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!

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