The 101 Association, Inc.
For the preservation and enjoyment of 1928 to 1931 Indian Scout Motocycles
"You can't wear out an Indian Scout"

Tail light glass and Indian head horn disassembly?

  • 31 Mar 2021 9:22 PM
    Message # 10258242

    Hey guys,

    Looking for some tips  

    on my 31 tail light assembly I have removed the retainer ring but the tail light glass is stick in the housing. The way it sits in the housing it is near impossible to get any tool behind the glass to gently lift it free.  Any ideas as to the best way to get it out?  Suction cup?

    also, I need to disassemble my horn so I can get the body painted and the face plated.  It looks like the lip of the horn face needs to be bent back off of the housing to come off.  Any tips here?  If that is the case how to avoid damaging the chrome as I bend it back?  I would think that the risk of the chrome chipping off the thin metal would be very high.   

    thanks in advance


  • 01 Apr 2021 9:50 AM
    Reply # 10260242 on 10258242


    No great ideas on removing the lense other than a suction cup.

    The horn is another issue....   I believe the rolled face horn was used 31-32 only. It was a horrible design, because it isn't designed to be taken apart, early throw away technology maybe?  I think they realized the folly of this design pretty quickly and changed to the removable face. Problem is the newer horn won't fit a 31, it hits the clamp on the headlight bezel because its much thicker.  

    So, you're lucky to have the correct horn. I managed to restore mine but it was tough. I took a screwdriver and ground the end to a very thin edge with round corners and carefully began folding the lip pf the face back, unrolling it just enough to get it off. It took a long time, be patient or it will tear the thin brass cover!  Once off, it's easy to restore the horn itself but the face is now the problem. I made a steel dolly and gently tapped the rolled edge flat all around. Then I stripped the chrome, annealed the brass lip and had a VERY THIN layer of chrome put on. I think they did chrome only, no copper or nickel as it's too thick. The horn and cover can be stacked together now but the little edge must be rolled back. I made two wooden dollies that held the horn, one for the face and one for the back, each shaped to fit properly. I put these in my lathe and used the tail stock to push them all together and hold them in place, just light pressure. Then I used a wallpaper roller, which has a small wooden roller, to push against the lip while running the lathe at the slowest speed in back gear. By rolling the wooden wheel sideways and applying stiff pressure, is slowly rolled the brass ring back over. Just about the time it was done, the chrome started to peel!!!!!  I stopped there and finished the last bit by gently peening it over with a small rubber mallet. It worked well, but if you look closely, the chrome is peeling in a spot or two, dang it!

    Hoe this helps!  

    Gene Harper

  • 01 Apr 2021 8:11 PM
    Reply # 10262149 on 10258242

    Hey Gene,

    Thanks for all the info.

    A suction cup did the trick. When it was painted last the glass was not removed. It was just taped off so the old paint was acting like glue and was not wanting to let go even after being scraped away. But with a little effort it is out and still in great shape. 

    As far as the horn, chipping and peeling chrome is what I was most worried about. I wonder if chrome is more pliable with some heat added. Maybe a little heating with a soldiering iron as it’s slowly bent back down. It’s such a thin part it would not take much heat. I’ll ask my plater if they have any recommendations to avoid peeling. 


  • 02 Apr 2021 3:46 PM
    Reply # 10266357 on 10258242

    Bending back that flange is not going well. There are already some small cracks every 2 or three inches in the flange. None of them go all the way around to the front so they are not visible if used as is so I didn’t notice them until I started slipping a thin tool under it. 
    I just barely bent it back and snap. Another small crack. I do not think I can get this off without completely trashing it. So it’s staying as is. 

    Is there anyone making replicas?  If so I may run a replica on it and put the original up on a shelf. 


  • 03 Apr 2021 12:58 PM
    Reply # 10269190 on 10258242

    I got one from Greers. It measures 131mm diameter and just fits between the headlamp bracket and the leaf spring.

    1 file
  • 03 Apr 2021 5:15 PM
    Reply # 10269644 on 10258242

    Thanks David. 

    I overlooked them on greers sight as they are not listed for 101’s. They also have just the chrome cover that looks like it’s the same diameter. I may want to try and retrofit a new cover into the old horn. This leaves me with a few options. Hmmmm. Decisions decisions. 


  • 04 Apr 2021 4:34 PM
    Reply # 10272022 on 10258242

    I would suggest leave the original as is. It is more worth untampered with even if it doesn't work. And find a Sparton horn by the Sparks-Withington Co. that has similar backside housing, and change the front of that to the repro indian head front. I thou, have not had access to either horns, so I don't know if the size is the same but I think it should be possible to make to fit.

    4 files
    Last modified: 04 Apr 2021 4:47 PM | Carl-Erik Renquist
  • 05 Apr 2021 3:24 PM
    Reply # 10275820 on 10258242

    Nice idea,  Thanks Carl-Erik.

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