Ford Tractor "Valkyrie" 8-N
Honda Valkyrie F-6 Motorcycle Engine

Having completed several engine conversions in the Ford 8-N tractors I decided to do one more. I wanted to do something as unusual as I could think of. I explored a Jaguar dual overhead cam 6 cylinder engine, a BMW 6 cylinder engine, and a Porsche and Corvair horizontal opposed six cylinder engine. Then during casual conversation one evening on our way to a club meeting with my good friend and fellow engineer Greg Koesel I told him of my plans. He immediately mentioned "Have you considered a flat six motorcycle engine"? I said no I did not give that a consideration.

That got me interested and I got on my computer to search and gain information on a Honda Goldwing engine. In my search I found Pin Wall Motorcycle Parts Inc. in Navarre Ohio and three hours from my home.

I took my first trip to visit their operation to find out they were a major motorcycle salvage operation and had every part for a motorcycle a person could possibly need. I explained my desire to convert a motorcycle engine to operate a farm tractor. They were very receptive to my desire to accomplish this project and showed me what a flat six cylinder engine looked like outside the motorcycle.

I came back home with measurements and after some thought headed back to Navarre Ohio for some real serious discussion. Their master mechanic was Chuck Santana who was very helpful and patient with me. We discussed what I would need and eliminate everything that was used on the motorcycle that would not be needed for the tractor. During our discussion Chuck mentioned that if I did not need reverse on the engine I should consider the Honda Valkyrie engine instead of the Goldwing. I don't need reverse as I will have that in the tractor transmission. The Valkyrie motorcycle is a 1500 cc high performance six opposing cylinder engine using six carburetors with 98.5 horsepower.

The beauty of the Honda flat six cylinder engine is that is has a built in five speed transmission and a hydraulic remote operated clutch, a perfect combination for my conversion. After a lengthy discussion the deal was sealed and they would have the engine ready for me to pick up in a week. I left on a vacation and upon returning home I picked up this beautiful engine which was loaded with chrome and looked forward to the challenge before me. Chuck was able to run this engine on the floor with the minimum required wires needed to run the engine as I requested.

The first order of business was to take all measurements and begin frame construction. Most of the framework was constructed from 2" X 2" and 2" X 4" X 1/8" wall tubing. The adapter plate and front axle mount were constructed of " plate. One fault I have is that I hold too tight of tolerance so there was some rework along the way. I do believe in measuring twice and cutting once. Since the Valkyrie was originally driven with a driveshaft I designed a drive system that utilized a chain and sprocket system using # 40 roller chain for input into the tractor transmission. Knowing I would have 20 forward speeds ( 5 on the engine times 4 in the tractor = 20) I estimated I would need a 4:00 to 1:00 sprocket ratio with 4:00 ratio on the engine drive and 1:00 ratio on the tractor transmission. Once the drive system and frame configuration were completed the entire tractor was disassembled and sandblasted. After that task was complete painting the individual parts for reassembly was begun. All worn parts were replaced with new components.

As assembly began there were certainly hurdles that had to be overcome but that is to be expected when designing a one of a kind machine with no instructions. Once the tractor basic frame was constructed the electrical and fuel system were connected. Then the exhaust system had to be designed. I started with the original exhaust system off of a Honda Goldwing. It was designed to tuck under the motorcycle and definitely would not work on a tractor. I completely disassembled the Goldwing exhaust and discarded all except for the basic pipes where they connect to the motor and about the first eighteen inches of pipe. I reversed the pipes using the left side on the right side and visa versa. This caused the exhaust to flare out instead of in as it was on the bike. Then I had 2 " straight pipe bent to fit under the tractor and welded the headers together.

Now it was time to start the engine for the first time. It started with a roar which is uncommon for a Honda Valkyrie as they are normally a very quiet running machine. I used the original clutch master cylinder and handle from the motorcycle. I mounted it on the lower left side of the tractor dash board and can operate the handle by hand or by using my left knee. When all the connections were made for the hydraulic clutch it would not disengage. After another technical discussion with mechanic Chuck regarding bleeding the hydraulic clutch system it was finally determined that the clutch was stuck from being in storage. After numerous attempts the clutch was finally free and I was able to drive the tractor for the first time. What a thrill. Next is the sheet metal and as on my other conversions I also converted this one to a tilt hood design instead of a fixed hood configuration.

My intention as in the past was to take approximately one year to complete this project. Once I started this project it was like reading a good book and I could not put it down. There were some twelve hour days along with some busted knuckles and the project was completed in three months. Everything on this project was built in my shop except for a driveshaft and the bending of the exhaust pipe. As far as the conversions I have completed this was the easiest because of the hydraulic self contained clutch on the motorcycle engine. It will be interesting as I take this tractor to shows and observe people attempting to identify this unrecognizable engine. It is seldom that anyone would ever see a Valkyrie F-6 motorcycle engine outside its frame.

I do not have any further plans to do any more conversions. The collection of Ford 8-N tractors I now have require regular maintenance and along with attending shows I have to say "I am finished".
Ford 8-N Valkyrie