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Bike & Builder episode 2 "Sam's Diesel Chopper"

Bike & Builder episode 2 "Sam's Diesel Chopper"

Posted by Zack Coffman on Sep 18th 2015

Twin Turbo Diesel AWD Motorcycle

My name is Sam Turner, I am from Atlanta, Georgia. I currently am a Diesel Technician for the United States Postal Service. When I was about 12 years old my father taught me how to use a welder, and ever since then I have been building whatever has popped in my mind. For a senior year physics project in High School, I built a gas turbine engine out of an old diesel truck turbo and a bunch of plumbing parts.  A cordless drill with the trigger zip tied down, chucked up to a Chevy 350 oil pump provided the lubrication for the turbo. Using a leaf blower to get it started and propane as fuel it ran like a champ. I have never had any formal education or training on fabrication or diesel engines, but I just have a kind of a natural ability to understand how things work mechanically. I have always had a love for anything with an engine. 

My first motorcycle was when I was 8, my father fixed up an old 70ish model Honda 50cc minibike. from there I worked my way up to a Honda 110, then a Yamaha RT180. My first street bike was a Honda Rebel 450, then a Honda CBR 1000. when I was 22 I decided to try my hand at building my first motorcycle. It was an old Suzuki GS750 frame that i installed a Yanmar 10hp direct injection diesel engine, and a comet 40 series CVT transmission. I ended up boosting the engine with a RHB31 turbo charger and Suzuki swift Intercooler. That bike ended up being a pretty big success at a top speed of 70mph, and cruising at 55 the bike got 140mpg. Up until this point I only had the basic metal fabrication tools like a welder, grinder, and portable band saw. I traded my first diesel motorcycle for a entire shop worth of metal fabrication tools, such as a Milling machine, Metal Lathe, Drill press, Vertical metal band saw, and arbor press. Now that I had acquired all of these tools, I knew that the next project bike had to be completely insane compared to the first.

I knew I wanted to use the 840cc V-twin diesel engine for my power plant, and figured that to keep it symmetrical looking, the only way to go was Twin-turbo. I tossed around the idea of double CVT’s, and a Hossack front suspension. but it seemed still too mild. then the idea of Diesel electric popped up, similar to a Diesel locomotive where my engine powered a generator, then the generator could use electricity to spin a wheel motor. This is where the idea of AWD became possible. After researching the generator and wheel motors that would be capable of moving this bike, I decided against it because the costs were insanely high. Even though the diesel electric part of the build was shot down, I still wanted to try to do anything I could to keep the AWD aspect. That is when I stumbled across the idea of using hydrostatic drive. It would act basically the same way as a diesel electric, but at a fraction of the cost. I picked out a hydraulic pump and 2 hub motors, and because the hub motors are designed to only be supported on one side, I needed to design a single sided suspension for the bike. Once I drew up the idea for the suspension I saw that it would be very easy to install air bags so that the bike did not need a kick stand. At this point I began to lay all the pieces out in my garage, and once the engine, air bags, suspension and tires were lined up, the bike was over 11ft long. At 11ft long I did not want to have goofy looking long handle bars, or have to awkwardly have to stretch out over the backbone of the bike to reach the bars so I ended up building Double push pull cables that would connect the front spindle all the way to the back of the bike where the pivot point of the handle bars were. I ended up using the same setup for my hydraulic reservoir, as Triumph used for oil in the TR650. the backbone of the bike is a 4in hollow tube that stores 5 gallons of hydraulic fluid, thus eliminating the need for a bulky storage tank. Hydrostatic systems generate a lot of heat, so I installed two oil coolers on the side of the bike and fabricated two hood scoops to help re-direct the air through the cooler. I installed two 2.5 gallon air tanks on the side of the bike, and welded cones and fins on them to give them the appearance of bombs. At this point the bike started to look like some type of military experiment, so I decided to run with that theme. I installed 31x10.5 off-road tires, a heat shield down the reservoir that looked like a gun heat shied, Cross hairs on the backbone. a 2.5 gallon jerry can for a fuel tank, a 5.56 ammo can for a battery box, and painted the bike frame truck bed liner black, and the body panels Olive Drab Green.  Hope y'all like it!


11ft 3in long

38in tall

840cc 20 hp Direct injection v-twin diesel engine

Twin RHB31 Turbochargers

Suzuki Swift Intercooler

EATON 2000 series Hub Motor

3.33cu/in per rev. Hydraulic Gear Pump.

31x10.5 MudStar Radial MT

Carrara 400lbs Coil over shocks

2 - AirMaxx 2500 lb. air bags

Airmaxx 150psi 12v Compressor

Parker Hydraulic Hoses

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