Jim's Cushman Scooter Site
Cushman Hints and Tips Page
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Much has been written over the years about Cushman's downfall due to the two speed transmission, especially when imports came in with three and four speeds. Cushman Eagles were unique because they looked like a small motor cycle,
had they invested in a good tranny they would still be in business. I have a 50's restored barrel spring, just couldn't hack the two speed. The Reiss trany at $1200.00 was out out of my budget. Answer..... I went to a local salvage yard and found a scrap cycle with a five speed, a Yamaha Enduro 100 with a fully synchronized five speed and oil clutch for .60 cents a pound (25.00).
Here's the process: Remove the jug from the Endura, take the two halves apart and remove the piston and crank. Replace the crank with a straight shaft with drive gear installed on inner end and sprocket on outer end. fabricate a flat piece to cover the hole where the jug was. Then fabricate mounts for trans to frame. If you are modifying a Cushman Husky you will have to use a jack shaft to transfer drive to left side of transmission. All parts to do this conversion are available at McMaster-Carr.com. I modified the foot shifter to use with the Cushman tank shifter so it would look original. The Yamaha Enduro 100 is a nice small unit and works great. I now have the sweetest riding Cushman around, what a joy to ride!. If anyone is interested, I can supply details and pictures. I estimate the job took about 20 hours.
John Lojewski, email@example.com 1/16/2011
Bill Bruce was trying to work the side plate with the neoprene seal in it over the crankshaft
on a Cast Iron Cushman engine. He found it very difficult to work the seal onto the larger diameter area it seats on without damaging the seal and
he suggested the possibility of making some kind of fixture to facilitate the job. With that inspiration, I made a
thin bushing, tapered on one end, square on the other, that can be slipped into the neoprene seal. Using this bushing one can simply slide the side plate onto the engine and the seal drops right in place with no effort and no damage.
Here is a a method for installing the
Timken bearings on Cushman crankshaft. Put a
Remember that in the above two suggestions
above, we are talking about installing a press-fit bearing over a
shaft. Remember that cooling shrinks the item and heat expands its size.
So in the above suggestions where the bearing is being placed over the
shaft the bearing is heated to increase its size and (optionally) the
shaft can be cooled to reduce its size. If you are installing a
press-fit bearing into a cavity then the heating/cooling is reversed:
The bearing is cooled and the cavity is heated.
If you have a leak around the high speed needle in your Tillotson carburetor this tip will help. Purchase one of the cheap imported fuel filters, part number 814753 in Carpenter's catalog. Remove the neoprene packing from around the fuel cut off needle and use it in your carburetor in place of the old leather packing. You leak problems will be over. Someone out there may know where to get just the neoprent packing, but I have not been able to find it.
An easy way to install valve seats and
main bearing races. Place seats or races on dry ice for two to three
minutes while using a propane torch to warm up the casting. Then
using the appropriate bushing driver lightly tap the seats or races into
To start my flathead Eagle easily I reach down and turn the engine back (farther away from the start of compression) with the clutch until it stops, then kick it. It starts spinning easily, and the Inertia of the flywheel helps carry it through the compression stroke. It starts easy with no compression release. Delmar Baker
If you are placing a Mikuni 22mm
carburetor ("Stage One" ) on a normal 8 horse motor that is
neither over bored nor has huge valves installed, I would suggest a 25
pilot jet and a 145 main jet. Set the needle clip in the second from the
bottom notch. Set the air screw at one-half turn open. The pilot jet
controls gas flow at idle to 1/4 throttle, after that the needle jet
takes the gas flow up to about 3/4 throttle and then the gives it to the
main jet the rest of the way to wide open. The air bleed screw controls
the amount of air that is mixed with a constant flow of gas that flows
through the pilot jet. Screw it in to lessen the air flow, out to
increase air flow. If it starts OK blip the throttle and if it hesitates
then turn the screw in slightly, if it blubbers turn it out a bit.
Eventually you will find the correct position. (extreme
altitudes may require a different clip position)
Want a little more power from your Briggs
Vanguard Engine? One easy way to make your motor run a little stronger
to be compatible with high RPM's is to advance the timing about 10
degrees. How do you do that? Easy, the same way Cushman did
on the Silver Eagle engine. Cut away the left half of the flywheel key
down to the level of the shaft. This will allow the flywheel to rotate
an additional 10 degrees. Hold it there while you retighten the flywheel
nut to 125 Ft/Lbs. You must have both a flywheel puller and a strap
wrench to hold the flywheel while removing and reinstalling the nut. You
will notice your motor starting easier and running less like a
If you want to be noticed more by fellow
drivers and help prevent someone from turning in front of you try the
headlight modulator made by Signal Dynamics. It blinks your headlight
four times per second (daytime only) and really gets attention. I have
been using on for 2600 miles and I have even had a couple cars pull
completely off the road thinking I was an emergency vehicle. It is
completely legal in all 48 states because the U.S. DOT provides for it
in their regulations. It is available at any motorcycle
aftermarket dealer. It will only work with a DC system using a battery.
Regarding Mikuni Carburetors, there is a
92 page booklet entitled Sudco Mikuni Tuning Manual, part number
002-999, available by calling sudco International at (213) 728-5407.
Price is around $10.00 to $15.00. Has full information on all Mikuni
carbs included exploded diagrams, part numbers, tuning instructions,
The best spark plug for a Cushman Husky is
the Bosch 6200. Had them in mine for some time, never replaced one yet.
Stop leaking gas caps! The majority of
leaks are through the vent holes and then out the edge of the cap. Take
two plastic electrical butt connectors just slightly larger than the
vent holes...bevel the ends of them on a file or the edge of a grinding
wheel so you can jam them into the vent holes...seal around them with
gas proof epoxy (I used marine-tex available at boat dealers or marine
supply stores). Now the cap has dip tubes for vents and the gas can't
splash up through them and leak on your nice paint. It works very well
on tanks without the splash baffle tubes.
On the above Gas Cap Tip you can also use a piece of miniature aluminum or brass tubing from a hobby shop of the correct size to fit in the hole under the cap. Feedback says this idea works very well, but that only one tube is necessary, just stop up the other hole in the cap. The bottom end of the tubing must always be a little above the level of the gasoline. JB Weld works well and is not affected by gasoline. - Ed
is an easy way to seal the side plate and shims on the Cast Iron engine:
To get the throttle bushings out of your
Tillotson carburetor first use a 1/4 inch tap to cut threads inside the
bushing. Then find a bolt to match your tap and run a nut an inch or so
up the threads. Put a 3/8 inch thick spacer over the bolt that has an
inside diameter a little larger than the bushing. Screw the bolt
into the bushing, then tighten the nut. This will force the bushing out
of the carburetor and up into the spacer.
Tip for Servicing the Silver Eagle Clutch:
Take a 8 by 10 inch piece of 1/2 inch plywood and cut a 6 inch hole in
the center. Nail two strips of 1 x 2 on the edges. The clutch can
be laid back-side down in the hole. This tool will support the six bolts
while the clutch is being serviced and the spacer washers will stay in
place on the bolts. It will take less time to make this holder than I
have spent chasing spacer washers across the shop and trying to hold
everything in place while putting on the nuts.
is a way to get a good hard finish on a small painted part. After
preparation of the part put on a very light coat of primer; A thick
primer will weaken the finish. Next give it a good coat of enamel. Then
put it in a 170 degree pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes. Fumes will be
very minimal. A good brand of canned spray paint also works good. This
comes out similar to an automobile finish. A variety of supports to hold
the item while painting and baking can be fashioned from scrap metal.
You are only limited to the size of the oven. I mainly use this process
for small detail parts, but it also works good for larger items.
Here's a little-known tip for dealing with brown rust (iron oxide), for instance a rusty nut to be removed from a rusty bolt: ordinary rubbing alcohol (denatured alcohol). Patience is required since the results are not instantaneous, but afterward you may marvel at how well it works. Simply secure the head of the bolt in a vise or with a wrench, preferably with the rusty nut facing upward. Then drip a little alcohol over the bolt threads and the nut and wait a few seconds. Repeat a few times, then gently work the nut in both directions while keeping the threads wet with alcohol. Eventually brown rust will be seen melting away and in most cases the nut will turn easily with no damage to the threads. This process usually takes a few minutes, but will work even on large items such as water pump priming plugs and automobile brake drums rusted to axle ends. The key is to keep replenishing the evaporating alcohol so the rust isn't allowed to dry. Be sure to clean and oil the threads immediately after the nut has been removed to prevent further rusting. Most people first try penetrating oil, WD-40 or some other petroleum lubricant on rust but this will actually hamper rust removal
Many have asked about obtaining the
special tool that is used to set the brake rivets. You can purchase them
from Aircraft Tool Supply, 1-800-248-0638. They have two, one that
operates with a threaded model, part number W404 at a cost of $22.95 and
an impact (hammer) model, part number W403 for $14.95. The threaded
model does a perfect rivet job for Cushman brakes for little extra cost.
The rivets cost $4.95 for a box of 100.
I have tried
various ways to make the seat more comfortable on my 1950 Highlander
714. I first bought the standard vinyl seat cover that is lightly
padded. The problem is not bumps with this seat, but vibration. I tried
adding a one inch thick soft foam insert under the vinyl cover. This
addition not only made the seat loose it's comfortable contour, but made
it look over stuffed. It did not modify the vibration. So I tried
cutting a piece closed cell foam (1/2" thick or a little less) the size
of the seat pan and placing it where the soft foam had been. Vibration
transmission to my bottom has been reduced significantly with this
simple modification. The seat still looks almost as it did before the
modification. This closed cell foam can be purchased anywhere that
camping pads are sold. Try it you will like it.
Installing fasteners in the ends of the early Cushman front fork barrel springs is a real problem because of the need to line up a flat washer, a lock washer and a nut inside the spring at each end and get them to stay in place while threading in the fasteners. It is especially difficult on the the top of the spring since the washers and nut will want to fall to the bottom. Some method of holding the items in place while threading the special fastener into the nut is necessary. My solution to this problem is to place the spring on the workbench and drop the two washers and the nut inside the spring in the proper order. Line them up, and without moving anything slip a piece of electricians black tape across the nut and tape it and the washers to the coils of the spring. In a similar manner prepare the other end of the spring with the washers, nut and tape. Now you can gently pass the bottom perch bolt through one end of the spring, through the two washers, and screw it onto the nut and loosely tighten it. To secure the top side of the spring hold it in place under the frame tab. Pass the special fastener through the frame tab, into the spring, through the washers and screw it into the nut. Rotate the spring to the desired position and tighten the nuts. (Grinding a 1/2 end wrench thin and removing some of the side wall thickness will allow it to pass into the spring and make tightening the nut very easy. - Ed) Now you can tighten the nuts fully. Be sure not to twist anything as this will place a stress on the suspension parts. Dan Hudson
Here is a tip of wisdom in rebuilding the Cushman motors. While the motor is apart on the workbench take a cut strip of 3M grade 2000 wet or dry sandpaper and mirror polish all bushing surfaces. Moisten the paper with WD40, then buff the bushing surfaces like polishing shoes. Also polish the camshaft including the lobes. This process will dramatically lower the friction without measurably wearing the bushings. You will have to lower your idle speed when you start the motor! This process will also increase the life of your motor. David Jameson
I was having trouble with the flexible exhaust tubing clamps being strong enough to crush the flex exhaust tubing sufficiently to seal the exhaust system. Here's what I did to solve this: Around the circumference of both ends of the flex tubing make 6 cuts evenly spaced about 1/2 inch deep. Get some thin aluminum flashing and cut a piece 5.8 inch wide and long enough to make a little more than one wrap around the outside of the flex tubing to cover the six cuts. Wrap the aluminum over each end of the flex tubing covering the cuts. Slide the clamps on over the aluminum, slide the exhaust system together and tighten the clamps. The cuts will allow the ends of the flex tubing to be flexible enough to grab the exhaust pope and exhaust manifold, the aluminum flashing seals over the cuts and the extra thickness of the aluminum flashing gives the clamps a little more bite. It works GREAT! Ronald V. Pappaso
This week end I lost one of my 1965 Buco Fiberglas saddlebag lids while riding. After a long search I found it, but don't take chances. Add a small safety chain from the lid to the saddle bag to prevent a fly-away in case the latch pops open. I used a small vinyl covered chain from Home Depot. Use washers under the screw head and inside the saddle bag to distribute the stress. Ronald V. Papasso
If you have a cracked engine block see the article on how to repair it
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