Friday, 30 March 2012


This week, I have been mostly cutting up pieces of cork...

So while waiting for my fork tools to arrive, I have been cleaning up the petrol taps.

After several sessions in a hot ultrasonic bath, we have two clean Enots petrol taps, the type with the famous 'HexagON'. One is a reserve tap in that it has an additional reserve lever - so the bike will have three options - one side of the tank through one tap, the other side of the tank through the other tap, and a portion of fuel available from one side of the tank with the tap in the reserve position. How useful.

So, after ultrasound we have the Dremel & brass wire brush to buff up the nickel - which is has a distinct 'patina' brought on through years of service and inappropriate spanners. Nothing to stop them working though, at least, nothing that a new set of seals won't cure.

So, rummage around under the bench for the remains of a 1/4" thick cork table mat, and we can set about making some new ones:
  • make a wad punch out of some 15 mm tube, sharpened at one end
  • whack the punch into the cork with a mallet, onto a stout hardwood anvil
  • realise this only crushes the cork
  • think again and resharpen the punch
  • screw it into the cork to actually cut the seal blank out
  • do it five more times
  • stick a dowel inside the tube and push out your six blank seals
having crawled around the workshop floor, since they shot out of the punch and went everywhere, go and have a cup of tea. Next:
  • punch a small (4mm or so) hole in the centre of each blank
  • thread each seal onto a suitable screw, retain with a nut & washer
  • chuck the screw in an electric drill, or a lathe if you are lucky
  • using a 60 grit sanding pad, followed by 120 grit, reduce the seals to 1/2" diameter in your makeshift lathe
  • strip it all down and admire your handywork.

Next, oil the seals and wait a little while. Now you can put them in the taps, reassemble and revel in the fact that you have saved yourself £3.50!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

So, where are we?

This is going to be the most boring blog post ever. It's sole purpose is to try to force my thoughts to coalesce into a course of action.

To summarise where we are - the rear suspension (apart from the stand mounts and the spring) is done and the back wheel is on. The gearbox could be bolted if I were to determine which studs I had and which were missing.

The fork legs are together, but I don't have the tools to screw the seal housings in place and one of the seal housings is dented - no matter though, I will fix that when I do the Phase 2 cosmetic rebuild. One of the top shrouds has a large hole in it - again, one for Phase 2. The yokes are together, but I am missing the fixed plate for the steering damper and the handlebars - both on back order from Drags.

So, if I had the puller for the fork legs, and the handlebars I could put the forks together in the frame; if I had the bolt for the brake plate (the torque reaction bolt) I could put the front wheel on; if I had all the bolts for the mudguards I could fit them, and then I could start mudguard welding.

So I need:

  • front brake torque bolt
  • front & rear mudguard bolts
  • an assortment of nuts & washers
  • fork leg puller & oil seal holder tool
  • the bolt for the steering damper fixed plate
I need a trip to Drags... roll out the Bantam!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

A leap ahead

Well, the sun is out, the old MZ TS125 is going for it's MOT and the tools are all out in the garden. At the end of the work day I'm needing some distraction and there are some Ariel stand parts lying around in the office... why not fit up?

The new stand with it's stainless fasteners goes on easily, so let's try the rear wheel in place:
The stand spring stud doesn't fit though, unless I have misunderstood. There is no undercut on the stud and a full depth tapped hole in the frame (more work for the 3/8" CEI taps), so it won't screw fully home. Looks good from the offside as well though. We also now know that the G1/99 double ended tube spanner in the toolkit needs to be 5/8" BSW, at least at one end...

And with the gearbox in place maybe we are OK with the chain alignment. It looks fine from this rudimentary view, but the problem is supposed to be with the clutch and the primary chain, so maybe we are not out of the woods yet!

Then we can lay the un-repaired mudguard over the top. It is now obvious where the stays, the lifting handle and the frame bolts fit. It is also obvious that the bracket on the top is for a dual seat that we won't need. another missing part springs to light though, it looks like two of the QD hub nuts are missing. The chalk 'X's', by the way, are cracks that have yet to be repaired!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


So, the skirmish aimed at getting the rear wheel in place, in order to confirm that the gearbox mainshaft is the right length, has morphed into a campaign to make a rolling chassis. This means I will have to clear out and rearrange the summer house and face up to the awful prospect that the Ariel may be too big to fit into the only covered space available to it.

Bouyed up by some successful welding over the weekend (fitting Ford Ka seats into the Morris) I’m now almost ready to tackle the mudguards – hence the need for a rolling chassis. I’ve also bought the parts for the rear stand, necessary to get the wheel & gearbox in, and I bulked that order out with the fork parts & the handlebars – all from the ever-reliable folks at Draganfly.

As the forks came out of the boxes, we had the top yoke & the sliders in new gloss black paint, the stanchions & bushes rusty in rolled up newspaper, and the bottom yoke & shrouds somewhere in between – gloss black paint but plenty of rust as well. As well as a large hole worn in one of the stanchions. Another job for my newly acquired welding skills.

Some of the smaller pieces, like the top nuts, the races, and the adjusting nuts for the races were in the toffee tin full of fasteners.

So we’ve got all the bits out and surveyed the damaged and the missing. Missing is mainly confined to fasteners and the steering damper plates and friction discs – the special nuts at the top and bottom are gone too. The shrouds with the headlamp ears are nicely wrapped in newspaper, in the boxes - we've been quite lucky here. 

The ‘damaged’ list is far longer – virtually all the threads are mangled to some extent, either burrs, paint, chunks missing or dents – but nothing that can’t be fixed. The brass bit on the steering damper stem won't take it's nut, so something is wrong there.

Stripping it all down, a few hours with emery cloth and wet & dry paper reveals stanchions that are in good shape, under the rust. I haven’t checked them for straightness yet, but the sliders seem to move smoothly and without much play. The lovely gloss black prevents the chrome oil seal holders, and the front wheel spindle from fitting though. the adapters at the top have seen the attention of a bad attitude with a hammer - two mangled threads that will go straight in the bin. Five minutes with the blow lamp & Stilsons sorted them out.

With parts from Drags, we can assemble the steering damper and the yokes – the 3/8” CEI taps have seen some action this weekend!

Top adapters are back in, bolts & washer cleaned up (rechrome in Phase 2), new clamp bolts, new seals, no new bearings though.

I am going to refresh the races with new balls for the moment, and in Phase 2 I will change them for taper rollers. I don't want to do that now in case I trash them preparing for powder coating the frame.

So, next jobs – we have some of the steering damper parts – some are on back order. We need to clean the paint out of the slider threads and spindle holes, and we need to repair the hole in the top shroud. Then we can put each leg together, and look at the springs, and pull them into the bottom yoke. I need to finish trial fitting the top yoke.
I’ll also need to make or buy the tools for pulling it all together!