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Turbo Diesel Bobber

A Very Interesting Ride

Phil Kissinger


Here’s the story of how the diesel happened.

I have an 09 super glide and an 06 street glide. I love them both and have put a shitload of Work into them. 

After a bunch of bike nights and shows I realized that these days it’s all been done.

Even though I have the ability to build anything I want, I don’t have the bank account to back it up. So how does one build something original without re-mortgaging the house?

Rat rod! I’ve been around the culture for years so, why the hell not. I figured between the piles of parts me and my buddies have, there has to be a whole bike in there. The rest I could wheel and deal or make it from scratch. 

So I found a wrecked 04 Electra frame online and started there. The ass end was trashed so I picked up a softail swingarm cheap because I knew it would accept a 200 rear tire. There was a bike shop closing up where I made out like a bandit. Got the 5 speed twin cam trans out of a dyna, the springer front end and some miscellaneous bits. Cut up the frame to fit the swing arm and the front end. Bars are off my buddies cross bones. So now I had a rolling chassis. 

So I’m sitting in the garage one night drinking beer staring at this thing thinking of how to find an engine that is cool, but not a POS or a beauty queen. So I went on Craigslist looking for anything that might fit in the frame. 

A guy was selling a military generator that was diesel, and it hit me. This bitch is gonna be a turbo diesel! That engine was too tiny to move a bike, so I searched the web for something small that still had some power.

Found a Thermo king APU out of a refrigerated trailer. Went to pick it up. By the measurements it “should” fit. No fucking clue how I’m gonna make it work. How hard could it be..........? 

Here’s a list of everything that was made from scratch:

Motor mounts, trans plate, header pipe, turbo flanges, radiator mounts, primary tensioner, pegs, shifter, clutch pedal, throttle cable, seat

I knew the rear was a softail so I started from the back and built forward. Once the trans was in place with the motor centered for balance, I measured the offset for the primary. Took stock guts from a Harley primary and had the front cog machined to fit the flywheel with the offset built in. EASY! 

Bought a turbo off eBay, for a side by side. Radiator from a Honda shadow. After a million and one odds and ends, I got a turbo diesel bobber. 

Its definitely a strange bike to ride. It runs great if it’s making boost, but when you first pull out, it chugs like a garden tractor until the turbo spools. Add the foot clutch jockey shift to the mix.......let’s just say it’s not for beginners. LOL 

Took it to some shows and won. It’s a hit at bike nights. Mission accomplished! 


Owner: Phil Kissinger

Bike Name: rat bastard

Builder: Phil Kissinger

City/state: Hamburg PA

Company Info: Patriot Collision Center

Address: 60 State Street Hamburg Pa 19526

Phone: 610-562-9400

Fabrication: Phil K

Manufacturing: Phil K

Welding: Phil K

Machining: Stichters Machine


Year: 2002

Make: Yanmar

Model: TK270M

Displacement: 570cc

Case finish: original


Year: 2005

Make: Harley

Gear configuration: 5 speed, jockey shift

Primary: Harley

Clutch: Harley

Final drive: Harley


Year: 2004

Builder: Harley

Style or Model: FLHTC

Stretch: NONE

Rake: Stock


Widened swing arm area to accept Softail swing arm. Custom built hard tail mounts 


Make: DNA

Model: springer

Tanks: ummm, I don’t know

Fenders: custom rear. No front


Type: exterior door paint

Pinstriping: red scallops



Make: Harley

Size: 21

Brake calipers: none

Tire: Dunlop 


Make: Harley

Size: 17

Brake calipers: Harley

Brake rotor: Harley 

Pulley: Harley 

Tire: Dunlop 


Foot controls: custom foot clutch pedal

Finish: rattle can black

Brake lines: custom kit

Handlebar controls: Harley 

Finish: black/silver

Clutch Cable: Harley

Brake Lines custom, kit

Shifting: jockey, grenade shift knob

Kickstand: la choppers

Charging: ac Delco mini alternator 

Starter: Yanmar

Wiring: custom

Headlight: from a friend

Taillight: model A replica


Electrical accessories: lift pump, cooling fan, glow plugs

Switches: NAPA auto parts

Battery: Deka 


Seat: custom made

Mirror(s): from a friend

Gas caps: v-twin

Handlebars: from a friend

Grips: junk pile 

Pegs: fabricated

Oil filter: Briggs and Stratton 

Fuel filter: wix

Throttle cables: bicycle brake cable


Credits: Thank You to: My VERY understanding wife, Scott Ulrich’s motorcycle shop for letting me raid the spare parts room, Cheez and the MBMC. 

SOURCE: http://baggers.bikernet.com/pages/TURBO_DIESEL_BOBBER.aspx

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