purchas at that moment. Must have been the CBD taking over my cognitive thought process.
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Anyway, I muscled the frame back into shape with an assortment of large steel tubing and cauls I made out of wood, in order to prevent denting the frame. It was a mess, but i was determined to make shinola out of poo. 1 am came around real fast, no alcohol was involved. I was able to sleep last eve, but got up early and put the string on the frame to see how far off it was. It was with in an 1/8 inch out of alignment. Felt a bit vindicated with out a frame jig. The old eyes are still working. Of course the seat post was frozen tighter than that light patina as described. Twisted the steel post in half after an over night of soaking. Filled entire tube with PB blaster. Then heated the tube…. Nada. So now I’m going to use a a thinned narrowed sawzall bladed and put two relief cuts inside of the seat post and then remove. nothing looseened up, even with the cutting torches. Cherry red…. Nada.

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I started to mess around with around with some bars, stems and ideas for seating. Mostly experimenting. I have seen a few bikes here that are providing the inspiration. The sear pan will be sectioned and shortened. I’m thinking leaving it with out cover. Who knows at this point in time. It’s an adventure…..
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Last edited:

kingfish254

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Aug 31, 2009
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Historic Savannah
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If you think you will finish the build before Labor Day, you should start a build thread in Build Off 16.
 
Jul 16, 2019
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America's Friendly Hat
Dude, that cleaned up pretty nice, sweet frame! Was any of the fork or suspension salvageable? Even selling one or two parts could recoup your cost. What you call "roached" could be someone else's treasure!
 
Sep 13, 2020
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Dude, that cleaned up pretty nice, sweet frame! Was any of the fork or suspension salvageable? Even selling one or two parts could recoup your cost. What you call "roached" could be someone else's treasure!
I had to cut the steerer tube off about an inch and a half up for the bottom. I have a donor tube I’m going to sleeve it internally and re weld. I was able to heat up the fork hardware and disassemble it. chrome is obviously shot, but I’m thinking PC black will look good.
 
Mar 26, 2012
8,383
16,710
Maplewood, MN
Ya…I’m an old timer hack. It’s refreshing to be on a forum with like minded peeps. Facebook is getting so old. Glad to be here. i custom paint for a living. You can see some of my work at http://www.mikelearn.com
Cool stuff! I'll keep tabs on your build for sure. It's def a good group here.
 
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Jul 2, 2008
258
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Chandler Az.
I think I might have a rear X53 fender and a couple of the rails laying around somewhere if you're interested. I think the fender was in pretty decent shape other than the bottom tab that mounts to the frame had been cut off....
 
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Sep 13, 2020
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I think I might have a rear X53 fender and a couple of the rails laying around somewhere if you're interested. I think the fender was in pretty decent shape other than the bottom tab that mounts to the frame had been cut off....
Hi Tonka. Thanks. I have the fenders for it. I think they are salvageable. Trying to locate a tank for it.
 
Sep 13, 2020
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This evening I took all of the rusted chrome out of the acid bath and polished what I could. One of the pivot bolts on the lower rocker has been replaced. Going to look for options. Perhaps someone has one lying in a bolt pile. The round rod thingamabob had been fractured. So I found some round stock and spliced in a repair, filed it and it looks pretty decent. I still may go with blacked out front end. Went to my buddys house and made a plug for the steer tube. Made sure everything lines back up and weld in the AM.
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Jan 21, 2009
8,541
7,829
Zambales, Philippines
This evening I took all of the rusted chrome out of the acid bath and polished what I could. One of the pivot bolts on the lower rocker has been replaced. Going to look for options. Perhaps someone has one lying in a bolt pile. The round rod thingamabob had been fractured. So I found some round stock and spliced in a repair, filed it and it looks pretty decent. I still may go with blacked out front end. Went to my buddys house and made a plug for the steer tube. Made sure everything lines back up and weld in the AM. View attachment 160900View attachment 160901View attachment 160902
That springer looks great! They made things better back then. The first old bike I ever restored was a ladies X-53, in 1977, although I had no idea what it was at the time. It's springer had one leg bent out at 90 degrees and I was able to straighten it. The original owner couldn't believe it could be made rideable. It was a 56 model, she remembered begging for it in a Western Auto store.
It's made by Murray, so you might get the exact year from the serial number. There should be an MO with another letter that will ID it.
 
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Mar 26, 2012
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Maplewood, MN
Wow, your chrome turned out good in that acid bath! I may have to give mine a shot at that.
What did you use in your 'bath' to remove the rust?
 
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Sep 13, 2020
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Wow, your chrome turned out good in that acid bath! I may have to give mine a shot at that.
What did you use in your 'bath' to remove the rust?
Muriatic acid. I part acid, 4 parts water. I find that any stronger mix than that and it is a bit too aggressive.
 
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Mar 26, 2012
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Maplewood, MN
Muriatic acid. I part acid, 4 parts water. I find that any stronger mix than that and it is a bit too aggressive.
Thanks! Yeah, that stuff is aggressive. If you mix it with hydrogen peroxide, it will actually etch / eat metal. I used it to make a custom head badge last year.

I still have most of a gallon of the muriatic acid left over.
 
Sep 13, 2020
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I need to rethink these front axle rockers no other way they can be assembled and function, I believe, unless I am missing the painfully obvious. How narrow were these hubs on the X53? I ordered bronze bushings and different hardware. May send a file out to get plasma cut and make my own that will give me room for the Arayas. Messing with position of seat, but won’t have a real feel of it until I get it on two wheels . I may get the gender bender Goodyear done first.
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