Husqvarna Motorcycle Restoration for Show: 

Restoring a motorcycle for show, in my opinion, seems to have a wide varying standard for what the finished project goal is for most people in the motorcycle show hobby . I thought it would be good to state some thoughts on this. I am subject to writing from the hip on this subject, so please be understanding. Once I write my thought down, it may not be what I mean.

Catagories of show motorcycles that are, in my opinion, shown together for some ? award:

1. Stock manufactured motorcycles found in good or historically correct condition that require major or minor work to bring them up to the owners satisfaction of preserving for all, a piece of history. Usually this means preserving or reusing worn, cracked tires, handgrips and pedals. Possibly not wanting to repaint items that ruin a piece of original history.

2. Stock manufactured motorcycles restored to as new condition except for those pieces that were unable to be obtained thru reasonable means. This usually applies to rubber goods, but might be others.

3. Stock manufactured motorcycles restored to as new condition with substitute new pieces for those unable to be obtained thru reasonable means. This also usually applies to rubber goods, but certainly can extend to many others.

4.Stock manufactured motorcycles restored to as new condition. Usually much easier on a 1985 than a 1935.

5. Stock manufactured motorcycles restored to beyond new condition. Usually done to allow a more pleasing and long lasting finish on a variety of pieces, paint or plating, but could be others.

6. Combinations of the above 

There is a lot of confusion over what the standards are for restored motorcycles and each owner likes to tell his own tale around what is correct. Do not be disappointed if your bike does not place well at local shows as the promoter or judges may not know what the "standards" are either. Hopefully , we motorcycle hobbyists will ask for more guidelines as time goes on.

I will recommend AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) shows for those who chose to meet standard 4. above as there are several motorcycle classes and the standards for show are very well outlined in the show rule book. Bikes that are 25 years old and older can show. 1998 means 1973 can show.

Recommendations on basic steps to restore a '66 -'82 Husqvarna competition motorcycle:

Research/ Document, Disassemble, Refinish/Replace, Reassemble, Test, and Show


1. Select a specific year and model and research the details thru all of your literature. This would be magazines, sales literature, hard bound books, service manuals, owners manuals, and the like. I use Dirt Bike, Modern Cycle, Cycle World, Dirt Rider, British mags, and others. The owners manual will have two small side views that are correct with all other photos usually not exactly correct. The parts manuals will reference numbers that you can cross to earlier and later years to check whether parts remained the same or changed. Sales lit will normally have good cosmetic photos for colors and finishes.

2. Find an owner of an original, unrestored Husky of the model you are going to do and make arrangements to "check it out" if owner is agreeable. This may take some patience and work on your part, but an original is worth a lot of research. Frame and engine numbers match on '66, '67, and some '68. Engine numbers should be low and stamped in the correct location for '68 and '69. MH and MI a little more difficult to verify. This number check can be a quick way of determining basic originality.

3. Photograph Huskys of the model you want to do, maybe even earlier and later models. I don't mean Polaroids of both sides, but 35mm close ups of every nut and bolt. I can shoot 36 photos pretty quick, but I have been known to take many more. Develop at Walmart . Cheapest and best value for the money. Or bring your camera buddy to a show, buy him food, film, and a T-shirt, work something out. Be courteous to bike owners who have brought their projects to show. This is still a small hobby. Who ever you meet around Husqvarna motorcycles, you will undoubtly meet many times again if you stay with it.

4. Get going! You can piddle around for years trying to find just the right project! Get wet! But have some finances already worked out so you can keep going. The project bike can cost $100 or $3000 you work that out! If you are doing this as short term investment, pick another hobby! If you have done show bikes before, you know what the costs are. My guess for first time Husky , say an MG barn rat with an engine that turns over, would cost about $3000 + bike cost. This would assume you do the stripping, paintwork, engine assembly, and details. Oh yeah, I forgot, normally I feel (4. ) is the desired end point for a restored Husky. Everybody to thier own desires.

5. Mandatory photo session of your project bike is next! Do not skip this step! Do not take anything apart until this is complete! Usually best to get wife, kids, dogs, previous owner, friends, in some of the photos. Again, this should be a nuts and bolt photo session, then down to Walmart, double prints, when you order parts you can send photo, which should be returned and reused.

6.Go to your local motorcycle shop and study the finishes that accompany a new bike. You can learn alot about how you will refinish your pieces and whether you will apply the same finish to many pieces or a select few. You will notice that each piece of a new bike appears to have it's very own finish. Don't use unusual or new technology finishes on your own project , it may look like you tried too hard. Powder coat may look correct in some applications, in others it may not. Plating all of your hardware with the same vendor at the same time may be handy for you, but look at the new bike again. Go back several times during your work to recharge your thought around this .

7. Stainless steel hardware might be appropriate to use in some of your replacement. Unpolished it can look pretty close to cad or zinc, but polished it may look overdone. The heads of stainless bolts can sometimes be easily identified, so think of how the bolt head will face when in place or find stainless without marks. Resist the temptation to polish it, in fact find ways to pull off the sheen.

Document/Disassembly Tips on a Husqvarna MG-MN

1. You will be saving every piece of everything at this point. You will need a supply of Ziplock sandwich bags in three sizes -sandwich, quart and gallon( do not piss off your wife, Buy your own), post-it notes, pen, mark-a-lot.

2. You should have your ususual supply of cleaning chemicals ready consisting of Varsol parts washer, three gallon reusable pail of carbuerator cleaner, gallon of laquer thinner, spray carb cleaner, several rolls of cheap paper towels, etc.

3. You will want to disassemble, clean each series of pieces, store in small quantities in ziplock bags but in groups that make sense, include note in bag with a detailed note (not "engine", but more like "head nuts MG3855", or "clutch cable MG3855") . I apologize if this seems too basic, but I see how my friends restore thier machines and most of thier problem is technique.

4. Do not, at this point, start to wire wheel your favorite pieces , so you can immediately get satisfaction with a spray can of black or silver. Try to avoid wire wheel cleaning of plated pieces like nuts and bolts. All of the original plating on hardware will be ruined as soon as you touch it to a wire wheel. But, of course, you may do as you wish.

5. You may want to have a parts book to compare to as you tear down . You would do good to have a log to put notes in. What color are the paint markings on the Girling springs? Where are the tank backbone grommets located? How are the wires routed? Which direction do the fender fasteners go? How are the air cleaner brackets situated? What distinquishes the front of the head from the rear?

6. It is the little things that make for an authentic restoration, because everyone can paint the tank, fenders and frame. These basics are important, but watch to retain all of the details.

Refinishing -Cleaning methods for different alloy pieces on a Husqvarna

1. Engine pieces should be chemically cleaned or stripped. This includes head , cylinder, manifold, outer cases, etc. This is easily done with the above mentioned cleaners. Do not bead blast any engine pieces as it will ruin the finish on any of these alloy pieces and it will compromise the mechanics of the engine. It also looks poor and is identifiable from quite a distance. I am myself, looking at walnut shell or plastic media to use on heads and cylinders, but have not done so yet.

2. Frame pieces consisting of main frame, swing arm, triple trees, flat strap brackets can be bead blasted, but they take a lot of hand sanding prior to priming to knock down the rough finish. Metal prep , of course is a must. Too much paint on a Husky looks amatuer. Don't plan on fill primer 'till all looks good. Steel tail on MF and MG can be bead blasted too, as well as brake pedal, shift lever, and foot pegs.

3. Gas tank, Aluminum inner fender, air cleaner cover , front fork lowers should be chemically stripped.

4. Expansion chamber may require some work to clean. Bead blasting will certainly ruin the outside finish, but sanding the bare metal can bring it back most of the time. Chemical clean is best. Interior cleaning is important to minimize "black drool" after even a short run. If you clean the interior this ususally will not occur.

Paint finishes that have been successful on show bikes:

Frame and other related silver painted pieces - computer match color at Automotive paint store, Dupont Chromacolor Basecoat/Clearcoat. Metal prep, Variprime, Base coat then Clear coat.

Tank - computer match as above, etch new chrome with 600 grit , old chrome suitable as is , Quik prep, Variprime,
base coat white ( if you do LeFevre's method), tape stripe line, and base coat red. Pull all tape, apply decals, stripe tank , clear coat all. Or if you are going to ride , you may choose to leave clear from chrome portion. Original tanks were full clear coated with laquer.

Wheel hubs and brake backing plates - metal prep, then Plasicote spray can Engine 500 degree Flat Black #130. This is not a durable finish if you plan to ride and hi pressure wash. Gasoline will also take this paint off.

Engine cases, cylinder, head - same as above.

Expansion chamber - Metal prep, then Plasticote spray Hi Temp Black HP-11. Ususually three coats with a clean rag buff between coats.

Tip: The key to a good looking restoration around paint is to put the paint back on everything like the factory had done. So don't clean or strip a piece without making notes. Don't paint items that should be plated or chemically treated. Don't reassemble your engine and then paint it. 'Nuff said.

If you own or have ever used the following products you will have paint problems - Armorall, Tire foam, Son of a Gun, Dot 5 brake fluid, Silicone spray lube, and like products. You spray them, most goes somewhere else, you walk on it, take off your shoes, it gets on your hands, it get on all of your tools, on all of your rags. It remains on your floors, walls, table tops, and you continually re-contaminate even after you think you haven't used it for a while. This does not only apply to silicone based products, but other products as well. The products don't come off you the user very quickly.
You drive your car and touch the steering wheel you sprayed a year ago and then rub your newly primed fenders . 'Nuff said.

Another comment is about METAL PREP! If you know what this means, do not skip this step! If you are not familiar with this chemical process, it is cheap and not prepping will cause you much grief! You will find most body shop suppliers have all the info and supplies, but are negligent or reluctant to sell this stuff to you.

Wheels( spokes, hubs, nipples, rim locks, and tires):

One possibility is to send all to Buchanan's and have them redone. New Akronts, new spokes, new nipples, wheels laced correctly and tight, call (626) 969-4655 new number !

Or deal with The Wheel Works, who also do very good work. (714)530-6681.

Or you may do them yourself. Take them apart, clean, replate, polish and reassemble. New spokes can be had from my recommendations in Parts as well as nipples. Tires can be found thru the same resources.

Buy yourself good tire spoons.
Do not use your favorite screwdrivers.
Take your time demounting and mounting tires.
Tape or protect the rim even tho it takes 5 minutes more.
Save all your spokes and nipples, you may need to replate and reuse.
Polish your rim and spokes before you reassemble.
If you can't find new Trelleborgs, plan on fitting some other European brand in the correct sizes, not metric. Pirelli, Metzlers, Barum, or Goodyears would be my choice. ( 3.00x21 & 4.00x18)
Make notes before you spray paint the hubs on what surfaces are not painted. Make sure these unpainted surfaces look good before you paint.
If you are going to show the bike, you would do best to redo wheels completely. If you want to ride, redo may not be the best investment.
The plating on a nipple is not the same as a spoke, usually a different color. A new Husky in 1969 had shiney spokes almost chrome in appearance, but only a nice zinc plating. This finish only lasted hours in the wet a little longer if dry.
Don't forget or neglect the rim lock as this promenent threaded gizmo will be very noticable once the wheel is done. Buy a new tube so the stem looks new. Don't put the stem nut on.
Tires on a new Husky were always new when they were new. Get new tires.

Engine work

1. I cannot advise on engine mechanical fits, you will have to cover this on your own, but here are some tips for 4 speed Huskys:
Make sure you read and understand how to disassemble and assemble you engine.
Make sure you have proper tools to service the engine and knowledge of how to use them.
Do not bead blast any portion of the engine.
You will need an impact driver to get internal case screws out. And you will need expertise on how to deal with those screws whose heads pop off. ( this doesn't happen often)
The main bearings are to be removed from each of the alloy engine case half with heating once the crank is out.
And reinstalled with heat going together. This minimizes damage to the alloy cases and extends the life of the engine.

2. Don't paint the exhaust manifold (should be cad or zinc), intake gaskets/screws, machined surfaces on cylinder or head, split line gaskets, but do fit all new gaskets. Do not use any visible sealants.

3. Do not let any machine shop bore or hone your cylinder unless they have knowledge of this engine type and which surfaces should be the reference. And what piston/cylinder fits you want top and bottom.

4. Rebuild the carb making sure you fit a new idle jet. This is a most important tip! You can get an idle jet as well as a nice rebuild kit from me , check my Bing page.

Reassemble your Husky

1. Make sure where you reassemble is not in your spraycan touch up area or near your wire wheel or near a bead blaster or near your welder or near ......

2. Lay out cardboard, carpeting or other floor covering under the bike area.

3. Put it together following the instructions very carefully.

4. Avoid using plastic wire ties on bikes older than '72. Find and use the appropriate metal bands.

5. Clear tubing was used on Huskys until the concentric Bing and then black tubing was used of the correct diameter on fuel feed. Clear was continued on case vent to chain guard. Early bikes vented under tank.

6. Banging a newly painted tank over the rubber supports is not good. Plan ahead on how to handle this. I have shaved the supports down to minimize problem.

7. Take your time, enjoy the work, do a little each day. Don't put the tank on until last.

8. Run the bike using another tank when you are ready. I have also run side float Bings by just filling the carb float bowl.


Test Run

1. Go lite on oil mix ratio. 40 or 50 to 1 is okay your not running BAJA at this point. A cupful of premix is fine for first run.

2. Have new plugs handy, Champion N-3 or like. In fact always use new plugs! I believe a Champion N-3 fits the application of all Huskys from 1947 thru 87, maybe more!

3.A high percentage of newly restored bikes tend to suffer from stuck throttle, usually full on. Poor cable routing, no lube on slide, poor twist throttle installation contribute to the condition. Also another problem is not replacing the mag side seal because you think the old one looked okay, then when you start the bike (and usually the right cover is off) the bike goes full throttle and you are confused and paniced to shutdown (thinking the throttle has stuck). Only to find everything looks okay. I have been there! Replace your seals !

4. Make sure your under tank tube is connected.

5. Use a test gas tank so you don't screw up the main cosmetic on your bike! I even put booties or condoms on my pegs so as not to scratch them up! If you are going to ride your Husky, this may be overkill.

6. If you are doing this bike for show, you may want to plan to ride on grass so as not to damage the new tires. A couple of spinouts on asphalt will make a used tire out of a new one!

7. Do not over lube the chain on a show bike that you are going to ride around for a test! Usually the lube that comes on new chain is more than sufficient, so don't spritz more on for good luck.



1. Build a nice stand for your Husky to stand up on intsead of letting it rest on the side stand. Not a milk crate or a pit stand, but something planned to keep it at attention and not be too noticable. Look at my stand on my 66 by clicking on my Completed Project 66 Bike.

2. Your verbal explanations are interesting , but documentation is best. Make color copies of your original or copied documents to bring to shows.

3. Biggest problem at shows where the public gets to come up to your bike is someone knocking the handlebars or worst case the whole bike. Consider how your bike might actually fasten to the stand . Also consider a temporary piece that will block handle bar swing. Get some old disc brake rotors and PVC pipe and make some stanchions.

4. A Husky that goes into display mode will need all of the oil drained out after running. These bikes tend to weep a little oil forever. So put pads, diapers, whatever under your bikes as a precaution. Forks can weep also out the drain plug locations.


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